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Caps GM McPhee: 'Owners have to have guts'


Talented first-round draft pick Evgeny Kuznetsov is the newest face of the Capitals' youth movement. (John McDonnell/Washington Post)


The Washington Capitals' youth movement, led by owner Ted Leonsis and General Manager George McPhee, is an example for the Nationals and Wizards to follow as they begin to rebuild, writes Post columnist Tracee Hamilton.

The Caps are at the apex of their much-discussed rebuilding plan, Hamilton writes, by acquiring players through the draft rather than taking a dip in the free agent pool every summer. Many teams, though, don't make it that far.

"Owners have to have guts," McPhee told Hamilton. "It's hard. They have friends in the community and pride and reputations and they're getting feedback from people all the time and when things aren't going well they're getting criticized and ridiculed. It takes guts to be able to withstand that and say, 'We're going to wake up one morning and we're going to be right and this team's going to be good.' We got through that. A lot of owners aren't patient enough to do that."

Click here to read the column.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  July 20, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
 
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Comments

I think it's a little early to be suggesting that the method of building a team through the draft, or at least GMGM's execution of this method, is successful as the Caps have only advanced past the first round of the playoffs one time since the rebuild started.

Posted by: cainoo7x | July 20, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

The rebuild was obviously successful. It's now a matter of how GMGM takes us to the next level.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 20, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@cainooo7x

Success in Ted's mind is from the business perspective. A team rebuilt and that will consistently make the playoffs and thereby make him money is a success. Winning a title would be icing on the cake. And dont take that to mean I dont think Ted wants to win, because I think he does. I just think the whole concept is they are now in the playoffs consistently, dont do anything to screw it up. So therefore we won't see any bold signings or trades of young talent. yet they could throw Ovi and Backstrom out there and have those 2 only and theyd be in the playoffs every year.

Posted by: ThePat | July 20, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Good point about Ovechkin and Backstrom's contracts being a different scenario.

However, what McPhee could have done is not make those contracts extend out so long and then use the loophole on their next contracts.

Look at Crosby and Malkin. Both of them are in the same relative age range as Backstrom and Ovechkin yet their current contracts expire in 3 and 4 years, respectively.

Even on their current contracts, the final year is 1.5 mil less than the remaining years.

If the loophole still exists, the Penguins can use it to keep Crosby and Malkin together and remain more competitive as an overall team.

When McPhee signed Ovechkin and then Backstrom to these decade-long deals, he eliminated the possibility of using the loophole for them -- our biggest 2 contracts.

With a little foresight (e.g., 5-year deals instead of 10-year deals) and the willingness to "cheat" he could've eventually saved us millions in cap room.

It'll be interesting to see if this loophole still exists in a few years and if the Penguins use it on their 2 top players.

One thing is for sure: McPhee can't.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao
How do you figure he can't use the loophole?

I believe Ovi will be 34 and Nicky 32 when their current deals expire. That means if GMGM wants to resign them both then he could just tack on extra years to whatever the "actual" deal will be in order to get a good cap hit.

EG - Sign Ovi for another 10 years and pay him 10M for 5 years and 550K for the next 5. That ends up being a 5.275M cap hit and since he isn't 35 when he signs the deal then the Caps are not stuck with the "Over 35" rule.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao; pkendrick

That loophole will almost certainly be closed after the collective bargainning ends. Which means that next summer is the last opportunity to sign players to such contracts.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

Fair enough, but that won't help us for the next 10 years while those 2 players are in their primes. We won't be able to use the loophole on our 2 biggest contracts during what is likely to be the period where it will be most beneficial to have additional cap room.

@sgm3

Hopefully they do fix this problem.

However, that actually would hurt us even more from a competitive standpoint, assuming the league doesn't force changes to the existing loophole contracts.

Those teams that have already "cheated" would have an even greater advantage since no other teams could do the same thing with some of their contracts to level the playing field.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

tmac/pkendrick: I believe the loophole will be closed or at least tightened before even the Crosby contract is up for renewal.

One risk Pens have with Crosby is he can walk on July 1st, 2013. Due to the Pens signing him to a shorter deal, he can pull a LeBron James and go wherever he wants.

Toronto? Montreal? Some new franchise in Canada that could move from US?

If Brian Burke is still there, you can bet he'll make a push for the Leafs.

Caps can still do this with Semin, Laich, Mike Green, etc. It's a big risk, though. If the player doesn't perform, and you waive him, that's a lot of money to pay even if no cap hit.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 20, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis is the ultimate flim flam man. He has people believing he is the fount of all wisdom and knowledge about building a team and his team hasn't won diddly do. In fact, it underachieved big time last year. But the media keeps its lips planted on Ted's fat behind because he'll always give them interviews.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 20, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

well what choice did Ted and GMGM have other than to rebuild? they had screwed up so badly for years so they really didn't have any other choices, did they?

it's really laughable how they can't stop patting themselves on the back and thinking they're now a model franchise when they can't even get outta the first round.

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

well what choice did Ted and GMGM have other than to rebuild? they had screwed up so badly for years so they really didn't have any other choices, did they?

it's really laughable how they can't stop patting themselves on the back and thinking they're now a model franchise when they can't even get outta the first round.

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

It takes guts to be able to withstand that and say, 'We're going to wake up one morning and we're going to be right and this team's going to be good.'
----------------------------------------

if you read between the lines here a little, i think you can see that McPhee is sweating his job for the first time in a long while. When GMs start outwardly complimenting their bosses esp after another disappointing playoff run, its usually a sign of some desperation.

And it takes more than guts. It takes vision. A lot of owners have guts. Especially the ones who can't pass up the 2nd helping of baklava.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that several already top-tier teams have used this loophole, enabling them to add up to a Semin or Green-caliber player on top of the salary cap threshold.

That is a HUGE advantage unless every team does the same thing to the same extent to level the playing field.

If they close the loophole on this issue in the next CBA without adjusting the existing sham contracts, those teams possessing those sham contracts gain an even greater advantage.

How about that? The "cheaters" would come out even further ahead.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

First met Leonsis after 9/11 when he had open scrimmages. He's real, not fake, not about money, he's a really good person and one that will learn. He tried Jagr and all that stuff and it did not work and he learned (Getting Ovie helps). I have no problem with people voicing opinion about players but Leonsis is off limits unless you want a Snyder, Davis, etc. The Caps and now Wiz have one of the best owners period and guess what, I'm not on any payroll.

Posted by: flee001 | July 20, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

joek - when did you become such a basher? I'm curious. I always thought of you as a complete McPhee apologist. Did your contempt for the Caps occur just because of this past playoff failure?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Loophole is not cheating, it's knowing the rules and it's one that should never have been present. The owners, they no have good lawyers for this agreement especially when they forced it. Funny GMGM did bad by doing honest contracts, oh well.

Posted by: flee001 | July 20, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Another point: When you talk about using the loophole on 2nd and 3rd tier players, it's not nearly as enticing as using it on your top-tier, core players.

Not only can you manage greater cap savings in a single contract when dealing with your superstar player(s), you also are a lot more confident that you are dealing with a player you want around for the long run.

By not having the possibility of using this loophole on Ovechkin and Backstrom during their prime years, we missed out on a good opportunity to maximize the team we could build around them.

Sure, we could do it with a guy like Laich who is probably a good long-term piece or better yet Green with his next contract, but it's still hard to get the same savings or have the same confidence that you are committing to a player you want around for the majority of that contract.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

how do you go from Leonsis to Snyder and Davis?

how about Bob Kraft? he's the model owner and his team IS the standard against which every professional team in N.A. should be measured.

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I was honestly going over that word several times in my mind over the past few months.

Vision.

The owner needs it and of equal or greater importance, the GM needs it.

I think McPhee is intelligent. Possibly very intelligent.

I don't know if he has great vision for the task in hand.

I always feel like he's imitating and thinking conceptually instead of actually looking the the present state of the league and his team and what it takes to win.

My impression is that he worries more about not making a mistake than actually finding solutions to the problems.

His constant references to Detroit and just a variety of the comments you hear from him from time to time combined with his actual moves and decision-making leave doubt in my mind. I may just be an ignorant fan but that's how I see it.

McPhee is smart but is he GM smart. Those are two different things entirely.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

one more historic playoff failure will do that to you

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a little early to be suggesting that the method of building a team through the draft, or at least GMGM's execution of this method, is successful as the Caps have only advanced past the first round of the playoffs one time since the rebuild started.

Posted by: cainoo7x | July 20, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Building a team thru the draft is always the preferred way to go. But you usually have to supplement that with the correct outside acquisitions. And you have to play a successful style and system. If you had to break down the Caps' deficiencies incl what they have in their system:

1- not enough top 6 forwards who combine skill with grit
2- marginal role players
3- lack of rugged defensive dmen
4- questionable emphasis on offense v defense by the coach


Of that list, only #1 is hard to add. Which leads me to believe that the reason McPhee hasn't added the other 3 components is he doesn't view it as a problem. Which means the Caps will be deficient in those areas as long as McPhee runs the team.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Kraft is excellent example. My point is there are some really, REALLY crappy owners who run their teams into the ground. Leonsis is not one of them and he is the first to point out it takes a bit of luck too with Ovie and (hopefully) John Wall.

Caps will win a Cup and as for GMGM, when is any GM truly safe?

Posted by: flee001 | July 20, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I don't mean to pile on but weren't you the one going on and on before the playoffs about how nobody could stop the Caps' scoring machine?

I've wondered about that for a while now when reading your posts. You seem like a completely different character unless I'm mistaking you for someone else.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I appreciate the re-build, but it still seems like the Jagr-Nylander experience haunts Leonsis/gmgm at free agency time. I agree it was a lousy UFA crop this year, but most of us still feel a smart center and/or veteran D-man signing was called for. Not to "mess up" the young core of the team, but to help them get over the hump in the playoffs.

Posted by: blackjack65 | July 20, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@ cstanton1

one more historic playoff failure will do that to you

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

what did you find most troubling about this past playoff performance? I can honestly say I've never encountered a fan who went from where you were at mentally to where you are now, in such a short time. I'm glad you're holding GM accountable. But I'm just (pleasantly) surprised. And you know how McPhee preaches "patience" ? That's what fans like you and I need to subscribe to. We need to stick around another coupla yrs to see that tool get canned. I think even one more playoff failure won't be enough. It'll take two. A new GM, new coach will hopefully build on what McPhee has brought to this team. You can't deny GM's contributions. He's added some assets. But he's not part of the eventual solution.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

People should not get carried away with these loophole contracts. While I definitely think Semin could be a possibility for one given his age and skill level, they do have their risks(for the owner).

First, I do not think that contracts of this length are insurable. Meaning that if a player gets a career ending injury, the team will still have to pay the money and not the insurance carrier.

Second, for many players it will take away the desrire to improve and be the best. Yes, while playing most guys will try their hardest because they want to win. But a year or two after signing the contract, the player may start spending more time with their families or more time partying and travelling in the off-season rather than training.

So while they will still be good, they won't remain at the same level. There really is no financial downfall for the player as they have a guaranteed contract and will never sign another contract again.

This has been seen in all sports when players sign huge guaranteed contracts and then disappear or become significantly worse. Some players can overcome the desire to relax, but many do not.

Third, many owners do not want to pay $10M over the salary cap for the next 5 years(if a team signed two players to Kovy type contract they will be paying out $8M over the cap). Yes, I understand some of that will go to escrow, but many owners do want to make money too as it is a business.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I've wondered about that for a while now when reading your posts. You seem like a completely different character unless I'm mistaking you for someone else.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

lmao! great minds think alike! Joek is a longtime fan from what I can gather. And my impression of him was he really appreciated the current version of the Caps because he got sick of watching some of the clutch/grab teams of the past lose to more talented teams.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Didn't you post something the other day about how you thought McPhee was actually doing a good job and that he is just held to a different standard?

Was that just tongue-in-cheek?

I couldn't make sense of it coming from you.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe Leonsis is a terrible owner such as Snyder or Al Davis but what I can't stand is the arrogance on the part of him and McPhee

at least win something a lot more significant than a division title or a Prez trophy before starting to lecture others on how to rebuild.

I don't hear Bob Kraft lecturing other NFL owners. Leonsis started lecturing other NBA owners even before his deal to buy the Wiz was even finalized.

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Serious thought:

I met Coach B at FanFest, and I think the Caps will be OK--more than OK, actually--with him at the helm.


Funny thought:

IF Dale Hunter were ever to join the Caps' coaching staff, then IMHO his first game against Tampa Bay should include him marching up to the Owners' box and giving Stevie Y. a face-wash--preferably with a stinky glove...Kinda like something GMGM did once, heh-heh-heh...

Serious thought:

I met Coach B at FanFest, and I think the guys will be OK--more than OK, actually--with him at the helm.

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 20, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

@ tmac2yao

it's actually nice that you remember because there are those who think that I have always been a basher...

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I agree with you. I get a sense of entitlement and arrogance from the top down on this team.

Leonsis, McPhee, Boudreau and unfortunately, even Ovechkin.

Pride is good. Confidence is good.

Talking and acting like you're champions before even coming close is not.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I add Boudreau with hesitation thought. I actually think that he is relatively humble compared to the other 3 in that list.

He did have that poor reaction to Umberger's comments but I largely chalk that up to him getting a little too defensive in one instance.

The bigger question mark with Boudreau is whether or not his style of play can translate to winning when it matters at this level.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis is giving advice built on good business, not arrogance. GMGM, amazing he spoke this much and for BB, he knows he's on a ride, just look at all his commercials. It's a 15 min of fame kick he's on and the comment about Ovie as MVP when Sedin won was bush league. Give a guy his due.

Leonsis keeps my love of the Caps alive and strong and has made me a Wiz fan again since the days of Bernard King. Don't become Angelos who ruined my childhood O's or Synder who ... well everyone here knows that one.

Dang, ranting, sorry everyone ... now who should the Caps trade for.

Posted by: flee001 | July 20, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Didn't see this anywhere, so thought I'd post it...

Caps sign two more...
Greentree:
http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=467
Fahey:
http://www.capgeek.com/players/display.php?id=1327

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

per capgeek... this puts them at 45 contracts...

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

yep that happened a while ago. Greentree was signed to replace Giroux. He's a power forward type and a possible recall option for the Caps.

And after the Bears lost Amadio, they signed Fahey.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

it also takes brains, a sack and common sense, McPee. i sometimes get the feeling that these are in short supply over at Ketler.

Posted by: doughless | July 20, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

my impression is that both Bouds and McPhee share a common vision and they will stubbornly strive to make that vision come true despite evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

I personally hate the loophole. Tacking on 5 years at the league minimum for when the player will be in his 40s just to cut down the cap hit is terrible and I think the NHL should be voiding those contracts right away. There is no way in hell Kovalchuk is going to be playing in the NHL when he is 45 years old.

You might not like that we have a little less cap space because GMGM didn't exercise the loophole. But at least he is playing fairly.

And I completely expect the loophole to be closed in the next CBA. Although I am guessing the current contracts will be grandfathered into it.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

It would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the NHL to void these contracts. The NHL and the NHLPA have a collectively bargainned agreement wherein these contracts comply.

So it would highly doubtful the NHL can just void a valid contract that complies with current collectively bargainned agreement between the NHL and NHLPA. If that was possible then collective bargainning agreements would serve no purpose and would be useless. That is not so and those collectively bargainned agreements are quite powerful.

The NHL could either get the NHLPA to agree to a revised CBA(doubtful) or they will just have to wait until the current CBA ends and a new one can be bargainned for.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Also, the problem with using the loophole on Ovi & Nicky's contracts is that they would never agree to them. We would have to have given them both 20 year deals. The loophole works because they are paying very little money for player at the end of their career or if they have already retired. Something tells me Ovi and Nicky will still be playing when they are in their early 30s.

Kovalchuk's deal pays him nothing for the last 5 years when he will be 40-45 years old. I don't know the exact how the retirement rules work but I do know that Kovy's deal would not be 35+ contract so I think it won't count against the cap.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - I know they can't void them. I just said I "wished" they could.

And even if they tried to void them now then I am sure some insanely overpaid ambulance chaser would spend tons of the league's and team's money to argue the point and nothing would be resolved for years. (Jaded about lawyers? ME? The hell you say)

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Serious thought:

I met Coach B at FanFest, and I think the Caps will be OK--more than OK, actually--with him at the helm.
-------------------------------

So after you met him he inspired confidence in you that he was the right man for the job? That doesn't seem like an endorsement based on anything tangible Rhino.


"Funny thought:

IF Dale Hunter were ever to join the Caps' coaching staff, then IMHO his first game against Tampa Bay should include him marching up to the Owners' box and giving Stevie Y. a face-wash--preferably with a stinky glove...Kinda like something GMGM did once, heh-heh-heh..."

actually if you remember the Caps-Wings Finals, Dale did his fair share of abusing Yzerman. He sat on him, crosschecked him, facewashed him etc. Anything he could to gain an advantage. Prolly why Yzerman ended up taking more PIMs that playoff season than in any other one.

I heard a radio interview with McPhee once after the Devils traded for him at the tail end of his career and he was all about how important it was for a team to establish themselves physically and how thrilled he was the Devils had decided to upgrade their toughness by getting him and a coupla other scrappers.

McPhee was one of Lou Lamoriello's first acquisitions as new GM of the Devils in 1987. That's probably why McPhee has spoken so highly of Lou in the past. I can't remember why McPhee didn't play more that season. He scored 3 goals in 5 games and that's all he played. He must have had some serious injury because he only played 14 games in 2 yrs before retiring.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

just found it..

"McPhee's outstanding amateur career was capped off when he was named the winner of the Hobey Baker Award as the top U.S. collegiate player. After graduating with a business degree in 1982, the young forward signed as a free agent with the New York Rangers. He left Bowling Green as the CCHA's all-time leading scorer and was the first player to make the conferences all academic team three straight years.

"Fenster" was a hard working role player in New York and enjoyed his best season in 1984-85 when he played on an efficient line with Bob Brooke and Robbie Ftorek. He later joined the New Jersey Devils, but his playing time was curtailed by a serious back injury. McPhee was forced to retire in 1989. On June 9, 1997, he became the fifth general manager in Washington Capitals history and led the team to its first Stanley Cup finals appearance a few months later. Under his guidance, the team was one of the most exciting in the NHL and added superstar Jaromir Jagr prior to the 2001-02 season. "

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

haha. That was pretty funny.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious - at what point do people start taking it personally when their favorite hockey team doesn't win the Stanley Cup every year? It's laughable that people start acting like they're owed anything. Almost as bad as people filing lawsuits against McDonald's for their weight gain. It's kinda' sad. Poor, victimized you. Grow a pair, people. Win or lose, no one is forcing you to watch. Deal with your heartbreak in a more constructive way. You're an embarrassment. Regardless of what decisions are made by Leonsis, McPhee, Boudreau, $h*7 happens. For you to make it your life's purpose to call them idiots is beyond pathetic. It's classless. If you were animals, you'd be the poop flinging monkey kind.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 20, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

I think McPhee is intelligent. Possibly very intelligent.
I don't know if he has great vision for the task in hand.
I always feel like he's imitating and thinking conceptually instead of actually looking the the present state of the league and his team and what it takes to win.
My impression is that he worries more about not making a mistake than actually finding solutions to the problems.
Posted by: tmac2yao | July 20, 2010 12:58 PM
--------------------------
Amazing...just frickin' amazing.
You are psycho-analyzing a man you probably never met. You've probably never sat in on a staff meeting with him, you've probably never been any closer to the team than the rest of us poor saps sitting in the cheap seats. But you think you know how his mind works. Why do I waste my time reading the comments section on this blog?

Posted by: tess2201 | July 20, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

i'm curious too, at what point do certain fans take it so personally when their favorite team's mgmt gets critiqued that their only contribution to this board is strictly confined to criticizing other fans?

btw, here's some vid of Dale harassing Yzerman from the Finals. At the 2:14 mark in the Caps crease [chuckle]
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJUBFGd68lI

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Amazing how many people Leonsis has flim flammed. He's the ultimate con man.

Posted by: poguesmahone | July 20, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

i agree with Tess. We shouldn't assume McPhee is highly intelligent.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

pkendrick: The way it works, I'm almost certain, is if a player is 34 or less on July 1st in the first year of the contract, then he can retire in a subsequent year in which he is 35 or older on July 1st of that year and the cap hit ends.

I don't think they thought of this loophole. What they DID DO was close the loophole the other way - if a player begins a new contract 35 or older, retirement can't prevent cap hit from entire deal. This way you can't give a guy like Knuble a ten year deal with frontloaded money to have a lower cap hit.

The "midground" case was Pronger. He signed his new 7-yr extension with Flyers last summer - at age 34 - to kick in this year - when he's now 35. Ha! Flyers thought they'd get to have him retire and avoid last two year's cap hit, but league has said apparently because the contract starts at 35, there's no "retirement escape" allowed.

What needs to happen is the new CBA should have a rule that averages the contract value and calculates the "avoided cap hit" (in Kovy's case, $4M a year for the first ten years at least) and then charges the team some or all of the avoidance if the player retires before the end of the contract.

In closing one loophole, they created another, and simply must now close that one.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 20, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Whether anyone is smart or dumb is pointless. Smart people make dumb decisions all the time and dumb people make smart decisions. Who the hell cares. We just want a 2C and a Dmen. My bet is in about two weeks we end up with Kaberle, I for one would be happy with that. Others on here would probably hate it. But thats why everyone comes on this to thing, to b$tch and moan and give their own opinion. Its a blog comment board, who cares about what people say and feel. Be honest with yourself, people comment on here to kill time. To take offense to what someone says, who odds are very few people on here have ever met each other, is really pointless.

Posted by: ThePat | July 20, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

It was a huge fail in the playoffs last year. It sucks. It happened, and it's happened to more experienced and decorated teams than the Caps.

9 teams have won the Cup in the last 15 years of playoffs, three of them multiple times and they were special teams.

The Caps aren't quite there yet but they are very close and I'm happy, in the long run, with where they are going.

Last year's loss was the first backstep they've had in three seasons - and there will be more - but I'm certainly not going to judge the the franchise, and this window, until it's over with this crop.

To close, maybe we shouldn't assume the GM or Ted are smart; we also shouldn't assume their stupid. How about that?

Posted by: saintex | July 20, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Smart, dumb, whatever. Just give us someone to center the second line, and another dman.

Let's acquire them by getting rid of the soft, underachivers.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 20, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: Thanks for the youtube.

BTW, if we had Hunter and Tinordi (from then) added to our team now, it would solve lack of #2C, lack of #1D, lack of grit and lack of vet leadership all in one.

And what was that team short? Caps for years had everything except the superstar. Had they kept Scott Stevens, I've posted many times, they might have won up to three Cups including maybe 1998 over the Wings.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 20, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Last year's loss was the first backstep they've had in three seasons - and there will be more - but I'm certainly not going to judge the the franchise, and this window, until it's over with this crop.
-------------------------------

if they had delivered a more consistent effort v the Flyers, they would've beaten them in that series. The Flyers did not play great hockey in that series. I consider that to be a failure as well. The Pens series presented more challenges but I didn't walk away from that series feeling our guys had left it all out there. Certain guys did - Laich, Steck, Brads. But the rest of the team gave an inconsistent effort.

And being "close" doesn't mean that a Cup win is inevitable. You have to adjust philosophy. Its the same in any sport. The Broncos didn't win a SB until they established a smashmouth running game that was more similar to teams in the NFC and they got bigger along the defensive line. They had to make a philosophical change (new regime) despite making it to the SB four times previously and losing each time. You could say they were "close" too. But they never would have won the big prize until they adjusted some of their core concepts. Caps aren't even that close. Its not like they're losing in the Finals each yr. For them to have a real chance of winning, they need to overhaul their philosophy, not their roster. It comes down to the old cliche - you have teams built for reg season success, and you have teams built for postseason success. The Caps have unintentionally created a team that is built for reg season success only.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

pants, I think part of the idea, right now, is that if they are going to move it'll be a trade that clears cap room that'll filled with what comes in return. I get the impression that the organization wants to keep cap space available for something at the deadline and/or for next year. I wouldn't really have loved to see Volchenkov here but that didn't happen so now I think it's time to continue development.

As many have put forth here, this team can't redeem the playoff loss until the playoffs next season - simple as that, and I agree. If we all agree that the season is going to be a building and learning process for the young guys in particular, what's the hurry? We have 60+ games to work with the organization's players, win games, earn a playoff spot, and then, if necessary make a move with the cap space available.

I happen to see loads of room for this team to manuever without bumping against the cap or making any rash, longish-term, big money moves.

We've waited through the FA period and nothing worked out. Now, get camp underway, get the season rolling, let's see what we have, and when trading opens move it we need to.

Does anyone in here really think this team won't win 50 games this season?

We all want playoff success and we'll see it.

Posted by: saintex | July 20, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, great points and I mostly agree. There are limits to philosophy overhaul within any pro franchise, though. It's pretty hard to completely change that overnight with contracted players but I hope, like you do, that they learned something from last season. I'm not as well-versed as you are, I read most of the posts, in all the details, but I was at the Flyer series, like most of us, and that team didn't seem a whole lot better than Philly. Young, getting better, hot, but not wholly stronger.

If they've learned the painful lesson from last year then I hope (that word) they'll build during the 'exhibition' season, make make some moves, and be ready next year.

Posted by: saintex | July 20, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1:

um, Tinordi was never considered a #1 D in the NHL. Maybe you are referring to Stevens?

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

And what was that team short? Caps for years had everything except the superstar. Had they kept Scott Stevens, I've posted many times, they might have won up to three Cups including maybe 1998 over the Wings.
-------------------------------------
quite possible. Our roster on the Wings series defensively had no teeth except Tinordi. Klee was unnecessarily scratched too often. Brendan Witt got benched. You had guys like Calle (no offense but he wasn't a tough defenseman), Housley, Gonchar (at the height of his softness), Reekie (fake tough guy). Don't get me wrong, the Wings themselves had a finesse corp of dmen except for Rouse. But their forwards outworked our forwards. When your best line on most nights is Dale Hunter centering Craig Berube and Chris Simon, you got some issues. And we used that line frequently against Yzerman's line.

Losing Stevens was big. But losing Courtnall and Dino also hurt. Imo the best balanced top line the Caps (until possibly Ovy-Backs-Knuble) ever fielded was Dale centering those two. In 1989 that line combined for 460 PIMs, played all 80 games, scored 99 goals and 215 pts. And countless hits. In the playoffs that yr those 3 had 16 goals despite Dino missing 7 games with a busted leg. The reason I would probably give them an edge over our current top line is how well they played in the playoffs. No dropoff in effort, they were consistent from shift to shift.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

As many have put forth here, this team can't redeem the playoff loss until the playoffs next season - simple as that, and I agree. If we all agree that the season is going to be a building and learning process for the young guys in particular, what's the hurry? We have 60+ games to work with the organization's players, win games, earn a playoff spot, and then, if necessary make a move with the cap space available.
-----------------------

Saintex, if i can offer up a humble adjustment to that statement - we won't have to wait until next postseason to see what type of playoff team we have. We should be able to judge that throughout the course of the year (barring significant acquisitions of course).

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

In my opinion we need the 2C now and cant wait until the trade deadline for that. You need more than 15 games to gel with your linemates. D-men and grit guys are easier to slide in at the dead line.

Posted by: ThePat | July 20, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I haven't seen a dropoff in effort or production from Ovie or Backstrom in the playoffs.

Ovie has 20 goals in 28 playoff games(lots of assists and a good +/- too).

I do not know Backstrom's statistics but he has been very good in the playoffs, maybe excluding the Philly series, but he was 19 then.

Knuble was only ok this past year in the playoffs(wasn't able to cash in on some rebounds), but that was a pretty small sample size.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1 - Thanks for the info

AND

@ThePat - Posting just to take time from work? How dare you sir. That is completely insensitve to those posters who are currently unemployed. Show some tact man.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1:

um, Tinordi was never considered a #1 D in the NHL. Maybe you are referring to Stevens?

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

disagree, Tinordi in his prime was definitely a shutdown dman. No doubt about it. And considering he started his career in the nhl as a 4th line right winger, that's quite an accomplishment. He was one of the top performers on the MN team that finished below .500 and still made it to the Finals only to lose to the Penguins in 6 games. If ever there was an overachieving team, that was it. Tinordi played on the top defensive pairing on every team he was part of besides the Rangers of course where he played mostly forward. And maybe his short stint in Dallas he may have either played with Derian Hatcher or on the 2nd pairing.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin:
28GP, 20G, 20A, 40Pts, +14

Backstrom:
28GP, 12G, 18A, 30Pts, +13


oooohhh, seems like Backstrom is a slacker in the Playoffs... cut the bum!

Semin:
28GP, 8G, 16A, 24Pts, +1

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

you hurt my feelings

Posted by: ThePat | July 20, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1:

In answer to your question: Yes, Coach Boudreau did (and does) inspire my confidence.

Before you go off on another absolutist, negative rant and start calling me delusional, I beg you to consider the following:

Regardless of what shortcoming Coach Boudreau may have (and regardless of how good or bad GMGM may be), these facts remain:

1) Before Boudreau we were in last place in the League (again), with no end to the pain in sight. Ovechkin's greatness notwithstanding, no one else in the league seemed to take the Caps seriously.

2) With Boudreau we are now regarded as a legitimate contender. Just look at what other teams are (over)spending in an effort to stop us.

3) Boudreau's leadership played a significant part in getting us from 1 to 2 in a remarkably short time.

4) Though some on this board are quick to dismiss it as meaningless, winning the President's Trophy is no mean feat.

5) The Jack Adams Trophy is not awarded by Caps "homers".

Say what you will...the man has to be doing something right--it didn't just happen by itself.

As for McPhee: most of the teams in the League that are thought of as being equal to or better than the Capitals are either in serious salary cap trouble, or are very close to it. And other teams that are trying to match up to the Caps are flirting with salary cap trouble to get there. To say nothing of the questionable contracts seemingly in vogue for the acquisition of marquee-level players.

Meanwhile, the Capitals have the cap space to make some of the moves that some of the people on this board are clamoring for.

Like it or lump it, this favorable situation is a direct result of GMGM's decisions.

Whether GMGM will make the hoped-for moves remains to be seen--FWIW, there are a couple of free agents that I believe would contribute well to a Cup run for the Caps, and so naturally I would like to see them signed.

But not at a price that forces the club to engage in a mass salary dump after the objective is acheived (e.g., Chicago).

Remember, when all is said and done, this is a business--a unique kind of business, I grant you, but a business nonetheless.

And like any responsibly-run business, those in charge should not blindly scramble for short-term gain at the sacrifice of long-term stability.

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

oooohhh, seems like Backstrom is a slacker in the Playoffs.
----------

I can't think of a single person here who has criticized Backstrom's playoff performance, not that I've read anyway.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 20, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

GMGM has wisely resisted paying an exorbinant price to obtain talent and then to have to basically dump homegrown players like Chicago and Philly. I don't think people on this blog would be happy if the Caps made a big run at the playoffs and then had to trade or couldn't resign a player like Brooks Laich or one of our young goalies in a couple of years.

The Caps likely will make trades during the season involving Semin and/or Green to be in better position for a Stanley Cup run. GMGM wasn't dealing from a position of strength this summer with both players coming off of poor playoffs. Let's see what he does during the season to tweak the team.

Posted by: wizfan89 | July 20, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Hunter playing Yzerman is classic! Too bad Juneau couldn't pot the wideopen shot he had. We need Hunter V.2.0. i know he is not a forward, but do y'all think this Dustin Stevenson kid could bring a little venom??

Posted by: doughless | July 20, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

As we fans who have the temerity to criticize management or ownership are constantly reminded, pro sports is a business. If so, shouldn't the very people who pay those [extremely well-compensated] individuals their salaries, at least ATTEMPT to hold them to some measure of accountability?

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Timbo:

all of the donkeys saying you, I and others have no right to criticize can blow it out of their you know what!! I have every right to criticize since I am the purchaser of 2 season tickets. So pony up homers, if you haven't already done so! as for you Timbo, keep sharing your opinions.

Posted by: doughless | July 20, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

As we fans who have the temerity to criticize management or ownership are constantly reminded, pro sports is a business.
---------

To expound on my point a bit further, having grown up around hockey [on skates before my 2nd b-day] in New England, I've seen what can happen to even the best of hockey towns [Boston] when fans fail to hold mgmt / ownership to account: for decades, criticizing players and in some cases coaches was acceptable and occasionally even welcomed [esp. after the inevitable yearly playoff flop] behavior, but criticism of mgmt [never mind ownership] simply.was.not.done.

Not by fans, not by reporters, not on the TV telecasts - nowhere. Victimized by some of the most overpriced tix in pro sports, along with underpaid but overachieving teams, the Bruins under the Jacobs / Sinden reign [along with a compliant and subservient media] have transformed Boston into a mediocre pro hockey town.

While it is and always will be a terrific high school and college hockey town, the damage inflicted by Jacobs / Sinden on the pro hockey scene in Boston has been near incalculable.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 20, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

doughless: thanks dude, much appreciated. I've never understood where not wholeheartedly embracing managements each and every acquisition [or non-acquisition / A-Train!] somehow means you're a bad fan. Baffling. Congrats on those season tix though, I'm envious!!!

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 20, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

To whoever said Bob Kraft is a model owner, Mr. Kraft (or more specifically, Mr. Belichick) is finding out that it is much more difficult to win football games - especially in the playoffs - when you do not know exactly what plays the opposition is going run.

Posted by: hockeypuck2 | July 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, that is true about the regular season. We will get to see at least two new full-time defenders and the other four moving around a bit. I suspect we'll see some Bears call-up's and Caps working at centers; time to see where they are. They may need more help and the season will gives us that ideas.

Posted by: saintex | July 20, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

cstanton, that is true about the regular season. We will get to see at least two new full-time defenders and the other four moving around a bit. I suspect we'll see some Bears call-up's and Caps working at centers; time to see where they are. They may need more help and the season will gives us that ideas.

Posted by: saintex | July 20, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

saintex:

i am not cstanton and do not pretend to speak on his behalf, but I believe there are several people that post here often that make the point that: based on the fact that many of the possible call-ups played with the Caps last season (althoug not a full season), we kind of have a good idea of what to expect and not expect. Given the result (Habs give Caps the heave-ho in round 1), why not address shortcomings NOW (i.e., 2nd line center and top 1/2 pair d-man?

Posted by: doughless | July 20, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom:
28GP, 12G, 18A, 30Pts, +13


oooohhh, seems like Backstrom is a slacker in the Playoffs... cut the bum!

Semin:
28GP, 8G, 16A, 24Pts, +1

Posted by: FrankM73

----------

I can't think of a single person here who has criticized Backstrom's playoff performance, not that I've read anyway.

Posted by: Timbo_1
----

the irony of my post above is that I had a hug

and

around the Backstrom part... and :-( it was stripped...

I was being extremely sarcastic... :-|

Sidenote:
I can always tell when I'm reading a post by Rhino... lol.. bold here, italics there... love it...

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Damn! it stripped my greater than and less than sign around the below, again...

SAARRCCAASSSMMMM
and
/ SAARRCCAASSSMMMM

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 20, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Halak, nuff said. Yes, we all agree that Caps need 2C, 1D but we also need that hot goalie, bit of luck in playoffs. Remember Kolzig getting his long a$$ toe on Wooley's blast, things like that or Esa missing an open net ... luck is big part. Even with the 2C and 1D of our dreams it's no guarantee but what is guarantee is the money we would commit. I want both but if we go into season with current roster, well then lets do this ting.

Posted by: flee001 | July 20, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino--

I don't disagree with the points you made about BB. And maybe my relentless criticism of him comes across inaccurately. I don't think he's a terrible coach by any means. But I think he has some basic beliefs that will need to be adjusted before he can get this team to reach its full potential in the playoffs. And frankly, that isn't something that is easy to do for a coach. Coaches usually revert back to what they're most comfortable with.

What I truly dislike about BB is his personality. I know...its not necessarily relevant in a discussion about his coaching ability but the way he seems to play favorites, his smug demeanor where he's convinced he's got all the answers, the fact that he frequently lets his team off the hook in games they've won despite a poor effort, even the public lobbying for his players to get every award rubs me the wrong way. He just comes across to me as kind of a phony and a whiner. But I admit all of that has little relevance. His biggest issue for me is still the style of hockey that he coaches. Granted he has introduced a level of offensive creativity here that a coach like Hanlon could only dream of. But maybe in the long run BB is better suited to be an asst coach who can add that element to teams who desperately need it. Like a Norv Turner.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

flee:

i respect that. always room for a bounce or toe save. as for the Halak jab, ain't buying it.

Posted by: doughless | July 20, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

the only folks who even begin to hold the Caps accountable reside on msg boards. The local media certainly doesn't do it the way they analyze the Redskins or the O's. Very little draft analsyes after the fact (yes I know it takes longer for nhl drafts to be evaluated but still). It really comes down to knowledge. There is very little analysis and true insight provided by local DC hockey writers. They report on what is transpiring with the team and they spread whatever message the Caps put out. They lack the ability to analyze trades, signings etc. If the Caps issue a statement about a player they've acquired, the writers just print it unquestioningly, like its fact. Its upto the fans to peel away the layers and get to the truth. You get a heckuva lot more insightful media reporting in some other places. Not to slam Tarik because he is great at giving updates. But really, he's just a Caps tweeter. And the op-ed pieces by folks like Tracee Hamilton and Boswell are just awful. Just fluff pieces.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

"do y'all think this Dustin Stevenson kid could bring a little venom??"

hopefully, looks like Hershey is now looking at him as a legit prospect to crack their lineup. The thought before dev camp was that he'd spend the yr in the ECHL but after his showing it looks like he's caught Hershey's eye. And if Finley makes the Bears that gives them towers of power back there. But the AHL is also filled with 6ft4 and taller dmen who are career minor leaguers. Even Alex Henry has a hard time finding his way back to the NHL.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 20, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

To whoever said Bob Kraft is a model owner, Mr. Kraft (or more specifically, Mr. Belichick) is finding out that it is much more difficult to win football games - especially in the playoffs - when you do not know exactly what plays the opposition is going run.

Posted by: hockeypuck2 | July 20, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

LOL right... after that scandal broke, the Pats went 16-0 then 18-0 before they were upset by the Giants in the SB... they also beat the Skins like 50-10 that year, the worst beating of Gibbs' Skins ever I believe

I bet you're a Jets fan... LOL

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Frank: I knew you were being sarcastic about Backstrom, that was clear. What was also clear was noone I've seen on the boards has criticized his or Ovie's playoff performance - which is what it seemed like you were implying. My bad if that was not the case.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 20, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

That was because cstanton1 said he would rank the Hunter/Ciccereili/Courtnall line ahead of the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble line because of the differnce in play in the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone else see this quote from Steve Yzerman when talking about losing the toughness on their team (Walker and Konopka) and the possibility of replacing it when he fills out his roster:

"I think fighting is an overemphasized part of the game."

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

sgm3

We are not supposed to look behind the curtain. If we do - we may not be so critical of GMGM.

Posted by: MReilly9 | July 20, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

wanna "HAVE SOME GUTS",well now that you know you dont have a second (or third for that matter)line center ready to step up,then you need to 'have guts' and go get the team what they need.And while ur at it,pick up a vet dman thats not affraid to hit or block shots.Then you can talk about 'havin some guts'! Cause any team can rebuild and make the playoffs,its what you do in the playoffs that matter.And GMGM,ur track record aint so hot.Its not gutz you need.its bawzzzz!!! GO CAPS

Posted by: gratefuldid | July 20, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Its not gutz you need.its bawzzzz!!!

Was that written by gratefuldid...or Sir Winston Churchill the day before D-Day?

Actually, grateful, gutz means toughness to stand in there and take it, and bawzzz means to do it and get away with it.

Really, as Winnie might say, it rather takes both, or all three as it were, as bawzzz are two and the guts are one, don't you think?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 20, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

NHL voids the Kovy contract.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 20, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

What were we saying about the NHL not voiding contracts. Kovalchuk's was just the most blatant example of the loophole and I am happy that the NHL nixed it.

What do you know, Bettman can actually do things right every once and a while.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh and I forgot to add, bring on the lawyers now.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 20, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Bettman works for the owners and I'm sure there were more than a few owners, Leonsis among them probably, who complained about the deal.

if I were an owner who really wanted to WIN, I wouldn't complain about the deal... I would look at it as an opportunity and try to make the same deals for my own team.

Posted by: joek443 | July 20, 2010 11:10 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal:

you got that right brother! problem is,GMGM DOESNT HAVE NEITHER!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | July 20, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Um excuse me but if I'm an owner playing by the rules and trying to do things above board so to say, I WOULD complain! People who try to cheat the system should not win. Sorry! Paying Kovy 500k for 4-5 yrs is beyond ridiculous!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 20, 2010 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Look for an arbitrator to rule for the Devils on this one. No one will disagree that this type of contract is bad for the NHL, but the issue is that it's perfectly legal within the current CBA. Lamoriello is too smart to work a deal that wouldn't stand up.

Posted by: foul_throw | July 20, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

It takes a lot of fortitude to strip down a sporting franchise and do a decade long rebuild. That is a lot of money to risk. I respect them for doing it, but I hope they can handle the next phase as well as the first.

Also we are all adults. Balls and Guts are not profane words.

Posted by: trunkenmath | July 21, 2010 12:10 AM | Report abuse

That is great news if it isn't just a front and actually holds up after the Devils' likely protest.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 12:30 AM | Report abuse

I do get a feeling that NJ will win an arbitration case though since it is technically within the rules and has been done by several other teams.

I know next to nothing about the law but how do you reject this contact and not the Hossa one just because of a few extra years?

The NHL and the NHLPA should've headed this issue off when it started if that was at all possible. From some of the articles I've read, it's in the best interest of the league and the players to eliminate these sham contracts.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

And if the NHL's decision is upheld for any reason, you have to think that NJ will then simply create a modified sham contract that is more in line with the existing ones.

I think the best-case scenario is that NJ ends up shaving a couple of million dollars off the cap instead of whatever it was with the now rejected contract.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 12:45 AM | Report abuse

"CBA 26.3: No club may enter into any SPC if it is intended to or has the effect of defeating or circumventing the provisions of the CBA."

"CBA 26.10: The commissioner's authority to investigate a possible circumvention relating to an SPC shall in no way be limited by the fact such SPC was approved or registered by Central Registry."


So technically the League does have some power here, but the only question is, why did they allow the Hossa deal??

Posted by: Hatfield223 | July 21, 2010 1:10 AM | Report abuse

I think the reason why this contract was voided and other weren't is he is being paid the max or close to it for several years and the min or below for several years at the end when he will have a huge incentive to retire and go to the KHL or some other league if it no longer exisits. If he retires he loses $550,000 a season or whatever it is. He could make more then that in any league in Europe. Look at the number of articles talking about when Kovy will retire and none of them are thinking he will stay to the end and there is no reason for him to.

The NHL by doing this is trying to close this loophole before the current CBA expires so that there is one less thing to argue about and a little better chance that there isn't another lockout which would all but kill the sport.

I think the way to stop this in the future would be to have any contract that exhists over the age of 35 no matter when the contract is signed counts on the cap if that player retires. Team could still have these type of contracts but if the player retires they still have the cap hit. What that might create is team like the Islanders trading for guys who are retired with huge Cap hits in order to hit the Cap but still have a low actual payrole but at least if that happens the signing teams will be under big pressure to make a trade like that and will probably have to give up a pick along with the player in order to get rid of their Cap hit.

What I see happening is a few of the over $11 million years go to $10 or lower and the $.5 million years go to $1 million or so. Same Cap hit but it then is no different then the Hossa deal so the NHL will have no case at all against NJ. It will probably cost Kovy 2-3 million if he does retire before the contract ends but he will still be able to make over $1 million a season in any league in Europe.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 1:19 AM | Report abuse

Interesting theory about the Kovy deal. http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Peter-Tessier/What-if-Lou-Never-Expected-the-Deal-to-be-Approved/119/29432

yes it is on hockeybuzz but it is not Eck

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 1:53 AM | Report abuse

@leftcoast

Ted doesn't really "own" the team. The
Washington area does. Just think what were to happen if Ted hinted at moving the team out of the #5 media market in the US. The NHL would not let him. Just like they stopped Purina from moving the Blues to Canada. It's our team. Ted happens to "own" it for now. Washington is a hockey town. There are 50,000 strong hockey fans in this area. The disasters of the past owner, past GM's, and present GM have everyone depressed.It's our team !! We can say what we want about the past 35 years of poor management. We buy the tickets and watch the commercials.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 21, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

The past owner ran the club like a business. He would not "purchase" goal scorers when the team had Rod Langway and Scott Stevens busting heads. We should have won the Cup in the 80's, but we had a "businessman" as an owner. I don't care about the cap trouble Philly and the Hawks have. The Flyers have been to the finals 6 times since we entered the league. We have 7 game 7 home losses; three in a row now.(NHL record, McPhee.) Bring some guys with "guts" into this organization via the draft or UFA's. No more talk of business. It's time to win a Cup. Hunter for coach !!


Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 21, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse

Good job NHL to void that obviously sideways contract. The NHL had to nip this trend in the bud of overly long, front-ended contracts that are a plague in the NBA and NFL. Now I wonder where Kovy will end up -- KHL seems likely after this embarrassment.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | July 21, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Saying Ted doesn't really "own" the team might be one of the dumbest things I have read. That surpasses a lot of other idiotic comments.

If the Washington Capitlas become bankrupt who is liable for all the debts and other liabilities of the organization? Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and therefore Ted. Not the people of Washington.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I think the big difference between the Kovalchuk deal and the Hossa deal is just how blatantly the deal screamed of cheating. Hossa's deal pays him $4M when he is 37 and $1M per year for 4 years until he is 42. Those numbers, if you look at what FA guys in those age get now, at least falls in line with the averages for players that age. Kovalchuk's deal pays him $6.5M when he is 38, $3.5M when he is 39, $750K when he is 40 and then they just tacked on 5 years at the just above the league minimum just so they could lower the cap hit.

It is just a matter of a couple of years but it is in those years that there is a gaping difference. Now I wasn't a fan of the Hossa signing either but Kovy's deal was WAY over the top cheating.

I just hope this whole thing isn't drawn out in some stupid court battle. I was expecting the 2nd round of FA signings to happen Kovy signs and this will just hold all of that up.

Speaking of FAs, has anyone heard any updates on Willie Mitchell? If he is healthy then he could be a great fit as the 'shut-down' guy we all want.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 21, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@pkendrick

If the NHLPA fights this, as it probably will unless a mutual agreement is reached, then it will be very interesting to see how an arbitrator rules. Judging by the limited information we have available I would have to think an arbitrator would rule in favor of the Devils and Kovy barring any evidence that the Devils and Kovy agreed on an earlier retirement age.

I'm just speculating, but I think the NHL did this as a negotiating ploy for the next CBA.

By making this issue more public the NHL is likely to gain the support of the public on this issue. Therefore, when CBA negotiations occur, when the NHLPA gives up this hole in the CBA the NHL will not have to give as much back since the public will be expecting this hole to be closed.

Personally, I think these contracts are bad for the NHL and for the purpose of the cap. However, they do comply with the current CBA and therefore should be valid. In addition, the NHL's prior allowance of similar contracts combined with the CBA language show that these contracts are allowed by the NHL. I have a very hard time seeing an arbitrator ruling in favor of the NHL, unless there is more information that we are not privy to.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Saying Ted doesn't really "own" the team might be one of the dumbest things I have read. That surpasses a lot of other idiotic comments.

If the Washington Capitlas become bankrupt who is liable for all the debts and other liabilities of the organization? Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and therefore Ted. Not the people of Washington.

Posted by: sgm3
---------------
um yeah, I kinda gotta agree with this even though we all know that without the fans he'd lost money. The fans do have weight and influence but it's more on a "keep them happy and they show up and pay" basis versus the "I gotta do what the fans want since it's their team!"

QUITE happy about the Kovalchuk contact being cancelled!!!! QUITE!!!

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 21, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

That was because cstanton1 said he would rank the Hunter/Ciccereili/Courtnall line ahead of the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble line because of the differnce in play in the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 20, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Just because I don't consider our current top line to be the best line this org has ever had (by a slight margin as I stated earlier), how does that equate to the usual BS overexaggeration that occurs here where I apparently imply that they're bums? basically, unless you saw that late 80s top line play you have no basis to compare them or to refute it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Saying Ted doesn't really "own" the team might be one of the dumbest things I have read. That surpasses a lot of other idiotic comments.

If the Washington Capitlas become bankrupt who is liable for all the debts and other liabilities of the organization? Monumental Sports and Entertainment, and therefore Ted. Not the people of Washington.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 7:38 AM | Report abuse

we'd be "emotionally" bankrupted. So he does have an obligation to the fans who support the team.
And whether the fans are paying for tickets or they are emotionally invested and contribute in other manners (discussion groups, posting info about prospects, uploading vids etc), they have "skin in the game". So imo, we all do own the team and have a right to say whatever the heck we want whenever the heck we want and fling monkey dung with reckless abandon!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - the problem is the CBA language is vague at best (allowing for those damn lawyers to argue in the first place).

I think that all of these front loaded deals are cheating but none of them went as far as Kovy's deal did. I think it is a just a matter of degrees between them but Kovy's deal is off just enough that it tips in the NHL's favor.

Posted by: pkendrick | July 21, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

On the Kovalchuck contract a couple of things:

1)This is the worst thing for the NHL to have done. The contract is completely legal by the CBA. Its not the teams, players or agents fault.
2)The NHLPA is not going to be happy at all with the league voiding it. We could be headed right back towards a lockout with this type of thing, coupled with the escrow and the league wanting to lower the salary cap ceiling.
3)I agree these contracts are bad for the league, but they are currently completely legal.
4)While league argues its circumventing, the team will argue that he is completely worth it. Its legal under the CBA. The reason for the minimum payments at the end of the deal is the team protecting itself on the investment. If Kovalchuk is still playing but not up to standards and they want to buy him out, they dont want the buyout to be with a $6M annual salary.
5)If the league thought this was voidable then how are the ones previously signed not. To me it is a joke that the NHL did it. They should have just kept their mouth shut and fixed the problem when the CBA runs out. It's the leagues fault, they shouldnt be forcing the blame on others.
6) The Caps still need a 2C. Can the NHL find a way to void that problem for us?
7) My guess is the league wanted Kovalchuk in LA and will try anything to get him there.
8)Goodbye

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Owners idea of building a team: market an exciting product so your building sells out every night. I know Ted cares about winning, but cares more about that building being full. Certainly, the Wiz and Nats could learn a few things from Ted. The Redskins will forever suck with Danny-boy.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 21, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

How did I blur your statement? You said you chose that late 80's top line over the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble line based on their postseason performance. Is that true? (I know it is because the record is on the website)

I said that Ovie and Backstrom have each performed wondefully in the playoffs. So I don't understand how playoff performance could differentiate the two lines. This isn't disparaging of the '80s line. But they were not as dominant as the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble(or whoever) line, in the regular season or postseason. The statistics prove it. (more goals scored while on the ice vs. goals scored against while on the ice. Which is all that matters in the end)

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

we'd be "emotionally" bankrupted. So he does have an obligation to the fans who support the team.
And whether the fans are paying for tickets or they are emotionally invested and contribute in other manners (discussion groups, posting info about prospects, uploading vids etc), they have "skin in the game". So imo, we all do own the team and have a right to say whatever the heck we want whenever the heck we want and fling monkey dung with reckless abandon!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

And cstanton1 hits the nail on the head. It's just another internet message board full of monkey dung flingers. And everyone knows how much power angry nerds on the internet have...

Posted by: Chewbacca22 | July 21, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@Chewbacca22

Haha. That was pretty good.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

How did I blur your statement? You said you chose that late 80's top line over the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble line based on their postseason performance. Is that true? (I know it is because the record is on the website)

I said that Ovie and Backstrom have each performed wondefully in the playoffs. So I don't understand how playoff performance could differentiate the two lines. This isn't disparaging of the '80s line. But they were not as dominant as the Ovie/Backstrom/Knuble(or whoever) line, in the regular season or postseason. The statistics prove it. (more goals scored while on the ice vs. goals scored against while on the ice. Which is all that matters in the end)

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

lol, i'll ask you again. Did you watch that line play? I'm guessing not. But yet you're going to offer up an educated opinion on which line was better based on stats. I bet using stats I can prove that Flash is better than quite a lot of other wingers who in reality he would never play ahead of. Or that Mike Green is the best dman in hockey.

Regarding what I actually said, here it is for you to read again.

"Imo the best balanced top line the Caps (until possibly Ovy-Backs-Knuble) ever fielded was Dale centering those two. In 1989 that line combined for 460 PIMs, played all 80 games, scored 99 goals and 215 pts. And countless hits. In the playoffs that yr those 3 had 16 goals despite Dino missing 7 games with a busted leg. The reason I would probably give them an edge over our current top line is how well they played in the playoffs. No dropoff in effort, they were consistent from shift to shift."

so sgm, do your precious stats show you the shift-to-shift consistency with regards to effort? Does it show you how changes in momentum or how the other lines were able to feed off one line? i'm guessing not. Again, you have little to no basis for refuting my statement considering you're attempting to quantify a line's production based strictly on stats and nothing more. Back to hockey101 classes for you buddy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

The real problem with the Kovy deal is if it stood as a precedent it would put the league back in the big market/small market situation, with the Leafs and Rangers having payrolls twice that of other teams. The Caps, despite their recent success, are mid-market in terms of revenue - not Nashville or Carolina, but certainly not Toronto. Do you think the Orioles have a fair shot at competing against the Yankees and Red Sox (notwithstanding the remarkable, but almost certainly short term success of Tampa Bay)? I don't think any of us want the Caps to be in that position. Bettman did the right thing.

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I must admit that the atmosphere around here has improved.

I commend my brethren for their civility!

NOW CAN SOMEBODY DROP A FREAKING PUCK SOMEWHERE!?!?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I must admit that the atmosphere around here has improved.

I commend my brethren for their civility!

NOW CAN SOMEBODY DROP A FREAKING PUCK SOMEWHERE!?!?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I work at NSF across the street from KCL. Somedays on my lunch break, I go bang on the glass while they zamboni the ice, but it's just not the same

Posted by: Chewbacca22 | July 21, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

sgm, can you for all of us use your sacred stat machine to spit out some data on which line was better - the plumber line (Adams-Haworth-Locker) v the KHD line (Kono-Halpern-Dahlen) v the Brads-Steck-Laich line from last yr?

and btw, I didn't see the specific stats you pulled up that led to your simplistic conclusion that the Backs line was superior to the Hunter line. Did I miss that post? Can you repost it please.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The mention of the "Plumber Line" led me to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_line_nicknames


...and I can watch KHD work all day.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Yes, I think how many goals are scored when a line is on the ice vs. how many goals are scored against when the line is on the ice is important.

If you forgot, that is how they measure who wins the game. The team that scores more goals than it lets up wins.

Hitting, speed, skill, defensive skill all play parts into a team's ability to score more goals than it lets up. That is the point of the game.

I could care less how a line does it, but if the team scores more goals on the ice when they are out there then they let up, then that line is doing a good job. The greater the difference the better the line. It doesn't matter if the line is made out of 3 Flash's or 3 Konopka's, all that matters is results.

If you really are going to credit a line for the results that happen when they are off the ice then you are really reaching. Yes, momentum is nice, but it is still up to the guys playing on the ice to do the job.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

new thread

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

The Caps never had the best player in the world before, playing alongside a top 5 scorer and great assist man. That trumps everything in my mind. For a top line, ability to score and +/- should be the primary criteria IMO. But if the issue is "balance' with high level talent, Hunter-Dino-Courtnall was an excellent line. I guess CStanton said they were the "best balanced," which is not the same as "best overall."

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The NHL voided one several years ago (Predators) that then had to be reworked. When I read through the numbers on the Kovy deal, it looked like it violated 50.7 or whatever the section is that says the later years can't go down by more than 50% of the first two years, which were $6M each I think. Anyway, look for it to be restructured and then approved. And, for those who say, "They approved Hossa, so they must approve this," try telling the cop you were "just going the same speed as everyone else." Generally, failure to enforce a law 100% doesn't mean it can be broken.

I doubt the Devils will take it to court or whatever because that could take years. Meanwhile, their whole team would be in flux. The NHLPA meanwhile has five business days to appeal; however, when a player signs a cap-circumventing deal, it essentially takes money away from every other player (salaries are a percentage of revenue and its tied to actual salary paid, not cap hit, for each year), so it's questionable whether they would do that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

@chewbacca
@sgm3
Do you realize how many season ticket holders over the years have dumped their plans due to the mismanagement of the team. A ton ! We've had seats since the early 80's, and we're just sick of talk. Who exactly are Mcphee and Ted talking to to when they mention "guts"? Right now we're just the same old "Choke-a-tals" as they call us in Philly and Long Island. What the other owners need "guts" to build a team that never wins a game 7 at home ? The only time this team ever achieved anything was when players with "guts"(Kolzig, Tinordi, Hunter) played like champions.We don't have players with "guts" due to the GM's poor drafting and his bad attitude. J.R. would not even come home to play in front of family and friends 41 games a year because GMGM acts like a lawyer when he deals with players.(J.R. goes to Philly, we end up with Jagr. Just great!) I want a guy who is so passionate about winning that he cries on TV 20 years later when his team wins. We don't have guys like that (except Laich and Bradley).

This franchise will long out live Ted. Hockey is too big now, and the area can support it dollars wise. We (the Washington area fans) own the team in the LONG RUN, not Ted. My season ticket fees pay the salaries. If Ted tried to move the team, the team name would stay here. We would be given a new Caps team. Read in detail how the NHL stopped the Blues from moving, and then tell me Purina owned that team. St. Louis owns that team; the NHL confirmed it. This is OUR team ! GMGM will be fired. Not enough "GUTS" in the locker room to make a long play off run.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | July 21, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

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