Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Caps are in town & hockey's coming's been a long summer of intense anticipation for this year's hockey season for many Caps fans, myself included. I can't wait to see how the lines shake out with the new additions to the Caps, Nylander, Kozlov and, of course, the rookie center, Niklas Backstrom. The final defensive pairings are going to be just as interesting with some strong candidates fighting for a spot on the team. I'm hoping that rookie blueliner Karl Alzner wins one of those spots.

Alzner played fantastic hockey during the recent Canadian-Russian Super Series and so did Josh Godfrey who is another Capitals prospect. That series was a recreation of an earlier series in the 1970s between the best junior players from Canada & Russia. During this year's series, Alzner was the MVP of Game 1 and became the leader of the team for the rest of the series which Canada won 7 games to 0. In this NHL blog for the series, writer Brad Holland talks about Alzner's diving save in game 1 and also mentions how Godfrey's 100 mph slap shot had the Russians ducking for cover. In his wrapup blog, Holland says, "Imagine both Godfrey and Ovechkin set up for one-timers with Karl Alzner and Nicklas Backstrom sending them passes? Washington has a bright future, indeed." I can happily imagine that.

Simeon Varlamov, the goalie prospect who impressed me so much during the Caps rookie camp in July, struggled in goal during the Super Series although he kept the Russians in the game during Game 6. The Russian defense didn't help Varlamov out either during this series so I still have high hopes for him. As expected, he's playing in Russia this season.

And in Alex Ovechkin news, he's also back in town after intensive training in Russia this summer and feels better prepared this year than last to get back on the ice. In fact, Ovie stopped in Montreal on his way back to Washington and declared in this Montreal Gazette article that he wants to be the best player in the NHL this year. Go Ovie!

Caps' owner Ted Leonsis has declared the "rebuild over" and expects the team to make the playoffs this year. Good, so do I. Here's a link to the article.

Tomorrow is Fan Fest day at Kettler, featuring practices, player autographs and a town hall session with Ted Leonsis and Captain Chris Clark. I plan to be there so I'll keep you posted.

The puck drops in 22 days. Let's go Caps!

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