Post Game Reaction to Caps Loss

February 21, 2009 | Ed Frankovic

To say the Washington Capitals did not play well last night in a 4-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche would be an understatement. So rather than me trying to put some analysis to the game last night, which dropped the Caps record to 37-17-5 (tied for 2nd place in the Eastern Conference with New Jersey), I thought it would be better if I just passed on some quotes from both the Caps and Colorado on last night’s game. Here they are:

Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau:

On the loss to Colorado..
“I think 20 guys weren’t very good. You want to put a spin on it that way go ahead. We just didn’t have it. We had nothing. We looked horrible out there. I can’t read into their minds. Everybody had their bad game at the same time. When you win a lot of games in a row, you’re going to have a stinker and obviously you don’t want to have one, but you do. Today was it.”

On the Avalanche taking the Caps out of the game:
“We had a game plan that we really didn’t go by. We knew they were going to be strong defensively and they were really going to clog the middle and forecheck and play off our turnovers. We kept trying to force the puck through the middle. When you do that, then you get frustrated, then you try to start doing individual stuff and then it seems that [the] puck starts bouncing and you want to do everything right and nothing goes right. I give them [Colorado] credit. They played their game to a tee. I don’t know if they made us look bad or we were just real bad.”

On play of Capitals forwards perhaps not following the game plan:
“They didn’t decide [not to follow the game plan]. They just didn’t do what they were supposed to be doing. That’s not in our repertoire. Or we wouldn’t have a 37-17-5 record.”

On Caps not getting a lot of power-play chances tonight:
“We didn’t do anything for them to take a penalty. We got two half penalties. It seems like it’s a trend lately. You gotta work hard, go to the net and make them pull you down if you want to get penalties and we didn’t do it.”

On tonight’s loss and other losses this season:
“No more disappointed than any of the other losses we’ve had. We didn’t play well. It was in large amount due to the way they [Colorado] played. For whatever reason, we didn’t have the energy we normally have.”

On Capitals perhaps being fearful about getting called for more penalties after the first penalty was called on them tonight:
“I don’t think anybody on our team is afraid of anything. I don’t think fear was a factor. You get set to block all the shots in front of the net and they did a great job of controlling the boards. They’re one of the few teams this year I think that has controlled the boards better than we have. [Avalanche forward] Ryan Smyth has been doing it for many years and he’s one of the best, if not the best in the NHL at it.”

Caps Goalie Jose Theodore

On the play of the Capitals against Colorado..
“I didn’t think we played our game. I think they played a real solid game and we couldn’t get into their zone especially in the first two periods. We’ve got to play hard against every team. We can’t start picking our opponents. We’ve got [to] play the same way every game. We didn’t do that tonight. Bruce [Boudreau] said before the game that they would block the middle and that we would have to dump the puck and go get it ourselves. Tonight it seems that we didn’t really do it. We didn’t listen to the game plan so well. We couldn’t get into the zone.”

On playing against teams behind Washington in the standings…
“I would like to think not (play down to them), because obviously we’ve got to be ready for every team. We’ve lost some games against team that are behind us in the standings. If we lose a game and we play the way we usually play, then it’s a different story. But a game like tonight I don’t think we gave ourself a chance to win. We’ve got to play the same way when we play Boston.”

On focusing on the Pittsburgh game on Sunday…
“I think we’re all professional and that shouldn’t be the case. We’ve got to focus on the game we have to play tonight. Obviously it was my former team and I came ready to play. We didn’t do as well as we wanted. On the other side, I thought they played a really solid game.”

On the play of the Capitals defense…
“Tonight I thought the play with the puck was pretty good. I think the last couple of games have been really good with communication with our defensemen. I think there’s always room for improvement. Obviously we’ve got to talk out there.”

On Ryan Smith’s goal…
“That’s what he does. He kind of pokes at you. On the first goal I thought obviously on the second whack there should be a whistle but he kept whacking. That’s what he’s done all through his career.”

Capitals Forward Eric Fehr

On the play of the Capitals against Colorado..

“We had a lot of guys sitting back and we kept trying to force the issue up the middle which isn’t what we wanted to do, but it’s what we did for most of the game. We couldn’t get pucks deep. I don’t really see it as us playing down to their level. They are a quick team and they took advantage of their speed today and they clogged up the middle and we were trying to be a little too cute, a little too fancy going through the middle. That was their game plan and they executed it really well.”

On the game’s momentum…
“We had a couple of chances when it was 2-1 Colorado. We had a couple of open nets we couldn’t hit it and after that I think Colorado took the momentum and got a few on us. We were taking shots from far off and we didn’t have any net presence. He was seeing a lot of the stuff we were throwing at him tonight and that’s one of the reasons we couldn’t put it in.”

Colorado Head Coach Tony Granato

On the game…
“We came in and played a team that we had a lot of respect for. We had to be at our best. Today, from start to finish, was probably as solid a game as we’ve played all year. If you look at what we’ve done in the past week or so, we’ve played a lot of games like this. We didn’t win them all but we battled like crazy and fortunately we got reward tonight. We made some great points around the net. And we did a good job against their skill guys.”

On the team discipline…
“It’s a key against anybody – especially when you’re in control of the game and feel like you’re playing well. One thing that can change the momentum is a lazy penalty that they are able to capitalize on. We skated extremely well. We didn’t put ourselves in a position where we had to reach a lot tonight. Those are the penalties that kill you.”

On secret to controlling Ovechkin…
“Team defense for one. You can be in his face as much as you want, but if you don’t have the support behind you then it’s no good. Tonight away from the puck we supported the pressure we put on their skill guys with disciple and being in a position to where if they got beat, we were in a position to recover behind us.”

Colorado Goalie Andrew Raycroft

On the game…
“We did a great job. I think we took two penalties all night, both with 30 second left on our own. When you don’t let them have five or six power plays it makes a big difference to limit their chances.”

On his performance…
“Everything was from the wing and pretty straight forward. When we’re not giving up top quality chances – we have guys coming back to the middle – it’s pretty easy for me to stay on the shooter.”

On his defense…
“All six of our D [defensemen] were great tonight. Every time they got the puck they got it out or made the right play to the forward. We kept a great gap and were able to keep sticks on puck with those guys.”

Colorado Defensemen Adam Foote

On the key to the game…
“Our team did a nice job of not letting a lot of odd-man rushes. That was the key to tonight’s game I think. We didn’t have an open game with them.”

On satisfaction of beating Theodore…
“Nah, not at all. I don’t even think about it really. We are pretty much focusing on getting it back together.”

My final thoughts: When you read all of these quotes it is very apparent that the more focused team won on Friday. As Boudreau said, during the course of the season you are going to have some clunkers and considering that the Avs are the only Western Conference team Washington faces on this five game home stand (beat Montreal Wednesday, have Pittsburgh on Sunday, the Flyers on Tuesday, and the Thrashers on Thursday) this is the one game I did expect them to not be as focused.

I expect a more spirited effort tomorrow against Pittsburgh, which is on NBC at 1230pm.

Other notes: The Capitals recorded their seventh consecutive sellout, just one shy of the club record for consecutive sellouts in one season (Sunday’s game is already sold out and will tie the record). Fourteen of the last 15 games have been sold out. Four of the five Capitals home losses and 10 of their 17 regulation losses this season have come against Western Conference opponents.