The Penguins and Capitals are not giving up on what is left of their core groups
Nor should they, honestly
For the better part of the past three decades the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals have marched alongside each other step-by-step.
The Penguins have had more playoff success during that time in terms of championships and Stanley Cup Final appearances, but the general feel around both teams has been nearly identical since the early 1990s.
They were both consistent playoff teams — and regular playoff opponents — throughout the 1990s and 2000s, they both hit massive rebuilds in the early 2000s that landed them generational talents, and then sat back and laughed as those two talents (Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin) somehow exceeded all hype and turned both teams back into consistent contenders for more than a decade-and-a-half.
The similarity in performance over those two eras is staggering.
Between 1990 and 2004 the Penguins won 531 games with 11 playoff appearances to to the Capitals’ 512 wins and 10 playoff appearances.
Between 2005 and 2023 the Penguins won 790 games with 16 playoff appearances to the Capitals' 768 wins and 14 playoff appearances.
Over both eras the two teams met in the playoffs a whopping 11 times.
When one has been good, the other has been good.
When one had to rebuild, the other had to rebuild.
When one got a couple of superstars at the top of the draft during said rebuild, the other got a couple of superstars at the top of the draft.
And now that trend is continuing as both teams have watched as father time has caught up to their respective cores, resulting in both missing the playoffs a year ago and spending this offseason trying to cling on to what is remaining of those groups.
In both cases clinging to that core is the right approach.
Probably the only approach.
Both teams made significant moves over the past week in an effort to do exactly that.
Let’s talk about them.
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