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Who is Really to Blame for the Losing Streak?
In late November, the Capitals had seemed to be finding their stride. They had won three straight, including a 6-0 stomping of the closest thing they have to a division rival in the Tampa Bay Lightning. A pair of impressive, gritty wins over Carolina bookended the streak. The Caps would win one more game against the Blues on December 1st to extend their winning streak to 4. Then something happened: The Capitals shaved their mustaches.
Several members of the Caps participated in “Movember” to raise money for prostate cancer research. In November, the Caps went 10-2-2, collecting 22 of a possible 28 points. Not only did the Capitals’ Movember team lead the league in donations, but the team on the ice was standing atop the division, conference, and league standings. They were scoring 3.71 goals per game while only allowing 2.93.
Since the ‘staches were shaved, the Caps are 1-5-1 with a GAA of 3.43 while only scoring 1.71 goals per game. The razors seem to have shaved off this team’s inspiration as well.
If that science doesn’t convince you of the true culprit of this 6 game winless streak, here are some other perfectly plausible scapegoats to direct your anger towards:
- League conspiracy
- HBO 24/7 cameras stealing the Caps’ souls
- Thinking up witty comebacks to every “They disappear in April” joke that has been made since…well, last April
- The loss of Fleischmann’s 4 goals and 10 points in 26 games was simply too much to recover from
- Flu. Even if it doesn’t infect you, this particular strain of flu causes every other player on the team to lose the ability to fire into an empty net.
In all seriousness, this losing streak is a combination of things. The team thought they would be able to work out their problems and get back to winning, like they always do. When that didn’t happen, it seemed to get inside the players’ heads. After the first Rangers goal tonight, the team already looked defeated. They are not used to seeing the red light behind the goal remain dark.
The good news is they are showing signs of breaking out soon. The Caps are hitting a lot of pipe, but more importantly they are showing frustration. That frustration will lead to effort, like the one Alex Ovechkin should tonight with his fight, trying to pull his team out of their hole. That is what captains do. That is what leaders do, and in due time, the team will follow. Patience, young grasshopper.
If you feel it is your duty as a fan to do more to right the wrongs the hockey gods have thrown upon us, check out this protocol.