When a team does well almost every year, that team's fanbase expects a championship almost all the time. For Washington D.C., they haven't seen anything major since the Redskins 1991 football team win a Super Bowl. Since that time, the Redskins have been putrid for a very long time. The Nationals in baseball have started to pick up as a serious team. However, we are looking at the Capitals, the hockey team that can't get past the hump.
Since 1982, the Capitals have been one of the more stronger teams in the NHL. Starting from 82 until 96, they would make the playoffs every year, often losing in the semi-finals or conference finals. After an off year, the 1997-98 team would make its only Stanley Cup appearance, where they lost to the Detroit Red Wings. For the next six years, they would make the postseason three more times before the 2004-05 lockout. Since 2007, they have been one of the more dominant teams, but have squandered big series against teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers, and Boston Bruins.
In all honesty, this should be a team that could get past the hump and show a bit of energy. They fought back a three to one Penguins lead in the series to tie it up, and then lose once again in a game 7. Alex Ovechkin is one of the biggest names right now in not just the NHL, but hockey in general. Washington had one of the best defenses and set of goalies this year. The main scoring groups are young and can stay together for a long time. How much more disappointment can there be for them?
Time will only tell if they can beat a Pittsburgh or a New York team. This is one of their biggest obstacles. Can they get past a lot of these mental mistakes? Can they get past all the stuff that they hear from the fans, the press, etc.? Blocking it out could work. You would think so. Ultimately, the Capitals have to focus on hockey come September/October. Frustration is going to mount and either they get that championship or they start losing key players to trades, retirements, and or injuries.
Right now, Ovechkin has at the very least five to eight more years left barring any injuries. Washington has a very tough division which include the Rangers and Penguins. Their conference also has the Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, and whatever surprise team gets in at times. The time to get serious on being contenders is now. If they don't, time will tell when they have another good era that can get them a Stanley Cup.
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