The Capitals of the Late 80s

Discussion in 'The History of Hockey' started by C77, May 14, 2011.

  1. C77

    C77 Registered User

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    I've seen some video of these teams. Too young to actually remember them but I'm left wondering why they never won anything?

    The team had a defense of Langway, Stevens, and Murphy. Langway and Stevens were amazing in terms of a combination of nature physical strength and skating ability. Murphy and Stevens put up tons of points and Mike Gartner scored lots of goals but the teams never accomplished anything.

    Was it the goaltending that kept them back? I've seen the Easter Epic.....and the Capitals just couldn't get the job done despite seemingly having all the physical advantages....and the Islanders had no Potvin...no Bossy if I recall correctly.
     
  2. TheMoreYouKnow

    TheMoreYouKnow Registered User

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    I think they just didn't have enough top-end offensive talent. Gartner was their best forward but then you had guys like Christian and Gustafsson, good players but not quite up to par compared to Boston, Philly or even Montreal, never mind the Campbell powers.
     
  3. Boris Le Tigre

    Boris Le Tigre ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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    Very good teams. Calle Johanssen had some really good years for the Caps. Terrific goalkeeping too, with Liut and Peters and Beaupre at different times

    Mike Ridley, Dino C., Pivonka, G.Courtnall, Hunter... first game I ever saw was 88 I think. Habs vs. Caps.

    The Habs, Flyers, Bruins, Islanders, Sabres... All pretty good Wales conference teams at that time. Tough league with 21 teams.
     
  4. C77

    C77 Registered User

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    Thanks for answering :)

    It's rare to see a team with three hall of fame defensemen on it and none of them were in the twilight years.

    It must have been brutal for the 5-10 185 types of forwards going up against Stevens and Langway because those guys were like forces of nature on the ice.
     
  5. Poignant Discussion*

    Poignant Discussion* I tell it like it is

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    Murray has never been a very good playoff coach, basically did the same thing with Detroit after Washington
     
  6. arrbez

    arrbez bad chi

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    Add Kevin Hatcher and Calle Johansson as well. Really strong defense, at least on paper.
     
  7. Big Phil

    Big Phil Registered User

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    Just what I was going to say. I think it was 2007 with Ottawa where Murray finally got past the 2nd round of the playoffs only to collapse in the final. He had this nervous energy about him that felt as soon as you looked at him on the bench. He never looked calm, he always looked fidgety.

    Plus they never had a great playoff goalie and Gartner didn't have a lot of support at the top not to mention he didn't carry the Caps anywhere by himself.
     
  8. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    I remember those days well. The goal tending was ok, but not spectacular. The 1990 run had a lot to do with injuries to key players. Ah, the memories both good and bad.
     
  9. shazariahl

    shazariahl Registered User

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    Honestly, it was a good team, but there were a lot of other good teams then. The flyers were strong in the east. Edmonton and Calgary were both strong teams in the west. Does anyone really think the capitals of the late 80's could have beaten the Gretzky led Oilers in a best of 7? I for one do not.
     
  10. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    it seems like that team was really going to come into its own in the early 90s. but then stevens, ciccarelli, and courtnall were all shipped out or not signed-- ciccarelli a little later than the other two. there was a very good reason for this, whether or not those guys did what they were alleged to have done. they couldn't have stayed, and i don't think any of them wanted to.

    but they were strong into the 90s. they went all the way to the conference finals in '90 before they didn't match the stevens offer sheet.

    then they retooled, getting cote, iafrate, bondra, and others and always fielded deep teams with a lot of good solid players, but never having a true difference maker. lots of kelly millers and calle johanssons, but the patrick division teams they lost to in the playoffs had bourque, lemieux, turgeon, and messier. (okay, one name sticks out in that list.)
     
  11. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    I don't think my Caps would have withstood the Oilers, but I would have loved to have seen them try. 1988 and 1990 were excellent chances to see those potential mathups. To me, I think the 1992 team was the best Caps team to win the SC, but Jagr ruined those chances, not to mention the Caps blowing a 3-1 lead :(. Beaupre had heart, but he wasn't a playoff goalie for that kind of run. A Caps-Hawks final in 92 would have been entertaining. Losing Dino the following year for Kevin Miller hurt almost as bad as losing Stevens to FA. At least for Iafrate they got Juneau in return, but that was painful to me, being he is my favorite all time player :).
     
  12. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    I remember Hockey news back then had rumors about a Hatcher for Yzerman swap. Lol, of course I didn't believe it, but what a trade that would have been for the Caps. We missed out on Selanne in the mid-90s thanks to Abe.
     
  13. JaymzB

    JaymzB Registered User

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    there first problem was they played in the Wales, which was a much more difficult confrence than the Campbell. If they could have been lucky enough to play in the old Norris, they probably could have made the confrence finals every year from 82-90 (though, they would have been hard pressed to beat either Alberta team during that time).

    Like someone else mentioned, they never had elite offensive players either. Thay could have similar sucess as the Habs during that time (played a very similar defense first, tough game), but they never had a Patrick Roy in net either.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2011
  14. Marc the Habs Fan

    Marc the Habs Fan Moderator

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    Could they be compared to the Pronger-MacInnis era Blues of 1999-2004? HHOFers on defence, no stud goalie, lots of tough teams in their conference, etc.

    The one that has to hurt the most is the 1985-86 team that had 107 PTS and lost in round 2 to a Rangers team with only 78 PTS. Capitals would have had HIA against the Habs and if they had won that series, HIA against the Flames in the Finals.
     
  15. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Not really. Propp, Bossy, Eklund and Lafontaine were all smallish forwards that had big playoffs against the Caps.

    Kerr, Lemieux, and Jagr were big forwards that never had an issue with Langway/Stevens.

    Caps big three is all in the Hall, but in Stevens and Murphies case, mainly for what they did after they left Washington.

    Neither Howe or McCrimmon is in the Hall, yet from 84-88 I wouldn't have traded those two for Langway and Stevens.

    Potvin and then Howe were clearly the two best defenseman in the Patrick Division during the 80's (despite the Langway Norris trophy wins).
     
  16. vadim sharifijanov

    vadim sharifijanov ugh

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    hatcher for yzerman rumours? malarky or not, were there other names involved? seems crazy that anyone would ever suggest anything resembling that, even if you also threw in bondra and kolzig.
     
  17. txpd

    txpd Registered User

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    Goaltending. The Rod Langway Caps could have won multi cups during that time had they had the goaltending. Evidence, they had the last good playoff run of Mike Liut's career. Got him in a late season trade and they made it to the ECF that season. Had the Caps had Fuhr, the probably win 2 Cups or more. Had they had Kolzig, they win.


    They didnt and they became who they are today. A team with great potential that skates with extra pressure come playoffs.
     
  18. 12Kerr

    12Kerr Let's go Flyers

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    the Caps issue was they played better teams imho in their own division..Pittsburgh, Philly and even the Isles and 1 yr they lost to the Rangers...when they finally got out of their division in 1990 and played the Bruins for the Wales conference they choked and were swept 4 straight games.......so basically as someone stated above, very similiar to what we see now with this franchise...not so great goaltending and players with to much pressure on them....but I will say this about them......under Abe they were a very good ran franchise and now it seems like that is still true under their new owner Ted Leonis (spelling)....
     
  19. tony d

    tony d Registered User Sponsor

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    They where a good team with lots of talent, hard to believe that team only had 1 run to the final 4 of the playoffs. Great uniforms as well.
     
  20. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    That is what the Hockey News reported back in 1993 if I remember correctly. I have the issue put away in a box in storage now. I found it hard to believe it was a 1 for 1 rumor too, but that is what they reported. Yzerman was scoring like 60 goals that year too. I never liked Hatcher and felt he was way overated. This was the same time Lidstrom was a rookie or his second year, so the Wings were in market for a offensive style defenseman. If true, the Wings made the right choice not trading. To rub it in, Detroit ended up with Dino for Kevin Miller. 1993 seemed like the year the Caps wanted to have blood lines for some odd reason and they didn't want to give Dino the money he wanted.

    In regards to the 1990s Caps, I always said losing Stevens to FA cost us the chance of being what the mid 1990s New Jersey Devils became. Heck we might have won a cup even with Jim Carey in goal had we kept Stevens. Of course Brodeur can't be left out for the Devils either :). Abe might have kept us competitive, but he did not have the nerve to spend money on the right players, imo. If only we had Ted's money then.
     
  21. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    I love the old uniforms.
     
  22. Theokritos

    Theokritos Moderator

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    Newspaper sources:

    Ontario Spectator (June 17, 1992):
    "Last week, the hottest rumor making the rounds was a three-way deal between the Nords, Red Wings and Washington Capitals, with Lindros heading to Detroit, Steve Yzerman to the Caps and a package of players, highlighted by Kevin Hatcher, heading to Quebec."

    Washington Post (June 28, 1992):
    Capitals want RFA defenseman Dave Manson.
    "Having Manson might ... allow the Capitals to trade Hatcher for a top center - Detroit Coach Bryan Murray might give up Steve Yzerman for the right price. Capitals coaches and officials have always denied they will trade Hatcher, but the rumors persist."

    Washington Post (July 1, 1992):
    "Center Steve Yzerman is the Red Wing at the center of several rumors, including one for Hatcher. Though some would not trade Yzerman straight up for Hatcher, the Capitals management insist they wouldn't make it either." [Way way overrated. At least by the Washington management!]
     
  23. TheMoreYouKnow

    TheMoreYouKnow Registered User

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    Think about it from Wings management perspective in 1992, they had had high-scoring Yzerman for nine years and nothing to show for it. It was probably tempting to blow it up, but instead they ultimately just got rid of Murray which turned out to be the smart course of action.
     
  24. Boris Le Tigre

    Boris Le Tigre ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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    Before the Wings started to collect the amazing supporting cast that took their team to the next level (Fedorov, Lidstrom, Konstantinov, Chiasson, etc...), Yzerman had a lot of pressure and it was often said that the Wings will never win with Yzerman :shakehead

    Somewhat similar to the Joe Thronton criticisms. I hope it works out the same way for Joe. I like him too. And I think it would look good on the B's ... a team who is always given up on their guys.

    Consistency pays out. And an organization reaps the rewards.
     
  25. IafrateOvie34

    IafrateOvie34 Registered User

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    Very good points and thanks for posting those quotes from the papers. As years go forward, it is easy to forget those things. Yes, I do remember Yzerman getting the criticism now that I think about it. I'm sure Detroit is looking back and saying glad we didn't make a trade. I do recall Terry Murray saying he didn't want to take away from the defense in trades too which was are strength. One could say the current Predators team is similar to those old Caps team.
     

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