Opening Night on Broadway
Welcome to the debut of the Capitals Insider Blog, coming to you live from the (supposedly) quiet car of a New York-bound Acela train.
My goal is to inform, entertain and provide you with details about the Capitals you won't find anywhere else. Stuff like lineups, injury updates, breaking news from practice, funny quotes from Washington's favorite Russian, Alex Ovechkin, and other tidbits scribbled in my reporter's notebook that I hope you'll find interesting.
We're less than six hours from the Caps' season opener against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. I don't know about you, but I'm full of nervous anticipation.
First, a bit about the Garden for those who have never been. It's ridiculously loud. It's always sold out. And I'm not so sure that's good for the Rangers, because the atmosphere seems to bring out the best in opposing players--so look for the Caps to be amped.
It's my favorite building for all of those reasons, but also because the press box is only a few feet off the ice, instead of a few feet from the ceiling. I'm so close, in fact, I can hear Olie Kolzig screaming at his defensemen after the Rangers score a goal.
Here's what you need to know:
1) Coach Glen Hanlon will apparently tweak his top forward line, after maintaining throughout camp he would probably stick with the Ovechkin-Dainius Zubrus-Chris Clark line that totaled 95 goals a year ago.
Tonight, it's going to be Ovechkin-Zubrus-Richard Zednik. More skill, less snarl. But is it going to work?
Clark, meantime, will skate on the second line next to Kris Beech and Alex Semin.
2) Hanlon also plans to dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen, instead of the traditional 12 and six. The thought behind this is to get Ovechkin, Semin and Zednik more ice time by double shifting them. (Ovechkin, however, figures to get the majority of the extra ice time.) The Stanley Cup champ Carolina Hurricanes employed this strategy last season, with Rod Brind'Amour often staying out for an additional shift. It worked for them, so why not?
3) Newly acquired enforcer Donald Brashear spent a lot of time in the penalty box during the preseason, but not for the reason the Capitals got him. Who is he going to beat up first? I bet we find out tonight.
That's all for now.
October 5, 2006; 1:30 PM ET
Save & Share: Next: A kinder, gentler Olie Kolzig? Yeah, right.
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