Well, that wasn’t very pretty, and the post-game reaction reflected that. First, defenseman Shaone Morrisonn did not play in the final 36 minutes of the game and was sent to the hospital, but information beyond that is scarce.
There was plenty of discussion about the team’s slow starts, however. For the third time this season, the opposing team scored in its first shot. Add in the two times a foe has struck with the third shot, and that’s 50 percent of the games so far where the team is yielding a goal way too early in the contest.
The players said guys weren’t ready to play. Bruce Boudreau was willing to take it a step further.
“I don’t know why this is happening, but you could definitely tell there were some guys not ready to play tonight. It is unacceptable. We’ve got some great players, but Mike Green isn’t ready to play and [Alexander Semin] didn’t come to play and Viktor [Kozlov] – I mean, you could go on with some of our skill players just not ready to commit to playing a complete game.”
Green is nursing a sore right foot and it would seem to have bothered him a good bit tonight. He was beaten badly on the first goal, and just doesn’t look like himself on the ice. I haven’t seen him dump the puck at the red line that much since before Boudreau became the coach.
“It is no excuse,” Green said. “I can still play smart, and I didn’t play smart. It was just a really bad night for myself.”
Again, Boudreau didn’t mince his words when Green’s injury came up.
“I don’t know. I haven’t talked to him about it yet. If it is [bothering him], it is a rinky-dink excuse. I think he’s a great player, as everybody knows, but with being a great player comes responsibility and it is games like this that you have to step up your game if you want to be into the class that other people think you should be.”
Green didn’t shy away from assuming blame, both for the shoddy defense or being one of the guys who wasn’t ready to rock. He said it starts in the morning on gameday, so I would expect to see some more serious morning skates in the near future.
“We’re all professionals,” Matt Bradley said. “It is up to each and every one of us to get ready – whatever we have to do.”
Boudreau wasn’t willing to throw Jose Theodore under the bus. He obviously didn’t play well, but there wasn’t a whole lot of help to be had from his mates, either. Jason Pominville’s goal — the one where he collected the rebound and had time to makes a couple of dekes and a ham and cheese sandwich — was a good example of it being a bad night in front of Theodore.
“You don’t want to throw the blame on the goalie when everyone else is not playing well, but I think there was a couple in there he could have had. Even if he had stopped four more shots, we would have lost.”
As for the positives, well, Tomas Flesichmann was probably a slam-dunk as the Caps’ best forward. He generated several good chances, and banged a shot of the iron in the second period. Tom Poti also returned and logged 24 minutes and 39 seconds.
Other than that, this is one to forget. The Caps can probably burn the video of this one, but they’ve got to do something about these slow starts.