It's September .... It's September..... Hey, Rookie Camp is starting today, summer
is almost over, and Hockey Season is almost once again upon us. Last week, I received the hard copies of my Season Tickets, etc. So all that must mean that it's almost time to once again begin the frequent visits to Verizon Center and the occasional visits to KCI to follow the "bestest" professional sports team in the Washington, DC metro area. So what is there to say.
Here's where you can see who will be at Rookie Camp this week and who's coming to Training Camp next week.
Here's the schedule for both ....
So that means it's time for another guess by moi on what the opening night line-up/roster looks like. Here goes:
1st line: Ovechkin - Backstrom - Knuble
2nd line: Semin - Fleischmann - Laich
3rd line: Chimera - Steckel - Fehr
4th line: King - Boyd Gordon - Bradley
Reserves: Andrew Gordon, Mathieu Perrault
"Regular Call-Ups" As Needed: Marcus Johannson; Jay Beagle; Trevor Bruess, Dmitry Krugyshev; Steve Pinnizotto (All of whom will start the regular season with regular line assignments in Hershey.)
1st Pairing: Green - Schultz
2nd Pairing: Poti - Carlson
3rd Pairing: Alzner - Erskine
Reserves: Tyler Sloan; Patrick McNeill
Call Ups If Required: Josh Godfrey: Zach Miscovick; and Sean Collins who along with McNeill will all start the season as regulars in Hershey. That said, if McNeill has a good training camp he might be able to move up this depth chart since there is so little experience there anyway.
#1: Semyon Varlamov
#1A: Michal Neuvrith
Callup as required: Braden Holtby; Dany Sanbourin.
When you look at the Capitals this season objectively here's at least what I conclude:
1) They should win their fourth Southeast Division title in a row; however they need to stop talking about being ready for the post-season, BEFORE the regular season even starts. Tampa Bay has definitely upgraded their team in every facet; Atlanta may actually figure out a way to be better without Ilya Kopvalchuck than with him as they now have some solid young building blocks who will have to come together and elevate their game; Carolina still has some solid talent and could surprise us a few times; Florida still has the best goaltender in the division so even though their offense is questionable, they really don't need much to beat you on many nights. I say this because I really wish everyone would stop talking about the playoffs in September ... there's a long road between here and there and a lot could happen I mean did you pick Montreal vs. Philadelphia in the 2010 Eastern Conference finals this time last year?
2) As loaded as the Capitals are with arguably the best set of forwards in the NHL, there will continue to be valid questions about their defense and goaltender, especially relative to their experience levels until, and possibly beyond June of 2011, unless some moves are made during the regular season to address those items.
3) The lack of moves this of season, while understandable given the realities of what personnel were available at what price, and the Capitals need to continue to intelligently manage their Salary Cap situation, means there will be more pressure than ever on: Semyon Varlamov; Tomas Fleishmann; Jeff Schultz; and all four of the "Young Guns." These folks have all said "keep the team together" and that has been done, but now they have to show all year, from now through June 2011 why that was the correct thing to do. Of course to some degree there is of course pressure on George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau and his staff as well, since we all clearly understand that now (the next 2-3 seasons) is the time when this team (meaning this group of players) needs to step up and make a real no kidding run at the Cup if that's going to happen.
Well other than just being really, really happy to see the NHL start gearing up for the return of Hockey Season, that's all I've got...
LETS GO CAPS!!!!