The first step for the Washington Capitals starts tonight in Atlanta. And it's two good friends in Bruce Boudreau and John Anderson that will lead their teams on the ice in a Southeast Division show down. The Caps are actually facing a pretty tough weekend with a game tonight and turn around and play their home opener tomorrow night.
Boudreau and Anderson have talked this week on the phone, but not about hockey. Two friends that have helped one another out in the AHL have found themselves in charge of a NHL team. "I hope he wins the next game," Boudreau told the reporters. "We've been talking for many, many years about coaching in the NHL and here we are, coaching against one another." If I had to pick which team I had sitting on the bench in front of me would be the Capitals (I am also bias too).
In talking with the players on Tuesday during media day, all were aware of how important this weekend is to starting off on the right foot. Reminded that the team had started 3 and 0 the start of last year only to slip down to their lowest point in November. Everyone on this team realizes that the start of this season is more important than in years past.
The Caps can't get away with just being a youthful team as an excuse any more. This team will find out what it's like to play with a target on your chest. Every team will put their best against this team, and that fact has not been lost on Boudreau. He has emphasized that whatever this team has accomplished is not going to be good enough. Much like the t-shirts handed out to the team in training camp, "The future is now" on the front, "Good is not good enough" on the back.
Question marks still remain for this team. Can the team's defense live up to its expectations this year? Can Jose Theodore repeat his success from a season ago in Colorado? Is this team all offense and one sided? I have a feeling that these questions will be answered with in the Capitals' first 10 games.