OK, so another NHL season has come and gone without a Stanley Cup parade through the streets of D.C.
The Capitals flirted with our imaginations and with the Penguins, Flyers and Bruins ousted, the door was wide open for them to come out of the East.
But be honest with yourself. Was anyone going to beat the Kings in these playoffs? Not the way Jonathan Quick was plucking pucks out of thin air.
The eighth-seeded Kings proved once again that the regular season means very little in the NHL. Back in mid February the Kings were a 50-to-1 shot to win the Stanley Cup, which means a 400 bet would have won you 20,000.
Here are five things the Capitals can learn from the Stanley Cup champs:
1. Grow your own. Of the 21 players who dressed for the Kings in the Stanley Cup Final, 10 were drafted by the Kings, including captain Dustin Brown, top-line center Anze Kopitar, top defenseman Drew Doughty and Conn Smythe winner Jonathan Quick.
Of the 23 players who dressed for the Capitals in the 2012 playoffs, 12 were drafted by the organization, including star forwards Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, the top defensive pair of Karl Alzner and John Carlson and goaltenders Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth.
2. Make bold trades. Kings general manager Dean Lombardi made some bold moves to build a Stanley Cup champion, giving up some of his teams top prospects and draft picks to acquire Mike Richards from the Flyers, Dustin Penner from the Oilers and Jeff Carter from the Blue Jackets.
Capitals general manager George McPhee tried to strengthen his roster last summer by trading for Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and Tomas Vokoun. Brouwer provided the most punch and Vokouns injury opened the door for Holtby. Will McPhee be daring enough to trade a prospect the rights to Evgeny Kuznetsov, perhaps? and one of his first-round picks for an impact defenseman or top-line forward?
3. Quick fix. Its proven almost every year with the possible exception of Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi in 2010 -- that you cant win a a Cup without a stud between the pipes. Jonathan Quick was absolutely incredible in the playoffs with a 1.41 GAA, .946 save percentage and 16-4 record.
The Capitals believe theyve found a goalie who can do the same. Holtby went 7-7 in the playoffs with a 1.95 GAA and .935 save percentage. He appears to have the mindset to be just as good next spring.
4. Manage your stars. With Kopitar, Brown, Richards, Carter and Doughty, the Kings had plenty of star power and it was coach Darryl Sutters job to distribute ice time accordingly. Sutter pushed all the right buttons and had his team playing unselfishly the entire post-season.
The Capitals have one of the biggest stars in the NHL in Alex Ovechkin but the big guy failed to dominate in the playoffs and seemed unhappy with the amount of ice time he saw down the stretch and in the post-season. The Capitals new coach will need to find a way to keep Ovechkin happy and productive while increasing his defensive reliability. Many believe Devils assistant coach Adam Oates could have the same success with Ovechkin as he did with Ilya Kovalchuk.
5. Stud on the back end. It seems every Stanley Cup winner has a stud defenseman Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara, Duncan Keith, Chris Pronger, etc. who can simply shut a game down. Doughty was by far the best defenseman on the ice in the Stanley Cup Final, logging more than 26 minutes a game in the playoffs.
If there is one ingredient the Capitals lack it is that snarly blue liner who can make other teams pay when they enter the offensive zone. The biggest goal of the offseason is acquiring that player through a trade, free-agent signing or the draft.