Tale of the Tape- Washington's Two Most Disappointing Franchises- Capitals vs. Wizards
March 1, 2013 in nhl
Despite the uncertainty of the lockout and a new coach in Adam Oates the Capitals were still looked at a playoff team by most. Most expected them to battle for the top spot in the Southeast Division and possibly be a Stanley Cup final contender. So far its been far from all of that. The Capitals miserable start put them far behind and they have been battling to get back into both division and conference races.
Unlike the Capitals, the Wizards had much lower expectations heading into the season unless you ask Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld. They felt the additions of Nene, Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza would get the Wiz into the back end of the playoffs but so far the season has been two parts. With and without John Wall. Without it was a disaster as they battled for the worst record in the NBA. Wall's return has had them playing around .500 ball but the hole was too dug too deep for the team to reach Teddy and Ernie's expectations.
Who is more of a disappointment?
The Caps. It was no surprise that the Wizards were at the bottom of their conference but it has to be for the Capitals. Embarrassing losses and horrible periods have hampered this team so far in the short season. I think the way the Wizards started was no surprise for a lot of the DC area.
The number star on the Capitals is Alex Ovechkin and it has become easy to bash the Great 8. Ovechkin obviously is not doing what he did early in his career and he is beginning to hear now that the team in struggling. Now national commentators like Mike Milbury are calling out Ovechkin and we have to wonder who this ends? Nicklas Backstrom isn't helping either as his scoring is way down as well. Mike Ribiero has been the star of the Caps so far.
Honestly I don't think the Wizards have a franchise star right now. John Wall is the closest player to being one and we have to be encouraged with the way the team has won games since he returned. Wall is far from the Derrick Rose/ Chris Paul level but the rest of 2013 and the start of next season will be time to make the judgement if he is a franchise guy. Bradley Beal could also be that type but it is way to early to tell.
The Caps star/stars again. Ovie and Backstrom sit in the middle of the pack in scoring far from the top. The team has struggling and other than the hat trick versus New Jersey a week ago, neither has stepped up like a franchise star should. Ovie has gone from the DC top star to falling way behind the likes of RG3, Harper and Strasburg.
Capitals- George McPhee made one major move in the off season bringing in Mike Ribiero and he has been great. Many will wonder if a complete team overhaul should have been done last off season instead of a potential one this summer. Coaching is tough to tell with Adam Oates being new and not having much time to work with his full squad. Many thought a team that has now played together for awhile would make it easier for Oates but that hasn't been the case. All have to be held accountable when a record is as bad as the Caps.
The record won't show that Randy Wittman has done a decent job but I am far from blaming him for the Wizards run of losing. That is on Ted and Ernie. Wittman gets the team to play its hardest and is not afraid to go with the right player over who is paid a lot or drafted high. Hence Martell Webster over Ariza and Vesely. I still hate the last 24 months of moves that Grunfeld has gave other than bringing in Webster.
Tie- Both general managers should be on the hot seat. One should be gone already in Ernie and GMGM has to be feeling the heat. Most likely scenario both guys stick around based on what Leonsis has done with Grunfeld in the past. As for the coaches I still think it is too early to tell on both and I would like to give them some time. Hopefully for Wittman to get some talent and for Oates to work with what he has.
A lot depends on if they can somehow make a magic run into the playoffs. This should be a playoff team and right now is not. The Caps have a tough decision to make if the record does not change. Stay the course and hope that its high paid stars can get their mojo back or try to deal them and reshape the roster. The Caps have good young players at the NHL level and in the system so I don't think they could sink far whichever way they go.
Although the Wizards have showed more promise since Wall has returned I do not have a lot of hope for this current roster. Since the team killed potential large cap space this summer with bad moves they are dependent on the draft to improve themselves like OKC did. But Wall and Beal are far from Durant and Westbrook and this years draft is far from full of Lebrons, Melos and D. Wades.
More disappointing future?
The Wizards are to me. The Caps have more talent and better talent on the way as well. The Wizards play in a league where you need at least one if not two stars to compete for a title and they have zero. Plus, no one knows if John Wall is in the long terms plans of the Wizards or if he will even stay when the time comes. It has been tough for both so far but at least the Nats are a month away and we can get our daily RG3 rehab updates!