Do the Washington Capitals have what it takes to win the Stanley Cup? Here's the Stanley Cup checklist:
• Star players (check)
The core of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alexander Semin and Mike Green has been together for years, with additions along the way. But to win in playoffs, the best players need to perform better.
• Goaltending (check)
Signing veteran Tomas Vokoun was a "steal" for the Caps, and general manager George McPhee said, "We got lucky." To win in the playoffs, great or at least very good goaltending is a must.
• Leadership (check)
Alex Ovechkin, by the accounts of George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau, has already shown increased maturity before his second full season as captain. Brooks Laich and Mike Knuble are a support system.
• Defensive depth (check)
Much of the blame for last year's loss to the Lightning centered on defensemen getting hurt. The acquisition of Roman Hamrlik and potential of Dmitry Orlov should alleviate that this season.
• Grit (check)
Fighting isn't paramount to playoff success, but having rough-around-the-edges players to grind down opponents and win battles is. Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer fit the bill and they can score.
• Shutdown defenseman (check)
Karl Alzner is just 23 years old, but the defenseman has always been set on shutting down opponents' best players. He and John Carlson are a prodigious shutdown pair for the Caps.
• Coaching (check)
Bruce Boudreau's job status was questioned from the outside, but the organization believes in the coach who has won titles at the ECHL and AHL levels.
• Luck (?)
Winning a Stanley Cup is a big part good fortune and matchups like avoiding a red-hot goaltender. Stay tuned until April.
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