Soooo ... last night I tried to watch the "USA Hockey Prospects Game on NHLN but really did not get into it.
Sooo .... for some strange reason I went back and reread my first three blog posts from November 2007 - my third post was November 22 and in it I mused about Glenn Hanlon's firing and Bruce "Gabby" Boudreau's hiring as "Interm Coach" of the Capitals. Wow time flies but just shy of 7 years and 633 blog posts later a lot remains the same. Think about it - know what I'm saying? I mean another NHL season about too start, another Caps new coach, lots of optimism, lots of good karma but the real question is come April, May and June of next year will we and the Caps have any "RAGRETS"? I hope not.
I'll note that I am definitely NOT thinking about anything much in the way of what the Caps first three preseason games mean for the upcoming season in the way of "roster" spots. That said I think that what I'm seeing is so far confirming my guesses about the new system and new culture that Barry Trotz is trying to make the Caps identity. Faster pace, more intense forecheck, deeper back check, and shorter higher energy shifts - I guessed that earlier this past summer. What I didn't guess that I saw during the first preseason game against the Sabres at Verizon Center - that second pass out of our end. The short first pass to the boards you could have called, but that second short pass seems to be towards the center of the rink whenever possible by design. That I wouldn't have guessed but so far, if that's "part of the system" I think I like. Yes a little risker than up the dashers through the neutral zone, but it opens up so many more possibilities, and gives the guys breaking through the neutral zone to get into position for that third pass SOOOO .... many more ways to enter the offensive zone. I think it will open up the game and be a good way to create a lot more scoring chances than we saw last season. My gut says it works better against teams looking to clog up the neutral zone too. Will it really work for more than a couple of months I don't know - but as I said I like what I saw, even when it was being played by only two (2) of the Caps top 5 D-men and l4ss than half of who I expect to be on the roster as forwards for the Caps at the season opener.
Sooo ... I remain optimistic about this coming season.