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Washington columnist calls for Caps to clean house

Feb 22, 2012, 8:14 PM EDT

Winnipeg Jets v Washington Capitals Getty Images

The Washington Capitals’ listless loss to the Carolina Hurricanes was like a miserable cherry on a sundae of sadness. So far, things haven’t been much better on Wednesday as the Caps are down 2-0 against the surging Ottawa Senators through 20 minutes.

With the team’s woes in mind, some critics are calling for extreme measures. Even with that in mind, The Washington Times’ Dan Daly’s stance might startle you. He doesn’t just want changes; he wants the team to clean house – and that wouldn’t stop at Alex Ovechkin.

As each month passes, I’m more and more convinced that only a change of scenery — if that — will ever bring back the Ovechkin of three years ago. If he stays in D.C., “wrapped up” in his “rock star status” (in Olie Kolzig’s words), he’ll go right on scoring 30 to 35 goals a season, and the club will go right on being a disappointment.

File that last paragraph, by the way, under: Words I Never Imagined Writing. But after watching the Capitals come apart against Tampa Bay in last year’s playoffs — and after seeing too many no-shows this season (like the 5-0 abomination Monday night in Carolina) — it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that something is rotten at the Caps’ core.

Interesting stuff. If you ask me, the hockey world might look back at the Capitals as “The team that conventional wisdom and the media destroyed.”

Panic button planning

Instead of sticking with the attacking system that made them horrifying for other teams and elating for fans, the franchise bowed to the sentiment that their system wasn’t good enough. Perhaps it wasn’t, but should anyone be surprised that their stars are struggling to adapt to a style that doesn’t play to their strengths?

For every moment when a Steve Yzerman or Mike Modano can adapt from a high-flying mode to a two-way commitment, there are a ton of round-peg-in-square-hole scenarios.

Return to fun instead

As much as Daly harps on the fact that Ovechkin and Mike Green have been around for seven years, those two players are still in their primes. Maybe the team would be better served blowing up an illogical system and ignoring what everyone else has to say rather than panicking and starting from scratch again?

It’s easy to go nuts when the chips are down (see: Patrick Kane trade rumors) and apparently it’s even easier to forget the really bad times when things get better. The Capitals should remember where they came from and what’s gotten them to a higher level rather than trying to please pundits – myself included.

  1. martysbetter - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:23 PM

    The fact that Ovechkin wears the C for that team speaks volumes about where the organization’s head is at.

    • AppealToReason - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:18 AM

      During the Carolina game he basically stick checked a teammate just to have the puck in the o-zone.

  2. jagrbomb18 - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:39 PM

    Yeeeup totally agree

  3. dagnats - Feb 22, 2012 at 8:53 PM

    ovie shouldn’t be wearing the “c”…thats for sure…mcphee or hunter should just grow a pair and take it from him…i think he will play a little better without it…but still doesnt change the fact that he and the rest of the team are having a miserable year…as a fan i cant take it…CLEAN HOUSE!

  4. upyoursnfu - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:04 PM

    The “c” stands for c u next tuesday

  5. solador78 - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    The “c” stands for…

  6. dougr42 - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:31 PM

    Brooks Laich should be the captain of that team.

    • dagnats - Feb 23, 2012 at 10:27 AM

      yes, for sure

  7. baywatchboy - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Ovi’s C stands for “See you on the first tee”

    Semin needs to go, the C needs to be taken from Ovi, if Vokoun is not going to resign, ship him now. They’re already talking about trading Hamrlik, need to see some others go to.

  8. dbick - Feb 22, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    Caps need Ovechkin to fill that arena. They trade him, a ton of once full seats go with him.

    • danphipps01 - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:39 PM

      Tragic, but true. That he costs them nine and a half mil and earns less than two-thirds of that while dragging the entire team down with his ridiculous antics is second to the fact that he makes them WAY MORE THAN HE COSTS. Lazy, petulant, egotistical jackass or no, he makes everyone with a vote on things rich. He ain’t moving, and it’s the players who will suffer for it.

  9. murtdurt - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    We’re already 8 comments in and no troll comment about this site being ProCaptialsTalk?? Myself and Joe are waiting… As long as the caps stank I will keep reading

  10. stakex - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:50 PM

    Lets be real here: The Caps will never trade Ovechkin. Not just because they probably don’t want to, but they will almost certainly never get what they would consider a good enough return. Despite his struggles over the last two years, Ovechkin still has the ability to be a 100ish point and a 50ish goal scorer. Will he ever be that guy again? Who knows…. which is the problem. The Caps will have an asking price that assumes Ovi will be the Ovi of old again, and it would be hard for a team to pay that much for a guy who who might be a 30-35 goal and a 60ish point scorer from now on.

    As for the whole idea of the Caps cleaning house, I could certainly see that from a management point of view. After all, the Caps (and Ovechkin) have been going down hill since the decision was made to go to a defense first system. Its not working. The Caps are not built that way. Its clear as day… yet someone in the organization is still pushing ahead with it. Who ever is behind the defense first idea should certainly be fired (Seems to be the GM), and the team does not seem to be responding to Dale Hunter any more then they were Boudreau at the end so I don’t expect him to stick around next season (Unless the Caps should win the cup or something… fat chance on that one). A total fresh start with new coach/GM could be the best thing to happen to the Caps in years.

    When it comes to the players, I know everyone wants to pile on Ovi, but even if he had scored 10-12 more goals this year (would put him on pace for about 50) and played more like his old self the Caps still wouldn’t be much better off. The team as a whole has been blown out and out played in far too many games this year for any one player to make a big difference… no matter who it is. The whole team is simply not playing good together, which seems to be an issue above the players…. especially since the majority of the old run-and-gun Caps team that was so feared is still in place. This goes back to clearing house at a management level. Obviously a couple trades (possibly Semin) certainly can’t hurt, but I just don’t see trades helping the Caps at this point…. their problems are far too deep for that.

  11. blomfeld - Feb 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    AN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE !

    It’s a shame that Ovechkin has chosen the path of capitalist decadence and decay. So much could have been accomplished with his God-given talent. Instead he’s chosen to become a “parasite” and by doing so, he along with the others like him are a complete disgrace to the many glorious Russian greats who have preceded him … including perhaps the greatest of them all, Valeri Kharlamov !

    • pooinyourface - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      Kazahkstan greatest county in the world. Kazahkstan number 1 makes our own potassium

    • solador78 - Feb 23, 2012 at 11:00 AM

      I am Mr. Big Deal:

  12. phillyphever - Feb 22, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Yeah, doesn’t AO have a $10+ million cap hit? IDK if there’s a team willing to take that kind of hit AND give up the talent Washington would want in return for him.

  13. alexb64 - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    I’m not sure I really get this team from a direction standpoint so I agree with the post. They were a top team when they were just letting it all loose offensively, they came up short in the playoffs but they always had that puncher’s chance. Then they decided for whatever reason that they should try to become a defensive team & this year the frustration just seems to have come to a head to the point where Boudreu had to be fired. They had a glaring defensive weakness before but at least they were exciting & had the chance of catching a hot goaltending streak to the Finals, wouldn’t they rather have that as an organization than this mess? When you’re struggling you should get back to doing what you’re good at, at least in my opinion. If they could get guys like Semin producing again maybe that’s a guy you could turn into some defensive help that doesn’t require a total philosophical change. Their hated rivals The Pens seem to have found that balance, they used to be horrendous on D, which wasn’t too long ago but seems like a decade ago now.

  14. rainyday56 - Feb 23, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Trade Ovie to Pens for Crobie (Pens are Geno’s team now). Move Crosby, Caps and coach Hunter to Quebec so they can have a big luv-in next year like they have in Winnepeg this year. Washington fans don’t need the Caps to distract them from those other great sports teams they have.

    • pooinyourface - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      You’re dumb

  15. dcfan4life - Feb 23, 2012 at 1:20 AM

    I agree Ovie needs his C stripped. Laich is the best option for replacement, but i wouldnt doubt if they trade for veteran guys and maybe award one of them a C after the season. Semin, Vokoun, Hamerlik, Ward, Shultz, Green, and Wideman should all be on the block. Especially Wideman since his value is probably at an all time high. If all those players were traded, i bet we would get some solid players in return and if Backstrom comes back could still make a playoff push. So pathetic to lose 7 of 10 and still be 2 points back of a playoff spot…

  16. federovs4skn - Feb 23, 2012 at 6:54 AM

    they should give us red wingers ovie so we can attempt a cup run this year. lucky 11

  17. pooinyourface - Feb 23, 2012 at 7:52 AM

    Happy Valentine’s Day Billy

    P.S. – I’m horny

  18. gilbertcapsfan94 - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Stakex is absolutely right OV needs to fix him self but we hold him to his old standards and no body is perfect….. Getting rid of people and starting over is NOT the case that would help…. It wouldn’t surprise me if this was something that took two or three seasons to figure out but u need to realize that this is a team thing not a player thing

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