JUNKIES: Caps' bubble burst, changes coming?


For the second straight season, the Washington Capitals season ended with a disappointing defeat in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Caps were eliminated after a 4-0 shellacking in Game 5 of their opening playoff series and, to add insult to injury, it was former head coach Barry Trotz's New York Islanders who sent Washington home from the NHL bubble.

For Capitals head coach Todd Reirden, who replaced Trotz after he led Washington to a Stanley Cup win in 2018, the team's lack of fight in the playoffs has led to questions about his future with the club.

“You know that is something that is part of the job," Reirden said after the game Thursday about whether he would remain the Washington head coach. "That is not something that I go into every day thinking about. I go into it with a plan of how to make our team better and improve our players and do it with passion, pride and work ethic."

One thing working in Reirden's favor? Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is not the type of owner to make a quick change. And due to uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a greater incentive to keep things the same.

"Ted doesn't make just, quick snap judgments most of the time," John Auville said on The Sports Junkies Friday. "Ted's gonna take his time."

Of course, Auville added he "wouldn't be shocked at all" if Reirden is dismissed because Leonsis has shown he will act quickly if he thinks a change is needed on the hockey side.

Having said that, "it wouldn't shock me, too, if Ted just takes the longer term, analytical approach and says we're gonna try it one more time with Reirden," Auville said. "There's a reason (the Caps) believed in Reirden initially and he was the handpicked guy when they decided not to stick with Barry Trotz."

Reirden believes he still has more to give.

"I am confident that I am a young coach that continues to improve and continues to get better and have been able to find success in the regular season and haven’t been able to find it in two completely different circumstances in the playoffs. I don’t have all of the answers right now and I think it is good to take some time away and look at it and dissect why it happened," Reirden said.