Wednesday, former Washington Capitals forward Matt Bradley did not hold back in an interview where he said, among other things, that enigmatic winger Alexander Semin "just doesn't care." Another one of Bradley's former teammates, center Nicklas Backstrom, also opened up recently. Of course, nothing inflammatory was said, but Backstrom did share his thoughts on the end of last season.
On what happened at the end of last season, when the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Caps out of the Eastern Conference Semifinals:
"I have to say that I'm still incredibly disappointed. It felt good after the first playoff round and then we lost in four straight games to Tampa. It came as a shock and I felt totally empty inside after that. But at the same time, if we don't play better than that, and I have to say that Tampa played really well; they played smart against us and had a good goalie, they definitely deserved the win but I don't know, we should have been better, and if I'm talking about me personally I underachieved in the playoffs and I just can't do that in that situation."
On his own play in the playoffs, where he mustered just two assists in nine games:
"I don't know. I guess I'm the type of player that is expected to score goals and rack up points. But things didn't work at all for me and when that happens you have to do a lot of soul searching and that's what I've been doing."
Backstrom would later say that through that "soul searching," he realized that he "underachieved." Backstrom has always been a reserved player that leads on the ice, but perhaps he was one of the stars that Bradley referred to that didn't show up in the postseason.
There was a lot of pressure on Backstrom and the Caps to perform in the playoffs. After such a disappointing end to last season, the pressure is on even more.
(H/T to Japers' Rink and their Swedish correspondent, @Rabiesmalin)