Working up animosity in the playoffs can be pretty easy to do for opponents. An iffy hit here, a stick jab there, a few goal mouth scrums and face washes later and all of a sudden you’ve got a healthy dislike for each other worked up.
The Washington Capitals don’t strike anyone as that sort of team, but Caps defenseman Karl Alzner wants to change that. CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley hears it from Alzner about how the Caps want to be the team that gets the fans up in arms night in and night out. They want to be the heels of the postseason.
“We’re trying to be the people everybody wants to hate and does hate and can’t stand,” said Alzner, who is one of the most likable personalities in the Capitals dressing room.
“You try to get in their faces without saying anything. Same with the fans. Their fans didn’t like that we weren’t talking back with them as we would in the regular season. We need to play ugly. Every game in the playoffs you want to be the uglier team.”
You could say that the Caps have been playing ugly all season for all the wrong reasons, but the kind of ugly he’s talking about is the sort of thing coach Dale Hunter was famous (infamous?) for during his playing days. Getting down and dirty on the ice was his specialty and that sort of grit is what the Caps have been missing over the last few years and playoff failures.
Playing that way and not scoring goals, however, won’t get the Caps anywhere and that’s something they’ll have to change against Boston. The Caps didn’t generate many shots and weren’t able to put any pucks past Tim Thomas, but working up that snarl is something they started doing based on the kinds of hits being thrown in Game 1. This afternoon’s Game 2 gives them ample opportunity to up the hate level, especially if they pull off a victory.