Matt Bradley may have surprised some of his old teammates by speaking out earlier this month about the Capitals’ lack of discipline, but they don’t all disagree with his candid assessment.
“It's not like he went out and told lies,” former Capitals forward David Steckel told The Post’s Tarik El-Bashir and other reporters Wednesday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Bradley “didn't really say anything bad about anybody. He just stated what he felt."
Bradley, now a member of the Florida Panthers, told Ottawa’s TEAM 1200 that ex-teammate Alexander Semin “just doesn’t care,” and that the Russian sniper didn’t show up when Washington needed him in the playoffs. Bradley also spoke at length about the Capitals’ caste system that rewards underperforming stars and a lack of focus in the dressing room.
"First reaction was like, 'Brads, what did you do?'” Steckel said. “Then I read the transcript and, I mean, it's Brads. It's not like he's somebody breaking into the league telling things that nobody knows about already. He's an elder statesman in the league; he's been around and he's in a different organization now.”
"The transcript I read, there was nothing that shocking at all, that blew me away," he added.
Steckel, who was dealt to New Jersey in March, was skating with his former teammates because he and his wife are selling their Northern Virginia home this week.
Asked if he was surprised that Bradley called out Semin, Steckel said: “I wasn't there for the questions leading up to it, but I'm pretty sure there was one about playoff success and maybe how come that group of guys ...doesn't play well in playoffs. I'm sure Semin's name was thrown out there."
Reminded that it was Bradley who brought up Semin, without prompting, Steckel said: “Okay, well, there you go. I don't know what's going on.”
Laughing, he added: “I don't have anything to say on what Brads said except that he was spot on. He mentioned Ovi, too, just not on a negative side. He hit it on the head for both guys."
When the conversation turned to Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Steckel was just as forthcoming. Crosby suffered a concussion as a result of a collision with Steckel in the Winter Classic in January and has not played since.
"I see the ticker. It's unfortunate," Steckel said. "I had no intent to injure him. I feel just as bad as anybody. I don't want to see anybody out of the game for that long. It's bad enough with everything that's going around with other guys [and] head [injuries]. It's just so uncertain. I feel bad. I wish him the best. I don't wish that upon anybody."