Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Roundup/Gamenight: Caps @ Thrash

[AP Preview - WashingtonCaps.com Preview]

Opening Night on a Friday in Atlanta (for the second straight year) with reigning Jack Adams Trophy winner Bruce Boudreau behind one bench and his buddy John Anderson behind the other, the NHL's top two goal scorers from a season ago firing pucks at every opportunity... and likely a bunch of empty seats (limited interest in Becoming One in Blueland?).

As these two teams are tied in the standings for quite possibly the last time all season, let's take a quick look at some of the current Caps' successes that have come at Atlanta's expense:
You get the point. But here's the bigger point - none of that matters much right now. Alex Ovechkin has no goals, Nicklas Backstrom no assists, Alex Semin hasn't fallen down once yet, and Jose Theodore has no wins - the Washington Capitals have no wins.

But there will be wins, stats and moments aplenty to collect over the next six-plus months. And it all starts tonight, at long last.

Elsewhere 'Round the Rinks:

Brooks Laich was on the Big O and Dukes show yesterday (Segment 6).... Everybody wants to see what AO does for an encore.... Thanks to sk8 for this former Cap update.... Caps prospect Brett Leffler potted a pair of goals in his return from a concussion, but it sounds like his head may not be 100% right quite yet.... Finally, on a personal note, it was four years ago today that my wonderful wife and I said our "I do's." Re-confirming that I made the right decision then, she's totally fine with just watching the game tonight. I'm a lucky man.

27 comments:

FAUX RUMORS said...

1) What better way to celebrate an anniversary than a hockey game!?! Congrats.

Stimpy said...

I've got the same luck. My 10th anniversary is the 18th (a Saturday), and we are using our season tickets to go to the game. We might have to get dinner before the game...maybe I'll splurge for something better than Potbelly's.

Charlie said...

Congrats JP!!! Its great to be reading your game previews again. Thank god its hockey season, Lets Go CAPS!!!

Gustafsson said...

Happy Anniversary, JP.

She might be ok with just watching the game, but I'll wager that your Honey-Do list just got longer.

this space for rent said...

Congrats, JP. :) Here's to another 40 years for the two of you.

I'm still waffling on getting cable - I seldom watch TV and have a hard time justifying $60 a month for one channel, especially with things as they are right now.

hotdog88gt said...

Only four, eh? Update us in another ten [insert evil laugh here]...

nuftjedi said...

"Alex Semin hasn't fallen down once yet"


LOL!

b.orr4 said...

"As these two teams are tied in the standings for quite possibly the last time all season"...Careful there, hubris is a dangerous commodity. Just ask Detroit after they lost last night to Toronto in their home opener. The Caps CAN be good this year, maybe even great but not believing their press clippings may be the key to how far they go. Aside from the SE title, this team still hasn't won anything.

JP said...

@ b.orr4: Obviously I agree with you (see the concluding paragraphs), and I don't know much, but I am pretty confident that the Caps have a better team than Atlanta does, and I'm also pretty confident that Detroit has a better team than Toronto does.

Finally, it's Boudreau's job - not mine - to keep the team grounded. I have no problem outlining and enjoying the high expectations surrounding this team, just as I'll have no problem pointing out if and when they fall short of those expectations.

Tyler said...

I expect that Sasha will fall down go boom.

Fear the Rabbit.

Yay.

Kim said...

Semin hasn't fallen down yet. Too funny.

My guess is that he will fall down at least once, get a hooking penalty, and score at least one sick goal this weekend.

b.orr4 said...

@jp- agreed, this Caps team is loaded but I'm going to be real curious to see how Bruce handles the transition from the hunter to the hunted. The Caps aren't sneaking up on anybody and I have to think that when they show up in an opposing rink, it's going to be a marquee game for the home team. Some players thrive in that kind of spotlight and others shrink. Guys like AO, Feds and Nylander, I'm not worried about. But how will Green, Backstrom and Semin handle the added pressure? Maybe I'm just overly cautious, but until I see how this group responds to the expectations, I'm going to reserve judgement. I'm pretty sure they'll be OK, but there's that small part of me that says they could be this year's Detroit Tigers. That's why I love sports. You never know until you know.

JP said...

@ b.orr4: Agreed.

When I wrote my Caps preview for FanHouse, I thought the biggest concern facing this team was staying focused and motivated (which dovetails with your concerns). To that end, is there a coach you'd rather have than Bruce Boudreau or a superstar you'd rather have than AO? Add in Feds and Clark, and the leadership structure on this team is incredibly strong, and hopefully can push through any bumps in the road.

Bottom line, as I see it, is that the talent is unquestionably there, as is the leadership. The only thing missing, really, is across-the-board experience, and there's only one way to get that, really - by playing the games.

I'd characterize myself as being cautiously optimistic, with a heavy emphasis on the "optimistic" part... for the first time in a long, long time.

b.orr4 said...

What encourages me is that this year's squad has an average age of 28.1 years compared to last year's team which averaged 26.5. I may sound like a politician, but experience counts. That's why $4 million for Feds is money well spent.

CapsKremlin said...

The Caps need to come out fast, put up and early goal and never let up. Last season we had to endure so many "cardiac," Caps games, and I'm sure Boudreau doesn't want to go through those again.

The London Knights said they'd score when they want to. The Hershey Bears proved they can score when they want to, and now it's the Capitals turn to do the same.

Key players tonight, Brooks Laich. Standing in the middle on the PP, Laich won't get the pretty top corner goal, but his rugged play to screen the goalie and trash goal skills will come in handy numerous time this season (let's hope something like 25 times??)

NS said...

Final score guesses for tonight?

Caps - 4
Thrashers - 2

this space for rent said...

Here's to our D showing up tonight and playing a full 60 minutes. If they do that, we should be fine.

bigonetimer said...

congrats JP--there's nothing like wedded bliss when it's all good with the game taking priority. Can your wife teach my wife some new tricks?? /shits bed

game on, already!! I'll be interested to see how the lines shake out through the game, and how team defense stands up. my early POG prediction: Mike Green

jh said...

I would've been worried about how the team deals with high expectations this year but their playoff round against the Flyers will be a big help. They handled all that pressure, survived two games where they came out flat, got not the slightest break and could easily have emerged winners. The hunger to get back there and go even farther will be as big a factor as staying healthy. The feeling that this is going to be a big year is hard to deny.

meep_42 said...

@Stimpy - There's nothing better than potbelly for a common-man's dinner. I miss it so much living out west.

Am I the only one positively drooling over the PP lines?

-d

CapsKremlin said...

@meet_42

I am drooling about them too. If they catch fire, the Capitals could be the highest scoring team in the league, but that's a big IF.

Scott said...

Happy Anniversary! Let's Go Caps! I have nothing else to add.

wittcap79 said...

@ CK -

I'm with you on that one. I look at the PP lines and the 3 top lines and I can't help but think that this team could average 4g/game. That would be amazing...here's to hoping

NS said...

longest. day. ever.

hotdog88gt said...

For non-Caps fans, expectations such as the Caps have to deal with come with the salary cap territory that they now find themselves in.

I never thought I'd see the Capitals in this position - hitting the cap AND AND AND having QUALITY players eating up that money.

So enjoy the present day Caps before free agency tears them apart.

am said...

Happy anneversary! My husband and I go to training camp every year for our anneversary (rookie camp this year). Some wives are as big fans as the husbands... ;)

jason said...

Game on!!

Also, in case anyone missed it, NHL.com is giving everyone free online access to center ice this weekend. Watching online now for free. I'm pretty impressed with the service, gotta say.

Oh, and happy anniversary JP.