Preseason is just that, preseason. The Caps finish with a disappointing 2-6. However, there is no way to judge a team that is tinkering with lines and developing players to make anything from wins or losses. But now that the games count, it’s time for the Capitals to show some sign of growth and potential to it’s sluggish hockey market.
Some concerns for the Caps this season is defiantly the defensive core. It is the same concern that plagued the team in the ’03-‘04 season. Mike Green, a 19 year-old defenseman, did not make the team after having a solid preseason. A disappointment in this fan's opinion. Meanwhile, Green’s mentor, Brendan Witt, may be a liability rather than reliable on the blue line. Witt has asked for a trade, and whether he plays just to get traded or plays to force a trade is remained to be seen. The two are very different, on the one hand will Witt just go through the motions, or will he play better and adapt to the changing landscape to impress other teams? I guess we will see.
Head coach Glen Hanlon will have to use the Caps youth and speed in some way to win games. The Capitals do have some proven scoring in Jeff Friesen, and solid offensive play in Jeff Halpern, Andrew Cassels, and Dainius Zubrus. With the new rules, the Caps should be able to use their speed and offense to keep teams off kilter.
The Capitals will be going through a growing period for sure, but they also have to learn their roles as the season moves along. It will be a true signature of growth for this young team if the players begin to click together.