Truth be told, I didn’t think it was going to happen – that the Caps would have a front office change. I certainly didn’t think Ted would pull his focus away from the Wizards in the playoffs to deal with those pesky Caps. Oh ye of little faith!
It’s not that the off-season shakeup negates the long, slow slide these last four years. It just seems that Ted finally figured out that it – the team put together by McPhee wasn’t getting it done. More importantly, without a change of some sort, the team that is now the Caps were not going to get it done. “It” being make the Stanley Cup playoffs and contend for a championship.
As for GMGM, well, 17 years is a long time to be GM of a professional sports team – whatever sport – and not have a championship to show for it. In hindsight, McPhee should have mortgaged the future four years ago to get us the player to put us over the top. Instead, we’ve just been stemming the bleeding for four years, with players getting older and fans getting more frustrated. Thanks, George. Good luck at your next place.
And Oates? I might have given him another chance, just because four coaches in four years is a lot. And I liked that he breathed some fire into Ovi. Then again, you can’t handcuff your new GM to last year’s coach. Seems like just another year treading water.
And Ovi? Oh, you didn’t realize Ted has the option of dumping him as well? Actually, Leonsis can’t dump the face of the franchise. Nor should he. Like this is really a choice.
We’ve built a team around the guy, filled Verizon Center game after game, grown a hockey following in a non-hockey town. We’re going to ditch him? For a warm six-pack? Sure, he needs to pay a tad more attention to defense and adjust to how teams are playing him – with their high powered lines against his. The solution isn’t to trade him (for what, I ask). Let’s get him some help on the other lines. Or hire a Russian-speaking sports psychologist.
Which brings me to my wish list:
- D, D and more D. Seriously. We have max 4 NHL caliber Defense, and we need more.
- 2C – am I repeating myself? I feel like I’ve been hoping for a second-line center since Federov left us. So, maybe MJ90 will grow into that role. Or may Kuznetzov, who certainly shows some mad skillz the last few games of the season. In any case, we need someone to pull the second line together, to center it and make it a legitimate threat.
- Oh, and there are some longtime fan favorites who no longer cut it on the ice and need to move on. And that’s where a fresh face, a new decisionmaker can take a hard look at the fact and the numbers, and say goodbye where it’s needed.
I feel much better about the post-season now. Feeling optimistic that next year this time, I’ll still be going to games, instead of just (occasionally) watching on TV or halfheartedly following online.
So go Bruce – I hope you win with Anaheim, and go Varly, who’s got his chance to be the #1 in Colorado and is showing his stuff. I’m hopeful that next year, we’ll be right in the mix, making our own Cup run.