The Washington Capitals‘ management from the top down are by nature an optimistic bunch. At media day, their owner Ted Leonsis, who is the lead optimist of the team, was being tempered in his response to his thoughts on the up-coming 2013-2014 season.
He did not want to fall into the trap that the Washington Nationals did by having their manager Davey Johnson declare that it was “World Series or Bust” in 2013, saying that he’s expecting the team not to take anything, especially playoff qualification, for granted.
That was a wise move by the Capitals owner to keep expectations high but also realistic. He knows that the press, fans and hockey pundits feel that the Capitals are still one of the elite teams in the NHL. However, the last thing that he wants to do is to put a target on their backs before the regular season even begins.
Another area that the national media continues to bring up about the Capitals is their “window of opportunity to win a Stanley Cup”. Leonsis responded by pointing to the team’s relatively young age, the ability for its big stars to be mentors and the depth in the lineup, and I thought that the Capitals owner was spot-on in his assessment of his team having a wide-open window of opportunity.
Coach Adam Oates had his first full training camp with the team, and as Leonsis is right when he says that the team has quality depth. He is also right when it comes to explaining that it is time for players like Alexander Ovechkin to take the next step and become true leaders.
The 2013-14 edition of the Capitals might be their best team in the last five years. It is wise for them prove their abilities on the ice and to steer clear of being too cocky off it. As long as they have Ovechkin, Mike Green and Nickolas Backstrom, they have a chance to be a winner.