Hanlon 'Relieved' and So Am I

Yesterday, as you probably know by now, Capitals' GM George McPhee gave every Capitals fan something to be thankful during America's Thanksgiving, as Glen Hanlon was relieved of his duties as head coach. I recieved the news via a brief text message from my brother, and I will admit that m excitement was tempered slightly when I called him up only to find out that the team had replaced Hanlon with the team's third consecutive head coach with no previous NHL experience.

A day later, and I am decidedly less sour about the decision to install Hershey bench boss Bruce Boudreau, whose name I will have to learn to spell correctly. By all accounts, he is a more offense-oriented coach than Hanlon, which is exactly what this team needs right now. My biggest complaint about Hanlon was his insistence on playing too much of a defense-centric style despite a roster stacked mostly with explosive offensive stars. Hopefully, we can expect to see a team that, through the first quarter of the season has been, and I'm being generous here, altogether inept on offense turn things around and start scoring some goals. If not, I'm willing to give George McPhee the benefit of the doubt and assume that Boudreau's interim tag actually means "interim" instead of "if he has anything resembling success we will remove this tag so we don't have to go out and find a real head coach".

Should the team continue to underperform, the focus shifts now exclusively to George McPhee. While there are some who have been calling for his head for years, I genuinely belive that he has done a pretty good job with what he has had to work with. He spent a large part of his tenure with this team handcuffed by an owner who, at the time, was looking to become a slightly more portly version of Daniel Snyder, and we are only just now starting to see what he can do when left mostly to his own devices. His drafting has been very good of late, albeit this is due in part to the bevy of high first rounders like Ovechkin, Backstrom and Alzner. His moves during this past off season were, in theory at least, exactly what the team needed. The only way I see McPhee departing at the end of the season is if the team continues to perform as miserably as they have through the first twenty-one games and finishes in the basement yet again. Even then, though, I think he deserves at least one more season after this to finally give some of his draft picks to really gel (I'm looking at you, Karl Alzner) and free agents to finally acclimate themselves. That said, I'm still naming him the interim KHFC Whipping Boy for the time being, if only because I have no one else to pick on with Hanlon gone.

Game one of the B^2 era starts this afternoon in Philly. I won't be able to watch the game, as I have work today, but I will be checking the score obsessively when I should be doing my job. Here's hoping that the team can finally start to turn the corner.

1 comment:

WFY said...