WASHINGTON, DC – Troy Brouwer counted three players on the Washington Capitals bench that “showed up” in 4-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens at home on Thursday.
Everyone else, he said, was making mistakes “that pee-wee teams” make.
“Embarrassing is almost the right term right now. Pathetic is probably the better one. 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,” said Browuer.
“We haven’t earned any of their respect, we haven’t earned any of their passion or ambition. We gotta turn something around, we gotta do it fast.”
The Capitals fell to 0-3 on the season for the first time since 1993-94, and haven’t shown much confidence or competence under new coach Adam Oates. They’ve had the lead for 2 minutes and 32 seconds in three games. They’ve been outscored 7-2 in the second period. They’ve given up seven power-play goals in 18 times shorthanded, including two against Montreal. What's more, those 18 times shorthanded are the second-most in the league, and the most for a team having played three games (tied with Carolina).
“No excuses right now. We’re not sharp,” said Captain Alex Ovechkin, with one assist in three games.
Ovechkin has been moved back and forth from right wing, where Oates wants him to play. But the coach shifted him back to the left side to get Ovechkin going. “It’s what he’s used to. I still think he should be a right winger, but I want him to be happy and get something out of his game,” he said.
Blaming the coaching isn’t something the Capitals did after their third loss.
“It’s all our fault. It’s not the system,” said defenseman Karl Alzner. “We went through the same thing last year. Someone scores against us and we all get down, the fans included.”
Alzner’s night went so poorly that he suggested to the Capitals coaches that he and long-time partner John Carlson be broken up, which they were in the third.
“It’s not going the right way for us,” he said. “You can’t have two guys where it’s not working. We weren’t contributing anything good to the team.”
Ultimately, Ovechkin said, it’s on the players to fight through this early stumble in a 48-game mini-marathon. “It’s all about us. Players have to play. Do our jobs,” he said.
Oates agreed, saying there wasn’t going to be some rousing speech coming from him to snap paid professionals out of their funk.
“I’m not a believer in the Knute Rockne speeches,” he said. “We’re pros. You gotta show up to work.”
The work continues in New Jersey on Friday night.