We asked some of our favorite Capitals bloggers to weigh in on the upcoming season. We’ll post their responses over the next two days. First up, here’s J.P. of Japers’ Rink:
What will end up being the best offseason move?
Tomas Vokoun is an easy answer and Joel Ward a good one for the stat-heads. And while both should prove to be terrific pick-ups, the addition of Roman Hamrlik may end up being the most important, especially if it helps to keep Mike Green healthy. Regardless, Hamrlik is a veteran blueliner who can play in all situations and should pay dividends in both the short- and long-term.
Biggest concern entering the season:
Is Marcus Johansson (or Brooks Laich, for that matter) good enough to center a scoring line on a Cup hopeful? Can the power play get back on track? Can Mike Green stay healthy? Will “accountability” ever make a real appearance with this group? Can the team generate offense when things aren’t coming easily? Take your pick — I’m a worrier... it’s what I do.
Who will have a bounce-back or breakout year?
Bounce-back? Green. The power play almost can’t help but improve and he’ll be a major contributor on that unit. He’s far better than his numbers last year would seem to indicate, and with good health (knock on wood) he should once again be among the league’s top point-producing blueliners.
Breakout? Johansson. With a lack of play-making pivots on the roster, Johansson should spend the season with an Alex on one wing and a net-presence on the other. But let’s be realistic: His upside for this year isn’t eye-popping, probably around 50 points if absolutely everything goes right for him.
Ideal season-opening line combos:
Ovechkin - Johansson - Knuble
Brouwer - Backstrom - Semin
Chimera - Laich - Ward
Hendricks - Halpern - Beagle
Alzner - Carlson
Hamrlik - Green
Schultz - Wideman
What should be the 2011-12 theme song?
The Wire’s Omar Little whistling “A-Hunting We Will Go.” Caps comin’. In lieu of that (since I’m not sure you can readily find it to download to your iPod), how about “Great Expectations” by Jurrasic 5 or “Butterflies and Hurricanes” by Muse.
Season preview in haiku form:
Will Young Guns rebound?
Has AO hit his decline?
Will Sasha care now?