Washington Capitals F Troy Brouwer is pretty descriptive on what he thinks of the Caps 0-3 start to this season. This via the Washington Times.
"Embarrassing is almost the right term right now. Pathetic is probably a better one. You know, I feel bad for the fans. I’d like to finish a game with at least 50 percent of the fans still in the stands. Their reaction is completely warranted: booing us. We haven’t earned any of their respect. We haven’t earned any of their passion, their ambition. We’ve got to turn something around, and we’ve got to do it fast.”
We appreciate that Troy. We appreciate the fact you feel bad for us fans. You should. It has been painful to watch these first three games.
The Caps look sick, and not in a good way. The penalty kill has been awful, goaltending has been pathetic, and the effort put forth on the ice has been dismal. Over the last five years, DC has embraced the Capitals and revitalized the fan base. They have sold out Verizon Center time and time again. The effort put forth by some of the leading veterans on this team is a pretty decent way of killing that rejuvenation. It really isn't about the fact that the Caps have started the season 0-3. It is the way they have played on ice. The Caps fan base doesn't deserve that effort.
“If I had to say one thing, I’d say work ethic," Brower said. "We’re not out of shape. That’s an excuse right now. Guys are professionals here. They came into camp in shape, ready to go, and it’s not fitness. It’s work ethic. We’re getting outworked. We’ve been outworked three times, we’ve lost three games.”
I thought getting rid of Alexander Semin solved the work ethic issue. I thought casting out former head coach Bruce Boudreau was another step in increasing work ethic and responding to players who didn't care for Boudreau. If work ethic is indeed a problem, after all this time, then it points to bigger, much bigger problems with the construction of the current roster. That would of course fall to GM George McPhee.
If work ethic is an issue, doesn't that finger also get pointed to the leadership of the team, mainly the one who wears the 'C'? Oh wait, we are not allowed to criticize Alexander Ovechkin, right?
It is pretty clear, if you watched the three games this season, we can give credit to a few players. Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb, Joel Ward, and to some extent, Mathieu Perreault, deserve some credit for all out effort and play. Hendricks has been phenomenal. How about putting the 'C' on Matt Hendricks. After all, shouldn't the rest of the roster being trying to emulate their Captain?
In the pathetic 0-3 start to the 48 game shortened season, the Caps have tallied 6 goals. SIX! Where did these goals come from? Ward has 2, Wojtek Wolski, Matt Hendricks, Joey Crabb, and Brouwer have one. Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin, Mike Green, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johnansson have ZERO. Furthermore, Backstrom and Johansson are a -3.
New head coach Adam Oates was clear he wanted improvement in Washington's special teams from last season. He may have made it clear, but the response has been dismal. The special teams units have actually been worse. The Capitals are struggling to stay out of the penalty box, not having one game this season under 5 penalty kill situations. Of 16 penalty kill situations, the Caps PK unit have allowed 5 goals. The power play special teams units have not been any better. In 12 power play opportunities, the Caps have netted just 2 goals.
So yes, given the combination of goalie play, work ethic, effort on the ice, and lack of special teams execution, we agree Troy, the Caps have been nothing short of pathetic.