Are the Caps getting better? Well, sports being what they are, there is an easy way to answer that question -- wins and losses. Hockey being the quirky sport that it is, that's really a matter of points.
Which brings me to what you see over there in the right-hand margin -- "The Peerless Improvement Index," or "PI Index." It's quite simple, really. The Caps decided in the 2003-2004 season that all this spending on the likes of Jaromir Jagr, Robert Lang, and the dear departed Kip Miller wasn't working. Further, keeping old hands around like Peter Bondra or Sergei Gonchar wasn't really part of a plan to tear down and rebuild the team. So, the team had what amounted to a sell-off for picks and prospects. The result was perhaps the lowest point in franchise history for Caps fans since that dreadful inaugural season. The Caps finished the 2003-2004 season with a 23-46-10-3 record for a total of 59 points.
Well, we are now a couple of years (with a lockout in-between) removed from that debacle, and it is time to take a look at the progress being made, hence the "index." All it is, is a comparison of this point in time to a comparable point in time from that 2003-2004 season. In today's case, the Caps record over 43 games this season (19-17-7, 45 points) compared to that in the 2003-2004 season (12-26-4-1, 29 points). Expressed as an index, we have a value of 155.17...today's "improvement index." Think of it as your Caps version of the Dow Jones.