By Corey Parkinson
Still riding the high of their Stanley Cup victory in June, the Washington Capitals will soon begin the arduous task of repeating their championship victory. Can the Capitals do it again?
The Washington Capitals’ Ins and Outs
Going into the off-season there were many questions surrounding the team that have long since been answered. Not surprisingly, Capitals’ Head Coach Barry Trotz moved on to the New York Islanders, and the Caps signed Todd Reirden as their 2018-19 head coach. Team enforcer, Tom Wilson, was eventually re-signed (to a six-year, $31 million deal); Back-up goalie, Philipp Grubauer, was traded to vie for the number-one goalie spot with Caps alum Semyon Varlamov in Colorado; and Jay Beagle has moved on with Vancouver – which may or may not prove to be a huge loss – given that he was a face-off maestro. Players such as John Carlson, Brooks Orpik, Michal Kempny, and Devante Smith-Pelly have all re-signed, thus keeping nearly all of the Cup-winning team intact.
Alex Ovechkin: Ghosts Exorcised
The Capitals enter this season without a goalie controversy – which hung over the team late on in last season before Braden Holtby’s unforgettable performances in the Stanley Cup Final – including ‘The Save’ in Game 2. Meanwhile, TJ Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom, and Evgeny Kuznetsov are entering the season healthy and anxious to repeat. Stanley Cup MVP, Alex Ovechkin, fresh off finally beating Pittsburgh in the playoffs, winning that elusive Stanley Cup, and scoring a league-high 49 goals, will be primed to take his team back to the promise land.
Possible Roadblock To Stanley Cup Final Repeat
There is a possibility that Washington’s biggest obstacle to a back-to-back Stanley Cup will be adjusting to the team’s new head coach and whichever new system he introduces. Trotz’s four seasons with the Capitals is a tough act to follow, as is his record of 328-205-89. Reirden has been with the organization since 2014, and he’s been given full support by top players and GM Brian McLellan. Ultimately, Ovechkin – in particular – has had to adjust to five different head coaches and still smashed in the goals.
Anything Pens Can Do, Caps Can Do Better
The Capitals are positioned for a return to the Stanley Cup Final having kept most of the roster together. Their star players are healthy, and their new head coach has the support of the franchise player and management. The stage is set for a Washington Capitals Stanley Cup repeat. After all, they’ll want to match the Penguins’ back-to-back victories.