January 18, 2013

Washington Capitals 2012-2013
NHL Season Preview - Part 1

Alex Ovechkin and other Capitals players at training camp on January 15, 2013.
Photo by Kevin Lamarque / Reuters via The Washington Post.

After enduring months of anxiety, frustration, anger and unfairness, relief is on it's way for hockey fans. The 2012-2013 NHL Season is finally about to start, well after it's originally scheduled premier date of October 11, 2012.

Due to a lengthy CBA negotiation period, which included a lockout that wiped the entire 2012 part, we get just over half a season of our beloved sport. With a new agreement in place, it will be several years before we worry about that situation happening again.

Happiness returns when the puck finally drops on Saturday - January 19, 2013. It's hard to say what a 48 game season will bring. Teams organized incredibly short training camps, for players of widely varied readiness. Some played in other leagues, and some skated in informal practices, while a few others might be far less prepared.

For a large portion of their shortened season, many players will be learning new systems, possibly from new coaches. The Washington Capitals will be one of the teams dealing with these challenges. Former Caps superstar center Adam Oates was hired as the new head coach in the off-season, and he selected new assistant coaches Calle Johansson and Tim Hunter. They got some practice helping to guide the AHL affiliate Hershey Bears for the first several games of their season, but now they have to quickly force-feed new systems and new plays into the minds and bodies of all the Capitals players.

Thankfully, we have some elite writers and media talent covering the Washington, DC based Capitals. These people have stacked up a bunch of detailed previews and overviews to send us into the season well informed.

The Peerless, at The Peerless Prognosticator, broke things down on goalies, defensemen, and a few forwards in this past September. In October, he continued on with the balance of forwards. If you're pressed for time, he has posted updated summaries over the past couple weeks. Check out Just Get In...It's Not Just a Tag Line This Year, Questions, Questions...Then and Now: The Forwards, and Questions, Questions... Then and Now: The Defense and Goaltenders.

The folks at Japers' Rink published their third annual preseason look at individual expectations and job security assesments for players and management, Capitals On the Hot Seat: 2012-13 Edition, in September. More recently, with Caps Questions: Does the Short Season Hurt or Help?, they pondered whether or not the abbreviated season could be beneficial to the Caps.

Locally, online mainstream media coverage has been thorough as well. Katie Carrera has kept on top of things at Capitals Insider, for The Washington Post. Chuck Gormley, of CSN Washington (DC), has been amazingly relentless in his online output.

It's a shame CSN didn't give the team, or even the lockout situation, more than a comparatively (vs football, basketball off-season and stoppages) inadequate few seconds of occasional TV time before this week. After all, they are the game carrier for the Capitals.

In the upcoming Part 2 of my season preview, I'll concentrate on the offerings from the media members within the Washington Capitals organization itself.

No comments:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...