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As I Say Every Year, This is the Year (But Really, This IS The Year)....Caps Season # 42 Starts Tomorrow

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Alright, let’s do this. We already know the Caps are being picked as Stanley Cup favorites by “experts” everywhere. Look left, Caps are favorites. Look right, Caps are favorites. This is both great and scary at the same time. Lots of pressure on this team to win their first Cup, which is quite possibly the hardest trophy to win in sports. And the Caps have never done it. One Stanley Cup finals appearance when they were swept by the Red Wings. Last year’s team looked prime to make it, but they blew a 3-1 series lead in the most heartbreaking fashion. But believe me, I was used to it. It’s been sadness after disappointment after heartbreak with the Caps. But like every other year (save for the bad rebuilding clubs) THIS is the year.

The team that was a minute from the ECF last year has only gotten better. Brouwer is out, Oshie is in. Joel Ward is out, Mr. Game 7 Justin Williams is in. Andre Burakovsky is a year older and a year better. Same with Kuz. Tom Wilson is expected to contribute not just with his fists but as a power forward in front of the net as well. The defense has lost Mike Green, but Nate Schmidt is a solid replacement. We were all shocked by how well Brooks Orpik played last year (really, really well), Carlson, Alzner, Niskanen, and Orlov are all guys I trust on the blue line.

And of course Holtby. A potential Vezina winner. Played more minutes and therefor faced more shots than any other netminder last season. The 26 year old had a .923 save % in the regular season with 41 wins including 9 shut outs. In the playoffs he fucked around and put up a .944 save % and a 1.71 GAA. With Holtby in net, the Cup is always in play. He’s simply that good and I’m ecstatic to see him play this year.

And I mean, do I even have to mention Ovi? Best pure goal scorer in the world. The whole “he doesn’t play defense” story is old, as if you watch games, you see him darting all over the ice, back checking, the whole 9. Maybe he slacked under some past systems, but not under Trotz. Expect another 50 goal season out of the Great 8. I won’t get greedy and say he’ll put up a 60 spot, but if he stays healthy, I wouldn’t be shocked at all.

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The sick part is I can do an entire Caps blog and not talk about Nick Backstrom. The guy was first in assists in the NHL last year and 6 in total points. He’s great defensively as well. Constantly overlooked because of his quiet demeanor, but he’s as good as they come.

Tomorrow night kicks off another fun, exciting, and hopefully not depressing hockey season. Is this the year? Of course I’m going to say yes, because that’s what I do. But really, this team has potential as high as the sky. They were so close last year and have only gotten better. Stay healthy and stick to the script and the Cup could actually happen this year. You just have to believe.