The Caps just didn't have it this series. It's really been as simple as that- the Isles were the better team besides the final 2 periods of game 4. Besides that, all we can do is tip our caps. Sure we can make excuses like Carlson being hurt and Backstrom being knocked out early in game 1, but overall, the Isles looked better, played better, executed better, and maybe most importantly, out-coached us.
It stings like a motherfucker to get bounced in round 1 back to back years, but this is such a good team and the window isn't closed yet. By the way, remember in like...2012 when people were talking about the Caps window being closed? Windows stay open for a very long time when you have a nucleus of Ovi, Backstrom, and Carlson.
And as for the rest of the team, that's when some decisions have to be made. It obviously starts with Todd Reirden- it doesn't seem like he has control of the team. They didn't really seem to show up for him. Trotz coached circles around him. I have never really been anti-Reirden, but it's clear he's not the guy.
And then Holtby. He's a free agent. With Samsonov in the wings, I cannot imagine Holts will be back. He is the reason we have a Cup, no question. I'll love him forever.
And then the rest of the team. Does Kuzy need a change of location? Will Dillon be re-signed? Is McMichael ready? Is Fehervary ready to step in? We have so many pieces in place, but lots of questions heading into next year.
At the end of the day, it was tough to head into the bubble like that, and the Isles got the better of us. Sucks. Sucks hard. But that's sports, that's why we root so hard every game, and I can't wait to start this all over again next year.