Washington Capitals training camp is underway and soon enough the puck is going to drop for real. But the puck has technically dropped already as many fans and media members were on hand for the first day of practice at MedStar Capitals Iceplex. With that said, it’s time to watch this team and break it all down leading up to the first game of the regular season.
Looking at this Caps roster one big strength I can identify is the continuity and the familiarity with each other. It’s no secret this team will run it back. The question is will the fourth try actually work?
What will help this continuity is the full 82 game season and less COVID stuff going on. Things will be returning to normal with full arenas and playing against every team, not just the same seven like it was last season. No matter who spoke to the media on the first day, each player said pretty much the same thing as they all look forward to that time of normalcy.
Tom Wilson can’t wait to step out onto the Capital One Arena ice to a full capacity crowd:
"“Having the fans back in the rink will be amazing. I think that’s one of the best parts of what we do is coming out into a sold out Capital One Arena and having that place rocking and getting a win on home ice.”"
Another strength of the Caps will be their offense. Despite the core being a year older, expect guys like Wilson and Alex Ovechkin to help lead the top line. The fourth line trio of Carl Hagelin, Nic Dowd, and Garnet Hathaway will be back. Evgeny Kuznetsov is hungry for a bounce back season and Connor McMichael is chomping at the bit for more NHL action. He may get an opportunity if Nicklas Backstrom misses time in the regular season.
Another core strength from the Caps will come from the top. That’s the leadership of head coach Peter Laviolette. With no COVID shortened season and a chance to fully not have a filter, expect Laviolette to light a flame under this team that will carry them through the grind ahead. There will be adversity. There are Metropolitan Division teams that have gotten better over the offseason. It’s up to Laviolette to keep the team hungry and motivated from start to finish.
As far as weaknesses of the team, its defense and goaltending. But that’s both from baggage of last season, a lack of experience and players that still have a lot to prove. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing unless it doesn’t get fixed over time.