We asked some of our favorite Capitals bloggers to weigh in on the upcoming season. Next up, WNST’s Ed Frankovic:
What will end up being the best offseason move:
Tomas Vokoun. A team simply cannot win the Stanley Cup without having a goalie that finds a way to flat-out steal a few games along the way. Tim Thomas did that for Boston last year, but he also was bolstered by a club that played solid team defense. Vokoun can be very dominant and if he and the Capitals’ defense learn to work together properly the sky is the limit for this team.
Biggest concern entering the season:
Defensive zone play. Stanley Cups are won via defense and goaltending. The Caps made strides at improving their play in their own end last season with Coach Bruce Boudreau's system change, but they have a ways to go to show that they can be consistently good with their coverage and positioning to sustain a long post season run. In the Tampa series there were key turnovers and critical breakdowns at the wrong time. Washington must use all 82 games of the regular season to work on the defensive zone and become a cohesive unit once April rolls around. I think the whole team now understands that the regular season truly does matter. Last season some players used the regular season to try and get in shape, which was the wrong approach.
Who will have a bounce-back or breakout year?
Mike Green. No. 52 had just 8 goals and 16 assists in only 49 games due to the combination of injuries and the team's shift to a more defensive system. The Calgary native is in outstanding shape this fall and the addition of Roman Hamrlik combined with the extra year of experience for John Carlson and Karl Alzner means the "One Man Breakout" doesn't have to try and carry the entire defense. His minutes may be lower per game but as a result he should be fresher and more effective. In preseason his slap shot looked to regain the power it had back before his 2009 shoulder injury and that should lead to more rebound goals for the Caps and an increase in both goals and assists for Green.
Ideal season-opening line combos:
Ovechkin - Backstrom - Knuble
Semin - Johansson - Brouwer
Chimera - Laich - Ward
Hendricks - Halpern - Beagle
Mathieu Perreault will get his share of time at center as well. Basically, Bruce Boudreau has a lot of options and can shuffle his lines depending on the opponent.
What should be the 2011-12 theme song?
“Right Now” by Van Halen
Season preview in haiku form:
Regular Season Focus
Could Lead to the Cup