General manager George McPhee believes the Washington Capitals have enough talent on the ice to contend for a Stanley Cup.
His biggest concern heading into Saturday night's opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning is that his team will have had only six practices and a scrimmage to learn new coach Adam Oates' system.
With a lineup that includes two-time Hart Trophy winner Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals have been Stanley Cup contenders for a while now, but they've yet to claim the title that once felt so inevitable. They went 42-32-8 last season to finish second in the Southeast Division, ending a four-year run as division champs.
"We have a real solid team," McPhee said. "We're in good shape. We have a complete team."
What the Capitals do not have is time on their side, as players are going to have to learn Oates' system on the fly.
"It's very tough," Oates said. "Communication's vital. There's going to be mistakes. ...