- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
- U.N. warns of Muslim ‘cleansing’ in Central African Republic
- Senate blocks change to military sex assault cases
- Drug mix may have cured child born with HIV, doctors say
- De Blasio’s wife irks former mansion chef with ‘servant’ remark
- Russia’s neighbors shiver amid Putin’s Cold War moves in Ukraine
- New SAT: The essay portion is to become optional
- Military group can’t march to honor the fallen at Boston Marathon due to security changes
- Senate passes bills deleting ‘retarded’ from laws
- China announces biggest military hike in 3 years: We are not ‘boy scouts with spears’
WHYNO: Capitals must stay out of penalty box to advance
NEW YORK — Tangled up with Derek Dorsett, Mike Green went down in the corner of the ice. When Green got up, Dorsett was on his knees, and the Washington Capitals defenseman cross-checked him in full view of officials.
Goaltender Braden Holtby accused the New York Rangers forward of a “dirty slew foot,” but it was Green who went to the penalty box for retaliating. Even as Holtby called the penalty discrepancy in Sunday’s 1-0 Game 6 loss “lopsided,” it’s clear that in committing 28 minors this series, a lack of discipline is killing the Caps.
“We took penalties. We deserved some, we didn’t deserve some,” right wing Troy Brouwer said. “That’s how the series has kind of gone on. We’re not helping ourselves, either. We take untimely penalties.”
That’s a troublesome trend that cannot continue, or the Caps will find themselves out of the playoffs, whether it’s Monday after Game 7 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series or soon after.
“Obviously you’ve got to stay out of the box in the playoffs,” center Nicklas Backstrom said. “You can’t take as many as we did today.”
Against a team with a more functional power play, Washington would already be done. The Rangers are 2 for 26 with the man advantage (including 0 for 3 when up five-on-three) through six games.
Defenseman Karl Alzner called the penalty kill “the only reason why we’ve been able to stick around” the past few games.
“It’s holding us in this series,” Holtby said.
But seven penalties (counting roughing calls on Brouwer and John Carlson at game’s end) also showed the Caps are failing at something they’ve emphasized in recent weeks and that killed them early in the regular season.
Five before the final horn Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden didn’t directly contribute to the loss, as the Rangers couldn’t capitalize, but the flurry took Washington out of its flow and gave the restless crowd plenty to yell about. Captain Alex Ovechkin and center Mike Ribeiro can’t get on the ice, let alone produce, when the Caps are constantly killing penalties.
“It’s very difficult,” coach Adam Oates said. “The guys that we use to kill, the trickle-down minutes affect other guys. Some guys sit on the bench, don’t kill penalties. It makes it hard for them to get into their game.”
In Game 6, the Caps took penalties in the ways they’ve learned all too well they can’t. Defenseman Jack Hillen retaliated against Rangers captain Ryan Callahan in front of the benches and, predictably, went to the box.
“I’m not going to comment on what I thought [about Dorsett],” forward Matt Hendricks said, “but it’s a time in a point in the hockey game where we can’t afford to be in the box.”
“That part is frustrating, but I thought our guys did a very good job of keeping their composure through it,” Holtby said. “We won’t use it as an excuse.”
The Caps’ league-leading power play cashed in three times in 14 chances through five games, including Green’s overtime winner in Game 2. In staying out of the box, the Rangers “kept our most dangerous weapon off the ice, our power play,” Alzner said.
Oates conceded before the series began that he was surprised to find out the Rangers were the NHL’s most disciplined team during the regular season. They have committed 19 penalties through six games, and most importantly zero before the buzzer Sunday as they staved off elimination.
“In the postseason, they’re letting us play a little bit too,” Dorsett said. “You’ve just got to make sure you don’t retaliate and just play hard and try to get under their skin.”
The Rangers clearly did that in Game 6. In Game 7, and then perhaps the next round, the Caps have to be prepared for officials to call things tightly. Fair or not, parading to the penalty box can give a team a reputation.
“We’re not that hockey team,” Hendricks said. “We’re not that type of team. We’re a disciplined hockey team. We need to stay disciplined.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
- WHYNO: Tomas Vokoun gets unexpected Stanley Cup shot with Penguins
- Brandon Meriweather, Redskins' secondary ready for bounceback year
- Kirk Cousins embraces role as Redskins' offseason starter as RG3 rehabs from injury
- Capitals notes: Realignment won't prompt roster remake
- Despite Caps' first-round playoff exit, Adam Oates' first season as coach left a positive taste
Latest Blog Entries
- Redskins injury updates (5/23): WR Pierre Garcon, CB Josh Wilson each had labrum surgery
- Capitals 'love' Matt Hendricks, but how much?
- Wojtek Wolski signs in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League
- Tom Poti won't return to Capitals, plans to continue his NHL career
- Is Tom Wilson ready to be a regular for Capitals?
By Tammy Bruce
- Aronofsky's 'Noah' banned in Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- Back to the Future: HUVr Tech marketing video goes viral with hoverboard release tease
- MSNBC's Rachel Maddow: Bush to blame for Ukraine
- Christine O'Donnell eager to re-engage in political debate
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- Putin has transformed Russian army into a lean, mean fighting machine
- Russian lawmaker wants to outlaw U.S. dollar, calls it a Ponzi scheme
- U.S. tasks Navy destroyer to Black Sea amid Ukraine tensions
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again