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What gives with these roller coaster Capitals?

Nov 18, 2011, 11:35 AM EST

Alex Semin, Bruce Boudreau, Nicklas Backstrom Getty Images

We’re not here to push the panic button for the Capitals, there’s enough fans of the team that are taking care of that already after the Caps’ uninspiring 4-1 loss to Winnipeg last night. For the third straight game, however, the Caps would score first in the game and then get outworked by a motivated opponent.

The Caps have dropped five of their last six and seven of their last ten. It’s a tough stretch that sees the Caps alternating between a team that can’t stop the puck from either going in their own net or putting it in their opponents net. Even owner Ted Leonsis is bemoaning their play of late saying that they’ve got a lot of work to do.

Alex Ovechkin isn’t scoring enough for some fans’ liking, Alex Semin isn’t consistent enough, Mike Green continues to be hurt and the team misses his presence, Michal Neuvirth and Tomas Vokoun aren’t looking as hot anymore, and Roman Hamrlik turned into a skating statue.

The Caps need more from everyone all around and they’re not going to get help from their own division. Tampa Bay and Florida are now looking like threats to the Caps in the Southeast and while Carolina and Winnipeg are struggling, the Jets showed last night that there’s nothing easy to be had.

The stress of success is showing a bit on the faces of the Caps. The joy looks to be missing in D.C. and while that might seem like some cheap narrative to tug the heartstrings, there’s something off about this team. Riding the highs and lows of the season shouldn’t be this hard.

  1. abrienza428 - Nov 18, 2011 at 11:47 AM

    Boudreau simply isn’t the coach for this team. He was great when they were young, but the yelling wears off after a while and players don’t respond to it.

    Reminds me of Pittsburgh and Michel Therrien.

    • danphipps01 - Nov 18, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      Thing is that he’s pretty much Ken Hitchcock Two: Electric Boogaloo. He’s not a guy well-liked by the players, but his strategies pay off over and over and over again. That having been said… even great instincts don’t mean much when your players keep sulking and playing poorly. If Boudreau’s good ideas aren’t enough to balance against Ovi’s moodiness or Semin’s laziness or Vokoun/Neuvirth’s inconsistency, they ultimately need to try to find someone who they’ll try harder for – but then, that won’t solve all their problems. Semin will still be lazy and if Ovi doesn’t light up (and it’s not just his hate-on for the coach that’s screwing with the quality of his play right now) under a new guy, very little will actually change. In other words, a coach swap would be a huge risk with no real proof of payoff. The Caps are in a strange and unpleasant place right now.

  2. brianforster - Nov 18, 2011 at 2:36 PM

    Are we really concerned? This is a team that continues to break franchise records. Or are we already forgetting about the winning streak to start the year? It’s a long season. It will turn around.

    • stakex - Nov 19, 2011 at 2:10 AM

      The “Well they won 7 in a row!” argument has a few holes in it. First of all, four of those wins were against teams that are currently outside the playoff picture (Oilers, Wings, Hurricanes, Lightning). Yet another one of them was against a Pittsburgh team that, while still potent, was playing without its top two offensive weapons. Second, the Caps were getting amazing play from their third and fourth lines. As I predicted several times, that was simply a bubble that was hiding larger issues for the Caps…. and that bubble has now burst. Throw in the fact they were getting better then expected goaltending from Vokoun, and you get a very misleading winning streak that masked the fact that the Caps are a team with many issues.

      Now that their “grinders” and Vokoun have come back to earth… we are seeing what the Caps actually have, and its a scary picture if your a Caps fan. Its not just Ovechkin playing bad. Its not just Semin being lazy and taking horrible penelties. Its not just Green being hurt. Its not just Vokoune in a slump. Its not just awful defense. Its not just a Washington team that hasn’t looked organized since the season started. Its all of them. The team as a whole is playing, and looking, horrible…. and thats saying something for a team that should be a Cup favorite with its talent.

      So when the whole team can be described to be playing bad, who do you blame? At that point… its hard to blame the players.

  3. macintoshw - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:10 PM

    Unless they make it to the EC finals (at the very least) Bruce is toast.

    • abrienza428 - Nov 18, 2011 at 3:20 PM

      Isn’t that what people said last year?

  4. stakex - Nov 19, 2011 at 2:20 AM

    The Capitals have stopped responding to Boudreau… its that simple. They have looked pathetic at times over the last few games, and there is only one person to blame when the whole team looks bad.

    If this was the first sign of trouble for the Caps under Boudreau then I would say they should wait it out. However, he has proven he is not a Cup winning coach… and when his team is not playing well he struggles to do anything about it. I think its fair to say there have been at least 4 times over the last three years in which Boudreau could have/should have been fired… but was given the benefit of the doubt. He should be out of second chances at this point.

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