For a moment, the puck just sat there by the Washington Capitals bench.
It shouldn’t have—those were precious seconds wasted as the Capitals executed a personnel change, and Mike Green, caught with the puck near Winnipeg’s blueline thanks to his power play positioning, had the opponent breathing in his face. He was forced to pass the puck almost horizontally across the ice to no one in particular, and it made a mockery of the Capitals’ lackluster effort as it sat, briefly untouched, tantalizingly close to their bench.
Awkward personnel changes may be expected while learning a new system, but that wasn’t the heart of the Capitals’ problem Tuesday. Head coach Adam Oates said in his postgame press conference that, on the bench, they saw the lack of energy and were concerned about it.
“The guys looked like they didn’t have much in the tank,” Oates said, suggesting everything that’s happened (or rather, didn’t happen) this season might have played a role, particularly in the players’ gam