Bounced from the playoffs like a small baby on Grandpa's knee.
I've spend a solid 12 hours thinking about this loss. Well, I slept about 7 of those hours, plus getting my son ready and off to school, getting a soda... Ok, I've spent a solid 12 minutes thinking about this.
But I'm convinced the problem here is the coach.
I like Bruce Boudreau. He seems like a good guy. But he didn't adjust one iota to Montreal's gameplan. And if he did, I couldn't tell. His guys were still trying to play "fast break" hockey last night. And Montreal was ready for it. I also HATE the way he handled the goalies this series. Unless there is an overwhelming lack of confidence in Jose Theodore in the locker room, how do you not go back to him in game 7? I know, Varly only gave up 2 goals, but my hunch tells me Theo was going to stone the Habs.
So, as much as I hate to say it, I let Gabby go, but only if I can get a coach to replace him who has WON the Stanley Cup. The Caps have lost 3 game 7's in 3 years, all at home, and the only playoff series they won in the last 3 years they started 0-2 and then struggled to win a 7th game late at home. One year is a fluke. Two years is a trend. Three years is a culture. It's time to change the culture.
Then there are the players. Mike Green. Goodbye. I don't care if you are leading scorer among defensemen, you're shit in your own end, consistently. I trade you for whatever I can get. Alexander Semin. Goodbye. Sorry, I know you scored 40 goals this year, but you're scoreless in 14 straight playoff games, and not by accident. And you're a head case. Brooks Laich, where you even on the playoff roster? Fleischman? Knuble?
Tops on the Caps shopping list - a burly, meaty, TALENTED, nasty forward, a younger Mike Knuble type, but younger and a bit meaner (ok, I want a Dale Hunter type. There, I said it). A shutdown, intimidating defensemen who can help patrol the goal area and set the proper tone in his own end. An aging veteran (think Sergei Federov) who has won the cup that can show these guys how to win in the postseason. Maybe two of those guys.
Granted, my re-made Capitals won't lead the NHL in scoring. They probably won't win the Presidents Cup, but who cares? They'll be ready for the playoffs. They've got 50 weeks to get ready for the only season that counts - how will they spend that time?