Skip to content

Columnist: Caps’ problems are all on Ovi

Nov 21, 2011, 3:11 PM EDT

Bruce Boudreau and Alex Ovechkin Getty Images

Washington Post columnist Mike Wise wrote a blazing piece today, laying the blame for the Capitals’ struggles squarely on Alex Ovechkin.

The column also served as a defense of coach Bruce Boudreau, who’s facing a barrage of criticism in the wake of his team’s three-game road trip that finished with three losses by a combined score of 14-3.

The truth is, only one person is emotionally missing from the Capitals’ locker room, and everyone inside that cocoon knows who it is. It’s the guy who looks like a shell of his former self, who hasn’t scored in four games and doesn’t even look interested in playing hockey right now. Until Alex Ovechkin finds himself, finds the electrifying player he once was and backpacks this team to the Stanley Cup finals, everyone’s employment with the organization is in jeopardy.

Nobody’s going to disagree that Ovechkin is the key to the Caps’ success. And if he’s just pouting because he’s not happy with Boudreau, then it doesn’t say much about Ovi’s leadership qualities.

That said, Boudreau shouldn’t get let off the hook. Coaches are responsible for motivating and getting the best out of their players, and Boudreau’s not getting that out of Ovechkin. Unless things turn around soon, firing the coach is going to fall under the category of “hey, it couldn’t hurt.”

Even now, what would be the downside of making a change? It turns out Boudreau wasn’t the problem? OK, so has anything really changed? Is Boudreau such a great coach that the Caps would sink even further without him?

  1. govtminion - Nov 21, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    In the interest of being fair to both of them, the Caps have developed a more complete team than they had two years ago, when Ovechkin was forced to score like crazy just to keep up with the other team’s goal scoring. Their third and fourth lines are doing great work these days, and it means less pressure on the first two lines to do everything.

    On the flip side, it’s a good thing, because those front two lines suck on toast this year overall. Back on the D-men set, Green is perma-hurt, and most of the others aren’t exactly the group you build Cup teams around. Both goalies have looked shaky at times.

    Is it all Ovechkin’s fault? Of course not. But if your captain isn’t trying to get the team fired up (see: “not my problem”), should he be your captain at all?

  2. stakex - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:04 PM

    I don’t see how a reasonable person can blame Ovechkin for all of the Caps problems right now. The whole team looks simply awful, and there is no way that can be placed on one player. Only one person is responsible when a whole team plays poorly, and thats the coach.

    Is Ovechkin clearly having issue right now? Oh yeah… and so is Semin for that matter. The two biggest stars on the Caps are struggling, and its the coach’s job to help get them out of it. If he can’t do it, then what could it hurt to let someone else try?

  3. bcjim - Nov 21, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Mike Wise noted hockey expert.

    I’ll give him this much, he has somehow succeeded in life while having little discernable talent, imo, especially on radio. His show is just so awkward.

    • capsrockva - Nov 21, 2011 at 6:02 PM

      I for one enjoy his show He & Holden had Tarik on their show today. Great interview.Go to 1067thefan to catch the podcast

      • bcjim - Nov 21, 2011 at 9:08 PM

        Holden is fine, good even. Wise is just awkward.

  4. charlutes - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    “Is Boudreau such a great coach that the Caps would sink even further without him?” No. I blame others too but ovey is main reason. Good article.

  5. capsrockva - Nov 21, 2011 at 5:52 PM

    I hope tonight’s game will be the start of a great week. Is it all Ovechkin’s fault? Of course not. But if your captain isn’t trying to get the team fired up (see: “not my problem”), should he be your captain at all? Completely agree with this statement. I disagreed with making him Capt. in the first place. One final note TRADE SEMIN. He is killing the Caps w/ all the stupid penalties

  6. dcent87 - Nov 21, 2011 at 8:04 PM

    Lol the caps are a joke….they go throught the blame game every year

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Bennett (1238)
  2. P. Rinne (1235)
  3. D. Alfredsson (1232)
  4. D. Kuemper (1215)
  5. J. Drouin (1174)