Mike Babcock addressed the media after his team’s 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals in the Stadium Series game on Saturday night.
On the team’s lacklustre performance:
We weren’t very good. I mean, they were good and they got on us. I didn’t think we executed at all. Like, when you go through, we didn’t have very many good players. It’s unfortunate. In life, you only get so many opportunities and you want them to be real positive memories. So you’ve got to be prepared and you’ve got to be willing to play hard. Way better memories and opportunities when you win. When you don’t, and you don’t play well in particular, it is kind of unfortunate. You don’t get many opportunities and you want to be good on them.
On whether, on a night when the Capitals’ stars were their leaders, the team missed Auston Matthews:
Sure, but in saying all of that, we knew who we were playing. We just played them last year in the playoffs. They eliminated us. We knew it was a big night. They look at us and they still think we’re kids. It looked like we were kids here tonight. I thought they smacked us around and forechecked us. I didn’t think we executed at all. I didn’t think we played fast. You’ve got to give them credit. I thought they did a good job. Anyway you look at it…
At the end, we’re working, and all of that. But at the start, they were just at a different level than we were.
On rebounding in Buffalo on Monday:
Obviously, we’ve got to regroup. We’re going to be practising tomorrow. The work we didn’t put in today, we’ll be putting in tomorrow. Get back on track here. I mean, the league is tough every night. Every team we play. We’ll go to Buffalo and they’ll have a whole bunch of people that are battling for their livelihood. They are going to play that hard and you’ve got to play that hard. I was disappointed tonight. We normally play real hard and we normally look organized with good structure and all of that. I didn’t think we were. I thought Trotzy had his team more ready than I did.
On what happened after the team clawed back within one at 3-2:
We turned the puck over. I think they had a 2-on-0, or something, on that turnover. Obviously, those lessons have got to be learned. You can’t turn the puck over in the NHL. Maybe you can get away with it in other leagues, but in the NHL, you can’t. We just crawled our way back and we made it a game, and now we took the momentum right out of our side. Obviously, it wasn’t a good decision at their blue line. In the end, it ended up in our own net.
On the decision to pull Frederik Andersen from the game after the Capitals’ fifth goal:
I mean, it was going in. I didn’t want to leave him in there and there be a bunch more go in. He’s our guy. He’s our starter. We’ve got to look after him the best we can. Mac got an opportunity. I thought Mac played good for us and gave us a chance to crawl back. We didn’t do that, but he gave us that chance.