It is a brand new season. All across the league you have teams and fanbases entering the new year with a new hope. Hope that they will not be as bad as last season, or hope that their team makes a longer run in the spring. Of course that hope does not disappear in D.C. with Washington Capitals fans.
We all know what happened last season in Washington. The team underperformed majorly, for multiple reasons, and found themselves watching playoff hockey instead of playing it. But this new season brings hope that the Capitals will return to the dance after the 82 game season. There is hope that this team will once again return towards the top of the league and be the contender that a lot of hockey fans know them as.
But is that hope legit, or is it just wishful thinking? Should the Capitals, the way the team is currently built be expected to get back into the playoffs?
I think the answer has to be no. This is where the die hard fans and other people with homer mentality either laugh or their head comes way to close to exploding. But why should this team be considered better? There has not been that much change. The change that has happened isn’t anything that will bring definite results. Those changes are things that we hope will improve the team.
This obviously isn’t to say that in about six months that this Caps team will not make the playoffs either. Even though fans will remember people like me saying this and try to shove it back in our faces when/if the best outcomes does happen. Simply what I’m saying is, the Capitals missed the playoffs last year by twelve points, they have teams that are better above them and didn’t make enough changes that will definitely, no doubt in anyone’s mind make them better. A lot of the questions that the team had last season are still around.
Lets just go down a list of why this team shouldn’t be expected to make the playoffs.
The New Coaching Staff
This is obviously the biggest move. Peter Laviolette, while he had a couple of good regular seasons, clearly was not the right guy for the job any longer. Spencer Carbery comes in with his staff and there is the biggest change for this team this offseason. We have no idea how this is going to work. There is hope, but that’s it.
Whether people want to admit it or not there is just as good a chance that Carbery is the best coach in franchise history as him becoming the worst coach in team history. We don’t know. All things sound good right now, but we are still in the honeymoon process. How do things look when things get ugly?
If, and I do need to stress IF the Capitals get off to a bad start, how does the team and the coaches react?
This is the biggest unknown of the season. How much will this new staff be able to get out of the team? Will it be a huge upgrade? We can all have hope that this change will bring a lot more success, but if anyone says it definitely will, they are just hoping like you are.