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Capitals’ Green: ‘This is the best team we’ve been on’

May 14, 2013, 1:44 AM EDT

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Two Getty Images

Flip the calendar back to January.

The Washington Capitals had one win in their first seven games. But after a terrible start, they found their game as the season wore on, eventually taking the Southeast Division.

They finished the regular season with an 8-1-1 record in their final 10 games, giving rise to the belief the Capitals could cause some damage in the playoffs.

It didn’t work out that way. The Capitals won the first two games of their first-round series against the New York Rangers, but lost four of the next five games, capped off with a crushing 5-0 defeat on home ice in Game 7 on Monday.

“This is the best team, team-wise, that we’ve been on. We had the depth, we had the coaching, the structure, the system,” Capitals’ defenseman Mike Green told the Washington Post.

“Things that happen during series that just seem for whatever reason at the wrong time happen to us, that’s no reflection of the guys in the dressing room or how bad we wanted it. The heart and the depth of the guys throughout the lineup is not the reflection of how it should end. “

Capitals’ star Alex Ovechkin threw 13 registered hits in the final loss. But he was held off the actual score sheet.

In fact, Ovechkin didn’t record a single point in the final five games of the series and was a combined minus-three over that span. He was also reduced to one shot on net in Game 7.

But he had 13 hits.

“It’s very frustrating,” Ovechkin told NHL.com. “You’re here to win the games and try to win the Cup.”

 

  1. Stiller43 - May 14, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    “But he had 13 hits.”

    They dont pay him 10 million friggin dollars a year to hit and get 2 points in 7 games. John Erskine can do that.

    • dohpey28 - May 14, 2013 at 7:13 AM

      He was very lucky he didn’t get a couple more penalties, as he likes to leave his feet to hit people high in the playoffs. The hit on McDonaugh was also a hit from behind in the 1st period. Love watching him play with that passion but don’t like seeing the dirty hits. Thats not what he is paid for. Stay out of the box and put the puck in the net.

      • jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 9:16 AM

        he got away with the one on mcdonaugh for sure

      • utherydeswayn - May 14, 2013 at 10:57 AM

        He got away with what could have been a boarding call, but everyone talking about him leaving his feet is silly. He doesn’t leave his feet until after contact. That’s how lots of guys do it, and it’s legal.

      • jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM

        he didnt leave his feet on mcdonaugh but it was definitely boarding.

    • steelpenbucs87 - May 14, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      I’ve been saying this for years – Ovi hits, and that has a lot of value in that it gets the crowd going and wears on the defense. However – a lot of times he gets out of position when he does it. Case in point: last night after he delivered an open-ice hit to Moore, he went and hit McDonagh after McDonagh played the puck. The problem was that McDonagh had turned it over and since Ovi was finishing his check, Backstrom couldn’t bring the puck in without being offsides. His need to finish his check on McDonagh rather than being cognizant of what was going on around him cost his team an odd-man rush.

  2. watermelon1 - May 14, 2013 at 2:38 AM

    No… Erskine CAN’T do that. That’s the problem with the Caps. Everyone keeps saying to ovechkins fault. PLEASE realize that the rangers did exactly what every team should do. Just triple ovechkin and watch the rest of the team suck.

    Teams don’t do this to Crosby. WHY? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s mandated by the nhl? But for whatever reason Crosby can camp out around the goal in-guarded. And if for whatever reason they do decide to defend him, the Pens other players make them pay.

    Same goes for guys like Nash on the Rangers. Teams don’t decide to just focus all their energy on defending him.

    Bottom line… The Caps are NOT a good team and green is sorely mistaken if he thinks this was the best team they’ve had.

    Also, on regards to game 7… Holtby was obviously not focused and should have been pulled after the 2nd goal.(the 3rd goal was the worst, but the first two were bad enough to make the move) Just another horrible coaching decision by Oates. Never should have gotten rid of Bruuuuce!

    • mordock57 - May 14, 2013 at 3:03 AM

      Never should have gotten rid of Vokoun. Who’s laughing now? ;)

    • dirt2013 - May 14, 2013 at 8:04 AM

      OV is a one trick pony while others including Crosby have a well rounded game. Saying the fix is in shows your lack of knowledge about the sport.

    • bgrillz - May 14, 2013 at 8:16 AM

      Actually, it’s no NHL mandate….it’s that Crosby is more talented all around. OV is a great scorer. But he doesn’t make those around him better. That’s the difference between Sid and Ovi. That and talent levels on other lines. Crosby turned Dupuis and Kunitz, both undrafted players, into 20 goal scorers. Crosby is making his next move before he even gets there.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 8:37 AM

      dirt2013, bgrillz, you both hit the head on the nail. Very well. The Crosby haters will be out in full force during this round. Here’s hoping fans can remain objective and see how good and much better 87 is compared to GR8.

  3. Stiller43 - May 14, 2013 at 2:46 AM

    “No… Erskine CAN’T do that. That’s the problem with the Caps. Everyone keeps saying to ovechkins fault. PLEASE realize that the rangers did exactly what every team should do. Just triple ovechkin and watch the rest of the team suck.

    Teams don’t do this to Crosby. WHY? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s mandated by the nhl? But for whatever reason Crosby can camp out around the goal in-guarded. And if for whatever reason they do decide to defend him, the Pens other players make them pay.”

    I think you answered your own question as to why teams do it against the caps and not the pens…pens make them pay for doing it and the caps dont.

    The blame surely isnt ALL on #8, but when youre SO hot for the recent past, then the playoffs come and you score one goal and one assist in 7 games, people are going to point fingers there as a (and maybe the biggest) reason.

    • jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 10:20 AM

      ovechkin got shut down on the pp and all the rangers were doing was shading him one on one on that left circle. there was no adjustment, that was the problem. ovechkin was covered while green/ribeiro played catch. when there was a shot, not enough of ovechkin moving or crashing the rebound or there just wasnt a rebound from lundquist to be had. either oates didnt change it or ovechkin didnt listen, either way it was a failure. caps got in and won a lot of games thanks to a deadly pp and the rangers and the refs kept that pp off the board. story of the series.

  4. mordock57 - May 14, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    When Ovie concentrates on scoring, playing within the offensive system and getting himself open for shots or dishing it to his teammates, he’s a ridiculous beast of an offensive talent.

    When, as he did in Game 7, all he does is line up guys for monster hits along the boards and in open ice… well… zero points in the final five games. He got them into the playoffs with a fantastic outburst of goal scoring prowess, then went right back to being his usual “I want to hit someone” self. Hell, he should have been called for charging and boarding consecutively within two minutes in Game 7 and the refs swallowed their whistles. If he gave half that much intensity to wanting to actually score… well, he’d be talked about in reverent tones again, in the same sentence with Crosby and Stamkos. Ovie the hitter is just a body to watch out for with a wicked wrist shot who occasionally might score.

  5. capsfan19 - May 14, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Vokoun did not play well for washigton.
    Oh so now everyone is going to say oh well they shouldve done this etc. adam oates is a dang good coach. He got us out of the cellar of the east and even if we did win the division in contention with the other big teams in the conference.

    • har21441 - May 14, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      There ya go – here’s someone that gets it. You won the SE division. Isn’t that enough?

    • Stiller43 - May 14, 2013 at 12:50 PM

      He got you out of the cellar? You realize they’ve been in the playoffs every year sincd 07-08 and won the SE every year but 1 with the same core of players, right?

      If oates “got you out of the cellar,” he also put them there to begin with.

  6. fbothharbaughs - May 14, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    And Ovechkin’s the best player in the league as well…

    Way to show up when your team needs it most, “Second-Fiddle”. Zero pts. in the last 4 games…

  7. Troll_toll - May 14, 2013 at 6:43 AM

    Ovi is a disgrace to the “C”. Perhaps the most gifted hockey player in the world yet plays with no heart. Caps will never win with him leading them.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      He’s not the most gifted player in the world. He is very gifted. His biggest problem is between the ears. When you think about it, nothing about his game has improved that much since he came into the league. He skates with power, hard to push off the puck (when he’s not diving), has a tremendous release, he’s a goal scorer, and passes to the open man very well. He’s not a student of the game. Someone is going to have to get through to him and make him realize that he would be a better player if he understood the finer details of the game. Like how to play D, and when to transition from D to O, and when to take chances and when to be patient. If he can improve these aspects of his game he is going to bring his game to the next level and become to his team what the other Cs are to their teams.

  8. hockeydon10 - May 14, 2013 at 6:52 AM

    This isn’t nearly the upset some are making it out to be. Certainly not as much as Ottawa or Detroit beating the respective #2 seeds.

    Rangers had 56 points; Capitals had 57 points. It’s more like a 6 seed beating a 4 seed if it weren’t for division champions getting the automatic top 3.

    Under a sane system the third seed would have been 62 points (Bruins).

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 8:55 AM

      It’s not so much about an upset, but much more about an underachieving Caps team and of course underachieving leader who can’t lead. Rangers are a very well coached team with problems of their own.

      • hockeydon10 - May 14, 2013 at 10:23 AM

        I agree with what you’re saying also. It’s just taht I had already seen enough articles using the phrase “upset” when in my eyes it’s really not. One point separated them in the regular season. (And perhaps the reason one point separated them is the stuff you mentioned.)

  9. oquintero99 - May 14, 2013 at 7:32 AM

    This doesnt completely fall on Ovie. This one falls on the GM. The team lacks depth. You take out Ovie, none of the other Caps show up. Or if they do, they dont finish the play. I agree, Ovie is not “C” material, but to say it was all on Ovie is just ridiculous. Hopefully Leonsis makes a GM chang. The guy was given 5 chances to make the Final. I think that proves its a personnel problem

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 9:03 AM

      C’mom. This guy is the franchise player at $10m per year. Caps fired Boudreau! What happened? Hunter came in! What happened? He knew right away that he would be better off staying in junior than having to coach 8. Go ahead and change the GM. Caps will be stuck in a vortex for a long time unless; a) they move Ovi or b) he is committed to play within the system c) he improves his game. How many coaches does one player have to burn before the owner realizes what the problem really is.

      • oquintero99 - May 14, 2013 at 9:19 AM

        Ovie proved this season that he can play within a system. Oates’ system is/was more appropiate for Ovie. And it will show next year when they have more time to prepare. I’m not a Caps fan, but I try to follow and look at every team. If you look at the Rangers, they have depth. If you look at the Pens, they have depth. You look at the Bruins, same, they have depth. The Sens have solid lines but I think they are still a couple of players away from having a good solid and deep team. The Caps don’t even have a deep solid D. Holtby keep them alive. The same goes for the other 3 lines. No depth at forward. They did get Ribeiro but there are still 6 other positions to fill.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 10:00 AM

        You wrote the Caps lack depth on D and Holtby kept them alive. One could argue if not for Lundqvist the Rangers would be out. How did Ovi prove he was better in Oates’ system than he was in Boudreau’s or Hunter’s? Then he flops in the playoffs. I can’t buy all those excuses. Winning is the only objective, and if you get blown out in game 7 of the first round then you need to consider changes. Leafs lost big last night. Many of them were in the first playoffs, yet Backstrom says “We need to learn to play in the playoffs”. Really! They’ve been playoffs enough to know it’s a different game. This quote only makes sense if he was sending a message to Ovi because clearly he doesn’t adjust his game for the playoffs. My 2 cents.

      • jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        this game was reminiscent of game 7 against the pens a few years ago…good series the whole way then bam! a 6 to 2 drubbing in game 7 where the caps just didnt show up to play. cant blame oates, this was his first rodeo as a head coach. in fact this has happened under 4 coaches now during the ovechkin era…the only constant has been ovechkin and gmgm. it was easy to blame semin before, and i was on that semin blame bandwagon for a while but not sure now, is it gmgm for not building the team right, or is it ovechkin as captain not leading? its tough to lead as just a point producer and then hit a slump. if you arent doing the other things (like back checking) while you’re not scoring, the other guys will slump down along with you. as far as gmgm goes, he didnt do enough at the deadline to add enough depth for this time of year…but at the time the caps were still on the bubble not sure if they were even getting into the playoffs.

  10. pone27 - May 14, 2013 at 7:56 AM

    Not a caps or ranger fan, but watched every game.

    Besides game 7, if anybody thinks the rangers didn’t win because of Lundqvist, you didn’t watch the series. Nash doesn’t step up and getting on the stat sheet they won’t beat the bruins.

    You caps fans always blame ovie. Blame holtby for giving up weak goals, blame greener from committing dumb penalties that result in the rangers (terrible) PP scoring a goal.

    Personally, the caps need a more sound defense. The forwards don’t back check well, and it seems like the D tries too hard to get into the rush.

    • valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 10:04 AM

      yeah! Blame Holtby! Especially for the fat goose egg laid by the Caps goal scorers. Holtby needs to score goals if the Caps are to win.

  11. kantnockdahustle89 - May 14, 2013 at 8:01 AM

    I’m sorry but I have NO IDEA how this is on Ovechkin at all. He didnt have a great series but when he is getting double and triple teamed its time for his line mates to make things happen. Countless times all season Ovechkin has set up teammates with his passing just to watch them choke. Paging Backstrom. What did he do? How much is he getting paid? And quit comparing Crosby and Ovechkin right now. Crosby missed how many games and what did the Pens do? Still won. They have a great team who can score. The Capitals showed without Ovechkin scoring they can’t get anyone else to score.

  12. myspaceyourface - May 14, 2013 at 8:39 AM

    Another year, another early playoff exit for the Caps.

    Ovechicken is not built for the playoffs.

  13. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 14, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    Some of guys are protecting Ovi way too much. Anybody remember this; “It seems like people who’ve been all over me, they can close their mouths,” Ovechkin told Washington reporters. Well! It works both ways. Now all critics can open their mouths.

    When he was on a tear in the regular season you were all praising him. Now you’re protecting him because he hasn’t scored any point in 4 straight and his team is out. So, which one is it? Is he great or is he just another player?

    • jpelle82 - May 14, 2013 at 11:24 AM

      in big games the great ones have great games. ovechkin is missing that from his resume lately. 4 pts in his 7 game 7′s that he has played in – joe b and laugher arent sharing that stat with you caps fans. he had 1 pt (g) in 2009 and 1 pt (a) 2010 and the one goal he scored when the pens were already beating the caps 5-0 in the 3rd period of a game that ended 6-2. the other 2 pts were in an ot loss to philly in his first ever playoff series (1g, 1a in 2007-2008). point is he is trending backwards, and as a captain he has 1 assist in game 7′s.

  14. jets4gold - May 14, 2013 at 9:14 AM

    not saying Rangers are winning it all but this is what the Caps do. Good in season but chokes in playoffs. Nothing new. haven’t got passed 2nd round in years. Good team but not one that will win the cup in a long time.

  15. modellforprez - May 14, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    13 hits wow he dominated. just not where it counts. they just dont get it. you chimeras and hendricks and wards are not gonna cut it they need more top to bottom line Depth. how else to explain having a core group like ovie green backstrom and cant seem to ever get her done… #SoiledOates

  16. banger60 - May 14, 2013 at 11:39 AM

    I really like Green but the big Ovie let EVERYONE down, the Rangers shut him down, completely, I guess it’s the coaches fault, Somebody call my Momma. GO RANGERS.

  17. crazemastercraze - May 14, 2013 at 11:44 AM

    whatever makes you feel better Guy who gets paid an enormous amount of money the suck at his job

  18. mattrmitch - May 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM

    Look, the series could have gone either way. There’s a reason Vegas called it a toss up, and we saw it for 6 games. Washington was close, but ultimately missing Laich and Erat for the last couple of games really hurt them. They ran out of gas physically and emotionally. Remember, back in the Penguins game 7 a couple years back, MAF made a huge save on an Ovechkin breakaway save early on, and once Pittsburgh got on the board, they never looked back. The same thing happened here – The Caps had several close calls, but couldn’t get a goal in the first to break it open. New York gets a fluke, and it kills the bench. Two more quick ones in the second, and the game was over. The Caps narrowly made the playoffs with their huge push at the end, and it was going to catch up to them at some point.

    Get Laich and Erat back next year, maybe find a way to get Kuznetsov over from Russia for the playoff push, and this team will potentially be a very different story next year.

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