Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"It Happens"

After being bombarded by clean air activists getting off the blue line and cut off by a group of healthcare nut jobs (both for and against), I was going to regale myself in the post game sports quotes from the Capitals debacle game against Buffalo. I was expecting some anger, maybe some embarrassment. But these are the quotes I was saddled with.

“It was one of those games where both teams came out and it wasn’t a cat and mouse game, it was wide open hockey game and we took the brunt of it.” -Dale Hunter

“I don’t think we played bad. We just made bad mistakes in our zone. [On their shorthanded goal] I should play [the puck] with my skate, not my stick, but it happens.” -Alex Ovechkin

"Then the fourth goal comes around the boards and handcuffs him [ Alex Ovechkin]. I’ve been in that position and turned it over there before too… There’s nothing you can do.” -Brooks Laich

“We were going to the net pretty hard. We had chances, but again he [Ryan Miller] was on his game." -Hunter

"Took the brunt of it?" "There's nothing you can do?" "It happens?". This doesn't sound like a team fighting for their playoff lives. It sounds like a team collective shoulder shrug. A "Oh shucks, well, we will get them next year" attitude.

Honestly, give me some of that Olaf Kolzig competitiveness who would take it out on his sticks at practice. I want this team to speak from clenched teeth after a loss like that. I want to hear stuff like "We were an embarrassment out there." "If that is our best, our best is not good enough." "That was unacceptable."

Maybe it is because we live in the era of sporting political correctness. Athletes speaking in cliché rather than expressing themselves truthfully to fans. Or blame it on a long season of ups and downs that has worn this team to the core and this is the best they can do.

Their quotes, their attitude, their excuses reeks of resignation. The Caps inconsistencies have been the death of them all season. The attitude is one of being "okay" with it is a frustrating thing to hear and read.

They have a coach now that comes out with even-keeled emotion, blaming another loss on a good goaltender having an "on" night. This from a player that once found it hard to contain emotion in both word and action off and on the ice.

Where is the passion? The competitiveness? The breaking sticks in the locker room?

Maybe behind closed doors there is screaming in the face of teammates, or breaking furniture with frustrated abandon. And those sticks don't come cheap these days. But to say to the fan faithful, "it happens" is almost a slap in the face of season ticket holders who wish nothing more than success for this team.

With talk of the sun setting on this organization in terms of winning the Cup, I guess I expected a cornered animal approach to how the Caps play when their playoff hopes are on the line. Instead I just hear excuses for marginal play.

Sure, credit the Sabres for their effort. They did a great job on the road, getting a win they needed. But with half the "talent" the Caps possess, the Sabres showed more grit and determination that we would like to think the Capitals have. We have sen it from them before. We saw them defy the odds to win the Southeast Division on the last game of the season. Which makes it all that more frustrating to sit through games like last night.

There are now just five games left for the Caps. Time is waning, but still doable. That is if that "It" stops happening.

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