One by one, the Capitals stood in front of cameras, microphones and notepads Sunday and defended head coach Bruce Boudreau.
Captain Alex Ovechkin was the first.
Hes trying to do whats best, Ovechkin said after Boudreau followed Saturday nights 7-1 loss in Toronto with a lengthy video session and an unscheduled practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
I think I know Bruce well enough to know hes a guy who will do everything he can to make the team successful. This is about us.
He gives us a system and thats how we have to play. If were not doing it and we make mistakes in our zone like last game, how can we win the game, if we make stupid decisions and stupid mistakes?
You cant blame it on Bruce or one person. Its all about the team. Its all about the guys that play together.
The Capitals have lost four games in a row for the first time since their eight-game skid last December and are coming off their most lopsided defeat since a 6-0 loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 25.
But from all indications Sunday, Capitals general manager George McPhee is not on the verge of pulling the carpet out from under Boudreau.
For us it was business as usual, right wing Troy Browuer said. We came in this morning expecting a good hard practice. George and Bruce are going to do what they do to make this team better and were going to do what we need to do to make this team better. I think we were supposed to have a day off today but we needed to come in and fix a couple things.
Like defensive zone coverage, a problem that has plagued the Capitals in back-to-back losses in Winnipeg and Toronto.
Every player who spoke on Sunday said Boudreau has a defensive plan in place that is simply not being followed.
Its the same stuff we talk about all the time, left wing Matt Hendricks said. Were not getting pucks deep when we need to get them deep. We need to outwork teams. We have the talent in here, no doubt about it.
It comes back to that old saying -- hard work beats talent when talent doesnt work hard. We need to get back to the drawing board and it starts (Monday) night against Phoenix.
As for Boudreau, Hendricks said he certainly has the support of the dressing room.
Bruce is the head of our coaching staff and you can go right down the list of everyone in that room, left wing Matt Hendricks said, referring to assistant coaches Bob Woods and Dean Evason. They work very hard. They work long hours and they look under every stone to find problems and find solutions. Its up to the players in this room to execute those game plans and were not doing it.
Asked if there is a strong belief in those game plans Hendricks replied, Definitely.