Well, have to say the lack of NHL hockey has me rather bummed and I’m not so sure the league lockout combatants have any idea what the real stakes in this fight are. Watching millionaires fight over their fans, mine included, hard earned money got old quick and know every passing day rubs salt in the wound, they need to resolve their differences now. The last time they did this in 2004-05 it took a full 2 years for me to attend another NHL game. I picked up where I left off in years gone by and returned to college hockey rinks. College level play is not only high quality but the players are on the ice, for the most part, out of love of the game and the thrill of competition. This current state of affairs has this hockey enthusiast contemplating other plans…
I haven’t posted since the start of the NHL season back in the fall of 2012. So much for the measuredly optimistic, cool aid drinking, prognosticator I turned out to be. The eventual playoff run the Caps made was certainly exciting but getting there was fingernails down the blackboard painful. A coaching change a midstream, a less than stellar regular season performance by the Russian, and any number of distractions had me checking out from time to time. With that said, meet my new roommate Seamus, he’s going to help with next season’s predictions.
The level-headed, long view, one game at a time rational approach to following the 82 game Washington Capitals regular season schedule is half way to the street after exiting via the window. Alex Ovechkin shows up on America soil in what is reported as the best shape ever, pot belly rumors be dammed. Nicklas Backstrom spent the off-season training with a world-class speed skater in his native Sweden. Caps GM George McPhee picked up veteran goaltender Tomas Vokoun in a deal that can only be had during the last hour the neighbor’s yard Sale and there’s been a steady stream of early arrivals to a training camp being touted like it should be on hosted on Parris Island …why shouldn’t I be excited?
I know, I know, last week’s measured expectations based on past playoff performance. Another year with stunned silence at the last game of the playoffs serving as the tip-off to start planning beach time, I know…
This happens to me after nearly every Labor Day and this year is no different. The nay saying is pushed aside; the countdown to game 1 is in full anticipation mode that this could be the next year we’ve been waiting for.
I’ve experienced more pre-season hype, regular season glory, and post season disappointment with the Washington Capitals than I care to share. After being outclassed by Tampa Bay in the second round of last spring’s playoffs I just moved on. Talk of super talented young guns and a solid core group of players was for someone else’s conversation. Don’t take this the wrong way because I’ll still be in my seat cheering them on this year, it’s just that my expectations and hopes for the Caps took another in a series of season ending beatings.
My hiatus was interrupted when I lifted an eyebrow towards the Caps in early July when free agent players hit the open market. GM George McPhee made a number of solid acquisitions combined with re-signing existing talent that few would argue make the Caps a better, more mature hockey team.
These offseason personal moves combined with veteran players showing up early for training camp talking about heightened commitments to conditioning and team attitude is encouraging, but not overly so. This year I need more than just preseason talk; I need to see how this talk translates on the ice.
I usually greet the early fall and impending hockey season with enthusiasm for what’s to come, but for this year’s Caps it’s more measured optimism.
Related Story from the WP Capitals Insider:
Alex Ovechkin returns to Washington
If your viewing a picture I took on the beach in Costa Rica last April than I’ve successfully linked my Flickr account with this blog, another small victory.
I haven’t posted since last March and it’s time to renovate the site. Please bear with me during construction and watch your step. My expected completion date is the end of the weekend give or take a weekend or two.
In the mean time, I took this picture last week in California. Redwoods are amazing.
Wonderful trail through a Redwood Grove
Washington Capitals team owner Ted Leonsis stated that the return on investment (ROI) for his team can be measured by the number of priceless moments created between parents and their children, fans and their friends, and complete strangers who happen to sit next to each other watching a game, and second, winning the Stanley Cup. Tuesday night’s dramatic comeback, overtime win over the New York Islanders delivered on the first and laid down a marker for the second.
Caps Captain Alex Ovechkin did what the Great 8 does and that’s searing the highlight reel by putting the puck the net for the game winner in spectacular fashion, another contribution to ROI number one.
Before Tuesday night’s game the team’s fate rested on Monday’s 3 pm trade deadline, which sets the pieces put forth by each team to make a run at the Playoffs and the Cup. Being true to form Caps General Manager George McPhee kept his cards close to the vest, first by setting the table by picking up veterans LW Marco Sturm off the waiver wire from the LA Kings and then completing the meal with deadline moves that added Defenseman Dennis Wideman from the FL Panthers and Jason Arnott from the NJ Devils. The troops have been reinforced and have taken the ice. Tuesday’s win made the statement, the playoff run first, then we consider ROI number two.