The Washington Capitals released their 2007 preseason schedule a couple of weeks ago. It is not a great line-up for the fans. The Caps will play seven preseason games. Four of them will be on the road, and only three of them will be at home. Those three home games are against Carolina, Ottawa, and Philadelphia. With the exception of Ottawa none of those teams are very good right now, and they certainly are not interesting to watch play. This will make it hard to generate any sort of preseason buzz in DC.
DC is not a good place to be an NHL hockey team. The local fan base is small, and consists mostly of expatriate Canadians, like me. The last time that I went to a Caps game I was cheering for their Canadian opponents, and sitting right behind me were several people who had just moved here from Vancouver, and were cheering for the Canadian team. Hockey just isn't on most people's radar in this town. Hockey isn't on the media's radar either. The two local daily papers (one of which is owned by the Moonies) give minimum coverage of hockey, and the local tv and radio virtually ignore it. There is one local channel that shows Caps games, but hardly anyone watches.
What the Capitals have done by having such a lame preseason schedule is ensure that there will be little or no media interest, or fan interest in the preseason games. Granted, preseason games are usually dull since teams use them to try out new players and experiment with lines that no sane coach would play in a game that mattered, but for fans these games are the first hockey that we see in months. They are the mouthful of water after crawling through the Summer desert. They are the eagerly awaited harbingers of the new season. We the fans want to see good hockey in September, not games against teams that simply don't matter.
The full preseason schedule for the Caps is
|Sun, 16 Sep, 1500||at Carolina|
|Thu, 20 Sep, 1900||at Ottawa|
|Sat, 22 Sep, 1930||at Tampa Bay|
|Tue, 25 Sep, 1900||Carolina|
|Wed, 26 Sep, 1900||at Philadelphia|
|Fri, 28 Sep, 1900||Philadelphia|
|Sun, 30 Sep, 1700||Ottawa|