The Washington Capitals are one of the premier hockey teams in the National Hockey League (NHL). They are a professional men's hockey team that plays in the Southeast Division and they are a part of the Eastern Conference in the NHL. The team is based out of Washington D.C. and they play all of their home games in the Verizon Center that is located in the Chinatown neighborhood of Washington. They are owned by Ted Leonsis and he has brought the team some of their most notable players in Alex Ovechkin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and Alex Semin. They are currently coached by Bruce Boudreau. Previous to 1997 they used to play all of their home games in the Capital Center out in the suburbs.
Some of the notable achievements that the Washington Capitals have earned since their inception include winning one conference championship that sent them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, and also they have won six different division titles. Most recently in 2010, the Capitals also won their very first President's Trophy.
The Washington Capitals entered the National Hockey League in 1974 and they came in and fell flat on their faces. Their record for their first year of play was 8-67-5 and was a grueling season to watch for this first year team. It would be an entire decade before the team could pull itself together and make it to the playoffs.
In 1982, General Manager David Poile would pull off a huge trade where the team would acquire players such as Craig Laughlin, Doug Jarvis, Rod Langway, and Brian Engblom. This seemed to turn the entire franchise around because in 1983 they made a 29 point jump and made their very first playoff appearance in the league. While they would eventually be beaten by the New York Islanders, this would be the start of a new era for the team.
For the next 14 years the Washington Capitals would make it to the playoffs every single year. They were known to start off slow but gain momentum around January. The only problem with this style of play was that it didn't seem to carry too far into the playoffs. They would usually get beaten in the first or second round of the post season. In 1998, the team was led by Peter Bondra's 52 goals and they ended up making it as far as the Stanley Cup Finals. This was the team's first and only appearance there and they ended up being beaten by the more talented Detroit Red Wings who swept them in four games.
The next few years would be a time of rebuilding and close calls. In 2001 the Capitals would acquire Jaromir Jagr but it wouldn't do much to turn the franchise around. In 2004 the Capitals would accept the fact that Jagr was an expensive veteran who hadn't done much to help the team get any better so they would trade him to New York. In 2004 the Capitals got a break in the draft by selecting Alexander Ovechkin and he would remain with the team until the present day.