Puck Daddy is one of the best NHL blogs that resides on the small section of the Internet that isn't part of the SB Nation network. So when they mention your club among the top story lines of the upcoming season, it really means you've hit the big time.
Well Puck just came out with a new 11 Burning Questions article where Sean Leahy lists the things that he believes will define the NHL season. The Capitals appear not once, but thrice, meaning they make up just over 27 percent of the reason you should be watching the NHL this year. Those reasons after the jump.
First is some speculation on who might be playing in the Stanley Cup, based on a pattern of teams playing in various showcase games reaching that destination before. Using that formula, he predicts the Caps will lose in the Finals. He doesn't say if he believes that prediction, he just follows a pattern. Speculation really, take it with a grain of salt.
Secondly, and I can guarantee this is something you've heard before, is how the club will respond to the playoff collapse last year.
They've dominated the Southeast Division three years in a row and look to add a fourth straight division title to their mantle this year. High expectations now lay on the shoulders of the team; and after last year's disappointing playoff exit it really is a "Stanley Cup or bust" year.
Unfortunately, we kind of have to wait until June to learn the answer to that one. So I guess the players will have to just play the rest of the season with that pressure resting on their shoulders. Hope they've been lifting.
Finally, he wonders what the ratings are going to be for the Winter Classic. This is already a big story, and it will only get bigger when the 24/7 show starts on HBO. Remember how much we talked about the Jets during Hard Knocks? It's gonna be like that but with Alexander Semin. Awesome.
Even before the NHL and HBO announced the "24/7" show, the game would attract the casual and non-hockey fans because of its uniqueness and, especially this year, star power. Now that there will be a four-week cable show bringing viewers inside the lives of the players on and off the ice, the buzz will be off the charts in late December. Who knows how huge the ratings will be for the Dec. 23 matchup between the two?
The Capitals expect to figure prominently in a lot of the events that will eventually define the NHL season. Hopefully, while they have the spotlight on them, they can win and play good hockey.