It’s that time of year — prognostication aplenty for pucks. We’re doing our part. In an engaging forum organized by the D.C. Pro Sports Report this week we joined our puck chums JP, Rob Yunich, Dave Nichols and more in a roundtable to assess the season ahead for the Caps. And we’ll be doing more of it this week. Tonight we’ll be on 106.7 the Fan in the first half of the 9:00 hour to chat about the new season, and we’ve also shared our thoughts in writing with the Washington Post, which is also pulsing the Caps’ blogs this autumn as part of their season preview (good for them!). A real nice synergy has emerged this preseason between traditional, professional local media and the Caps’ bloggers. We hope it continues.
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of positive press outside of D.C. directed at the Caps this October. We mean seriously positive.
- Sports Illustrated: “Having wasted a shot at a championship last season, the Capitals — led by a hungry Alex Ovechkin — are ready to raise the Cup.” No less than the dean of hockey journalism, Michael Farber, pens this Ode to Ovi and the gang. But Farber early on issues a stark warning:
“Five years is what a good team can expect before the ravages of age, free agency and injury slam the window of opportunity on championships . . . The Capitals are now, as the TV folks say, on the clock.”
We actually believe that George McPhee’s handling of core contracts has been masterful, and that his boss,Ted Leonsis, is closer to the truth when he says that the Caps are built for playoff contention — and thereby Cup contention — for closer to 10 or more years.
Here is where we completely agree with Farber: “There is growing urgency within the Beltway.” The Gr8 has perhaps a few years yet before such an unwelcome label is hung upon him, but hockey here needs no Dan Marino as its leader. Ovi needs to win, big, and soon.
- Puck Daddy: During training camp out at Kettler last month Greg Wyshynski told us that the Caps were his pick to win the Stanley Cup this year . . . contingent . . . on their acquiring a bruiser of a blueliner and settling the uncertainty at center. He was true to his word in his preview of the team:
“The Washington Capitals can win the Stanley Cup this season if their goaltending doesn’t fail them and if both Mike Green and their secondary scoring don’t disappear in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They’ll take the division, and likely the conference; how far they go after that is contingent on those factors and the ability of McPhee to address needs on defense and at center.”
- The Hockey News: “Unchanged Capitals and scoring star Ovechkin should dominate NHL east again . . . The Washington Capitals are convinced that it was only a super-human effort from Montreal goaltender Jaroslav Halak that ended their Stanley Cup hopes last spring.”
- Slam!Sports at Canoe.ca has San Jose triumphing over the Caps in the Stanley Cup finals.
- The Sporting News: “There were not a lot of changes over the summer, but there is still salary-cap room to make some by midseason if necessary. Given the team’s regular-season success and postseason failures, it’s likely that anything the Caps accomplish before the playoffs will be dismissed until they prove the loss to Montreal was a fluke.”
The Sporting News preview had a ring of intimacy to it that startled us. Where were they during training camp? Right next to us, turns out. Corey Masisak penned the preview.
More looks ahead:
- Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert predicts that the Caps will have three 100-point earners this season — Mr. Contract Year being the third. Wow.