ARLINGTON, V.a. (DC News Now) – On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals took their end-of-the-season staff picture, however, this franchise has little to smile about.
Coming off a loss on Sunday to the New York Rangers, with a Florida Panthers win Tuesday night, The Capitals are eliminated from the playoffs before they play their next game in Edmonton against the Oilers on Thursday.
“I’m disappointed about where we are in the standings right now, like everybody else is,” head coach Peter Laviolette said to the media on Tuesday at practice. “The fact is, we were in games we needed to win and didn’t get it done.”
“For whatever reason,” says Conor Sheary as he looks back at the season, “anytime we would get a big win we would follow that up with a loss and we could never get momentum.”
This is the first time since 2014 that Washington has not made the postseason. Among a team full of veterans who are used to success, like Nicklas Backstrom, their playoff chances falling to less than .3% with five games left doesn’t sit right.
“Why you play hockey, is because to want to be in the playoffs, I mean that’s what is exciting it’s what you live for, you want to win,” says Backstrom, who was on the team when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018. “Everyone around here knows how special that was when we won.”
Sheary, has previously won two Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
“Maybe a little bit of a wake-up call for a lot of guys, I think for so many years it was so easy that you can pencil in Washington as a playoff team, and this year it wasn’t that easy.”
You can blame the up and down season on the mountain of injuries Washington faced throughout the season, but head coach Peter Laviolette and the players are pointing the finger back at themselves.
“I think when you start looking for reasons why things didn’t happen you’re just looking to make an excuse.”
Now, the capitals will prepare for a disappointing end to a season that gave their fans so much hope back in December. Back when Alex Ovechkin broke Gordie Howe’s scoring record and when the team caught fire and put themselves in a position to make the playoffs heading into the all-star break.
Just not enough gas left in the tank for the 2022-2023 Washington Capitals.