Originally posted on Turner Sports Desk  |  Last updated 6/21/11
In a recent poll I asked Caps fans what they wanted General Manager George McPhee to do in the upcoming NHL entry draft. Thus far the majority of fans want the Caps to trade their pick and a player if needed in an effort to obtain veteran impact player.Ok, so that begs the question...what player can the Capitals acquire that can make a significant impact on the outcome of the 2012 season? The team that I watched get out smarted, out hustled and generally out-everything-ed by the Tampa Bay Lightning needs more than a single impact player. What I saw with the Caps starts behind the bench and makes it's way to the ice. Obviously others will disagree with my assessment but the result speaks volumes.If your players look completely confused and frustrated by a 1-3-1 trap that is a coaching/personnel issue. When your players get outworked and out hustled in the corners consistently that is a personnel/coaching issue. When your players fall into a funk from which they can't recover the moment something bad happens that is a coaching/motivation/discipline issue. What one player besides maybe Mark Messier (20 years ago) could walk into the Caps locker room and even have a chance to fix all that? Jason Arnott came in talking big stuff and he produced a little on the ice but even he had no answers as the Caps got swept.The bottom line is there are no quick fixes for Washington. There is no single player or combo of players available that can walk in that locker room and turn the Caps into  disciplined, smart, tenacious, two-way hockey club. That type of change starts behind the bench and works it's way out to the ice. The real change starts when Bruce Boudreau or his replacement installs a solid defensive system along with an iron will that keeps his players disciplined enough to stick to it. The coach will not allow the team to slide into a death spiral the moment something bad happens. Bruce had no answers for Tampa bay because the Caps were being killed not by trickery but by the basics. Speaking of basics the new coach would demand that offensive zone attack opportunities end at the net. Boudreau could tell certain players that he would give them $1000 per opportunity if they went to the net and probably not have to shell out a dime. If you are a legit Stanley Cup contender your top 9 forwards have to be willing to do whatever it takes and did anyone get that sense from anyone other than Ovechkin and a couple of other players?The new coach would punish guys who put the team in jeopardy with stupid turnovers/penalties even if they are super skilled and popular. Most importantly the new coach will be a stickler on the basics-details of the game like skating hard every shift, being situationally aware, finishing checks, no stupid turnovers, focus on positioning and back checking.Many people said the Caps lacked heart. Well if you don't stick with and emphasize the very basics of the game the outcome will certainly appear like a team with no heart. The only problem is the Caps lost before they took the ice. A rookie coach in Tampa showed them a completely different level of hockey to which these Caps had no response. So as this draft approaches the Caps would be wise to start behind the bench and work their way to the ice if they desire a better result.Like Turner Sports Desk on FacebookFollow TSDesk on Twitter
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