Wednesday, September 12, 2007

2007-08 Preseason Foreplay: Washington Capitals

I think I found a nominee for the next 'things that look odd, but actually did happen' post.
Quick hits
  • World, meet Backstrom Prime. He is an unstoppable wrecking machine.
  • The basement is warm and cozy: the Caps have finished last in the Southeast three years running.
  • [Insert obligatory joke about how bad the Southeast Division is] The Southeast's slogan for the upcoming season; The AHL ain't got nothin' on us!
  • Olaf Kolzig is still South African.
  • The Caps are having a 'buy one, get one free' deal on season tickets. That's pretty sweet.
  • Washington has had a staggering 12 first round picks during the last six drafts.
  • I still think Dale Hunter is a fucking jackass.
Odds for the folks at gambler's anonymous

16 to 1: Alex Ovechkin will do something that will make your eyes remove themselves from their sockets.

35 to 1: Ted Leonsis gets into a blog war with Hulk Hogan, and they settle it with a steel caged hockey game. That would be freaking sweet!

Obligatory serious analysis

After three straight finishes at the bottom of the southeast division and an unbelievable amount of stockpiled draft picks, it looks as though the Caps are ready to make their climb up the standings. I believe they will be a much improved team, but their problems is that almost every other team in the East will be much improved.

This summer the Caps made nice splash in the free agent market by signing Tom Poti, Victor Kozlov and Michael Nylander. All three will be welcomed additions to an offense that finished third to last in the East last season (side note: that the Devils won their division while scoring the fewest goals in the East in still unbelievable). Now, there's even a possibility for the Caps to create an All-Soviets line; Alex Semin, Alex Ovechkin and Victor Kozlov. There's little doubt that their off-season additions should help improve the offense. After all, their off season wasn't completely horrific to begin with as my statistics may indicate. To their credit, they only scored nine fewer goals than the Southeast Division Champion Thrashers.

The problem for the Caps is going to be defense and goaltender. Olaf Kolzig is 37 this year, and the number of effective years that remain in his career in diminishing very quickly. He posted a 3.00 GAA, a half a goal lower than the previous year, but is still only the second time is GAA was at or three since the 1995-96 season. To his credit, his .910 save percentage was his best mark since the 2002-03 season.

Last season, the problem wasn't necessarily so much Kolzig. Rather, the issue was with the players in front of him. The Caps defense was ineffective to say the least, and they are returning the same squad this season, with exception of the addition of Poti. Poti won't add much to the Caps in terms of defense; he's much better known for his ability role as an offensive defenseman. Aside for his miraculous +16 rating with the Rangers during the 2005-06 season, Poti hasn't put together a positively rated season since the 1999-00 campaign, and that's not going to change this year in Washington. This year, how good the Caps defense is going to be hinges on the development of their young players. Among them are Steve Eminger, Washington's first round pick in 2002, Mike Green, the team's first round pick in 2004 and Sasha Pokulak, their 2005 first round pick. Of course, there's also this year's first round pick Karl Alzner. The point is, at some point these guys are going to have to step up and turn this defense into, well, a defense.

Prediction: The Caps' place in the standings will be improved, but I believe that there are still too many liabilities for them on defense. They will find a home in the 12 spot.

The best looking ice girls in Washington
The Capitals will yet again not put together a team of ice girls for the coming season. For shame, Ted Saskin! FOR SHAME! In their place, I give you Washington Redskins cheerleaders.

Previous Editions of Preseason Foreplay


  1. Jagr played for the Washington Capitols...imagine that.

  2. you mean Ted Leonsis

  3. please take the jagr picture makes me cry.

  4. We don't want those terrible terrible ice girls. Or Jagr.