Long Summer For Caps ... Again
Even though the New York Rangers are now involved in a classic Original Six matchup with the Boston Bruins, there is still a lot of talk about their stirring comeback series victory over the Washington Capitals.
The Caps choked in the playoffs once again. led by Alex Ovechkin, who scored the first goal of the playoffs for Washington and then was never heard from until after he jumped on a plane and flew over 4000 miles to Helsinki, Finland to play for Russia in the World Hockey Championship quarterfinals against the United States. It was a long flight and even a longer game as the USA routed Russia 8-3. At least Ovechkin stopped his goal scoring drought, scoring one of Russia's goals.
Washington is no stanger to playoff failure, especially over the last five years. In 2009, the Capitals blew a two-games-to-none lead against Pittsburgh and were trounced, 6-2, at home in Game Seven. The following season, as a Number One seed, they lost another Game Seven at home, this time in the first round to the eighth-seeded Montréal Canadiens. In 2011, the Caps beat the underdog Rangers in the first round before being swept by a medicore Tampa Bay Lightning team in the next round.
Last season, Washington actually played better in the playoffs, beating the Stanley Cup champion Bruins in the first round and taking the top-seeded Rangers to seven games in the second round. However, they should have won Game Five, giving up a last-second goal in overtime and eventually bowing out in seven games.
This season, after taking a two-games-to-none lead, the Caps lost four of five, and in doing so, complained and whined about everything, especially the referees. Ovechkin complained in a press conference the day after the final game, and Caps coach Adam Oates even threatened Rangers' coach John Tortorella to a fight after Tortorella mocked their whining.
Oates, in his first year as the Capitals' coach, was a great player, did a great job last year as an assistant with the Devils, and a better job this year after a slow start getting the Caps in the playoffs. One thing though, he should stop complaining and start mapping out a plan to lead the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup ever.