Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

I wasn't initially going to bother with this, but at the urging of my only two regular readers who apparently noticed that I've spewed a fair amount of words pleading for the firing, beheading, or defenestration of Bruce Boudreau, and with him being terminated yesterday, apparently want some form of schadenfreude soaked obituary, an orgy of I-told-you-so feasting on the bloody carcass of a defeated foe. But alas, I don't really have much to say. Yes, I think he ruined the Caps' last two postseasons by not putting together Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin together despite that trio being Corsi- and scoring-dominant over the past three years. And his giving Semin less PP time than Brooks Laich last postseason and this season was asinine. And yes, his team played loosey-goosey and he didn't seem to pick up on the newer tactical developments around the league, e.g. the pp-breakout-drop-pass thing that Van and Det and other teams do. But that said, Boudreau was probably a not-good-but-not-terrible-coach-either. He was mostly hokey and sincere and inarticulate and caring. His biggest crime against me was his mistreatment (i.e., playing him with a revolving door of ill-fitting, unready, and/or inferior linemates) of Alexander Semin, whose abilities and style of play have become largely the only joy I derive from watching the Capitals, or the NHL for that matter. So for that, I certainly but hesitantly celebrated BB's departure. Hesitantly because of what has come next.

While Dale Hunter does have a reputation for playing the fuck out of his stars in junior, I would have preferred the nerd/tactician type. The Bylsma/Babcock/Vigneault breed of coach who understands data and goes on more than just gut, who are if not educated, at least articulate and thoughtful. But most of all, I want a coach that understands that Alexander Semin is probably the best intercepter of opponents passes in the league (whereas Datsyuk is the best thief of puck carriers), is a dominant player along the boards in maintaining and obtaining puck possession, and is a unique offensive talent that needs to be paired with a certain type of center that instinctively plays the European, combinational style to maximize his effectiveness. I don't know if the Caps got that in Hunter - my guess is no - but I do know Hunter is one of the dirtiest players in the history of the sport. Second all-time in penalty minutes, yes, but moreso shit like this:

Am I happy that Boudreau's gone? Sure. Am I optimistic about the future? No.

1 comment:

Prem said...

Ahh I get it, so the internal affairs was in on it the entire time?