Leonsis Thinks Caps Can be ‘Legitimate’ Stanley Cup Contender

by Chris Lingebach
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Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis shields his eyes as he walks past the Stanely Cup after a briefing on the state of hockey with members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus in the Rayburn House Office Building April 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Capitals clinched their fifth Southeast Division title in the past six years and are headed to the playoffs. Hockey fans consider it bad luck to touch the Stanely Cup if they ever desire to win it. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis shields his eyes as he walks past the Stanely Cup after a briefing on the state of hockey with members of the Congressional Hockey Caucus in the Rayburn House Office Building April 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Capitals clinched their fifth Southeast Division title in the past six years and are headed to the playoffs. Hockey fans consider it bad luck to touch the Stanely Cup if they ever desire to win it. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) - Although Washington has come up shorts six straight years in the playoffs, owner Ted Leonsis still believes his Capitals are legitimate contenders to win the Stanley Cup in the 2013-14 NHL season, provided that they can make the playoffs.

Leonsis, who’s gone on-record predicting Alex Ovechkin would win multiple Stanley Cups for the Caps, appeared on 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes on Wednesday, in advance of a big announcement planned to be made at the Caps Convention on Saturday.

When asked by Chad Dukes if this year’s team has what it takes to bring home the hardware this season, Leonsis gave a measured response.

“Well I think any team that makes the playoffs in the NHL is a legitimate contender and we’re going to be in a new realigned set of divisions, and it’s going to be much tougher to make the playoffs this year,” Leonsis said. “I actually think that’s a positive for our franchise. I think not having any nights off, and having to compete for every point is positive for us.”

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The Caps will run the gauntlet on a nightly basis in the new Metropolitan Division – which outside of Washington consists of the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Penguins, Flyers, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets – a big step up in competition from the former Southeast Division, which the Caps shared with the Canes, Panthers, Lightning and Jets.

“I think if we can make the playoffs in that division, that yea, we are a legitimate Cup threat,” he added. “But I really do think anyone, a couple years ago the last team that qualified in the eighth spot ended up winning the Stanley Cup in the L.A. Kings, and we see that all the time.”

The Caps faced intense scrutiny after bowing out of the opening round of the playoffs less than gracefully in May, but those within the organization remain hopeful their core can deliver in their prime, including coach Adam Oates, who compared Washington’s struggles to that of the Bruins the year before their Stanley Cup run.

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