After battling back from a 3-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Washington Capitals no-showed against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 on Wednesday. Not in a Matt Harvey kind of way, but in a we-don’t-really-care-if-we-win-or-lose kind of way.
The Caps lost, 2-0, losing in the second round of the playoffs for the third straight year. The scene in Washington wasn’t pretty.
“That team didn’t show up to do anything tonight at home in front of that crowd, and they got booed off the ice from the most Kool-Aid-drinking fan base maybe in the history of professional ice hockey,” Washington D.C.’s The Fan host Chad Dukes said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Never seen anything like it. It’s the first time I can remember it happening.”
Washington fell behind 1-0 midway through the second period and 2-0 early in the third. The Caps’ response? Oh well.
“This team was (getting) destructed either-or after this game, and they still were taking a cat nap out there during the second half of the second period and most of the third period as well,” Dukes said. “If you don’t find your sense of urgency with your own demise, I don’t know where you’re going to find it.”
Indeed, the Caps weren’t just outplayed; they were outworked. They quit. And the fans, who have defended this team endlessly through the years, had enough.
“They are hostile,” Dukes said. “They’re ravenous and they’re passionate and they’ve defended this team the entire time and they were rewarded again (with a second-round exit). I think there’s times when it is appropriate to boo. I don’t blame those people if they were pissed off and wanted to shower this team with some displeasure.”
Alex Ovechkin, meanwhile, failed to record a point in three of the last four games of the series, including Games 6 and 7. He also had to shake Sidney Crosby’s hand once again after a season-ending loss.
Dukes believes that Ovechkin has aged terribly in recent years and deserves the lion’s share of the blame for Washington’s postseason flame-outs.
“When did Alex Ovechkin start looking like Kelsey Grammer?” Dukes asked. “That guy has aged (so much over the years). He looks like he’s been in a Greco-Roman wrestling match with a bottle of bourbon for the past (couple of) years. He looks awful. I just don’t know how much it eats him up inside that he hasn’t been able to (advance in the payoffs). There’s guys (consumed by it). He seems to be a different type of cat. It’s certainly not his talent or his ability. I think it’s his wiring. I just feel like his priorities are someplace else. They’ve changed general managers, they’ve changed coaches, they’ve changed players all up and down the board. He is the constant. It’s not fair to blame him for everything, but I’m willing to blame him for 40 percent of everything.”