Capital Collapse

I realize I'm a week late in writing about this, but I want to talk some DC Sports again and talk about the Washington Capitals loss (or "collapse", as what some people would say) in the first round of the NHL playoffs to the Montreal Canadiens.

First, some background information for the people who don't follow this team, or haven't followed hockey during this past year… The Washington Capitals have been the class of the NHL, winning the President's Trophy (hardware given to the team with practically the best record), and has the largest margin of points for (scored) and points against (allowed). They were practically in a roll the whole season, won their division and conference with weeks to play, and clinched the best record two weeks before the playoff started. In fact, this team was the best team that this Washington, DC area has had in YEARS (not since the 1991 Redskins has this area been buzzing about a championship)…

But, then the playoffs started. They played a Montreal team who split their regular season series with them. Even then, many experts picked this series to be a short series in the Caps' favor. However, they weren't didn't play to their advantage (they were abysmal in the Power Play at 1 for 33 in the series, and it was hard for them to score a goal), and they ran into a decent defense and a red hot goaltender named Jaroslav Halak (who stopped 131 out of 134 shots in the final 3 games of the series).

Honestly, when they lost last Wednesday, I was in complete and utter shock. As a big fan and supporter of the DC sports scene, I really wanted this team to succeed and I truly did believe this was the best shot this area has had in winning a championship in almost 2 decades! Instead, it culminates a crazy 12-months in sports that the big 4 teams in this area has had (starting with the Capitals heartbreak playoff to the Penguins, to the Nationals, Redskins, and Wizards being terrible last place teams, all the way to this mighty Caps team with an early playoff exit). I even lost a bit of sleep that night when they lost, trying to figure out what went wrong. And admittedly, the reason why I may have taken so long to write this blog is because I'm still somewhat in denial (as I still haven't shaved my playoff facial hair yet either, as of now).

But, as the heartbreak slowly dissipated away, I realized there was still a lot of hope. With just a few more changes, this team has a chance to duplicate, or even surpass, what they did in the regular season last year and carry it into next year. They have a good core of guys which includes the 2-time (and possibly 3-time, after this year's end) MVP in Alex Ovechkin, an ultra talented centerman in Nick Backstrom, and a very young, athletic, and talented goaltender in Semyon Varlamov. And, their most talented defensemen (John Carlson and Karl Alzner) still are very young with loads of untapped potential. Not to mention, their coach Bruce Boudreau, is probably one of the best in the NHL, who was a former coach of the Year, and led this team from the cellar in their division, to the best team in the NHL. If the Caps can get a free agent or two during the off-season, that will get them tougher on defense, and up front, then they should be fine (or even better) come next year.

Also, I read a great article from Dan Steinberg (a sports blogger who works for the Washington Post), in which this Capitals team closely resembled and mirrored the Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers dynasty from the 80s, who lost their first 3 playoff years, pretty much in identical manner that this Capitals team did (including also clinching the conference's best record by a wide margin in their 3rd year, only to be disappointed with a 1st round exit). You can read the article here.

So don't fret Caps fans. There's hope after all. History may be destined to repeat itself, only the Edmonton Oilers can be mirrored by the Capitals. Not to mention, this is a classy and well-run organization from top to bottom, with a great system, with one of the best owners in sports in Ted Leonsis (whom I have previously constantly blogged about).

But speaking of Ted Leonsis, his book "The Business of Happiness" (which I will probably blog about in the future) talks about "reckonings" and to not "let a crisis go to waste". I truly believe that this epic "collapse" by the Caps is a reckoning for them, they'll learn from their mistakes, and will then be destined for even greater things in the future. It is kind of a letdown though that this team will have to wait a long summer, and 82 more games for an opportunity to prove themselves again.

Although this post is centered on disappointment and DC Sports, it can also be motivational… so it does fall under the category of an "out-of-the-box empowerment" blog dose. So I hoped you enjoyed reading it…

D4P… PD!!!

PS: On a somewhat unrelated note, I actually wrote a motivational piece of me speaking in front of Vince DiCola's song "War" (which was heard in Rocky IV), when the Capitals lost another heartbreaking Game 7 to the Philadelphia Flyers two years ago. I literally recorded the following video less than 24 hours after I got home from that game (feel free to check out that "rough" version)…


I have also produced a "final" copy of this piece (which can also be found in that YouTube Channel), but I'm thinking about re-recording it again, only wearing my Capitals Ovechkin jersey.

1 comment:

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs are going to kick the Caps' butts each game next season - yeah, I could hear all of cyberspace LOL! I must be on drugs or something!