This game made the Toronto debacle look like watching a sunset. I think this team is starting to find new ways to disgust its fans. For your perusal....
What turned out to be the winning goal was a joke. Jason Pominville pretty much had what Joe B and Locker would call a "Layup" because amazingly enough, nobody wearing a throwback Caps jersey (on the ice anyway) could figure out where the puck went. Certainly Dennis Wideman couldn't figure it out. He was swinging at air like a certain character of a certain TV show that I love. Just horrible.
Not that Tomas Vokoun was blameless either. To say he had an off night would be an understatement. To see him continually play like this is frightening. That million and a half he's getting paid is starting to look less like a bargain. But it's nice to know we won't be hearing from his agent anytime soon.
Nick Backstrom a minus FOUR????!!!!? He gets the Mr. Yuk sticker despite pretty much being the MVP of the quarter-season. Japers Rink is right--there's almost no sense in having your top line on the ice if they:
A. Can't score and B. Can't keep the other team from scoring.
Speaking of the top line, in games like this there always seems to be a kick in the ol' groin to being down the curtain on things. This game was no different. The Caps were on a power play late in the third when everyone's least favorite point man, Alex Ovechkin took his position there, tried to make some sort of cross-ice pass and it was promptly scooped up by Jochen Hecht for the fifth and final damn goal of the game by the Sabres. So again, a unit that is supposed to score goals is only helping the other team score goals. See how everything makes good sense when you keep it simple? Might want to pull a few pages out of that book, gents.
Oh yes, I'm putting an awful lot on the players here. And why is that? Because ultimately they are the ones one the ice that have to get it done. But what about the coaching? What is their part in all this? Keeping it simple, the job of the coach is threefold:
1. To get the team prepared before the game
2. To make adjustments during the game when necessary
3. To analyze what went wrong and how to correct problems before they become long term after the game
Sad to say but the Bruce has failed on all three for too many games lately. This team looks out of focus and it was never more apparent when they got their asses handed to them last night. Boudreau has tried just about everything in the coaching bag of tricks and nothing seems to have any long term effect. To be sure, I for one (as have many others) applaud his willingness to ensure more accountability throughout the whole lineup. Therefore the players should bear the brunt of the blame. But if the guy giving the marching orders is being tuned out, well....you need to call a different tune. And you know what that means. Not only is everyone thinking it at this point, it's being discussed loudly and openly.
While it would be unfortunate to see him go, you can't argue with what the short and long-term effects could be. The most classic example of course is the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins. They were on the edge of missing the playoffs when they fired Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma. The rest is history. Problem is, who do you replace him with? Do you go inside or outside the organization? George McPhee has less time than he thinks because before he knows it, it will be the All Star break and if nothing is done by then the season will be lost.
In other words the time to do something is now. These kind of losses should be the result of an off night, not bad habits that seem to be ingrained. These guys are playing like the sulking, spoiled fat cats everybody says they are and it's on display for all to see. The man behind the curtain has been exposed and the players are no longer receiving his commands. The question is, now that they've looked within, will they solve the problem from without? It may be the only way at this point. Either way something has to be done because I've honestly never been more ashamed of this team than I am right now.