Gearing up for the Caps Season

We made it Caps fans. The regular season for the Capitals starts tonight, October 5th, when our team faces off against the Ottawa Senators. Its been a rough offseason. Aside from that bitter, yet familiar taste of losing in the playoffs to the Penguins, this offseason was full of turnover and let downs.

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Roster turnovers and Replacements: The Capitals this offseason needed to replace two of their top six forwards, and oh yeah, two of their top six defensemen. We knew that Karl Alzner wasn’t going to stick around (signed with Montreal Canadiens –dumbest name ever) and we also lost Kevin Shattenkirk (signed to the NY Rangers). The stinger was Vegas taking Nate Schmidt.

So where does that leave us? The young guns on ice needing to step up. Bowey, Ness, Djoos stuck around after roster cuts. The hope here is some youth and speed will help shore up a defense that at times looked a bit tired.

Holtby, you’re the goalie. It’s supposed to hit you: (Shout out to the Mighty Ducks) Holtby was a stud last year. Heck for the past 3 years he’s had 40-win seasons. Side note: Grubauer showed he was a solid backup.  However with the roster changes on defense and the number and quality of shots that Holtby may face this year, our goalie knows it’s gonna take a little bit more:

“What we needed the last couple years was just consistency and not letting in goals that changed the momentum of the game, staying that steady, calming influence,” Holtby said. “Who knows? We might still have that again. If we don’t, sometimes you need the big saves. You need to make a lot of them at different times in the game, and it’s a different mentality sometimes.”

Ovenchicken new and improved? Too many times last year, the guys on the DTC podcast would constantly ask me why we still have Ovechkin and if he was our biggest liability in the playoffs. Yes last season he went from consecutive 50-goal seasons to almost career low 33. The reason? The Capitals had scoring depth. Sadly with Justin Williams gone and Marcus Johansson being traded, Ovechkin will need to step back up. I personally think he’s up to the task.

In addition to Ovechkin picking up the slack, the scoring opportunities for Burakovsly, Connolly, Lars Eller and Tom Wilson will be increased. The bigger roles hopefully will translate into more goals.

October Sucks: When the season schedule comes out for the NFL, analysts and fans are quick to break down the opponents and take a guess at their teams record. With baseball, basketball and hockey, its not that big of a deal. There are so many games, you focus on the key match-ups, the rivalries and biggies. This year however, the start of the Capitals season is rough. 8 of their first 12 games will be on the road.  3 of the 4 remaining home games, will be against teams that made it to the playoffs (Penguins, Maple Leafs, Canadiens).

If the Caps can get through October, and more importantly our new guys can step up and play some solid hockey, it should be enough to calm everyone down after such a sad looking pre-season.

 

Caps offseason check-in

Forgive me for not wanting to dive into the Caps during their offseason. The depth is gone. The team got worse this offseason. Quite frankly, offseason hockey doesn’t have the same entertainment as the NBA. Yes, the Capitals very much like the Nationals at this point are still a lock for winning their division, however I for one am weary of their ability to push further in the playoffs. Ask any fan, or re-watch the playoffs and it’ll become clear that our biggest strength was our depth. Ovechkin is overwhelming and Backstrom is brilliant, but the Caps didn’t need them for everything. We had lines that could score and defensive pairs that were able to keep the nerves at bay.

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Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Shattenkirk, and forwards Justin Williams and Marcus Johansson – All gone. Sure, we signed some guys back with LTDs; Oshie, Kuznetsov and Burakovsky, but is that enough? Will the drafted players make an impact? Will Brett Connolly and Devante Smith-Pelly and Lars Eller help? The Caps have always found a way to make it work. I often relate them to the New England patriots of the NFL. Constantly able to win, and doing so regardless of who leaves the team. The one glaring problem with my comparison is the LACK OF CHAMPIONSHIPS.

We still have holes to fill. Mainly an opening on the blue line. Stupid Las Vegas took Nate Schmidt. Then Alzner leaves for Montreal. Two staples of a blue line that allowed the fewest goals per game in the league last year. Recently signed veteran Jyrki Jokipakka (fantastic name) is on a tryout agreement. No risk, hopeful reward. Can’t complain. Still unproven and rough around the edges, Jokipakka is still a left handed-shot that scored 3 goals and 25 assists during his career. Yes, we have Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey, but competition is a good thing…

Continuity used to be our friend. Continuity is now gone. If only the Caps could’ve copied the Wizards offseason moves, or more realistically if only the NHL was as insane as the NBA. I don’t want to sound all doom and gloom. The Capitals still have a fantastic team, and hopefully the new faces bring a fire and energy and intensity to practice and to the team as a whole. John Carlson and Braden Holtby both feel the same way. Competition is the driving force behind production. The Caps, as successful as they’ve been have not been productive in producing championships.

Yes this offseason we saw a lot of big names vets leave. Everyone knew the cap was going to eventually shake this team up. As scary as it seems, this season will definitely be more interesting to watch. All in all the Caps will now have two defenseman, three new forwards and lots of competition when camp opens up in a few days. So here’s to hockey coming back, new names to learn and hopefully a team that surprises everyone and becomes a young yet talented force! #ROCKTHERED (Photo Credit: CSN Mid-Atlantic)

So….Do the Caps still have a shot?

The last time we covered the caps on DTC, we discussed their Off season moves, the draft and what pieces are still missing. A few more moves happened, yet the question remains….”So will we have another shot?” Being that this is a DC sports team, most fans fell into two categories after the Caps yet again shot blanks (pun intended) in the playoffs. Either you gave up all hope, said we need to blow up the entire team, Ovi is old and fire Trotz, or you were a hopeless fan who believed we’d figure it out and make the right moves this offseason.

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As discussed previously, the Capitals resigned Oshie to  monster 8yr/46mil deal. At first everyone was thrilled we retained the contributing and big time right winger. That was until everyone remembered he’s 30. Next the Caps resigned Orlov, younger and a defensemen we need, but essentially caused us to lose Shattenkirk. To the Rangers. 1 of the 3 heads in the Capitals playoffs nightmare.

How’s everyone feeling so far? The loyalists still loyal? The deflated still flat? Lets keep going shall we? With Shattenkirk gone, his blue line partner Alzner is also gone. Who went to Montreal (that would be head number 2 for those keeping track). Sadly, the worst news still hasn’t been mentioned. Trading away Johansson for draft picks. I understand the move, and MacLellan was justified in doing so in order to retain a high ceiling player in Center Kuznetsov.  Until you realize that he kept 36 year old Orpik, with a pretty big cap hit on the team. What was his reason? Orpik’s off-ice value. MacLellan and Bruce Allen probably talk about winning off the field/ice over drinks on the regular.

So do we still have a shot? Can the Capitals find a way to make it back into the playoffs? As a recap we are left with, over paid vets, an abundance of young talent and giving opposing teams some pretty serious weapons. The nucleus is still there. The off-ice veterans are there to help the young talent, and I believe in Trotz to make us competitive. Sadly though nobody will know if we suck or not until we make it to the playoffs.

D.T.C. Joins Heroes Media Group

We have been teasing this news for the better part of three weeks but today we make it official… Defeating the Curse (D.T.C.) has joined the Heroes Media Group (HMG) family!

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HMG is a podcast network and broadcasting platform dedicated to providing a voice for our community heroes and those support them. (Read more here.)

Considering how quickly everything came together we are still in a bit of shock ourselves but we are thrilled to get started and leverage our new partner to expand our audience base beyond D.C. and the east coast.

The full press release can be read here, but before we go back into the bunker to record we want to first thank our incredible fans for their continued support and reassure all of you that we are still, and will forever, be determined to Defeat the DC Sports Curse.

Find us on iTunes if you haven’t already and subscribe please! Listen on Podbean or at HMG! Engage with us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and if you like what you hear on the podcast and read on this site… share it! Time to hustle! We. Are. Out!

Offseason Review – Washington Capitals

It’s been an eventful two weeks for the Washington Capitals. If you’re like us here at DTC, you are just now getting over the sting of that upsetting loss. The Capitals appear to have moved on faster than us fans. Thankfully. Onwards and Forwards to next year. Critics claim the window is closing. They say our chance to hoist up the Stanley Cup is quickly fading. Try telling that to GM Brian MacLellan.

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First things first we have to discuss the resigning of T.J Oshie. The last two seasons were reason alone to offer up an 8yr/46mil contract. Thankfully the Capitals front office signed and secured him before he hit Free Agency. I’m sure another DC team wished they had done something similar….cough-Redskins-cough…Anyways, locking up Oshie right after losing Nate Schmidt was just what this fan base needed to see. Its evident that the front office is focused on keeping this team as competitors and fighting while we still can.

Speaking of Nate Schmidt, losing a defenseman is never easy. Especially when you think back to this year’s playoffs and how much help was needed. Currently we have 4 defensemen. Niskanen, Carlson, Orpik and Chorney. Orlov is also expected to resign, making the grand total 5. That leaves the Caps one defenseman short of three full pairs. A quality 7th is also a big need. If you don’t really know what any of that means, all you need to know is this — We need more defenseman on our damn team!

Enter the NHL draft. Once again, the Capitals front office is addressing needs and making fans everywhere take a deep breath. Within the span of 60 minutes, the Caps drafted 3 young defensemen. Tobias Geisser (4th round), Sebastian Walfridsson (5th round) and Benton Maass (6th round). The biggest pickup naturally being Geisser. Big frame, great 2-way defenseman, impressive mobility and owns a hard shot. Great for power plays. The only knock would be that he plays soft for how big his frame is. Hey, maybe he and Matt Jones can get together and discuss other similarities.

Without forgetting the final pick of the draft, the Caps drafted another winger. Kristian Roykas-Mathinsen from Norway. Good young player that shows plenty of offensive prowess. Overall the Caps have done enough to keep this fan satisfied. Now all that’s left is to figure out where Ovechkin disappears to during the playoffs.