CAPITOL HILL -- The Caps languished in last place over the winter, but now that the cherry blossoms have come and gone, they're sitting pretty as winners of the NHL Southeast Division and bound for their sixth straight playoff appearance.
The team's owner, Ted Leonsis, says his confidence never flagged.
"There's an old saying in sports, 'It's not how you start, it's how you finish.' And I did have a high level of belief and confidence in the team," Leonsis says.
The Caps owner was on Capitol Hill on Tuesday along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to participate in a conference in support of youth hockey.
Leonsis praised head coach Adam Oates, saying he respects what Oates brought to the team.
The owner also says he hopes the Caps are able to stay healthy the final week of the season.
"I think this week, just get through the week and try not to have any more injuries, and then see who we are going to play, and then once the playoffs start everyone starts at zero-zero," Leonsis says.
Although the Caps have disappointed their fans in their playoff appearances in recent years, Leonsis' hopes are high.
"We saw last year a team that finished eighth won the Stanley Cup. That's the great thing about hockey. It's so competitive and we'll see who we play and get at it," Leonsis says.
The Caps have two regular-season games left before they start the playoffs on April 30.
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