Wednesday, April 28, 2010

a post-mortem for the Caps

After Game 1, I texted Landru the question "Why do the Caps suck in the playoffs?" Having just seen them be the first #1 seed in NHL history to blow a 3-1 lead and lose a 7-game series, this is a question the Caps need to address in a serious fashion.

The Caps simply do not consistently bring their best game. That is part of the problem. Another part is that they are a poor team defensively (at least when considered top elite teams) and even their excellent offense can be stopped by a hot goalie.

Clearly Halak is the hottest goalie around right now. But somehow the Caps have a knack of making a lot of goalies look goal.

I said before the season started that the Caps needed to improve their defense or they would not make a serious Stanley Cup wrong. After they won the President's Trophy for best record in the NHL, I thought that perhaps I was wrong. But after this debacle, I think it's a concept that has to be reconsidered.

But that wasn't the real problem. In at least two of the four losses, the Caps made a poor showing effort-wise. That was particularly inexcusable in Game 5.

What does a championship team do when it has just won three games in a row and has a chance to clinch at home? Well, they go and give a half-assed effort in Game 5.

The Caps have to figure out how to stay motivated and play hard to win all the time. Right now they look like a team built to prosper against weak teams, which cannot bear up under scrutiny in a 7-game series against a better team. Caps fans have to ask: if they couldn't beat the Canadiens, how could we think that they could beat the Penguins, Sharks, or Black Hawks? Is this a coaching problem? I don't know.

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