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Armchair GM, Part II

Since we've had so much fun spending Ted Leonsis's money this week, I figured why stop now?

Today's question is this: Should the Caps re-sign enforcer Donald Brashear? And if so, for how long and how much? He earns $1 million this season and becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

I'm told he's among the team's priorities to bring back, but I also haven't heard that it's a done deal. Yet.

Brashear was signed last summer to deter opponents from taking liberties with Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin. And he's done that. I would go as far as to say that his presence on the bench - just him sitting there with that scowl - allows Ovechkin and Semin to play a little bigger and forces would-be thugs to show a little restraint.

The 35-year-old ranks sixth in the NHL in fighting majors with 11. He comes to play every night. Even when he skates only six minutes, he leaves everything on the ice. And he's become a fan favorite at Verizon Center.

So what do you think? Re-sign him? Or trade him at the deadline/let him walk?

An since we're on the subject, here's a sort of related question: How do you feel about fighting in hockey?

I'll be honest here, I think it's one of the reasons the sport continues to struggle to gain mainstream popularity in the United States. I've heard too many parents say they won't let their kids play because all they know about the game is what they see on sports highlight shows (which often cut right to the fights). But I also understand the tradition/self-policing aspect of allowing fighting in the NHL. I'm not saying I agree, but I understand.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 8, 2007; 11:19 AM ET
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He can walk. The "New NHL" doesn't have much use for what he does best and his age tells me I don't need him either. YES he does leave it all on the ice, but this team has far too many more issues to address then concentrating on a 36 yr old pugilist.

I know he's a fan favorite.....but you can't say your breeding young players and have Donald.

If the Alex's need THAT MUCH protection, they are pretty soft.

Posted by: caphcky | February 8, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Keep him one more year. I like having him out there, and he does bust his gut. Seems to me the Caps have wasted more money on individuals with a more questionable work ethic. Jagr comes to mind. Younger guys need positive, hard-working veterans to look up to.

Posted by: Kenhockey | February 8, 2007 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Brashear is a valuable member of the team who provides them with grit and experience. I won't throw figures out, but as long as his demands are relative to the contract he received prior to this season, I see no reason not to bring him back next year. Sign him to another one year deal, or even make it two years if he requests it.

The state of fighting in the NHL is an another topic that can be debated all day long. As I stated in one of your posts early this week, they need to adjust or completely eliminate the instigator penalty. It provides dirty players with no recourse for taking cheap shots on star players.

Like it or not, fighting is an important part of the sport that serves a purpose.

Capital Fanatic

Posted by: Capital Fanatic | February 8, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Tarik: Hey you sissymarry! When do you see people at the game or watching on TV say "Hey there's a fight turn away, or turn the station!"

Posted by: Don Cherry | February 8, 2007 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Fighting isn't going away, and having someone like him on the fourth line is taking a roster spot away from... another fourth liner - no harm done, except that it takes time away from other younger guys trying to crack the lineup. if Erskine comes back and proves he's a keeper, then maybe Brash is expendable.

Re fighting: putting the game back on ESPN would do more for the game in the U.S. than banning fighting. Neither is likely to happen. Bettman strikes again. And agree with fanatic - the instigator penalty is a disgrace.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | February 8, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Gotta re-sign him. Look at how PGH, for example, is searching for bodyguard for The Diving Crybaby.

Posted by: Tyler | February 8, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Bring Brash back. He's been an asset many times and rarely a liability, plus he's clearly liked by the team and the fans. He isn't the fastest, but he is very much the veteran and rarely makes mistakes in terms of positioning or the puck. What he adds to the team is a bargain at $1 mil given his experience (and reputation) in this league.

I enjoy watching fighting, think it does play a role in the league's respect/physicality dynamic, though I do believe it also sours the game for some, perhaps many people.

I think hockey's beauty is the unique combination of physical grit and pure skill. No other sport asks people to perform with such speed and dexterity in such a challenging environment while also demanding so much raw toughness. I like that it is a rare instance where some degree of violence is accepted (bound by fairly strict limits of acceptability by tradition and regulation) and I think the sport would certainly lose something of it's toughness and uniqueness if fighting faded away.

I think that outreach is a better solution to parent's concerns than banning fighting at the pro level. The cages worn in youth hockey and most adult leagues make fighting something of a silly undertaking which always involved more wrestling when I undertook it in high school in this area. It was hardly and issue for me when I was a youth.

Posted by: false_cause | February 8, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The same players who fight in the NHL keep their gloves on in international competition. And is there anyone who will say that international competition, with the wider rink, is less exciting to watch?

That said, keep Brashear another year. Until the rules are changed, the Caps need an enforcer.

Posted by: miklosis | February 8, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Diving Crybaby?

Posted by: caphcky | February 8, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

1 year, one million (or two if it is required) but no more....

Posted by: Caps Fan | February 8, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Oh God, don't invite all the bleeding hearts to weigh in with their view on fighting!! We hear enough of that crap already. My poor kids, what if they see a fight? Wahhhhh. At least the fights are more or less controlled. NBA ones are complete anarchy. Baseball still has the occasional bench clearers. Fighting is way down in the NHL, stop trying to get rid of it entirely. Because then the stickwork and other covert ways of releasing aggression will come in and take fighting's place.

Posted by: alpca3877 | February 8, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Let Brash go. It seems a lot of playoff bound teams are looking to get tougher (detroit, pittsburg, ect) trade him for a draft pick or mid level prospect.

Erskin can easily take over that role, and by the way he can play! I thought Sutherby was suppose to have grit...he doesn't score, why doesn't he do something to help the team out.

As far as fighting in the NHL goes, its a lame excuse you hear from non hockey fans to bash the sport.

How any times have you seen 2 fighters slapping each other on the backs after the refs step in. These guys are trying to entertain the crowd. When was the last time there was a fight and the whole arena was not standing and cheering?? The crowds love fights.

When the whole arena starts booing during a fight, i bet you the league will ban it in an instant.

As the game evovles into a skating and passing game (as opposed to clutch and grab), the evolution of the game will result in fewer fights since the prototypical fighters, guys that are huge and can't skate, will become a burden to the teams and teams will drop them from the roster. In other words, don't ban fighting, let it slowly go away.

Posted by: genotype55 | February 8, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

I agree with those who say re-sign Brashear. His physical presence helps and he is a fan favorite. On fighting, fighting is part of the NHL game; it is not a necessary part of hockey. There are plenty of contexts in which hockey is played (for example, college and the Olympics) where, if you fight, you are harshly penalized in a way meant to deter fighting, and, for the most part, these rules result in very few or no fights. This doesn't mean you lose the physical presence or grit of the game, it just takes on different aspects.

Posted by: shamrockD | February 8, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

keep the donald and the fighting

Posted by: rchckncoop | February 8, 2007 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Re-sign Brash.

As far as fighting, if your logic holds true, then parents wouldn't want their kids to play basketball or in a band for fear of turning into potheads. Football and baseball, performance enhancing drugs, etc.

Hockey just isn't very popular in the US - it's not the fighting.

Posted by: dinoflint | February 8, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

How about injecting a little nuance here? There's fighting to stick up for a teammate/police a cheap shot artist (agree here on reworking the instigator rule), and then there's fighting just to stir things up because your team needs a jump after falling behind by 6 goals or out of simple frustration but not from direct action caused by the other team. Should the latter situation be banned while the former allowed to continue? How could the league possibly police this in a game situation?

Posted by: Geauxcaps | February 8, 2007 12:41 PM | Report abuse

The Reason those young players have the freedom to skate is because of the presence of a guy like Brashear. I say keep him.

Posted by: Virtual GM | February 8, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

I can take or leave the fighting.

The fact is that the league TODAY is the stepchild to all of professional sports. Its also fact that the NHL was much more popular when you had the occasional brawl. With the rule changes, its hurt.

Give the fans what they want.

Get rid of some teams and that will improve the talent pool of the league and the popularity of the league will increase because you have teams in the cities that will support hockey!

Posted by: caphcky | February 8, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I love when parents say stupid stuff like that! Hellooooo! We see terrible terrible violence on tv everyday due to the war Iraq! Pluuuuze! So we see two canadians duking it out and all of the sudden there is an uproar?

IF anything parents should be taking advantage of the fight to teach some moral real life lessons. Like: " Son, life is a battle. Sometimes you have all the attention and control. Like when someone carries the puck into the offensive zone".

"other times like life, someone or something will come and knock you on your ass, so you have to get up. But if that thing or person keeps knocking you down, you have to stick up for yourself. You have to fight for you beliefs and sometimes that means punching somebody in the mouth. In the figurative sense of course..."

We all have "bullies" in our life whether its your boss or your old lady, you have to take a stand. Of course violence should be the last course of action...President Bush. But Fighting in Hockey is a symbol of that struggle. And should never be taken away from the game.

Besides there is prolly just as much fighting in basketball. Hell they fight with the fans and people still go. Let's be honest, the people who say they won't take their kids to a hockey game cause of fighting wouldn't be taking them even if their wasn't fighting.

/Off my soap box now.

Posted by: Five for Fighting | February 8, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Keep Brash. The only guys who want brash to walk are probably pens fans, and they want him to walk so they can sign him for their precious Sidney Crosby.

Give Brash a little raise if needed. Two years at 1.2 mil p[er year is okay I suppose. Pretty soon we'll need to find a new one though, hopefully Matt Stefanishion can be something like that.

Posted by: Graham | February 8, 2007 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I think there's a book out from a NHL fighter's perspective. IIRC the upshot was that there are unwritten rules about when and how to fight. As for Brash, I guess we can keep him for a couple more years. There a few other Caps I think can play the enforcer role, but Brash has definitely brought a presence to this team.

Posted by: tallbear | February 8, 2007 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I am torn. Brash is a bit wild, he easily gets out of control. I'd rather have Larague type enforcer. He is German Shepherd, Brash is pitbull. Brash is not protecting Ovechkin or Semin per se. Ovechkin was speared before him and in his presense, Brash is a deterrent factor. The other team knows he is there, it's like having nuclear bomb in your arsenals.

If Hanlon has means of controlling him, it's ok. Besides he said he liked being with Caps, that this was one of his best seasons.

Sign him unless he'll demand too much.

Posted by: | February 8, 2007 1:13 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, this is off subject, but 2 questions.
1) I have heard a rumor that games next year will start at 7:30 instead of 7:00
2) Maybe the Caps may get realigned with more logical teams as before, meaning the Rangers, Flyers, Islanders, etc in the same division

Any truth to either of these, or have you heard anything about them? I'd hate that 7:30 start time on weekdays. Weekends no problem.


Posted by: kenhockey | February 8, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

ken--no realignment for next season. not sure about the change in game times, but I'll ask. for me, i hope it's not true. with a 7 p.m. faceoff, i've got a whopping 40 minutes to write a game story. with a 7:30 start, I've got even less time.

Posted by: Tarik | February 8, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

A GM has to fill out an entire roster, and not all of it is skill guys. Role players have to be found to complete the package. Brashear has played his role as well as one might have expected this year. I think the club can and should try to re-sign him (although at his current salary sounds a bit pricey).

As for fighting, it is part of the game. The self-policing aspect of it is at times, I think, important to maintain a rough-edged integrity to the game. But I part ways with fans who seem to think that an inclination to fight is somehow an inspiration for a club. On a game-by-game basis? Maybe, to a degree. But over the long haul of the season, there seems no concrete relationship between fighting and success on the ice over the stretch of a season. If you look at the top ten teams in fighting majors, five of them are currently in the top eight of their respective conferences (all of them in the west). Of the bottom ten teams in fighting majors, six of them are in the top eight of their respective conferences (five of those in the east).

Fighting is a part of hockey, and intuitively it makes sense that its being there prevents more flagrant expressions of anger by men carrying sticks. But as an ingredient to success? That's not a given.

Posted by: The Peerless | February 8, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Word is that Brash is actually a motivator and leader in the locker room -- I'm not sure how true that is, but I see no reason to disbelieve it.

Between that, his ability to bring the intensity every game (even when only getting 5-8 minutes TOI), and his apparent enjoyment at playing here, I say re-sign him. I think there will be space next season (but I am assuming that some other younger guys will be moved).

Posted by: jess | February 8, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Re-sign him for less money, more years if you can (maybe a million over two years instead of a million per year). Seems like a waste of money to sign someone for a million per year when they only play 6 minutes a game. On the other hand, a million dollar insurance policy for one of the best players in the league is a small price to pay. Ok, re-sign him for 2 years at a mil a season.

Also, those that say fighting shouldn't be part of the game are the same people that say pro wrestling is real.

Posted by: wienerdog4410 | February 8, 2007 1:37 PM | Report abuse

I would re-sign Brashear for one year at about the same pricetag as this season; as a 35 and older player, they could add some performance bonuses on a one year deal to make it attractive to Brashear to sign a one year deal rather than a multiyear deal (the CBA allows for a one year contract to contain performance bonuses for players 35 or older). Tarik do you know if his contract this season includes perf bonuses as he met the CBA criteria (I assume no, but just curious to know for sure)?

As a 35 and older player, I would prefer the Caps don't lock into the cap hit (which would be the case on a multi-year contract for a player Brashear's age) and the player for multiple years. Yes, I understand the Caps are no where near the cap, but they will need the flexibility with the contracts up for renewal in what would be year 2 of a new contract for Brashear if they signed him for two years(summer of 08: Ovechkin, Semin, Morrisonn, etc.). Also, I would like to see whether someone else in the organization can handle that role and how a player like Brashear plays on a season to season basis.

So, my vote is re-sign for one season.

Posted by: sk84fun | February 8, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I think bringing Brashear to Washington was important. The nature of the game is such that you need Brashear, or someone like him; the fact that he is a positive influence in the clubhouse and can contribute something more than just his fists is a real positive. Sutherby isn't stepping into this role and if Tuesday was Clymer's audition for the job, he's not an option; so net, in my opinion, you resign Brash.

Fighting is outlawed in college hockey, but as a result I think you see more stickwork and cheap fouls. Hockey moves so quickly that six on-ice officials won't see everything; and even if they did, what would the impact on the flow of the game be if the refs called absolutely everything and turned the game into a succession of specialty team plays? Personally, I don't watch hockey to see fights, but accept fighting (in some circumstances) as integral to the game, and think that eliminating fighting may be worse than the "problem" it presents. Sheldon Souray going after Colby Armstrong for running Saku Koivu last week, for example, was legitimate. By the same token, I think the league ought to discourage the frustration, send-out-a-goon-because-we're-losing fights; those don't add to the game, but how exactly to write rules to prohibit this alone is beyond me. In the end, the discretion of the coaches in what they ask their players to do, and the discretion of the refs and how they choose to penalize players or benches for their actions is going to determine how this plays out.

I think as hockey changes to emphasize more skating and passing, a natural decline in the amount of fighting is going to occur anyway. If the league transitioned to olympic sized rinks, the additional space would further reduce the occasions on which fighting becomes necessary or likely. Lastly, I don't think fights per se are the thing that keeps hockey from popularity in the United States; but the stereotype that hockey is nothing more than fights needs to be dispelled by better marketing than Gary Bettman has managed to produce.

Posted by: Fred | February 8, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The book is called "The Code" by Ross Bernstein. It outlines the unwritten rules of fighting in hockey. If the pansies who deride fighting as irrelevant and an embarassment would go ahead and read the book, they might actually understand why these guys fight (to police and protect others). That goes for the fools who complain that "I don't want little Timmy to have to see a hockey fight," yet let their kids watch prime time TV. Without fighting in hockey, you've got the Sean Avery's, Darcy Tuckers, Chris Neils, et al of the hockey world taking cheap shots and truly making a mockery of our game. Guys who stand up and defend themselves--and teammates--in a fight are 100 times better players AND human beings than scumbags like the above-mentioned players because they know and abide by a code as old as the game itself.

Which is worse--a Brashear-Laraque fight that both guys know is necessary, both guys agreed to before a faceoff and, most importantly, both guys respect each other afterwards, or Sean Avery opening up a 30-stitch gash on someone's face with a cheap high stick? If you get rid of fighting, get used to blood on the ice. If you want to change the history, the passion, the love of our game, don't--go watch curling. At least then you won't have to explain to little Timmy why defending one's self and one's teammates is important.

Posted by: Right Winger | February 8, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Folks, this is a great discussion we've got going here.

sk84fun -- i do not believe Brash has any bonuses. at least i didn't make note of any when i asked about the signing over the summer.

btw, do you have something similar to your username on your license plate? I could swear I saw something similar on the dulles toll road the other day. it's pretty clever.

Posted by: Tarik | February 8, 2007 2:05 PM | Report abuse

How many players can the Caps have on their roster that have no value other than "good in the room"? Yesterday it was Zubrus, day before that Zed, today's it's Brash. I'm all for leadership and camaraderie, but at some point you need some guys who can actually play. I'd re-sign Brashear for 1 year at $1mil, otherwise there are probably a few guys in Hershey who could fill that role for less money. (For what it's worth, I don't think his presence on the ice has affected Ovie's game one bit. Guys are still taking shots at him.)

Posted by: zamboni | February 8, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, another off the topic question.
Why is it that rarely does either Brett Haber (Channel 9) or Tim Brant (Channel 7)have anything about the Caps on their sportscasts? It's always the Skins, Wizards, Terps, etc. At least George Michael has reports on the Caps with a lot more frequency. I've e-mailed Haber twice about it, and of course no response. I miss the days of Glenn Brenner.

Posted by: kenhockey | February 8, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

"Without fighting in hockey, you've got the Sean Avery's, Darcy Tuckers, Chris Neils, et al of the hockey world taking cheap shots and truly making a mockery of our game."

Why do people think that fighting is going to somehow deter guys like that from playing dirty? Have you ever seen any of those players shy away from a fight? Those guys are dirty players, plain and simple, and no amount of "enforcement" is going to change that. The only way to reign in players like that is with large fines and long suspensions.

The problem the NHL has with fighting isn't the instigator rule, it's with players who don't have any respect for other players anymore.

Posted by: zamboni | February 8, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I think a guy like Brash is worth keeping, far all the reasons stated above.

As for fighting, to me it's the same as a pitcher brushing off a guy at the plate. It's a part of the game that means something to those playing, that casual fans don't understand.

I think that the bigger roadblock to hockey gaining acceptance and popularity is it's treatment by the various media outlets. Let's use this site as an example. Look at the main pages for the Redskins and the Nationals. They have gotten spiffy updates and nice team color outlines and they stand out. Then looka at the Caps main page, and it looks like everything else, nothing makes it stand out. And then there is the treatment by the talking heads on radio and TV, where they heap derision on the team and the sport. Showing nothing but the fights in the "highlight" package (especially with explantion) is just a symptom.

Another roadblock to acceptance is non-fans not understanding the rules. An example is my mother-in-law, who has been a casual fan of the Caps since they started play telling me over christmas that she still doesn't understand Icing.

Posted by: Lordthrog | February 8, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, Off the point a little--where does Brashear fit in the history of Caps tough guys? vs. Berube, for example.

Posted by: shamrockD | February 8, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I cannot fathom why we would not make an attempt to resign Brash.. here are my reasons.

1. While we are focusing on rebuilding, you absolutely have to have veteran leaders on your team. Brash has filled that role nicely, regardless of his fighting. He has also shown an ability to be a strong, grinding fourth line checking winger. Teams are aware of him and are respectful of what he can do. He adds some grit and some meanness to the roster.

2. As the speed of the game increases, and as our roster fills out with skill players (Ov, Semin, Fehr, Backstrom), there will be more situations where guys from other teams will take liberties against Washington if they don't fear some recourse. This is a timetested rule in the NHL and nothing is going to change it.

3. As a VETERAN, Brash truly knows when to fight and who to fight and therefore rarely squared off against someone not prepared to respond.

4. He loves it here, he has having one of the best seasons of his career and the players and coaches love him.

Fighting is part of the game... just like hitting is part of the game. I am tired of everybody trying to fix what is not broken.. when did we all decide that we wanted to watch European hockey in the NHL. The game is SUPPOSED to be physical, it is SUPPOSED to be occasionally violent. That is part of what makes it such an exciting game to watch!

Posted by: dayoungdc | February 8, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

We would be crazy not to resign him. He's not just a "goon" out there to beat people up. I rememebr a couple of interviews with him earlier this year where he was talking about how he had to step up his game in terms of his passing and skating skills to stay relevant in the NHL. The team needs that kind of perspective on the bench and in the locker room, not to mention a player willing to go out there and really crush someone who's been playing dirty all night.

Personally, I'd love to see the rick expanded to Olympic size, but I don't think most NHL barns can hold an ice sheet that large, and even if they could it would take up all of the money seats down by the glass. Maybe for the next gen of NHL arenas, probably 10-15 years fro mnow for most buildings, they can try to design them to hold the larger sheet somehow.

Fighting...I do see the point of it, but I think 5 minutes per player with no effect on the team is really lenient. A full period would certainly send a message, plus anything the refs feel warented in handing out based on what they saw on the ice and in conlsultation with the camera guys upstairs. I think the NHL is really hobling itself by not making better use of the camera system to make the game better.

Posted by: EricS | February 8, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Fighting definately is not the problem with the NHL. I think they have done a good job managing the fighting, it is definately down since the new rules have been around. But if they keep giving into the people that believe it is to violent then the fighting will be gone and next the checking will have to go...if that happens I might as well go back to watching football!!

Any one who believes fighting is the problem with the sport does not have a clue.
How about availability to games, Vs. shows two a week, maybe a third if there is double header. How many NBA/NFL/MLB games on how many networks do you see on a given week. The NFL has five different networks televising games on the two days that they play.

How about that costs of equipment for kids to play is quite expensive. If I was a parent I wouldn't let my kid watch god forbid he actually want to play I have to sell a kidney to get him the equipment. After that they grow out of it, I guess that's why you have two kidney's. It is not like you can share equipment or you just need one glove or one ball.

These are just two quick reasons in my opinion.

Posted by: dodah19 | February 8, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Right Winger -- great post.

Posted by: Fred | February 8, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Sign him!!! He is an awesome addition to the Caps. His play is much more than just enforcing. He has set up some really sweet goals lately. I'd say $1.2, maybe with a PIM bonus?

Posted by: Sue | February 8, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse


I'm a bit shocked that you have the anti-fighting mentality! And here I thought you were a fan of old time hockey!

Fighting is an integral part of the game...a way to police your own and let frustrations vent.

Brashear is VERY important to this team and he really needs to be brought back. There arent too many enforcers who can play and fight. He is one of the few.

But I can forsee GMGM doing something boneheaded and letting him go.

Posted by: Tinner | February 8, 2007 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Re-signing Brashear is a no brainer. The Caps have a ton of room under the salary cap and Brashear is the best in the league at what he does.

In response to fighting in hockey I think the Miami Hurricanes assaulting the other team with their helmets in an on field brawl, NBA players attacking fans, and NFL players stomping on opposing players while they are down are more violent incidents than any in game hockey fight. Fighting has nothing to do with hockey not catching on in the US. If anything it probably attracts half the fan base.

Posted by: Mike G. | February 8, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Fighting is going to keep hockey in the second tier of sports but it's okay to throw a rock in someone's face for the last beer?

If this country wasn't so schizophrenic, we might actually learn something.

Keep Brashear; those kids need vets.

Posted by: Clarendon | February 8, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse


I really love him he one of the last true heavyweights in the league.

I'd give him 2 years at 1.5

alexovetjkin.blogspot--your running a blog and you think Brash is out of control. How long have you been watching hockey? Brashear is one of the most controlled fighters the league has ever seen.

zamboni- consider this. the Sean Avery's, Darcy Tuckers, Chris Neils of the game start running around the rink coming up high with the sticks and elbows, how do you get them of the ice??? do you wait until the refs call something on them and hope that nobody gets hurt in the interim, or do you send ole #87 out to fight them and get them in the box for 5min.

Tarik--I must admit I too am a little surprised on your anti-fighting stance. I would riddle you this- why does the game need all of these new fans you speak of when we were doing just fine without them in the 80's and 90's when there were plenty of fights and fannies in the seats, it seams the the league has lost more fans than it has gained with its anti fighting stance

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 8, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and Tarik, despite the fact that you will now and forever be added to the "anti" list I will continue to read you every day cause I think that you are doing heck of a job on caps coverage :)

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 8, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Tarik - Thanks for the reply; I assumed no bonuses, but was looking for confirmation.
And no that was not my car/plates.

I agree with the posters noting Brashear's contributions both on and off the ice. IMO, Brashear's on ice contributions have included more than just fighting/enforcing this season although no question that is the reason he is in the line-up.

I have no problem with Brashear signed for another season. A vet player that knows his role, can contribute on and off the ice, and serves as the enforcer. I am fearful of multi-year deals given my reasons in the earlier post, especially at his age.

Posted by: sk84fun | February 8, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

Keep Brashear! When the Caps are getting beat, he makes the game worth watching to the end.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 8, 2007 6:40 PM | Report abuse

LIVINIT - By the time you've sent out Brashear to deal with it, IT'S TOO LATE. So it's all well and good for Brash to go out and administer a face beating, but I'm sure the guy who took the shot would rather it not have happened in the first place. And only the NHL really has the power (and responsibility) to deal with that.

Posted by: zamboni | February 8, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

Ted apparently called the 24 year old Milan Jurcina a "veteran" in his blog recently... I guess that makes Brash a dinosaur. Brash is totally worth keeping, when you have a guy who earns respect by beating people up and taking a few fists to the face himself, you don't crap all over it coughkenhitchcockcough

Posted by: Graham | February 8, 2007 7:25 PM | Report abuse

and if they wreck the game doing it????

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 8, 2007 8:08 PM | Report abuse

You say it's a team priority to bring Brash back but you don't say if Donald wants to come back. Does he?

Posted by: boor4 | February 8, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Man I can't believe some of you people want to see Brashear go. He is the only one who plays with toughness and grit out there. Do we need more grit? Absolutely. So why get rid of the grit we've got? Pay him the 1 million dollars and he'll give you 2 million reasons to appreciate his grit.

Caps BOD

Posted by: Capitals Board of Directors | February 9, 2007 12:29 AM | Report abuse

I seem to remember Brash staying he wanted to stay in DC.

Posted by: EricS | February 9, 2007 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Brashear: Definitely re-sign him. No brainer. In fact, play him more. 1.3 million, two years. Year to year is ok, but I'd rather not send him the wrong message.

FIghting: The parents that say no to hockey because of fighting seem to have no problems with violence of every other type, whether football, video games, tv (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers teach kids to fight before hockey does) and a host of more examples. Sure, they claim to have a problem with violence but i still see it everywhere and there are an aweful lot of parents. Besides, no one really fights in Hockey until their late teens and by then they're fighting anyway. Just goes to show how soft the 80's and 90's made everyone. And you can't blame that on Democrats either; Kerry and Dean are hockey fans. Unfortunately, Hockey is as popular as Kerry and Dean.

I'm all for fighting. i have no issues with it. If I have to bargin I'll say this: Change the horrible "call everything" rule that the refs are running with, no more points for losing, don't make the nets bigger, get rid of Bettman, stop putting teams in places they won't have access to resident hockey fans, and THEN we can talk about not having fighting. Have I mentioned that we should draw and quarter Bettman, then serve him up as chili? If not, its worth mentioning.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 9, 2007 1:54 AM | Report abuse

kenhockey's question is one I have wondered for years (with all parts of Washington media). Also, why is is when the caps loose they make sports headlines in The Post, but when they win - the story is the size of a postage stamp in the back? It has always been like this, the media likes to publicize the Caps as a loosing team. Its no wonder they get no respect.

Posted by: Hockeyfan | February 9, 2007 8:22 AM | Report abuse

you gotta bring the guy back for sure

Posted by: borro | February 9, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Tarik - I just saw the "sk84fun" license plate on the toll road yesterday! That's funny.

Posted by: happyhappy | February 9, 2007 11:54 AM | Report abuse

for anyone who knows the history of hockey and understands the physical hell that these guys put themselves through every night knows that each team has 'superstars'. Usually, because of the offensive damage these guys can cause, they are easy targets for cheap shots. Hence, every star needs protection because stars are usually more athletically gifted than fisticuff gifted in hockey. It has to be known before teams play that if you mess with our star, you are going to have to deal with someone like Brashear. I read an article recently where it said even NHL tough guys don't go after Ovechkin beacuse they are scared of Brashear. This allows Ovechkin to play fearlessly and with a chip on his shoulder, knowing he won't get messed with. People should stop complaining about fighting, the league is as clean as ever and doesn't promote violence. It's no where near as bad as the old days. If you don't want your kid getting hurt in sports, let them play soccer or tennis.

Posted by: Goon Supporter | February 9, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse


John Buccigross has made a good argument before that many other sports than hockey have fighting. Basketball, NASCAR, they all have fights sometimes. The only difference is that the player is immediately kicked out of the game if he fights.

I think hockey should adopt the same plan. If you fight, automatic game misconduct. None of this 5 minute major nonsense. Kick them out of the game right then and there. So technically, players could still fight, but the price would be greater. You can fight, but then you're out of the game.

Posted by: Blackaces | February 9, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

He should stay.....He is a great player and for you to say that he should go Tarik that is wrong....He protects AO and really all his team mates. I take my daughter to games (3 years old) and she loves it...It is a sport....It is part of the sport...The new NHL is getting weak and we need more old school players like this....So, should we get rid of Erskin?? I think not.....

Posted by: CAPS Fan | February 9, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Interesting range of discussion. Mike G., couldn't agree more, well said. Dodah19, stop trying to keep up with the Jone' 2nd hand, it'll teach your kid and other ignorant adults a lot more about what is important. Right Winger, mostly agreed, don't knock curling, it's how us Canadians love to socialize(drink),compete when we get to be old Gheezers and beat the hell out of someone with skill alone...then go into the bar and enjoy their company.... the way sport should be (like Rugby). If you watch Chris Neil a lot you will see he has a strategy in his physical gameplan...and he takes on all comers who disagree with his approach...not like Tucker. Zamboni...RESPECT...say no more...dead on. Total reflection on our society. Recently, I think it was Gordie Howe, said that back in the Original Six, when a player had another dead to rights (ie.victim of a sucker pass)he would call out just before nailing him, to prevent that poor guy from getting a career ending head injury-RESPECT. Caphcky, I love to watch Semin play, not sitting in the penalty box, because he's had to stick up for himself all the time....enter Brashear. Miklosis, wider rink would be nice but as you noted, right now most of the revenue comes from seat sales, so it won't happen in our lifetime. As far as playing without fighting (ie..the European influence) in International competition, the dirty, chippy, slashing stick work has always cheapened the game. It's like having a kid down the street who can get away with throwing rocks at you, in the old pop on the item.
Some of you have to get over the angst of trying to sell the game and justify your passion for the sport. SO WHAT if Station X doesn't cover the Wins, only the Losses. We know who won, why they won and why Brashear is needed on the Caps. Be carefull what you ask for....too many Canadians know how much fun it is to go to a game...the prices went up...all the good seats disappeared....nobody can go anymore...YOGI WAS RIGHT!

Posted by: Randy B. | February 9, 2007 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Brashear is a veteran specialist. He is a player that alters how other teams play against the Capitals. If the Caps are going to end up contending with an all-European front cast of Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom the team is going to continue to need to provide protection for them in the lineup. It would be wonderful to see the Caps have a 20 year old Scott Stevens come around again, a player with skill that can take the body and intimidate the opposition. Unfortunately, few teams have all around players of this caliber. Most have to improvise with a combination of skill and toughness in complementary players.

Posted by: bulldog | February 9, 2007 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | February 10, 2007 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Brashear should be resigned rather than traded for a mid-level pick, which is likely all he will fetch. His presence has clearly reduced the amount of liberties other teams have taken against Ovechkin and Semin - the last Rangers game where Orr cross-checked Ovechkin in the mouth after Brashear was ejected is ample proof - he plays an energetic, physical role on the fourth line (exactly what you want), and is apparently a solid citizen in the dressing room and on the Caps' PR work done by the players.

As for the parents concerned about their little Junior taking up a sport - hockey - where he may be subjected to violence or might engage in violence (i.e., fights) because of misperceptions about the amount of fighting involved (which I can assume is even less prevalent in peewee and high school leagues than it is in the NHL), it sounds quite hypocritical. While not a parent myself yet at this stage, I know many many parents and as a result get an opportunity to see what the vast majority of parents let their little tykes engage in endlessly, namely playing XBox games in which the tykes stab, shoot, mutiliate, maim and kill virtually countless people per hour on their television screen.

Posted by: Monty | February 10, 2007 5:38 PM | Report abuse

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