from the Washington Post
“The overriding theme for us is [a] lack of scoring,” Hanlon said. “That’s the main thing. Defensively we’ve made as big an improvement as any team. We don’t have those chaotic games where we’re running around. But there’s a price for scoring goals and, at times, we’re not doing that.”
In two years with Caps Ovechkin never had a luxury of a good center. Zubbie was okay, but he was not a natural center in the first place and he was lacking a playmaking ability. That's why I was very happy when Caps signed Nylander, I was, just like the rest of a hockey world, sure that Nylander would center Ovechkin.
Hanlon thought different, he placed Nylander on the second line, moved Backstrom to the wing. What's up with that? His answer was to create at least two balanced lines and let Backstrom to adjust to NHL.
Time has passed, Caps have lost Semin to ankle injury, the scoring went down. What other coaches do in this situation? Detroit has similar problem and separates Datsyuk and Zettenberg for the same reason from time to time. But when the scoring is down, when the team struggles, Coaches juggle the lines, put all stars on one line. We've seen it in Detroit, we've seen it in Columbus this year.
What about Hanlon?
He never tried Nylander-Ovechkin combination playing 5 on 5. Yes, he did put Nylander and Ovechkin on PP in the last game and Ovechkin scored immediately. What would common sense tell him to do in the next game? Put Ovechkin and Nylander together, create the deadliest line and go with it.
...Hanlon puts Gordon to center Ovechkin for tonight's game vs. Carolina.
Unbelivable...Scotty Bowman would juggle the lines in one game, heck, in one period, to see if it would click. Hanlon hasn't done it in the training camp(?), in pre-season(?), in any of the games in October and now November. That's what probably separates Hanlon and Bowman.
The Glen Hanlon's experiment is over... Kozlov, Nylander and Backstrom are playing their natural positions and Ovie got Nylander. Whew...
From Capitals Insider:
Hanlon said Backstrom has seen his last game on the wing. Last night was his third game as a full-time center, and apparently he's proved to the coaching staff that he's ready to play his natural position on a regular basis in the NHL.
Speaking of Glen Hanlon...
from Forbes "NHL Team Valuations" - #28 Washington Capitals
With a great building and one of the most exciting players in the NHL in Alex Ovechkin, the Washington Capitals could be among the elite franchises in the league instead of one of the worst. The Caps are riddled with incompetent management. General Manager George McPhee has been at the helm for 10 years and has never come close to building a championship caliber team and has gotten the Caps to the playoffs only once during the past five seasons. Glen Hanlon has proven himself to be incapable of coaching at the NHL level. It can not be a surprise to owner Ted Leonsis that his team's attendance is near the league bottom.
Major corporate sponsors are Time Warner's AOL (nyse: TWX), Anheuser-Busch (nyse: BUD), Coca-Cola (nyse: KO), Sprint Nextel (nyse: S), Kettler. Naming rights sponsor is Verizon Communications (nyse: VZ).
Update 11/11/2007 Wait a minute... I said it first... :-)
from Washington City Paper
Last night, Hanlon tried something extraordinary: He tried using common sense. He promoted his best center (Michael Nylander) to the first line to play with the team’s franchise winger (Alexander Ovechkin). He moved defensive center Boyd Gordon—who had recently been centering Ovechkin on the first line—back to his regular spot on the shutdown line. He shifted Viktor Kozlov—a natural right wing who had been playing center because of a supposed chemistry with Ovechkin—back to the right wing, where Kozlov has always enjoyed more success. He moved rookie center Nicklas Backstrom—who had been playing both wing positions while adjusting to the NHL game—to center. And he moved Tomas Fleischmann—who has been bouncing in, out, and all around the depth chart so far this season—back to the left wing, where he has constantly proven to be the most productive.
The result? The Caps, who came limping into Ottawa after losing 10 of their last 12 games and sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference, beat the league-leading Senators...
How about that? Who would have guessed that, when you put players in their actual positions, they score goals? It only took Hanlon 16 games to figure that one out.