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Culture Change Brewing for Caps?

May 10, 2011, 12:21 PM ET [ Comments]
Steven Hindle
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Loss or Gain?

The Washington Capitals are still lingering in the aftermath of a devastating second round sweep at the hands of division rivals, the Tampa Bay Lightning, but have been insistent that they were going to wait before addressing the teams outlook for 2011-12.

Well, they may not wait as long as one would have thought.

Final exit interviews have been taking place and there is a brewing sentiment that the only way they can enter next season without the stigma of the past four seasons worth of failures is by embracing a full-blown culture change.

In the Capitals situation, that may likely mean an entirely new bench team and outlook for the next campaign.

It's not an easy thing for ownership and management to do.

Firing the most successful coach over the last four seasons, that is.

But while Boudreau brought a culture change to DC himself, and that transformation has been nothing short of electric, the truth is that post-season failures speak volumes louder than regular season success.

The old adage, "you can't fire a player, but you sure-as-hell can fire a coach!, " is starting to ring true less than two weeks removed from their 2011 playoff ousting.

The bottom line is playoff success, yet everything that has changed in Washington over the last four years has done so in a positive light.

The fans, the team, the way this city has embraced Rocking the Red...it's been nothing short of a full-blown revival of hockey in DC.

Yet it's a double-edged sword as once you've shown you can win, and have brought the fans and excitement to a fevered pitch, you have to cash it all in. Something this current squad simply seems incapable of doing.

And so, upwards and onwards, right?

With an eye on how to convert the culture that permeates the Capitals dressing room, it's easy to see that it will have to start at the top.

The coaches, as great as they have been, have also infused the locker-room with a playhouse type of atmosphere. It's been successful, yet the staff has yet to be that pin in the side that gets the team going when they need to the most.

It gets even harder if Boudreau is dismissed as the team clearly demonstrated they could pull off a systems change. There's been much talk of Boudreau's shortcomings, yet one shining example of how good a coach he can be has to be in the way he transformed the way the Capitals played hockey, successfully.

But it's a business, and business must be done.

In the end, it doesn't seem like the players will get the hot end of the iron for their performances this spring, but instead it will be the ones who guided them there.

Ironically, if there is indeed a coaching staff change, I honestly believe that the players sense of security will also vanish as the comfy clubhouse this team has built up would quickly be re-organized, if not completely altered, upon the arrival of a new head coach.

From a fan's point of view, what would you do?

If you do feel a culture change is necessary, and that it has to start at the top, who would be the right coach to bring the right culture change to DC?

I will return with any updates that come my way....

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