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NHL

Washington Capitals

Division: SoutheastGM: George McPheeHead Coach: Adam Oates
2011-12: 42-32-8 (7th in East)
Goals For218 (14th)
Goals Against226 (21st)
Powerplay %16.7 (18th)
Penalty Kill %81.6 (21st)

Last Season

The turmoil of the 2011-12 season left more than a couple casualties in Washington.

Bruce Boudreau was out of work for exactly two days after the team let him go in November only to be replaced by Dale Hunter. However, Hunter, a long-time Capital himself, wouldn't sign on for any extra time after the end of the season.

They named Adam Oates as their new head coach on June 26, the same day he was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Meanwhile, the Capitals shuffled the deck offensively. Alexander Semin's tumultuous career in D.C. ended when he signed with the Hurricanes, but the team engineered a draft-day deal to bring in playmaking centre Mike Ribeiro. Meanwhile, Tomas Vokoun's brief D.C. tenure ended when his negotiating rights were traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

WHO'S IN / WHO'S OUT
Additions: RW Joey Crabb, C Zach Hamill, D Jordan Henry, D Jack Hillen, C Mike Ribeiro, C Ryan Stoa, LW Wojtek Wolski
Subtractions: C Keith Aucoin, LW Chris Bourque, C Cody Eakin, C Jeff Halpern, RW Joel Rechlicz, RW Alex Semin, G Tomas Vokoun, D Dennis Wideman


Season Outlook

Prospect Watch

Anyone who had been waiting on Russian phenom Evgeny Kuznetsov can just keep on waiting after he signed a two-year deal with Chelyabinsk in the KHL this off-season. He's produced at about a point-per-game pace in arguably the most competitive active league in the world so far this season, but he may still be a way's off from helping the Caps if he stays at home.

The team also dealt away Cody Eakin as part of the package that landed them Ribeiro.

The team did bolster its ranks on draft day, nabbing two top-flight forwards in Filip Forsberg (taken 11th overall with a pick they acquired from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for Semyon Varlamov) and big-bodied Tom Wilson (16th overall).

The Upside

Is the sideshow finally done? Some said Boudreau's style both on the bench and off the ice clashed with the superstar-laden Caps over the past couple years and the team's response to Dale Hunter still wasn't enough to propel them to the top of the division. Boudreau's gone, as is Semin, so maybe the team can get back to focusing on playing better hockey.

The Downside

Alexander Ovechkin averaged 53.8 goals in his first five NHL seasons but has averaged just 35 over his last two. Is Ovi just focusing more on the rest of his game (defence? physicality?) or has the rest of the league figured him out? It's tough to believe Ovechkin will ever truly drop off in production and 30-plus goals is excellent output for just about everyone else in the league, but the Caps could use a 40-plus output from their captain, especially with Semin gone.

Keeping Busy

A look at where Capitals players went during the lockout:

Jason Chimera (HC Chomutov, Czech League), Braden Holtby (Hershey, AHL), Marcus Johansson (BIK Karlskoga, Swedish Elite), Brooks Laich (Kloten, Swiss Elite), Michal Neuvirth (Sparta Praha, Czech League), Dmitry Orlov (Hershey, AHL), Alex Ovechkin (Dynamo Moscow, KHL), Wojtek Wolski (KH Sanok, Polish League)

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Western Conference

(1) COL 1, (WC) MIN 0 (1) ANA 1, (WC) DAL 0
(2) STL 1, (3) CHI 0 (2) SJ 1, (3) LA 0


Eastern Conference

(1) BOS v (WC) DET (1) PIT 1, (WC) CLB 0
(2) TAM 0, (3) MON 1 (2) NYR 1, (3) PHI 0


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