I think I can be pretty safe in saying that last night’s Caps game was a complete and utter dud on all levels. Tuesday night games are never that much fun, especially those against Western Conference opponents, and the crowd looked and sounded on TV as dead as the players looked. The Capitals looked sloppy, out of sync, and completely and utterly disinterested in playing at all. There was no “fire”, no “divine spark” as Colonel Chamberlain from the Gettysburg movie would say.
Here’s the greater issue: the Capitals have now lost four of their last six. And it probably should be five of their last six, except they were able to score a miracle goal to tie the Ducks with less than a minute to go in the third and follow that up with an OT goal last week.
We are rapidly coming up to the very first “crisis” mode of the season, because while the occasional bad loss can be accepted, there is no excuse for the level of talent on this team to just go through the motions and simply not care. They’re better than that, and with so many teams so bunched up closely together (due to the charity point), there are not many of those they can afford to have.
So how does the new “tough Boudreau” remedy this? Most certainly, there should probably be a gentle jostling of the roster before Friday’s game against New Jersey.
If Mike Green is available to play for that game (and a quick note to all you Green haters, Green hasn’t played since the Detroit game on October 22, which coincides with the current four out of six slide — that’s not a coincidence), I would sit Roman Hamrlik, who has been pretty dreadful the past few games. I would also look at sitting Alexander Semin, who took his sometimes-maddening game to new heights of maddening-ism last night by doing his typical “score a goal and then take a bunch of stupid minor penalties” gimmick.
“Accountability” should be the watchword for this team, and I give Mike Knuble all the credit in the world for coming out and saying that they played like “losers and clowns”. Strong words, sure, but words that need to be said nonetheless.
Laziness should not be accepted on any level, especially for a team that should be contending to win titles and is already dealing with the intense scrutiny of having failed in the playoffs for several years. Time will not wait for them to get it together, because this team is not going to be together in its current form forever.
If there’s any silver lining to last night’s game, it’s that I’m happy we’re having this conversation right now, in the early part of November, and not in the middle of April. But if the Caps keep mailing in performances and only showing up when they feel like showing up, there won’t be much of a season beyond the middle of April.