Sunday, December 19, 2010

A NO-point night -- Game 34: Bruins 3 - Caps 2

In 1969 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief to the psychiatric literature. After tonight’s 3-2 loss to the Boston Bruins, we might have an equivalent for those followers of the Washington Capitals…

Denial… The Caps aren’t that bad, even with a seven-game losing streak. They’re this close to breaking out.

Anger… #@$%! Three-f’n-nuthin’ after one #@!$in’ period??? One on a puck that crawled over the line (where was Ryan Getzlaf to sweep it away from the goal line?), another from a guy who hadn’t scored a goal since Millard Fillmore was President (and after his first shot was blocked…right back onto his $@#%in’ stick!), the last one from a player “having his best period as a Bruin.”

Bargaining… Maybe if they can just make it close, it’ll seem like a win, and we can go from there…

Depression… Geez, the first line gets 17 shots on goal almost as many as the Bruins had for the whole $@#%in’ game! – and NO goals??

Acceptance… Seventh place. Seventh place in the East. Third in the Southeast. Six points ahead of ninth-place Carolina, and they have three games in hand.  We're back in 2007.

Other stuff…

-- Matt Bradley and Karl Alzner were the goal scorers. That’s not primary scoring, that’s not secondary scoring. There isn’t an “ary” to cover this scenario when a fourth liner and a guy with two career goals on 83 career shots coming into the game are the offense.

-- Nicklas Backstrom had six hits, six shots on goal, and won 14 of 20 draws. Never have so many numbers looked so good in service to so little production. He is now 0-4-4, minus-5 during the eight-game skid.

-- Mike Green is up there in the lots of numbers to no end sweepstakes…three shots on goal (seven attempts), four hits, two blocked shots… and a minus-2.

-- The fourth line was the best group for the Caps, and that is something we say entirely too much these days. Matt Bradley gets a goal, had a fight, and throws three hits in less than nine minutes of work. Matt Hendricks gets an assist, and Jay Beagle wins four of six draws, gets a hit and three blocked shots.

-- Michal Neuvirth did not have a period for the ages to start the game, but without his stop on a Tyler Seguin breakaway this game doesn’t become a game later. It becomes a mad dash to see what’s on other channels.

-- 3.6 percent. That is the Caps’ shooting percentage on this eight-game skid. The Caps are averaging almost 38 shots a game, 1.4 goals.

-- Speaking of shots… 7:56. That was the time elapsed before the Caps were credited with a shot on goal. The Bruins had five of their own at the time. The Caps were outshot, 11-5 for the period, outscored 3-0.

-- This was the first time in the streak the Caps really found themselves behind the eight-ball early. In the previous seven games of this streak the Caps were even in the first period – four goals scored overall, four goals allowed.

In the end, we are getting to a point where the situation cannot be repaired without a major change. And folks know what that means. There are a lot of instances in which a coach is relieved and the players lament that it is their fault, that so-and-so was a good guy, a good coach, but they just didn’t perform. Well, yeah. And this is now on the players. They seem to like Bruce Boudreau and enjoy playing for him. But they aren’t performing. The guys who get the ink aren’t performing, the guys the team depends on for support aren’t supporting. The Caps haven’t put together a complete game in almost a month, probably not since the 6-0 win over Tampa Bay on the day after Thanksgiving. And if the players don’t change their performance level – quickly – there are other changes that will become more likely.

You can’t just talk a good game. Fans tune out spiffy quotes on what’s wrong and what one needs to do to turn things around just as a coach’s efforts to get those things turned around get tuned out by players. And right now there is nothing but static, just a lot of noise signifying nothing. Which is what the Caps have to show for December.



Justin said...

Perhaps you can do your part and prognosticate a Caps loss? Take one for the team? The team is in uncharted maybe you should join the expedition?

Anonymous said...

Funny, I posted the 5 stages of grief over at Japers to see where people were at (with their grief processing) as you can see a lot of posts coming from these various stages without the posters really knowing it. Was thinking of expanding into a larger fanpost but you beat me to it. I think just being aware of the process helps one deal with it and you get to acceptance quicker. Honestly there's not much one can do to affect the outcome of a game, so there's no use for anger, bargaining and depression. Just watch the games and enjoy (or a least observe) the ride. I always thought blame was one of the stages (as you see a lot of that also - IE Fire BB, GMGM, bench Hannan) but maybe that is just a subset of anger.