May: It's actually good the Caps got 'their (butts) kicked so badly' in first half

Chris Lingebach
January 30, 2019 - 6:53 pm
May: It's actually good the Caps got 'their (butts) kicked so badly' in first half

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Capitals entered the All-Star break on a seven-game losing streak, after losing 10 of their last 13 games. That's actually a good thing, Alan May argues.

"Well, they have to come out and be way better defensively, and one of the great things about them getting their asses kicked so badly and playing the way that they have is it puts a big spotlight on what the problems with the team are," May told The Junkies on The Morning Skate, presented by D.C. Lottery. "It's defensively -- it's the physical commitment, it's a sacrifice -- and they've got to get everyone pulling together."

"Because we saw when they have everyone playing this system together, they're pretty much unbeatable," he said. "So, they've had some passengers on this team, they've been playing soft defensive hockey, and they've got to get back to being one of the best defensive teams in the league that has a work ethic and a strategy of working together as a team."

May says all the losses should force the need for a renewed commitment from the Caps to playing Stanley Cup-caliber hockey, a commitment that starts with the coaching staff.

"There have been some players that haven't been very good," he said, bluntly. "Those players have to come back with a renewed commitment to be the best, and the coaches are going to have to start holding the players more accountable as to how they're playing and not let them get away with it.

"Because, you know, it's going to be the same four teams at the top of the Metropolitan Division – New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, Columbus Blue Jackets, Pittsburgh Penguins. Those four teams will make the playoffs, but you don't want to go in limping. You want to remind your game. I guess you want to be consistent, but right now they've been consistently bad defensively. They have to be consistently great defensively, and I want to see them back to being the team that scores goals, plays physical when they have to, play fast but play responsible. And that's the bottom line. They've just got to get their act together."

May also reaffirmed his belief that the Caps cannot be at their best without getting more out of Evgeny Kuznetsov.

"He has to be the guy that gets them out of this. Down the stretch, if the Caps' two best centermen aren't the two best centermen every night, the Caps won't win games, they won't win playoff rounds. So that's the number one thing they have to have: Kuznetsov has to get back to being one of the top players in the National Hockey League."

The Caps return Friday against the Calgary Flames at Capital One Arena.

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