The Washington Capitals look like they have a pretty good team going into the 2022-23 NHL season. It looks like team management has done all they can to put this team in a very good position to make a run this season. We will see how the season plays out, but on paper this team looks like it should be a contender.
Sports can be cruel though. As Capitals fans should probably know, there have been countless great teams that did not end up winning a championship. Some of these teams never won a title, others just took a lot longer than fans would have wanted. Like the Capitals in 2018.
You can build a great team. At the end of the day winning a championship takes more than that. Something that it takes that you can never control is luck.
Lets go back to the 2010 Capitals team. If that Presidents’ Trophy winning team dodges the Montreal Canadiens in the first round could they have gone all the way? What if instead of playing Halak and the Habs they play Michael Leighton or Brian Boucher and the Philadelphia Flyers? Or what if they play the Rangers who just missed the playoffs that season?
The Canadiens made the playoffs by one point that season. One more bad result somewhere over 82 games and the Capitals avoid playing them in round 1. Is that the difference between a first round loss and a Stanley Cup? Who knows. Maybe they win the whole thing, maybe they get swept in the second round.
Another team I like to look at when thinking about luck and winning a championship is the 2012 San Francisco Giants. I won’t bore Washington and Capitals fans with details there but that team had a lot of questions that needed a positive answer to go on their run that season. There were probably about six, seven or maybe eight big questions and you could easily argue all of them ended positively.
For all of those questions to end with a yes, that is insanely lucky.
The Washington Capitals in my mind have some questions that need to be answered this season too. If they don’t get answered with a yes can they go on to win the Stanley Cup this season? Well, lets take a look at some of these questions.