Just lie down, Schultzy. It’ll all be over soon. (Photo credit: Scott Audette)
In Paddy Chayesfsky’s Network, seasoned newsman Howard Beale has a nervous breakdown on live television. At the height of frustration, he compels his viewers to open up their windows and shout, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Don’t know why that popped into my head just now.
The Washington Capitals’ appointment with the Tampa Bay Lightning was supposed to be an impassioned affair: two tied Southeast teams battling for the division lead. That did not happen. The Caps, perhaps reeling from last night’s overtime loss to the Panthers, never really suited up. The ever-improving Lightning took control of the game and never relented.
Dominic Moore waited for the power play to end before scoring, exploiting some lazy defensive work by Washington. Sean Bergenheim followed up with a home-run swing at one of Semyon Varlamov’s flying rebounds. And then Simon Gagne grabbed a loose puck and beat the overwhelmed Varly on the breakaway. The Caps didn’t even try. Bolts beat Caps 3-0.
Adios, division lead. The Capitals just didn’t want it. The Lightning outchanced them 17 to 9, the worst differential all season (-10 vs. Buffalo on Nov 13). The Caps consistently coughed up pucks on their own blue line, had no solvent for Tampa’s trap, and looked grumpy on the ice for the entire hour.
I don’t get it. They’re playing professional hockey. If you were playing professional hockey, you’d jump out of bed every morning, clap your hands, and count the precious seconds until puck drop. If you were facing your division rival in a high-stakes match for first place, you’d be an unstoppable whirlwind of high fives and ninja kicks. The Caps should have played you instead of the Eeyores they had filling out the roster.
The boys fly home tonight and will take a day to prepare for the best of the west, the Vancouver Canucks, with their Sedins and their Luongo and a whole bunch of other guys we usually ignore until May. So let’s hope the boys rediscover the passion in the next 40 hours. Because I’m not saying we’re Howard Beale right now, but we’re not that far off either.
Additional pessimism by Neil Greenberg.
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