end of the line

Watching the series against Les Habs was a really painful exercise. The story felt all-too-familiar. Last year, going into the playoffs, I was feeling optimistic that it was a new, young team that didn't need to carry (or care about) the Caps history of terrible playoff luck. And last year, they did a good job of avoiding that. Well, there was that game seven against Pittsburgh where they didn't really show up; but not too bad overall.

But this year certainly looked like an historic collapse. It certainly felt familiar, given so many previous years of results. And, frankly, I was angry that they could do this to me again. I guess I was seeing red. :)

But in reading one of the post mortem analysis in the Post, one of the writers (Wise, maybe?) was castigating Boudreau for not adapting to Montreal more. He brought up Einstein's definition of insanity, questioning Boudreau's basic competence.

Seeing that, though, made me realize how extreme of an example of a hot goalie they ran into. In those last three games, they took 134 shots, scoring only three; a 98% save percentage for Halak. Expecting the goalie to continue to save that many shots actually is insane. Dropping that down to a merely outstanding 93% (picked because that would still be tops in the NHL most years; in fact, there are only 27 goalie seasons that even round to that level) would have resulted in six more goals. Dropping it down to Halak's career average of .919 would have resulted in eight more.

So there really wasn't much need for change. There was no reason to expect that sort of performance from Halak (or anyone else, for that matter). And any lesser performance would have resulted in at least two more Caps wins.

For an even more in-depth analysis, take a look at Gabe, who found that it was even more lopsided than my fairly simplistic analysis showed.

So where does the team go from here? I'm not sure, but I certainly don't see any need for drastic changes. Sign the restricted FAs; bring back Corvo for one or two more seasons, if possible. Beyond that, I'm not sure who to keep and who to let go. Knuble certainly did better than I expected, so I wouldn't mind seeing him come back for one more year (though not more than that, or at least not guaranteed for more than that). Is Chimera's speed worth bringing him back? Not sure. Belanger's face-off ability? Again, not sure. Definitely bring up Alzner and Carlson to start the season next year. Dunno about who else to bring up from Hershey. Probably let Theodore go, even though he did play quite well this year; get by on a 60/40 or so split between Varly and Neuwirth.

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