Caps Talk About Being Vegas's Darlings
The Wizards have a two-word motto for this season, with t-shirts to match: "Our Time." The Capitals, on the other hand, went with a three-word motto for this season, with t-shirts to match: "It's Our Time."
That's kind of weird. Someone in D.C. likes the Goonies too much. Awaiting the Mister Irrelevant photoshop.
(So does Mike Knuble; in a recent appearance with the Junkies, he recommended prospective bettors stick with Washington, Philadelphia and San Jose to win it all. No Pittsburgh, you'll note. "Yeah, I think they're gonna run out a little bit," he said of the Pens. "They've had too much success. Time to spread it out.")
Obviously, D.C. players have already been saying for weeks that it's Stanley Cup or Bust, but there's got to be more pressure once the fellas with the calculators and the knee-sledgehammers agree. So I asked several players about their role as Vegas darlings.
"It's fun to play the underdog role, but if you want to be a great team, you've got to get to the point where your organization's expected to win, and still deliver," Brian Pothier said. "I think it's Boston, Philly, Washington, I think all those teams are right there. There's gonna be some good battles. It all depends on who plays better. On paper, we all look great. It's a matter of who's gonna get it done."
"I don't know how to answer that question," Mike Green said. "I think they bet on the right guys; I'm a part of the team, so I'm gonna say that."
"We're not a cocky bunch, but we have a quiet confidence about our team," Brooks Laich said. "We believe in our ability, we believe in our head coach and our management. I think we have fantastic players. I think we put a great product on the ice, and I think when we play our game, we're as dangerous as any team. So hopefully [the bookies are] right."
"Has that much changed from last year? I don't think so," said Knuble, also agreeing with the forecast. "I think everybody's gotten a little bit older, a little bit wiser, little smarter, stronger, a little more mature mentally and physically. Two subtractions and two more addition, and I guess if people feel those additions cancel out the subtractions or even better, then I guess we're a better team. All things being equal, the group probably has more belief in themselves this year at this point than at this point last year. It's a good situation to be in. I know I looked at that as a big factor. That's one of the things in the summer you weigh when you're trying to decide where you're going to play, if the group's got a legitimate chance."
"I think we're one of the top five or six teams in the NHL, and then there's everyone else, but that's no guarantee at all," Ted Leonsis said. "To me, we have to make the playoffs, and we need to be healthy. We have not been healthy in a playoffs, and that's my goal. I don't know how to achieve it, how to put them in bubble wrap or something, but if we could get into the playoffs healthy, then we could see what we can do. And I do think we're at that point where we can say four teams in the East, three teams or so in the West, you'd say we're all the same team, we all can win. But a lot of times it's someone who gets hot at the right time."
"I don't like thinking about those things," said Matt Bradley, the only player I spoke with who was uncomfortable with the topic. "I mean, that's good to hear, but everyone's talking about all these things, and yeah, our goal is to win the Stanley Cup, but there's a million things that you have to do before that, before you can even start thinking about that, right? Our first goal, obviously real short-term, is Thursday night....That's why the thing about Vegas, yeah, that's obviously a compliment to us that people think we're going in the right direction. But you can't start thinking about that, because there's so much work you have to do."
Posted by: mopp04 | October 2, 2009 8:23 AM | Report abuse
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