Tuesday’s skate at MedStar Capitals Iceplex presented a different scene than one the Washington Capitals have usually seen at practice this season. The chirps, banter and fun celebrations that usually fill the rink were absent for the team at their 70-minute skate, as the players appeared to be less than thrilled with the team’s play of late.
Head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t surprised with the crowd that showed up, especially after things fell apart in the Capitals’ 7-3 loss to the Boston Bruins on Monday.
“I think everybody hates losing. I mean, the players hate losing, so I don’t think anybody’s in a great mood today,” Laviolette said. “But we had work to do, and I thought it was good.”
Washington took part in a number of drills, including more work on 3-on-3 — and aspect of the game that has been less-than-kind to the team of late — as well as the power play and even conditioning and sprints. There were moments of visible frustration at times, including one in particular where Ilya Samsonov appeared to get clipped up high and slammed his stick against the boards.
“I think everybody’s pretty grumpy,” Laviolette added.
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The Capitals are 0-2-2 in their last four games and have another long layoff until they face New York on Saturday. Lars Eller spoke on the climate at practice as well but believes the “intensive” practice was the right response after Monday’s game.
“I think it should be that way. Like I said, that shouldn’t happen to us on home ice like it did last game,” Eller said. “Left with a feeling you don’t often leave with. Probably a lot of guys felt that way. Therefore, guys’ competitive natures show up sometimes in practice the next day. Compete level should be high and it was today.”
Eller also stressed, though, that the team isn’t ready to press the panic button.
“Every team goes through these stretches where things are going against them a little bit,” Eller explained. “Some games you’re not playing to the level you should and all of the sudden you lose three, four in a row. So we do realize that. We looked at video this morning we talked about it we had a good intensive practice and now we got to respond… I’m confident we will turn our game around.
“It happens almost to every team every year at some point and we got to make something good come of it. Yeah, that’s all. Because I know we’re better and we should I mean, last game it felt awful. leaving the rink felt awful in the third period, it was embarrassing. it shouldn’t happen to us at home. Same thing in St. Louis; left that game with a really bad feeling… so now we got to respond again next game and we got to get the good emotions and good feelings rolling again and we’ll start piling up wins again.”