Another year, another disappointing finish.
No matter how you look at things, the 2011-12 season is just another one in a long list of failures for the Washington Capitals.
Expected to be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender for a third year in a row, all signs point to an early summer and a middle-of-the-pack finish.
Washington is at an impasse this summer. The free agents that General Manager George McPhee acquired this past summer have failed. None, except for goaltender Tomas Vokoun, have really made a positive impression in D.C.
That leaves the question—can Vokoun be the number one man in Washington until a young heir is ready to take over full time?
Former starter and current backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth has seemed to regress after having the starting job taken away from him. Not all of the blame can be placed solely on Neuvirth, though. The Caps have been atrocious as a defensive unit.
When handing out a multi-year contract to the veteran Vokoun, management must take into account his age, how much more money he is worth than his current contract of $1.5 million and try to predict his regression as he gets older.
In your author's humble opinion, it is time to move on.
Chalk the 2011-12 season up for what it is—a failure. Let it go, get new management and remove the mistakes of McPhee's regime. Not only should Vokoun be let go to test greener pastures, but those brought in with him—Roman Hamrlik and Joel Ward—should be traded to anybody who will take them.
McPhee refusing to sell eliminate Hamrlik for future considerations, freeing up $3.5 million in cap space. What should infuriate the base even more is the simple fact that Paul Gaustad was worth a first-round draft choice to a contender. Just imagine what the Chicago Blackhawks would have given up for him.
Caps fans will soon erase the season from their collective memories and remember it as a bad dream.
It was nothing more.