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Capitals have yet to play their best hockey, says GM McPhee

Feb 24, 2014, 2:00 AM EDT

Image (1) georgemcpheecapsgm-thumb-250x192-17530-thumb-250x192-17531.jpg for post 3461

If the Stanley Cup playoffs were to begin Monday, the Washington Capitals, armed with the scoring prowess of Alex Ovechkin, would not qualify.

With the NHL schedule set to resume after the Olympic break, the Capitals sit with 63 points in the Eastern Conference standings, one back of the Detroit Red Wings for the second Wild Card spot. The Capitals entered the break on a modest two-game winning streak, and winners in five of their last eight.

However, before that, they were losers of seven in a row, which dropped them below the playoff line. Finding consistency beyond just a handful of games seems to be a difficult task for this team to this point in the season. Of course, the break has brought about a new sense of optimism.

“It’s a team that hasn’t played its best hockey yet,” Capitals general manager George McPhee told the Washington Times. “I thought we were starting to play well before the [Olympic] break.

“I believe they can be a lot better. The players believe they can be a lot better. Hopefully, when we come out of the break we’ll be healthy and play the way I think we’re capable and they think they’re capable of playing.”

  1. blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:15 AM

    Sure … and the Jacksons ‘couldn’t’ dance !

    • mrpinkca - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:58 AM

      I was going to post some snarky comment using advanced stats and such; but there’s nothing I can say that can top this.

  2. rockthered1286 - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:25 AM

    That’s impossible because Ovechkin ruined this team single handed and they’ve only won because of everyone else and his goals are all luck and he just stands still while everybody else does all of the work and his teammates and coach hate him and he should be cut immediately so this team can get much much better…

    Did I miss anything?

    • hockeydon10 - Feb 24, 2014 at 7:24 AM

      Well played, sir.

    • patthehockeyfan - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:10 AM

      “Did I miss anything?”

      Just the occasional comma or period.

      • rockthered1286 - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:33 AM

        Punctuation is overrated anway…

        There I gave a few extra this time.

      • patthehockeyfan - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:53 AM


    • kyzslew77 - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:40 AM

      You forgot that it’s his fault the US lost to Canada on Friday. Selfishvechkin strikes again. Not a student of the game. Lazy. Selfish. Did I mention he was selfish? Also, sometimes he is enigmatic.

    • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:47 AM

      “Did I miss anything?” …

      Yeah you did … the business of him whining about having to keep his jersey ‘un-tucked’ like everyone else in the league … you know, “jersey not stay tuck my body” etc …

  3. stcrowe - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    That’s right, George. You put together a good team, and there is no good reason for why they haven’t played well. You keep telling yourself that, no matter how much they flounder.

    • hockey412 - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Right. Ovi takes a lot on the chin for the Caps struggles but he’s one player. He has down sides, and a good bit of up side too…but he’s one player. When you look at the top goal scorers…yikes. There’s Ovi…and then who. Ward. Brouwer. Grabovski. Chimera. Outside of Backstrom, there’s just no supporting cast on offense.

      More than anything, they’ve tried getting rid of coaches, changing plans/lines. I just wonder how cohesive the team is, off the ice. More than some teams, the Caps have a lot of international representation, and I wonder how they blend/communicate. When the Pens brought Malkin on, they kept Gonchar on as a mentor (and also because he was a damn fine player) to help him transition, warm to the team and vice-versa. Does Washington do that, or just throw all the pieces into the pot and stir?

      • Moop - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:43 PM

        This is exactly the problem with the Capitals. They’re stuck in the belief that somehow just Ovechkin and Backstrom are enough to win. On a good year, this can take the Capitals to the playoffs. But it doesn’t get them deep into the playoffs, and certainly nowhere near the Cup.

        It’s like when LeBron James was with the Cavaliers in the NBA. The organization usually didn’t get a supporting cast; it was always just the LeBron James show and every year a different, decent guy that was supposed to be the sidekick (in this comparison, Backstrom). But there was nothing more to the team then that and the one man team failed every year deep in the playoffs.

        The Capitals have to create a deeper and more balanced roster built around Ovechkin, not expect to do fine because Ovechkin scores more goals than almost every other player in the league. I’m interested as to when they’ll finally figure that out.

  4. icrew29 - Feb 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM

    You want to find out just how good OV is? Put him on waivers and watch how much interest the rest of the NHL has in your self centered Russian!

    • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      He’d be claimed immediately by the Sabres, Oilers, Flames, Islanders, etc.

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:53 AM

        I doubt that very much … his ’10 mil per season’ salary would have to take a haircut to the tune of at least 50% before teams like the Flames or Islanders started kicking tires … failing that however, I doubt his agent would get even a single call ? … sorry pal …

      • therealjr - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Wrong again, Blowfeld.

      • Lupy Nazty Philthy - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        Sorry blomfeld, but you’re the only one who sees the hockey delusion in your head. Ovechkin’s actually a winger, not the ‘slightly better than Luongo’ goalie you usually have him listed as.

  5. goodellisruiningtheleague - Feb 24, 2014 at 9:05 AM


  6. jkay1818 - Feb 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Watching ovechkin is whole career, I am not a fan. Can’t chalk it up to him being russian either, because Bure, fedorov, etc were a lot more enjoyable to watch and see win.

    He played most of his career in a horrid division where he feasted on garbage. He is a selfish player that is too one dimensional. There was always the excuse his teams never had the goaltending, but I’ve seen numerous goalies for him get hot and win series here and there boasting 1.40 GAA’s and high save percentages. Every coach he has played under he has always had an issue with or always rumblings.

    As a ranger fan I have watched him in tons of series against them and he just isn’t that scary. Great scorer, but he is good for that one game where they win 2-1 and adds two points and he’s the toast of the town. Then over a 6 or 7 game series, he finishes with three points total. Tons of lapses on defense, a lot of not getting back and a TON of shots. All he does is shoot, he doesn’t care if it’s blocked, 4 feet wide or from bad angles. Forget if there is a guy open to pass to. Yeah, tons of goals, but who shoots as much as him?
    Then the media falls in love with him for a few days when he has an errant blocked shot. hes skating towards the line and gets in the way of a D-man and it bounces off his skate or shin guard. then there are 14 articles “is ovechkin finally buying into defense?” “is ovi learning dale hunters system” or how they have to interview oates every 10 mins about him. He just seems like a headache.

    As a fan when he plays your opposing team, i just don;t get that fear or nervous when he has the puck. sure in OT when he lets one rip of course, but, everytime crosby gets the puck i get nervous, especially in an impt game. he has that insane backhand, can find an open guy for an assist at anytime. There are quite a few guys in the league like that and he isnt one of them.
    he also isnt a top PK guy like a toews is, he doesn’t help in the faceoff circle bc he isnt a center.
    I know this isn’t an article about him, but big deal about this, if they do manage to get in, they arent poised for a deep run. Plus there are other comments sarcastically ripping him, but truth is, great great scorer, but he poses other problems.

    • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Could not have said it better myself. Create captains lead by example first and foremost. You need to be an exceptional 200 feet player to be the example of your team, which is clearly not the case for Ovi. I would take him on my team but never as the captain. 2nd line and PP specialist. He would not play when protecting a 1 or 2 goal lead. He not start periods, and I would not put him on the ice in d zone face offs in the 3rd period if it was a close game either way.

      “They’re leaders for a reason. Jonny and Sid, they brought it every night. When you’ve got your top guys going like that, it’s pretty easy for us to follow.” — Jeff Carter, on the play of Jonathan Toews and Sidney Crosby

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Well Said Joey ! :)

        I remember growing up playing road hockey, how there would always inevitably be an ‘Ovechkin’ playing with us … some lazy guy who never back-checked and instead just waited up at center for a break away pass … we always hated those guys ! :) But I’ll tell you this friend … Ovechkin’s so-called ‘brand’ must have taken a real ‘bashing’ these past two weeks ! More than anything, Sochi has served to finally expose this man for ‘over-rated & one-dimensional’ fraud that he is.

      • capsfan14 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        Blomfeld, first of all, no one cares about your road hockey expiriences, and second of all, Ovechkin is a complete offensive machine, lacks defensivley, but his offensive tools put him far beyond overrated. One-dimentional? Not really. Just because he is poor defensivley doesn’t give him a one-dimentional playstyle. He is an underrated passer, a goal scoring machine, and a solid checker. All of your comments are far-fetched and lack either credibility or knowledge. Do you actually watch hockey or just throw up on your keyboard?

      • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:48 PM

        capsfan, taking you seriously is not easy. With a handle like capsfan I highly doubt that you can be as objective as the non capsfan. Ovi has failed at winning team honors in the NHL and Olympics. He performed extremely poorly in the Caps only round in the playoffs last year. Team Russia failed miserably this year in Sochi. Ovi is no more than a prolific scoring machine and extremely effective body checker. He is a sub par play maker, the weakest defensive player you can have at the forward position, and therefore cannot play an effective defensive game. Matter of face he’s a huge liability on when his team is defending. Finally, he cannot be an effective leader or Captain with gaping holes in your game. Can you seriously compare is playing and leadership abilities to Toews or Crosby? If you answer yes, then you and GMGM belong in the same room. There is no way that Ovi would have made TC if he were Canadian. Why? He can’t play defensively. 16 and 87 are poster boys for what and how a player wearing the C should be. Sorry! Eh!

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        Capsfan …

        Yea, I admit that I’ve never had a road hockey ‘expirience’ … what are those anyway ? :)

        Look, I gather you’re a big Capitals fan and ‘good on you’ for that. Nonetheless, what Ovechkin does on the ice is a disservice to your enterprise, as evidenced by the fact that you people haven’t even had a sniff at Lord Stanley’s mug during his nine years in Washington ! Now I understand that it might be too much for someone like you to stomach his ‘removal’ ? Okay, but surely you can agree that it would be prudent for you Capitals to do something along the lines of the following right now …

        1) immediately remove the “C” from his jersey !
        2) immediately reduce his salary by 40 % !
        3) immediately relegate him to either the 2nd or 3rd line !
        4) immediately initiate ‘exploratory’ talks with any/all interested takers !
        5) immediately muzzle him in terms of speaking to the media !

        ps: and don’t ever say that we Kings aren’t looking out for you guys eh ? :)

      • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:10 PM

        Hi! My name is Joey, and I approve blomfeld’s 5 point plan.

        Joey knows hockey. 😉

      • capsfan14 - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:30 PM

        I have said for years now (even on this site) that Ovechkin shouldn’t carry the C and let a veteran that actually speaks english do it instead. I’ve said that the GM should be fired, and that the caps should actually make moves that make sense. (Didn’t really argue with anything you had to say joey, sorry if it came off that way… eh?) It just boggles me how some people lay the blame soley on Ovi. Do you know how dumb it sounds when you try to critique a players individual talent with, “Ovi has failed a winning team honors in the NHL and Olympics”? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that teams win team honors and not individual players? Are you saying that Crosby would have won a stanley cup with this broken capitals team? The things you come up with to downgrade the greatness of Ovi is actually rather funny. I’m just defending Ovi here from ignorant Candians and Kings fans that give him undeserved crap, just because he is recieving more attention than the golden Candian poster boys.

      • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Of course I don’t blame Ovi alone for the team failures. My point is that with the Caps he has the type of role that is needed on every team to lead a team to greatness. He is not that player, and therefore should not be wearing the C, nor should be paid $10 million per year. He is not a leader, and is not the guy who steps up when the chips are down. Ex: Last year’s playoffs vs the Rangers.

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:34 PM

        basements, tweens, geezers, retards, clowns, etc …

        Joey, they’ve thrown ‘it all’ at us and yet we’re still here, speaking the ‘truth’ on behalf of the people ? … you just gotta love it man ! :)

        *** special video selection for Capsfan14 and other agents of denial ***

      • joey4id - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:13 PM

        blomfeld, man! I’ve heard them all. Paid blogger by the NHL is my best one. :-)

      • capsfan14 - Feb 24, 2014 at 3:40 PM

        How about you actually try to formulate a reasonable concrete response instead of trying to be funny with useless videos? If you actually spent half the time watching actual hockey instead of finding youtube videos, you’d most likley learn something.

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:14 PM

        “How about you actually try to formulate a reasonable concrete response ? …”

        I already have pal with my new 5 point ‘action’ plan … what more do you want ? …

        1) immediately remove the “C” from his jersey !
        2) immediately reduce his salary by 40 % !
        3) immediately relegate him to either the 2nd or 3rd line !
        4) immediately initiate ‘exploratory’ talks with any/all interested takers !
        5) immediately muzzle him in terms of speaking to the media !

        6) optional: refer all Ovi fanatics to the nearest state/provincial ‘mental’ health authority

      • blomfeld - Feb 24, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        “Paid blogger by the NHL” …

        Joey … I think I remember that one, which was in a way a ‘huge’ compliment to you ! … good show, jolly good show ! :)

        Seriously though, I do empathize with these people like Capsfan and others who’ve put their heart and soul into supporting Ovechkin. In fact, you have to almost ‘admire’ their unwavering loyalty to the man, misguided though as that may be. Nonetheless, they’ll eventually come to see the light I’m sure, probably once Ovechkin is either demoted or traded. However, it’s the upset and anguish that these people will experience in the interim which concerns me. It’s simply ‘not’ necessary, as there is a better way. God speed friend.

      • capsfan14 - Feb 25, 2014 at 6:56 AM

        Not hard to support a guy that has scored 800 points in 650 games and virtually given rebirth to what seemed like a doomed franchise. However noticing the blatant stupidity of your “five point plan” I’m just going to go ahead and assume/hope that you are trolling.

  7. wethog66 - Feb 24, 2014 at 2:20 PM


  8. barkar942 - Feb 24, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Capitals have yet to play their best hockey, says GM McPhee.
    He expects that to be in 2022 when Ovechkin’s contract has expired.

  9. selldannysell - Feb 24, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    That’s because they have a GM yet to do his best job.

  10. dixiewrect - Feb 25, 2014 at 3:31 AM

    shoulda fired McPhee 10 years ago.

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