Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Montgomery On The Caps

USA Today's Ted Montgomery is asking, analyzing and answering a handful of burning questions heading into the 2008-09 season, and his last query focuses on the Caps:

Will the Washington Capitals build on last year's success and continue to improve, perhaps even enough to have a long playoff run?

The case for: The Caps are now one of the most exciting teams in the league, and should have a fine season. Having Michael Nylander healthy again and bringing back Sergei Fedorov shores up the center position, with Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom providing the offensive fireworks. Mike Green is just coming into his own as a premier defenseman. This team is loaded, and should sail through the regular season without too much trouble.

The case against: Is Jose Theodore the answer in goal? And which version of Theodore will show up in Washington? If he struggles like he did for a few seasons in Colorado, the Caps could be in trouble. If he plays as well as he did at times last season, they should be OK in goal. The Caps are rolling the dice on this one.

My verdict: The Caps will win a couple of rounds in the playoffs, but will not make it past the conference final. Their time is coming, and soon.

6 comments:

hotdog88gt said...

Theodore is certainly an improvement over last year's regular season netminders.

wittcap79 said...

SSDD...

B19 said...

Theodore is an improvement, but if we want to win the Cup then we'll need good goaltending, not average.

The Peerless said...

Kolzig had an up and down year. Huet was a goalie who could never get a firm grasp on a #1 role (last year's 52 appearances is his career high in a season).

Theodore doesn't have to be a Vezina candidate (unlike places like Vancouver or New Jersey, where their goalies do have to be such candidates to compete). He needs to avoid the bleeding -- long pointless streaks. He can do that. Theodore might be the biggest question mark, but that doesn't make him a questionable goaltender

DrinkingPartner said...

I tend to agree, I think, depending that we play the way we think we can, we're good until the Conference Finals, when our health will be the biggest factor, as opposed to anything else.

We've got the experience from last year that taught us how to react to Playoff hockey, and how to dominate said hockey, so I don't think inexperience will stagger us.

I'm extremely optimistic that, if we remain healthy, we could make it to the Finals. I think one of the biggest measures for this team will be how they play against the Wings in January (i think?). Last year's game was pretty solid, except for goaltending. Here's hoping.

CapsKremlin said...

Theodore's success will be determined not just by his play between the pipes, but how the D men in front of him preform. Olie never had the luxury of great defense, and in Tampa he still doesn't. Theodore has the makings of a solid d, but questions remain about if they too can step up. If Theodore is succeeding, it means our defense is succeeding. You can't look at Goalie as just one player, but part of a unit on defense.