There’s never a great feeling after a series goes the way it just did for the Capitals, but I do not believe this season was a failure.
This season marked a successful change in philosophy; the team successfully adapted to a more defensive style. They came on in the second half of the season and ended up winning the Southeast Division and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Sure, the playoff exit was disappointing, but there also are positives to be taken from this season.
After losing in the first round of the playoffs last year, this team was criticized for not playing enough defense; well, they changed that. It will come as no surprise that this year they will be criticized for not having enough offense, and that’s true.
Missed opportunities on the power play and the failure of stars to score goals are two of the most-cited reasons for the losses.
I will admit that the greater emphasis on defense took a toll on scoring and that the stars of the team did not shine. But I think this team is capable of maturing together and finding that balance. I don’t believe that firing the head coach solves the problem; I actually think Bruce Boudreau is capable of figuring out what needs to happen to get to the next level. It takes time and patience when talking about building a champion. The burdens of building things to last are hard and heavy, but if a franchise is to build itself into a champion, these are unavoidable challenges that have to completed.
Ted Leonsis has built successful companies outside of sports. I wonder how many years it took for him to start enjoying the success of the businesses that he built? Just guessing, but I’m sure it was not quick and took time.
Consistency, accountability, drive, intelligence, trust are all things that have been built and are growing with this team. Drastic changes could mean disaster.
The mettle of this team and its fans is being tested right now. This crossroads is where some will choose to support and believe while others will not and condemn.
I don’t know what the future holds for the coaches or players, but my thought would be to keep the people around who are dedicated to finding that close-to-perfect balance.
Boudreau has shown he can teach both offense and defense; the question is can he teach the balance of the two? Again I don’t know if he will even be retained, but I know he can coach and I would give him at least one more season to try to find that right balance with strategies and players.