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Caps players question their effort, coach disagrees

Oct 13, 2013, 10:32 AM EDT

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Troy Brouwer #20 of the Washington Capitals looks at the scoreboard as the Colorado Avalanche celebrate their win at Verizon Center on October 12, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Colorado Avalanche won, 5-1. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) Getty Images

It’s happening again. For the second season in a row, the Washington Capitals are limping out of the gate.

They suffered a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche last night to drop to 1-4-0 this season, but there doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to what the problem is.

Ask the players, and they’ll put into question their own work ethic.

“It’s about wanting to win,” Troy Brouwer told CSN Washington. “That’s all it comes down to. Our talent level’s there. Our effort’s not.”

Brouwer’s statement wasn’t out of sync with what some of his teammates are saying, but Capitals coach Adam Oates has a different theory.

“We had 19 shots in the second period alone,” Oates said. “There were moments we made mistakes, but I didn’t see effort being a problem. I saw mistakes.”

They did outshoot the Avalanche 40-28 on Saturday, but hit a brick wall in their former goaltender, Semyon Varlamov.

Offense has been an unusual problem for Washington over its last few games and Alex Ovechkin is the only Capitals player that can seem to find the back of the net with any degree of consistency. Oates is going to look at shaking up the team’s lines as they get ready for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

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