Oct 13, 2023 - Sports

What to expect this 2023-24 Capitals season

Alex Ovechkin on the ice

Go get 'em Ovi. Photo: Jason Mowry/Getty Images

Hockey is back in town, and the Capitals have a new coach, tasked with motivating Alex Ovechkin and an aging team. He has to:

  • Mentor youngsters.
  • Bring into the fold new scoring talent like Max Pacioretty.
  • Make Washington dream of championship glory.

*Record scratch* *Freeze frame*

Forget it, here's all that matters: Beat. Wayne. Gretzky.

Why it matters: Ovi is 73 goals behind Gretzky's all-time record of 894. And the whole season may as well revolve around the chase.

  • "This team is now chasing a different kind of greatness," write the sports experts at The Athletic, "and it's OK that team success is taking a backseat to that legendary legacy."

The big picture: After missing the playoffs, first-year NHL coach Spencer Carbery has the job of steering a largely same roster back into relevancy.

  • At 38, Ovi is still captain and the best offensive talent.
  • But other star power has dimmed, including the likes of Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. Pacioretty, a left winger who signed in July, is out injured for at least the first month.

ğŸŽ° The odds: The team has 0% odds of winning the Stanley Cup (ouch), per The Athletic and just a 7% chance of the playoffs.

Between the lines: Thanks to a scheduling quirk, the Caps had some extra team bonding on the golf course to start the season. Their first game comes after a majority of the NHL already played one game, per the Post.

  • "I thought it would be good to get away as a team, be around each other, be able to do some team building stuff that we have planned," Carbery told the Post.

What to watch: The Caps host the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight at 7:30pm.

ğŸŽŸï¸ Fan giveaways this season:

  • Bucket hats: Oct. 24 vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
  • Fanny packs: Nov. 2 vs. New York Islanders
  • Hawaiian shirts: March 22 vs. Carolina Hurricanes

Full calendar here

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