Caps-Canadiens, Game 7 results

Apr 28, 2010

Post staff writer Gene Wang discussed the outcome of Game 7 of the Caps-Canadiens first-round playoff series.

For everyone who had written off the Caps after Game 6, you were right. Here's your chance to tell us who should be fired and which players need to go. I promised I'd be here for the postmortem win or lose, so let's get right to your questions. And please remember while you are encouraged to vent all you want, please keep it clean. We are after all a family newspaper.

I'm posting at 2:15, so I don't know the outcome. But, I like my comments to be taken first. So, either -- the Caps, what chokers, fire Bruce NOW!!!! Or, what an amazing game, Caps are going all the way, Bruce for coach of the year!!!!!

Well, the Caps lost 2-1, so I'm sure there will be plenty of fire BB talk during this chat.

CHOKERS!!!!

I say you were 100 percent correct. It was an inexcusable performance by a team that failed to live up to any and all expectations.

Why didn't this team trade Mike Green? He's a liability. He plays the position of defense but is a bonafide winger. Caps could have signed a Pronger or shutdown defender. May there never be an argument whose better...Sid or Ovie. Chokers.

Mike Green was the cause of that first goal after he took a really bad penalty, and he played poorly the entire series. If the Caps could deal him to get a Pronger-type player, they need to consider making that move for certain.

Now that the season is really over and obvious weaknesses exposed, what are the moves that you would make to develop a team that can compete in a tight checking playoff series?

See previous answer, but more important is getting a rugged defenseman with Stanley Cup playoff experience.

Writing at 3.32 today. I really hope the Caps have won by the time you read this...

They did not, and we're just getting started with the reasons why.

The Caps need a new captain?

I doubt there's any debate now about who the best player in the world is. Not even the most diehard Caps fans could make the case for Ovie over Crosby after this series.

Clean house. This team can't win a Cup. Bottom line. R. J. Umberger is absolutely right. I should point out that the no goal call was completely idiotic but excuses are excuses. This team is a regular season team and deserved the fate it got. I would say either GMGM or Bruce needs to go. One or the other. This is unacceptable.

I wasn't spinning before, simply stating the fact that the series wasn't over until after Game 7. Now it is, and I'll be the first to say the Caps should be completely embarrassed and ashamed of how the series ended. There is no excuse whatsoever to lose three in a row, especially two in their building.

The time for panicking is over. This is pathetic. I can't believe I saw this epic collapse. Bruce, if he's not fired, needs to change his philosophy ENTIRELY.

A philosophical change probably will come only with a change in personnel as well. BB's style obviously worked during the regular season with the players he had. Clearly that doesn't work in the playoffs.

Where does this rank among the greatest professional sports team chokes of all time?

It's right up there. I can think of plenty of golf comparisons, and the Patriots losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl comes to mind too. I think in hockey the seeds don't matter so much. Look at the Devils and Coyotes both losing their series.

Well, now that the Caps have failed BIG TIME, when will BB be shown out the door? And while you're at it, Varlamov is not a playoff goaltender. The GM made all the wrong moves (actually, their record was better before all the trades took place). What now? Blow up the team? Green definitely stinks. The defense stinks. BB, like JTIII, was outcoached. Ovechkin is definitely NOT the best hockey player. Pittssburgh's Crosby IS. Until OV can get his team a championship, he's just a good player. DIsappointing, but not unexpected. What do you think they'll do?

They really must find a playoff-tested defenseman who will instill more fire into the team when the postseason rolls around. Also I really don't see BB getting canned. The age-old question is if he is, tell me who should replace him. I don't think this team needs to be torn apart; just a few pieces need tinkering.

Gene, The majority of this team has now been here for each of the last 3 years and playoffs. There can't be any more excuses, this team as it currently stands will not win a cup. Where do you focus the change - GM, Coach, a handful of players or a combination of those?

It would be really difficult to justify firing a coach who led his team to the Presidents' Trophy, despite this horrible collapse in the playoffs. There has to be a shift in philosophy when it comes to acquiring players. It's not enough to stockpile skaters and scorers. There has to be attitude in the locker room. That clearly was missing during this entire series.

Lets start with Bruce, maybe he just doesn't have it. How about George, great teams, but no enforcer. For that matter, let's look at the refs, no game should be determined as a result of questionable calls and the Caps got screwed...guess it's the curse of Washington.

Yes that call was borderline at best, but it never should have come down to that because this series never should have reached seven games. I'm not big on blaming refs for losing a game. Good teams make their own breaks, and that includes getting some calls to go their way.

Mike Green is a terrible defenseman. He has to go. Alexander Semin is also a MAJOR disappointment. With the two of them gone, the Crapitals have a chance next year. Do you agree?

Those would seem like two players that could be moved elsewhere, but the question is if you're another team and you've seen how poorly Semin and Green played in this series, would you want them for the price the Caps would be asking?

Blow up the team? Fire BB? Folks, this sucked but let's relax with the Glenn Beck quotes. The Caps played pretty damn well and just couldnt score, largely due to Halak's amazing performances. Yes, we need to tweak the roster and style of play, but this is a young team with a decade of great hockey in front of it. Plus, theyre the only damn winner in town, so show some appreciation.

I haven't gotten as many vitriolic comments as I thought I would on that subject, and as I answered another poster earlier, I would not advocate wholesale changes, but rather a tweak here and there.

i thought the attitude in the locker room was different this year. i thought all the players who added grit added grit. once you put the caps jersey on, doesnt seem to matter who you are, the tradition continues.

Attitude was different among the forwards, with the addition of Knuble, Walker and Chimera. After the way this series ended, it clearly wasn't there among the blue liners.

Lots of people need to be shown the door. Especially a captain who doesn't show up for practice for two days before the biggest game of the season, *OPTIONAL* or not...what a message that sends to the team. This team is beyond tinkering. The cup isn't an entitlement, as the trade deadline moves show

Wait, so you're saying the Capitals should trade Ovechkin? Even after the disappointment of this series, I doubt the majority of other Caps fans would be in agreement. Plus it's just not going to happen.

The Canadiens were extremely disciplined, well coached, and played as if they had a team plan, and each player was comitted to following that plan. The Caps played in a frantic, frenetic, chaotic manner, as if they didn't have either a plan or a clue as to what they should do. How many times did a Caps player simply fire the puck into a defender....Laughlin even observed that the Caps couldnt get the puck past their own players, much less the Canadiens. Unfortunately, he should have made this comment much earlier in the series.

The Canadiens do deserve credit for never giving up, but let's be honest, the Capitals are a much more talented team from top to bottom. Now their style clearly isn't suited for the grind of the playoffs, and that must be addressed during the offseason.

The Caps had a great year and maybe they aren't "playoff built" but there is still a lot to look forward to next year. The wheels have surely come off the bandwagon but I'm still on board! Thank you for a great season Caps!

They did in fact have a franchise record setting season, and that's why their lackluster performance in the playoffs is all the more disappointing.

SCOTTY BOWMAN.....a legend that comes back from retirement to coach the best player in hockey and help another superstar reach the pinnacle of the sport.

You mean like Joe Gibbs came back to Washington? That really didn't work out like many Skins fans thought it would. Just because you're a legend doesn't mean the NHL is going to hand the Stanley Cup to you.

Their teams show a lack of effort and a lack of attitude. If it was okay to fire Zorn, why is it not okay to fire BB? This was pathetic! Heads need to roll. Varly can't stop anything when it counts. They should have played Theodore. Ovechkin, overrated!

Because Zorn never led the Skins to the best record in the NFL. Not even close. It just isn't a fair comparison. As for Ovie, I'm not going to argue with those folks who call him overrated. I mentioned to my colleagues that he's going to have the ARod pre-World Series win stamp placed on him until he wins  a Cup.

All this talk about firing BB... Do you remember the team before him, they lost almost every game until he turned them around????

I made that point in other chats, but it didn't really seem to register with a lot of fans.

...why the Caps lost. Laich, Fleischmann, Green and especially Semin did next to nothing in this series. Tough to win when 4 of your top 6 offensive players are nearly invisible.

Laich did score tonight to make it 2-1, but your overall premise is right. Green, Semin and Flash did not show up at all for this series.

Way to demoralize your fan base, guys.

I'm sure whether this was the worst loss in franchise history will be debated for many days to come.

Obviously they'll look to lock up Backstrom. Do you think they will attempt to trade Semin due to his high salary with only 1 year left?

As I mentioned earlier, I think even if the Caps wanted to trade Semin, I'm not sure how many takers there would be considering his temperament and how poorly he played in the postseason.

That's what all the experts have said about the Capitals. Well...they are right! It it time to break this team up...ship out Boudreau and start over. This group as it is constituted will never WIN! So Gene...what say you? And don't give me that..."well the won the presidents cup" crap!

I'm not going to hand you that copout line. The regular season means nothing at this point. But I'm not ready to break up a team that has two 100-point scorers and a bunch of 20-goal scorers as well as some potential among a few of its defensive players. That said, you don't need seven 20-goal scorers. What they need is a player like Hal Gill.

Gene, you're absolutely right that Crosby is better than Ovechkin. So is Kane, so is Toewes. Ovechkin cannot handle pressure.

I wouldn't go that far, but the debate about who is the best player in the world ended tonight. It's Crosby's title until Ovie can not just win a Cup but take a leading role in that accomplishment.

This was a very fun year. Why do people jump at wanting to fire someone just because they do not advance? If it's not broke, don't fix it.

I could not disagree with you more. The Caps are broke. When you are the No. 1 seed and can't close out a three games to one lead at home, there's something seriously deficient with the way the team is constructed.

The Caps have become the Sharks of the East. Great team in the regular season, and chokers in the postseason. No excuses to lose to the Canadiens, even if Jaroslav Halak was unbelievable. Also, Crosby > Ovi. By a mile.

I'm not going with the Halak was amazing angle tonight. That had nothing to do with it. You are right that there are no excuses. And I've said it a couple times already, but I'll repeat it: Crosby > Ovie

An earlier post had a point. When your power play is 1 for 30 and you have been embarrassed twice in a row, why in the world are practices optional and why are your stars taking the option. You can rest after the season. Any chance Ovechkin or Semin were injured?

Again, no excuses, injury or not. To the best of our knowledge, neither player was injured. Now they may have been a bit dinged, but that's no excuse for scoring one goal in the biggest game of the Caps' season.

Look. The Caps ran into a hot goaltender and Halak had gotten into their heads. It happens. It's not the first time in Stanley Cup playoff history, nor will it be the last. Who needs to go? From the look of it, the Capitals are a formidable offensive machine that had sugar in the gas tank at the wrong time. I say, keep the club together and tweak it. But don't dare blow it up. That's a panic move, born of frustration and stupidity.

The hot goalie thing goes only so far. He was hot in Game 6 when he stopped 53 shots. That wasn't the case tonight. But I do agree there doesn't need to be a complete dismantlinig of the team.

Just because we were worse before means that we have to accept 3 early round playoff flame-outs in a row? Great, he's brought the team to this point and we all appreciate it. Now it's time to find the person who is going to take this team to the *Next* level. A history of failure doesn't mean that you have to accept an upgrade to mediocrity.

That's a fair point, and I'll throw it out there so others can weigh in as well.

Why should I care why should I care

Nice Who reference. I watched the VHI Rock Honors the other night saluting The Who.

So I am one of those dreaded/hated bandwagon fans, but I gotta say, the ol' timers read a little bonkers. I just wanna say that this needs to be mourned, but kept in perspective....if the President's Cup determined THE cup, we wouldn't need playoffs. We let this one slip away.......just breath. And stop calling for heads. Except that Mike Green has GOT to go!!

Winning the Presidents' Trophy actually may be a bad thing. First, fewer than half of the teams who have won it have also won the Stanley Cup. Second, teams scrambling to get into the postseason, ie Montreal, Philly, etc., are locked into playoff mode once their series starts and are playing rugged hockey. Teams that cost into the playoffs, ie the Caps, Coyotes, can't just flick the switch and get into playoff mode.

Maybe it's karma coming back to bite DC in the you know what.

On a related note, the Caps' exit from the playoffs will expedite my move to helping to cover the Nats.

but it is xenophobia. You will never convince me that this game didn't end in the first minute of the 3rd when a Canadian ref stole a goal from a Russian star who he doesn't like. If Crosby either scores that or is the one crashing the net, it's a goal. 100 times out of 100. I will go to my grave believing that.

I'm not ready to blame officials for anything in this series. The Caps had 33 power-play chances and scored once. You can't blame officials for that debacle.

But this is the worst lost in team history. That is a no brainer.

I'll put that out there to see if others agree.

Gene, Do you think Mike Milbury's assesment of Ovechkin being Eurotrash was pure genius based on his Olympics and playoff results?

Let's not advocate personal insults. But we can state the facts that Ovie did  not come up big in the Olympics or in Game 7 when it mattered most.

Congrats to the Habs. This is an utter embarassment and failure. The look on Ted Leonsis face says it all. I'd keep Boudreau but Bob Woods his defensive coach needs to be fired. Umberger was right - when you watch them in the d-zone they do float around and almost seem to never know where to be. Plus let's see what magic McPhee can go get on the backline. I loved the grit he added up front but I was afraid then and it did come back to haunt them - he didn't have enough on the blueline. One bright spot. John Carlson better be here to stay. The man is money. Mike Green I blame for the first goal. Second goal he took the guy out but where was the puck support? This team failed. The Habs sat back - waited for the Caps to blink and bang they cashed in. Oh well. I'm stand behind my team through another disappointment. ICE BREAKERS GOAL SHAKERS.

Thanks for the comments. Good pull on the old school Caps fight song too.

Do you think 8,28,14,52 and 40 should play for their countries at the World Championships in May? They should have energy. I thought OV was without a doubt the best player in the world but now I don't. Backstrom should NOT sign an extension in Washington if he wants to play on a winner. Run Nicholas Run!

I'm sure that's the farthest thing from their minds at this point. And I can say with confidence Backstrom will be with the team next season and probably well beyond.

I agree a solid playoff tested defender is needed by the Caps, but until they learn to play smart playoff style hockey it won't be enough. The Caps play a hap-hazzard style, they enter the zone with no puck support, their top lines free-lance too much, I counted six times that all three forwards were below the goal line, not in the third when they were pressing to tie the game, but in the first period! Bad game plan, bad coaching!

Nothing good about this game for sure.

Gene, Thank you and all of the WaPo caps 'staff' for great coverage all season long. another disappointing '2nd' season. i hope Ted, GMGM and BB take the appropriate steps (personnel wise) to correct the glaring issues with this team. Say 'Hey' to Tarik and Lindsay for me. Kirk

Thanks for the kind works, and I'll be sure to let my esteemed colleagues know they are appreciated.

If you're Dale Hunter, do you consider an offer to return to Washington to become head coach? You'd be leaving a very successful London Knights team, but you'd get to coach one of the most talented teams in the world. And, you know, your name's in the rafters there.

Now that' s an out-of-the-box idea. If the Caps brass reads the transcript of this chat, perhaps they will take it to heart.

will win a lot of games but will never win it all. They are exciting but soft. Their best players are great but not great enough. To change styles would destroy the team. To tinker won't be enough. We have to set our expectations accordingly.

That means accepting the Caps are going to lose in the first round as long as this team stays as is? I don't think most Caps fans will stand for that, nor should they.

Is this loss disappointing, absolutely. As someone mentioned earlier, tip your hat to the Candiens, as they played as a team. Does the team need to be blown up? Maybe, but I think you just need a few good solid defensemen. As you pointed out Gene, expectations were so high, because the Caps won so many games in the regular season. Let's wait a few days, cool down, get over our drunken hangovers, and then see if BB or GMGM needs to go. Personally don't think either needs to go...yet. As for Ovechkin? Get rid of him? Really? Must be a Penguins fan.

A cooling off period is a great idea, but that said, it won't mask the stench of this horrible loss and an inexcusable collapse in this series.

Halak won this. If someone like Brian Boucher or Marc-Andre Fleury were in net for the Habs, the Caps could have won this series with practically nothing on the PP and nothing from Fleischman or Semin. Bruce Boudreau did everything he could to give his team the chance. McPhee did everything he could. Semin, during the last several games, did everything he could. But that's the thing about hockey. An insanely good goaltender can take you ridiculously far. I'll be supporting the Habs as they take down the Pens. Don't fire Boudreau. He is an excellent coach and he didn't lose this.

The hot goaltender does in the Caps again. It's like a broekn record for this team.

The Caps lost, and they shouldn't have, but is anyone surprised they got a tough series from the Habs? The Habs played them tough in the regular season and held their power play mostly helpless. With the way they can block shots, and with how good Halak played, I can't imagine a worse matchup for these Caps. While waiting ANOTHER regular season to get a playoff chance seems like such a waste of our times, I really do think this was a perfect storm against the team. Thoughts?

I am beat, but there are worse things than chatting about hockey and getting paid for it. I'm not in the excuse-making business tonight. The Caps simply laid an egg at the worst time. There is no defending losing a series to the No. 8 seed after going up three games to one. No defense at all, hot goalie included.

In the last 3 games, the Caps outshot the Habs 134-65. Maybe some adjustments are necessary, but they clearly were up against a brick wall at the end here. (3 goals in 134 shots!!!) It is absolutely nuts to say this team needs to be blown up, or that anyone needs to be fired. If this is the quality of the new red-rocking fan base, the team would be better off with the hearty few who know and care about hockey. Enough with the melodrama.

Not saying it needs to be blown up either, but that hot goalie excuse, as I've said repeatedly on this chat, goes only so far. I can accept it for Game 6, when Halak stopped 53 shots. That doesn't fly tonight though.

Is Ovechkin overrated since he can't seem to win the big one?

He's a great regular season player, no doubt, but in the playoffs, until he wins the big one, that really doesn't mean much except for jersey sales.

fire Bruce. "Players coaches" dont win championships. And instead of filming Geico, Mercedes, Lasik eye surgery and god knows what other commercials he's been in, he should have been coaching the team.

I don't see BB making any more commercials during the offseason

The Canadiens was a better team, not most talented but played like a team. Not the Caps, don't you think?

I'll say the Habs played like the better team, but from a talent perspective, it's not even close. But in sports, the team with the most talent doesn't  always in the title.

I don't necessarily blame Boudreau. Varly didn't look bad at ALL, and Ovechkin wasn't as horrible as everyone made him out to be. Halak wanted it more, and he got it. Mike Green, however, needs to spend less time drinking bottles of Grey Goose at the clubs every night, and more time getting his game back, or he's gonna find his way out the door next season.

You're not the only one down on Green. There's a long line for that.

At some point Caps have to be accountable... Winging it play style regardless of talent does not win championships... Lack of commitment takes a 3-1 series lead to a 3 game losing streak not taking anything away from the outstanding goal tending by the Cans... Coach is the first problem.. Players are just as guilty..... After 20 years as a fan with this much talent... Really? ... Wont take to much more for your prices to go down.... that's twice in a row... and 20 years of mediocre post season play... Go Crosby... The best ever today and to come!!!

It was a team loss, but the stars didn't show up tonight, and those are the guys you pay a lot of money to win big games.

What a difference another playoff series loss makes when it comes to your comments!

I said after Game 6 that the series wasn't over. Now that it is and the Caps have blown a three games to one lead, I'm just telling it like it is. No excuses here. Just a horrible, inexcusable, embarrassing way to go out.

This discussion has been overrun by idiotic, know-nothing fans. You want to fire Bruce? Really? Please, stick to Maryland basketball. You are ruining DC sports for real fans.

I admire your passion, but it's understandable why many fans are frustrated after this loss.

I would like to thanks the Caps for giving us a better match up and home ice advantage in the next round. When will the Caps' fans get tired of hearing Bruce say we took dumb penalties and we were too cute with the puck? If Alex is so great then why did he not take command of this game or the series for that matter?

Can't argue with that

I've now seen two of the biggest chokes in the history of sports with my teams, this series and Maryland's home loss to Duke in 2001. Up there with Van de Velde at the British Open

I did mention several golf meltdowns I would put in this category

Choking is what they do. It is all they do. Why take questions? There is nothing to question. They have been letting me down since 1974. I give up. I am now a fan of interior decorating. Hockey, especially in DC, stinks.

I think you speak for many fans. In fact, I know you do.

Gene, I don't think all the people who are calling for Bruce's head are wrong. caps were outschemed, their lineups were never made to maximize output, and they had no consistency in goaltender selection. Theodore puts up amazing numbers to end the season, and has an 8 minute leash in game 2. Add to that the the Kryptonite the playoffs have become to both Green and Semin, and this team is ill prepared to do any damage in the postseason. Next season, the only thing that needs to be improved is our defense. Dont worry about offense. Let the new coach implement new offensive schemes. If GMGM doesn't fire Boudreau, maybe we need a new defensive coordinator.

I'm not necessarily saying they are wrong. It's a question that will be asked repeatedly in the next few days.

Was at the game. Thought the crowd was perhaps the worst I've seen at a sporting event, college or pro (but I've never been to a golf tournament). Lack of energy, people yelling at me and others in my row to sit down with less than 12 minutes to play in the third. Will the Caps do better when they start losing home ice "advantage" and start playing in front of hockey fans?

It wasn't Bell Centre, that's for sure. I saw a fair number of empty seats. Can't have that for Game 7 if D.C. is going to be a true hockey town.

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Gene Wang
Staff writer Gene Wang writes about the Caps, Nats, Wizards and local colleges for The Post.

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