By Ben Raby
The dog days of summer are here and the countdown is on until the start of hockey season. August is traditionally one of the slower months on the hockey calendar, but weve listed five potentially noteworthy items that Capitals fans may be following in the weeks to come.
JOHN CARLSONS STATUS: General Manager George McPhee has his coaching staff in place, a goaltending tandem he trusts and a roster he says he is confident with heading into Training Camp. What McPhee doesnt have is John Carlsons signature on a new contract.
Carlson remains without a contract for next season and re-signing the restricted free agent has to be a priority in the weeks ahead.
WORLD JUNIOR CAMPS: Forty-five American hopefuls will gather in Lake Placid, NY, for a week-long evaluation camp from Aug. 4-11.for the 2013 World Junior Championships.
The U.S. camp will be run by World Junior head coach and former Caps defenseman Phil Housley and among those hell be evaluating is Capitals prospect Garrett Haar (seventh round pick, 207th overall in 2011 NHL Entry Draft).
Finland and Sweden are also bringing their World Junior hopefuls to Lake Placid, and the three nations will square off in exhibition games throughout the week. Caps prospect Filip Forsberg (first round pick, 11th overall in 2012 NHL Entry Draft) is expected to make the trip with Team Sweden.
ROBERTO LUONGO TRADE WATCH: While Zach Parise, Ryan Suter and Rick Nash were the biggest names to switch teams in July, Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo could be the biggest name to find a new home in August.
Luongo and Vancouver General Manager Mike Gillis have said that a change of scenery for the former Vezina Trophy winner may be in everyones best interest.
With Cory Schneider signed to a new three-year 12 million deal in Vancouver, Luongos name has surfaced in trade rumors all summer long.
The Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Florida Panthers have all been linked to a possible Luongo trade. The Montreal-native played with the Panthers from 2000-2006 and remains the teams all-time wins leader.
AHL SCHEDULE RELEASE: The American Hockey League is expected to release its 2012-13 schedule later this month, with the Hershey Bears to be featured in one of the leagues marquee matchups.
The Bears will host the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in the Capital BlueCross AHL Outdoor Classic at Hershey Park Stadium, Sunday January 20, 2013.
With the start of the NHL season in doubt pending CBA negotiations, the AHL may provide local fans with one of the few outlets for live professional hockey this fall.
CBA NEGOTIATIONS: What can possibly be more fun than spending the final weeks of summer in a boardroom while spending hours upon hours reviewing and negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that will satisfy millionaire athletes and even wealthier owners?
The NHLs CBA is set to expire on Sept. 15, and both Gary Bettman and the NHLs owners and Donald Fehr and members of the NHLPA will continue to meet in August in hopes of starting the season on time.