Like many of you, I waited with eager anticipation as the lockout slowly ground to a halt, after many false starts and countless hours of pouring over twitter updates regarding the CBA process (and was handsomely rewarded with #DregerFace). I wasn't overly excited about the Caps season due to a lack of additional depth added by GM GM this past off-season, despite being a 7-year season ticket holder, but rather excited for hockey to return in general.
That being said, I took one thing for granted - despite our past struggles with Boudreau and Hunter in each of the past two seasons, I assumed that even under first-time head coach Oates we'd be still be a good middle-of the pack team that could potentially blossom into a dark horse with the addition of the illustrious and perennially under-sung, and oft overlooked elite center Mike Ribiero.
So you can imagine my displeasure when I, like all of you, awakened from the post-lockout haze into this muddled mess of an epically awful and smelly, warm pile of a National Hockey League season that the Caps are currently offering up. I have my theories as to why, and I'll explain a couple after the jump, but rather than risk digressing into a "rambling, incoherent response" that could run the risk of making everyone "in this room is dumber for having listened to it," I'd rather hear from you guys first. So PLEASE VOTE as to why you think the Caps are so incredibly awful right now and comment how they can fix it, and then continue at your own risk.
Now before you go off defending the Caps, invoking an impending "regression to the mean" and any and all other false inklings of hope, let me use a little metrics to help us see just how futile this season has been thus far. To date we have 5 points on the season, which is good for an embarrassing 0.25 points per game, and dead last in the division, conference, and league. JP did a great job yesterday highlighting in the noon number just how futile that is (well, actually yesterday it was a "high" 0.278 - those were the days), but there really is no reason to believe it will be improving considerably anytime soon. Notwithstanding any significant coaching changes (better luck next time, Oates!) or aggressive trades (I'm looking at you MoJo and Holtby) to bring in someone who will stop trying to force NHL-record scoring wingers into their opposite wings or provide good back-up (starting?) goaltender, respectively - this is our current and future reality.
But we're only 4 points out of a playoff spot, Scoops! How can it really be all that bad? Well, let's compare that to what we're used to - an 82-game season. If we were to apply our point production from the first 20% of this season to a regular NHL season, that would be the equivalent of having 8 points on the season... after 17 games. That's good enough to finish 20 points on a regular season, shattering the previous NHL futility record (percentage-wise), set by... surprise, surprise... us. But the real problem isn't how bad we are now, because change is a-comin', to be sure. It's how big of a hole we've already dug ourselves in and how difficult it will be to get out. Even the most conservative hockey experts are estimating it will take 52 to 55 points to get into the playoffs at the end of this season. Even if you take the lower bound of that range (which is a BIG "if") that means by extrapolation that the Caps would have to go on a winning "tear" of acquiring 1.24 points per game... for the rest of the season. That means we'd have to increase our winnings points by a factor of 5x, forcing overtime or winning outright ALL remaining games. Again, that's: FOR. THE. REST. OF. THE. YEAR.
So hopefully now you can see just what a predicament we're in. While no one's ever called a Team "out of the playoffs" just 10 games into a season, barring any drastic changes in the next day or two, we can safely do so soon. But what about you? Enough of this doom and gloom! *PLEASE VOTE* below on why do you think the Caps are so incredibly awful right now, and in the comments provide ways you think we could actually fix it. (In case you couldn't tell, my votes would be for #1 and/or #2). I'd love to learn what everyone has to say and how they're coping!