As Capitals prospects will arrive tomorrow for the team's week-long development at Kettler, thoughts also will turn to next season's schedule in the middle of the week.
Some NHL teams have released their pre-season slates already, although strangely enough, the Capitals aren't on the preseason list of any of their other four division rivals (including the Hurricanes, which the team usually plays regularly in September due to the proximity). The Capitals aren't on the Senators or Bruins' slates either, and those are two of the teams they battled in home-and-homes during 2008-09's exhibition season.
The Capitals also aren't on the Penguins' pre-season schedule either, although the Flyers, Rangers, Devils or Islanders haven't released their slates yet, perhaps meaning a couple of those Atlantic Division teams will be meeting Washington in September. Philadelphia's a strong bet due to the proximity and the fact the team's rookies usually hook up for a game during the pre-season, and the Devils are also attractive due to the short travel between Verizon Center and Prudential Center.
There could be a possibility the Caps might also meet Buffalo, as that has been another club the team's battled in September in the past, but barring a random Western Conference foe, it appears the Caps will draw their slate from the quartet along the Eastern seaboard.
Striking also is the variance in exhibition games by some teams, as while the Hurricanes only have four games total, other teams like Boston have twice as many tune-up contests.
Since the Caps haven't shown up on any other team's pre-season slate, that probably indicates a couple of home-and-homes with Philadelphia, New Jersey or the New York teams may be on the horizon.
The regular-season schedule will be released Wednesday afternoon as well, and while it appears the Capitals won't be involved in this year's Winter Classic at Fenway Park, it should be interesting to see how the new season shapes up - particularly with the break for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February.