|When you win the Stanley Cup, your summer break gets snipped pretty good.
Like many of you, the night the Caps won their first Cup will be imprinted in my mind for the rest of my life. I’ve never experienced anything like that (I grew up in Buffalo, and have lived in Washington during a … fallow time, let’s say), and even if 17 more Washington teams win 17 more titles over the next decade, I can’t imagine any would have quite the impact on my brain as the first. The rest of that week is a blur (imagine what it was like for our reporters who basically just stopped sleeping), and after the fountain celebrations and the drunken escapades and the parade, eventually the offseason finally arrived.
That was, like, last week. I promise you it was. And yet somehow the Capitals are now back in Arlington, skating, practicing, holding a preseason media day this afternoon, which is impossible, because the season has to be about three or four months away still. (Here are five things to watch for in training camp, plus a nice look at new coach Todd Reirden, who wants to immediately set a tone of high-intensity hard work. And here is a new feature from Isabelle: the Capitals mailbag! Somehow it doesn’t include a travelogue from her own summer. That would have been my question.)
Look, there will be a lot of carefully considered thoughts over the next couple of weeks about what this new season will be like for everyone: for fans, for the remade coaching staff, for the 18 players who dressed in the Stanley Cup Finals and are back to try to defend their title, for Conn Smythe winner Alex Ovechkin, ha, can you believe that sentence exists?
I’m sure things will feel much different after the first three-game losing skid. I’m sure there will be complaints. Maybe, at some point, a person will boo. But for right now, it feels like the Caps could announce that actually they’re not going to be practicing, high-intensity or otherwise, and could just kind of lounge in the middle of Glebe Road in Caps onesies while eating Golden Grahams for the next three or four days, and could then take a nap, and there would be throngs willing to give them a standing ovation.
So yeah, this season is going to be plenty weird. Its early days will be incredibly joyful. Its media coverage figures to be unlike anything the franchise has ever seen. Its expectations are at once sky-high, and a million times less onerous than in the past. And I really cannot believe it’s already starting.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are favored to get to 2-0, the Nationals have one last gasp at relevance (requiring a three-game sweep in Atlanta), and Florence might give you an excuse to sit around and watch sports all weekend. As always, you can tell me your plans @dcsportsbog or via email, and let’s meet back here on Monday.
Tonight on TV: The Nats are in Atlanta at 7:30 on MASN2.
Quick hits: Only have time for one: a new Redskins beer. “The Washington Redskins announced today #ATTR, a new ale to be sold at FedEx Field this season in partnership with Devils Backbone Brewing Company,” the team said in a release this morning. Get it, like “Hail to the Redskins,” except instead “Ale to the Redskins.” it’s the first beer brewed for the franchise in team history, according to the release, which notes that there will actually be a Burgundy Ale and a Golden Ale this season, with fans voting on which one becomes the real beer moving forward. Happy Friday.