Tuesday, January 08, 2013

One Big Happy Family

It was more for the benefit of the media than it was for the general manager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates to address the press. The "oh so fluffy" feelings of a hockey season returning saw both media moguls and Capitals' players and staff wearing wide smiles and patting each other on the back in a hearty "Welcome back!"

Ovi walks in all smiles.
Alex Ovechkin was the marquee guy that the press had asked for since seeing his return at Dulles Airport being greeted by Mike Vogel. It looked like that was not going to happen, but in the end, classic Ovechkin strolls out, wide grin wearing a t-shirt that said in Russian "Am I really the prettiest one here, again?" To a Caps fan, yes, yes he was.

From Braden Holtby, to McPhee, to Oates and then Ovi finishing up the impromptu media day at Kettler, the mood was light, cheerful even. A sense of relief was on the faces of both players and coaches and the people that interview them. Even a spotting of Joe Beninati, who regaled his rough time finding work during the stoppage with fellow reporters, made it seem that hockey was right where it was supposed to be in DC.

Oates addresses the media.
While it is all smiles and cheerfulness, the seriousness of a sprint of a 48 game season is weighing on management and coaches. Anxious to get back to work, Oates told reporters of running line combos almost daily. Even McPhee is getting calls from other GMs around the league looking to trade once the CBA is ratified. It looks to be a confusing and fast start to the season, and the team most ready for it might be the one fighting for a chance in the Finals for Lord Stanley's Cup.

So the smiles are fine for now. The real work begins when "camp" starts most likely on Sunday.

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