A valid question. Considering how much the "rumor" has gotten into our heads, I think it is safe to say that all the players are also aware of it and have at least given some thought to possible implications. I doubt the rumor had any influence on our latest losses though, if any, and was simply the lingering result of an adrenalin crash after a fantastic road trip followed by a disappointing free-for-all against Toronto and being owned again, as usual, by the Rags.
I see no shame in losing to the Caps and Tampa but our lack of focus and overall performance in each of the first two periods is concerning. Coaching staffs and team leaders of good teams will find a way to overcome that and won't tolerate more of it without consequences. I hope the Canes are one of them.