The drumbeat is growing louder. People are starting to wonder if the Washington Capitals will turn things around under head coach Bruce Boudreau. History tells us the Caps have had losing streaks before and they’ve been able to right the ship. All you have to do is look back at last season when they swooned while being filmed by HBO. But history also tells us the Capitals underachieve in the playoffs.
I’m the furthest thing from a hockey expert, but I do know how professional sports teams operate. Though it may not be the coach’s fault, they’re usually the fall guy when a team starts to collapse. And though Boudreau has a very impressive regular season resume, how long can Ted Leonsis stick with him if the team continues to go nowhere when it counts the most?
It may be a little premature to call any one game a “must win,” but I do believe is critical that the Caps stem the tide and get some wins this week. Heading into tonight’s matchup with the Phoenix Coyotes, the Caps have lost four in a row and six of their last seven. Their problems seem to run deep. Their superstar player and former MVP Alexander Ovechkin hasn’t been playing well at all. Ovechkin has tallied just seven goals ALL season long and has but one point over the last five games. If the team’s best player isn’t responding to his head coach, who do you think will get the axe?
Optimists will point to Mike Green’s injury and the Caps record with Green in the lineup, a flawless 8-0, but can the Caps truly rely on Green given his recent history with various injuries? I’m not so sure. I do know Ovechkin and his teammates need to start scoring more. In their last eleven games they’re scoring just 2.5 goals per game and are just 4-43 on the power play. That’s unacceptable. And though it seems unlikely given their stellar home record, IF the Caps somehow lose their next three at home this week the drumbeat to make a major change may grow unbearably loud for Caps fans and their owner. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that point.