I was completely convinced that this year was going to be the year for the Washington Capitals. I thought they had the right mix of youthful, talented players and solid veteran leadership, I thought they had a defense just good enough to get them by and I thought that with unquestionably, two of the top ten best players in the world in Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, this offense could make magic happen in the postseason and persevere through any hardship. Plus, if the Capitals were still following the same trajectory that Pittsburgh had followed since the lockout in 2004-05, it was actually predetermined, this year was going to be our year.
But sadly, our dreams of drinking champagne and other adult beverages from Lord Stanley’s Cup did not materialize. And now we’re left with another summer full of what-if’s and a bunch of regular season memories that seem to elicit more bewilderment than joy, more anger than hope.
I’ve tried to wrap my head around this season for a few days now, and I’ve come to a few solid conclusions. Why did the Washington Capitals lose to the eight-seeded team in the first round of the playoffs, a team in which they finished 33 points ahead of in the standings, after looking nearly unbeatable for three quarters of the season? Let’s just say, sometimes in the end, it’s not how talented you are, but how much you evolve your game to your competition that truly matters.