And….Back to Square One

Posted March 2, 2012

Watching a million pucks go into the net does not seem like a good warmup. Photo by Taylor Lewis

Ever wonder what’s going through a player’s head when their team is down 5-0? While the raw the version will rarely be recorded, Troy Brouwer offers a sanitized look.

“You try and be professional, you try and play as hard as you can, but it’s real tough when you know you’re coming into a really big uphill battle,” said the winger of Friday’s eventual 5-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils.

While I could go on about the missed chances; whiffing on a shot, not elevating the puck enough, not shooting the puck on the power play, that two-on-one chance that Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer had early in the first period (the one that got away), I’d rather let you into what the team was thinking of.

For Dale Hunter, it was Michal Neuvirth. Zach Parise scored his second goal of the night after Neuvirth thought he had a save. Just 29 seconds later, Dainius Zubrus caught a turnover that went in on a second try. Said Hunter of why he didn’t change goalies, “I wanted Neuvy to battle through it, he didn’t have a great start.”

Momentum swung to the Devils after their first goal, also Parise’s first of the night. But instead of coming together, Brouwer saw the team fall apart, “I think we went back to our old habits, which is trying to do too much…Trying to get a little individual and everyone wants to be a hero.”

Matt Hendricks, as did others, put a lot into the early save by Johan Hedberg, “We put that in, it could’ve been a different outcome, who knows? But, gotta regroup now and all those cliches…”

Of course, it all goes back to the power play. As fans boos intensified, the Caps went 0-2 on the night, meaning Washington has only scored two power play goals in their last 10 games.

Hunter cited Nicklas Backstrom as the missing “half-board guy”, Wideman thinks the team isn’t reading each other well enough.

With the weight of the playoffs heavy on their shoulders, each game is more intense, and each loss is that much more damaging. No quick fix lies in the near future, and the ones that were supposed to happen (trade deadline, Mike Green, coaching change) didn’t.

So really, what’s the answer?