No Identity Crisis for Caps

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 13, 2009 | Go to article overview

No Identity Crisis for Caps


Byline: Thom Loverro, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

At Capitals media day, the media members wanted to know why so many young players were invited to training camp as the team approaches the 2009-10 NHL season.

We want to give all our first-year guys and rookies an opportunity to see what playing the established guys is all about, and we want to make them understand what Washington Capitals hockey is all about, coach Bruce Boudreau said Saturday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Then Boudreau was asked, just what is Washington Capitals hockey all about? Does this team, this organization, have an identity, and what is it?

An identity can be a tricky thing. Let's face it: Identity is just a dressed-up word for reputation.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have an identity that dates back nearly 40 years and through three coaches. When Mike Tomlin said before his Steelers played the Tennessee Titans on Thursday that the most violent team would win, it could have been 1975, and he could have been talking about a team with Joe Greene and Jack Lambert.

The Buffalo Bills once had an identity of being the greatest offensive team the NFL had ever seen. Then they lost four Super Bowls, and though they had won four AFC championships to get there, their identity became that of a four-time loser.

The Washington Redskins used to have an identity of a place players went to win. Now that organization's identity is the place players go to get paid.

The Capitals have a tricky identity. The question doesn't seem to be whether they will win a Stanley Cup, but when. That's easy to do when the team is brimming with young talent and is led by the greatest hockey player on earth. But it is almost as if they have already been anointed - despite not even making the Eastern Conference finals, let alone the Stanley Cup Finals.

Alex Ovechkin certainly believes it is a matter of when. …

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