What exciting times Capitals fans live in these days! The Capitals find themselves with a commanding 16 point lead over the New York Islanders in the Metropolitan division, and leading the Western Conference Dallas Stars by 7 points. Yet, we’re just past the mid-way point of the season.
The Capitals record of 33-7-3 is insanely good. If they continue on the pace they’re on, the President’s Trophy should be mailed to the Verizon Center now. Which would be absolutely superb, a great feat to cap (no pun intended) off a great season.
But some would say winning the President’s Trophy would be a curse, a kiss of death for the Washington Capitals. After all, the Capitals won the President’s Trophy in 2009-2010, and were beaten by the Montreal Canadiens.
With that in mind, these questions beg to be asked: Is it worth winning the President’s Trophy? Is winning the President’s Trophy a curse?
For argument’s sake, let’s take a look at the teams that have won the President’s Trophy and how they fared for the past 15 years.
Beginning in 2001-2002, the Detroit Red Wings won both the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup. No curse there. However, it wasn’t until 2012-2013 (which was a lockout shortened season) that the Chicago Blackhawks accomplished this same feat. We could also argue there wasn’t a season in 2004-2005, but that’s not relevant.
What is relevant, however; is the fact only 2 teams in the last 15 years have won both the President’s Trophy and the Stanley Cup. While Capitals fans should rejoice that their team is doing quite well during the regular season, they need to temper their excitement. One has to look no further than the Capitals’ biggest rival, the New York Rangers and see what happened to them when they won the President’s Trophy last year. They don’t need to be reminded of what the Capitals almost did to them.
In fact, last year’s Stanley Cup champion, the Chicago Blackhawks were third in their division, and did not hold the top seed going into the playoffs. Granted, they were almost upset by the Nashville Predators in their series as well, but again, this goes to show how unpredictable the playoffs can get. A team gets on a scoring tear, a goalie gets a hot hand, an injury to a key player-all of these are X-factors when going into the playoffs.
The regular season excitement is something to behold as a Capitals fan, no doubt. However; let’s hope that this can and will carry over to post season success and finally see Lord Stanley’s chalice resting comfortably in our nation’s capital.
By Andrea Sobolik