The Washington Capitals have been dismissed from the playoffs. They went out in whimper. Swept by division rival Tampa Bay Lightning. Another embarrassing season end for Capitals fans.
Once again, the Caps are the best in regular season, storming back with a late impressive run that wrapped up their fourth straight Southeast crown and second straight Eastern Conference crown. What's it all mean though? What does dominating the regular season really mean? Answer is pretty clear.
Disappointment. Frustration. Humiliation. Another long off-season.
This one could be different though. There are a few options that Caps owner Ted Leonsis could embark on this off-season. The first, and unlikely, is a total roster reconstruction. I just do not see that happening. Second, roster tweaks and pretty much stay the course. Third, roster tweaks and a new head coach. And fourth, a new front office.
An initial question that has to be answered is, do the playoff flops coming from the coaching? Is Bruce Boudreau not enough of a motivator and is he simply out-coached in the playoffs? Or, is it deeper? Is the roster fundamentally flawed for a deep playoff push? Everyone seems on the train to firing HC Bruce Boudreau. I will admit, I got one foot on the train and one off the train. However, another bigger question is, is the roster built for a long playoff run? Is it tough enough defensively? Is it too laid back? If answers to these questions are yes, then the change needed goes beyond Bruce Boudreau right to the office door of GM George McPhee.
Let's not forget, McPhee built this roster. It is his design. If there is a fundamental flaw, doesn't that reflect to McPhee rather than Boudreau. McPhee joined the Capitals in 1997 and in that season the Caps produced their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Caps have won six Southeast Division championships and two consecutive Eastern Conference Championships. No question that McPhee built a regular season juggernaut. However, playoff success has been minimal, and several of his marquee draftees, mainly Mike Green and Alexander Semin, tend to disappear in the playoffs. Eric Fehr, another top pick by McPhee, has produced very little. The point - while contemplating the future of Coach Boudreau, perhaps McPhee's future should be reviewed as well.