Alexander Ovechkin is in the worst slump of his career. Nicklas Backstrom's concussion is much worse than previously thought. Rookie coach Dale Hunter has alienated his veterans.
Granted, things could be much worse for the Washington Capitals. The game plan this summer was straightforward: Add the right pieces to form a contender, cast aside the demons of seasons past, get past the second round of the playoffs and go all the way to the finals.
They only forgot one thing.
You have to qualify for the playoffs before you can win the Cup.
Now on the outside looking in, every game the Caps play will need to have the intensity of a playoff game. The last 20 games aren't going to be home and away games, they are going to be fights for survival.