The Washington Capitals were swept in their 2nd round playoff series by Tampa last night. It means in the last 4 years this mega talented team has lost in the first round twice and in the 2nd round twice. What is the problem?
Balance. They don't have any. I have said this about Washington for 3 years now and I said it again this year before the playoffs even started. Most everyone in today's NHL knows you cant score your way to the cup you have to defend your way to the cup. The last team to score its way to the cup was probably the Oilers of the mid-80's.
This requires a team to have the right balance of scoring forwards who also understand the idea of team defence. A strong defence corps with very good to great goaltending. In today's NHL that is the balance you have to try and find to have a chance at the cup.
Washington simply does not have it. The team is simply too heavy with players who are wired to be offensive. That's good in the regular season, but its the achilles heal in the playoffs. During the regular season this year, Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau tried mightily to get this team to play tighter defensively, but to no avail.
Boudreau will likely be fired, but I cant see the next coach having anymore success with that roster. Its a personnel problem. Yes you can coach any player to be better defensively but some players are just not wired that way. They can get better, but if their natural instinct is always offence, that is a tough job for a coach to change his stripes. That's why you draft and develop shut down defencemen or you sign them as free agents. You don't take an offensive defenceman and try to transform him into something he is not. Mike Green might get better in his own end, but he is always going to be obsessed with scoring not shutting down.
We have all watched those car restoration shows on the Discovery Channel. You can turn a Camero into a station wagon with a cutting torch, and a good welder, but it will never be as good as the real thing.
Washington doesn't need a new coach, they need some balance in their roster.
See you at the rink.