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Follower of Yzlam 07-07-2011 12:55 AM

2011-12 Regular Season
 
Lightning fan here coming in peace. I know we are starting to develop a bit of a rivalry, but I'd like to think it's one built from mutual respect rather than mutual hatred (at least now... a few more playoff series, and then we'll see). Anyway, I was just curious as to how you guys see next season shaping up? Will you be the Southeast champs again, or do you see it being a dogfight? How confident are you in playing the Bolts after the playoff performance? Is it the type of situation where you really want another crack at them or is it a "Hope we don't have to play them this year" mentality?

I guess I'm partly pondering the mentality of the team that has been top dog for so long, that all of a sudden has to face a challenger who has a team that is built in a similar way (tons of top tier talent, with few serious question marks). Anyway, looking forward to another great season!

HTFN 07-07-2011 01:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LightningNoodles (Post 34758175)
Lightning fan here coming in peace. I know we are starting to develop a bit of a rivalry, but I'd like to think it's one built from mutual respect rather than mutual hatred (at least now... a few more playoff series, and then we'll see). Anyway, I was just curious as to how you guys see next season shaping up? Will you be the Southeast champs again, or do you see it being a dogfight? How confident are you in playing the Bolts after the playoff performance? Is it the type of situation where you really want another crack at them or is it a "Hope we don't have to play them this year" mentality?

I guess I'm partly pondering the mentality of the team that has been top dog for so long, that all of a sudden has to face a challenger who has a team that is built in a similar way (tons of top tier talent, with few serious question marks). Anyway, looking forward to another great season!

The team experienced the same challenger last year, as well as far more adversity than I'd expect from this year, and still managed to win the division. I don't see Tampa within 10-15 points of Washington by the end of the season, but that's not to say that the teams may not flip flop for a bit.

This team looks a lot more level and balanced than last year's model. It's tougher head to toe, and Brouwer is a much needed hitting presence. Ward brings more to the team than I think we'll appreciate until the season starts, but from the account in Nashville, getting a guy who wins most of his board battles will be something Washington missed last year, with Backstrom out of form and the grinders hit and miss.

Basically, if even two of last year's slumping stars return to form, the team could beat last year's team in a 7 game series, probably with relative ease. If Backstrom is one of the two, I think the Capitals challenge for the Presidents' Trophy once more.

mrwarden 07-07-2011 02:53 AM

Next year won't be as close.

Atlas 07-07-2011 03:01 AM

I think Tampa Bay will again be a much better team than the Caps. The regular season doesn't mean diddly. TB swept Washington in the playoffs and barely broke a sweat. Vokoun will help. But the Caps are paper mâché up the middle. And Yzerman will make your team better. I expect TB to win another Cup or two in the next 5 years. They are the class of the SE.

mrwarden 07-07-2011 03:41 AM

Irony is someone who claims anything less than a cup is failure praising a team who didn't win the cup.

Follower of Yzlam 07-07-2011 03:48 AM

Honestly curious... how can the two of you say that the Caps are a lock for the SE? The simple fact of the matter is, when it counted, you all were done in four. I guess part of your issue last year was depth (our bottom six played a much better game than your bottom six), but, other than Vokoun, you haven't really addressed any major pieces. Don't get me wrong, I feel that you all are on the short list for first in the East this year (top four teams I feel are really tight), but it's not like goaltending was your biggest hole.

Now, I get the Cup or bust talk, and for a team like the Caps, with so many trips to the playoffs in the past couple of years, any attitude other than that is blasphemy. I know you all must hate the comparison, but the Caps strike me as similar to San Jose, with the Lightning being similar to LA... Maybe this is the homer in me, but I honestly feel that the Caps reign in the SE will end this year (even though I would argue that it kind of did with the sweep last year, at least from a mental perspective).

mrwarden 07-07-2011 03:52 AM

Unless you think Roloson stands on his head at 43 or whatever, you're worse next year. We're better next year.

Playoffs are a whole different story, but not relevant to your question.

Follower of Yzlam 07-07-2011 03:56 AM

From the beginning of the season we had the killer combo of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis... Rollie is up there in years, but not in miles on his tires (took him a long time to break into the league), plus the guy is known to have a sick work out routine. Vokoun isn't a spring chicken himself.

Anyway, I suppose the question is academic. Just hate these long months between seasons. Still, I have to say, after the past few years, how seemingly overconfident the Caps are as to their prospects. Don't forget that the Lightning lost about 80 man games on their top two lines last year (our depth stayed relatively healthy), and the first four months of the season we had the worst save % in the NHL (both Smith and Ellis were sub .900% goalies), and we were without Brewer until close to the deadline. Considering you won the division by four points, those moves, which are in place as of the beginning of the season this year, could easily make up for that difference.

mrwarden 07-07-2011 04:00 AM

Feel free to check out the prediction thread in the NHL talk forum where I don't think anyone in literally hundreds of posts has the Caps anywhere but first in the division. Could it happen? Sure. But there's no reason to think it will.

HTFN 07-07-2011 04:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LightningNoodles (Post 34761257)
From the beginning of the season we had the killer combo of Mike Smith and Dan Ellis... Rollie is up there in years, but not in miles on his tires (took him a long time to break into the league), plus the guy is known to have a sick work out routine. Vokoun isn't a spring chicken himself.

Anyway, I suppose the question is academic. Just hate these long months between seasons. Still, I have to say, after the past few years, how seemingly overconfident the Caps are as to their prospects. Don't forget that the Lightning lost about 80 man games on their top two lines last year (our depth stayed relatively healthy), and the first four months of the season we had the worst save % in the NHL (both Smith and Ellis were sub .900% goalies), and we were without Brewer until close to the deadline. Considering you won the division by four points, those moves, which are in place as of the beginning of the season this year, could easily make up for that difference.

Conveniently forgetting about a concussed Green (twice), injured Semin, rolling rookie Johansson and Mathieu Perreault at 2C for most of the year, Fleischmann for the first two months or so, Varlamov going down again, off (and injured) years for Ovechkin and Backstrom as well, and the team still stormed back from a point where some were wondering if they would even finish in the top 8. They came back without a healthy 1C, relied more on rookie Johansson, and took the 1st seed once more.

I don't see how Alzner and Carlson won't get better (and that should worry you, considering the job Alzner did on MSL last year).

We know about the playoffs, but they're a different animal, and if the metaphor holds, we've got some better hunters. The best performances the Lightning cobbled together in the regular season against the Capitals had a lot to do with Washington's effort level and physicality, and there's no way Brouwer and Ward don't help that either. Some more puck movement on the left side in Hamrlik, and a full year of Dennis Wideman won't hurt either. Really I don't know how you can say the team didn't address needs, when it got more talent and grit in the bottom 6, another veteran center to, again, play in the bottom 6, and some puck movement from the LD position. The only position that hasn't been noticeably filled is the 2C slot, and I'm not seeing any reason to believe that Johansson won't step in with more comfort and confidence.

Caps goaltending was solid last year, and yeah, it doesn't improve as much, statistically, as a full year of Roloson does for Tampa, but the difference is that Neuvirth can be relied on for 30+ games this year, and he's already starter material. Vokoun is just gravy.

Oh, and yeah, again, they did all of that with sub-par performances from some pretty proven producers, leaving no reason (again) to believe that at least two of them won't get back into form, likely Ovechkin and Backstrom. Green improved tremendously last year before going down, so that's going to be interesting to watch, but if he just comes back healthy it'll be a boon to a team that missed him.

That's why.

txpd 07-07-2011 08:17 AM

noods, welcome. i understand that you are bolts fans. realize that you are asking caps
fans what they think. this team finished first in the conference last season while turning its style of play inside out and starting from scratch.

they did that with two rookie centers til the trade deadline and 1 rookie center after, two rookie defense as their shutdown defense pair and 3 rookie goalies. they did that with their best two offensive players having very off seasons.

so, you tell me. does it seem likely that the caps are going to regress this season? seems to me far more likely that the team takes a big step forward. if backstrom and ovechkin even come close to approaching their career averages(not career best) and the rookies as a group improve as young players do as a rule, they are going to be better. thats without considering any of the incoming new players.

tampa bay beat the caps in the playoffs. beating them in the regular season over an 82 game haul is a completely different story. one team has beaten the caps in the regular season over the past three seasons. that would indicate that in order to beat the caps in the regular season, you must think the tampa bay is very likely the best team in the conference.

as a lightning fan, i can see how you would feel that way, but you are asking a lot for caps fans to believe that as well.

NobodyBeatsTheWiz 07-07-2011 08:24 AM

So you were basically posting here looking for praise of your Lightning? Ha, good luck with that.

strungout 07-07-2011 09:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NobodyBeatsTheWiz (Post 34763341)
So you were basically posting here looking for praise of your Lightning? Ha, good luck with that.

I know right.

Millhaus 07-07-2011 09:52 AM

Anyone can miss the playoffs 3 years in a row and then have a nice season. Let's see Tampa build on that...

Langway 07-07-2011 10:04 AM

Cool story, bro.

IafrateOvie34 07-07-2011 01:35 PM

I'm going with TB missing the playoffs or an 8th seed at best. Roloson is a competitor, but sooner or later he is going to wear down. I expect Yzerman to make a trade mid season. I believe the longer the Stamkos situation goes on it will effect the Lightning. This past year's Lightning reminded me of the 2009 Hurricanes. This is my opinion, no disrespect to TB fans. I think TB is building a good core. Toronto and Carolina are going to be better this year and I expect the NYI to be a really tough team competing for the 8th seed too.

Mothra 07-07-2011 01:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LightningNoodles (Post 34761193)
Honestly curious... how can the two of you say that the Caps are a lock for the SE? The simple fact of the matter is, when it counted, you all were done in four.


ok, now that you got that out of your system your reason for being here should now be complete......you are welcome to leave

where do you expect this to go? when someone thinks the Caps are better just break out your 2011 broom

txpd 07-07-2011 01:56 PM

a playoff series and an 82 game season are two different things entirely. canadiens made the ecf in 2010. that did not signal that they were a conference elite.

i think if our friend from richmond had asked who we thought would win a playoff rematch in the 2012 sc playoffs, he might have gotten a different answer.

BrooklynCapsFan 07-07-2011 02:06 PM

How's the Stankos extension coming?

Jedgi 07-07-2011 02:12 PM

Caps will win the southeast division, I would put lots of money on it. Now if you asked me if the Caps would beat Tampa in a playoffs series next year, I would be much less sure.

tmljeh19 07-07-2011 02:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrooklynCapsFan (Post 34774989)
How's the Stankos extension coming?

Exactly. The two comparisons of the teams are night and day. TB has the looming Stamkos extension hanging over their head. The longer it goes the bigger of a distraction it becomes.

On our front, our bottom 6 was non existent in the playoffs, our D was ailing and we were weak down the middle. Couple that with the down season from Ovi, Backs and Semin and you are looking at an underperforming team.

This offseason we completely overhauled the bottom 6. We are now much much stronger on the bottom. Our G play was not a big weakness just inexperienced. We added a bonus in Vokoun. Added a puck moving D man and shipped out an oft injured G for a hell of a recoup.

The main weakness we still have is the need for a legit 2C. Considering there is a lot of summer left, two first round picks available and 4-5 players that can be moved, there is plenty of time yet to fill that weakness.

Ovechkins Wodka 07-07-2011 02:37 PM

1st in east. maybe presidents
win the SE by 10+ points
Lose early in the playoff - prolly a heartbreaker to a team like the panthers

same old same old

txpd 07-07-2011 02:42 PM

just to be fair, offseason distractions have no effect on the win/loss record. the only way this stamkos thing becomes a distraction is if he ends up holding out. then...maybe so.

now? no.

that said, its interesting the when ovechkin and backstrom hit the place where stamkos is, the caps ownership and management got the deal done well before free agent time. how has yzerman and the bolts ownership gotten themselves in this mess?

Follower of Yzlam 07-07-2011 04:07 PM

I probably came off as a bit more combative than intended, and for that I apologize. I have the 2011 broom to pull out when I need to, but that honestly wasn't the intention here. I came in curious as to what you thought your prospects were, and I definitely got that answer. Moreover, I agree that, on paper, once again you all look like the favorites to win the SE, and maybe the East/President's. I do honestly think that it's going to be closer than many of you expect, with the Lightning having a solid chance to win the division, but that's natural from being a Lightning fan.

Plus, let's face it, you guys have some studs on your team that I really like. Not a huge fan of your big guys (Ovi, Semin, Green, Backstrom), but Alzner and Carlson are really great players that will be top pairing blue liners for awhile (assuming you re-sign Alzner ;)). Anyway, we'll settle this on the ice next season. Happy hunting!

IafrateOvie34 07-07-2011 04:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ovechkins Wodka (Post 34776539)
1st in east. maybe presidents
win the SE by 10+ points
Lose early in the playoff - prolly a heartbreaker to a team like the panthers

same old same old

Funny you should say that because Florida is who I pick to be 8th seed this year. Don't ask me why in detail, but I like their signings and infusion of rookies that should play. Every year there seems to be a team that comes out and surprises everyone. As for our standings and playoffs, I won't comment yet. I'm sure most will have us the #1 seed and some will have as cup favorites, but I am not going to make those predictions until training camp. I do like our player moves and off season a lot.


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