So it begins as Caps season starts
I’m not even watching hockey tonight because there is a more exciting event going on for D.C. sports fans. The Nationals are trying to advance past the first round of the MLB playoffs. Given the playoff disasters that I’ve witnessed for the Nationals and the Capitals, I don’t expect a good ending, yet, I continue to watch. But, back to hockey.
I’m not sure what to think of the Washington Capitals this year. The addition of Lars Eller seems like a decent pickup for the third line. He’s a 25+ point player per year. Depth down the middle has not been the Caps strength in the Alex Ovechkin era so the pickup can’t hurt. I thank GM Brian MacLellan for attempting to fix the Caps weaknesses because GM George McPhee never had the courage, but it still has not resulted in post-season success.
What really is different this season? Coach Barry Trotz said he learned a lot from his experience as an assistant coach for Team Canada during the World Cup of Hockey. Yeah, will it make him a Stanley Cup contending coach? How about a get out of the second round coach? Don’t get me wrong, Trotz has been instrumental in changing the culture in Washington and teaching this team how to play a grittier game. But, he has to get this team past the first round. Of course, all of this assumes they make the playoffs and I never assume any Washington team will make the playoffs.
The younger Capitals like Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky are older and supposedly heavier, so that’s a good thing, but will it make a difference? That won’t be apparent until the Caps actually make it past the second round.
The window is closing for this team in the Alex Ovechkin era. My favorite Capital ever turned 31 and is still the standard by which goal scorers are judged as he walked away with his sixth Rocket Richard trophy last season. His name deserves to be on the Cup and that’s the elusive piece of hardware the Caps lack.
One thing I know for sure is that I would really appreciate it if the Caps make sure they are not in contention for, much less win, the President’s trophy this year.
Let’s go Caps!