Losers of five straight, Caps hold 'players' meetings'

Josh Luckenbaugh
January 21, 2019 - 1:02 pm
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Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

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The Capitals lost their fifth straight game Sunday afternoon, a high-scoring, often sloppy 8-5 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

After the game, the Caps did something they hadn't done all season: call a players' meeting.

After jumping out to an early season lead in the Metropolitan Division, Washington has now fallen to third in the standings, three points behind Barry Trotz and the Islanders and tied on 59 points with the Blue Jackets (Columbus holds the tie-breaker for second place). 

Speaking to Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post, Braden Holtby cited complacency as a major issue, the Caps possibly dealing with the dreaded Stanley Cup hangover.

Last Wednesday on The Sports Junkies, head coach Todd Reirden explained how player absences had affected his squad, while also pointing to a lack of execution. 

"In the research I'd done, there would be a little bit of a drop-off at different times after the Stanley Cup run last year and the successes we had, but I didn't expect it to come through injury and through suspension and through having to use guys maybe a little bit more than you should," said Reirden.

"For the most part, it's come down to the execution by us within our system and doing things better than others (which) has been the difference maker. And at this point, in this rough patch, we haven't been as sharp in those areas and as good with our details of the game that define us and push us over the hump."

Monday before practice, the Caps reportedly held another players' meeting, this one called by the coaching staff. 

Washington has two games left to build some momentum heading into the NHL All-Star break: Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks, and Wednesday against the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

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