Kukla's Korner Hockey
from John Feinstein of the Washington Post,
If Leonsis is going to jettison McPhee and Oates — or just McPhee, as seems possible — he should have done it Monday. It isn’t as if he hasn’t had plenty of time to look at his dysfunctional team this season and make decisions about who should — or should not — lead it into the future.
Instead, Leonsis met with McPhee on Monday, slapped a gag order on him, refused to speak to anyone in the media himself and said he might take up to two weeks to decide what to do.
Talk about leaving people twisting in the wind. The Caps haven’t won the Stanley Cup, but McPhee built a team that has sold out virtually every game in Verizon Center the past five seasons. He has earned the right to not be left wondering what his future holds.
But beyond common decency, he and Oates deserve to keep their jobs.
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
On missing the playoffs being a wakeup call:
Of course it’s wakeup call for everybody, for us and for the bosses. I’m pretty sure everybody upset. It’s good wakeup call and I’m hopeful for next year we’re going to be better. [Whoever] is going to be on the team, these guys have to be better....
On whether he is tired of shouldering the blame for the Capitals’ shortcomings:
I’m not a judge. It’s wakeup call for everybody. I’m pissed because somebody says it’s bad system. I’m pissed about it’s bad situation when we didn’t play well. I’m a player, everybody players. Why were we in the playoffs last year? Because nobody point fingers on somebody. Everybody was in same position and everybody played for each other.
On the Capitals’ 5-on-5 play, where they were outscored 155-139.
It’s a situation when right now, 5-on-5 is very difficult to play. If you score on power play and you get the lead guys who play 5-on-5 will get more open and get more chances. If it’s a tie game or situation is 1-1 or 2-2, it’s so hard to score because everybody plays five guys in the [defensive] zone and everybody plays around the goalie.
Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington answers some fan mail...
If Caps were willing to blow up the core, which of Ovi, Backy and Green is most likely to get dealt?
Nothing like being direct. Alex Ovechkin has seven years and $70 million remaining on his contract [he’s getting a raise from $9 million to $10 million next season] and beginning July 1 he can give the Capitals a list of 10 teams for whom he will not play. I don’t see the Capitals shipping Ovechkin out of town, although I do think he holds more value now than he will in his future. That said, I don’t see Caps owner Ted Leonsis allowing his general manager to trade the greatest goal scorer in franchise history, even if he will be getting paid $10 million at the age of 35.
Same goes for Nicklas Backstrom, who in my opinion is just as valuable as Ovechkin. Backstrom has six years and $43 million remaining on his contract.
That leaves us with Mike Green, who has one year and $6.083 million remaining on his three-year deal. Of the three, I think Green is the most likely to be wearing another team’s jersey next season.
more Q&A on the Capitals...
from Mike Wise of The Washington Post,
Ted Leonsis, guilty of believing this seriously flawed roster could be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.
George McPhee, guilty the past seven years of not being able to put together a coaching staff and roster capable of getting past the second round of the playoffs — despite building around one of the greatest offensive talents in NHL history.
Adam Oates, guilty of employing more odd-line combinations the past month than the makers of Master Lock, guilty of coaching a team that gave up 13 two-goal leads, a team that rested on its laurels routinely after it scored and never developed a consistent identity — really, a mentally soft team that inexplicably has yet to win a game under Oates when scoring two or fewer goals.
And Ovechkin, inferior linemates and all, guilty of one of the most meaningless 50-goal seasons in NHL annals. With the Caps’ playoff hopes in the balance, the captain failed to score an even-strength goal in 15 straight, gotta-have-it games.
from Ted Leonsis of Ted's Take,
Before the Capitals season started, I was quoted as saying I didn’t see any weakness in our lineup. While I knew some aspects of our team were stronger than others, I didn’t see anything that I believed was a specific weakness. Obviously I was wrong.
I still believe it is good business practice to avoid snap decisions, and I want to conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year, listen to appropriate voices and then determine what steps are necessary to ensure the Capitals return to the playoffs and compete for a Stanley Cup.
Our fans and community expected much more when this season began, and I’m sorry we couldn’t deliver on those expectations.
from Stephen Whyno of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
The agent for Jaroslav Halak released a statement Wednesday saying his client never told Washington Capitals coach Adam Oates that he did not want to start against the St. Louis Blues, his former team.
Oates told reporters in St. Louis on Tuesday that Halak "wasn't 100 per cent comfortable" starting against the Blues, who sent him to the Buffalo Sabres in the Feb. 28 trade that got them Ryan Miller. Halak was then traded before the deadline to the Capitals.
"Jaro never at any time said he didn't want to start against St. Louis," agent Allan Walsh said in a statement sent to The Canadian Press. "A private conversation between a player and coach should stay private and not be discussed with the media.
"I am bewildered that a coach would break that trust especially when those comments the coach publicly attributed to Jaro are not accurate. It's the coach who makes the decision on who plays in the games, not the players."
Halak told reporters from the Washington Post and NHL.com after the Capitals' morning skate at Scottrade Center that the incident is still too "fresh."
This is the 5th season of 50 or more goals for Ovechkin.
Yesterday at Capitals Insider, they had this on Halak..
Halak couldn’t hide the trade that sent him from the Blues to last-place Buffalo on Feb. 28 for Ryan Miller — six days later, the Sabres then traded Halak again to Washington — has not yet been forgotten. He admitted Monday to having “mixed emotions” about the first encounter with his former teammates.
“It’s still fresh. I play there for four years. I know these guys,” Halak said. “We’ll see whether I play or not, but obviously I’m looking forward to go back there.”
The 2013-14 NHL Regular Season wraps up this Sunday.
Remaining games left for teams in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race...
Detroit- at Buffalo on Tuesday, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Carolina at Detroit on Friday and at St. Louis on Sunday.
Columbus- Phoenix at Columbus on Tuesday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at Tampa Bay on Friday and at Florida on Saturday.
New Jersey- Calgary at New Jersey tonight, at Ottawa on Thursday, NYI at New Jersey on Friday and Boston at New Jersey on Sunday.
Toronto- at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, at Florida on Thursday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington- at St. Louis on Tuesday, at Carolina on Thursday, Chicago at Washington on Friday and Tampa Bay at Washington on Sunday.
At this point int time, do you care to make a prediction? What teams take the two wild card spots and in what order?
If you missed the play, watch it below with Adam Ward of TSN breaking it down...
added 1:34pm, from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
“To be honest with you I didn’t see him, I kind of lost the position. It is what it is,” Ovechkin said. “We make lots of mistakes, it’s not about one mistake. You can’t blame one mistake in the whole game.”
That’s not an encouraging message from the face of the franchise, especially when the franchise in question might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. But little about the last two weeks has been encouraging for the Capitals, who have lost four straight since returning from their California trip and are close to being eliminated from playoff contention.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org