The Caps haven’t done a lot of anything right. The power play is 2-for-12 (16.7 percent), and any offensive pressure is nonexistent.
“We just have to be smarter,” Brouwer said. “We’re doing things that peewee 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.”
Somehow, it feels worse than the adjustment to Dale Hunter almost 14 months ago. There’s the extra variable of rust after the NHL lockout, but players are running short on excuses.
Oates still thinks conditioning is a problem, but that’s not all.
“At times it’s effort,” said the coach who’s still looking for his first win. “You got to want it. You got to realize that the team on the other side, they want it, too. And you got to fight through stuff. You got to really want to do it.”
“I’m not a believer in the Knute Rockne speech. I’m not,” Oates said. “We’re pros. You got to be a pro, and you got to do your job. It’s not always gonna go your way. And you gotta show up for work.”
Players around the locker room after the humiliating loss were not going to disagree with that.
“I think it’s embarrassing the way we played,” Backstrom said. “We’ve really got to regroup and talk about this and play the way we should tomorrow.”
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