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IceFrog999

Rutherford's Press Conference

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We weren't excellent during our run. We played MEDIOCRE.

We went 9-2-1 in March. In a league dominated by .500 play that is not mediocre. We did finish 1-2. The game in Washington was for the playoffs and we lost it. We then won a back to back vs. a rested team, and poured it all out there in a game lost to a few breakdowns and mediocre goaltending.

My opinion is that the Cup year combined with the injuries of the past two years, combined with our fast start and relatively strong finish, will mean Lavi will almost certainly start the year with the Canes. Bet on it. But I do agree that he will have a short leash. He will be one of those guys fired 10-15 games in if we start slow.

The coaching staff has not performed very well since the cup. We have consistantly had special teams "trouble". The back half of the year after the cup our powerplay couldn't get out of its own way for a huge stretch of the season. Last year our PK ranked dead last most of the year. Yet no changes are ever made in the assistant ranks.

Further, it is clear to me that a core part of the team quit on Lavi and his system. Must have been Stillman and maybe Ladd. Williams, whom I love, wasn't producing up to norms before he went down, and Cole was a MAJOR dissappointment given his potential and his salary (my guess is that JR tried to move Cole but couldn't get value). When new blood was brought in: Aucoin, Bayda, Conboy, Brookband, Sampsonov, Ruutu, we had guys who had not been worn down by Lavi's system and were really happy to be here and we went on a run with less (overall) talent than we had prior. So the concern is if there are a few vets left who are tired of Lavi, or if there were just a couple and they have been moved on.

The elephant in the room is goaltending. In the end can you really fire Lavi because Cam sucked during that cold spell? Even with his white hot start and fairly solid March, Cam was the 32nd best goalie in Save % and GAA. Basically every team in the league had a better goalie. And during the bad stretch he was really bad. Now the one thing a GM will not say is "Man if our goalie could just play average we would be in the playoffs". But he must know it, and he can't blame the coach for it. Heck they got a new goalie coach. In the end Cam did not improve from the year before. This is where it all lays. You can fire the coach and everyone else for that matter, but if your goalie is the 32nd best goalie in a league with 30 teams you might as well go for the high draft pick.

We must get a serious back up who can simply take over if Cam does not progress next year. We must seriously overhaul the defense and clear any dead wood veterans from the team (Cole). I personally think that this will happen. The idea of keeping all of the Stanely Cup pieces is clearly over. Rutherford is downplaying this obvious forward for d trade to make the trade a little easier to occur, but it will occur.

By the way, Aucoin and Bayda, were not the problem, so not sure why he made a point of implying that they would be gone. I do think Aucoin's size, and utter inability to win a face off put him on the outside. Bayda, well we could trade a couple of big name forwards (Cole, Whitney) for serious blue line help and let Bayda stay on the cyling 3rd line. Still leaves room to bring in some bruisers on the 4th line.

Edit: When I say "in the end Cam did not improve" I mean looking back on the whole season. He definitely did improve in March, which gives some hope that he will progress next year. Still, taking the season as a whole he ended up in the same place he was the year before.

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We went 9-2-1 in March. In a league dominated by .500 play that is not mediocre. We did finish 1-2. The game in Washington was for the playoffs and we lost it. We then won a back to back vs. a rested team, and poured it all out there in a game lost to a few breakdowns and mediocre goaltending.

My opinion is that the Cup year combined with the injuries of the past two years, combined with our fast start and relatively strong finish, will mean Lavi will almost certainly start the year with the Canes. Bet on it. But I do agree that he will have a short leash. He will be one of those guys fired 10-15 games in if we start slow.

The coaching staff has not performed very well since the cup. We have consistantly had special teams "trouble". The back half of the year after the cup our powerplay couldn't get out of its own way for a huge stretch of the season. Last year our PK ranked dead last most of the year. Yet no changes are ever made in the assistant ranks.

Further, it is clear to me that a core part of the team quit on Lavi and his system. Must have been Stillman and maybe Ladd. Williams, whom I love, wasn't producing up to norms before he went down, and Cole was a MAJOR dissappointment given his potential and his salary (my guess is that JR tried to move Cole but couldn't get value). When new blood was brought in: Aucoin, Bayda, Conboy, Brookband, Sampsonov, Ruutu, we had guys who had not been worn down by Lavi's system and were really happy to be here and we went on a run with less (overall) talent than we had prior. So the concern is if there are a few vets left who are tired of Lavi, or if there were just a couple and they have been moved on.

The elephant in the room is goaltending. In the end can you really fire Lavi because Cam sucked during that cold spell? Even with his white hot start and fairly solid March, Cam was the 32nd best goalie in Save % and GAA. Basically every team in the league had a better goalie. And during the bad stretch he was really bad. Now the one thing a GM will not say is "Man if our goalie could just play average we would be in the playoffs". But he must know it, and he can't blame the coach for it. Heck they got a new goalie coach. In the end Cam did not improve from the year before. This is where it all lays. You can fire the coach and everyone else for that matter, but if your goalie is the 32nd best goalie in a league with 30 teams you might as well go for the high draft pick.

We must get a serious back up who can simply take over if Cam does not progress next year. We must seriously overhaul the defense and clear any dead wood veterans from the team (Cole). I personally think that this will happen. The idea of keeping all of the Stanely Cup pieces is clearly over. Rutherford is downplaying this obvious forward for d trade to make the trade a little easier to occur, but it will occur.

By the way, Aucoin and Bayda, were not the problem, so not sure why he made a point of implying that they would be gone. I do think Aucoin's size, and utter inability to win a face off put him on the outside. Bayda, well we could trade a couple of big name forwards (Cole, Whitney) for serious blue line help and let Bayda stay on the cyling 3rd line. Still leaves room to bring in some bruisers on the 4th line.

Edit: When I say "in the end Cam did not improve" I mean looking back on the whole season. He definitely did improve in March, which gives some hope that he will progress next year. Still, taking the season as a whole he ended up in the same place he was the year before.

Great post, I agree that we not only need someone that can give Cam a break but also will push for the number 1 spot. Cam has gotten too comfortable with Crackers as backup.

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:rolleyes: Yes, Cam's bad play is because he knows he's always going to be the #1 goaltender here.

Of course, this directly contradicts what was said earlier in the season, which was Cam was playing poorly because there was the fear that Grahame would replace him.

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I think we need another thread for everyone thats already posted their thoughts about Cam/Grahame to be able to re-post again...and again.....and again....

These threads are all getting very repetetive. Lets try and keep this one focused on JR and his press conference.

This is not taking away from the good points that have been made about the goalie situation, just trying to keep the thread on topic.

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I think we need another thread for everyone thats already posted their thoughts about Cam/Grahame to be able to re-post again...and again.....and again....

These threads are all getting very repetetive. Lets try and keep this one focused on JR and his press conference.

This is not taking away from the good points that have been made about the goalie situation, just trying to keep the thread on topic.

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The other angle you have to consider is if you bring in another coach, it will take a season or two for the players to buy into "his" system. Do we really want to wait another year or so for those results?

I want Lavi to stay, but the statement above is a nonsense. Did it take a season or two for Capitals to buy into the new system?

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The other angle you have to consider is if you bring in another coach, it will take a season or two for the players to buy into "his" system. Do we really want to wait another year or so for those results?

It took Bodreau a couple of weeks to light a fire under the Caps.

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If you can point to one play that cost us the playoffs, it was Florida's shorthanded goal. That's where I think JR is coming from when he said that it is not fair to the player. In essence, it really wasn't fair that we placed Cullen into such a critical situation and expect him to be in playoff form.

Really are you kidding me. That one play did NOT cost the playoffs. How bout not showing up to play in Washington. Win that game, the division is yours. How bout not showing up to play in Tampa, win and the division is yours. How bout not being able to get it done in game 82. That short handed goal did not cost us the playoffs.

If you want to really nit pick. I'd say giving up the 4 shorthanded goals against the Islanders at home cost us the playoffs.

I will admit Cullen came back too early, but to blame that one play as what cost the playoffs is just ridiculous.

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I was surpised to see JR make some of the points he did i didn't think he would be that blount but they are valid points. Even though i do not care for how lavi coaches and handles his team i never though JR would address firing they way he did. I feel lavi is definitly on the hot seat and JR questioned his coaching decisions and placed blame on him for november and december which i would have never thought. I wasn't sure if he was calling out the team on their play or saying Lavi was making bad coaching decision. Has Ron Francis made any comments about a desire to coach? maybe something is in the works.

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Maybe they'll get rid of Lavi at some point during next season and make Ronnie the coach???

Although i have no viewable source to link to, i remember Francis doing an interview with TSN and he says he personally is more suited as a GM and likes the challenge more and using his brains to help build a team. I believe that is his goal and will stick to it, he'll learn from JR and take over when JR is ready to move on

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I think alot of people are missing the most important points in JR's talk...first and foremost was his stressing of defensive zone responsibility

second, that the players were unwilling to come right out and "throw a coach or another player under the bus" but "said alot without coming right out and saying it"

now, which player displayed consistent defensive zone (for lack of a better word) stupidity (to the tune of some 26 opponents' goals throughout the season) and who the players might justifiably be angry at the coach for not benching for sorry defensive end play?

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now, which player displayed consistent defensive zone (for lack of a better word) stupidity (to the tune of some 26 opponents' goals throughout the season) and who the players might justifiably be angry at the coach for not benching for sorry defensive end play?

More than half our defensive lineup?

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More than half our defensive lineup?

not really... only one player fits the bill... one player that's got to go... other guys may make the occaisional mistake (except Wesley - his mistakes would be considered "very rare") but one player should have been benched for consistently poor defensive positioning and weak play with the puck.

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Another theory: If Lavi is fired (this is the buzz on all the boards and sports stations) I wonder if maybe it was JR that grabbed the coaching reins when Brindy went down and was actually the one making the coaching decisions that we all thought Lavi was making that turned the team around and then was given back to Lavi to prove himself in the last 4 games and when the critical mistakes were made that sealed his fate---Just a theory and as TS says SPECULATION. Not really my opinion, just a theory. ;)

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not really... only one player fits the bill... one player that's got to go... other guys may make the occaisional mistake (except Wesley - his mistakes would be considered "very rare") but one player should have been benched for consistently poor defensive positioning and weak play with the puck.

Is this a quiz?

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I think alot of people are missing the most important points in JR's talk...first and foremost was his stressing of defensive zone responsibility

second, that the players were unwilling to come right out and "throw a coach or another player under the bus" but "said alot without coming right out and saying it"

now, which player displayed consistent defensive zone (for lack of a better word) stupidity (to the tune of some 26 opponents' goals throughout the season) and who the players might justifiably be angry at the coach for not benching for sorry defensive end play?

Those comments were the most glaring to me too. Interesting how that player was finally benched in the last game of season when it was too late.

People are very quick to jump on the Coaching issues, and rightfully so, but JR was pretty direct with his comments. Im guessing his media ploy was a bid to draw more info out of the exit interviews from the players and coaches. Sure sounds like he has his finger right on the pulse of the issue but just needs more info.

JR has been known to be a "tell it like it is" kind of guy and if he's not getting the truth or the full story from the players, this is a good way to put the pressure on cause now their coach has been called out in the public eye. Who's gonna tell like it like it was back in Nov and Dec?

As for Tanabe, certainly there are NHLPA issue involved. Again, for JR to address these things via the media, especially knowing that he very carefully discloses only what he wants as public knowledge, there must be for a reason.

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I think alot of people are missing the most important points in JR's talk...first and foremost was his stressing of defensive zone responsibility

second, that the players were unwilling to come right out and "throw a coach or another player under the bus" but "said alot without coming right out and saying it"

now, which player displayed consistent defensive zone (for lack of a better word) stupidity (to the tune of some 26 opponents' goals throughout the season) and who the players might justifiably be angry at the coach for not benching for sorry defensive end play?

Those comments were the most glaring to me too. Interesting how that player was finally benched in the last game of season when it was too late.

People are very quick to jump on the Coaching issues, and rightfully so, but JR was pretty direct with his comments. Im guessing his media ploy was a bid to draw more info out of the exit interviews from the players and coaches. Sure sounds like he has his finger right on the pulse of the issue but just needs more info.

JR has been known to be a "tell it like it is" kind of guy and if he's not getting the truth or the full story from the players, this is a good way to put the pressure on cause now their coach has been called out in the public eye. Who's gonna tell like it like it was back in Nov and Dec?

As for Tanabe, certainly there are NHLPA issue involved. Again, for JR to address these things via the media, especially knowing that he very carefully discloses only what he wants as public knowledge, there must be for a reason.

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I think alot of people are missing the most important points in JR's talk...first and foremost was his stressing of defensive zone responsibility

second, that the players were unwilling to come right out and "throw a coach or another player under the bus" but "said alot without coming right out and saying it"

now, which player displayed consistent defensive zone (for lack of a better word) stupidity (to the tune of some 26 opponents' goals throughout the season) and who the players might justifiably be angry at the coach for not benching for sorry defensive end play?

One thing I have learned about hockey (acutally sports in general) is you will not see a coach or GM bad mouth a player or even bench a player who is playing poorly with a high paying contract, if you do you screw your team out of a good trade to get rid of that player in the future. Not only that they would be admitting to other teams and the fans that they made a poor decision on that player with his contract no matter how good they were at the time of the contract. Fans and other GM's only remember how bad they were the night before, not how good they were when they were signed.

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If 15-3-2 is mediocre, we should play mediocre more often. I guess Washington finishing 13-4 is slightly above average?

Maybe it WAS all smoke and mirrors. But no matter which way you slice it, we were WINNING. You can win a few games playing average hockey. But taking home 80% of possible points over a six week stretch wasn't a coincidence.

LOL, should I have included SARCASM ALERT. Jesus, we all know we kicked booty for the stretch run.

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JR has 4 months to show me that he actually wants to stress defense. Does this mean he is going to target someone as good (and pricy) as Wade Redden, or will he bargain hunting as usual with the Canes tight budget? I wouldn't overpay in years and amount for Redden personally, but someone is going to and the Canes are fairly desperate for a #1 type defenseman. If you think about, this franchise hasn't had a legitamite #1 shut down defenseman since Mark Howe in 1980, unless you count Wesley when he was still young or Pronger when he was 19(which I don't).

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JR has 4 months to show me that he actually wants to stress defense. Does this mean he is going to target someone as good (and pricy) as Wade Redden, or will he bargain hunting as usual with the Canes tight budget? I wouldn't overpay in years and amount for Redden personally, but someone is going to and the Canes are fairly desperate for a #1 type defenseman. If you think about, this franchise hasn't had a legitamite #1 shut down defenseman since Mark Howe in 1980, unless you count Wesley when he was still young or Pronger when he was 19(which I don't).

Ask the Sens fans what they think of Redden. If we were to get someone like him then we might as well keep Kaberle.

We won't spend that money because we don't have that money. I am sure they will do their best to get someone here, which is why we are likely to trade for a defenseman. My guess is the more money the person who we trade makes, the more the defenseman we bring in can require.

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Those comments were the most glaring to me too. Interesting how that player was finally benched in the last game of season when it was too late.

People are very quick to jump on the Coaching issues, and rightfully so, but JR was pretty direct with his comments. Im guessing his media ploy was a bid to draw more info out of the exit interviews from the players and coaches. Sure sounds like he has his finger right on the pulse of the issue but just needs more info.

JR has been known to be a "tell it like it is" kind of guy and if he's not getting the truth or the full story from the players, this is a good way to put the pressure on cause now their coach has been called out in the public eye. Who's gonna tell like it like it was back in Nov and Dec?

As for Tanabe, certainly there are NHLPA issue involved. Again, for JR to address these things via the media, especially knowing that he very carefully discloses only what he wants as public knowledge, there must be for a reason.

thanks TSA, I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one who caught that!

here's another tidbit as food for thought - could JR's stressing defensive zone responsibility be a hint that we'll see Aaron Ward return - he's a positionally sound, shot blocking, defensive defenseman that would really help C. Ward's GAA... he's a UFA, and he WANTS to be here.

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