Inspired by Ivan Carter's Wizards Insider piece, in which the general-incompetence-induced plight of the dreadful Indiana Pacers is shown to be much worse than the current freakish-injury-induced plight of the Wizards, DCO thinks it useful and uplifting to start a series looking at other pro sports teams who are much worse off, and for much worse reasons, than our beloved Washington franchises. We've already examined how the imminently self-destructive, hedonisitc free spending of the Philadelphia Eagles will negatively affect that franchise, while making the Redskins look downright thrifty in the process. Point, us.
Let's continue by looking at the heavily maligned Washington Capitals. There may be no larger self-flagellating group in the world than Caps fans (look no futher than the comments section of Capitals Insider - an excellent blog, by the way - the love of some for trashing the team is only eclipsed by their love for trashing other fans). Part of DCO used to be such a fan, before he found hope and solace in the arms of eternal, numbing optimism.
Sure, the Caps missed the playoffs by an enormous margin, but would you rather they be the Atlanta Thrashers, currently taking it on the beak (sorry) in the first round from the Rangers? The same Thrashers who paid a Redskins-like ransom to acquire aging Keith Tkachuk at the trade deadline? Would you take a fluky division title, a proverbially mortgaged future, and a first round humiliation over a franchise that really, really promises they're working to be good?
Or how about the Edmonton Oilers, last year's Stanley Cup runner up? They traded face of the franchise and leading scorer Ryan Smyth to the Islanders for seemingly no reason. I guess the point-a-game average wasn't good enough for them and was dragging down their season (which resulted with only one more standings point than the Caps).
So you see, for every seemingly overnight success story like the Penguins, there are your perennial-disappointments-with-no-bright-futures like the Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Chicago Blackhawks (their #1 overall pick notwithstanding - good luck with that one). The Caps may seem a little disjointed at times in their approach, but bless 'em, they swear they're doing their best. And they can finally stop paying part of Jaromir Jagr's salary after this season. That alone is reason to celebrate.