In 2003, when Tampa Bay beat the Caps in 6 games, Ted Leonsis said that Tampa was the better team. I always disagreed with that.
And I disagree with the theory that Tampa was the better team in 2011. I will never think that they had more talent than us.
But, in 2003 and 2011 - Tampa proved to be a damn good team that wanted it more.
And they executed while the Caps didn't. And one could argue Tampa out-coached the Caps too.
The Caps progress in the playoffs has stagnated while Tampa somehow seems like they are on the up-and-up for the second time in the past 10 years.
Any way you slice it, the Caps are done like dinner far too early.
We now get to watch the rest of the playoffs while coming to grips with the fact that, no, this isn't the year.
We'll get to see another team skate around with that Stanley Cup thing we've been chasing since the beginning of time.
How messed up would it be if while all of this self-promotion in DC was going on, the Lightning won the Cup in 2004 - blew their team up - and won the Cup again before Washington got a whiff of Lord Stanley?
The Caps face a summer of what should be drastic change. We can analyze who stays and who goes later. For now, just time to soak in that all too familiar anticlimactic feeling of an early playoff exit.
And unlike the past 3 playoff exits, there are no more excuses. There are no alternative explanations.
The system - as we know it - is broken.
No spin. No talk about how long it took Gretzky to win a Stanley Cup. No asking for more time. The new iteration of the Caps just isn't getting it done in the playoffs.
It sucks. But it is time to stop defending them and face some harsh truths.
Yet, watching the Caps get eliminated never is........