Not really too sure what I want to say about the Caps game the other night. It was awfully depressing. I was asked several times what I thought the Caps chances were, and I kept saying, "A bit less than 50/50". And, intellectually, I think that was right. But emotionally, I was feeling a bit more optimistic than that.
When the Rangers scored, a minute and a half into the game, that pretty much took the wind out of my sails. I thought their chances were very poor. To make matters worse, I didn't think they were getting great chances, either (not as good as some that missed in the previous two games).
And when the Rangers scored their second goal, midway through the third period, I was sure the Caps were cooked. So, of course, they had to give me a bit more hope by scoring thirty-eight seconds later. But that was all they could muster, so they're off to the golf course, while New York is kicking New Jersey's butt, right this minute.
It was far from an unexpected result, but it was still very depressing seeing it actually happen.
So now we move into the offseason, and I was going to talk about my feelings about Hunter remaining as coach. I figured that he was coming back if he wanted to do so, but he announced today that he doesn't want to keep the job. So I don't have to kvetch about him remaining.
So the big question becomes, who will replace him? And I don't have any idea. And, to be honest, I have very little feel for who would be a good match. I just don't have the time to watch enough non-Caps games to have a good feel. So it would be fairly useless for me to speculate. I hope it'll be someone with NHL experience, and someone who will get immediate buy-in from the players. And it'd be nice to get someone who doesn't feel compelled to turn every game (even those against inferior teams) into a coin flip.
The other big question will be changes of personnel. Will Mike Green return? I can't imagine he wouldn't, especially as an RFA, but you never know. If someone wants to give multiple first-round picks, you have to consider it. What about John Carlson? Well, he'll be back. I'm not sure how much he'll be paid, but there's no way he doesn't come back. Wideman? Goodness, I hope not (unless he takes a large pay cut, but I can't imagine that happening). Knuble? Again, I hope not. Halpern? Wouldn't mind seeing it, but don't see it as a high priority. TVo? Would have been shocked, and that was before I heard that he's going to play with Yaroslavl Lokomotiv in the KHL. Semin? Not even sure what to hope for, with him. I like him, and there's no questioning his talent, but he was hugely overpaid this year for his performance.
And the biggest question, of course, is what's going to happen about the second center position. That's been an ongoing problem for the organization for several years, and nothing has really been done about it. There's still a chance MarJo could improve enough to take the position, but it isn't a slam dunk. Perreault might well be the best option currently on the roster (well, assuming they re-sign him. But, as a relatively inexpensive RFA, I can't see him not doing so). But, flashes of brilliance aside, I don't think he's a great option. Laich? Don't make me laugh. He did great as a shutdown 3C early in the season, and ideally, he returns to that.
And the FA choices don't seem great, so it sounds like a trade is the most likely route to find someone.
Do we trade a goalie? Hard to imagine. Holtby you might have to think about it, if only because it'd be awfully difficult for his stock to go higher (though I'd love to see it, if he did keep improving). Neuvy? I can't imagine that you'd get enough in a trade to make it worth it. I think he's been passed on the depth chart (that was really an amazing postseason performance from Holtby), and he's never been much better than league average.
For now, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. And, of course, I'm totally ignoring the collective bargaining agreement issues. I'm really not sure what to make of those. I'm really just hoping that, whatever happens, it doesn't cause a shutdown of any sort.