Found March 28, 2012 on
Much has been said about why the Washington Capitals have had such an unexpectedly difficult season — most of the excuses focus around long-term injuries to all-star defenseman Mike Green and prolific center Nicklas Backstrom. Some have also opined that the Capitals have had difficulty learning the new system necessitated by the replacement of head coach Bruce Boudreau by Dale Hunter two months into the season. Last night, however, Caps fans learned the ‘final answer’ as to the reason for their difficulties: the team doesn’t want to win badly enough to pay the price. Sure, there are exceptions to that statement, but the 5-1 thrashing at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres provided every single fan proof of what we’d begrudgingly to come to realize over the past 77 games.
To a man, the Caps players and coaches all said the right things going into last night’s game. It’s not worth listing a bunch of quotes to prove that — take it on faith that they knew how important the game was to their playoff chances. So, if they knew it, why didn’t they play like they cared?
There’s no other way to describe their performance other than to say it was an embarrassment. Buffalo showed up to play — Washington did not. Buffalo scored twice in the first period, and although Braden Holtby’s inexperience between the pipes in critical situations played into both of the goals, he had little, if any, help from his blue liners.
The Sabres lit the lamp again early in the second period. Alexander Semin’s goal about two minutes later brought Washington back to within two. When Buffalo was called for hooking with three minutes remaining in the period, the Verizon Center crowd seemed to believe they had a chance if the Caps could score on the power play — they would head into the dressing room down by only one. Instead, Alex Ovechkin at the blue line not only failed to keep the puck in the offensive zone, but was manhandled and beaten by a Sabre who was smaller and 45 pounds lighter. The result was a shorthanded goal for the Sabres and the end of any hope that the Capitals could pull another rabbit out of the hat.
The Twitter comments on the Capitals mobile website were telling — although many shared the same sentiment, the one that said ‘the most important game of the season and the Caps don’t show up’ pretty much told the story.
Washington played like they really weren’t willing to do what it would take to beat Buffalo — and to make a big step toward making the playoffs. If they couldn’t get up for this game, there’s not much hope that they will, and — in the end — that’s probably better than getting in and being swept (and embarrassed) by the number one seed in the East.
Let’s Go Caps!
BEST OF MAXIM
Washington Capitals goaltender Tomas Vokoun left Thursday's game against the Boston Bruins with a lower-body injury.
Vokoun, who has been bothered by a groin injury since last month, was hurt with 1:35 left in the first period. The team said he was doubtful to return.
Michal Neuvirth replaced Vokoun, who was making his fourth appearance in the last 18 games.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will accompany the team to Boston for Thursday's game against the Bruins, although he is not expected to play.
Backstrom was cleared for full participation in practice over the weekend and passed his baseline concussion test Tuesday.
He has been sidelined with a concussion since Jan. 3 following a hit to the head by then-Calgary...
The Braden Holtby bashing has already begun, thanks to Tuesday’s loss to the Sabres where Holtby was pulled after allowing 3 goals on 18 shots.
That’s bad, but people are also blowing it out of proportion: using Holtby’s performance Tuesday as vindication that it was the wrong decision to start him, that he doesn’t belong playing at the NHL level, and that the blame...
The Washington Capitals lost a goalie, a forward and a 2-0 lead.
And they still managed to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Brooks Laich scored in the fourth round of a shootout to give Washington a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on Thursday night and help the Capitals hold onto the eighth spot in the East.
Washington is tied with Buffalo with 86 points; the...
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider, While each team in a playoff position in the Eastern Conference has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, nearly all of them have one thing in common – a go-to option in net.
But with five games remaining in the regular season and a trip to the postseason on the line, the Capitals don’t have the luxury of a clear-cut top goaltender...
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider, The Capitals were quick to try to push the memory of their ugly 5-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday night behind them and focus on the future. The defeat cost them some control over that future, though, and makes their margin for error extremely thin heading into the final five games of the season.
While Washington isn’t out of the...
Chimera received 5 for charging and a game, Mcquaid will not return.
Check out this hit by Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera on Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid. Chimera was given a five minute major and a game misconduct for this hit. Don't expect any further discipline from the Vice President of Players Safety Brendan Shanahan because the hit happened to a Boston Bruins player Chimera doesn'...
The Washington Capitals did it all Thursday night, defeating the Boston Bruins in a shootout 3-2 at TD Garden to keep their playoff hopes alive. After an uneventful first 40 minutes left the game scoreless, the Capitals scored two goals, one each from Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson in the third period’s first 12 minutes. They only saw it slip away late in the third as...
Caps Correspondent Brad Parker returns after a wild and crazy night.
1. Chimmer got ejected in the 1st period for a questionable hit.
2. While killing off the five-minute major, starting goalie Tomas Vokoun re-aggravated his lower body injury and left the game.
3. Michal Neuvirth entered the game and Braden Holtby left the press box and went to the locker room just in case.
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post, George McPhee doesn’t get many things wrong. But the Capitals general manager’s decision to tap into tough-guy nostalgia, have Hunter be the taskmaster to replace Bruce Boudreau, the players’ coach whom the locker room allegedly tuned out, was absolutely the wrong move.
Half of the Verizon Center crowd shuffled dejectedly out of the building...
The Washington Capitals were on ice Friday for a practice following their heart-stopping 3-2 shootout win over the Bruins on Thursday night. Some updates from Kettler Capitals Iceplex:
Only ten players were on ice for the optional skate: Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth, Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Cody Eakin, Joel Ward, Jeff Halpern, Jeff Schultz, and John Erskine...
Brooks Laich scored in the fourth round of the shootout as the visiting Washington Capitals stayed in the hunt for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Bruins.
Laich fooled Tim Thomas with a quick move to the backhand, firing the puck top corner, following a pad save from Michal Neuvirth on Rich Peverley.
The Washington Capitals were on ice Wednesday for an optional practice following their 5-1 beatdown at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. Some updates from Kettler Capitals Iceplex:
Only four players took to the ice for the skate: Nicklas Backstrom, Joel Ward, Tomas Vokoun, and Jeff Halpern. It seems a curious message to send; not only have an optional skate but also only have...
8 a.m. ET: The Bruins have strung together three straight victories, their longest win streak since a seven-game run all the way back in December. But extending that streak to four won't be easy when a desperate Washington Capitals club comes to the Garden on Thursday. Washington is battling for its playoff life, currently sitting in ninth place in the East. The Capitals are...