Capitals 3, Panthers 4
It has to be frustrating to be Glen Hanlon these days. After more than two seasons of struggling through a complete rebuild you finally get a chance with a team that has a decent amount of NHL talent. Then injuries hit, the refs seem to make a lot of questionable calls that go against you and every bounce is favoring the opponents. You finally get your lineup back from injuries and you lose again - in large part because of a horribly unlucky bounce. And poor referring. And the fact that your captain can't put away a golden powerplay opportunity early in the game when the powerplay seemed to be working well. And that your captain later took a needless penalty to erase another powerplay.
All that said I still think it's time for a coaching change. In addition to Hanlon's earlier questionable decisions, the fact is the Capitals look lost. Whenever they go down, especially by more than one goal, the feeling is palpable and it's obvious in their body language that the Capitals don't think they can win. They're just hoping to somehow pull it out. I can't say for certain if they've lost faith in Hanlon's system, if the early losses in games they deserved to win have brought about a defeatist attitude or if they players are just starting to think they're cursed. But no matter what it is the most obvious answer is a coaching change.
Realistically it would be a mistake to change coaches during a stretch as active as the one the Caps are going through right now, but unless the Capitals go on a three-plus game winning streak (provided they don't lose all the other games) December 1st is going to be the last night you'll see Hanlon behind the bench.
- Tap a guy on the gloves with your stick? Penalty. Lift another player's stick the wrong way? Penalty. Your jersey brushed the opponent's jersey as you skated by? Penalty. Punch Alexander Semin in the face and follow through with your elbow well after he has let the puck go? Play on, boys. Maybe the referees were overwhelmed by choice and couldn't decide whether to call roughing, elbowing or interference.
- Seriously, Semin drew a penalty but there were three or four others that should have been called when he was being mauled. Do the refs have it in for him or something?
- How strong is Alex Ovechkin? He knocked over Jassen Cullimore when Cullimore tried to stand him up while he was carrying the puck. Cullimore is 6'5'' and weighs 245 pounds.