If the Capitals were disappointed that no improvements were made to their roster before Mondays trade deadline, they certainly werent voicing them after Tuesdays morning skate at Kettler.
Im sure if there was something we could have done to make our team better, we would have done it, center Brooks Laich said. But, as a player, Im happy that everybody still remains in this room. I still enjoy the guys I play with.
Aside from Nicklas Backstrom's being sidelined with a concussion and the recalls of defenseman Dmitry Orlov and forwards Mathieu Perreault and Keith Aucoin, the Capitals look very much the same as they did on opening night back in October.
In fact, the only trades general manager George McPhee pulled off all season were a pair of minor-league deals on Feb. 2, when he picked up defenseman Kevin Marshall from the Flyers and center Mike Carman from the Avalanche.
I guess he feels this is a team thats going to get the job done, defenseman Mike Green said. Thats comforting to us. Its definitely different than in the past, but maybe thats a good thing. Weve been working together all year, and sometimes when you throw a curveball in there, it can derail it and the train can go off the tracks.
We need to reel it in, put ourselves in a playoff spot and go for the long haul from there.
The Capitals are hoping that by stringing together a few wins on their five-game homestand, they can overtake the Florida Panthers and win their fifth straight Southeast Division title. The Panthers, who play in Toronto tonight, lead the Caps by three points and hold a game in hand.
It will not be an easy task for coach Dale Hunter, who on Tuesday said it was good that McPhee stood pat with his current roster.
We should have won more games in the last little bit here, Hunter said. We didnt and this is our team and we have to win with this group.
Many of the Capitals still believe they have what it takes to make a long run in the playoffs, but like their general manager a day earlier, they sounded a little less convincing than they did in October.
This is the group we started the season with, Matt Hendricks said. Were missing Nicky, but were excited about some of the things weve done. There are some things were not excited about, but if we can put all the good things to one side and lean on that for the last 20 games, I think well be successful and hopefully, riding a high.
Laich said: This is a team I was excited about in the summer, and I still believe this is a very good hockey team and can get it done.