NEW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 19: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his powerplay goal at 17:24 of the first period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Washington Capitals are having another great regular season.  Their 92 points currently leads the NHL, and once again they are legit Stanley Cup contenders.  On Monday, they beefed up their already stellar lineup adding defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in a trade with St. Louis.

The Shattenkirk trade triggered many different types of reactions from the hockey world ranging from excitement and confidence to cautious optimism and skeptical cynicism.

Lets review some of the reactions, as separated into various different categories…

  • Excitement/Unbridled Enthusiasm/Respect

Long perceived as regular season champions, the Capitals are likely hoping that the Shattenkirk deal  sends a message to the fans and everyone else that the Capitals, for better or worse, are “all-in” this year in their chase for the Cup.  Many folks appreciate that the team is going for it, and some fans are excited for the rest of the season and playoffs.

  • Confidence/Awe

If the Caps were not favorites to win the cup before Monday’s trade, they are certainly the favorites now.  Some folks went just short of guaranteeing the the Caps’ will hoist the Cup. Others fawned over their abundance of talent.

  • Pessimism/Snark/Ridicule

Unfortunately, history is working against Washington. Not only has the team never won a Stanley Cup since entering the league in 1974, but they’ve only made it out of the second-round once. Many people love reveling in the franchise’s misery and poked fun at the team’s less than impressive playoff history.  Some fans made sure to announce that they are not getting their hopes up.

  • Is this the Capitals’ Year?

Will this be the Capitals’ year? Adding Shattenkirk is another reason to be optimistic that Washington can go all the way. But, as good as they are, to buy stock in the Caps chances means that you have to believe they will overcome their history. It’s been the same song-and-dance with Washington for years.

During last year’s regular season, one in which Washington led the NHL with 56 wins, a frequent topic of discussion was whether it was “the Caps’ year.”

Turns out, last year wasn’t the Caps’ year, as they lost in the second round of the playoffs to eventual Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh. Neither was the season before, when the Capitals had 45 regular season wins but had another second round playoff flameout.  With Washington, the perennial choking usually feels inevitable.

But this year seems different, again.

So again, we wonder, “is this the Caps’ year?” I’m going to foolishly buy stock in Washington’s chances. They are steamrolling opponents on a nightly basis. Also, the time is right. The Chicago Cubs just ended their 108-year World Series drought. The Cleveland Cavaliers just broke through for their first NBA title. Why not the Caps? I think the sports gods shine down on them next. We’ll see.

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.