The Caps lost a tough one tonight 4-3, giving up a 1-0 lead and a 3-2 lead to fall to the New York Rangers. Marion Gaborik was able to get two open shots at Caps’ goalie Jose Theodore to score the final goals of the game. Find out how…
Here’s your answer– Tom Poti–the veteran defenseman allowed the Rangers’ best player to enter the zone twice with a gap the size of the Brooklyn Bridge. In the process of allowing Gaborik this enormous amount of space, he was also provided a screen in front of Theodore the size of the Empire State Building.
There’s been some uncertainty on the Caps’ blueline so far this season and it has a lot to do with coaching. Brian Pothier played very well tonight, but for some reason was a scratch the other night against a highly rivaled Flyers squad. Jurcina was a scratch tonight, and has been playing mediocre as well. Big man John Erskine has been an up and down roller coaster in the past four games. Heavy Gunner Mike Green is uncharacteristically scoreless in his first four games, after shooting the puck over the net 4-5 times tonight.
So what does this have to do with coaching?
Defensive play is all about chemistry, especially when there is a lack of super-star skill involved. Pairing defenseman relies on finding the right fit for each D-man. For example, Shaone Morrisonn is an excellent compliment to Mike Green, by allowing him to rush the puck and control breakouts while Mo covers the front of the net and back end. This chemistry is not evident in the other D pairings.
Poti, Erskine, Jurcina, and Schultz seem more worried about keeping their spot than working to help the betterment of the team. The Caps’ blueline was verbally assaulted last year as the weakest part of Washington’s game. It seems, there has been little done to fix these mistakes that continuously keep arising.
Now hold on there Caps fans, I’m not jumpin’ off the wagon here! A lot of good things came out of tonight’s game.
- Theodore played very very well
- Backstrom found the back of the net twice to add to his lopsided score sheet tallies
- Tyler Sloan and Quintin Laing showed a lot of hard work and proved they deserve to be at this level
- Although the powerplay was 1-9 they scored when it counted to put the game in their favor 3-2
It’s still early in the season to start making rash decisions, but the coaching staff needs to take a look at the blueline and fix these constant mistakes.
P.S.–Sorry Tom Poti but you blew it.