Capitals Searching for Answers After Fifth Straight Loss

BackstromBattle

Photo: Scott Levy

For the second game in a row, the Capitals got blown out. The same things were to blame for Friday’s 5-1 defeat to Columbus and Sunday’s 4-1 loss to New York: dumb penalties and turnovers. What’s troubling, though, it’s that the players and the coaching staff recognized this after Friday’s loss. However, the mistakes only got worse against the Rangers. Washington has now lost five straight games.

“We shot ourselves in the foot,” head coach Adam Oates told reporters after the game before ticking off the team’s shortfalls. “They didn’t really have to earn it.”

“We’re fighting an uphill battle,” he continued.

Oates’s players echoed his comments.

“We just can’t get those penalties,” goaltender Philipp Grubauer, who was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots, said. “I don’t think we can win games when we sit in the box 20, 25 minutes a game. Five-on-five has been good.”

Tomorrow, the Caps will practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in preparation for the next game on Tuesday. Six of the next seven games are on the road. Right now, the Capitals aren’t a playoff team. And they know that.

“We’re one step behind them where we should be one step ahead of them,” said Nicklas Backstrom, one of the team’s alternate captains. “We’re in a slump right now, that’s for sure. It’s tough.”

“It has to come from us, the leaders: myself, Ovi, Greener, Brooks, Brouwer, Chimmer, all the experienced guys,” he concluded. “We gotta really stick together here and make sure we battle through it. It’s tough but I think we’re gonna turn this around. We’re gonna do it next game I think. We’re gonna be much stronger after that.”

  • James Desautels

    If you pull the Caps recaps and post games from exactly a year ago, and prob the past 5 years, they prob sound exactly the same about this time of year. Same s@&$, new year. Make it count on ice or its all talk.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Troy is right.

  • Matthew Burdash
  • kemiisto

    It was evident that the Caps will be out of play-off playing Oates’ hockey. It was just the matter of time.

  • Yo8

    I just clicked on the Antoine Dodson video hahaha! It never gets old.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Really need to fill some holes on the blueliners. What ever happened to Nate Schmidt? Metaphorically speaking I think Jeff Schultz May have been the glue…nah heck no just kidding :)

  • Unofficial Capital

    Fire GMGM.. It’s time..

  • Ryan Glynn

    20-19-8
    90-84-16
    25-21-42
    10-83-43

    I need to see something happen. Go caps

  • Ryan Glynn

    Only reason is so low is cuz he has not produced despite great chances in front of the net

  • Ryan Glynn

    Erat

  • B. Jasper

    I said it before and I’ll say it again, “ENOUGH OF DUMP ‘N’ CHASE!!!” It does not build offense. Better yet, don’t do anything that remotely resembles Canadian style hockey. And for god’s sake, work on the one-timers.

  • dylan wheatley

    capitals, meet regression.

  • B. Jasper

    GMGM isn’t going to fire Oates, he’s still wearing the embarrassment of firing Boudreau.

  • VeggieTart

    He’s doing all right in Hershey.

  • bskillet

    Wow, if Oates like to mix things up SO much how about this, Greenie is a pretty good offensive defensemen more so offense since he’s struggling on D. Laich, struggling on offense is pretty good on PK’s. Try Brooks on the blue line and put Mike on a wing? I know it sounds really dumb but hey we’ve not much to lose right now…and oh yeah, how about putting Michal in net. Horrible game that was much needed=bad coaching among other things but these guys weren’t prepared for the past month.

  • Rob W.

    yea it really does get old, half of the possessions the puck doesnt come more than 2 feet away from the boards and they dont get any shots off and no one parks in front of the net to make the goalies job difficult

  • Stardawg

    You have to dump and chase or the other team will just stand 5 guys on the blue line and you will never get into the offensive zone. The Caps problem is that they don’t fight hard enough for the puck in the corners when they do dump it in.

  • Myan

    There needs to be a management change in the organization. I’m sure the players are getting disgruntled when they see how some of their teammates are treated by the management. Orlov got the runaround for most of the year until he asked for a trade. Neuvy gets a start after missing 20 games and plays out of his mind only to watch the next game in the press box. Fehr works his ass off on the ice and scores important goals in tight games only to get put on the 4th line vs a team that he scored the GWG against 2 weeks prior. It’s just not right.

    Oates (and by extension, McPhee) allows this to happen while Laich & Brouwer continue to get top line minutes and PP time despite putting up zilch. For heaven’s sake, Brooks Laich has 8 points this season. Brouwer has 20. MacKinnon has 31 for Colorado. Tyler Johnson in Tampa Bay has 30. Monahan has 19 for Calgary. These guys are all rookies who get about the same (if not less) time than Laich & Brouwer. How many times is Brouwer going to whiff on that shot during the PP before the coaching staff wakes up?

    Erskine’s presence in the lineup is just puzzling. I’m really interested to see what our record has been since his return to the lineup because it seems like as soon as he returned, our defensive woes were exacerbated. He continues to play like a beer league defenseman and Oates’ insistence on keeping him in the lineup sends the message to guys like Schmidt and Oleksy that it doesn’t matter how well you play because here in DC, we value seniority over performance. What does #4 have to do to get scratched for game? It just isn’t right.

    It’s inconceivable to me that Oates & Co can continue to condone these guys’ performance by giving them top minutes at the expense of guys like Fehr and Schmidt who work their asses off and do good things every time they’re on the ice. Enough is enough.

  • Just passing by

    Unless it was initiated by him, it will take me a LONG WHILE to get over putting Oleksy up for grabs. I can’t figure out why he kept getting scratched when he was the only player on the roster with more GF than GA. He has tons of heart and is probably one of the most likeable guys on the team. I just don’t get it!

  • Shaun Phillips

    And one of the possible solutions just got waived. #ByebyeBinky

  • B. Jasper

    I’m not saying dump and chase doesn’t have its place, it shouldn’t be the implicated as much with this team. It’s for power and strength teams, like the bruins. With skilled, speedy, puckhandlers they could have some one advance the puck in the offensive zone on line changes. Once the other four players are established the zone the puck can be passed and the last change can be made.

  • RT23

    A few weeks ago when they were both horrible I was thinking about that also. But Green is playing noticeably better and Laich has even shown a slight improvement so I wouldn’t do it now but if they both regress again it’s worth a try.