Monday, March 17, 2008

"I'm not sure what it is, but we'd better start picking it up here..."

In November, that quote might have come from a member of the Capitals. Yesterday, it came from the mouth of Philadelphia Flyer, Mike Richards, who said:
"It's in our hands right now. I'm not sure what it is, but we'd better start picking it up here . . . or it's going to slip out of our hands."

The Flyer locker room was full of quotes and a little bit of finger-pointing that suggested a club of uncertain confidence...

"If you don't have intensity in your game and emotion in your game, you're not going to win games this time of year. Everyone is battling for it, a chance to get in the playoffs or stay in the playoffs."

-- Flyer GM Paul Holmgren

"I thought [Saturday], our effort was pretty good. To come back today . . . Pittsburgh wasn't really charged up at the start of the game, either. But they obviously steamrolled us pretty good."

-- Holmgren

"This time of year, it [falls] on the coaches, and it's got to come down to the players themselves. They're the ones who are going out there and playing. We're all in this together. We haven't done very well here lately. . . . We're not getting the push we need to put us over the hump right now, for whatever reason."

-- Holmgren

"He's played well against Pittsburgh all year. He's the guy we've been leaning on lately. If he's going to step up and take charge, he has to be able to play back to back, especially against a team he's had a lot of success against...Doesn't mean anything right now. We just got pounded, 7-1. Give me a couple minutes to think about it. I'll make a decision [today]."

-- Coach John Stevens, on why goaltender Martin Biron started in a 7-1 blowout and answering the question of whether Biron is still the "go-to" goalie


"To me, it looked like we were a little scared to make a play. We're too hesitant to really play hard on the forecheck. When we don't do that, others teams are able to break us down pretty easy."

-- Defenseman Kimmo Timonen


"It's disappointing. You hope this time of year you have the fight in you, and the last little while, we haven't had the fight we need to win games. Miraculously, we're still clinging to our spot in the playoffs. What does that mean? Tuesday's game [against Atlanta] is a big game."

-- Holmgren

With R.J. Umberger (out for up to two weeks) and Derian Hatcher (out for the year with a broken leg), it isn't getting any easier to hold onto a playoff spot. Not that there isn't some blame being tossed about for The Great Meltdown.

Did the Caps get away with one there?

You'd have to think so, based on the shot plot for yesterday's game. There were a lot more chances in high-probability scoring areas for the Bruins. Cristobal Huet did not come about his being named first star by accident...


Much as one doesn't wish for such things, even to opponents, injuries are a fact of life at this time of year, and they could influence these last three weeks of play. Here, courtesy of, is the injury profile of the eight teams in the "real standings:"

And if you want a quote...

...maybe it would be best to stop by Brooks Laich's locker. It might not be original, but he had what might be the quote of the year for the Caps in giving a reason for his recent goal-scoring prowess:

"If you want money, go to the bank. If you want bread, go to the bakery. If you want goals, go to the net."
Simple, memorable.

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images