How can one line in a small story about a relatively minor Caps' signing (that of Dave Steckel to a one-year deal) be cause for so much optimism and anticipation for next season? When the line reads "[Steckel] figures to enter the season as the fourth line pivot behind Nicklas Backstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Michael Nylander." How many years during the 90s did we fans pine for such depth and wealth of talent at center (don't forget +28 Viktor Kozlov ready to step in the middle if needed)? Remember watching failed bids for the likes of Pierre Turgeon, Jeremy Roenick, etc? Or how about forcing wings to play center, or signing a moody superstar's favorite center to placate him in the hopes of squeezing some production out of his $7 million/year contract?
Those years are gone. Ancient history. The depth and abilities we so longed for are there: the perfect combination of playmaking and defensive acumen. The one line said it all.