Here we go.
- Marion Hossa
- Ryan Malone
- Gary Roberts
- Jarkko Ruutu
- Georges Laraque
- Ty Conklin
The Caps had what should be considered a successful season last year, but losing in Game 7 always gives you a bad taste in your mouth. It was obvious in that series with the Pens that the Caps have enough skill to win. But did they have enough grit?
Well, they may have plugged this hole with the signing of Mike Knuble. This guy goes to the net and is never afraid of contact. Guys like Semin need a Knuble on their line. Even though he is on the bad side of 35, it's a great pick up.
They did lose Federov and Victor Kozlov. Kozlov was just another one of the Caps skilled but soft players, so I think Knuble is an upgrade. Fedorov's leadership will surely be missed, but he wasn't a big producer throughout the season or playoffs. Tough guy Donald Brashear also walked, but tough guys, no matter how loved by the fans, never make or break a lineup.
Capitals will no doubt be a top team in the East. Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin will take care of that. But do they have enough toughness to advance further in the playoffs? Will this year be goalie Varlamov's true coming out party? Will Nylander do ANYTHING to earn his 5 million a year? Will Ovechkin ever backcheck? (had to get one stinger in here)
I think it still will take a trade deadline deal for the Caps to move past the second round.
Why you should care:
Ovechkin vs. Crosby meeting every Playoffs should be awesome for years to come.
30 down! That's all for me. Enjoy the summer. Hockey Rules.