Saturday, November 19, 2011

When Boys Become Men...

You often hear young boys asking their parents..."when will I be a man?". There's no timeline on when you become a man, there's no age in which you leave adolescence. I've come to realize that you become a man based on how you hold yourself accountable for your actions, and how you handle certain situations that constantly push you to the brink in life. There isn't just one scenario in which you've passed the test to manhood. But, as I watch the Caps this year I continue to ask myself..."when will these boys become men?".
For years we've watched the Caps, led by the "Young Guns" of the team fail to meet expectations, fail to hold themselves accountable, fail to recognize their faults and correct them when presented with the very next opportunity to do so. The "Young Guns" we refer to are Alexander Semin, Nick Backstrom, Mike Green, & Captain Alex Ovechkin. These four players are not young guns anymore (based on their age, not their play) they are entering the prime years of their career and yet we still see the same mistakes, miscues, penalties, lackadaisical effort that you would expect from a rookie. Am I being too harsh?? Maybe 2 years ago, but at this point somebody needs a wake-up call. These guys are supposed to be the leaders of the team, and it kills me to see a group of boys yet to become men.
Over the last 5 years the Capitals have learned a thing or two about winning. They came in two years ago saying the only thing that mattered now is the playoffs. They then proceeded to bend over while Montreal showed them what Canadian bacon looked like close up. The following year they said the same thing...only the playoffs matter! They got by the NY Rangers in the first round, but then were embarrassed to an even higher degree by a group of "young guns" down in Tampa that were flying by the Caps in the maturity rankings.
Everyone questions Bruce Boudreau after every playoff flameout, and rightfully so. But taking this high-flying Caps team and turning them into a defense-first organization was straight genius. The only problem is only half the team is buying into his philosophy.
Let me set the record straight...Bruce isn't the problem! If there are players on this team who refuse to grow up, then get rid of them. George Mcphee brought in a few new pieces this year, but no real leaders. This team has been in dire need of a leader since Sergei Federov left (Jason Arnott wasn't here long enough to leave a strong impression).
The Capitals top players play with a certain swagger of knowing that they're untouchable. knowing that McPhee would never trade them. They think that Boudreau will get the ax long before they do. Hell, maybe that's what they're hoping for. But what McPhee needs to realize is that once Bruce is gone...the next one in line is him! George needs to send a message to this locker room asap. Let them know that if they don't want to grow up, then they won't be on this team! I would put these guys on the trading block, and let the media know about it.

-Alexander Semin
-Jeff Schultz
-John Carlson