With the NHL lockout over and the start of the shortened season just around the corner, it's time to actually start talking about action on the ice. The Washington Capitals' 2013 season brings several interesting storylines that should be watched over the course of the season.
Hockey has seen a resurgence in DC. Since 2007, fans have been excited about the Capitals as they have made the playoffs for five straight seasons. Washington is consistently one of the largest crowd-drawing teams in the entire league.
Much of the success can be attributed to a core group of players who all entered the league around the same time. Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green have been mainstays who have helped bring a winning culture to the team.
This should be an interesting season in Washington. Former Capitals great Adam Oates is now the head coach. He is the third coach in the last two seasons. His commitment to put more of an emphasis on offense has the team primed to make a run in the playoffs.
Washington has been bounced from the first or second round of the playoffs in each of the last five seasons.
With a shortened season and no regular training camp, it's hard to predict what to expect from any team.
The following slides look at four things that Capitals fans will want to keep an eye on as the season begins.