Barry Trotz does not think the Capitals’ history of playoff struggles has created a mental hurdle for the team to overcome. “I think they’re all past that now,” Trotz said to reporters at the team’s breakdown day. “I think it’s so overworked by [the media] and everybody else that it’s actually becoming a joke to the guys.” Well, the Caps weren’t laughing after their Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. In some ways, Trotz is correct. Losing to Jaroslav Halak in 2010 is not why Washington lost to Pittsburgh this year. Giving up a 3-1 series lead to the New York Rangers in 2015 is not why the Caps were shutout in Game 7 by the Penguins. But there does seem to be a mental hurdle the team has
In the early stages of the Eastern Conference Final, the narrative attached to the Ottawa Senators was they were a boring team to watch, running a neutral zone trap, squeezing the offensive life out of their opponents and games. It became such a self-aware story that fans chanted "1-3-1" at Canadian Tire Centre after the Senators drubbed the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in Game 3 of the series to take a 2-1 lead.
Everyone knows what Ryan Getzlaf said during Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, to earn himself a $10,000 fine from the National Hockey League. Read his lips. Or, if you need a cheeky euphemism as your guide, think of a vacuum chasing a rooster.