Friday, October 8, 2010

New Season Game Day: Capitals

Yes, those are capitOls and we're playing the CapitAls. But it was an excuse to show Florida's horribly phallic capitol building.

After a very forgettable preseason, the Thrashers finally open the 2010-2011 season tonight at Philips Arena against the reigning President's Trophy winners. The Caps haven't made many changes from the roster that was far and away the best in the NHL during the regular season. Jose Theodore is gone and Varlamov now holds the title of number one goaltender.

Atlanta went 0-6 against Washington last year, but this is a very different team from the one that took the ice and gave up Alex Ovechkin's 50th goal last April. Gone from that lineup are Popovic, Armstrong, MacArthur, Reasoner, Afinogenov, Artuykin, and Kulda (in the AHL). Newcomers filling those spots are Ladd, Eager, Byfuglien, Sopel, Burmistrov, Stewart, Modin, and Dawes. That's six additional Stanley Cup rings.

Vivlamore revealed the likely lines for tonight's matchup. They don't pose a huge scoring threat at this point, but not many expect them to remain this way for very long. Antropov is still not at 100%, so he's playing on a line with Nigel Dawes and Freddy Modin. Burmistrov is breaking into the NHL slowly with fourth line minutes centering Eager and Thorburn.

We'll find out in a matter of hours whether the combinations of Kane, Peverly, and Stewart and Ladd, Little, and Bergfors can light the lamp and if Ondrej the Giant can deny Ovechkin a big opening night.

Game on.