So who is to blame for the recent struggles of the Washington Capitals?
Coach Dale Hunter placed it squarely on goaltender Tomas Vokoun after the team’s 5-2 loss at Ottawa. For the second game in a row, Hunter yanked Vokoun and replaced him with Michael Neuvirth.
“They jumped on us. Tomas would like a few of them back,” Hunter told reporters. “He wasn’t as sharp as he should have been, and it’s in the back of our net.
“We need some big stops early that’s part of the game and tonight we played a good, solid road game and we lose. Goaltending is a big part of the game and we need good goaltending.”
Vokoun was not available to reporters after the game, the Washington Post got this retort from Vokoun’s agent Allen Walsh via text message:
“I’m not going to comment directly on what someone may have said after a game. I will point out though that hockey’s great coaches throughout history never resorted to publicly singling out a particular player, blaming him for a loss. Where I come from, you win as a team and lose as a team. The oldest, most tired excuse in the book is to blame the goalie.”
Vokoun has a 2.52 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage in his last 12 games. Those aren’t awful numbers, but the Caps went just 4-6-2 in those games.