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Ted Leonsis reacts to Game 7 loss

(By Bruce Bennett - Getty)

"Alex and the Caps are gonna win Stanley Cups," Ted Leonsis said at the beginning of this month. "We're either gonna win it this year or next year or the year after. We're gonna get better, too. That's the thing. I promise the team will be better next year than it is this year."

"We realize that if we win 20 games in a row, no one will remember anything, they'll just remember how you did in the playoffs," Leonsis said during the win streak. "So I want everyone out there to know, we're thrilled with how we're going, we're very happy with the team and the franchise and to be able to play this well, but we know it doesn't matter....I just want everyone to realize, I know, we all know that none of it matters unless we do well in the playoffs. That's what we want to be about."

Leonsis wasn't shy about praising his troops as the good times rolled. He wasn't shy about talking Stanley Cups and immortality. And he didn't back away from that talk when things turned very, very sour. Excerpts from his blog post about the loss and the future:

Last night's defeat was deeply personal and deeply agonizing to me. I feel like I let so many people down and my deepest desire is to build a franchise that is built to last. One that helps create wonderful lifetime positive memories between family members and between friends and communities of interest and to help bring a city closer together by winning a championship. To fall short so early in the process this year is quite humbling....

We won't do anything rash or make any decisions out of emotional angst. We will collect our thoughts. We will be energized by our failure. We will seek to improve. We will be diligent in our research and we won't deviate from our plan. We still intend to build around our core. We will make adjustments. We will keep our upside. We will accentuate the positives and we will tweak and change around the negatives where needed....

I do not have a defeatist attitude and I am not being delusional. We have work to do that is obvious, but I am ready to get back at it starting today. Thank you for your support on this troubling and humbling day.

At the risk of being a total apologist, I'm not sure how you could handle the situation any better than that. And that's quite a two days for Leonsis. On Tuesday, the Pollin family announced the two sides reached a deal for him to buy the Wizards and Verizon Center, and Leonsis received a gushy A1 profile in The Post that described him as "one of the better owners in sports." Then on Wednesday, he had a fanbase in rage.

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 29, 2010; 3:33 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Brooks Laich changes a tire after Game 7
Next: Ted Leonsis wants to look Gilbert in the eye


the question is Ted, do you know HOW to get better?

obviously if you stick with the people in the front office, the answer is no. They don't know how. They thought they'd go far in the playoffs this year. They miscalculated because they don't understand what it takes to field a playoff type of team.

so do us all a favor and instead of lip svc, make some changes starting at the top. Tweaking your roster with the same people in charge will accomplish nothing. You could've had better personnel and you'd still end up underachieving.

Posted by: cstanton1 | April 29, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

The front running haters are not real Capitals fans. Get off your high horses and realize that this is why sports are great; unfortunately we are on the losing end. But to talk this trash to Mr. Leonis and GMGM is just utter horse-carp. Get some perspective.

Posted by: mjwies11 | April 29, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

"The front running haters are not real Capitals fans."


Thanks for giving us hope Ted, and yet because of the players that you have assembled you still give us hope for many years to come.

It happens, people need to realize that.

My ONLY concern is that you made *too* many moves and did not aquire what you really needed: a bonifide blue-liner.

I realize that the Caps only scored two goals in 3 games, but the reason they lost in my mind is that there is nobody on the roster (maybe Carlson) that really plays solid defense.

I'm not picking on Mike Green, he does so much for this team. But he is an offensive minded defenseman. Wayne Gretsky said before the Caps/Habs series that as good as the Caps are defense and goal tending wins Cups. He was right.

The great thing about this team is that we can expect them to compete next year for a Cup as well. I have been a fan of the Caps all of my life and I cannot remember ever being able to say that.

It happens Ted, it happens. :)

- Ray from Laurel

Posted by: rmcazz | April 29, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

I think that the OLYMPICS hurt not only the CAPITALS, but the NHL as a whole. TOO MANY GAMES with TOO LITTLE REST !! I hope that the next time the OLYMPICS occur, the NHL does NOT allow our star players to leave the team for a couple weeks.

BUT, the CAPS need to prepare to be shut down again if we don't change our style of play and learn some DEFENSE !!

Posted by: FishCaps | April 29, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Ray - in case you missed it, starting in 1982 the Caps made the playoffs 14 straight years. This isnt the first time you could say that next year we will compete for a cup. we have been saying it forever and its starting to get old.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | April 29, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't change a thing. Not one thing. Keep the front office, coach, and all the players in tact (even Theodore). The one thing that every non-championship team has in common is constant change. If teams, in any sport, were more patient and just allowed their players to continue to grow together as a team, they'd find that winning isn't all that complicated.

Don't touch a thing Ted. There's a reason you won the president's trophy. Don't let any impatient, short-sighted fans get to you.

Posted by: Barno1 | April 29, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

everyone back off the ledge...the core of this team is between 20-25 years old. how long did it take steve yzerman to win a cup. this team has to learn to win. while last night was disappointing as hell, there is still an upside. gabby now has to's on him. run and gun doesn't win in the playoffs. put ovie in front of the net on power plays, don't let him bomb away and have every shot block. get traffic in front, a stay at home blue liner, and we are not having this misery next year. rock the hell out of the red people....

Posted by: natman19 | April 29, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Ok. I'm gonna say one thing that's bothered me:

This stupid backwards logic that only people frustrated and P.O.'d are frontrunning haters.

That's just wrong.

I've been following this team for 25 years. This year is the lowest of the low. End of discussion.

It is just another kick in the groin. And I have every right to be P.O.'d and frustrated. This year was supposed to be different.

I'm not going anywhere, but I'm mad as hell. Not at Ted. Not at anyone specific.

But don't tell me that only bandwagoners are mad right now.

I would argue - if anything - the bandwagoners are the clueless people who don't realize that NOW IS THE TIME TO BE MAD.

But whatev. We're all in this together. In theory, at some point before I die, the Caps will succeed in the playoffs......

So I'm told

Posted by: CF11555 | April 29, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Actually, while I feel Green is a marketable commodity whose assets are more valuable elsewhere than to the top offensive team in the league, this wasn't a series I felt that was lost on defense.

I think you keep the team mostly intact, but not completely. Exploring trade options for Green is a logical thought process. Maybe even Semin, but I'm not sure.

I would like to see how Theo felt about his treatment as it seems awfully unfair to bench a keeper having one of his best seasons for a couple bad minutes.

As for Ovie, they've got years and years of his skill ahead. What the Caps need is to find out what kind of mentoring (by whom) will bring out the best leader in him.

Posted by: scrappledog | April 29, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I just don't understand caps fans/ownership. Last year you had the same exact problem. No defense and no goaltending.

So what do you do, you go into these playoffs w/ exactly the same goaltending. The 2 goalies currently on the roster, are not going to cut it. Mike Green chokes every playoff series and does Alexander Semin ever show up for the playoff run, or lack thereof.

You also need more than one line to make a deep run for Lord Stanley. Look at the pens, they have the deepest set of centers in the league, they roll out 4 lines, they consistently have 7 nhl ready defenseman at their disposal and last but maybe the most important they have a Stanley Cup winning caliber goaltender.

Does he have his moments, yes, does he have you scratching your head sometimes, yes. But in the end, when it really matters he comes up huge, time and time again.

Learn from your mistakes and maybe, just maybe you and the "Great 8" haha can ever make a deep run, and actually do something w/ this so called wealth of talent.

Posted by: marketing4 | April 29, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Some fans need to get a life. Being mad over a game? Sorry, last I checked I wouldn't have gotten the Stanley Cup for a day or two during the summer. Some of you act like you would have. Or were you holding out hope, you'd be invited to Ovi's house for a victory party? Hmm, yeah, no. Don't hold your breath on that one. Unless that keeps you from talking, then by all means, hold away.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | April 29, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Include me in the category of fan that has beenn around this for 30 years. I truly believe the ones who can't accept people's abject frustration with this franchise --- particularly this year --- are not real sports fans or aare new to the Washington Capital scene.

The pople who are truly angry and upset today are not frontrunners; they are fans who have endured more pain than likely any fans in pro sports the last 30 years, having been taken down the altar SO many times. '84, '85, '87, '91, '92, '95, '03, '08, '09, '10...not to mention the many competitive Caps teams that have laid eggs in the first round.

This year was the worst. Unprecedented team success in the regular season by a mile...a seven game loss to the worst team coming into the playoffs...a blown 3-1 lead...3 losses at home when we lost only twice that ALL season.

It's only sports after all, but the loyal fanbase that spends thousands of dollars on season tickets to oh so disappointed deserve every right to vent at what it undoubtedly the most "un-big game" franchise in professional sports given the talent they have had over the years.

Posted by: mcleanva1 | April 29, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if Leonsis can cause this curse to be fixed. But Caps fans are lucky he is in charge, not some preening, self-absorbed, wannabe like ....

Posted by: sparman | April 29, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Thats all well and good Ted. The fact is I have been watching this team choke for 33 years. This is beyond monumental, my life will continue as usual though. I don't care if this team wins 60 games next year, my hopes will never get up again unless they are actually in the finals, its not worth the time or money to go out there and support them if they are going to lose EVERY YEAR in game 7 at home. The Caps are CHOKING DOGS. Lets Go Nats!

Posted by: DCFanatic | April 29, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Am I deeply disappointed? Yep you bet... I thought this was our year however it wasn't to be. But I will say that this team, in doing so well in the regular season, got me through a really crappy winter full of blizzards. They perked me up every 2 or 3 days almost without fail so thanks to the Caps for giving us a fun season even if it ended with a thud. Personally, I can't wait till next year now to see what happens. Rock the Red!

Posted by: LaureninGlenBurnie | April 29, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis is a great lobbyist. He is putting the spin on and selling you all and you don't even know you are being sold. Why does he get a free ride in your town with all of his BS.

I wrote him an email and got back a form letter. Sent him another about a different subject and got the same response. To me, that isn't response.

Do you really think the Capitals is a Democracy? Leonsis owns it and he will make his own decisions which is why the Caps didn't win last year and didn't win this year IMHO.

Then you see him on the JumboTron selling books. Are you kidding me? If any other owners in Washington did that you would have started a revolution.

Why does this guy get a free ride? Some PR guy writes it and you believe it as sincere.

PaLEEEEZE. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

Posted by: PENSguy17 | April 29, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Reading Leonsis' comments only confirmed what I already believed about him: he is everything a fan could want in an owner. He cares deeply about the success of his team on the ice, and he really cares about the feelings of his fan base.

At the same time, he is not going to walk into the team offices tomorrow and go all "Al Haig" in there and start taking over the hockey decisions by firing people who know more about it than he does.

I firmly believe that he and his hockey personnel are going to dedicate themselves to understanding what went wrong, deciding on a best course of action to address those issues, and then actually go out and try to make corrections.

I don't know if the Caps are ever going to win a Stanley Cup. But I do think Ted Leonsis will put them in position to win for many years to come.

Thank you, Ted.

Kevin Olson
Manassas, VA

p.s. Ted, can you call Dan Snyder and see if the Redskins are available too?

Posted by: noslok | April 29, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse


Get real. Of course it's not a democracy. No ownership is. And of course you got a form letter (BTW why would a Pen's fan even complain about the lack of response from the Caps' owner?). This is standard practice for busy businesspeople. What matters is his approach to running the team. I'll take his business attitude anytime.

Posted by: sparman | April 29, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The most important thing this team and franchise can do is take a step back and take a deep breath as a novice hockey fan i've been taken in by all the success this team has had this past season and yes i expected a Stanley Cup being skated around and held high by Alex himself but it was not to be, Mr. Leonsis was right this is terribly humbling but humility is a good thing and with Mr. Leonsis setting the tone i'm sure that vision that all Cap's fans have, Lord Stanley's Cup on display in the lobby of the Verizon Ctr.can't be far off.

Posted by: dargregmag | April 29, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

How can you say anything wrong about Mr Leonsis, he has given us an awesome team, We ARE HEART BROKEN RIGHT NOW, just imagine how Mr Leonsis feel? I was ready to throw myself in front of train last night BUT remember we are all human (read Laich's deed) and give them a chance, I AM SURE they will make the necessary changes, AT LEAST I hope so... because I LOVE MY CAPITALS!!

Posted by: riceldi | April 29, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis is a stand up guy. The best owner of any of the DC sports teams. He didnt have to say anything after such a heartbreaking loss.He has great integrity and has been straight forward with the fans since the beginning. When the team was rebuilding a few years ago he would gladly answer any email no matter how harsh the criticism. Many questioned where the franchise was headed including me but he has helped turned the Caps into a perrenial powerhouse through sound decision making.

On the other hand we have a jerk of an owner that runs the Redskins that has taken a loyal loving funbase and made most of us apathetic and disinterested towards the Redskins. Look around and season ticket holders of 30 years or more are cancelling left and right. He finds any way to rip off loyal season ticket holders.

The Caps are quickly becoming DC's favorite team. He has quickly assembled an nhl powerhouse and as a dc sports fan i am greatful that this team is in his hands. The caps will have their day as champions, this is just a temporary setback beore they eventually reach the pinnacle . Thank You Ted for making hockey important, fun and exciting for DC sports fans.

Posted by: dc_sports_md_va | April 29, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

Why do so many people have to build Leonsis up by cutting down others, especially Snyder.

I saw the Yankees meltdown in 2004 as they were up 3-0 and got beat by 4 straight by the Red Sox and 5 years later the Yankees came back and won it all.

So, maybe this was a step back to take a step forward.

Posted by: GoingGoingGone | April 29, 2010 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Dale Hunter for Head Coach

Posted by: pkme | April 29, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

Hire Dale Hunter

Posted by: pkme | April 29, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

When I read this Bill Simmons article ( about the Red Sox losing to the Yankees in 2003, all I thought about was how it described me and other Caps fans. It's even more appropriate today:

"Hey, this is my team. I came to grips with that a long time ago. They're part of my life. Sometimes they lift me to a higher place. Sometimes they punch me in the stomach and leave me for dead. There's no rhyme or reason. And there are thousands and thousands of diehards just like me, all trapped in that same bad marriage, united by our experiences and memories. ... We always have each other. And some days are better than others. This was one of the bad days."

Posted by: TheFingerman | April 29, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

It is ironic that, even as Dan Snyder is the most hated sports owner in the area, fans advocate owners to act exactly as he has done.

Posted by: gbooksdc | April 30, 2010 1:37 AM | Report abuse

Ted is great owner and he will build the wizards along with the Capitals into a powerhouse. I too like all have watched the CAPS choke FOREVER. But I too have never seen the city so excited by it's team. Say what you want about the redskins but since they moved to Fedex and sucked, the energy at that stadium doesn't come close to CAPS games.

Caps will be in the thick of things for a long time, let's hope a couple of those times they can go all the way.

Posted by: jdb70 | April 30, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Bring back Al Iafrate and Kevin Hatcher! We could use the twin towers on the blue line.

Posted by: geester1 | April 30, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The Caps fans who worship at the altar of Leonsis do not do the team any favors. Leonsis is a great spin artist, but the results aren't there. This could be the most underachieving DC team in the past three decades. Let's see results, not BS.

Posted by: poguesmahone | April 30, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

A Canadian Perspective - Ted Leonsis is a player's type owner & he is good for hockey & the NHL; his heart is in the right place! However, his comments about no change puzzle me; remember the saying "if you change nothing, nothing will change".I honestly don't think the Caps will be any closer to a Stanley Cup next year with this team.With salary caps,etc.,I would trade Ovechkin,Semin & Green to Edmonton for Eberle,(Penner?) and their first round pick this year.This would lower salary cap,get an excellent return for future,eliminate risks of Russian players going to their super league, etc. and then with the cap savings, go after an experienced defensive defenseman and older Stanley Cup players like Montreal did (Gill,Gionta,Gomez,etc).

Posted by: lbharrisca | April 30, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

The new year approaching, click in. Let's facelift bar!
====== =====
fr ee sh i pp ing

(jordan shoes) $32

(air max) $34
++++ ++++++++++



Posted by: itkonlyyou37 | April 30, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

SHUT UP TED! You're making a fool out of this franchise with this talk. "Winning a Stanley Cup" is NOT a right. You don't know if or when we'll win so why bring it up?

Please don't ignore this team now that ur running the Bullets.

Posted by: caphcky | April 30, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

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