On Wednesday, we asked readers whether they thought the Capitals needed to make a significant personnel move before the trade deadline in order to snap out of their doldrums. Opinions varied, but one prevailing sentiment seemed to be that the Caps' main issue is less with personnel and more with unenergetic play.
Part of that may be attributed to a style shift -- a wide-open attack is going to appear at first blush to be "more energetic" than a more conservative, defense-first approach -- but whatever the source, questions will persist until the victories arrive.
fanohock1 expressed the prevailing sentiment of readers: "I agree with everyone saying something is jacked up with the team. They simply do not believe. I don't know if it is BB they don't believe in, or if they have just completely lost their confidence. They do look like they are in total disarray."
So whose responsibility should it be to flip that switch in the Capitals' locker room? The two natural possibilities are the coach and the captain, and certain readers of this blog found fault with each.
Gonchpup yesterday put the onus squarely on the shoulders of the man wearing the 'C': "I think the D personnel is fine. Maybe not the tough, nasty type some would prefer to see, but they are getting the job done. Still need to improve on not giving up the odd-man rushes, but a vast improvement over last year. Same with the PK. Fix what needs to be fixed. The talent is here but the desire is not. Ovie is the catalyst but it's just not taking hold. Though not nearly as talented, Chris Clark was a much better Capt. - didn't see him skipping practices and played hurt most of his last 2 years here. A captain needs to SHOW character... not BE one."
Meantime, yesisaiditfirst was equally direct in another direction: "It's the same coach as the last 3 years - I think its the players not all giving their all. Play is sporadic at best. Some guys come out and dominate and then the next shift pull out a lame effort....fix that. Thing is BB will always point out 12 games above .500 and many teams like to trade places with us - but most of these guys are not playing hard all the time."
So with a key game coming up Friday night, who is mainly responsible for making sure the Capitals are ready to play their best?