The Washington Capitals still have three more games to round out the preseason. And the Capitals are very close to 23 man roster now that they have cut Keith Aucoin (sent to Hershey) and Jakub Cutta (released by the team). It makes me wonder, why not sacrifice the last three games to the regular season and have the ability for the Capitals play every team for both a home and an away game.
I understand the importance of the preseason. But if the Capitals, like most other teams, are almost NHL ready with just 4 games into the exhibition season, what's the point of doing 7 or 8 games? I would rather have less preseason and more season, and I think several fans would agree.
When Gary Betteman is ever questioned about it, he references how tired the players would be with a longer schedule. Yet we can ship them overseas for the start of a season without the worry of jet lag (just ask the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings who both had slow starts after coming back from London's game last year).
In any sport (except maybe spring season for baseball), fans just want the season to start. The possibility of players getting hurt in games that don't mean anything is pretty substantial. And with the competative nature of players in general, it's not like they are playing at half speed or "just going through the motions." But every year we have to drudge through 7 or 8 games of preseason until we get to that season opener. And then make excuses for why we can't play every team at least once during the season both home and away.
Coming up for the Capitals is a home and home with the Philadelphia Flyers, then a final home game against Boston. With both teams close to their set rosters, there should be some bad feelings about one another for this preseason tilt. For a few players like Chris Bourque and Quintin Laing, something spectacular has to happen for them to crack the line up. One thing is for sure, it's getting harder and harder for the coaching staff to set their roster for the '08 -'09 season.