WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Troy Brouwer #20 of the Washington Capitals looks at the scoreboard as the Colorado Avalanche celebrate their win at Verizon Center on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Colorado Avalanche won, 5-1. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Caps players question their effort, coach disagrees


It’s happening again. For the second season in a row, the Washington Capitals are limping out of the gate.

They suffered a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night to drop to 1-4-0 this season, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to what the problem is.

Ask the players, and they’ll put into question their own work ethic.

“It’s about wanting to win,” Troy Brouwer told CSN Washington. “That’s all it comes down to. Our talent level’s there. Our effort’s not.”

Brouwer’s statement wasn’t out of sync with what some of his teammates are saying, but Capitals coach Adam Oates has a different theory.

“We had 19 shots in the second period alone,” Oates said. “There were moments we made mistakes, but I didn’t see effort being a problem. I saw mistakes.”

They did outshoot the Avalanche 40-28 on Saturday, but hit a brick wall in their former goaltender, Semyon Varlamov.

Offense has been an unusual problem for Washington over its last few games and Alex Ovechkin is the only Capitals player that can seem to find the back of the net with any degree of consistency. Oates is going to look at shaking up the team’s lines as they get ready for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.