Your Call: Where do the Capitals go from here? Staff

5/5/2011 2:44:33 PM

Nobody saw it coming, although historically maybe it should have been expected from the Washington Capitals, who were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.

It was the fourth straight year that the Capitals lost to a lower-seeded team in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and the team now goes into another long off-season trying to figure out what went wrong.

Blame has to fall on someone's shoulders when you're the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference and are swept in the second round. But where do you begin?

In a salary cap world, there are only so many things you can do.

Captain Alex Ovechkin is the key cog in the offence and is not going anywhere, finishing the playoffs with a team-leading 10 points in nine games.

Forward Nicklas Backstrom ended the regular season with 65 points in 77 games, but recorded just two assists and was a minus-1 over eight games in the postseason. With nine years remaining on a 10-year, $67 million contract, the club could try to move the 23-year-old or just weather the storm.

27-year-old Alexander Semin's flickering presence was felt in the playoffs, ending his campaign with four points in the last five games and finishing with six points over eight games.

Defenceman Mike Green was not himself in the postseason. He missed Wednesday's finale after suffering a lower-body injury in Game 3 and has run into some injury problems of late, but with one year left on his contract at more than $5 million a year, is it time for him to find a new stomping ground?

And what happens to head coach Bruce Boudreau? The Capitals have not advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs in the four postseason trips during Boudreau's tenure. They are 17-20 in the playoffs under his wing.

The Capitals do have a nucleus to build upon, with young defencemen like John Carlson, Karl Alzner and the addition of Dmitri Orlov. The same could be said for the goaltending tandem of Michal Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov.

So, we want to hear from you. Our question is: Where do the Capitals go from here?

Share your thoughts below and as always, It's Your! Call.