Carlson on struggles: "We need to find a way"
There were no water coolers tossed over in the Capitals’ locker room on Thursday. No fights in practice, no shots taken at goalies’ heads.
The Capitals have not won a game since Jan. 10 and have been outscored 17-7 during a season-high six-game losing streak.
But if you’re looking for a swell of emotion coming from the Capitals right now, there’s nothing to see here.
“I have to be consistent,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said. “I can’t come in and all of a sudden turn into a different person. You’re going to have losing ways. You’re gonna.
“We’re not happy about it but we have to be just as professional as if we’re winning 10 in a row because it can flip.”
The Capitals are hoping it flips Friday night when they visit the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Arena. But if it does, it won’t be because a player flipped over a milk crate and gave a Knute Rockne speech.
“I don’t believe it works,” Oates said. “I don’t. It never worked for me. You can yell, but if you don’t fix the mistake, the mistake is going to still occur. If I change, they’re going to say, ‘He’s panicking. Look, he’s changing.’ And I don’t want to do that.”
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In 19 years in the NHL Oates said he’s never heard a rousing, run-through-the-wall speech by one of his teammates. Brooks Laich remembers two and said neither had a lasting effect.
“Yelling and rah-rah speeches are not going to have the same effect on everybody and sometimes that’s not exactly the best way to do it,” said Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer, who has gone nine games without a goal. “You can put guys down and they could be worse. I know Oatesy talks with guys individually to try to get the best out of them.”
If Oates saw a lack of effort, he said he would take a different course of action with his team.
“Part of the job is to teach them to care,” he said, “and I haven’t seen one game we’ve lost from lack of hard work or effort. That would really be upsetting. If we continue to play hard we’ll get out f it.”
Brouwer said he does not question his teammates’ work ethic “for one second,” but said the team as a whole needs to be better mentally to avoid the lapses that have led to penalties and defensive breakdowns during the losing streak, which has dropped the Caps out of the playoff picture and into 12th place in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think it’s gotten to a point where we need management to come down and give us a talking to,” Brouwer said. “We’re going to pull put of this.
“Obviously, we’d like to do it sooner rather than later so we don’t lose any more ground. It’s tough when you’ve got your captain in the stands with an injury But we’ve got a lot of good players in this room and we’re going to pull put of this.”
Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom agreed.
“I think it’s important we get together and really work together,” Backstrom said. “That’s the only way we can get out of it. Obviously, you don’t want to see this happen, but now we’re here and we’re going to get out of it and we’re going to get out of it stronger.”