The Capitals, Presidents' Trophy winners in 2009--10 and runners-up a year ago, have won just 11 of 25 games in 2012 and through Sunday were mired in ninth place in the East. More disturbing, they sit third in the lowly Southeast Division, in which not one of the five teams has a plus goal differential. On a recent road swing Washington lost three straight by the combined score of 12--3.
Reports out of the nation's capital depict a team that is coming apart. Last month, some of the club's internal grousing got a public airing when associate goalie coach (and former Capitals netminder) Olie Kolzig said that he thought the team's premier player, Alex Ovechkin (right), had become "wrapped up" in his "rock star status," a notion with which general manager George McPhee later agreed.
Ovechkin, who missed one game last week with a lower-body injury, has had his struggles this season; he has just one game-winning goal and is on pace for his fewest since he scored five as a rookie in 2005--06. And he certainly misses center Nicklas Backstrom, who has been out since suffering a concussion on Jan. 3. But a closer look at the numbers suggests that Washington's troubles are bigger than the Great Eight.