Bubbles aren’t meant to last forever and the Cap’s bubble popped late Wednesday night in the great white north.
The 2020 Stanley Cup playoff run for the Washington Capitals ended last night in the first round against their former leader and Stanley Cup Champion Barry Trotz and his Islanders of Long Island. The Caps only lasted 5 games losing the series 4-1 and losing their last game 4-0.
This defeat marks the second season in a row that the Caps have not made it out of the first round of the playoffs. (not a new feeling for us Caps fans)
Even with the Caps playing much better in games 4 and 5 the Isles pretty much smothered the Caps offense and pressured the Caps defense the whole series.
Going into game 4 I told myself and my friends I just don’t want to get swept please give me at least one win for pride, and during the first period in game 4 that belief seemed pretty much doomed, but the Caps proved me wrong and turned it up to a whole new level and grinded out the victory and played like this Caps team is suppose to play.
Overall the better team in won in the series the Isles played better as a whole and made our defense look like an absolute liability the whole series even against our possible Norris winning Carlson. Another tale of the tape on why the Caps were never in this series really was the amount of stupid penalties they took in not only this series but during their whole time in the bubble.
The Caps had a total of 96 penalty minutes this playoffs that is straight up comical you can’t win a series with that many self inflicted mistakes. (Tom Wilson leader with 23 PIMs) less than ideal Tom!
Best of luck to the Isles and Trotz and if anyone is going to win the Cup this year why not let it be one of our former Coaches that brought us to the promised land.
So lets look ahead what is to come for our favorite team from Washington.
Obviously the first thing that will be discussed is the coaching staff and rightfully so how to we have one of the best power-plays in the league and in the playoffs it was an absolute joke? This terrible play wasn’t just a bubble issued but if you remember which seems like ages ago the Caps ended the season struggling with some wins mixed in.
Todd Reirden is the easy scapegoat to get rid of but what if the issue goes deeper within the staff that is something management will really have to look into this off-season, Blaine Forsythe that means you too bud. Side note ever since someone mentioned it to me that Reirden looks like Kevin from The Office, I can’t unsee it.
This is a time in Caps history that can’t be wasted when we don’t have much prime years of the great Alex Ovechkin’s career left, so lets not waste it! We need a coach that will push this team but also understand the talent around him. I always liked the personality of a coach like Dale Hunter was but we need the intelligence of a Trotz, so if we can find a small combo of those two that would be the best case scenario in my opinion going forward.
When looking into it possible coaches available that are close to fitting what I mentioned above the first that comes to mind is Peter Laviolette, then maybe close second Gerard Gallant (I see him going to coach in Seattle though). Pleas for the love of god stay away from Mike Babcock far away. I wan’t the Caps to think of Babcock as Voldemort don’t even think about uttering his name when discussing possible coaching replacements.
This the part of the blog I was dreading, we most likely saw the end of an era in between the pipes on Wednesday night for the Vezina, Jennings, and Stanley Cup winner Braden (Holtbeast) Holtby. Holtby has ran the course of his contract and will be a unrestricted free agent on October 9th, 2020. Barring a surprising resigning of our beloved goaltender, Holtby will finish his Cap’s career with a record of 284-125-48, 2.53 goals-against average, and a 91.6% save percentage. I knew when I first watched Holtby make his NHL debut after getting called up from Hershey that he was “the guy” and I couldn’t have been more right. Holts has single handily kept us in playoff series and pretty much won us the cup with “the save” in Vegas, because if he doesn’t make that save maybe history changes.
If this is the end Holtby has been loved by all of the Washington Metropolitan Area and I haven’t heard one bad thing said about him during his tenure in D.C. Like I mentioned “the save” will forever be talked about in D.C. sports till the end of time.
Again Braden has done so much for the D.C. area and for us as Caps fans it will suck to see him go, but the NHL is a business and we would have to throw him so much money and years to have him stay which could get us into a situation like the NY Rangers are currently dealing with. Holtby thank you again for everything you have done and how much you have made me love the Caps. I would be really surprised if we see the number 70 wore again in-between the pipes in a Cap’s sweater…..we will see!
Going back to the playoff series there are a lot of holes that need to filled or adjusted this off-season.
Starting with the failure of signing Ilya Kovalchuk and Richard Panik and them seriously under performing. Kovalchuk was basically a traffic cone this playoffs just going through the motions and apply zero energy to the series.
Then we get to the Caps defensive lineup which was also an absolute joke this playoffs and this is including our possible Norris winner John Carlson which was constantly getting beat on offensive rushes by the Isles which just can’t happen to a guy of his caliber. Then we get to Radko Gudas the dumbest acquisition this past off-season by getting rid of Matt Niskanen for him Gudas plays like guys on my beer league team, I think I saw him fall over more than the time he had the puck talk about and absolute liability. Brenden Dillon definitely reach his potential that I expected of him even though he is a great veteran presence to have in a locker-room it is 50/50 chance whether he is resigned this off-season.
The Caps definitely need more speed on the back end simple to our young guns like Nick Jensen and Jonas Siegenthaler which were a bright spot these playoffs for me.
One big change I think needs to happen is with our bald eagle right now Evgeny Kuznetsov having him at center seemed like a huge decrease in production this year compared to when he was at wing, so going forward I think moving him back to wing will get him back to his high score productive ways.
The injection of some youth into this Caps lineup would be a breathe of fresh air going into next season with the NHL becoming more of a speed game. So seeing more ice-time from guys like Martin Fehervary, Alexander Alexeyev, and Connor McMichael would be nice to see because from the brief ice-time they have had they did show some promise which I would like to see be able to progress next season.
Finally, being that this season was the first time I’ve tried blogging. I am extremely grateful for all of you that have read my blogs and its been a pleasure being able to talk about one of my favorite teams in detail and this experience has made me and even bigger Caps fan! So hope you all enjoy the rest of the playoffs and I will see you next season or if any big Caps news come out through the coming months. So for now Disco out, Let’s Go Caps! #ALLCAPS
(Also feel free to follow me on Twitter @TheRealDisco99 I would love any feedback!)