Caps Lunchbox: Alan May joins to talk what the Capitals need to do to make the playoffs-2/9
Thu, 9 Feb 2012|
CSN Washington dot com. Hey everybody welcomed the capitals lunch box and Kellie -- And back by popular demand we have mr. Alan welcome thanks for having me of course thank you for joining us find me and on my far left is GP. -- caps coming off a really big -- out in their favor this time around Tuesday night's shutout for nothing. -- and looked pretty impressive out there. What went right on Tuesday -- key and is that something that they can build upon. But think that one of the big things that went right was their break -- I think the defensemen are getting the passes get the puck rather zone quickly and cleanly. And you know everything stems from there you know they're they're not spending too much time in their zone fighting for pucks so it's not. Duncan changed every time you get to neutralize him and let's -- the stat list that the fore check and that's twice our guys like. Like ward and Tamara and obviously at bats and having big games because. They weren't battling the puck in their own zones have so much. And as to whether it's sustainable or not you know I'm not convinced that necessarily is but it certainly seems like a step in the right direction. Five of their last ten games have -- and shut out games and three of those and the caps -- took down against the caps of course. They're 44 and two in their last ten Allen is progress actually be made. I actually think so -- there there's a lot of lessons being -- right now and the biggest lesson I think you learn from Boston Bruins -- how to fore check. And get the park to the front of the -- bodies and how to do it doesn't have to be in a perfect location. Top of the circles with the free land and had to put in the park at the front of the net. And and fore checking parting getting the hits and then the last game we saw Jewell ward who we had been nonexistent for checking since October really. And he was making founders impact full body checks and that was real important but the biggest thing that we're learning is that every player. I think the coaching staff has gone to every pars that you have to play to what your strengths are within the system and we saw. Marcus Johansson plays the game as fast as he possibly could last night. Ovechkin shooting the puck -- brewer hitting. And every player do they do best Jason -- Mara had not scored -- -- and so long -- is eight shots. Because he played to strengthen that speed not thinking not trying to be a defensive player he still want to play those things well but. Playing your game still within the system and that's and go back to a JB said getting out of his own because even though. Oakland had 42 shots there were 42 perimeter shots for the most part. And the warrant was not a lot of traffic in front of him and it made the game easier so let your goalie see the pocket. Forced them to shoot from further away and that that team play solid team played good back checking but the harder you plan the other team's own. The last time we should have to plan your own zone and that was a fact of what happened last night. Was they had good pressure and other teams don't tired the team on that's human compassion from the perimeter so they could change -- did not have bodies at front of the net. Everything looked like it was going right for the capitals and that they were playing the way that they want to be playing down the stretch but it's. Are they going to be able to find consistency can play that way consistently. I had the biggest thing that governor Jimmie Johnson have brought in as their play without the puck inside their own zone. But the key is not the play there all the time so -- reelect at I think with all the controversy. And the adversity that they've had this year and last season. Season as well is that it's gonna build to build and develop their character and show the amount of physical sacrifice and she Dmitri or -- getting hit in the face back to back games. Not take any time off come back and play the next game and played very well those are things growing. As a team which cursing grows and gets better and amnesty Mathieu -- develop his game to be consistent over this last month that he filled in for Nicklaus back from those are important. Because as you get to the playoffs and the capitals will win the Southeast Division. If there are injuries it's nice to know that these young players these inexperienced players can step up and and provide you with something. That that is positive -- is a negative and it gives other players the older players and Ovechkin senate confidence in the -- -- -- players can do the job. Speaking of facing adversity however. The rest of the stretch they're going to have to be playing at their -- game if they hope to make the playoffs. On and something that -- Greenberg actually wrote about JP the other day. Was the fact that it could be boon for this team to have to play back kind of playoff hockey leading and as opposed to in the past where sometimes it's gone and been able to sit back and then suddenly they're in a pressure situation which they haven't felt in months do you agree with that kind of sentiment how do you see things. I think it Neal actually were is taking issue with that Jason's merit quote about that I mean Jason's Maris had. That the past couple years they've kind of been settled and come January. And it let him develop some bad habits and I mean that's clearly true we saw -- past couple years. -- but. The notion that playing meaningful games in February and march is gonna make them battle tested and how ready for the playoffs. I think is a maybe a little more narrative than anything else scenery you saw the team have to win just about every game they played. Down the stretch in 2008 and they you know woke up in the first round down 31 of the flyers. And in rebound from that so you know this team's gonna it. Do what they're gonna do they're develop their habits as -- develop it. That I think that they're kidding themselves that they think they'd rather have a battle for a playoff spot than be a little more -- You've played in what mentality difference between. This is what -- that that hurt the amount of urgency needed to plan that's when when you exhale and get away from your game and when you get a cushion on everybody. Mistakes are happening you can't just -- you have to be a certain way all the time so. I think when Neal was referring to is the battle testing is it is not every mistake now is critically important. And I have to be fixed right -- the coaching staff has to adjust the game plan and force the players. The cleaned that area of the game operate the way and so that's -- -- -- with adversity is not just off the ice that things that are happening on the ice with in the game. And the clean those up fix it fix all your problems but -- but the play intense games. That's with a plaster a bond that's -- players who normally don't walk a charter are blocking shots fires at Norton to do not normally hit they're throwing body checks guys who don't go to front that all of a sudden there. We're different players who don't play hurt all the center playing hurt. And that's what's going on right now because. They're there aren't a whole lot of bodies around it's not liking call up. Players from Hershey and they're gonna make a difference for now and really help you win so. The guys here -- it has to be damn that is doing this and so I think the amount of intensity and this goes into every game. Is gonna help them but the most important thing. And you asked that the GP but the most important thing going -- they have to be better on the road but it I don't care but the Southeast Division games so much it's the road games that's the most important area of their game that they have to clean up for -- Now it's impressive that they are. Where they are right now playing the way that they play on the room because there are bottom of the barrel in the entire league when -- weren't so impressed with -- -- home at least. But obviously a lot of things are happening Harris the trade deadline approaches and health is a big issue whether or not they get back Mike Green and Nicholas Baxter and that aside. How much and I wanna hear from you because again you -- to gain you've been in locker rooms and you're actually the number one mistreated player in the NHL's we've had some experience on deadline day. On how much can and you personality in the locker room actually impact the team chemistry. Well it and has to be at the missing piece of the puzzle and you can't just go after player that everyone says this is the guy you have to get a pass to fit within your scheme of things. And you can't go out and get a player is gonna force you to play a different game you you know what style you wanna play. -- have to be that player and it's not worth making a trade and giving up -- high draft pick -- an important draft pick or report minor league player important player for real lineup. If you're going to trade. I nominee is Ovechkin rather than the obvious -- if you traded Ovechkin and and he going to play making center and it doesn't make sense because you need both of them. So whatever it is you have to bring in the piece that's missing right now the piece that you need. And you can't hope. That a certain players going to be that it has to be guy who RD is that player. But then again you say that and the price is a lot higher at this point of the year. And you have to really make sure and you have to do your due diligence on the personality I think more than anything that personality as well a guy that comes in. And he's got hero mentality. You don't want that guy in the because all the sudden takes away from what's going on in the dressing room and you don't want a dominant. Overbearing personality that's not cohesive than meshes with what you wanna. Accomplish in the back into -- which do you return here. Was the the biggest I would just wish that those players were healthy more than anything and didn't really know what you have. Why it is but I'll tell you what you have you have to you can't just make change for the sake of making change Dennis Wideman wouldn't be having this season he's having. Without Mike Green out of the lineup he's got all the important minutes he wouldn't be on the power play all the time Mike Wood. And so it's it's showing how good Dennis Wideman can be. You get those players back. He's still every team still needs another top six sports some teams don't need a top sixteen actually need fourth liner and fifth and sixth defenseman so. You at all then you would always like to be the team. That head as the perfect defense Bennett and I always believe that the capitals still need a left handed defenseman that can skate and play the game. Whether he's. Better defensive player or better offense -- you wanted to be key in one of those two areas that. You look at what how deal player that was treated the way Jeff Schultz has been treated for the early part of this for now he's one of the most valuable. And sought after defensemen National Hockey League and you know ballot that would fit in here but at the same time -- also looked -- and take a player. Like a Ryan Whitney that's in Edmonton that can move the puck so you can have a need but it doesn't have to be offensively can be a defensive -- while. We've had on defenseman of course and you -- on Dennis Wideman who they brought in apartments Mike Green I mean that's a little harsh but last year. -- -- his replacement in case my greens and back do we expect maybe they bring in a settlement replaced includes backs and. Well yeah that's one thing it's that the capitals -- was questioned whether depth at center even with back from in the lineup that that's been a problem. And you have to find the right guy and then they don't grow on trees no we're just gonna give them away for you. And and if you get a guy you don't wanna be in a position where. He does really well and he can afford him in a critical part of your team an important part of your team so. They've got to be very careful there but right now if Nicklaus Baxter -- not back for the trade deadline they do you have to beef up the middle of the -- Pete they've done plenty of things the last few trade deadlines on -- death Monday. And it doesn't seem a lot of times are talking about personalities and bringing in veterans in bringing and you know people that -- have a Stanley Cup how much does that actually affect the team in the hunt because it doesn't seem like. They've ever brought in the missing piece the. Well I think that it goes to the way around was saying about doing your due diligence and knowing the guys at -- look at a guy like Jason -- and last year he seemed to be a great fit. Right from the get go you know. Who vocal in the room call on the team -- taken to task for what they were doing wrong. You know helping out salmon on -- -- -- But ultimately he can only make so much of an impact you know that. That experience is nice but it it's not transferable you know. Holy transferable or anything. And at the end of the day comes down -- the guys that are already here I mean. They're not going to find a player or two players that are gonna fix everything that's wrong with this team I mean what. This team needs is for outs -- bats in the B Alex Ovechkin her. You know the defense to come together for Thomas took him to be outstanding. And so on down the line in their -- you know they can get some help and they need help and they need to go out and get it. But ultimately it's on the guys that are already here. We talked about. You know of course. Adding players and what their effect can be that you believe in addition by subtraction. -- at the end of the season idea but not during the season if you have a -- rotten -- now -- -- personality in the Dresser -- I believe you get rid of it right now. But you have talented players and sometimes they get too expensive and and Brian -- the guy that will let players go in Toronto and sometimes you have to do that. In order for the big picture to fit other players and because if if too many pieces that one position that are all the same type of player. It's panic mindless and you're wasting a lot of dollars and that -- was gonna have a controversy it's obvious in Dallas for years within three number -- -- And one of those guys -- always chastised in the media and because you can't make them all happy they'll have to play twenty minutes a game and it doesn't work because you have to play your third in your fourth line guys. X amount of minutes is also doesn't work so he can have too much at one position. And I I just wanna finish up on some JP said as well last year's playoff team. Was built to go along way and they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning if Mike greens not injured Dennis Wideman is not injured John -- not injured and Jason -- is not injured and Ovechkin played her. The last part of the season a lot of people that's going to while they they blew the Tampa know. Injuries are important and if you're gonna go a long way in the playoffs. You have to just to get to the third round you've got to stay pretty much injury free in your in your not gonna get to the finals with a lot of injuries and and we seen this time and time again. And that team I thought the pieces were perfect -- when George brought -- meant. But what happened a Dennis Wideman -- you could've imagined that he would have an injury like that. Jason -- playing with drawings in the issues like he wasn't vets and that really made it tough to win hockey games because all of a sudden. The three most important defenseman for the capitals to move in the park and playing in the power play were injured. And it couldn't be replaced they didn't have that depth in the organization nobody does. And so there are a lot of things that happening you look at the demise of the Montreal Canadians after -- Locke left and that whole. Group of players that they had sometimes you have a -- lose some of those key players it's really hurt when Montreal's never recovered since a -- has been gone. Well I mean I think Allen and CP for joining us today we'll see you next week hopefully in the big stereo. For capitals once fox I'm -- calendar with the next time. CSN Washington dot com.