The Point of No Return

If you are George McPhee, how can you look at what happened on Monday night and consider yourself a buyer?

On Monday night, the Washington Capitals had a great opportunity.  After getting some help from the Bruce Boudreau-led Ducks, who beat Florida Sunday, Dale Hunter’s men could climb back in to playoff contention with a win over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The fifteenth-place Carolina Hurricanes.  Who had Justin Peters in goal and were missing two of their top six forwards.

Recipe for success, right?

Wrong.

The Capitals were utterly humiliated Monday evening, getting blown away by the Hurricanes in a game that they needed to win.  They were shut out by Justin Peters.  I repeat.  They were shut out by Justin Peters.

It was a terrible game from the beginning, with a missed chance by Mike Knuble after less than three and a half minutes telling you just how bad a night it was going to be.

On the same play as that missed Knuble chance, Roman Hamrlik took an elbowing penalty.  Carolina converted on that man advantage almost immediately and added another 90 seconds later to chase Vokoun.  And just like that, the rout was on.

Washington would allow another goal with less than a minute remaining in the first period before conceding two more by the time the game was over, including a shorthanded goal early in the second period.  It was just an ugly, horrendous game.

Quite simply: a rout, an embarrassment, a roasting, a hammering, a mauling, a devastating night for Washington.

The Capitals are missing their best player.  That is unfortunate and it undoubtedly has something to do with their pathetic performance over the last month.  But Mike Green is back in the lineup now, so the Capitals don’t have that excuse anymore.  Alas, in Green’s two games, he has been on the ice for six goals and the Capitals have been outscored 7-1.

I’m as big a Green fan as any; I think he’s a tremendous player, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t expecting more from him. He was supposed to be a shot in the arm for this team.  He hasn’t been; in fact, it’s only gotten worse.

Which brings us back to the beginning of this post.  If you are George McPhee, how can you possibly spend assets to try and improve this team?

Yes, I understand they are only a point out of a playoff spot.  I understand that they are only two points back of first in their Division, though Florida has a game in hand.  But anyone saying that this team is close is kidding themselves.

Their play on the ice indicates a team so far away from anything of substance that it hard for me to put into words.

The goal of this team is not to make the playoffs anymore.  It hasn’t been for awhile.  Their goal is to win the Stanley Cup.  And no matter what you want to think, that’s not happening this year.  Not without Nicklas Backstrom and at least one more very good center.

Why would anyone in their right mind spend organizational assets to try and improve a team like this?  The Capitals are in complete and utter disarray.  Antoine Vermette isn’t solving this problem, and that seems like the best the Caps are going to get at this point.

Trading away young players and draft picks to add players to a team that isn’t going anywhere is irresponsible and it’s not intelligent.

It’s not me being overly negative and it’s not me overreacting.  It’s just me being realistic.  What we saw on Monday night at the RBC Center probably could have been beaten by an AHL team on a good night.

Sooo, who’s excited for the draft?

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