Ted Leonsis has declined interview requests through a spokesman since the Capitals were swept from the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs earlier this month, but on Thursday he answered questions from fans on the team’s website .
Leonsis reiterated a message of patience in regard to the Capitals’ ability to achieve playoff success and stressed that despite this postseason’s disappointment, he doesn’t believe the team is running out of time to win.
“The one that has bothered me is this notion that the pain of losing is because our window is closing,” Leonsis said of the emails and comments he’s received from fans since the loss to the Lightning. “I’m a fan. I want instant results. I feel great disappointment. I, too, would like to figure out why can’t we go deeper in the playoffs. It’s really what we’ve been spending time on the last several weeks.
“We’re struggling as an organization translating regular season productivity into longer success in the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “We certainly want to go further than one round.”
Although he talked about how the Capitals’ internal assessment and introspection has just begun, Leonsis added that the answer for how to take that next step doesn’t necessarily include firing General Manager George McPhee, Coach Bruce Boudreau or trading away the team’s star players.
“I think right now we’re all looking at what do we have to do differently to move forward in the playoffs,” Leonsis said. “We finished the first round this year and we all felt that we were in good shape. We felt that was the toughest round to get through….And we got swept in the second round. It didn’t feel good. We’re all sitting down to say, ‘What do we have to do differently?’ but so are the other teams that got swept.”
Leonsis said he believed the team’s transition to a more defensive posture mid-season was the appropriate move to make, but that the power play’s struggles may mandate “something major” to reignite the unit. Leonsis didn’t go into specifics about what those changes might entail.
Leonsis said he believes the Capitals will continue to have a consistent opportunity for success because of the age of most of their core players, who are in their early to mid 20s, and the potential impact of young players in the pipeline.
“I don’t think our window is closing,” Leonsis said. “All [youth] does is give us more hope that we can improve our playoff performance. But I do think the team’s young players contribute a lot and will get better because they’ll get more experienced.”