Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Good-Bye Playoffs

Capitals 1, Thrashers 5
Scoresheet - Wash Post - AJC

This team is done, they aren't going to be playoff contenders. There is no longer any talk of making the post season, talks are now about just getting a win. The Capitals aren't moving their feet, they are not scoring and they are not winning. That is the bottom line.

The "Fire Hanlon" jeers filled the Verizon Center late in the second and carried over into the third, and fans trickled out with seven minutes left. Even the television commentators were doing wrap ups of the game with just under six minutes left in the game.

Just like the laundry that piles in the corner of my bedroom, it's not the single shirt or single pair of pants that make the laundry pile stink. It's the whole pile of clothes that keep adding up that makes the mess. It's roughly the same for the Capitals. Each game itself sometimes doesn't seem that bad, but the accumulations of the losses is making quite the stinky mess that has my wife throw scorn looks my way. Clearly the laundry has to be taken to the cleaners, make what ever connection to the coaching/management staff you want.

Alex Ovechkin scored on a power play chance to give the Capitals a one goal lead, after that it was 5 unanswered goals by the Atlanta Thrashers. The players on the bench are clearly not into the game. They are doing just the minimum, doing what the coach is telling them to do, but there is no extra sacrifice being made by players other than Ovechkin and a few (very few) others.

The Capitals had the same chances to score the Thrashers had. Atlanta took advantage of theirs, the Capitals didn't. There was no jump in their play. The Caps looked beyond lost on the ice on more than one occasion and there just was no connection, no chemistry. It lead to a lot of standing around and watching the play.

Why are the Caps not pulling players from Hershey? Why is McPhee and Hanlon staying with the same roster, just line juggling? Where is Steve Eminger? Where is Ben Clymer? Why are these players still on the sidelines when the Caps need help? Why is the management trading players for draft picks if they need others to step up? Why aren't these questions being asked and/or answered?

From AP: "General manager George McPhee was present but declined to answer questions." And the Wash Post: "Asked to address his team's woes outside the locker room, General Manager George McPhee declined to comment." What, is asking questions to the general manager against team policy?

"'It snowballed,' Capitals defenseman Brian Pothier said. 'We were careless. We made some plays that burnt us.'" I think it's more the lack of "plays" that is the problem.

Bobby Holik (in his infinate wisdom) had an interesting quote in the Atlanta Journal Constitution: "'They played like they wanted to get their coach fired, but that's another story,' Holik said."

On a side note, if the Capitals wanted to be back in the hunt for the playoffs they would have to win their next 5 straight and the Lightning, Maple Leafs, Thrashers, Panthers, Penguins, Devils and Sabres would all have to lose during that span for the Capitals to overtake them in the standings. The Tampa Bay Lightning are currently in 8th place in the Eastern Conference
with 22 points, the Caps are stuck in neutral (and in last) with a meager 13 points. (stats as of Nov. 21)

Oh and if you were paying attention, the Hershey Bears just won their 4th straight. They had clutch goals by Chris Bourque on the power play and Joe Motzko with the game winner.

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