Washington Capitals: 5 Changes for Next Season

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Washington Capitals: 5 Changes for Next Season

The NHL promotes in their commercials advertising this year’s playoffs that, "History will be made" and for the second straight year, the Washington Capitals complied.

Last year, the Capitals became the first No. 1 seed to cough up a 3-1 series lead and lose to an eighth seed.

This year, Washington became the first No.1 seed to be swept out of the playoffs in the first two rounds since the new playoff format began in 1995.

The Tampa Bay Lightning closed out their second playoff series in just six days, eliminating, once again, the Washington Capitals from the Stanley Cup playoffs

Owner Ted Leonsisi said that his goal for his team was nothing less than a Stanley Cup this year. Bruce Boudreau, Alex Ovechkin and everyone else in the Washington dressing failed miserably.

Leonsis summed up the series with the Lightning in his blog, Ted's Take, by writing the following and really, the entire series could not have been written about any better, especially in bullet points.

Their role players outplayed our role players.

Their highest paid players outplayed our highest paid players.

In fact, their role players outplayed our highest paid players.

Their goaltending was better.

Their special teams were better.

They adhered to their coaches’ system better than we adhered to our coaches’ system.

The wheels fell off for us. No doubt about that.

Leonsis goes on to write that, "The best course of action for us though is to let a few days pass; be very analytic about what needs to be improved; articulate that plan; and then execute upon it.

"Clearly we know we have to improve to build a franchise that is as good as our fan base."

Changes are in order for the Washington Capitals. There has to be. Your franchise is ultimately judged on how well you do in the playoffs and the Capitals do not do well.

Many of the current Capitals players that first reached the playoffs together under Boudreau in the spring of 2007 have now played in six postseason series together. They have won just two of them and both were against the Rangers.

New York was a No.7 seed in '09 and an eighth seed this year. The Caps have played 37 postseason games in those four trips to the Stanley Cup playoffs, posting an overall record of 17-20 in the process.

I can hear the excuses now form Caps sympathizers and in fact, have already read them right here on the Bleacher Report. Many players were hurt or playing with injuries, Boudreau has won four straight division titles and my personal favorite, this team is so talented and young.

My answer is, everyone plays with injuries this time of the year, and Stanley Cups are made up of 95 percent silver, Southeast division banners, cloth or heavy nylon.

Yes, the Capitals are talented, but led by Sean Bergenheim's four goals, the Lightning played much deeper and much better for 60 minutes as a "team."

The Capitals play like individuals and I would be willing to bet that the term "curl and drag" is heard more during a Caps telecast than any other teams telecast in the league.

Bergenheim plays on the Bolts' third line with Steve Downie and Dominic Moore. These guys are role players that are supposed to compliment the top-two lines and chip in while they rest between shifts.

Successful secondary scoring in the playoffs always equals wins. Remember John Druce? Downie averaged about 11 minutes of ice time per game in the series and managed five points in four games.

Add the top line of Marty St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and team captain Vinny Lecavalier, who led the Bolts in the series with six points and you have 24 points from six players.

The Capitals had just 26 points as a "team" for the entire series.

Changes are in order. So, sit back and either agree or disagree, comment if you like but just know that excuses will not be tolerated, because I am not making any in the next five slides.

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