There are two ideas being bandied about that have been annoying me. They've been tossed around CapsNation a lot recently in light of this losing streak. I want to address what exactly irks me.
First, "peaking early."
Last season during the Capitals' 14 game winning streak we saw fans of other teams claim the Caps were peaking early. Even now many fans would tell you the Capitals lost to Montreal last season because they "peaked early."
Look, "peaking early" is what happens. It isn't the how of what happened. That "how" is what we're after.
"Peaking early" is completely and unequivocally an ex post facto explanation. That is to say, we have absolutely no idea of knowing whether or not the team peaked early until after the fact. In the midst of that winning streak, who could say for sure whether or not the Capitals would be even better in the playoffs?
"Peaking early" is absolutely worthless as a descriptor.
And for the record, I think the Capitals in terms of possession peaked late. One game earlier and they sweep Montreal. Regardless, the shooters went cold (and Halak went hot, a combination of both). Peaking, shmeaking, don't buy it.
Secondly, there are those fans that would rather the team "lose now than in April." Well, what's to prevent the team from losing in April if it loses now?
What those fans probably mean--and which I can buy--is that they want the Caps need to be prepared for the adversity of the playoffs before it's too late. Last season, the Capitals didn't have any extended losing streaks or major injuries (Ovechkin was the biggest, missing 8 games in the fall and 2 in late winter) and got tremendous puck luck all throughout the season. Their first big dose of adversity was in the playoffs against Montreal, and they failed. We'd all rather the Capitals instead take their first lumps now and be better prepared for any troubles they may face in the future.
That's not "losing now." It's "learning now."
Maybe I just outlined two small differences, but to me they are important ones to realize.