Monday, November 3, 2008

Sometimes you have to hurt the ones you love

It finally happened. As often as we've called for wind sprints and punishing practices after subpar losses (and more than a couple subpar wins) over the years, Coach Boudreau kept a level head and allowed his players to work their way out of funks, sometimes even giving them days off to recouperate when it seemed they needed a good whupping. Well, Bruce finally cracked after Saturday's putrid showing against the Sabres. Instead of a day off, the Caps got 50 minutes of sprints. And it's about time.

Caps fans have seen a lot over the years. We've seen the worst team in NHL history (or at least Original 6 has. I wasn't born yet). But the city actually getting awarded an NHL franchise more than makes up for that. The team played hard, but the talent simply wasn't there to field a competetive team. We'll call that the Yvon Labre era.

We've seen year after year of teams just good enough to win in the regular season only to be bounced in the first or second round of the playoffs. Those were teams built with grit and integrity, symbolized by players like Dale Hunter and Rod Langway. There were some good to very good teams in those years, but they could never quite get over the hump, winning more than a playoff round only once (and then suffering the indignity of being swept by the Bruins).

We've seen our one shining run to the Stanley Cup Finals, marked by six overtimer winners, the single most productive run in Chris Simon's career (before a shoulder injury and what appears to be insanity ruined him), and Joe Juneau's overtime game winner in Buffalo. The only blemish that year was the fact that the best offensive player ever to wear a Capitals uniform (Peter Bondra, for you newbies) just wasn't able to put it together during the playoffs that year.

And we've known the embarassment of watching an All-World talent who simply didn't care enough to try hard. 2001-04 was like a gonzo nightmare for Caps fans, rooting for a player they didn't believe in, who repaid them in kind by not bothering to try hard. Most Caps fans still can't discuss this period without attempting to claw their eyes out.

The point in all this reminiscing is simple: we've seen a lot over the years as Caps fans. And, more than most fans, we know when our team isn't putting forth its' finest effort (for an example see Jagr, Jaromir). As a Caps fan, I can tell you that there has only been one game this year where the Caps have put forth an honest effort for 60 minutes, and even that comes with a qualification. When the Caps throttled Vancouver in the home opener the game was so far gone by the third period that they didn't need to bother showing up. There isn't a single game where the team has played to their potential for the full 60 minutes.

And after the embarrassment at Buffalo, something had to be done. The coach knew it. The players knew it. Hell, even the owner knew it.

So Coach Boudreau put away his "player's coach" hat and got down to the business of breaking down a team long on talent but short on effort. He rode his players until he knew they couldn't be ridden any further. The team's owner, instead of trying to sell fans a bill of goods like so many others might, publicly stated his embarassment with the level of effort being shown by the players and made clear that he would not stand for it.

Now all that's left is for the players to take the ice tomorrow in Ottawa and show the fans that they belong with the rest of the generations of hard working Capitals players who bled not just red, but Capitals red, white and blue.

1 comment:

Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa page and other update like as Beratnya Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa, Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa di perpanjang and Jangan Berhenti Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. Thank you So much.

Oes Tsetnoc | Lanjutkan Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa