WASHINGTON — No matter what the sport, locker room clean out day is a sad affair for every team except the one that hoists the trophy. As the Washington Capitals know all too well, it’s even worse for the teams that expected to hoist the trophy and didn’t.
But coach Barry Trotz did his best to change the narrative on Friday, insisting that less than 48 hours after being bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins, again, that the team is ready to move on–and maybe fans and the media should too.
Needless to say, that message wasn’t well received on sports radio, where 106.7 The Fan’s Chad Dukes unleashed a tirade on Trotz:
“I am blown away by these comments and I’m not trying to use hyperbole, I’m not trying to be over-dramatic or play something up for radio dramaticism. I honestly believe that–Brian McNally called it tone deaf–whatever it is past tone-deaf is what this is.
“Why would you want people to think that about your players? Why would you want people to think that players are chuckling about that when you just got booted? You just got booted again. There should be no burr in your saddle or hair up your you-know-what for any question that you’re going to be asked today. There’s no circling the wagons here and rallying the troops–it’s over, Johnny.
“Take a look around. A bunch of those names that you sell the sweaters for ain’t coming back next year. You’re changing, regardless. They don’t have to let loose the guillotine. They don’t have to blow out [Nicklas] Backstrom or [Alex] Ovechkin, or any other players for this team to look drastically different moving forward. It’s the media? No, it’s what is. It’s what is–that’s why the media’s asking about it, because you continue the story line.
Dukes entertained one caller who suggested that the media gets too defensive when players and coaches question the role of the media. Dukes disagreed.
“No, no, no, no, no. No. No. No…It’s there. This is not dredging up teams from 1993. This is dredging up a Barry Trotz-led Capitals team from 2016, last year, [and a Pittsburgh Penguins team] who eliminated this team on the way to a Stanley Cup Championship last year. This isn’t decades old history, Clown Shoe. We’re not making this up, this doesn’t benefit us.
“Do you know what benefits us?” Dukes shouted, his voice cracking with emphasis. “Stanley Cups! Championships! I get no rating bonus from the Capitals being eliminated. This sucks! This will be the last day that you hear about the Capitals on this show. You know why? You guys won’t care anymore. You’ve already moved on. It’s already started to happen. You’re so disenfranchised, you don’t even care about the Wizards! That’s how big the hangover is.
“Spoiler alert: we do better when they do better, and when they suck, it impacts us. Not just from topics, not just from filling 4.5 hours–I could do that talking about my bunghole! I’m talking about from ratings and revenue. Ratings and revenue. The Capitals hurt us when they suck. The Capitals hurt us when they get eliminated every year before the conference championship.
“If you’re that stupid to believe that nonsense, fine. I’m not a bright guy either. But Barry Trotz knows how this game works, and your guys ain’t laughing. They’re not laughing, Barry. Nobody’s laughing…You can blame me all you like–it doesn’t make you right.
“We’re not the ones going out and getting our asses handed to us in the second round every year–if you’re lucky. If you’re lucky, you’re getting to Game 7 where you’re getting an ass pounding at home while your fans boo you off the ice. What about that? Is the media responsible for all of those Kool-Aid-drinking sweater-wearers booing that team off the ice because they’ve had it?
“It’s not from this year. It’s from every year. It’s a conglomerate. That booing was the result of a conglomerate, not from some mysticism created by the media…Now, what am I going to talk about until August?
“I don’t get any credit when they go to the championship round, so I damn sure am not taking any of the blame when they yack all over the front of their sweaters and embarrass themselves again.”
Listen to his full rant: