Ho Hum, the Washington Capitals are once again one of, if not the best team in the National Hockey League. During the regular season that is.
With a 7-0 franchise best start, the Capitals are without a doubt playing the best hockey in the NHL.
I am a huge Caps fan going back to the days when Washington's appearance in the postseason was considered a long shot. I can remember when the Capitals were considered an upstart franchise looking for their first postseason win. I remember the losing days prior to Bryan Murray and David Poile's arrival. Like you, I suffered through the agony of losing seven times to the Penguins in the postseason, only after leading most of those series.
I've watched three generations of players blow numerous 3-1 playoff series leads and lose to teams in the playoffs that Washington finished 15 and 20 points better than during the regular season.
I tell you that because I think it is only fair that a true diehard, rocking-the-red-Caps fan be able to ask the following question. What does the best start in the 36-year history of the franchise mean for a deeper run in the postseason?
The 7-0 start is great, and certainly, one way to keep fans interested in the regular season. However, haven't we seen from Alex Ovechkin and company from October through the first week in April before? The Capitals have averaged 112 points over the past three seasons only to find new and even more excruciating ways to lose in the playoffs.
The current regime was the first No.1 seed in NHL history to lose a playoff series to a No. 8 seed after leading three games to one. Last season, Washington became the first No. 1 seed to be swept in the second round of the playoffs.
Since 2007, they have lost not one, not two, but three Game 7's on home ice and simply looked horrible at times when it mattered most in the spring. If any team deserves "the but" part of a statement, it is the Washington Capitals.
The following stat is the perfect example of that statement.
Since taking over behind the bench on November 23, 2007, head coach Bruce Boudreau owns the highest winning percentage (.685) of any head coach in the NHL, but the No. 3 (Mike Babcock Detroit), No. 4 (Dan Bylsma Pittsburgh) and No. 5 (Joel Quenville Chicago) coaches on the list have all won Stanley Cups.
Only Todd McClellan, who in No. 2 on the list, and coaches the Western Conference version of the Capitals, the San Jose Sharks, has failed to win one as well.
After the past four years, I will say this for the Caps, only a start like this could prevent their fans from wanting to hibernate through the winter and wake up once the playoffs start.
So, how is this different? How is this year’s team finally going to carry regular-season success into the playoffs?
Here are the reasons the Caps should make history this year.