Thursday, August 30, 2007

Capitals: This Year's Sleeper

According to the Canadian Press, the Caps are going to surprise a lot of people this season and could challenge for a playoff spot - something we Caps fans have been predicting ourselves for a few months now, but hey, it's nice to have a little validation.

The part I found interesting was McPhee discussing the possibility of Backstrom on the wing, something I don't remember seeing elsewhere:

"We know we have a very smart player, a very responsible player, someone who can make a play, someone who is good on faceoffs and really sharp defensively," said McPhee. "But you just don't know if they're ready to handle that centre-ice position."

McPhee points out that rookies Jordan Staal of the Penguins and Phil Kessel of the Bruins, both natural centres, played the wing most of last season.

"We'll just have to see where Backstrom fits," he said.

By the way, it's stuff like this that reminds me exactly why I love Olie Kolzig so much:

For Kolzig, the positive buzz surrounding his team is validation of his decision two years ago to sign a two-year extension (he's signed through this season) rather than jump ship. It's the only NHL team he's ever played for and while it would have perhaps been easier to join a contender, he believed in McPhee's vision.

"Hopefully at the end of the day, I do get my name on that Cup and it would make the ultimate storyline," said Kolzig. "But if we fall short, I'm going to have no regrets because it was my decision and something that I believed in."

He just gets it. There are no guarantees in this game, and he'd rather have a shot at the Cup with this team than with any number of goalie-deficient "contenders" out there. If that doesn't make you love him as a Caps fan, I don't know what will.

I've said it before and I'll say it a million times more - Olie's one of the classiest guys in the league. We're extremely lucky to have him.


Chris & Sarah said...

I keep saying, we Canadians know our hockey.

Anonymous said...

"Olie's one of the classiest guys in the league. We're extremely lucky to have him."

I TOTALLY agree with this. And classy is the exactly right term. (Here's hoping that we don't dump on him, or dump him, in the end. Although it's doubtful he'll get greedy and invite it.) I see a picture of him lifting the Cup over his head very clearly in my mind's eye. Let it be real! Classy man! Loyalty, in a business dominated by the quick buck. Classy!