Photo: Patrick Smith

When the Washington Capitals gave up two straight breakaways to the Dallas Stars while on their own power play last night, I thought that was rock bottom.


Rock bottom was Dustin Jeffrey‘s second period goal. The tally, which came 34 seconds after Ryan Whitney’s 2-on-0 goal on a botched Capitals line change, gave the Dallas Stars a 3-0 lead. It essentially ended the game.

The defense on the goal was atrocious. I’d waste my time or yours with a description. The screenshots and video say everything.



“Guys, let’s all gang up on THAT guy. Ignore that other guy!”



All for one…


“…And down five-oh!”

How I Felt Watching This Goal Happen

This is not NHL hockey. None of the three players involved with the play (John Erskine, Chris Brown, and Julien Brouillette) deserve NHL minutes.

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  • JH

    Erskine. Pfft.

  • Dustin Sier

    I like to think you guys at least get a sense of catharsis writing these. Right?

  • Clifton B

    Too bad we don’t have any other NHL quality D-men to suit up.

  • Let me just say this. If this was the first or second or third time the Capitals made a play like this, I would just let it slide. I’d ignore it.

    Literally no one knows what they’re doing here. We’re at game seventy-something. It’s unacceptable.

    2-0 after a botched change? That’s something you can come back from. 3-0 after a goal like this? It’s over.

    Then I ask myself things like why is the fourth line and the team’s weakest defensive pair even out on the ice after you’ve just given up a terrible two-on-goal and desperately need momentum back? Why didn’t someone call a time-out? Didn’t it feel like things were going off the rails then?

  • Matt McNeely
  • Sara

    The whole night was painful. I thought Ovi’s obnoxious dive at the loose puck behind Lehtonen was horrible. There is no reason that shouldn’t have been a Caps goal, but instead of keeping his head about him and tapping the puck in he threw himself across the ice at it like a 2yr old having a temper tantrum- giving Lehtonen the opportunity to regroup and regain control of it. I’m still pissed about the whole game in general.

  • Dustin Sier

    I was being serious, honestly. At some point you have to have an outlet with as frustrating as this season has been. Do you get a sense of feeling better or does it just ring hollow?

  • Justin

    I’ve never seen a coach so reluctant to use his timeout when things start spiraling out of control. I understand Oates tries to give his players credit for being professionals and wants them “to figure things out” when they go down a goal or two, but at some point you have to pump the brakes and get everybody refocused.
    Also, I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I rarely see Oates communicating with his players during breaks in play or timeouts, it seems to me that he leaves the brunt work of in-game coaching to his assistants. Am I wrong?

  • Emily Wright

    That overhead shot is just terrible.

  • I’m frustrated sure. Does writing things like this help? Not really, no. I enjoy things like that Joe B article, where I got to tell him I hope he feels better and I got to catch up with him through email. That was enjoyable. That made me happy. I am a very enthusiastic, optimistic person at heart. This kind of stuff drains me.

    The thing is, I wanted to write this article to shine a light on what happened here. I really thought the game ended here. And it’s on a play that should never ever happen.

    I think what happened on the ice here is deeper than a one-time mistake on the ice. There’s something broken, not right with this team. And it’s been broken for about 3 years now.

  • Owen Johnson

    Chris Brown is a nice young player and look forward to his development, but should not get a sweater over Penner. I like Broulliette because I like a good underdog. I’m happy for him to get a shot at the NHL, but he only deserves it out of necessity. Erskine is washed up and never that good to begin with.

  • Rob Reichhelm

    Looks like they prioritized a Ninja Turtles style high 5 there over stopping the encroaching forwards. In their defense, those are pretty irresistible.

  • Rob W.

    I think the mental toughness of this team is pretty weak, they get punched in the mouth and they hardly ever seem to punch back. I feel like the coaches kind of baby them…I dont know thats something i see as beeing broken about this team

  • Josh Jacobs

    Ex players have questioned the team’s mental toughness for years. Jason Arnott said the say things. If they keep making the same mistakes over and over again, that is on the coaching. It appears that the team has checked out for the season.

  • Bev Miller Bellamy

    WHAT? Is this photographic evidence that we have a COMPLETE defensive failure and not just a “bad goalie”???? (And this is Halak, NOT Holtby….)

  • Brackaphobia
  • Steven Lemmeyer
  • MuzzMuzzington

    It was a goal of perfect timing. Someone had just said, “Erskine really isn’t as bad as people make him out to be.” Then bam, this happens right after. $2 million dollar man, John Erskine.

  • MuzzMuzzington

    It was a goal of perfect timing. Someone had just said, “Erskine really isn’t as bad as people make him out to be.” Then bam, this happens right after. $2 million dollar man, John Erskine.

  • Catherine__M

    I know that play. That play is directly from my CYO 2nd and 3rd grade girls basketball team.

    Seriously, it was genius that one time it worked. Have every available body cover the person who has the ball (and this this case, a puck, those sly devils) at that one precise moment point in time. That way, kid can’t shoot it! Too many kids covering her! No shoot, no score! Simple!

    We did eventually find a flaw in this logic and that is, of course, that the ball can also be passed. And then, well. You can see the problem with every available body being otherwise engaged. I think that we have every reason to believe that these professional athletes and most likely, their coach, will replicate our findings and adjust accordingly.

  • Barrett

    Penner was out due to illness.

  • Name

    I’m taking another view of this play. The save was made, Erskine actually looked down to make sure it was under control and then turned to get a shot in before the whistle blew. After he turned, the puck was dislodged from the goalie by a stick. I’m not sure I blame him on this play. Mike Green gave up 2 goals by letting guys get behind him. He was attrocious last night.

  • Shmoo

    some of the best sarcasm this site has seen (which is high praise)

  • Shmoo

    “Dat dood done got Erskined, nyuk nyuk”

  • Shmoo

    Well now it’s clear, upon your defense of The Indefensible Defense, that you are the problem, Name … if that is your *real* name.

  • Lance Perrier

    Like watching a bunch of monkeys trying to F a football!

  • GR in 430

    Ian, your last paragraph is right on. This is a total breakdown of team chemistry. There just is none. No communication with each other, no trust that the other guy is going to make the play so that you don’t have to abandon your position, no clue as to where to be or what to do when you get there. Some of that is on the coach, but a lot is on the players, since it has been the same under Boudreau and Hunter, not just Oates.

    This group has been unable to transition from the no-system-except-run-and-gun system that they had under Boudreau until 2011 (“The wrong way to play” according to RJ Umberger… and he was right) to either what Hunter was trying to do or what Oates is trying to do. Hunter gave up and decided he’d rather coach Juniors than this bunch (and note that the Knights DO NOT play the same way that Hunter had the Caps playing… He was breaking this team down so that they could be built up again… but maybe he decided they couldn’t be built up again). Oates will likely be gone soon too. But they need to fire most of the players as well…

  • Chris Cerullo

    Big Brother reference!?

  • Matt McNeely

    Is that where that’s from? Well that girl nailed it.

  • Barrett

    So now Mike Green is at fault for a flawed power-play susceptible to shorthanded goals, a bad line change by coaching staff and the laziness of Alex Ovechkin for not back checking?

  • JenniferH

    Wait, you mean photographic proof that Braden Holtby is not the sole reason the Capitals aren’t 20 million points behind in the standings?!?!?

  • Bev Miller Bellamy

    I know, right?

  • salgotnv

    Strangely enough, Erskine was one of the only dudes trying to play this game.