Well I hate to say it, but it happened. The Capitals blew yet another game they absolutely had to have. And so here they are once again, backs to the wall.
I'll be honest and say that, by the time I had gotten to the game even via the golden voices of John Walton and Ken Sabourin on radio, the game looked to be pretty much lost. As it turned out, I was right. Not that I wanted to be. From what I was hearing the bounces just weren't going their way, and how many times if you've seen enough Caps games have we seen that happen? I'm not sure if they were wound up too tight or if they were overprepared if that's possible, but either way they didn't quite look like the team they needed to be.
As soon as I heard Braden Holtby was in net, I groaned. Don't get me wrong, I think the guy has a bright future, but he was not going to be the guy. This was too important a game not to give over to your most experienced goalie available, in this case Michal Neuvirth. Another error by Hunter in what has been a season littered with them. And so it came as no surprise that the first goal came off of a fluky bounce followed by a bad play by Holtby.
So to that end I'll dispense with my usual recap save for my praise of the lone marker by Alex Semin. We've seen vintage Ovechkin all this past month, we were treated to classic Good Sasha on that shot last night. Everyone's thinking it, but I'll come out and say it--that could well be his very last goal in a Caps' uniform. So enjoy it, folks.
Turnovers aplenty, the most egregious of which by Alex Ovechkin that led to that stupid shorthanded goal. Speaking of turnovers, John Carlson could open a bakery with what he was doing last night. Remember how I pronounced Marcus Johansson a bust last week? John Carlson is not that far behind. I don't think the finest psychologists in the world could cure what's wrong with him. If the Capitals were to hold a fire sale he should be offered up as the first item up for bids. You could have Bob Barker come out and run the whole thing.
Moving on from the game, as if we had any choice, it's easy to say the season is over. Despite that, there are still five games left and anything can happen. Except now the Capitals have to hope that the Sabres blunder in at least two of their last five games in order to have any real shot at taking the eighth spot back. Of course there's the "alternative" way which would involve winning the division. But being five points behind and Florida still having a game in hand, it's not likely.
I'm not giving up just yet, but it may be time to pack everything up for the year and look to the offseason. Clearly this team as it is concocted is not getting it done. When a team doesn't get the job done, changes will come. So the offseason, whenever it comes, should be even more interesting than the season could possibly be. Change will be a good thing in this case because it's been a long time coming. They've tried a coaching change, goalie switching, a shift in overall strategy, and small scale personnel changes. And it has all failed.
I never thought I'd say this, but I almost want this team to miss the playoffs because the harsh memory of it just might spur some of these dopes into coming back more focused and dedicated next season. Not to mention it would be the very loud thud that would be heard when the team comes back to earth after being on top of the league for a while. So that very loud thud will resonate and get results. Results like getting rid of some of the passengers that don't seem to want to give the maximum effort required. Or players that never should have been a part of the team in the first place.
In other words it's going to take a very calculated dismantling of the team because there are some parts that can and should be saved. And it's going to take a very experienced manager to accomplish that. That manager should not be George McPhee. His time is done as he now needs to be held accountable for his mistakes and shortsightedness. I only know that what this team is doing isn't working and it all starts at the top. That's where it all needs to be torn down...the whole thing. Because plugging holes is no longer going to cut it. Unfortunately that means we as Caps fans will have to accept at least one or two years of mediocre seasons. But the end result will be worth it--if the team is rebuilt by an architect that knows how to craft a winning team.
We've already borne witness to this abortion of a season, now that we know what to expect it should soften the blow. Not that it'll make it any easier. But then, it's never been easy to be a Caps fan.