2 more days till the puck drops!!
For Caps fans, this season is one of the most highly anticipated I've seen in a long time. And count me out as one of those fans who salivated with hope before the season that brought Jaromir Jagr to Washington. I was never a fan of Jagr's and Washington teams, in general, don't do well when they try to buy championships by buying superstars...remember Michael Jordan and Deon Sanders.
So, my challenge is to temper my expectations for this team. I'm trying, but I still expect this team to make the playoffs...if the team stays healthy, if Olie plays well, if the team chemistry gels like I expect it to. Team chemistry is so important in hockey and I'm encouraged by what I've seen and heard in preseason and at training camp. I'm also encouraged by the positive team attitude I've heard about from Chris Clark during the town hall session at Kettler and by other items I've read in the media. This team wants to play hard and wants to win. That's key.
But, how will the Caps actually perform this year? Here are the "predictions" for whatever they're worth:
- ESPN's preseason power rankings here have them coming in 25th out of 28 teams in the NHL and behind every team in the SE division. The Caps are an unknown quantity this season, but 25th which is well out of playoff contention? My expectations are definitely higher than that. Of course, many hockey fans could care less what ESPN says as hockey isn't their focus.
- Tarik El-Bashir is predicting the Caps to finish 8th in the Eastern Conference which would put them in the top 16 not at 25th. I like seeing predictions where the Caps get into the playoffs and Tarik knows a lot more about the Cap's chances than ESPN since he's the beat writer for the Post.
- Adam Proteau, blogger at Hockey News, picks the Caps to win the Southeast Division as the "worst-to-first" shocker this year. His final quote, "Call it a hunch, but I bet they’ll gel into one of the league’s swiftest, most offensively dangerous teams rather quickly – and drop many a jaw in the process." My hopes aren't that high.
So, there you have it...will the Caps win a division title, squeak into the playoffs as a #8 seed or tread water from last year and come in 25th overall? Only time will tell, but the positive vibes buzzing around the air in Washington make me smile.
Let's go Caps!