Some things in life are certain: Death, taxes, and the Washington Capitals losing in the second round of the playoffs. By now, many fans know this cycle and have come to accept it.

It will be hard to see any reason for optimism in DC. This was the strongest team the Capitals have assembled around Captain Alex Ovechkin. It was only the second time Ovie has had a true NHL level coach in Barry Trotz (see: Bruce Boudreau era). With news of injuries releasing in a slow trickle, it is hard to know what can be accomplished next year.

Some fans want to blow up the team. Even more want to trade Ovechkin full stop. Others want to wait it out. One thing certainly needs to change in DC though: Mental preparedness and overall attitude.

This is easier said than done. It is worth mentioning however, that maybe the entire organization needs to see a sports psychologist throughout the season. It worked for Braden Holtby. Maybe it can work for the rest of the team.

While there is easily room to despair, there is just as easily room for hope. Even though the free agency period looms large and the Vegas draft will steal a player, the Capitals will still be a talented team. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom will dominate from center. Most of their top six forwards will return. Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, and John Carlson will remain strong on the back end.

More importantly, they might have some room for a few Hershey Bears. The Bears are still in the Calder Cup playoffs and look to advance to the 3rd round. The Caps will replace a few players who walk due to free agency with some speedy and cheap talent. Considering that is the new model for success, a youth infusion could point a group of jaded veterans in the right direction.

Every year is a year for a fresh start. In the NHL, that is particularly true. Who knew that the Columbus Blue Jackets could go from last to tops in the league in one season? Or that the Chicago Blackhawks would be swept? Or that the Colorado Avalanche would have an historically terrible season? Or that four of the six Canadian teams would make the playoffs this year after none of them made it last year?

So before you state that the Capitals will find a way to lose in the second round again, remember that anything can happen. Sports are full of weird and wacky bounces, and one day, maybe the Capitals will reap those benefits.


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My name is Julia, and I’m a Bethesda, MD native. I became an ice hockey fan after my dad took me to a Capitals game when I was 7, but quickly realized most 5’2” southern girls don’t become Peter Bondra. I’m a 2015 graduate of Mount Holyoke College where I studied psycholinguistics, which is a fancy way of saying why people talk funny. By day I’m a graduate student at UMD studying journalism.
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My name is Julia, and I’m a Bethesda, MD native. I became an ice hockey fan after my dad took me to a Capitals game when I was 7, but quickly realized most 5’2” southern girls don’t become Peter Bondra. I’m a 2015 graduate of Mount Holyoke College where I studied psycholinguistics, which is a fancy way of saying why people talk funny. By day I’m a graduate student at UMD studying journalism.

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