After the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Washington Capitals 3-1 last night, Washington center Nicklas Backstrom was in a foul mood. Per ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom came off the ice, threw his stick in the dressing room hallway and screamed “F— this league.” I asked Backstrom why he was so upset coming off the ice. “That we didn’t win. That’s what I’m upset about.” The Capitals lost 3-1 to the Penguins, which evens their series at 2-2.
That aside, who cares an emotional game just ended, guys are wired up and upset in the heat of the moment - it’s totally understandable. No big deal and we all move on, right?
But wait, enter stage right the Capitals PR team who totally don’t want you to know or make this a big story that this went down, they went to the Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan to “dispute he said that”.
The team’s PR rep Sergey Kocharov took the spin on the offensive with a tweet of his own to clarify that Backstrom did throw a stick and curse, but didn’t say what Wyshysnki said he did. (Even though Wyshynski said he threw his stick and cursed, so the PR spin doesn’t make much sense).
@SherreeBurruss is correct. He did throw his stick and cursed, but he did not say what @wyshynski alleges.— Sergey Kocharov (@SergeyKocharov) May 4, 2018
What Sherree Burruss (a DC local station sports reporter) saw doesn’t really differ all that much from what Wyshynski said either, aside from Wyshynski specifying what the word was and how it was derogative towards the league:
Yikes! Coming off the ice Backstrom yelled an expletive and threw his stick like a spear against the wall before going in to the dressing room.— Sherree Burruss (@SherreeBurruss) May 4, 2018
Wyshynski didn’t back down.
Two reporters and two camera people heard "Fuck this league." We were standing right there. It's not just me.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) May 4, 2018
The Trib’s Rob Rossi was there and heard Backstrom say “fuck this league” and backed Wysh 100% as well.
I was next to @wyshynski. This was said. This done. This is truth. Address it in my column. But, to be clear: The stick. The words. It’s true. All of it. https://t.co/CiUH8nIpav— Rob Rossi (@Real_RobRossi) May 4, 2018
This isn’t a big deal in the big scheme of things, but it’s really speaks to how in the new media age that teams are trying (and largely failing) to keep moments like these under wraps and away from the public eye. Are they that afraid of people knowing that Backstrom said the f word? That he said something negative about the league? It really shouldn’t be a big deal or point to dispute. Surely just about every player in every league (including the Penguins) say worse things in the locker-room after losing a playoff game, pretty easy to accept.
More interestingly, shouldn’t DC of all places know the coverup and lies are always worse than the initial crime? If you want a story to go away, you don’t try to stamp out the multiple people there who heard what they heard, it only fans the flames. Classic Streisand effect. This website here, with 1.5 million pageviews since April 1st for instance, isn’t going to write a blog about how Nicklas Backstrom said “fuck this league” unless the Caps organization goes out of its way to try and dispute it. Now they’ve just gone made it worse and more people who wouldn’t have known will know about an emotional outburst against the league.
Does anyone care or think less of Backstrom? No, not at all and not really that’s not the point. The point is you can’t control a message or distort reality. Being able to accept reality of situations in May seems to be a big issue for the whole Capitals organization when the losses start piling up.
By the way, another not great look for old Nicky boy who slashed at the crotch of Sidney Crosby in back in 2017 that’s only really getting any play these days on the internet. Another example of something else most people probably wouldn’t have seen if the Caps just weren’t so bad at PR, we’d probably have no reason to publish this either. But since we’re all here let’s go.
Yeah you would have thought he already leaned it from Backstrom. pic.twitter.com/PzZ4fOMIOm— n (@Malkish6611) May 3, 2018
Before these playoffs started Backstrom had a quote along the lines of “hey, it can’t get any worse”. As he is finding out, it can and it will get worse. The Caps are halfway to another elimination at the hands of the Penguins.