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It’s Washington Capitals day on PHT

Aug 18, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

Alex Ovechkin; Mike Green AP

Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Washington Capitals.

It seems like the typical conclusion of most recent Washington Capitals seasons is to insert the phrase “But then everything ended in disappointment in the playoffs.” When it comes to the 2013-14 campaign, you could stop at “disappointment.”

For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Capitals failed to even make the playoffs. With that in mind, the organization made a big series of changes, going with a new GM in Brian MacLellan and new head coach in Barry Trotz.

Changing head coaches seems (sadly) quite typical to the 180-friendly Capitals as of late, but changing general managers is a real eyebrow-raiser. George McPhee took over the job in 1997, which is basically represents job security that is unprecedented outside of Nashville (fittingly enough).

Ultimately, the Capitals are betting big that Trotz can turn things around with Alex Ovechkin and a core that also includes Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and some other solid prime-age players.

Will Braden Holtby break through? Can clashing styles mix in a way that makes for success? There are a lot of interesting storylines for the Caps going forward, which we’ll explore on Monday.

  1. patthehockeyfan - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:09 AM

    The additions of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen are welcome and will add a new look to the defense. Hopefully, Laich’s remarks about missing the playoffs being a great day will be a rallying cry and propel the Caps into the 2015 playoffs.

    It certainly will be interesting to see how the Caps fare under Trotz & Company.

    Alex Ovechkin’s career +/- is plus 47. Can’t wait for the two idiots who are obsessed with Ovi to start posting their Ovi-bashing remarks.

    Wait. Yes I can wait. I hope to wait forever. But, I’m sure I’ll be disappointed in short order.

  2. govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    And heeeeere coooooome the troooooooolls…

    Before we do that, let’s actually discuss the team instead of hysterics and +/- arm-waving.

    Bottom line, this wasn’t a good team last year. It relied on Ovechkin to do pretty much everything, but with no real support to let him actually take on that kind of responsibility. Defense? No. A solid second line? Ehhh… not really. Goaltending? Shaky at times, to say the least. Hell, linemates? Jay Beagle, ladies and gentlemen. It never felt like the Caps had an identity beyond ‘give puck to #8, make him do it’.

    And before we jump on the -37 thing, which admittedly is pretty jaw-dropping, he also scored more than any other player in the NHL last season. To me, that has to balance out in there somewhere when it comes to Ovechkin-bashing. Yes, his backchecking could use some work- and yet he’s scoring goals, and making it look easy. Hell, look at yesterday’s poll here- Pavel Bure was voted greatest player in Panthers history. Ever watch Bure’s defensive play? No one cared that he was an offense-only player. Why doesn’t Ovechkin get the same pass?

    I expect the Caps to be better this year, or at least more rounded. Defense seems to have been their big focus on improving (though I’m not a fan of the moves made), so that should help. Goaltending looks as iffy as before, sadly. But for the second straight summer the teams’ #2 center has departed (this time Grabovski after a streaky but overall decent season), and there’s no clear guy to step into those shoes. (Yes, I know, Brooks Laich, but how many games will he get in before his next major injury?)

    If there’s any saving grace for the Caps, it’s that the East isn’t so great right now. Looking around at the opposition, I think the Caps can sneak a low-end playoff spot simply because even with their flaws, I can’t find eight teams that are just solidly better than they are to take up all the playoff spots. They’re not going to top Boston or the Rangers, but they can at least get in- perhaps with new coaching (Trotz is an intriguing choice) and their revamped defense, this team can get in and make things interesting.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled blomfeld-ranting.

    • patthehockeyfan - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:32 AM

      Good and objective remarks. Wish we were always so fortunate.

    • hockey412 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      I agree with all of that. It should be an interesting year. I think it will be good to have a change in GM, I didn’t realize McPhee was there that long. He’s made some interesting decisions. I don’t think I necessarily like the team that was constructed, but I can’t even be sure why I feel that way. I do think it was a fluke that they missed the playoffs though, and I think they’ll bump Detroit this year.

    • bmoreredfury311 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:59 AM

      I agree with pretty everything, but I do think the goal situation is a lot better then last year. Holts will be much better with actual D presence in front of him. And with the hiring of Korn and the addition of Peters. This season will be interesting and my hope is that this team and franchise will finally find their identity and camaraderie together.

      • govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        That’s a fair point on Holtby, I’ll back that. Stick a young goalie behind a defense like what he had to deal with last year, and it’s no wonder he struggled- hell, put Quick or Lundqvist behind that defense and they’ll probably struggle.

        So rather, let’s amend it to this being a big year for Holtby to bounce back- because with the improved defense, if he doesn’t rebound that shows Trotz that the problem isn’t his defensemen, it’s him.

        Now, don’t take that as me Holtby-bashing (‘he had a +/- of ZERO, what a loser, lulz!!!’), because actually I like him- he’s very fast at side-to-side movement, and his glove hand is VERY fast. So I hope he has a good season and take over the Caps’ net (a position that has had a revolving-door feel for several years now).

      • bmoreredfury311 - Aug 18, 2014 at 12:23 PM

        Oh I wasn’t. You have good points to back up what you said. Your absolutely right, this is his season to prove himself. But just as Eutaw pointed out. Oates and kolzig did a number on him last year.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:27 AM

        Let’s not forget the effect Oates had on Holtby last year with his insistence that Holtby, a typically aggressive goalie, stay in the crease at all times. Took Holtby completely out of his game. On the flip side, I understand Korn likes goalies to play to their strengths, not what he thinks they should do. That’s something to be optimistic about.

    • chizrocker88 - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:01 AM

      Yeah I agree with you 100%. The Caps were, what, 1-2 points out of a playoff spot last year and that was WITH Ovechkin putting the team on his back.

      Defense will be improved, goaltending will be improved. My main concern now is with the pathetic excuse for C depth we’ve got now. Letting Grabovski walk was baaaaad.

    • stepanup - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      Depth is the key in this NHL. The Caps are top heavy up front, and aren’t too deep on defense. I agree they could get 7 or 8 in the East, but until they get some depth (maybe Kuznetsov helps) it’s hard to label the Caps any sort of contender.

  3. capsnbohs23 - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:37 AM

    Big day for the trolls, big day. Expect to hear a lot of lazy russian talk

  4. phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    patthehockeyfan seems more obsessed with those “two idots” than they are with Ovi. Funny how even PHT bloggers can’t write an article about the Caps without a negative Ovi remark. Same can be said about every hockey analyst.

    I’m sure we’ll see more unflattering articles/comments about Ovi’s game throughout the day. Heck! Trotz himself had some unflattering comments about 8.

    • patthehockeyfan - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:43 AM

      I present idiot number 1A

      • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:48 AM

        you’re relentless and obsessed.

      • govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:51 AM

        I can assure you he’s actually #2.

    • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      By Dan Rosen – NHL.com Senior Writer

      It starts with the captain. Trotz doesn’t want to take away Alex Ovechkin’s offensive ability, but he wants to put more responsibility on Ovechkin to play a 200-foot game. Trotz said he has seen a lot of “glide” in Ovechkin’s game and he noted his 5-on-5 production has to improve.

      Ovechkin scored 24 of his 51 goals last season on the power play. He had one even-strength goal over his final 22 games.”He’s a lot more dangerous when he’s skating, when he’s moving, when he’s got a little bit of room to operate,” Trotz said. “I have found him standing still a lot on the film that I’m watching, very easy to cover, and he still got 51 goals.”

      • govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:01 AM

        It’s safe to say that most of us here read up on the NHL elsewhere too. We read the same stuff, you don’t have to copy and paste every mention of Ovechkin you’ve read in the past six months.

      • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:08 AM

        I know… just so many trolls out there.

      • govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:13 AM

        …you don’t say.

  5. phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:04 AM

    Alex Ovechkin Criticizes Alex Ovechkin’s Plus-Minus

    http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2014/01/02/alex-ovechkin-criticizes-alex-ovechkins-plus-minus/

    “I think we have great offense, but on the defensive side, if you look at my stats, I’m a minus-13 or minus-14,” Ovechkin told reporters after Thursday’s morning skate. “It’s kind of a situation where you want to be better.”

    “Defensive side can win the game,” he added. “More responsibility in your zone is going to help your offense as well.”

    What a troll this Ovi guy is……

    • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      You’re missing the concept here. Making a statement (like those you’ve posted by Trotz and Ovi) is not the issue. That’s not trolling. Trolling is having to make mention of it on every. Single. Article. We get it. His +/- sucked. People insisting on copying and pasting it on every article becomes tedious and thus? A Troll is born.

      • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        It appears that you do not understand the concept of trolling. Posting facts, be it once or multiple times is not the behavior of a troll. Very few articles about the Caps written by the authors on this site do not address Ovi’s shortcomings.

        In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

      • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        Example of trolling follows;

        “I present idiot number 1A”

        “Can’t wait for the two idiots who are obsessed with Ovi to start posting their Ovi-bashing remarks.”

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 18, 2014 at 1:37 PM

        Here ya go Joey:

        I like Urban Dictionary’s definition better: Being a prick on the internet because you can. Typically unleashing one or more cynical or sarcastic remarks on an innocent by-stander, because it’s the internet and, hey, you can

        I would call posting about Ovechkin’s +/- on every single Capitals article exactly that: being a prick on the internet because you can. Is it factual? Sure. But is a +/- rating the end all be all of statistical analysis that determines the true value of a player? Absolutely not. And while many Caps fans disregard the stat completely to help their cause (as it gets pointed out constantly), many of the people posting his +/- refuse to accept the possibility that Ovechkin is good, and disregard his other stats, simply because it doesn’t help their agenda (proving Ovechkin sucks). So in my eyes? Continually posting +/- with the intent of pissing off every Caps fan? Yea that’s trolling.

      • patthehockeyfan - Aug 18, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        joey forgot to add to his list of trolling examples: “Elvis videos”

      • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Eutaw’s Finest, “So in my eyes? Continually posting +/- with the intent of pissing off every Caps fan? Yea that’s trolling.” in my eyes it isn’t. how do you know i do it to piss off Caps fan?

        how good of a stat is +/-? it depends who you talk to. scott stevens thought it was very important for him… some coaches think it’s important, and some think it isn’t. bottom line…. is it’s an indication. take away the +/- rating for any player and you can still see the defensive shortcomings of a player.

        anyway, it’s clear that Ovi will have to learn to play the game the whole 200 feet on both sides of the puck for this team to be successful. No team (and there is no i in team) has ever won the SC without every player playing 200 feet. it doesn’t mean ovi has to become a selke type player, but, as he said himself, he has to play much better w/o the puck.

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:50 AM

        I 100% agree- he needs to have a more complete game. Nearly every player on that team does. My issue with the matter is simple- why is it necessary to point out his +/- on every single post? Even if it’s not the conversation at hand? I’m not calling you out in particular on it, but it happens every Caps article without fail. We get it. He sucked using that analytic tool. He needs to play defense all of the time (because I do recall a handful of very well timed back checks by Ovi, just not enough). But we’ll see an article that’s like “Ovi and Sharapova call it quits,” and we get a comment like “It’s because his +/- sucks.” THAT is where I take issue. And every fanbase does it, so I won’t single anybody out (cough cough Blom cough cough). But this tangent upon tangent has veered way off course. In short- Ovi needs to play better defense and I want the baseball saber nerds to come up with new formula for +/- that removes some of the bias so we can get a true feel for a players value.

      • blomfeld - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:00 PM

        “Stand down friend ! … we’ve got this one covered”

        PHT Joey … the bottom line is that your attempts here to engage the likes of Patricia, Eat My Finest and Government Minion in ‘serious & sincere’ discussion, is no different than Albert Einstein trying to have an ‘intellectual’ conversation with a ‘filthy’ pile of human excrement at some waste facility in Waco Texas ! As you know, the underlying reason why people like you and I hold someone like Ovechkin accountable for his parasitic ways, is because we ‘refuse’ to cave in to today’s ‘hollow’ notion of excellence, which in reality is nothing more than re-packaged ‘ersatz’ junk ! … much like the cheap phones, TV’s and ‘throw-away’ furniture which now abound in our decadent, wasteful and ‘self-absorbed’ society of today. People like us see Ovechkin for the Madoffian ‘fraud’ which he is and therefore as decent men we’re ‘obliged’ to make others aware of the same. Anyway, you proved to us ‘real’ King’s fans last April that you’re good people by signing on with our cause … and so rest assured that now you will ‘forever’ have protection standing by ‘at the ready’ here at PHT information systems ! :)

        GO TRUTH !!!

        GO ‘QUALITY’ HOCKEY FANS LIKE JOEY !!!

        GO SC CHAMPION LA KINGS ! … TODAY, TOMORROW AND FOREVER !!! :) :) :)

        *** video footage of the LA Kings 2014 SC Championship celebrations in the PRC ***

      • Eutaw's Finest - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:56 AM

        Oh Blom… Do you realize that entire post of yours did absolutely nothing to defend or help back Joey’s point? All you did was say “I will defend you because you like the Kings too, and that’s good enough for me.” Throw some heat on the fire man! Give me something to work with! But since you just rambled on about nothing in particular, I will pay homage to your incessant video posting with this gem:

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      Shameless. But that does open up a new area of criticism – his public comments and posts;)

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:51 AM

      RE: Gliding. Living in S. Illinois, we have a sports legend of whom gliding was considered a good thing. Very good thing;)

      “Clyde the Glide” AKA Walt Frazier, played for SIU before going on to NBA stadrom

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Frazier

  6. capitalspearljam - Aug 18, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    this should def be a good year for the caps, everybody wants to slam ovi but he has had maybe 2 decent teams behind him in the last 7 years. Last season he carried the caps on his back, and when he wasnt scoring, the caps did not win. We got two solid defensemen with horrible contracts, but i personally could care less as long as it gets this team past the second round. A lot of young talented players have a chance to step up and with trotz behind the bench, this is def a step in the right direction.
    cant wait for hockey to be back…Go caps……Go bears!

  7. cdalton2690 - Aug 18, 2014 at 10:21 AM

    Should be an interesting year for the caps. I am most concerned about the teams lack of offensive depth. OV and Backstrom will be together of course for a great first line. Hopefully Kuznetsov adjusts to the league this year and we see what we have been waiting years for out of him. Our 3rd line at the end of last year was by far out most productive group throughout the whole season. Hopefully they remain together and keep up the production they had last year. However outside of OV there isn’t someone on this team who is a true goal scorer. It looks like the majority of this teams success will depend on the production of OV and Backstrom. I am very happy this team finally addressed the defensive issues that they have had for years. I don’t think Orpik is the best signing but I think he can still be productive and help with an actual defensive presence. Hopefully Niskanen will take some of the pressure off of Green to let him get back to his old ways. I am hopeful that Holtby can be a steady #1 goalie but I have my doubts, although Peters did a decent job (at least against the caps) for Carolina that we should have a good back up if need be. I still think Grubauer is the goalie of the future for this team. I just hope Trotz can get this team playing well together and at least get us back to the playoffs.

    • chizrocker88 - Aug 18, 2014 at 11:04 AM

      The only two things I’m certain of going into this season are: 1. Ovechkin will still be a scoring machine and 2. Holtby will be a steady #1 goalie.

      I agree with your points though. The offensive depth is a major issue – especially at C.

  8. blomfeld - Aug 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    ‘REAL’ CAPTAINS DON’T WEAR YELLOW LACES !

    With all kidding aside, the one baffling thing about Ovechkin is that he continues to be his very ‘own’ worst enemy ? Because the fact is that to this very day and for whatever reason, he still doesn’t ‘get the deal’ in terms of conducting himself like a ‘true’ NHL captain ? … the way for example Dustin Brown and Henrik Sedin do on a ‘nightly’ basis for their respective teams (ie: selfless leaders who extoll the virtues of personal sacrifice, daring, aplomb, humility and courage while in pursuit of the professional sporting world’s most coveted trophy). Nonetheless, it’s almost a given that things will now come to a point of critical mass there in DC this season, what with ‘no nonsense’ Trotz at the helm. For sure Ovechkin can say good-bye to his childish antics like wearing yellow ‘girly’ laces, pretending his stick is on fire, or acting like he’s just solved global warming after scoring some meaningless PP goal from the left face-off circle. More importantly though, Ovechkin will now be ‘obliged’ to deliver and take his team ‘at least’ to the second round next spring. Barry Trotz isn’t some ‘flake’ like Oates and the ‘money’ bankrolling Mister Me Me Me is now looking for real ‘tangible’ returns. Anything short of that is going to be considered a ‘failure’ and I suspect that this year Ovechkin will finally pay the price for such failure in ‘no’ uncertain terms.

    summary: Ovechkin either delivers or it’s ‘dasvidaniya’ …

    • jpelle82 - Aug 18, 2014 at 1:40 PM

      aha! there he is! the true #1 emerges

    • govtminion - Aug 18, 2014 at 2:33 PM

      Seriously, did Ovechkin sleep with your mom or something? I can’t fathom any other reason you’d be this hung up on the guy. Maybe a secret crush?

    • phtjoey - Aug 18, 2014 at 4:17 PM

      touché mon ami. :-)

    • blomfeldsux - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:39 PM

      Anal idiot you are.

      • blomfeldsux - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        He just got home from summer school. Pathetic.

  9. mnwildandcaps8 - Aug 19, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    I am getting really sick of this Blom character. Just another arrogant Kings fan. Ovie doesn’t deserve to be bashed as much as he does. I agree having a -37 isn’t very good but he isn’t paid to be a defensive forward. Sure he could back check a little more. I think Trotz will help make sure he has a better 200 foot game. Ovie scored 51 goals and carries this team. Another Richard trophy is impressive at his age. If they could get better defense in front of Holtby it could make the Caps a very successful team. Let’s get this season going already!! LETS GO WILD AND CAPS!

  10. paulerhythm - Aug 19, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Will the Caps make the playoffs? Every team in the Atlantic Division, except Carolina, make some moves to get better. Let’s concede the division winner to Pittsburgh and the cellar to Carolina, now it becomes a dog fight for the Caps, Rangers, Flyers, Devils and Islanders to nail the 2nd and 3rd place to get in. It will come down to how the Caps do against their division rivals and it’s too early to call. I think I’ll let the season play out…

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