The Capitals are out, now what?

By Glenn Kaplan, Staff Writer

Trying to win back-to-back championships in sports is hard for a reason. There are many things that have to go right for a team in order to win and then there are things that can go wrong.

For the Washington Capitals, one of the few things that went wrong for them was that they looked out of gas in their Game 7 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There will be a new champion this season, but the Capitals should feel proud about what has happened since they won it all a season ago.

In this series, it looked like the Hurricanes wanted it more than them. Washington had way more talent than Carolina, but the Capitals were out coached and outhustled in this series.

I am not saying that Todd Reidren is a bad coach, but I would find it hard to believe Washington would have blown a 2-0 series lead if Barry Trotz was still behind the bench coaching. They never lost a first-round series in his four years coaching with them.

What also hurt them in this series was that winger T.J. Oshie suffered an injury by being pushed into the boards in Game 4 and he was sidelined for the rest of the series.

Oshie is one of the top players on this team and he provides goal scoring and hustle for them. The power play also took a hit without him.

After the Capitals’ convincing 6-0 win in Game 5 without Oshie, I thought Washington was going to be fine, but I was wrong.

As a matter of fact, the Capitals have not fared in Game 7’s in the Alex Ovechkin era with a 4-8 record in those contests.

With the offseason coming earlier than expected for Washington, it will be interesting to see what direction they head in.

With many key players from this year’s team entering free agency this offseason, next year’s team could look very different from the one that not only hoisted the Stanley Cup last season, but skated off the ice last week in disappointment.

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