The Washington Capitals have not played well for weeks and panic is setting in. Thursday night against the Penguins, the Caps looked lethargic and disinterested, falling behind 3-0 before battling back late in the game. In overtime, Sidney Crosby roofed a backhanded shot past Braden Holtby on a breakaway, giving the Penguins a 4-3 win. The goal marked the Caps first three-game losing streak of the season. They’ve also lost five of their last seven games.
During his post-game press conference, an exasperated Barry Trotz had strong words for several unnamed Capitals, threatening roles, ice time, and postseason scratches.
“We have to ramp our game up,” Trotz said.
Trotz gives his thoughts on how the Caps played during their 4-3 (OT) loss to the Penguins:
I thought our play in the first period, there was way too much cheat in our game. [I was] disappointed. Too many odd man rushes – all that. I know they flip pucks. We know what they do. There was too much cheat, not enough detail. And not enough work. I say you can’t go around games you have to go through them. And we weren’t willing to go through them early.
Pittsburgh’s playing really well. They’re playing fast. They’re playing with a lot of determination with the puck. We didn’t have those [qualities]. I didn’t like the start of the second [period]. We had a little chat [during the first intermission]. Then we started to come at the end of the period. Obviously I liked our third [period] but I didn’t like the penalties. We took too many. The third period is the team I’m more accustomed to. We got determined and played the right way. We played hard and we matched their work ethic. And that’s when good things happen for us.
Thursday marked the Caps’ first three-game losing streak of the year. They’ve also lost five of the last seven games. Is there any concern?
I gotta trust the group that they’ll perform, but I need some guys to start being productive. We’ve got some players who haven’t done much for us in the last little while. They’ll have to figure it out. When you get to the playoffs — we’re two games from the playoffs — when we start, if you’re not going, you’ll probably be out or moved down the line-up. It’s the first one to four [wins]. We have no time to wait for a guy to get going. So if guys have waited too long to get going, then that’ll be on them. They’ll either move down the line-up or if you’re going good, you’ll move up.
Trotz on how the Caps are limping into the playoffs:
I’d like to have a better record, but if you look at the last 40 games, we’re like 25-11 and whatever it is on the overtime losses. Our record would stand up pretty good against everybody, but everybody is used to us ramping off a whole bunch of wins. We have to ramp our game up. There’s no question.
Trotz on Wilson’s boarding penalty:
Today [Wilson’s problem] was decision [making]. I think he’s played much more disciplined but I just thought it was a poor decision.
Was his ice time limited?
He didn’t play other than to kill penalties.
Is that a strong enough message?
What? Send him to jail? I’m not sure. What would you like for me to do? No, I think it’s a clear message.
Trotz on how the Caps looked to him on the bench:
I thought we looked slow. I thought we looked like we haven’t played for a while. We’re playing teams that are in high gear right now and we’re not there yet. This has to be a pretty good wake-up call. It has to be.
Are these two games enough to get it together?
Yeah. We don’t have any choice so…
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.