Capitals out of playoffs: No excuse for Ovechkin
Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin could experience a bitter feeling this year that he hasn't experienced often since his debut in the National Hockey League in 2005: that of an exclusion the playoffs.
The 37-year-old veteran has missed postseason playoffs three times, including the first two campaigns of his career. His most recent absence was in the spring of 2014, when the troupe then led by Adam Oates took ninth place in the Eastern Conference despite collecting 90 points.
This time around, the Caps already seem to be looking to the future, as they traded defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forward Garnet Hathaway to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. That same evening, they suffered a sixth straight loss, losing 4-2 to the miserable Anaheim Ducks. In the standings, Washington is 12th in the East before hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon.
Still, the club's players have a job to do and apologies won't be enough to calm the storm. Even though “Ovi” stepped away from the team entourage in order to mourn his recently deceased father, the Capitals had an opportunity to collect important points, but they fell short.
< p>“We still have a chance to make the playoffs…you never know what can happen. We're just going to keep playing. It's sad that all of this has happened, but there's nothing we can do. We players have to move on and it's not our job to make a decision,” Ovechkin said of Thursday's trade, as reported by washingtonhockeynow.com.
L he full-back Trevor van Riemsdyk didn't want to use any red herrings. “We are a playoff team, in our opinion. These are two big points that we have just let slip. We will miss these guys. They are good people, except it's part of business and it's sad. It is so and now we have nothing to justify our inability to win this game,” he lamented.
Throwback to 2014
So the last time the Capitals and Ovechkin watched the playoffs on TV was the year the Los Angeles Kings were crowned in the Finals against the Rangers. At the time, Washington found itself short of three points behind the Detroit Red Wings, who also represent the formation to catch up in the current standings.
The number 8 had nevertheless concluded with 51 goals and a second Maurice-Richard trophy in a row to his credit, registering 79 points, the same number as Nicklas Backstrom. But behind, the third best scorer in the formation – Joel Ward – was about thirty points behind them. Late in the year, the club acquired goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Buffalo Sabres, while Martin Erat went his way to the Phoenix Coyotes.
The club's troubles cost Oates dearly and to general manager George McPhee, both fired after the campaign.