Friday, May 6, 2011

Should they fire Bruce Boudreau?

This is the question everyone is asking right now.  Will (or should) the Caps fire their head coach?  And everyone has an opinion on it.  Including me.

Should they fire Bruce?  Seems straightforward enough considering his history in the playoffs.  Despite taking many extremely talented teams (and top seeds) into the postseason he has failed to pass the 2nd round. 

In the regular season though the Caps are as good as anyone.  Whether they outscore you, as in years past, or out-defend you, like this year, they end up as the #1 team in the Eastern Conference.

But the playoffs don't see the same success.

So is that an indicator of the coach...or the team?

Personally I think it is an indicator of the team.  Let's look at what wins in the NHL playoffs:

Ugly goals
Hard work around the boards
Puck movement
Solid defensive zone play
Great goaltending

What of those things are the Caps good at?  Surely not the "ugly" goals and usually not the hard work around the boards.  The Caps generally like to make the cute pass that gets the pretty goals but that doesn't work in the postseason.  Guys are more willing to block a pass or a shot during the playoffs then they are during the regular season.  They gamble more and in turn they keep the "cute" teams off the scoreboard.

You don't have to have a team made up of Johan Franzen's to win.  But your star players need to be willing to much it up in the corners and in front of the net.  Cycle the puck and get opportunities.  Crash the net and look for the rebounds. 

The Caps do move the puck well and their defensive zone play was good against the Rangers but against an explosive offensive team like Tampa they were unable to slow them down. 

And the goaltending was solid this playoff year.  Michal Neuvirth played very well.  Neuvy is very consistent but will sometimes let in a goal he should have...which all goalies do at times.  In my opinion he should be the #1 goalie going forward but what do I know.

So they have 3 of the 5 items they need.  Now they need some scoring help.

Will firing Boudreau fix that problem???   NO!

Bringing in a new coach with the same players is not the solution.  In the infamous words of Peanut, "polish a turd, it's still a turd."

It is time to revamp the offense.  And no that does not mean wait for the youngsters to be ready.  Cody Eakin could use a year in the AHL and Evgeni Kuznetsov isn't coming over for at least another year and will need time to get acclimated to the NHL game.

So instead of going out and getting players a couple years past their prime (Jason Arnott and Marco Sturm) let's see if the Caps go out and get real talented players.  And then move some other pieces.  Alexander Semin will NEVER be a great playoff performer.  His game and attitude will not allow it.  Trade him for a package of players.  I would be curious if you could get a Michael Grabner type player for him.  Or a solid #2 center like a Stephen Weiss.

Say goodbye to Arnott, Sturm, Boyd Gordon, and Matt Bradley.  If possible trade Tyler Sloan and Mike Knuble (in addition to Semin) and let's see the Caps really try and make this team better.

There are going to be good players (playoff time goal scorers) available this summer....there always are in the NHL.  Time to make the changes and go get them.

Just a brief list of guys I would love to see join Washington this year...(all players shown as unrestricted free agents on
  • Ville Leino
  • Nikolai Zherdev
  • Maxime Talbot
  • Alexander Frolov
  • Sean Bergenheim
  • Simon Gagne
  • Scottie Upshall
  • Radim Vrbata

So...should the Caps fire Boudreau?  Not if that is the only change you make because I don't think it will help enough. 

If you are going to blow up the roster and fell that it will be best to start over with the coach too...then long Bruce.

But Boudreau is not the main problem.  The roster is.

1 comment:

David Ganse said...

Thanks for your review. I think that you are correct that the roster needs serious retooling. You can easily make the case that George McPhee and Boudreau should both go and that a more aggressive GM should be installed. Max Talbot is exactly the type of player they need more of. You can't keep having star players not show up come playoff time. Yes, if Wideman (especially) and Green hadn't gotten hurt things may have turned out somewhat differently, but Boston would have beat them if Tampa didn't. Look at how hard Bostom competed against Philadelphia and compare that to how the Capitals looked against Tampa. P.S. How much is Paul Holmgren kicking himself that Steve Yzerman is the one that pulled the trigger to get Dwayne Roloson ?