By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The Caps will have to go through a tougher division to make the playoffs and then to reach the East finals. They won the Southeast Division five of the past six seasons but went 8-10-2 against the Penguins, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Hurricanes this year.
Pavel Datsyuk is one of the NHL's most feared scorers, a wizard with the puck who is equally adept at setting up his teammates for easy plays. Jonathan Toews has at least 23 goals in each of his six seasons in the league, and Patrice Bergeron is one of the top offensive threats for one of the league's best teams.
Ovechkin was held scoreless for the final five games against the Rangers and said he had some "bruises" but nothing that affected his performance.
Because the Washington Capitals were done before the final horn in Game 7 Monday night, those watching had some extra time to contemplate general manager George McPhee's work this offseason. But after the Caps became the only NHL team to make the Stanley Cup playoffs in each of the past six years and not reach at least the conference finals, don't expect much to look different when they open the 2013-14 season.
Alex Ovechkin played the last two games of the Washington Capitals' season with what the team said Thursday is a hairline fracture in his left foot.
The Caps spent much of the past couple of weeks making officials part of the story of the series. Maybe that was the problem.
Ribeiro was second on the Caps in points (13 goals and 36 assists for 49) behind only Hart Trophy candidate Alex Ovechkin. Ribeiro was the Caps' first-half MVP, taking the load off Nicklas Backstrom and other stars who weren't producing early.
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin knows full well that his playoff failures are adding up.
Scoring 23 goals in 23 games, he was the reason the Caps' season turned around. But totaling just a goal and an assist in seven games against the New York Rangers made him the focal point of yet another early playoff exit.
The lawsuit doesn't read nearly as well as the story, which laid bare the life of an NHL enforcer for all to see. The way John Branch wrote about Derek Boogaard in the New York Times should have been enough to cause even the most hardcore hockey fan to reconsider the peculiar role that goons play in the sport.
Who knew Mike Ribeiro's overtime goal on Friday would be the Caps' last of the season and that 72 hours they'd be sitting in their locker room wondering what happened.
Joanne Boogaard watched her son Derek duke it out on the ice with other NHL tough guys for six seasons as one of the most feared enforcers in the game, a 6-foot-7 brawler who was not there to skate or score, but to defend his teammates when it was called for.
Given the tightness of the series, it was shocking that the Caps did not put up a fight in being eliminated. And the end unfolded in stunning fashion.
Going into Monday night's deciding Game 7, Nash had just one assist amid plenty of speculation that he's playing through injury.
Against a team with a more functional power play, Washington would already be done. The Rangers are 2-for-26 with the man advantage (including 0-for-3 when up five-on-three) through six games.