The Washington Times - October 7, 2011, 12:33AM

No Capitals season preview would be complete without checking in with a few of NBC Sports’ analysts – namely Eddie Olczyk, Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury.

Those three, along with play-by-play man Doc Emrick, did a conference call this week to preview the NHL season. When asked about the Caps, the common theme seemed to be that the pressure is on.


“You can not be getting knocked out in the playoffs year after year, after year on home ice. I think the bull’s-eye is squarely on the back of Bruce Boudreau, the coach,” McGuire said. “And if he can’t get them to at least the Eastern Conference final then I think there’s going to be problems going forward for him.”

George McPhee addressed that kind of outside talk in an interview with The Washington Times earlier in the week. But given the additions McPhee made and the talent he’s put together, the expectations go far beyond Boudreau – and land on some highly paid players.

“It’s time for Alex Ovechkin, one of the great players in the game and one of the great hard workers in the game to work with the intelligence that’s necessary to be effective,” Milbury said. “They put in all these other pieces in place. It’s time to go in the right direction. But at its core, a player like Ovechkin and a sidekick, [Alexander] Semin, have to play with a passion but with intelligence within the system.

“And I think that’s easier to do for Ovechkin than Semin to get his compete level up on every single night. But those two guys have got to bring it to the party if they want to win a ring.”

Olczyk had the most interesting thoughts on the upcoming season. He doesn’t think the acquisition of Tomas Vokoun was better than going with the kids – Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby.

“I think at the end of the day when push comes to shove for the Washington Capitals, I think it will be one of the two Neuvirth or Holtby not Tomas Vokoun that will help the Washington Capitals finally take the next step and be in the Eastern Conference finals,” he said.

Click here to check out the PDF version of The Washington Times’ 2011-12 Capitals season preview.