Originally written September 20, 2012 on Blog So Hard Sports:
Lockouts are never fun, especially when you are bringing in a new coach and new young talent to your roster. Not only do the teams suffer, but the true fans of the sport do as well. The Washington Capitals have overhauled their roster with fresh new faces to add to the mix, but with the lockout at a standstill, it doesn’t look like either sides of the table are going to budge. To me, this possibly affects our Washington Capitals the worst. Looking to go back to the style of play that made the Washington Capitals the hot ticket in town — with their speed and dynamic offensive puck control — but not being able to put in the work in the preseason will put a damper on they are trying to do as a team (just ask the Redskins). The NHL has gone through this before, with a lockout in the 2004-2005 seasons that saw its superstars disburse to other teams around the world. And with this current lockout, it’s going to be more of the same, with goaltender Michael Neuvrith signing with Sparta Praha of the Czech League and Alex Ovechkin signing to play back in Russia for Dynamo Moscow (KHL) and more probably to come. The Caps are going to struggle putting the pieces in place whenever the season starts back. You might say “it’s just two pieces of the puzzle, it’s not like Alex is going to stay in Russia!” and you’re probably right. More than likely he won’t pull a “Semin” and stay in Russia and then leave for Russia again in the middle of a season, but you want your Captain around no matter what. Alex has said that he really doesn’t want to go play in Russia because his contract is with the NHL, but when you want to play as bad as he does you’re going to do whatever it takes to get on the ice and play, and for Alex that means going back to his native land. Caps new Centre man Mike Ribeiro has came out and said “Owners want us to fix the mistakes they made” , coming from a man that went through it once back in 2004. “Last time, Fans were on the players: ‘oh you guys are making so much money’,well…they gave it to me.” Handing out these large contract like the NHL and the owners have in the past years are coming back to haunt them again. The Caps have a lot of new talent that needs to gel, sure there are OTA’s and practices but you want to put your players in real time situations and the Caps can’t do that as of yet. This puts another black eye on the league and for hockey fans it STINKS. It looks like the AHL is going to have fun with some new toys as they can reap the benefits of having the pro teams designate players to the minor clubs if they wish to do so. Problem solved? No not at all. Sure you can send these guys down to play and keep they’re legs under them, but the AHL is NOT the NHL by any means. The competition is not even comparable, and most of the AHL is not televised and you would have to look online for updates. I want to be able to see guys like Mike Ribeiro and the Great 8 on the ice for this upcoming season, but it looks like we have to settle for wishing and hoping that this lockout ends quick and swiftly because two lockouts in back-to-back years of my favorite sports is not what I call a fun time at all.
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