For 14 years, Denis Potvin patrolled the blue line for some great New York Islanders teams. He won four straight Stanley Cup titles, and was elected into the hockey Hall of Fame just three years after retiring. So he certainly knows what it takes to get it done in the postseason.
That's why it's interesting to see him come out with such strong words against the way the Washington Capitals are playing in their 2011 NHL Playoffs second-round series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Potvin was a guest on Sirius/XM Home Ice Tuesday morning, and said he felt the Capitals were being "damn lazy." Via The Checking Line:
"Sometimes the threat of getting beaten on physically is motivation enough. That was happening in the first series against the Rangers, but it's not happening in this series. They are getting methodically picked apart."
Potvin was sharply critical of the players not named Alex Ovechkin, saying they aren't providing him any help whatsoever.
"I'm watching the Capitals and some of the things I'm seeing are unbelievable. (Alex) Ovechkin is coming through the neutral zone with speed on the power play and four guys are standing still across the blue line. What kind of zone entry is that? Then, when they get in the zone, I'm watching (Mike) Green and some of the others standing right next to their checks. They aren't even trying to get into the open passing lanes. The defense is having a ball. All they have to do is swipe their sticks back and forth and they've got all the passing lanes covered."
"Lazy" seems a bit harsh. But certainly, the 1-3-1 zone trap the Lightning like to employ has made the Capitals a bit too conservative and too worried about attacking the zone hard enough. Here's hoping they turn it around and make Potvin and others eat their words.