Thom Loverro: The way the Capitals are playing, the lockout looks pretty good right now

|
Sports,NHL,Capitals,Thom Loverro

Taking a page out of Beyonce's songbook, the Washington Capitals lip-synced their way through their home opener Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

They lost 4-2 to the Winnipeg Jets, and the best way to describe the play of the Caps, now 0-2 in the shortened season, would be to pick any number of words that end with "less" -- lifeless, clueless, helpless.

And, by the way, going into Alex Ovechkin's eighth NHL season -- Cup-less.

It was the return of hockey to Verizon Center after three months were lost because the NHL owners locked out the players in a labor battle.

You might think that Washington fans would be looking forward to returning to "Rock the Red" in what has been a raucous and high intensity atmosphere at Verizon Center.

But it was like a mausoleum Tuesday. The crowd was stunningly subdued all night. I thought I had wandered into a Wizards game by mistake.

Or maybe the fans thought they were being locked out.

According to reports, Caps fans had a hard time getting into the building because of a new ticketing system. By the time they finally got in their seats, maybe they were too cold or too tired to care about a sport that was shut down for three months.

It is not as if Caps fans didn't have anything to cheer about. Washington looked good early in the first period and scored after some nifty passing from Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (both of whom soon would be missing in action, as they were for the season opener Saturday night against Tampa Bay) that led to a Matt Hendricks goal and a 1-0 lead at 10:02 in the first period.

Caps fans should have seized that moment because there were no others.

Winnipeg went on tie the game on a power-play goal by Evander Kane and score three more times before an irrelevant Caps goal by Troy Brouwer with 1:16 left in the game.

Really, the most excited Caps fans got was during a promotional parachute drop from the ceiling of Verizon Center. Not sure what was being dropped, but packets of No Doz would have been a good idea.

By the end of the game, there were sporadic boos and sporadic chants of "RGIII, RGIII."

I don't know how much you could expect from a team with a rookie coach in Adam Oates implementing yet another new system with a short training camp. But no expected the Caps to look this bad.

"The grace period is gone," Brouwer said after the game. "We need to win hockey games."

Grace period? Some might say that ended with the Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 2009.

Examiner columnist Thom Loverro is the co-host of "The Sports Fix" from noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday on ESPN980 and espn980.com. Contact him at tloverro@washingtonexaminer.com.

View article comments Leave a comment