Last year, Washington’s camp was relatively mellow. More than a few veterans did not play the best hockey they could have, because they were virtually guaranteed roster spots no matter how hard they played. Notable exceptions to this were Jeff Halpern, Ulf Dahlen, and Steve Konowalchuk. The overall lack of fire continued into the regular season, and the Caps went 3-8-6-1 in their first 18 games.
Fortunately for Washington and their fans, the Caps eventually won the Southeast Division in spite of the poor start. However, it is certainly in Washington’s best interests not to have that kind of a start again.
Last year, the Capitals had some things working against them that should not be a problem this year. Multiple holdouts hindered the progress of the team – neither Sergei Gonchar nor Chris Simon attended camp. Brendan Witt was still upset about his arbitration hearing, and Peter Bondra had requested a trade.
This year, Jeff Halpern and Glen Metropolit have not been signed yet, but are expected to sign before camp starts. Halpern attended Washington’s rookie camp even though he doesn’t have a contract, and it’s certainly a possibility that he would attend Washington’s main camp without one as well. His leadership has been exemplary over the last couple of years and it would certainly not hurt his chances to become a future captain. Adam Oates, the current captain, has requested a trade. It’s not known whether he will show up at camp or not.
While Halpern’s contract and Oates’s discontent are certainly of paramount i Read more»