Worst Case Scenario for the Caps in 2017-18

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Posted October 4, 2017

Kuzy is getting PAID! (Caps Outsider)

At the start of the 2011–2012, then General Manager George McPhee said he didn’t like some things that he saw during the preseason, as the team started holding more players accountable for mistakes and bad penalties. The Caps, however, won the first seven games that year, but things took a turn for the worse in late November and team ended up firing Coach Bruce Boudreau.

The 2017-18 preseason had some troubling trends, as well, but different from 2011-12. While the word tossed around now is hangover, I also believe it’s possible a team can implode after having such high expectations and falling short.

Imagine having the best car in NASCAR for two seasons, but stumble during the chase. The next season, when your car parts have been replaced with less-than-ideal pieces, it’s hard to believe you’ll finish any better. And if you don’t believe it, you may take your foot off the gas and fall even further behind.

The absolute worst case scenario for the Capitals this season is that they not only realize that their car isn’t as fast, but they get frustrated about it and fall even further behind. A few embarrassing losses could lead to weird trades, coaches getting fired, and players saying things publicly that they ordinarily wouldn’t say. It’s all possible, because it’s happened before with this team.

But let’s pretend the Caps rise above that and go all Little Engine that Could, putting in extreme effort but being exploited for their shortcomings (young players, third D-pair, penalty kill, struggling forwards, whatever always happens against the Penguins, etc.). They’ll still need to get in the swing of things with this lineup. Their scorers may score, stat-padding themselves in 4-3 losses. Their young players will show flashes of potential but will have growing pains. They’ll swap players from Hershey, trying to find that right combination, which could take a while but then hit further snags. This scenario would still have them digging themselves too deep a hole, and they’ll finish right outside of the playoffs.

The Capitals have potential this season. A best case scenario with this lineup could happen. But the hangover we’ve already seen in this year’s preseason might last longer than anyone expects.

Best Case Scenario for the Caps in 2017-18