One of my absolute favorite daily reads out there is Seth Rorabaugh's Empty Netters blog over at the something-or-other Post Gazette, and Seth is currently in the midst of providing his readers with individual reasons to watch each and every game on the local team's 2008-09 schedule.
On a totally unrelated note, I thought it would be a great idea to provide Rink readers with individual reasons to watch each and every game on the local team's 2008-09 schedule. And while I could easily cut and paste "Because you don't want to miss what Alex Ovechkin might do next," that wouldn't give me six days-worth of content in late July. So without further ado, let's jump right into October's Game-by-Game Reasons to Watch:
Oct. 10 @ Atlanta: Opening Night on a Friday in Atlanta for the second straight year features Bruce Boudreau behind the bench opposite his BFF John Anderson and the NHL's top two goal scorers from a season ago. Ovechkin has more goals (20), assists (20) and points (40) against the Thrash (in 24 games) than against any other team during his three-year career, and the last time these two teams got together they produced one of the very best games of the Caps' season, so expect fireworks like these:
Oct. 11 vs. Chicago: After the Caps raise their Southeast Division Champions banner to the rafters, they'll possibly take aim at the man who helped them to earn that crown, Cristobal Huet, who failed miserably in his last attempt to stop AO. The game will showcase all three of 2007-08's Calder Trophy finalists as well as the summer's top two free agent defensemen (Mike Green and Brian Campbell). And for those who hold a grudge, the Caps' only loss in their last dozen regular season games last Spring came in Chicago in Olie Kolzig's last game as a Cap.
Oct. 13 vs. Vancouver: The return of Matt Pettinger (and his million dollar contract) to D.C. will pit the Caps against a team they haven't beaten since Valentine's Day, 2001. By the way, somehow the Blue Jackets aren't playing on Columbus Day. That's just wrong.
Oct. 16 @ Pittsburgh: Meh. These teams didn't have any exciting games last season, and there'll certainly be no major star power on display. But the Caps will be facing former teammate Matt Cooke for the first time, so tune in for that. Or something like this:
Oct. 18 vs. New Jersey: Tune in to see Fedorov... Fedor Fedorov, who will perhaps be on an NHL ice sheet with his brother for the first time, and Ovechkin, the Colin White-seeking missile (here's another example).
Oct. 21 @ Calgary: The Caps haven't lost to the Flames since March 13, 1999 and haven't lost in Calgary since March 26, 1998, where local boys Green and Jeff Schultz return home, the latter for his first NHL game at the Saddledome. Oh, and if you don't like watching Jarome Iginla play, find another blog to read.
Oct. 23 @ Phoenix: The last time the Caps visited the desert, this happened:
Oct. 25 @ Dallas: The Stars should be one of the best teams in the League in 2008-09 and will be a tough test at the end of a Western swing - as if Sean Avery isn't usually reason enough to watch a game.
Oct. 28 vs. Nashville: The Caps last
Game of the Month: It's a tough call, but Pittsburgh is the Eastern Conference measuring stick and will provide the Caps with a good, early idea of where they are as a team and where they need to be. What do you think?