Get ready it’s our time.
This tagline, along with a picture of the Stanley Cup, was featured on a shirt worn by none other than Alexander Ovechkin during the Washington Capitals Media Day. Despite losing two key veteran leaders, Sergei Fedorov and Donald Brashear, in the off-season, the Capitals are very confident in their abilities this upcoming season.
Young players such as Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green and Ovechkin are all ready to make the jump to that next level. They can all score, and are each capable of putting together 75+ point seasons. With the experience developed by these young guns over the past two seasons, its going to be hard for anyone to stop them come playoff time.
On top of that, add in the free agent signings of Mike Knuble and Brendan Morrison to the roster. Last season for the Flyers, Knuble chipped in 27 goals along with 20 assists for a 47 point campaign. Brendan Morrison, splitting time between Anaheim and Dallas last season, totaled 31 points on 16 goals and 15 assists. Clearly offensive production should not be a problem for the Caps this season.
Defensively the Capitals are just as strong as last year. Mike Green will lead the way with a terrific plus/minus and strong skating and scoring abilities. Shaone Morrisonn, Tom Poti and Milan Jurcina are big, strong, gritty defenseman who will work well to shut down the opposition.
Between the pipes, Bruce Boudreau has given the starting role back to Jose Theodore heading into training camp. Theodore had a poor showing in last seasons playoffs in which Semyon Varlamov relieved him. Boudreau and the Capitals never looked back as Varlamov continued to play well, posting a .918 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average in 13 games. Varlamov is sure to see more time this season than he did in 2008-09, however.
The Capitals should cruise through the regular season to a first place finish in the Southeast Division. Their best games will be those against Boston, and the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Come playoff time, however, the Capitals will make a huge push. Don’t be surprised if you see them playing into June next year.