All season long I’ve praised the Washington Capitals from the coaching staff to the players, and rightly so.
They’ve done a lot of good things to turn what was a train wreck following the 2013-14 season into a year that should translate back into playoff hockey again in these parts.
Having said that, this team is going nowhere in the post season if Sunday is any indication of the way they will coach and play come April.
Starting with Coach Barry Trotz to his assistants to the players themselves, they were downright AWFUL on Sunday against the Flyers.
Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers, the most despised team in Washington Capitals history.
To top it off, they not only turned in their worst performance of the season against their arch rivals, they did it on Smokin’ Al Koken day, who has put in a stellar 30 years of covering this franchise.
It started with lousy lineup decisions, continued with lackluster play, and finished with poor in game adjustments and player deployments.
It was so bad and terrible that I don’t know where to start, but losing to those punks from up I-95 means more than just two points lost, in my book.
In addition, a chance to bury the Flyers for good and catch the Penguins in the standings went by the wayside.
So to Barry and the boys: You Really Stunk on Sunday!
Do you understand what this match up means to the fan base?
If so, you sure as heck didn’t play like it.
I’m still scratching my head.
Seriously, what was that lineup? I understand why Andre Burakovsky, who was playing extremely well on the second line, was scratched Friday (so goalie Philipp Grubauer could come up and start), but to sit him today and keep Jason Chimera on the second line was mind boggling. To top it off, Chimera received 4:06 of power play time while better players named Brooks Laich and Eric Fehr received hardly any. That’s just bad player deployment.
Chimera is exactly what he is, a bottom six forward. Burakovsky has the potential to be a star in this league and has been gradually improving. Given the lack of assets that will likely be available at the NHL trade deadline, now is the time to be developing #65, not sitting him while trying to showcase a guy who everyone in the league already knows is a bottom six forward.
Burakovsky helped set up both of the first goals for Washington in the Kings and Senators games, but what did that get him? Two straight scratches! What are these coaches thinking? Play the man!
There was ZERO reason to have both Chimera and Michael Latta in over Burakovsky, end of story.
As for the guys who dressed, they probably didn’t need to shower afterwards given the lack of effort. The Caps had only 14 shots on net and they had SIX power plays (the zebras seemed to be in the Caps corner for once, perhaps trying to help Smokin’ Al get his due on his day?). That shot total is just AWFUL.
It was clear that the Flyers were well prepared for the Caps. They blocked the typical zone entries on the power play and took away the usual passing lanes. The Caps coaching staff made no good in game adjustments. In addition to having Chimera on for too much PP time, they also had Tom Wilson on in the final stages of the game. So what did he do with the game still within reach? He took a stupid boarding penalty. #43 has been regressing lately so why are you playing him over Burakovsky, as well?
Bottom line, all of the coaches and the entire team should endure a massive bag skate tomorrow before they get ready to head for the West Coast.
They probably also should give the fans who attended the game and paid money to watch that garbage performance some kind of a future discount or some pay back for the bad hockey.
Being prepared and bringing it against a team that you despise is a prerequisite for a franchise that wants to win their division and go deep in the playoffs.
On Sunday, the Capitals showed us that they maybe aren’t the team we thought they were by losing to a bad hockey team in the Flyers.
It was ugly, pitiful hockey and coaching and they all should FEEL SHAME!
Notes: Flyers goalie Steve Mason was injured mid game and replaced by Ray Emery. The Caps failed to take advantage of that…Alex Ovechkin had the only Caps goal, on the PP, his 33rd of the season..the ice at the Verizon Center was worse than usual…Washington heads out west for three games in California and then a stop in Pittsburgh on the way back…Matt Niskanen fought and beat up Scott Laughton. The Flyer felt he needed some retribution for skating with his head down and getting his clock cleaned in the game on January 14th. It’s a stupid modern day hockey code that clean hits apparently have to be answered by a fight. It makes me sick, puke, blah…very much like today’s game.