Before the season began, there were some prognosticators out there who thought the Capitals and Kings could wind up in the Stanley Cup finals. Yeah, oops.
After all, the Caps added Tomas Vokoun to a lineup that already had Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Semin. The Kings brought in Mike Richards and Simon Gagne to join up with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick. What wasn’t to like? Obviously, there was a lot wrong with the designs both teams had.
Instead, both teams have struggled and fired their head coaches (Bruce Boudreau and Terry Murray respectively) while replacing them with Dale Hunter in Washington and Darryl Sutter in L.A. Meanwhile, neither team can get consistent. The Caps are still finding their way around while the Kings still can’t score goals with regularity.
As Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington.com notes, the similarities in the struggles for both teams are startling.
Both sides are still getting things figured out but at least the Kings have points working for them. Since Sutter’s takeover they’re 5-1-3. The negative person sees four losses there, but the hopeful fan sees points in eight of nine games. With how the Pacific Division is this year, points of any kind are huge. As it is, L.A. is just a point out of the playoffs while the Caps are two points back of Pittsburgh for eighth.
Instead of being Cup contenders, these two will be happy to make the postseason right now. High expectations create a huge burden for some teams and now it’s up to both of them to show they’re not cracking under the pressure.