It has been at least a week since my last sports-related blog, so I think I’m allowed a little wallowing in the sports world. Last night, the Washington Capitals fell to the Carolina Hurricanes 5-0. On the surface, some might think this is an aberration, but in actuality, this is par for the course for the Capitals. Since the Capitals sent their coach packing in November, the Capitals have been inconsistent and abysmal. There is no cohesion and each player is too busy trying to do someone else’s job that he can’t do his. On the other side of the spectrum you have former Capitals’ coach Bruce Boudreau. The former coach is doing for his new team what he did for the Capitals when he joined them, just plain winning.
The Washington Capitals, according to the ‘experts’ are a talent laden team. Two games ago, we had one of our most talented defensive players return to the line-up, with mediocre results. Dale Hunter, former Capital with his number hanging in the rafters, has had no effect as the new coach. He has led his junior league team to impressive results, but in the NHL, has nothing to show for his efforts. Hunter claims that he preaches a solid fore-check and good defence, but neither have made an appearance under his reign as head coach. To George McPhee, the GM, and Ted Leonsis, the owner, this is a failed experiment. It was a fun idea while it lasted, but the proof is in the pudding, as the saying goes, and in the same time Hunter has had control of this team and they’ve gotten worse; Boudreau has pulled the Anaheim Ducks into the discussion about the playoffs.
I know, as a sports fan, when I hear playoffs I think of Jim Mora and his famous rant about playoffs. With two months to go, each and every game count, yet if you watch the games, the match-ups always favour the Capitals, but only on paper. On ice, the team is schizophrenic. They can’t decide whether they want to play good defence or good offence; whish is leading them to play neither. In every phase of the game, they are getting beaten, and there is no solace in this. Not for the fans, and certainly not for the players. But after each additional devastating loss, there is no call to order, there is no team meeting. I think we finally have seen the true colours of the Washington Capitals. The team follows its captain, and the captain is a petulant child, so too is the rest of the team.
On the other side of the country, there is a new world order being put into place in the Anaheim Ducks’ organisation. Not two days after Boudreau was fired by the Capitals,
fired the only coach they’d had to bring Boudreau on. Initially, the team played to mixed reviews, but since the start of the New Year, the Ducks have been winning more games than losing, and have put together very respectable winning streaks. What Boudreau brought to the Ducks was a winning attitude and positive spin on things. This is in complete contrast to Dale Hunter of the Capitals, who preaches one thing, but nothing is ever seen of his so-called teachings. Boudreau has taken the ailing Anaheim Ducks and in two short months turned them into a winning team. Anaheim
I think McPhee and Leonsis need to take a moment and step back and marvel at their own creation. They have one of the most talented teams in the NHL, and have nothing to show for it. Come April, when the playoffs start, the Washington Capitals will, most likely, be watching from home. McPhee has managed to bring together some very talented players. Seven years ago, he did the unthinkable, signing Alex Ovechkin to a massive contract, but what has he gotten for his money? At the end of the year, if the Capitals can’t turn things around, Hunter will be gone, McPhee will be fired and the dreaded word ‘rebuilding’ will be mixed in. With the trade deadline fast approaching, it would be foolish not to think the Capitals should have a fire-sale, but to what end? The team is in complete and utter disarray, a tailspin of epic proportions. In all this confusion, the Capitals will once again squander a perfectly good chance at winning Lord Stanley’s Cup and this may be the last chance the team has before the entire roster will be re-tooled and a new coach brought in. Good try, McPhee, but I think you and your star-studded roster will be out in the cold come playoff time and Leonsis will be left with nothing to show for it.