Thursday, September 13, 2007

Caps On Their Way

Okay, I'm pumped.

I've spent the majority of the last week camped out at the Caps' flashy new practice rink, watching the rookies skate and then seeing more and more of the regular players showing up for informal practices of their own. Every day I get a little more excited for the season to just get going already, but never more excited than I am today after seeing and talking to some of the guys about the upcoming year.

Boyd Gordon looking snazzy in his new red gear
Said our beloved captain, Chris Clark, "I've never been more excited for an opening game than I am this year." He said it with such enthusiasm, such genuine excitement, that you couldn't help but believe it, and his attitude was pretty contagious. Everywhere you looked guys were smiling and laughing, even as they trudged through what must be incredibly mundane tasks like talking to the media and taking those trusty "yearbook" pictures.

Ah, the thrill and glamour of being an athlete...

Olie Kolzig, venerable goalie and longtime face of the Caps, looked positively spry at 37. "I'm a vintage car," he joked, smiling and laughing with the assorted members of the media (and a few lucky bloggers).

Olie and Mike Green taking a break from filming a TV spot for FSN

But the message is clear - playoffs are no longer just a hope, they are the expectation, and I got the sense from all of them that anything less would be a huge disappointment. "Our goal ultimately is to bring a championship to Washington," Olie said.

Added Clark, "[Ownership and management] put a lot of effort and a lot of money into the team this year and I think it’s our turn to step up and show that we’re a playoff team. We have the resources, we have [Kettler], everything we need to get there and it’s up to us. On paper right now we should be a playoff team. We just have to get there."

For us Caps fans, hearing something like that is a breath of fresh air. It's been a rough few years here in DC...actually, it's been a rough few decades. The team has gone from perpetual first or second round elimination to missing the playoffs and everything in between, but you always got the sense that they were just one or two key components away from being that quintessential championship team. This year it's starting to feel like something could actually happen, like the rebuild may eventually pay off.

After struggling through some rough times and hoping for better days, I can't put it better than Kolzig himself - "these are the better days."

Oh, and Ovechkin? Well, he came to camp looking a little scruffy, to which Olie said he needs a haircut. Ovie's response: "It's my style. Gangster style." Naturally.

Ovie talking to Assistant Coach Jay Leach

Judge for yourself:


5 comments:

Jordi said...

Wow Ovie, that's some rocking hair.

Glad to hear that the Caps are very hopeful. Not to mention that I'm still jealous :)

CapsChick said...

It...looks...awesome. He's so scruffy and cute up close :)

Elly said...

Hmm....difficult to tell.

I'll have to wait till tomorrow for my final judgement. ;)

Britannia said...

Trying...so...hard...to....care....about....Caps.....

Britannia said...

Also, I see your Ovechkin, and raise you an Armstrong with a mohawk.