NEW YORK -- The intensity of the Stanley Cup Playoffs is hard to miss. It's so prevalent, in fact, that when it disappears, it's easy to notice.
That lack of intensity caught the eye of several Capitals during their 3-1 loss in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinal series Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden. Brooks Laich, one of the unquestioned leaders of the team and a prominent voice in the locker room, spoke about the attitude of the team following practice Sunday morning.
"It's an intense time of year and we're here to win," Laich said. "It takes so much to win that every little thing matters. If there's things I think we can be doing better, then I'm going to try to help to do that, try to find a way to get the most out of our guys. It's something we'll address in the room, and I don't care to share much more than that."
Linemate Troy Brouwer, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, delved a little deeper into the situation.
"We've been a pretty loose team all year long," Brouwer said. "You can see it even during the morning skate before Game 7 (against the Boston Bruins in the first round), we were having fun and joking around. I think that's a lot of our personality as a team, but at the same time, you have to make sure you're tight. You have to make sure you're making crisp passes and being sharp. I think we were a little bit nonchalant.