After an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs that had the Capitals admitting that they have to play better, the are many questions about what’s next and what the team must do to pull itself out of this tailspin.
It could include change, though whether any moves will be made and if they would involve players or coaches is uncertain. General Manager George McPhee typically does not publicly discuss these types of issues and he did not comment after Saturday’s game at Air Canada Centre when asked to give Coach Bruce Boudreau a vote of confidence.
Asked what the coach told the team, Troy Brouwer said the players need to take responsibility for this slide, which has reached four consecutive games, 1-5-1 in the last six games and 3-7-1 in the past 11.
“Just that we’re obviously a better team than we’re showing right now. He just wants us to make sure that we’re playing good hockey, and giving ourselves a chance to win. And right now we’re not doing that,” Brouwer said. “He’s got to — with the coaches, they’ve got to find a way to make us get going. And us as players need to take it upon ourselves. There’s a lot that we need to fix around here right now. I think we have the guys in here to do it, and luckily it’s early.”
The snowball-like nature of this slump, going from minor problems to a blowout in a poor performance, may impact whether alterations are made. With six of the next seven games at home it’s probably a safe bet that much depends on how Washington fares in the coming days.
The Capitals play four games in six nights this holiday week, which gives plenty of opportunity to begin a turnaround or fall further off track.
“We’ve struggled probably the last  games now, we haven’t been playing well,” Dennis Wideman said. “Even when we were winning those seven games there were a lot of games there we got outplayed and our goalies stood on their heads and got us those wins. It’s been going on for awhile. If we don’t correct it soon we’re going to find ourselves looking up.”
Said Boudreau, when asked how the Capitals would get out of their slump: “You just have to work hard. You’ll get out of it. We’ll get out of it. You work hard, and it’s four games. It went from losing in a shootout, to controlling the game until the last 30 seconds, to losing fairly bad, to getting smoked. It feels like the end of the world, but it’s not the end of the world.”