Hockey is back, so our Caps correspondent Brad Parker is too. Welcome.
As Caps fans know, the offseason after a crushing playoff loss seems excruciatingly long. But this offseason actually has been that long. Now that the lockout is over, we have a 48-game sprint to the playoffs. Here’s what you need to know to start the short season in midseason form.
1. The Things You Knew, But Forgot
— GMGM hired Adam Oates to coach the Caps, which means he has never been a head coach anywhere, ever, just like Dale Hunter, Bruce Boudreau, Glen Hanlon and Bruce Cassidy before him. (Seriously, remember when Bruce Cassidy was our coach?) Oates will implement an offensive style of play Ovi and the boys will love, but is one week of camp enough to get acclimated?
— We finally have that 2C we’ve needed for years in Mike Ribiero, who the Caps signed from Dallas.
— Ain’t it just like a friend of mine to hit me from behind, yes I’m goin’ to Carolina in my mind. Caps fans have complained about him for years, now Alex Semin is off to the Hurricanes where he’ll disappear for weeks at a time and then come to Verizon and score four goals in a game.
— Yeah, Knuble’s gone too.
2. Ovi Got Engaged
On New Year’s Eve he announced via Twitter that “his queen” Maria Kirilenko is now his fiancee. Kirilenko is famous in her own right for being the hot pro tennis player who was dating Alex Ovechkin. The tweet was a simple: “We are engaged !!!!!!! ))))))))” without a single “HA.” Congrats you crazy kids. Let’s just hope that they didn’t have too much fun being young, Russian, and in love while actually living in Russia.
3. Backstrom Might Be the Next RGIII, Strasburg or Wall
Last year Nicklas Backstrom took a vicious elbow (never forget Rene Borque) and missed roughly half the season. During the lockout he joined Ovechkin on the Moscow Dynamo roster … for a while. Nicky hasn’t played since taking another brutal hit the day after Christmas (see above).
Word from Russia is that he suffered a neck bruise, but there have also been reports that he’s suffering from dizziness. GMGM won’t comment until the CBA is officially ratified and Backy can be examined by team doctors. Any time missed for a concussion would be amplified in a 48-game season. Could be nothing, could be another example of Chris Mottram’s DC sports fan mantra, “We can’t have nice things.”
4. Mike Green, The Sexiest Hockey Player Alive
Cosmopolitan just revealed its list of the Hottest Players in the NHL and for the second straight year, the first person named is Mike Green. They don’t technically rank them, but we all know that means he’s the super-dreamiest. Time to break the pickle and hop in the shagwagon.
5. John Carlson’s Hair
Apparently John Carlson locked out his barber some time last summer. Look at the locks! I hope he isn’t planning on getting it cut now that hockey’s back, because I’m assuming he has some sort of Samson thing working.
DROP THE PUCK!