By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
Andrew Ladd is “pissed off” and with good reason. The Winnipeg Jets are playing poorly and the captain wants the “right” reaction when they face off against former division rivals, the Washington Capitals, tonight at the MTS Centre.
“Well hopefully guys are pissed off about the way things have been going,” said Ladd after Tuesday mornings skate.
The talk within the team since their 3-1 loss Sunday night against the Nashville Predators has been to rebound and come out swinging.
“Individually, you have to react in the right way and process that energy and that anger and make sure it counts,” said Ladd, who thinks there is enough talent in the room to set the tone. “We have enough in this room, I don’t think there is a question about that, we have seen it before so we know it is here. It is just a matter of more looking at yourself in the mirror and asking yourself if you have been good enough.
“I think a lot of us would say we haven’t been good enough.”
Ladd says he has to get his game back on track and focus on leading by example.
“For me personally, I have to get my game back on track and focus on leading that way first and foremost,” said Ladd. “It is tough for me to stand up and say anything if my game is not where it needs to be.
“I realize I have to be a lot better.”
Claude Noel thinks a good response tonight would be palpable.
“I’d like to see some responses and they would too,” said Noel. “They would get energized from each other and do better and I think that is the big thing.”
Noel, who was quite candid on Monday after practice, didn’t want to add more pressure on his players on Tuesday.
“Players don’t want to play this way,” Noel said. “They do, and you ask why, but they don’t want to play this way. You have to help them, that is what the coach is for. Obviously I have to do a better job in helping them and they have to do a better job at helping each other and helping themselves.”
The Capitals had the Jets number last season, winning four out of their five match-ups. This season the Caps are off to a 3-5-0 start and are looking to get out of their own funk, winning just two of their last six contests.
“We have won a couple of games but we have lost more than we are winning,” said Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin. “Sometimes we play well but we can’t win, but sometimes we just play our style, our way, and find the balance between winning and losing.
Capitals head coach, Adam Oates, says they are weary of the Jets and knows they are frustrated and hungry to get a win at home before they head out onto the road.
“They are a very, very good hockey team that might not be going on all cylinders right now,” said Oates. “We have played them, they have a lot of weapons and we talked today that we have to keep them frustrated.
“At the end of the day, based on their comments, you expect hungry, hard fought game tonight.”
Puck drops tonight at 7 p.m. at the MTS Centre. Tonight also marks Hockey Fights Cancer night at the MTS Centre. Players have stickers on their helmets and have the option of using purple stick tape to mark the occasion.