The Washington Capitals were the surprise recipients of a beat-down at the hands of the lowly New Jersey Devils.  The Caps’ Monday night loss was the second time in three games that they were shutout by a score of 5-0, and their third straight loss.  Though the Devils manhandled the Caps on the ice, it’s the post-game antics of Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin that are coming under fire today.

Corey Masisak of CSN D.C. reported that Ovechkin and Semin were in good spirits as they talked and laughed with fellow Russian, Devils’ winger Ilya Kovalchuk, just feet from head coach Bruce Boudreau’s post-game presser:

A group of media members were waiting for Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau outside the Washington dressing room for his post-game press conference. Majority owner Ted Leonsis and general manager George McPhee were about 20 feet away toward where the Capitals’ team bus awaited. Ovechkin and Kovalchuk were conversing in the hallway between the two locker rooms about 10 feet from where Boudreau would be speaking.

Both players appeared to be in good spirits, laughing and smiling with each other. It was a stark contrast to how somber Ovechkin was when he addressed reporters a few minutes earlier. Other players were leaving the dressing room for the bus having already showered and in their suits as Ovechkin — in a T-shirt and shorts — talked to Kovalchuk.

Alexander Semin came out of the room and turned right toward the bus when Ovechkin yelled for him. Semin gave him a disgruntled look, but capitulated and joined them in the discussion.

Boudreau took notice of the fraternizing, and by all accounts – did not appear to be impressed.  Puck Daddy has video of the Boudreau press conference in which Semin, Ovechkin, Kovalchuk can be heard in the distance.  Boudreau is asked about the circle of friends carrying on, and responds by saying “I’ll reserve my thoughts on that, if you don’t mind.”

Friendly post-game exchanges between players is neither uncommon or vehemently frowned upon, but as Greg Wyshynski intimated – it’s pretty piss-poor of captain Ovechkin and Semin to be carrying on with such high spirits just spitting distance from their head coach’s media scrum following an awful loss.

And it’s frankly unacceptable for Ovechkin to put himself in a situation where this becomes a story. Boudreau dropped him to the third line against Jersey. He hasn’t scored a goal in four straight, and has two goals in nine games. It’s not the best run for Ovechkin right now.

But above all that: He’s the captain. And the impression left on his coach and on his fans this morning is that a 6-4 block of granite named John Erskine handled himself better after this defeat than the guy with the ‘C’.

Where do you stand?  Should friendly exchanges between opposing teams take place away from the arena, or is it just us bloggers and media types making an issue out of nothing?  Either way, Boudreau didn’t look happy and it’s likely that he’ll address the incident internally.