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Bourque, Alzner and Laing to Hershey

The Capitals made their final cuts this afternoon, sending Chris Bourque and Karl Alzner to Hershey, I'm told. Quintin Laing has also been placed on waivers with the intention of assigning him to Hershey tomorrow (if he clears, of course).

General Manager George McPhee said through a team spokesman that he'll comment on the decisions tomorrow at media day. I am, however, hoping to hear from Coach Bruce Boudreau when the charity golf tournament is over.

I can't say I'm completely surprised by the three demotions.

Bourque did all that was asked of him (and more) in camp, but there was no way to justify putting another player on waivers to clear a spot for him. Bourque can be sent to the minors without being exposed to waivers.

Alzner, if you read my story in today's paper, simply got caught up in a numbers game. With the team right up against the salary cap, and the 7.5-percent bonus cushion no longer in effect, the Caps needed to send him (and his $1.675 cap hit) down in order to build up some cap space for later in the season. He also does not have to clear waivers.

Laing, meantime, is a fan favorite and a great guy in the room. But the Caps are too deep at forward to justify a full-time slot for him in Washington this season.

The roster now stands at 22 players.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 6, 2008; 4:14 PM ET
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Next: Boudreau Talks About the Cuts


1st!! Owned!!

Posted by: Jay to the Z | October 6, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

I'm suprised

Posted by: not suprised | October 6, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: m | October 6, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Alzner was sent down for salary cap space.

Posted by: MikeR | October 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: red dragon | October 6, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sixth baby, yeah!

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Not surprising at all. Both had excellent camps but both went down because they can be sent down & recalled without being subject to the waiver process.

Pre-salary cap I can't see how either gets sent down - now it's just a reality of the money game.

Posted by: smokejmt | October 6, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I hope Lainger can clear. Hershey is stacked this year.

Posted by: HBFAN | October 6, 2008 4:21 PM | Report abuse




Posted by: Zack Attack | October 6, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Dear God GMGM--just trade Fleischmannnnnn already. Unless, that is, the kid suddenly learns how to initiate physical contact.

Eh, not likely. Send him packing.

Posted by: Right Winger | October 6, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

please be trying to trade Erskine

Posted by: CalleJO | October 6, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm... this doesn't make sense from the defensive side since that means it's:

x-Fedorov (emergency!

I can see this being the case from the forward ranks...

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Does that mean that Fehr is the spare forward?

Who's the 7th D-Man?

Posted by: billy_b | October 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse

From the Previous post

I offered to buy Steve a beer yesterday. he said no. I was so hurt. It would have justified my having a beer!

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 4:21 PM

As for this topic, it's got to be a salary Cap move. (great work on the esplanasun Sombrero. I almost understood it!)

Tarik, I've been meaning to ask. Have the players mentioned if the ice is any better at the phone booth?

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 4:24 PM | Report abuse


personnel decisions should be made based on personnel, not based on cap constraints. anyone want to make the case that jurcina or erskine had a better camp (or are better defensemen) than alzner? anyone want to argue bourque didn't play his way onto this team, other things being equal?


Posted by: pgreene | October 6, 2008 4:25 PM | Report abuse


agree totally: I was impressed with Jurcina's physicality in the last game (Bruins) but must admit that I didn't see Erskine as the #5 or 6... more a 7 or 8...

If this is indeed the way they are going then Sami and Alzner will totally stack Hershey! not to mention Bourque!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Now we know why they wanted to put Feds on the blueline during the preseason for a bit.

Posted by: Larry The Goon | October 6, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

How long do the Caps have to wait before they can bring Alzner back and not hve to worry about salary cap room? After the first game of the season or do they have to wait longer?

Posted by: MikeR | October 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Repost from previous:
I've heard some Montreal fans complain about the great beer selection we have and the Molson-only Bell Centre.

Let's have a big round of applause for our unofficial capologist, Sombrero Guy and his first session of CBA 101, held weekly at CI Hall.

Nothing that couldn't be expected. They'll be top callups if and when we need extra men. This makes driving the 5 hours to PA extra enticing.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | October 6, 2008 4:29 PM | Report abuse

This makes perfect sense. GMGM chose to have;
Alzner-Lepisto instead of

w/Jurcina and Erskine gone. He wants 8 rather than 6 or 8 rathan 7 and this is how he gets that.

He also prefers to keep Fehr and Bourque rather than lose the one that is subject to waivers.

The Caps keep 6 D. That is not a long term plan. Alzner will end up playing more NHL games this season than Erskine.

Posted by: Rob | October 6, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

No surprise here. Bourque hustled his tail off, it a shame the numbers game has him off to Hershey. Something not right when a guy like Bourque gets demoted when he has busted his tail and we keep alazy players like Fehr who has no fire to his game.

Alzner, needs to play up to his press. Yes he played good for a youngster, but he is not ready for the NHL at this time, and he doesn't give our D something it doesn't already have. Everybody ready to make this kid like he's some kind of Allstar, or at least 1st pairing D before he even has his first season under his belt or even proven he belongs here. In time he will get his chance.

Laing, players like him are a dime a dozen so no great loss there. He's one of those guys who plays hard but the bottom line he is too good for the AHL, but not good enough to be a consistent NHLer

Hope this team has some trades up there sleeve. We have done nothing to upgrade ourselves from last year and we barely made the playoffs last season and were literally run out of the playoffs by a Flyers team with not half the talent as us. This team needs a bit more tinkering before it can consider itself a legitimate contender and I am not convinced GMGM and his staff are the folks to take us there.

Posted by: toughhockey | October 6, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Not surprising. Looks like we're starting the season with 22 players. Hopefully everyone all me this indulgence as I am going to re post what I said in the end of the last thread.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Teams can not "spend" more than 56.7 million in rostered salary cap numbers. Since the Cap is calculated daily, the teams cumulative Cap number is added up and divided each day by the number of days in the NHL season. That final number can not exceed 56.7 million.

When Tarik mentioned flexibility moving forward he almost certainly is talking about the trading deadline. Teams that are under the Cap earlier in the season can add significant salaries later in the season without penalty because they're only on the hook for that high cap number while the player is on the roster.

per To understand how each team's cap count is calculated, think of a bank account. For the 2007-08 season, teams got a "deposit" of about $268,984 each day which they can spend on player salaries. (This is $50.3 million divided by 187 days, the length of the ’07-08 season; the season is deemed to have started on October 3, 2007 even though there were two regular-season games played in London.) The difference left over is the "payroll room", the amount that can be used in the future - so each team's cap count can go up or down on a daily basis. The amount of "payroll room" can never fall below zero - so teams can't borrow from the future to pay for today.

Hypothetically speaking, a team could start the season at the Cap floor of 40.7 million with no roster changes until the trade deadline. At the trade deadline they add another 40.7 million in salary for the last 45 days of the season. This team would still be fine under the salary cap because they would only be adding $9,794,117 to their final cap number (40.7 million / 187 (number of days in season) multiplied 45 (by the number of days on the roster).

In this hypothetical scenario, if you totaled the cap numbers of the players on the roster it would end up being 81.4 million, but since half of those numbers only count for the final 45 days of the season, the Team's final cap count would be $50,494,117.

Of course the team would have clear out a lot of players by the start of the following season to be under NEXT year's salary cap, but its an example of how teams can take on expensive contracts for the playoffs.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 3:12 PM

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

As to what the Caps do to start the season, I believe they will start with 6 defensemen. Alzner and Bourque will start in Hershey, even though they have played well enough to start with the big boys. I expect the team to start with a roster of only 22.

Fedorov will be an emergency D-man available if needed.

With a Roster that looks like

Forwards: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kozlov, Laich, Fedorov, Semin, Flash, Nyls, Clark, Brash, Steckle, Bradley, Fehr, Gordon
D: Green, Mo, Poti, Schultz, Jurcina, Erskine,
G: Theodore, Johnson

Plus Clymer buyout hit of $250K

Excluding Pothier's cap hit of $2.5 million for long term injury reserve exception

The team's collective Cap hit would be $55,981,101 giving us $718,889 under the cap limit. Bourque's cap number is $633,333 so he COULD start up with the team if Alzner gets sent down, but wouldn't you rather him get some playing time and let the team build some Cap space for trade deadline moves?

Every day Alzner is in Hershey gives the team about $9K extra at the end of the season to add someone at the trade deadline. $9k doesn't sound like much but after 30 days the total would be $270K which at the trade deadline would be the equivalent of a one million dollar contract or so. Still doesn't sound like much, but now you know why building some Cap room early in the season is important.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 3:12 PM

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

I would imagine that Fedorov is the 7th emergency D in case of an injury on a west coast swing that an AHL player can't get to in time...

this leaves them with:
14 forwards (2 scratches)
6 defensemen
2 goaltenders

injuries will happen (small and large) and things will change...

it's a smart move (looking at it hindsight) to keep 22 and build up some caps space...

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 6, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the massive posts, I had written all of that on the Caps message boards and decided to post here in the last thread. Greg, Dave and JMU seemed to appreciate it so I didn't want it to be missed with the update from Tarik.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

can we stop with the epitaphs for the season that has NOT EVEN STARTED! Geez, if Bourque & Alzner are NHL material (as many are speculating here), they will find their way back to the Caps lineup. In the meantime, LETS GO CAPS!!

Posted by: doughless | October 6, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If the numbers work out, I'm going to assume there is a low percentage that Erskine or Juice ends the year in Washington. Its almost a given that one is going away to make room for Alzner.

There's been some much better talent on the wiaver wire lately. Erskine would almost certainly clear waivers.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 6, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

ill def take erskine/jurcina in hershey...our line up was stacked before bourque laing and alzner..this is gonna be an unbelievable year for all 3 teams, cause the stingrays are gettting a lotof talent from hershey cause there just isnt enough room

Posted by: ben b. | October 6, 2008 4:43 PM | Report abuse

No surprises here. What a great problem to have! Hope Q clears waivers.

Posted by: Jill | October 6, 2008 4:44 PM | Report abuse

so,does this mean we can lose laing?cause if a PKer goes down, that's the guy we want called up. I'm just saying I don't want to lose him after all his personal sacrifice.

Posted by: oo7 | October 6, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Looks like overpaying Fedorov is coming back to bite us. I love Fedorov but $4 million is entirely too much for a 40 year old. Anaheim managed to resign Selanne for just $2.5 mill per year and he's 4 years younger.

Posted by: James | October 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

At least I get to see Alzner, Bourque and Sami this weekend..

J&E as a pair, though.. I dunno.

Posted by: Jordan | October 6, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I highly doubt another team doesn't pick up laing. Get rid of flash or fehr either one and keep laing

Posted by: stevo | October 6, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

If I had seen the Dogfishhead beer I would have taken you up on the offer Lee.

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Old Time Hockey makes a good point about the caliber of player on waivers. People would probably snatch up a Bell or Warrener before a Juiskine.

Posted by: Jordan | October 6, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know how the cap works with injuries?
Say 3 players get injured, but not badly enough to go on LTIR. If the callups salaries make the team exceed the salary cap, can they still be called up to fill out the roster?

Posted by: Stormblue | October 6, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

If Erskine got waived, Tampa would for sure pick him up. He's cheap and actually better than the collection of stiffs that they have.

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Fedorov will start the season on defense with Erskine or Juice as a healthy scratch. Otherwise both Fehr and Gordon will be scratched.


HS = Fehr cause he's no good.

If you squeeze Feds in there, then Gordo will be the one to sit. I'd rather Erskine ride the pine and Gordo play. More talent in the lineup that way.

Posted by: caps va | October 6, 2008 4:56 PM | Report abuse

In hindsight, the Nylander contract is now looking like a disaster. $4.8 mil for the next three years (including this season). Especially with next years free agents (Morrisonn, Jurcina, Schultz, Fehr, Gordon). I'm not a capologist, but it looks like someone is going to need to get moved for prospects. Of course, Feds and Kozlov come of the books next year ($6.5 mil total). Damn, when did hockey become about this type of crap?

Posted by: Bob | October 6, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Steve, are you implying that there *IS* Dogfish Head beer at Verizon Center...? If so, how the heck did I miss it!?

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 6, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@stormblue - All injured players count against the roster. You can get an excpetion to exceed the cap to cover for a long term injured player the definition of which, per

"A player is considered to have a bona-fide long-term injury if, in the opinion of the team, the player has an injury which will cause him to miss at least 10 games and 24 days. Even in such cases, the player's salary will continue to count against the team's Upper Limit. This is mentioned at least three times in the CBA, and is repeated in Article 50.10(a):"

The player counts against the upper limit, but teams can file for long term injury exception like the Caps did in the case of Pothier. If its someone out for a week to ten days, a player can be brought up to replace them but both players would count against the cap.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | October 6, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy --- HOLY CRAP DUDE that was a serious dissertation. Thank you. I feel like I owe you a beer for all that work you did.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | October 6, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Some of you guys are retards! Still criticizing what management does. Im sure you retards know better. I mean, you guys have your own teams and are youre own GM's right? Right... Just shut up and get back to taking my food order. Oh, and if youre not smart enough to know what Feds has done and will do for this team, yes I would like fries with that you imbecile.

Posted by: TheBEAST | October 6, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If you pick up a player on waivers, you must play him. I would have mixed feelings if another team picked up Q, happy for him that he could play and sad for us that he is gone. Q is one of the few character guys we have had around lately.

Posted by: Bob | October 6, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

We'll be seeing plenty of both of these guys this year, I'm sure.

Posted by: Ben | October 6, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone think that Alzner outplayed Schultz? Alzner hits harder, passes better, is in position more often, and does all of this without having Schultz's "Amazing" size. Yet we put him back down in Hershey.

Posted by: capsfan55 | October 6, 2008 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I Believe long term injury is either 10 days or 10 games missing. But if someone is out for that period of time, you can move that player to long term and take that amount off of your cap, which is what the flyers did last year with hatcher. Was paid a bunch but never hit the cap as he did not play until the playoffs or maybe a game or two.

Posted by: Rich C | October 6, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse


Wow, you must be super smart. Of course, you don't seem to understand to purpose of this blog. You must be focused on something the rest of us couldn't possibly grasp. Good thing you have time to post childish rants on a hockey blog. Also, that entire "fries" thing is just hilarious. Smart and funny. Dude, you rock.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 6, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Did you want us to supersize that Mr. "The Beast!"?

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

sh*$. I misread what GregA had written. Got my hopes up for Dogfishhead and now will be disappointed with that crap beer on Saturday at VC.

At least the regular season is finally here.

Posted by: Steve R | October 6, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

If you would have told me two years ago the Caps couldn't make room for a rookie contract, I would have laughed. My how things change.

Posted by: SabreHater | October 6, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

As a Bears season ticket holder, I'm happy to have Bourque and Alzner on our team and not on the Caps.

Posted by: odessasteps | October 6, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Steve: D'oh! I managed to trick myself by accidentally tricking you! Even if we can't get DFH inside VC, apparently RFD ("It's a sports bar!") across from Hooters often has various DFH beers on tap. I like the 90 Minute IPA, myself... but now we're straying pretty far off topic. :) I'll give a great big hug to anyone who brings any Dogfish Head beer to 413 and asks for Greg.

Maybe I can email Uncle Ted and ask for more "higher end" beers. To be fair, the selection is pretty good at VC -- I think it was JMU who mentioned that Montreal has a choice between Molson and... Molson. We definitely have a wider selection. It's just that the bulk of the selection is more "mainstream" and "macrobrews".

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 6, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Before reading Any of the other comments, I think that King Alzner is better off in hershey if he is not gonna be top four D for us. He will/ and the Caps will be better off with him getting LOTS of minutes in hershey, rather than 6- 8 minutes with the CAPS.

I think we will see him with the big club after 35- 40 games.

Borque will be first called up, on an injury or if someone else is slumping. Think the guys (border line guys) up here do not know that??

Good Depth makes everyone better, and makes these ast cuts hard for everyone. The price to pay for having depth!

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 6, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

i hate payin 7.50 for a miller lite. imagine how much a dogfish head would cost you. OUCH!!

Posted by: doughless | October 6, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Leeguru | October 6, 2008 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Please bring more than one DFH to 413!

Posted by: Bob | October 6, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

doughless, then pay $7.50 for a Yuengling or Stella instead. (Or do the Millers come in a larger cup?) But you're right, a DFH would probably be right up there with the $16 hamburgers in the Acela Club or whatever. :)

For Game A, I got a 24oz Stella for 7.50, but then Game B it seems to have shrunk to 16. I'm guessing Game A was the mistake, not B.

Posted by: GregAnnapolis | October 6, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Personally, as a frequent resident of the Acela Club, I'm inclined to overlook the price of the burgers for the fires. Those Garlic/Parmsean fries are tasty.

Posted by: old time hockey | October 6, 2008 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Old Time Hockey, if you want some good fries, head over to GoodStuff Eatery, their fries are some of the best. Granted it's a bit of a treck from the VC, but they're great.

Posted by: AP | October 6, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse


There's Dogfish Head at the Booth? Where, where, where?

Oh yeah, and sucks to have done so well in camp just to be sent packing, Bourque.

Posted by: keef | October 6, 2008 5:53 PM | Report abuse

having Feds on the roster @ 4M isn't bad. Our team is looking good, and he's presence in the locker room is worth it. I attribute the improved play of Semin (and even Kozlov) to having Feds there at the end of the season. He is a great role player on the PK, and for faceoffs, and his defensive abilities may pay huge dividends.

Nylander may be expensive, but he gives us a legit 1-2 punch. When you look at our 2nd line, it rivals many teams first lines with talent and scoring ability. You will NEVER hear a team complain about having too many #1 Centers!!! If you need an example of what a good set of centers can do, (aside from looking @ caps 3 years ago), you can use Buffalo (Brier / Druery).

Pothier is the wild card though. His 2.5M will destroy our cap, and we are eventually going to have to figure out what to do with him. His eggs are scrambled, and offloading that contract isn't going to be easy.

Posted by: fricknoutstandin | October 6, 2008 5:57 PM | Report abuse


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Posted by: Chad | October 6, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

No surprise on Bourque or Laing, but Alzner is very surprising for me. I thought he looked great against Boston, he was never caught out of position and had a great shot from the point that Bourque redirected past Fernandez. Would we be able to just recall him after the first game? He really should be here he's good enough and it would be good for him.

Posted by: DC FURY | October 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

No surprise on Bourque or Laing, but Alzner is very surprising for me. I thought he looked great against Boston, he was never caught out of position and had a great shot from the point that Bourque redirected past Fernandez. Would we be able to just recall him after the first game? He really should be here he's good enough and it would be good for him.

Posted by: DC FURY | October 6, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse

@ Leeguru -- thanks for the link. The TBL are so vaunted that they are already tweaking their roster. I noted that the players they traded for were nothing special -- journeymen basically. I still love how their owners garunteed 1st in the SE -- hahahaha

Posted by: JIM | October 6, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

sorry about the double post

Posted by: DC FURY | October 6, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy

Thanks for the salary cap analysis. Some of us don't visit the other sites, so having it here too is greatly appreciated.

Too bad for the young guys, but as mentioned by others, the salary cap must be factored in to all the decisions. If they are good enough (which appears to be true), they will be back up with the CAPS very soon! Now let them "dominate" lesser-skilled players.

Posted by: Track Collector | October 6, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy

Thanks for the salary cap analysis. Some of us don't visit the other sites, so having it here too is greatly appreciated.

Too bad for the young guys, but as mentioned by others, the salary cap must be factored in to all the decisions. If they are good enough (which appears to be true), they will be back up with the CAPS very soon! Now let them "dominate" lesser-skilled players.

Posted by: Track Collector | October 6, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

To bad for Bourque he should be the first call up!!!!

Posted by: Go SOX Go | October 6, 2008 6:23 PM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: new thread | October 6, 2008 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Its the right decision, IMO. To make room for the guys sent down, the Caps would have to deal one of the veterans (Kozlov, Nylander, etc) or give away a good prospect (Fehr). The Caps need to get a better picture of how the current lineup performs before justifying a move like that. Waiting makes sense.

Posted by: Vlad | October 6, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse


Very interesting.

I understand what GMGM and Boudreau are doing here, I think. It makes sense to get Alzner and Bourque more time on the ice, which they will get at the top of the pack in Hershey. And I feel confident we will see them both again later in the season. :)

Posted by: I Rock the Red! | October 6, 2008 8:51 PM | Report abuse

this is crap bourque is way better then matt Bradley...And if Bruce wants a job for the future send guys like Laing down instead of eric fehr. George Should have been fired years ago with the jager mess and this offseason took all the good feelings I had from last year and threw them away huet theodore please cristobal was a fan fav and matt bradley over matt Cooke ted save us all fire the joke of a manager u have then we might win a series. Last was 3 steps forward sense then 10 steps back!!!!!!

Posted by: sean gray | October 6, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

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