“Slip Slidin’ away, slip slidin’ away. You know the nearer your destination, the more you’re slip slidin’ away.” – Paul Simon
That song pretty much sums up the Caps season right now. The closer they are getting to playing all 82 games, the closer they are getting to missing the playoffs for the first time in seven seasons.
On Tuesday night, without Alexander Ovechkin, the Caps not only lost, but they failed to score a single goal against the Ottawas Senators in a 2-0 defeat.
There isn’t much to say about this game, it was a listless effort outside of a handful of players. Goalie Braden Holtby returned to the starting role and played a decent game, but his club didn’t give him any help. The Senators are a team that is too fast for Washington, and it is really looking like the Caps roster just isn’t fast or quick enough to play Coach Adam Oates’ pressure the puck system. There are far too many odd man rushes against and the Caps have no offensive identity outside of their captain.
They fail to get pucks and bodies to the net and on Tuesday they showed little resolve or passion for the game.
Bottom line, this team is getting worse. Sure, they’ve had some decent outings where they looked like they were going to turn a corner, like the game against San Jose just a week ago, but those type of efforts and performances have been few and far between. The ratio of quality games by this club compared to poor ones is not good at all.
I’ve blogged several times about the need for trades to correct an unbalanced roster but nothing has been able to get completed despite several trade requests. Granted it takes two to tango, but something needs to be done before the Capitals are reduced to just playing for a lottery pick.
Washington has had three coaches in just over 2 years and this team has continued to slide. One of those deposed coaches is sitting at the top of the NHL standings right now. I don’t see how a coaching change, whether the players are working hard for Oates or not, would get things turned around at this point? It seems that something more drastic is needed given that the same mistakes and lackadaisical efforts continue.
This team is headed in the wrong direction and an area that has really taken to hockey in the Ovechkin era is getting impatient and is not happy. Owner Ted Leonsis acknowledged it in his blog on Monday morning, citing that he feels “the heat.”
Well the temperature went up after Tuesday’s loss and the fans are not happy, at all. A five game road trip starts on Friday. There don’t appear to be any quick fixes for this club, but the hockey department, coaching staff, and players quickly need to get a plan together to turn this sinking ship around.
Right now, it looks like there isn’t any plan based on the effort I saw on Tuesday night following the debacles in Columbus and New York.
A plan needs to be found and implemented before this season is lost and the fans start tuning out.