The Southeast Division leading Washington Capitals came into cold, frosty, frigid Atlanta and built a snowman. No, not outside in what remained of Thursday night’s frozen precipitation that blew through here…they did so inside Philips Arena by putting up 8 on the scoreboard.
And alas…the one-game winning streak comes to a crashing end.
You know things are not going to go your way when you outshoot your opposition 18-6 in the first period but go into the intermission trailing 3-0. But that is exactly what happened to the Thrashers on this night…and it looked like it took all the fight out of this team.
During the post-game interview, Caps coach Bruce Boudreau made the point that Atlanta came out playing hard…playing much of the game in the Capitals’ zone. But when his team was able to go into the break leading by the margin they were, it really just took the wind out of their sail.
That, my friends, is a very polite way to say “That team over there that my friend coaches simply quit”.
John Anderson’s statements were very similar. “I just think we felt sorry for ourselves. That’s not good. We can’t stop playing no matter what. We have to help our goalies out there for Pete’s sake. We can’t give them point-blank shots from all over the place”.
“I didn’t think I would ever say this”, he went on to say, “But this team is having trouble scoring goals right now…our big guns have got to start scoring goals. We’ve got some guys on this team who are underachieving in the scoring category so when a guy like [Ilya Kovalchuk] doesn’t score in a couple of games it makes it even more pronounced. We need some secondary scoring”.
Uh…yup. But how about keeping the other team from scoring goals on the other end of the ice? I think that might help too, coach.
Making matters even worse, at least for one Thrasher, is that the one goal that was actually scored by Atlanta was originally credited to Todd White… who hasn’t netted one since before Halloween. However, upon further review, a scoring change gave the goal to Maxim Afinogenov, his sixteenth of the season.
So…unfortunately…White remains on the milk carton and the streak now stands at 34 consecutive games without a goal.
I guess that also means I will probably get another frosty glare from Todd during the next pre-game warm up like I did tonight…right Zoomo?
Johan Hedberg allowed the first four goals on nine shots. Ondrej Pavelec relieved him after Mike Knuble’s second goal of the game put the Caps up 4-0. Opie turned aside the first 16 shots he faced but eventually gave up 4 goals as well on 28 shots.
Where’s The Accountability?
Accountability. That’s a word I have used quite often of late as I’ve discussed the management of this organization. But what about the players…where is the accountability there?
I remember back when Bob Hartley coached this team…and if a player was “dogging it” or failing to pull his weight in the defensive end of the ice, there was a special place at the end of the bench reserved for him. Hartley used the method of giving players a “time out” to let the offending party know he was displeased with the “effort”.
Why, even Ilya Kovalchuk experienced this form of discipline.
Some thought coach Bob was a “hard ass” for such disciplinary tactics. But ya know what, it was a way of holding these highly paid professional athletes, dare we say, accountable for their actions. No effort on the ice equaled no time on the ice.
These days…I just do not see any such accountability for poor play.
I want to give a special shout-out to two little boys that I met Saturday night in section 222. They were 5-year old twins Lincoln and Joseph and they were really fun to share a game with.
They even joined in during a “Fire Waddell” chant…much to their mother’s delight.
Of course, one has to wonder if these boys will be chanting the same thing 20 years from now when they are bringing their kids to games.