It didn't take Washington Capitals general manager David Poile long to understand what had happened to his team, then to look to the future with anticipation and optimism.
"The year just completed was a year of many things, some good and some not so good," Poile said yesterday, a day after the Capitals were eliminated from the Patrick Division finals in five games by the Pittsburgh Penguins. "We overcame a lot of adversity and became a good team the last quarter of the season."
The Capitals rallied from fifth place in the Patrick Division to finish the season in third place and gain the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year.
Washington dispatched the New York Rangers in the opening round in six games, but fell to the Penguins in five games.
Washington had a chance to win each game against Pittsburgh, but managed only three goals on 101 shots in the final three games.
What will Poile do next year?
"We believe we have most of the bases covered," he said. "Scoring is a vital part of the game, and we certainly came up short in that area against Pittsburgh. However, we believe we do have a good foundation for next year.
"We are not going to rush into anything. We will have all of our scouts in for meetings in May and we will all sit down and discuss the future -- our strengths, deficiencies and needs. This should be an exciting summer."
Poile said he was pleased with the development of players who spent time with the Baltimore Skipjacks, the American Hockey League affiliate.
"A lot of players made good strides and there are several, like Reggie Savage, Steve Maltais, Steve Seftel and Jeff Greenlaw, who we are going to have to give good looks during training camp next September," he said.
Poile dispelled rumors that he had talked with the Quebec Nordiques about a trade for entry draft's No. 1 pick, which is expected to be used to select Eric Lindros.
However that doesn't mean he hasn't given thought to acquiring the center who is said to be the sport's next superstar.
"There has been some talk that I offered six players or draft choices for Lindros," Poile said.
"This is not true, but I might do it. It would depend on the players and draft choices involved. Lindros is big and strong and will be a franchise player. I think he will be very difficult to get from Quebec."