With win vs. Panthers, Capitals finally meeting expectations

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Cheers and Jeers,Sports,NHL,Capitals,Brian McNally

There's not a ton more overrated in sports than a players-only meeting. The move is immediately credited if a team starts winning, and if it doesn't, then it is more evidence of a locker room in chaos.

Still, the struggling Capitals called for one Friday after an embarrassing loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins the day before, and they responded with a 5-0 thrashing of the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Did the meeting help? Who knows? Maybe the more important thing is that they believe it did.

"They had a lot of energy [Saturday] morning," Caps coach Adam Oates said after his team's best effort of the season. "And I thought from the beginning of the game they were into the game. And so if that was the reason, great."

It's more likely that playing a struggling team at home helped a lot more. And the Panthers are just a step above Washington in the Eastern Conference standings at this point.

Team captain Alex Ovechkin didn't want to discuss what was said, and Oates wasn't sure whether his captain called for the meeting or was just part of a leadership group that decided one was necessary. It was really "just to kind of press the reset button," forward Joel Ward said.

"The meeting was more about what we expect out of each other," forward Troy Brouwer said. "Guys not trying to do too much, guys trying to do more than they need to, things like that. Just clearing the air in the dressing room, which may have been a little bit late for what it should have been, but it definitely worked out. But we need to continue going forward where we are right now."

- Brian McNally

bmcnally@washingtonexaminer.com

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