Just got off a conference call with former NHL players and Versus analysts Eddie Olczk and Keith Jones, where I asked them about the Capitals and their chances this season.
Here are some highlights from the call.
From Olczyk, on the Mike Knuble signing: “I really, really like the pickup of Mike Knuble. When you have a guy who plays as hard as he does, goes to those traffic areas…I think that’s an area that the Washington Capitals can really improve on and get into those areas.”
Olczyk on the Capitals gaining experience last year: “The only way you get it is to go through it, and last year they got it. They had a wonderful opportunity in Game 7 at home and weren’t able to get over the hump, but I think they learned a lot about that.”
Olczyck on goaltending: “The question for me is will they be able to get that goaltending at the end of the year. We’ve seen teams win with average goaltending, but I think those teams have to be really, really good in a lot of areas. The Capitals have to improve defensively in their own zone…..is it going to be Theodore, is it going to be Varlamov?
Keith Jones on Knuble: “The Capitals power play was very good last year and the addition of Knuble is only going to make them better….their top line is going to be simply outstanding with Ovechkin and Backstrom and now Knuble. He will be a real steady influence, a real quiet guy who leads by example in how he plays the game. I think the Capitals are going to score a lot of goals. It will be whether they can keep it out of their own net, but any opposing team is not going to want to take penalties against the Capitals.”
Keith Jones on Varlamov: “I was there when Jim Carrey was there too and he won the Vezna and then he played in like 72 more games in the NHL before he was gone. Young goaltenders take time and I would say I would want to see him play a full regular season and ultimately prove himself to be that number one goaltender. But I think he showed a lot. He showed himself to be extremely athletic. I thought he tailed off a little bit in the second round of the playoffs, but I do think there’s a lot of upside potential there. I just think it’s a lot of pressure to put on a young guy who five years from now will be a superstar or we won’t hear from him again.”