Friday, September 28, 2007

Mark Your Calendars, Set Your Watches

There's a lot of good stuff about today.

First of all it's Friday, so that instantly makes the day better.

Secondly, there's hockey tonight. That instantly makes the day a lot better.

But the best part about today is this: sometime around the end of the first period we will be exactly one week away from the start of the Capitals 2007-08 campaign. Things are starting to take shape and even if you can't see the results on the preseason "standings" (and what exactly are preseason standings, anyways? Top 16 teams get to go to the regular season?) the evidence is out there on the ice.

We're all counting down the minutes until hockey is blissfully returned to us in its normal state once more. But don't rush ahead too quickly - there's plenty of activity going on over the next week to keep our idle minds at least somewhat occupied.

- We start tonight with the Caps-Flyers rematch. Wednesday's game was a pretty chippy affair, owing partially to the fact that the Caps had Brash, Clymer, Sutherby, Bradley and Erskine in the lineup but also to the fact that apparently the Flyers are back to emphasizing brain over brawn. Don't forget, they did pick up bitty Briere...I think we're dealing with a classic case of overcompensation (although I'd prefer it if they just shoved a sock down there). The Caps lost by just one goal and by all accounts were in this until the end - and that's with our "B" team.

Anyways, preseason or no we may have a fiery game on our hands tonight, a far cry from the passionless exhibitions we're usually treated to this time of year. On top of that you've got a few guys still fighting for jobs on both teams, although from the lineup it doesn't look like most of the Caps' cusp boys will be there save for Laich and Steckel. Take that as you will.

Suiting up for the good guys will be as follows, although lines and pairings are subject to change:

Ovechkin - Kozlov - Fleischmann
Semin - Nylander - Backstrom
Pettinger - Gordon - Clark
Brashear - Steckel - Laich

Morrisonn - Jurcina
Poti - Green
Pothier - Schultz
Kolzig - Johnson

Bourque was sent down today and it appears that Boumedienne, Pollock and Motzko are also on the cut list, although nothing has been confirmed. If you read between the lines that leaves us with the 12 forwards dressed, Clymer, Sutherby and Bradley (and Fehr, but...yeesh) up front. Steckel continues to make a somewhat late case for a roster spot, so it'll be interesting to see who ends up on the outside should that happen.

Conventional wisdom would say Sutherby is the odd man out in that case, but Sutsy's put together a great camp in his own right and the organization still really loves him, so...yeah. Did I mention I wouldn't want GMGM's job right now?

On the blue line we have the 6 D plus Eminger and Erskine, and I'd expect Schultzie to head back to Hershey as soon as the final horn blows on Sunday if not sooner. Tarik is saying that Eminger has pretty much locked up one of the final slots, which I'm thrilled about but I'm sure others will have a little whiny time over the news. Have at it, folks - he's on a one year deal, if he doesn't make it happen by December I say he's on the block.

Moving on...

- Sunday the Caps host the Ottawa Senators to finish out their preseason schedule, at which point the roster should be pretty much set. Don't forget if you have a ticket from a DC United game, past or future, bring it to Verizon Center on Sunday and get a free ticket to the game.

- The Caps Care Classic will be held Monday, October 1 out at Springfield Golf and Country Club in Springfield, VA. That same day at noon is the deadline for players to be placed on waivers if they are to be reassigned...nothing like a golf tournament with an air of tension and anticipation about it, right?

- Monday night Comcast Sportsnet kicks off their groundbreaking hockey coverage with three straight hours dedicated to the Caps. Have the DVRs and the smelling salts ready, it should at least be entertaining.

- The following day, 3:00 p.m., the final 23-man opening night roster must be finalized and submitted to the league office. Cue scary

- Check out night two of CSN hockeylove on Tuesday with another rousing edition of Caps Classics (which have all the potential of being highly disappointing but there's no way I'm missing them).

- You get a few days of breathing room for the rest of the week as the rosters are finalized, training camp is over and no one is talking about hockey. All that leading up to the main event when the Caps travel to Atlanta to take on the dreaded Thrashers in the season opener Friday night, 7:30 on Comcast.

- And then it arrives!! Opening day, October 6th - Caps host the Hurricanes (which ended pretty well for the Caps last year if you recall). Be sure to get there early for all the home opener events...which...I'm not sure about other than the fact that a new opening video will premiere. It never hurts to be downtown early on a Saturday, though, does it? Take in the sights, laugh at the tourists, dodge the crazy screaming man on the corner...ah, I love this city.

Don't forget if you're heading out to Verizon tonight to grab that camera and snap some pictures - I'll post as many as I get, so keep 'em coming. Oh, and extra brownie points if someone catches one of the following on film:
  • Ovechkin or Semin scoring a goal
  • Jurcina putting Briere into the boards (cleanly, of course) with a thundering check
  • Brashear punching...anybody
  • Brashear scoring a goal


Chris & Sarah said...

The kicker, my office is only a block away from the Springfield Golf Club. I wonder if my boss will buy the story about there being a long line-up at Starbucks.

Murshawursha said...

That was one hell of a game... I'd pretty much written us off after we went down 5-2... Nothing like 5 third period goals to steal the win out from under the Flyers.

Yet another reminder of how much has changed this season.

CapsChick said...

That was an AMAZING game - and nothing like how I predicted it would go.

I really thought it was over when the Flyers scored, too, which is funny because throughout the game I kept jokingly saying to my roommate that the Caps were just saving it all for a comeback in the 3rd, that they were going to explode in the 3rd, on and on. I love being made to seem so smart! :D

Chris & Sarah said...

Listening to it kinda lost some of the effect, but it was still one hell of a game. I can only hope that the Ottawa game on Sunday will be just as exciting live as this one was listening to it.