ARLINGTON, Va. (DC News Now) — With the start of the 2022-23 NHL regular season just weeks away, the Capitals kicked off their preseason camp Thursday with media day, and as always, with high expectations.

“You have to understand that when you represent this team, there is always an expectation at a certain level,” Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov said. “And you know that’s a good thing because even last year, doesn’t matter how we play, bad or good. There is always sold out, always full house and fans always expecting us to play a certain way.”

Injuries linger for the team. Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson are expected to miss time to start the year.

“In a team sport and a team game, you hope to get by all that,” head coach Peter Laviolette said. “I think we’re going to count on and rely on a lot of people.”

While the Capitals are four years removed from a Stanley Cup title, they’ve suffered four straight first round playoff exits since.

“The most important thing is everyone has to be healthy, and we have to make the playoffs,” Capitals left winger Alexander Ovechkin said. “You know the first 20 games is very important. You don’t want to play only six months, you want to play eight months and play for a Cup.”

Many familiar names return, but the Caps will have a new face between the pipes, a proven winner in new goalie Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper signed a five-year deal in Washington, the 32-year-old netminder won a Stanley Cup with Colorado last season.

“After winning it last year, you want to do it again,” Kuemper said. “This is a group that’s won recently and still has that veteran group that knows how to win. So that was the exciting draw for me, is coming to a place that I believe I can come in and help a team that’s already done it before, do it again.”

As players vie for roster sports during camp, the regular season is ahead. The Caps will open at home on October 12 against Boston.