They’d lost 5-1, and had only five games left in the regular season. They were desperate for a playoff spot, and every win counted. They’d had a season full of “blown wins and devastating losses,” to quote one journalist.
Guess who? The 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ironic, no? My friend and former OFB blogger Andrew Tomlinson found the 5-1 score stat after I called him Tuesday to hash out the Caps’ 5-1 loss to the Sabres …with five games left to play now in the regular season, and with playoff hopes on the line.
Yeah, it’s a different sport, but relish the comparison for a moment. You are going to hear a lot of doomsday scenarios after the Capitals’ 5-1 loss to Buffalo last night. Actually, you heard a lot of them even prior to the loss. But you would be wasting emotions to hang the hat of the season on that until the season is actually over–as in, getting into the playoffs is a mathematical impossibility.
Please don’t think that’s coming from a state of rose-colored glasses. You’d have to be blind to say the Capitals as a team played anything but horribly for most of the game. I saw every poor decision Braden Holtby made, the complete lackluster effort of Alex Ovechkin in the first period (virtually invisible, even on the stats sheet), that Alex Semin and John Carlson tied for the dubious honor of worst plus-minus of the night (and that’s with Semin scoring the only goal of the night). Yes, I understand that in important games, which this one was, you’d like to see the team come out, [young] guns blazing. The disorganization and unawareness of where teammates were on the ice was discouraging.
Fans totally have a right to be frustrated with what they saw last night.
But Mike Knuble had a quote post-game that needs to be played over and over again:
“What are you going to do after this game? Is this it? Are you going to shut it down after this game, win or lose?” he began. “It’s not over. You keep going. You got five more games to play.”
And Brooks Laich:
“The season isn’t over. I mean, there’s five hockey games left,” Laich said. “It’s a tough loss, but it’s not a devastating one.”
Listen to them. Your blood pressure will be better for it.
Actually, so would mine. In the frustration boat, I’m right there with you. There’s something about this Caps team that, every time they take the ice for 60 minutes, makes you want to shred whatever you wrote in your previous game story. Last time, I wrote that Alex Ovechkin played like a leader and Braden Holtby played like a winner. Hey, it was true Sunday.
But there is no point in not showing up to the rink until your season is officially over. When it is, then unleash all the drama you want.