“Before the Capitals season started, I was quoted as saying I didn’t see any weakness in our lineup. While I knew some aspects of our team were stronger than others, I didn’t see anything that I believed was a specific weakness. Obviously I was wrong.”
That was Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, writing on his blog after his team was eliminated from playoff contention. Washington will miss the postseason for the first time since 2007, and Leonsis is promising to “conduct a comprehensive review of what transpired this year.”
Certainly, the jobs done by general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates will be part of that review. And it doesn’t sound like staying the course is an option.
“When we have concluded our evaluation, we will make the necessary adjustments and articulate our reasoning and plan for improvement,” Leonsis wrote.
Player wise, the Caps have some big questions to answer as well. Down the middle, Mikhail Grabovski is a pending unrestricted free agent, while Brooks Laich is a potential compliance buyout. The blue line has been rightly targeted by critics, and the goaltending situation is as uncertain as ever, especially after the recent tension between Jaroslav Halak and Oates.
“I empathize with the frustration – and even anger – of our fans,” wrote Leonsis, “and I promise to work diligently as we analyze the season, evaluate our organization and pursue what we believe to be our best options.”
Stars place Lehtonen on IR, call up Campbell and Nemeth
Kari Lehtonen will miss at least a few games with the upper-body injury he suffered the other night against Ottawa. The Dallas Stars announced today that they’ve placed the 32-year-old goalie on injured reserve, retroactive to Tuesday.
With Lehtonen out, Jack Campbell has been called up from AHL Texas to be Antti Niemi’s backup. The Stars host Vancouver Friday, with a game at Minnesota Saturday.
Campbell, the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft, has struggled in the AHL this season, going 3-3-0 with an .873 save percentage.
The Stars have also recalled defenseman Patrik Nemeth.
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat