If the Capitals go on to win the Stanley Cup this season, they will have Matt Bradley to thank, at least in a small way.
By now, you've seen the comments Bradley, now a member of the Florida Panthers, made to an Ottawa radio station back in August, about how former teammate Alex Semin "doesn't care" and how Bruce Boudreau tolerated a "nonchalant" locker room.
By now, you've seen Bradley's stated intention to apologize to Semin before tonight's game at the Verizon Center between the Capitals and Panthers.
That's all well and good. But what I find interesting is that Bradley has no interest in apologizing for the comments he made about the rest of the Capitals and their poor practice habits last season. I find it even more interesting that no one in the Capitals locker room disputed what Bradley said.
Oh, they didn't like it. But no one ever said Bradley was wrong.
Which means he probably was right.
Why else would Boudreau start training camp with the most grueling fitness test of his four-year tenure?
Why else would he make what were once optional practices mandatory?
Why else would he bench Marcus Johansson, one of the team's most talented forwards, in a season opener?
Why else would he demand more of Alex Ovechkin after just two games?
There is an air of accountability around the Capitals this season that, by all accounts, was missing last season.
And while Matt Bradley is not the sole reason for that, he's certainly one of them. And for Caps fans thirsting for a Cup, that may be a good thing.