By Leslie Silvey –
After a long hockey-less summer, the boys are finally back in town for the much anticipated season! The Caps kicked off the regular season with a bang with a resounding road win over the Boston Bruins and Vezina trophy winning net minder Tim Thomas. The Caps offense was on fire as Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich had two goals apiece and Jose Theodore held the high-scoring Bruins to a mere goal.
New additions Mike Knuble (who was tapped as Assistant Captain) and Brendan Morrison are fitting in quite nicely and both contributed goals in the home opener against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Caps fans had plenty to celebrate, as the men in red tallied six goals against the visitors. So only two games into what is surely one of the longest seasons in sports, both Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich have already netted three goals! Many in the sports media are dubbing the Ovie-Backstrom-Semin line the best league in the NHL, as Alex Semin scored two against the Leafs and two against the Flyers and Backstrom has eight assists to date!
Tuesday’s game against the rival Flyers was a thrilling contest, which unfortunately saw a few too many Caps making frequent trips to the penalty box. Two goals each from the two Alex’s and another off of Brendan Morrison’s skate kept the boys in the game and forced OT. If you didn’t see Alex Semin’s second period goal, it was an absolute thing of beauty as he left the Flyers’ Braydon Coburn in the dust. The Flyers are a dangerous team and their captain Mike Richards took advantage of the power plays with a hat trick in front of the home crowd. Unfortunately, Daniel Briere’s OT goal gave the Caps their first loss of the season with a final score of 6-5.
The Caps come back to the Phone Booth on 10/8 to reignite the rivalry from last season’s playoffs against the New York Rangers. The Rangers roster has been bolstered with the off season acquisitions of former Capital Donald Brashear, former Montreal Canadien Christopher Higgins and former Minnesota Wild sniper Marian Gaborik. They’ve also seen scoring in recent games from rookie defensemen Matt Gilroy and Michael Del Zotto. The Blueshirts record thus far mirrors that of the Capitals with two wins and a loss. It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction former fan favorite Donald Brashear draws from the home crowd as he steps on the ice as an opponent!
The tests continue for the Capitals as they visit the Western Conference champion Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Saturday. The multi-talented Wings have been in the Stanley Cup finals the last two years and of course won the Cup in 2008. The Caps will face some of the strongest offensive players in the league in Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk. The Wings lost one of their big guns, Marian Hossa, to free agency, but they are still stacked with playmakers.
So we are finally back in the swing of things and looking forward to another fabulous season – LET’S GO CAPS!