Troy Brouwer did not mince words when blasting his Washington Capitals teammates and himself for Thursday night’s 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Asked if “embarrassing” was the right word to describe what happened, the veteran right wing took it a step further.
“Embarrassing is almost the right term right now. Pathetic is probably a better one,” Brouwer said. “You know, I feel bad for the fans. I’d like to finish a game with at least 50 percent of the fans still in the stands. Their reaction is completely warranted: booing us. We haven’t earned any of their respect. We haven’t earned any of their passion, their ambition. We’ve got to turn something around, and we’ve got to do it fast.”
Brouwer said only a few guys showed up, singling out Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb and Mathieu Perreault. And he’s tired of hearing about the Caps being slow to learn the system or not being physically able to play.
“If I had to say one thing, I’d say work ethic,” Brouwer said. “We’re not out of shape. That’s an excuse right now. Guys are professionals here. They came into camp in shape, ready to go, and it’s not fitness. It’s work ethic. We’re getting outworked. We’ve been outworked three times, we’ve lost three games.”
Brouwer took responsibility for his puck-over-the-glass penalty that put the Caps down five-on-three early in the second period. He said the “abundance” of penalties being taken right now is taking a toll on the penalty kill.
As for a source of motivation, the 27-year-old was at a loss.
“I don’t know, you got any ideas? I’m out of ‘em right now,” Brouwer said. “Otherwise, we’d be working a little harder. I think guys have got to take it upon themselves to really pick their game up. We don’t need a rah-rah coach right now. We don’t need guys to yell and scream. We need guys to be professional and play hard, tough hockey.”
Guess it’s a good thing that coach Adam Oates said he wasn’t a believer in giving the “Knute Rockne speech.” He didn’t address the team after the loss, though that’s not uncommon.
“I wouldn’t want to talk to us, either,” Brouwer said. “I wouldn’t want to see our faces right now.”
It’s a quick turnaround to face the New Jersey Devils on Friday night at Prudential Center in Newark. There are plenty of corrections that need to be made and not a whole lot of time to do it.
“We just have to be smarter, Brouwer said. “We’re doing things that pee-wee players do: trying to beat guys one-on-one when you’ve got three-on-twos, trying to pass through players, trying to dangle the blue line. It’s all the same crap we always do, and when we get ourselves in trouble, when we were playing throughout the past couple games, it was because we were keeping it simple.
“We were making plays that they were giving us, not trying to force things, and that’s what we have to do. Again, we’ve got to go back to work ethic. That’s got to be our biggest thing.”