Head coach Todd Reirden and the players who spoke with the media after the Game Seven double-overtime loss to the Hurricanes were exhausted, disappointed, and visibly upset.
But we’re here for the team when they win and we’re here for the team when they lose. Misery loves company. Let’s embrace the pain together, Caps fam.
Holtby made 38 saves in Game Seven–17 of those in overtime–but it was the shots he didn’t save that he was thinking about after the game. “If I make that save, it’s a different story,” he said.
“Myself, and our group, we just weren’t good enough,” Holtby added, mostly speaking from below the brim of his pulled-down baseball cap. “I’ve got to come up with more saves in order to win a series. That’s pretty much the bottom line. It’s not easy right now.”
Brooks Orpik had a challenging season even before the season started. After the trade-that-wasn’t to the Avalanche, he came back to be part of the leadership group that Rierden credited with being strong all season.
“It’s a tough one to swallow,” Orpik said of the loss. “I don’t know if ‘unacceptable’ is the right word, but, you’ve got to be able to maintain those leads, especially on home ice, and this time of the year.”
While taking responsibility for his team’s weakness, he also spoke highly of the Hurricanes. “We made mistakes, but they played great all series, so it wasn’t just us. Eventually, you’ve got to give them credit at some point.”
Nicklas Backstrom led the Capitals in playoff scoring with five goals in seven games and was behind only Alex Ovechkin in points with eight total. But it was their failure to capitalize on the powerplay that was on his mind.
“We need to do a better job there,” he said. “At least get a shot on net. That’s tough.”
John Carlson stepped up for the Capitals in the absence of Michal Kempný, helping to lead a young and relatively-inexperienced defensive core. But he said having a long history with a team that’s been so successful made the loss harder to take. “Every opportunity you miss is devastating, really.
“You only get to do this for so long…It’s everything. It hurts.”
This was Todd Reirden’s first season as a head coach, his first season leading a team to the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and his first time delivering the post-mortem shortly after admitting defeat. He was candid about his team’s performance, complimentary of Carolina’s, and really really bummed.
(Also his presser was ten minutes long which is painful for everyone involved but especially for people transcribing Todd Reirden while he tries not to lose it.)
“I’m extremely proud of our guys,” Reirden said, also repeatedly stressing the strength of the team’s leadership group. “They battled right to the end, left it all out there, absolutely. Our top guys were great leaders through the whole process of defending the championship.”
The team’s goal since last year’s win was to win it again; to go back-to-back. But they “came up short of our goal,” Reirden said, “and that’s disappointing.”
Reirden said he would speak more about the team’s weaknesses at the final media availability on Friday after reviewing the game more in depth.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) April 25, 2019
“I’m going to stick with the fact that I’m proud of our guys for battling through adversity,” he summed up. “We never quit until the very end.”
Headline photo: Capitals
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