Pete Kerzel’s preview of the Caps for the Hockey News’ 2007-08 Yearbook is rather dour — he sees them on the outside of the Eastern conference playoffs looking in, and emphasizes instead “incremental improvement is much more likely.” His file also has a ring of outdated-ness to it; he identified the Caps’ Tomas Fleischmann as†fifth on the†Caps’ depth chart of left wings, among other personnel oddities. And he claimed that the team’s third and fourth lines were weak points, when in fact, early this autumn, they appear to be pgraded over recent seasons (as in adding a 30-goal scorer to one of them).
But Kerzel’s concluding paragraph caught my eye in a more positive light:
“Majority owner Ted Leonsis, an AOL executive, gave players laptops upon taking over the team in 1999 and the coaching staff is among the most tech-savvy in the league, using specifically constructed computer programs for in-game strategizing. Leonsis blogs regularly on the team website, and his ruminations have spawned several dedicated fan blogs. They’re smart, sassy, irreverent must-reads, mainly because they keep the team honest and in touch with fans.”
Since you can subscribe to THN electronically, they ought to include an online only preview issue that wouldn’t require the lead time of the dead tree version. Thus, they would have much better information at their disposal.
And apropos of nothing, but I can’t help but think of Phil Hartman whenever I read the word “sassy”.
I’m not a big fan of Kerzel’s write ups in THN. There are too many errors in his articles for someone who is a supposed “expert” on a team. Fay was often semi-negative, but at least he had his facts right.