10 critical dates for the Capitals in 2014-2015
A Fresh Start
The Capitals will begin the 2014-15 season with a few new faces, none more notable than the one behind the bench. After 16 years as the only coach in Nashville Predators history, Barry Trotz has been asked to guide the Capitals back into the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons. Here are 10 critical dates in that journey.
Oct. 9: Montreal Canadiens at Capitals
The Barry Trotz era officially begins against the Canadiens, a team that surprised the league with a playoff run that ended with a six-game loss to the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference finals.
Nov. 7: Capitals at Chicago Blackhawks
Don’t be surprised to see an HBO camera crew wandering around both locker rooms before this game, as the two teams facing off in the Winter Classic play the only game between them before the real thing on New Year’s Day. The two teams engaged in a highly entertaining 6-4 contest in their season opener last year.
Nov. 22: Buffalo Sabres at Capitals
Hard to say whether Michal Neuvirth will be booed or cheered when he makes his first visit to Washington since demanding a trade and being shipped to the Sabres, who are beginning their first season without Ryan Miller since 2002. The guess here is an unwelcome welcome.
Dec. 27: Capitals at Pittsburgh Penguins
Strange that Caps fans have to wait 35 games to see Sidney Crosby take on Alex Ovechkin but with both players in the prime of their careers and adapting to new head coaches, the rivalry promises to have an added twist.
Jan. 1: Chicago Blackhawks at Capitals
The anticipation is building for the Capitals’ first shot at hosting a Winter Classic. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. But not too much. We all know what traffic is like when flakes start flying around here.
Jan. 16: Capitals at Nashville Predators
Barry Trotz already has this one circled on his 2015 calendar. It’s his first visit to Nashville since being fired by the club following the 2013-14 season. It will be an emotional night for the 51-year-old coach, who will be focused on playing the Flyers two nights earlier and visiting Dallas one night later.
Feb. 1: St. Louis Blues at Capitals
There have been some classic Super Bowl Sunday games at Verizon Center and fans will be jacked up for this 1 p.m. appetizer – especially if the Redskins are still playing.
Feb. 3: Los Angeles Kings at Capitals
Nothing like a measuring stick against the team that has won two of the last three Stanley Cups. Should be a fun night against Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick and Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams, as long as they don’t bring that big silver thing.
Feb. 6: Anaheim Ducks at Capitals
Nobody loves Bruce Boudreau more than Caps fans and the portly coach makes his annual visit to Washington with a team that fell one win short of getting to the Western Conference finals, a feat that has eluded Boudreau his entire NHL career.
April 11: New York Rangers at Capitals
Yes, folks. The Caps’ playoff fate could come down to the final game of the regular season and what better opponent than the hated Rangers, who ended each of their last two playoff appearances. The Caps and Rangers face each other three times in the Caps’ final 15 games.