The Washington Capitals players are starting to trickle into Washington DC for the start of the abbreviated 2013 NHL season. That includes Alexander Ovechkin , who arrived in DC yesterday.
Caps are not wasting time. Several players, including Jason Chimera, John Carlson, Jay Beagle, Mike Ribeiro and Mike Green, were all on ice yesterday practicing. New Caps bench boss, Adam Oates, is awaiting all players to arrive so they can begin to assess who is in game shape and who is not. Not like they have much time to get in shape. There is a tremendous difference in working out and being in game shape. They have to get to game shape fairly quickly.
District Sports Page provides a Southeast Division preview. As a reminder note, the new CBA did not do anything with realignment, so the Winnipeg Jets remain in Washington's division. Peerless simulates 40 games and finds the Caps to be slightly better than last season. There you go.
Part of the CBA deal was the amnesty clause. You likely may be familiar with it because of its implementation in the NBA. The amnesty clause allows teams to delete, get rid of, terminate, end, or however you want to say it, two bad contracts, one in 2013 and one in 2013-14 season. Chris Lund goes over team by team which contracts could be potential amnesty targets. For the Caps, he identifies Mike Green and Joel Ward.
ESPN and Yahoo Puck Daddy report on forgiveness of fans and potential fall out for a second lockout in eight years.
What sets hockey apart from other sports, in my mind anyway, is its athletes. Hockey players are good guys, simply put. They play the game because they’ve dreamed all of their lives of a Stanley Cup. That’s the No. 1 reason they play. And that’s the most attractive asset the game has. Yet another lockout makes people forget that after watching players and owners wage an ugly war over money.
Puck Daddy adds ...
During that 113-day ordeal, you were repeatedly condescended to, taken advantage of, and lied to, by both sides of the argument. But never forget that the contents of your wallet, like one of the podded-up humans in The Matrix, are nothing but fuel for a machine that cruelly exploits you.
As of this writing, I know of just a handful of NHL teams that actually took the time to come out and apologize to its hundreds of thousands of fans for the nearly four months of torture through which it just put them.
We shall soon see, once the season starts, how much backlash there will be. Not only will it be interesting to track attendance rates, but also merchandise sales. Let's face it, your die hard fans, they will be there. However, the NHL was well on its way to recovering from the lockout 8 years ago, gaining new fans thanks to some excellent superstars, the development of Winter Classic, and more. The big question is, are those 'new' fans still going to be there?