I had wavered on whether to go to game 7 – either way, all the air goes out of the place. Good or bad. One friend gave me this advice: never go to a game 7. Either the team lives to fight another day – and you go to that game. Or they lose and you don’t want to be there.
Here’s what I decided: Caps were going to win. On the off chance we lost, it would be the last game until the Fall, and I’m just not quite ready for football season to start. Despite the bitter – and there was no sweet about it – loss, I’m glad I went.
Until almost the last second, I thought the Caps were still in it. For the majority of the game, we were just down one goal – one. Not a stretch for a team that had smashed team records for scoring. If you told me the Caps would be down one goal going into the third period of game 7, I’d take it. Translation = not Varly’s fault. Sure, he could have played better, but who couldn’t have.
Here’s whose fault it wasn’t: Ovie, Boudreau, GMGM. They did their jobs, but it wasn’t the right time, the right mix. A couple of bright spots stand out, but more blank spots.
- Ovie – For everyone who says Ovie can’t win a championship, remember this: people used to say that about Steve Yzerman … before he brought three Stanley Cups to Hockeytown.
- Boudreau lead us to the playoffs and the best regular season record (yes, he needs to think about winning playoff series, but that’s for next year).
- And GMGM? He’s stocked this roster with the talent we need for a great team – for the next decade. Now he needs to tinker.
Bright spot: Karl and Carlson. When asked if about the pair, he said, “Yeah, I think they’re ready for the NHL. What do you think?” The blueline looks good – Schultz and Green, Poti and someone? not sure who. Alzner and Carlson. (We’ll talk about Green later).
Forwards, though, that’s another issue. I would guess our rentals are mostly gone. Maybe Belanger is back. Maybe Chimera – he played tough and hard. We have talent, but not the right mix. Not quite enough grit. Knuble was a great addition, but even there, we needed a tad more.
Now the blank spots. Last night, when asked about his top players, Ovie, Nicky, Semin and Green, Boudreau had this to say: No one plays harder than Ovie or Nicky. Ouch. No comment on the other two, clearly.
- Semin – He’s so good when he’s good, but he disappears when it counts. We’ll lose 40 goals, but the Caps can afford to lose them. We can’t afford to keep him and Backstrom. The choice is easy: Trade Sasha.
- Green – This one’s tougher. He was atrocious last night. Really bad. He started the playoffs poorly, but started playing better. Now this. Norris Trophy or not, he’s got to get his head straight. Trade? Problem is we can’t get someone comparable. At this point, I’m willing to endorse addition by subtraction.
- Flash – Thanks for the good times. He couldn’t score when he needed to. He didn’t play hard. He looked outmatched and intimidated. Maybe it’s just maturity, but we have too many other guys who are playing hard and digging deep. In January, I didn’t want to see him gone. Now, I can’t wait to see what we get for him.
- Brooks – No, I don’t think we should trade Brooksie. Just think he needs to do some serious thinking in the off-season. He works hard, but needs to get tougher and increase his committment to his game.
I borrow this closing thought from Green Day and my fellow blogger: wake me up when September ends.