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Catching Up With Boyd Gordon

I stopped by KCI this morning to see if there were any Caps skating informally.

Boyd Gordon was the only player in the building and he had been there since 9 a.m. He spent more than an hour in the weight room working out with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish, then skated on his own for 45 minutes.

Gordon insisted that he hasn't changed his offseason routine from previous summers, that he wasn't working harder or ramping things up earlier. But something tells me that it's no accident he's already here, putting in hours of hard work as training camp approaches.

Assuming the Caps enter the season with the players who are currently on the roster, and there are no injuries, it's safe to assume Gordon will be battling David Steckel for fourth line center duty.

Gordon and Steckel had similar numbers last season -- Gordon had seven goals and nine assists in 67 games and won 55.8-percent of his faceoffs; Steckel had five goals and seven assists and won a team-best 56.3 percent of his faceoffs. But it appears Steckel has the inside track, a point that was underscored last week when he was given an extension for the 2009-10 season. In fact, based on the lineup I'm hearing Coach Bruce Boudreau has penciled in as of right now, Gordon, 24, is on the outside looking in.

"I wish were closer to camp than we are, but we're not," said Gordon, who got married in June. "I have the same goal every year, and that's to be on the team. That's all I can do. There are a lot of quality players here now and there's not a lot of spots. You just have to go in try to crack the top 12."

Gordon said he's trying not to focus on the crowded lineup situation. But he also admitted that it's tough not to think about it, and the possibility that he could find himself as an extra next season.

"It's hard to say what's going to happen right now," he said. "We'll see once things start to play out in camp. You're always concerned. But I'm just going to go into camp hungry."

Considering he's already in town and working with Nemish, I would say Gordon is definitely hungry.

On another subject, I asked Gordon about playing in the playoffs last season with what Boudreau described as a "torn hamstring."

"It happened in Game 4, on the penalty kill," Gordon explained. "Mike Richards kind of fell on me. I don't know what I did to it. It was pretty ...it wasn't good. It was a partial tear. The worst part was faceoffs. But it wasn't going to get any better, so I just played."

While Gordon's playing time next season might be in question, his toughness is not.

Gordon also told me that he expects more of his teammates to join him in the coming weeks. As they do, I'll have more updates.


By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 11, 2008; 1:06 PM ET
 
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Comments

I won't even say it.....

Nice update Tarik. Good to see Kettler is getting some action. I hate to say it, but it does not look good for Boyd.

Posted by: CT Caps Fan | August 11, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

That would be a tough choice between stecks and gordon, I like them both.

Posted by: Super | August 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

A hungry Gordo is a good Gordo for the Caps.

Posted by: Jill | August 11, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if his wife is hawt???

Posted by: neanderthal | August 11, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Gordo is a gamer and he scored one of the prettiest goals of the season with a broken hand!!! Hopefully he gets a fair chance to keep himself in the lineup -- we all know how GMGM treats the people on the outside

Posted by: capsgary | August 11, 2008 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Gordo in there rather than 87

Posted by: CantMissKid | August 11, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Good to see him hungry for a spot. I like him and think he brings a lot on intangables to the Caps - hope there is still room for him.

Posted by: Grape8 | August 11, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik

Have you ever seen a more exciting finish in any sporting event than Team USA coming back in the Mens 4x100 Freestyle relay last night...

You can't help but get rowdy...

Also Team USA Men's soccer tying the Netherlands...

Posted by: JSchon | August 11, 2008 1:33 PM | Report abuse

@Jschon

I was pretty fired up to see that. I'm glad I tuned in.

Posted by: Tarik | August 11, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Would much rather see Gordon in there over Brashear or Bradley. Gordon and Steckel makes for a monster PK combination, and Gordon has already shown an affinity for putting up points on limited minutes two seasons ago, despite this past season's slowdown.

Posted by: Nomad | August 11, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

JSchon-I'll admit that the 4x100 was sweet especially since the French had been trash-talking (though I think the media translated liberally to come up with "smash") but c'mon, its not the sweetest finish ever in sports. Haven't you heard...hockey trummps everything! ;-)

Posted by: Jill | August 11, 2008 1:39 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing better than a game 7 in the NHL playoffs. But our last game 7 left me motionless for 30 minutes after it ended.

I was fist pumping and waking up the neighbors at 11:40pm... After an extremely long day at Kings Dominion...

BTW, there is a new roller coaster there called the Dominator... it is beyond silly...

Posted by: JSchon | August 11, 2008 1:46 PM | Report abuse

I have never been brought out of my seat for a swimming heat... until last night. Absolutely incredible. I mean the guy is half a length behind with what 15 meters to go? Insane.

As for Gordo, they have to find a spot for him in the lineup. They need his faceoffs and PK ability. I'm not a huge Bradley fan... why does he get a free pass from everyone here. Same thing with Fehr. He'll be hurt by Thanksgiving right?

Posted by: JSchon | August 11, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Wow,

Gotta say the caps are front 12 looks pretty strong. They are gonna score a TON of goals this year.....
? is how many will they give up

Posted by: Livinit | August 11, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Ah, once again the Bradley naysaying rears its ugly head and I am forced to explain his awesomeness even as I am trying to get comfortable in Seat 26A of a United 757.

The thing about Brads is he's not only the hardest working and most consistent grinder on the team, but also a locker room leader. And let's not forget...he's a fan favorite!

Posted by: Jill | August 11, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Forgot to say, he also is not afraid to drop the gloves. In fact my nickname for Brads is Petey because he routinely sports a black eye which reminds me of Petey from Our Gang. Anyone else old enough to remember Petey? Bueller?

Posted by: Jill | August 11, 2008 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Atta boy, Gordo. Go get 'em.

Posted by: NObama | August 11, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Alfalfa, Stymie, Spanky... Ms. Crabtree...

Posted by: JSchon | August 11, 2008 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Nice work JSchon. If my plane crashes you can have my season tickets. But only if you promise to wear a Bradley jersey.

Posted by: Jill | August 11, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"Would rather see Gordon in there over Brashear or Bradley"

????

You're kidding, right? Take out one or both of those guys and you have very little toughness and grit. I like Gordo too, but I also think he's pretty expendable right now--barring any injuries in camp...

Posted by: #17 | August 11, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

(Sorry all, that 12:47 post was me not JSchon. I meant to address it to him).

Heck, I remember when the news broke on SNL's Weekend Update that Buckwheat was shot! (Classic stuff there).

Ah, the fan favorite argument. Shouldn't they all be our favorites? So if we get Clark back who also works just as hard and has some goal scoring pop, wouldn't that replace Brads? Now, if the Donald doesn't dress, I would say you need Bradley in there, but you know they are going to dress Donald. I just think you might get more with Steckel and Gordo in the lineup than Steckel and Brads. Just one man's thoughts.

Posted by: Phil C. | August 11, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I'll take Gordo over Brashear most nights. I'd like to see Bradley stay in the lineup. He can fight and score some goals, most of whichare pretty clutch. Brash can sit unless we're playing a team that calls for his muscle.

Posted by: Murshawursha | August 11, 2008 2:34 PM | Report abuse

While he is coasting to the finish line on the reputation he's built, Brash needs to be in the lineup each and every night just to make sure nobody gets a slash to the knee that ends a career...its not always about fighting or scoring goals...sometimes its just about showing up ready to do both.

Posted by: mike b | August 11, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I think Steckel did pretty well in his fight during that game against the Wild last season.

Posted by: Jordan | August 11, 2008 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I don't know if I would discount Brash as only muscle, the work that he does in the corners has put a lot of points on the board especially this past year.

Posted by: Super | August 11, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I remember how the circle around petey's eye would change from left to right, episode to episode. Petey was a pitbull, by the way.

That relay last night was fantastic. Great finish. That guy dug deep.

Leaving Brash out gets a lot of cheap shots and liberties. No one is afraid of Erskine or Bradley. They're willing, they just aren't formidable. Thats why a guy like iginla is so huge. I remember Shanahan beating the pi$$ out of people as well. He was a beast in his prime. If we're going to have a team full of euro's, we need a prime heavy weight, imho.

If gordon isn't in the lineup, we'll miss him on the PK. Badly. Its what he's best at and as someone else mentioned, he and Steckel are key cogs in that situation.

Slloooowww summer.
Thank god for this Italy vs Korea game.

Posted by: oo7 | August 11, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

#17:

I disagree wholeheartedly. The loss of Bradley from the nightly lineup is easily replaced in the "grit" category by the return of Chris Clark. Brashear is naturally going to dress on nights when they think they need a fighter - Bradley has never been enough in that regard. Sitting one of the two in favor of Gordon benefits the team regardless.

Gordon is far less expendable than either of Brashear or Bradley on a nightly basis.

Posted by: Nomad | August 11, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

What a pleasant dilemma our Caps have, too many talented guys for one lineup! I think Gordo will play this season for sure. That brother is indispensable on the PK. He had some incredible shifts doing that in the playoff race. Someone will get hurt for a while or he'll be in when guys take turns sitting out games. Seems like Eric Fehr is farther out. What say let Gordo play D in Jurcina or Erskine's spot? He couldn't be any worse.

We need Brash for insurance that the goal scorers have some protection from guys like, well, all of Philly. We need Brads to get in the face of punks like Staal and Lecavelier.

Posted by: Tex | August 11, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Aside from the PK, Boyd's also key at keeping the puck down at the other end of the ice for the first line...

Posted by: keef | August 11, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I think Gordo plays before Flush (tradebait) but I think at the start Gordon is in the pressbox until the first injury/muck up...

Ovechkin-Backstrom-Kozlov
Semin-Nylander-Fehr
Laich-Fedorov-Clark
Brashear-Steckle-Bradley


Mo-Green
Poti-Shultz
Alzner-Jurcina

extra: Laing/Flash/Erskine/Gordon

Posted by: mike b | August 11, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Boy Gordo = sucko - goodbye and good riddance to this wasted draft pick

Posted by: AJ | August 11, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

I am a bit confused why everyone is nut hugging Gordon. With the emergence of Brooksy and Fedorov in the lineup, Gordo is far more expendable than Brads and Brash. Fedorov is not only better on the PK, he is more dangerous on the PK and lets not forget better looking (kidding).

I find it hard to believe that a guy who scored 12 points last year is receiving this much love and the word "indespensible" is being thrown around. Clark and Steckel, Feds and Laich will be fine PK units. Players like Gordo are good to have signed bc they don't make much money and they can come into the lineup and do what they are expected.

Posted by: 94 | August 11, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mike B's lines except Alzner will be in the minors for the first part of the year. There is absolutely no reason to have a rookie making 2.4 million against the cap playing 3rd line D minutes when you have Erskine who makes peanuts willing and able to play 12 minutes a game.

If Alzner can't crack the top 4 then he will be in Hershey, mark my words.

Posted by: 94 | August 11, 2008 5:07 PM | Report abuse

I didn't see Mike B's first comments on Brash but I again, totally agree.

It's like being in a club or bar with a hot girl and some drunk guy comes up and grabs her @ss. You are probably not afraid to mix it up with the 5 foot nothing 175 pound pretty boy that drank too many Zimas. Its the sober 250 pound gorrila standing in the corner watching your reaction you have to worry about. That 250 pound gorrila is Brash AND HE'S WATCHING YOU!!!!

Posted by: 94 again | August 11, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh and Super is the pretty boy.

Posted by: The ONE, the ONLY 94!!!!!!!!!! | August 11, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Did anyone other than me track face-off percentages of the lines Bradley was lining up as a wing on?

Now, note, I'm not saying Bradley's a good face-off man (he's not, as far as I know). However, the person facing off with Bradley on their wing was 10-15% higher than their season face-off percentage.

Bradley's also one of the grittiest players on the team, well liked by his teammates, and does a lot of dirty work.

Gordon is trash outside of the PK and faceoff dot.

I pick Bradley over him any day.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 11, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Hmm.. Feds spending regular time on the 1st pk unit...I'm not sure i want my 4 million dollar second line center taking slapshots to his 39 year old ankles.

Posted by: oo7 | August 11, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Pretty boy? Ha! I'm scrappy, just wait till I can stand up on these skates!

Posted by: Super | August 11, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

And if we're going to judge by stats, Gordon is a plus 10 while playing on the 4th line. I know one of you wants to look up 4th line NHLers to see what the average +/- is.
: )
Kicking plus players to the curb seems risky.

Posted by: oo7 | August 11, 2008 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm on the Gordo over Brash bandwagon ... let's start a petition!! ;-) Granted, we'd have to move a natural center to a wing, but it's been done before ...

Posted by: Boo! | August 11, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

More Our Gang trivia -- Miss Crabapple on the Simpsons is modeled on Miss Crabtree from Our Gang/Little Rascals with some obvious ironies as a sex-starved teacher willing to shack up with Principal Skinner and be hoodwinked by Bart's classified advert.

Oh, Gordo will skate some if Stecks, Brash, and/or Bradley are injured or stinking up the joint. He may become trade bait for a pick to help fit under the cap. my2cents

Posted by: JIM | August 11, 2008 6:10 PM | Report abuse

oo7,

Our second line center is going to be Backstrom our Nyles, Feds was brought back for his PK and PP

Posted by: Billy | August 11, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

would really like to see gordo skate a lot this year, in addition to faceoffs and pk the guy is a cycling machine. put him stecks and brads out after a powerplay and the defense is in trouble

Posted by: mike d | August 11, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

The 4x100 was sooo coooll!!! Half a body length with 30m to go, he stretches, he touches, Yeahh!!!

Ok, so all the trash talkin' was just that, trash. Why do the French do this to themselves, he he.

Anyway, to think the Gordo-Stecks dilemma will be season long is a doubtful. How many games did Nyls and Clark among other forwards, did they miss this season? I'm sure we will need them both, just a matter of when and where.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | August 11, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Boo! | August 11, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Boo- I can't believe I'm going to disagree with you. 87 is essential to this team. The space he provides to the skill players by just dressing is under appreciated. Also did you see the hang time he got on his celebration after his playoff goal against Philthy. That has got to be worth something.
That's 2 times I've disagreed with you(remember the ice babes). I'll try not to make a habit of it.

Posted by: markfromparkville | August 11, 2008 8:40 PM | Report abuse

Billy- I don't think we should be assuming that Nyls is going to center the 2nd line yet. BB is going to go with the chemistry. Fed has a head start on that, I think. 2nd line center is still an unknown.

Posted by: oo7 | August 11, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Boo!,
Why isn't Gaborik in the Olympics? He should at least be thinking floor program with that flip. Or maybe him and Hasek can do something. I don't know if they have pairs gymnastics.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | August 11, 2008 10:06 PM | Report abuse

@Jschon - That mens relay win was awesome. I was down at the beach for a long weekend and everyone stopped what they were doing and watched the last minute or two, screaming at the TV and throwing high fives afterwards.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 11, 2008 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: keef | August 11, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Mark:
WHAT?!? Disagreeing with ME ... AGAIN?!? No one EVER disagrees with me! ;-) Like you said - just don't make a habit of it. After all, three strikes and you're out ... besides, too many other people are busy disagreeing with me! :-)

RE: Brash, I agree with you - he does add something to the team (and more than just has ability to drop his gloves - it sounds like he is even seen as a leader in the locker room), but I would still pick Gordo over Brash. Why? I just think Gordo adds MORE to the team and that he is a more complete player. Let's look at some of their stats:

Points:
DB 6
BG 16
(and that is with Boyd playing fewer games than Brash)

+/-:
DB -7
BG +5

PIM:
DB 119
BG 12

On top of that, Boyd can center. He is simply more versatile.

Granted, we do not have another enforcer, but we do have other gritty players who are not afraid to fight (and the younger guys seem more willing to do that all of the time).

Am I biased since I prefer finesse over fists when it comes to hockey? Maybe, but my arguments still hold water. Just don't tell Brash what I said!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | August 11, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, this may or may not mean anything, but...

http://tiny.cc/mIAAK

http://tiny.cc/E70wt

(somebody's house is on the market as of July 18)

Posted by: StikSav | August 11, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

ok sooooo who;s house is it?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 11, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous:
Nyls

StikSav:
Nice house, but it looks like they never finished moving in! Wow ... that listing could mean SO many different things ... I will be curious to see what the reality is! How can you tell when it was listed?

JMU:
That was pretty cool, huh? It got me excited for the season to start - I can't wait!

Posted by: Boo! | August 11, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I only glanced at the house listing for a second but it looked like Nyles bought the house for $2.7 and is trying to sell for $3.7 million...maybe just trying to move some property in a housing slump...maybe they found something they like better...OR...MAYBE HE IS HAVING ANOTHER CHILD...I agree with china on this...1 per family!

Posted by: mike b | August 12, 2008 12:15 AM | Report abuse

You can view many cute babes online on
" M i x e d m i n g l e . c o m " which is a place to find friends and beautiful black, white single women online. Many sexy girls with big boobs are discussing it and wanna seek for good man there.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 12, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

If your could trade Gordon for a few pucks and cups DO IT....

Posted by: GO SOX GO | August 12, 2008 12:54 AM | Report abuse

Trading Nylander would be a huge mistake, considering he almost averaged a point a game while nestling his terribly injured shoulder. Fedorov, with all of his clubhouse leadership, didn't even come close in the stats game.

Posted by: Whiter Mage | August 12, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

I thought the upgrade to the server was going to block that sort of trash ANONYMOUS posted (12:24). I get enough email already telling me I can last longer, be bigger, and get a better mortgage, while meeting young, hot women in my area. Before this starts up again, can we please register users.

Posted by: JIM | August 12, 2008 7:07 AM | Report abuse

I Like Laich:

Gordon is trash outside of the faceoff dot and PK? He's pretty easily the best straight-out defensive forward that the Caps have. Outside of Ovechkin's line, Gordon (playing limited minutes on low-scoring lines) had the best +/- among the forwards. I put more stock in that than I do in someone's belief in how a winger is affecting assorted centers' faceoff percentages.

As far as I can tell, most of the complaints about Gordon come from the folks who don't recognize defense when they see it. The same sort of folks who praise guys like Ed Jovanovski for their all-around games.

It's not that there isn't a place for guys like Bradley and Brashear - there is. They can spell each other throughout the season. Neither one of them is capable of logging meaningful minutes reliably on any line higher than the fourth - they simply do not have the tools, offensively or defensively, to do so without being liabilities. Gordon is a guy who is capable of being a steady third liner.

The differences are pretty straightforward:

Physicality - Edge goes to Bradley fairly handily. This is the defining part of his game.

Offense - Edge goes to Gordon. Far better setup man, smarter about when to go to the net.

Defense - Gordon by a mile. In his own zone, Gordon is the Caps' best forward. He edges Steckel based on his ability to read the play. Bradley is not in the top five.

Forecheck - About even. Bradley throws the hits that knock the puck loose, Gordon steals them outright. Different approach, same outcome.

Versatility - Gordon can play multiple forward positions and on multiple lines. Bradley is a fourth line winger.

Upside - We haven't seen Gordon's best yet. Bradley's best has come and gone - he peaked in 01-02 with San Jose.


Frankly, all the "locker room" commentary about any given player always amused me because it pretty much uniformly translates into "I like this guy, so we should keep him." It doesn't have any bearing on who should be on the ice versus in the stands.

Posted by: Nomad | August 12, 2008 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Nomad and the rest of you people are smoking something. You are comparing Bradley to Gordon, don't you think there is a problem starting with that? You are basically saying who is the best worst player we have?

I think he has no shot at taking Steckels spot, not physical enough to replace Brash, so there is only one person he can replace, Bradley. Your fighting over a green banana too early to eat and a black one. Which one is better?

Posted by: 9 to the what?.....4 | August 12, 2008 9:03 AM | Report abuse

The comparisons to Bradley are necessary for the time being because those are the most contested players in this case. The whole situation is predicated on the Fedorov contract, which pushes players down the line on a temporary basis.

With Fedorov in the mix, you can't say Gordon and Steckel (or Laich) are the third and fourth line centers when healthy, so one gets pushed to the wing - in order to do that, they are going to have to displace someone else. Clark and Fehr in the mix from the get-go push that question to the fourth line, since Kozlov (for now) is occupying one of the scoring line wings - as are Semin and Ovechkin.

So you've got Nylander, Backstrom, and Fedorov down the middle. You've got Semin, Ovechkin, Clark, Kozlov, Laich, and probably Fehr on the wings. That's your top three lines, theoretically. That puts us to the fourth line. Competition is among Steckel, Gordon, Brashear, Bradley, and Fleischmann. If Fleischmann somehow displaces one of the upper six wings, then you have that player competing for this spot instead. If you figure Steckel for the center, and Brashear is going to get time in the games they deem him necessary, then this competition essentially comes down to Gordon vs. Bradley. That's why we have this discussion.

Posted by: Nomad | August 12, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

RE: Bradley vs Gordon

one player was given a 3 year contract. The other barely avoided arbitration. I don't think there is much doubt as to who management is expecting to be seeing the ice more. I like both players, and as someone else noted above Japers Rink did a great analysis on Gordon's contribution last season. Training Camp should get interesting.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 12, 2008 9:57 AM | Report abuse

My issue with Gordon is that he was selected 17th? overall... Which means I also have an issue with GMGM for taking him so high, proclaiming him a checking line guy right after the draft.

Bradley is a natural right wing, Gordon can play all 3 positions... But Bradley is there for than just grinding.

Unfortunately for Gordon, Steckel is as good as Gordon in all aspect of centering and is much larger.

Gordon isnt going to replace Brash... So I see Gordon becoming this years Laing.

Posted by: JSchon | August 12, 2008 9:59 AM | Report abuse

@Boo!

I work on an internet real estate product and have access to the direct feeds of data from MRIS, the local Multiple Listing Service in this region.

Just for the record, it has been suggested to me that this is unrelated to Nylander moving on and that they may be looking at another property in the area. I still think its fishy, as it is hard to look for property in DC when you are in Sweden. On the other hand it is possible they are just putting it on the market to see if it sells and then find a new place. All reasonable explanations. At the very least I find it extremely ironic that it was placed on the market 5 days after Fedorov signed.

Posted by: StikSav | August 12, 2008 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Question regarding the hating of BG. Isn't he only 25? So its safe to say that he's starting to enter his prime. Yes he is not a scoring machine (neither was Laich) but he's a Defensive machine. Give him time. We can't throw him under the bus just yet.

The other thing, is let training camp happen and wait a bit, if we have no injuries (*knock on wood*); then GMGM will have to earn his paycheck with the tough decision and who needs to be sent down and who's scratched.

We'll be ok. Just give it some time.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | August 12, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

For curiosity's sake, other players drafted #17 overall

2006: Trevor Lewis LA Kings
2005: Martin Hanzal Phoenix
2004: Marek Schwarz St. Louis
2003: Zach Parise NJ Devils (one pick before Fehr and Getzlaf)
2002: Boyd Gordon Washington
2001: Carlo Colaiacovo Toronto
2000: Alexei Mikhnov Edmonton
1999: Barret Jackman St. Louid
1998: Martin Skoula Colorado
1997: Robert Dome Pittsburgh

Parise and Jackman were solid values for 17th overall. Skoula puts up similar numbers to Gordon. Gordon seems to have had more success than the other players.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 12, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Well, whoever buys his house better have more than just the asking price. It'll take another 3 million just to put furniture in it. Although it is a nice house.
Camp will definitely be interesting, just to see how the lineup is going to shake itself out.

Posted by: jmu_capsgirl | August 12, 2008 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Sombrero:

That's what has always confused me about people's assumptions regarding a player's draft position. It seems a lot of the time that people assume first round draft picks are always supposed to be first and sometimes second line players, or top pairing or at least top four defensemen.

It's never that simple - the strength of a draft comes into play, naturally, but aside from the top five (many times not even then) or occasionally the top ten, there is always that balance of risk versus reward. It's damn near impossible to ever use draft position outside of a select few as a predictor of player style or level.

Posted by: Nomad | August 12, 2008 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Okay, to respond to Nomad, here: It isn't just that he isn't an offensive force. That isn't even a question in my mind. It's that I think his defense has been heavily overrated, and that it alone isn't enough to justify keeping him on this team over a player who contributes as much as most of the others.

It is not that I don't see Gordon as having skills as a defensive forward. I think he has tremendous defensive awareness, and can position himself quite well. However, as a defensive forward, he doesn't even have a complete game. It isn't just his complete lack of physical defensive ability, but a lack of defensive aggressiveness that doesn't allow his playing style fit as well into the Boudreau system as it did the Hanlon system, as well as a poor sense of balance which occasionally has his own feet tripping him up when he has to scramble.

He is a solid defensive forward... but he isn't the best defensive forward on the team. That is a reactionary belief brought about by years of watching the team when he was playing with the likes of Kris Beech, Rico Fata, Jakub Klepis, etc., etc. Fedorov is a better defensive forward, as is Steckel, and possibly Laing would be if his skating were up to NHL levels. Even the oft-ridiculed-here Bradley was playing better defense for stretches of the season, as Gordon's entire game was in regression last season (likely due to the change in systems from Hanlon to BB as well as injuries sustained at the beginning of the year; before those two things, he was playing astonishing defense, especially on special teams (I believe no-one scored while he was on the ice in the first 30 power plays he was on the ice for), but even after fully recovering from those injuries and adjusting to the new system he was never quite the same as he was at the beginning of the year, or even as he was during the 06-07 season). This is a case where the regression of his game is negating the value of his youth in terms of upside; he needs a solid season to prove he still HAS upside, but he may not have enough time to prove it (Vogel is talking about the Caps going to a 21 man roster for salary cap reasons, which would mean only one healthy scratch, and I don't see him in the top 13 forwards at this point)

Bradley brings other things to the game than Gordon does, in addition to his fists; he is a good locker room guy, seems to be a team leader (wore an A for a couple games last season, IIRC), DOES play defense well (perhaps not as well, positionally, as Gordon, but he does add the physical and intimidation edge which Gordon is incapable of bringing), helps other forwards on face-offs (not just my observation of it; Laich was crediting Bradley, in part, for that stretch in December and January when his face-off percentage was leading the league; when Bradley was moved off of Laich's wing, Laich's faceoff percentage dipped down into the 40s and the line Bradley was moved to (Gordon's, as it turns out) rose 3-4% over the course of the next few weeks), and yes -- he can bring his fists to the party when needed.

I am not blind to Gordon's talents, but I am also not blind to the fact that the team around him is growing and he is not, which is disastrous for a player of his age and talent level. He still has training camp to prove me wrong, but with things going as they are now -- and with BB's system being one Gordon is unsuited for -- I don't hold out much hope for him.

Posted by: I Like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 12, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

@Nomad - I just think some people's expectations are influenced heavily by other sports, namely football and basketball where draft picks in the first and second rounds are expected to make impacts.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 12, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Gordon is an insurance policy against the unforeseen or trade bait, unless he really plays much better than Steckel, Brashear, or Bradley.

Posted by: JIM | August 12, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Gordon, Laich, Steckel, Fehr, Bradley, Laing

Who cares

Posted by: Chief | August 12, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Chief, Chief, Chief, Chief, Chief

Who cares

Posted by: JSchon | August 12, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Like Laich:

I don't see how anything can be called disastrous or disappointing about the defensive game of the guy whose +/- stands out so much above the rest of the team, barring the top line. Or how anyone can write a player off based on a sophomore slump (which this last season was, compounded by injuries - 06-07 was his first "full" season).

I don't know how any of the other defensive players can be thought to have contributed more on the back end than Gordon. Again, how did his +/- go so high compared to theirs if he wasn't holding his own? It's not like he had a ton of opportunities to boost it - he played low minutes all year, and there wasn't exactly a lot of bottom line scoring this season.

I would give him a hell of a lot more time than just camp to prove himself, but I don't expect it to take long for him to do so.

As for Bradley - well, I figure he's going to take a Clymer-esque career path. He was a placeholder when he was brought in, and I still don't understand signing a player of his caliber to a three year deal, let alone one nets him seven figures per season. As mentioned, he has no potential - he is what he is. And what he is isn't that much different than a Rico Fata, to me. He gets passes over other players much of the time for playing with an edge, but there are plenty of cheaper guys in Hershey who can do that just as well and have upside - and causing roster issues with anyone younger than him is insanity to me.

Posted by: Nomad | August 12, 2008 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Nylander's house is a block away from potomac village. potomac village SUCKS. Its a joke. It has a relatively new Giant (like 15 years old), an old and embarrassing Safeway, a couple extremely overpriced and terrible restaurants, a starbucks and an old hardware store and a couple of banks. Oh, and a Vie de France. Thats it. You would never think that the homes surrounding it cost millions of dollars. And then he has to commute to Kettler and Verizon center? Screw that. I'd move to Northern VA and be close to everything, surrounded by new hot spots and restaurants and leave potomac to the old and incontinent.

Posted by: oo7 | August 12, 2008 1:11 PM | Report abuse

why Brads and Brash are being dragged into this debate is silly. It's Steckel vs. Gordon for the fourth center spot, period. Loser gets the press box. Nomad, you've pleaded your case--we get it, ya don't like Brads--but you've missed the point. I've gotten acclimated to the fact that Gordon, whom I like a lot, is going to sit unless he beats out Steckel, and you should, too.

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 12, 2008 1:36 PM | Report abuse

When you're a player on the bubble (like Gordon is), a 'sophmore slump' can be the difference between having a job and not having one.

As far as comparing him to other defensive minded forwards goes... well, more and more towards the end of the season, it was Steckel's line, not Gordons, that was being put out there to shut down the opposition. Apparently, management agrees with that assessment.

As far as +- goes... well, quite frankly, he's not THAT much higher than some others, like -- for example -- Laing, or even Fehr, who had 'fewer opportunities' than even Gordon had. +- can be a very decieving statistic, at any rate... unless you really want to argue that Brian Muir really was our 2nd best defensemen in 06-07 after Jeff Schultz. Bradley and Steckel were both plus players, as well. Fedorov wasn't, but it's kinda hard to compare one player with another who played most of his season on another team using a category like +-.

I may be undervaluing Gordon (I don't think so, obviously, but I'll grant that I might), but I think you're undervaluing Bradley. Clearly, the team thinks highly enough of him to make a multi-year commitment -- something they weren't as willing to do for Gordon yet -- and he has been one of the biggest 'faces' of the franchise (more than just about anyone outside of Ovechkin himself, I believe; he's a frequent companion of Ovy in video segments (trip to a car show, the Segway features, etc.), he's often used in signing promotions, he's often the person giving the interview for the players in a post-game segment, etc.). Clymer was not a big 'face' of the franchise, and he lost his job to Bradley. I long thought that only one of Clymer, Bradley, and Sutherby would stick with the Caps in the long run... but I DID think one of them would stick with the Caps, thanks to the rather unique role they all provided, and it appears Bradley has won that role. Gordon and Bradley play a different role for the team, and quite honestly I don't see them in competition with each other -- to me, it's Gordon v. Steckel, and I feel Steckel outdid Gordon as the season wore on last season.

Now, I won't argue with you about Gordon v. Brashear, but I think, accepting the reality of the Caps' braintrust's mindset, it's highly unlikely Brash will be out of the line-up for most of the season as long as he doesn't become a much more serious liability than he was last season. I also wouldn't argue with you about Gordon v. Flash, although again I think the Caps braintrust wants to give Flash a chance more than they're willing to keep Gordon.

I think Gordon's remaining days on the Caps are dependent largely on what the team decides to do to stay under the Cap. If they go with a 21 man roster, I don't see room for him on the team. I do NOT think that is the case for Bradley, however, who I don't see the Caps pulling a Clymer on (not immediately after signing him to that contract, anyway -- maybe next season, if they need the roster space, but by then it will be a moot point as far as Gordon's spot THIS season is concerned).

The training camp battle Gordon has to win is Gordon v. Steckel. Bradley is a moot point.

Posted by: I Like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 12, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm inclined to agree with you, Nomad.
Look at the guys he plays with on a line. Look at their +/- and then look at his. Now, that said, look around at some of the other +/- around the league. Brashear is lowest with -7, Bradley is +1 and Steckel is on par with him. Gordon is +10, double his previous year while still playing fewer minutes, many on the PK. Thats not bad production form the 3rd and 4th line, given that they're putting up little in the point dept. That means that they're staying in the + column just by holding off the other team.

I'd like more points from my 3rd line, honestly. But with everyone healthy and accounted for, I think thats possible. The 4th has to be energy and Bradley, Brash and Steckel brought it. But Brash is getting up there and I dont expect him to play every game.

As for Brash and fisticuffs, you don't sit at the top and let any punk get a chance to prove himself. But the fighting has to go up on his part. It hurts him that many teams ditched their heavyweights. Bradley gets the middleweights as per the code and Erskine gets lesser heavyweights.

Erskines hands get broken too easily to be a top heavyweight.

Posted by: oo7 | August 12, 2008 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Just to clarify, I like Bradley too. I agree with nomad on Gordon being worthwhile. I think the man out is Brashear on nights with no heavyweight and and flash. Gordon can play right wing. Or left.

Posted by: oo7 | August 12, 2008 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Um, Gordon is NOT +10. He's +5, HALF his previous year. Of the forwards, Ovy, Kozlov, and Backstrom were all well ahead of him (+28, +28, and +13 respectively). Laing and Fehr were +4 each, Steckel and Bradley were +1 each. Everyone else was even, minus, or did not play enough games for statistical significance.

Posted by: I Like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 12, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse


This is what we think of Huet and the French!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_-QYdUsZWE&feature=related

Posted by: Jake | August 12, 2008 2:09 PM | Report abuse

when do the other guys start the optional skate prior to camp? Is Gordon the only one working out?

Posted by: rj | August 12, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

rj:
By virtue of being an 'optional' skate, not everyone will join in at the same time. That doesn't mean no-one is working out -- Backstrom (optical illusions showing a paunch on certain photos on a blog that are discounted by later videos which don't recieve quite as much attention on the same blog aside) has been working out in Sweden and playing in a charity tournament that features a quasi-All-Sweden-All-Stars (nicknamed "Friends of Foppa" by some) team on which he is a part. Ovechkin has been working out rather at rather freakish levels (for a hockey player, at least) with a Russian trainer, though I understand he's taking a break to watch the Olympics. I believe others are working out independently, as well, although I haven't heard any specifics.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 12, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Gordon should square off with Brash within the first 5 minutes of training camp. Let everyone know he means business.

Posted by: Earn your spot | August 12, 2008 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I have a question, which I hope someone has the answer to.

What are the dates for Hershey's training camp? I've searched the net and can't seem to find it.

Thanks!

Posted by: Matt | August 12, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse

You're right, he is +5, half his previous year. My bad.


Posted by: oo7 | August 12, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

stiksav, it may be ironic but im thinking its a coincidence. afterall, nyls had to have known well before feds signed, that the team intended to do so

Posted by: noonan | August 12, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Its going to happen every year, especially now that there is a salary cap. Each year someone is going to get squeezed out.

We have a lot of talent in system and we keep everybody...

I remember I made a line-up without Laing last DEC and almost got blackballed for it... Its just going to happen...

Posted by: JSchon | August 12, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

StikSav:
I thought it was interesting that that happened on the heels of the Fed deal, too ... we'll see! :-)

Posted by: Boo! | August 12, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@Noonan

Could well be a coincidence. Of course it would be one thing to know Fedorov was going to re-sign and another to be asked about waiving a NMC. Again, I'm not in any way saying that has happened, just that there's a lot of this that seems very fishy.

@Boo!

I was one of the folks chiding people for thinking Nylander might be moved because of the NMC. But when I saw this, well it just made me pause and think. Could very well just be that they want to move somewhere else in the area, but the timing (esp. given the Nylanders are in Sweden this summer) is curious at the least.

Posted by: StikSav | August 12, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Sticksav's real estate browsing has brought life to an article on Fanhouse

http://nhl.fanhouse.com/2008/08/12/could-michael-nylander-be-on-the-move/

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 12, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I can't help but laugh at the post by Jschon. August 11, 2008 @ 1:33

1980 comes to mind, you child.

Posted by: Chief | August 12, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

94th!!!!!!!

Posted by: #94 | August 12, 2008 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Chief, quit your crying you big baby. Just because Jschon is funnier, has more hockey knowledge, makes more money, gets more women, his family likes him, has friends, can scare a bear by looking in its eyes, has a shadow that scares ghosts, drives a nicer car, makes Philly fans tremble at his blog name alone, has a steady job, skates like the wind blows, doesn't live with his parents, slept with Anna K. before Sergei did, makes sense, uses a live rattlesnake as a condom, came up with the idea of daylight savings time, scared Mother Earth into having a longer summer, populated China, taught Michael Phelps how to swim, caught Al Iafrate's slapshot with his bare hand, gave Brash fighting lessons and impregnated the Virgin Mary, you should not be jealous.

Posted by: 94 | August 12, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

New Caps article on NHL.com:
http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=379538

StikSav:
Curious, indeed.

94:
LOL!!! :-) How long have you been waiting to be able to post that?!?

Chief:
Play nice ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | August 12, 2008 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

There you go with the motherly "play nice boys". :)

I actually got lucky, came in at 93 and scooped up #94...Must be my lucky day. Although I am still at the office and will be here until 9.

Posted by: 94 | August 12, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

94:
Play nice ... ;-)
(Is this why you thought I was old enough to be your mother?!? :-D)

Posted by: Boo! | August 12, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL!!! I should have re-freshed the screen before posting ... ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | August 12, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Point taken Boo!!!!! :)

Alrighty everyone...Have a good...Except you Chief...

Posted by: #94 | August 12, 2008 6:42 PM | Report abuse

I also beat Chuck Norris arm wrestling with my left hand...

@Chief

1980? Greatest comeback ever? No. Biggest upset? Yes. 2-2 after 1. 3-2 Russia, after 2. 4-3 USA at the end of regulation.

Hardly an epic comeback. Definitely an epic upset.

Learn the difference between comeback and upset.

Posted by: JSchon | August 12, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

JClown,

Funny, it was also deemed an upset given the French were heavily favored.

You must have been sooooooo excited watching guys in Speedo's

Posted by: Chief | August 12, 2008 7:25 PM | Report abuse

Learn the difference between comeback and upset.

Or better yet, just go away upset and don't come back.

Posted by: keef | August 12, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Chief,


I really wish you would come out of hiding and meet us at kettler one day or VC and i'd take you on 1 on 1

Posted by: capsfan98 | August 12, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

@Chief

The French were not heavily favored, they were favored, period. Saying the Soviets were heavily favored is/was a gross understatement. Nice try.

Keep rooting for Al Queda...

Posted by: JSchon | August 12, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Challenging someone to a "1 on 1" is hillarious, since this is a blog and I can't stop laughing.

Pardon mois Jclown, da french were only "favored"

Jclown, I picture you asking TEB that question I made fun of, with a lisp.
It's classic.

Posted by: Chief | August 12, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

@Matt at 3:17

I don't really have an answer for you about Bears training camp, but given their preseason schedule, I would guess Bears camps will start a couple days after Caps camp:
Sun Sept 28 home game (Norfolk)
Fri Oct 3 at WBS
Sat Oct 4 home game (WBS)
All tickets for preseason games are $5.00 general admission.

Posted by: tess | August 12, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I been a Caps fan for awhile. Gordon is like to ti$s on a bull....

Posted by: way to work | August 12, 2008 11:19 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what the above statement meant.

Interesting note on first line center, from Vogel, D&C July 18th, interview with Fedorov

On whether he (Fedorov) can see himself making the late-career transition from scoring line center to checking line center a la Igor Larionov:

“Not really. I don’t think it’s similar to the style we play. I already made a transition to stay in the game. I’m not running myself to be a leader. I can play that role, second or third center, that’s no big deal for me actually. It would be a little bit easier, maybe. But people still will take shots at me because they expect the best and nothing but the best.

“So what’s the point to waste your time being a second or third center, if you’re not performing even the way even coaches expect you to perform? They think you play second or third center and do exactly the same damage as if you played the top role. And that’s miscommunication, completely. You know what I’m saying? If you have influences, it’s different than actually to play on the ice and be a game-breaker. It’s a big difference.”

Posted by: oo7 | August 13, 2008 12:16 AM | Report abuse

There are going to be injuries in camp, so it's too early to debate this.

Posted by: big pens fan go 87 | August 13, 2008 12:45 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Jake | August 13, 2008 8:22 AM | Report abuse

Hey duffus,

Get lost? Maybe the tears in your eyes from miserably losing the Cup got in your eyes and you thought you were posting somewhere else.

No one cares what you think, what you say, or how you say it. Take your crybaby @ss to your own blog and write about how last year was your only chance at greatness.

Congrats..

And there will be injuries, but know this team will not make excuses for them, blame them on losing and we will play with them and play through them, that is why our team will ultimately win the big one and you will be stuck with Crysby.

See ya.

Posted by: Big me fan go 94 | August 13, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

While Tarik has banished us to the realm of the red-headed step child, NHL.com is still cranking out articles about the team and its prospects:

http://www.nhl.com/nhl/app/?service=page&page=NewsPage&articleid=379603

Posted by: keef | August 13, 2008 9:44 AM | Report abuse

@chief the 6 guys that u said who cares about are responsible for defense against the others team's top 2 lines and the pk
they give up scoring chances to work hard at both ends of the rink to play bb's system If we dont have a dedicated 6 guys we will not win consistently since top 6 forwards often dont have defensive inclinations as they attempt to score goals to make their stats look good
I thought u knew alittle bit more about hockey than that statement reveals

Posted by: wendel | August 13, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow, thanks for the tutorial.

Just refer to any of the six as Mike Eagles, because that's what all 6 pretty much amount to, with a little upside on offense, Eagles couldn't shoot to save his life.

Wendel, I thought you knew better than to preach.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Chief,

Someone pee in your Wheaties this morning? Your normal approach is to carpet bomb, not attack people one on one. What gives?

Anyway, anyone going to tonights gig?

Posted by: Steve R | August 13, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: AM Capsfan | August 13, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

@Chief

Serious question . . .does your anger stem from your hatred of the management or your mother?


Posted by: Whoohoo | August 13, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

keef, your link doesn't work. I assume you meant to link to the NHL.com August 11 "In the Spotlight" feature on the Caps.

Comparing a newspaper and/or its website to the official website of the league seems like obvious apples and oranges. People keep wanting Tarik to write when there is precious little to write about right now. The NHL.com feature I saw (not sure if it's the same one you were linking to) wasn't news, it was just a feel-good piece about the team with no new information, mostly made up of quotes from Ted Leonsis.

Posted by: Jill | August 13, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

On Brash (again) In a survey of NHL players (not fans, writers or players 2nd cousins ex-wives) Brash ranked in the top three for fighting ability and hockey playing skill among enforcers in the NHL. It may seem odd of me, but I put more creedence in that group's opinion then those here who want him out since he can't skate and shoot like Ovie.

Posted by: TheCapitalist | August 13, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Mike Eagles, Terry Yake, Blackjack... jeez, talk about a useless 4th line.

Posted by: oo7 | August 13, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chief - you better watch it - I've seen some of those guys around Kettler, and let me tell you, their binders of hockey cards are biiig!

So, Boyd Gordon is battling for fourth line center duties. Caps had 3 first rounders - Emminger - gone, Semin - lucky pick at #14 overall, and Gordon - 4 th liner. As usual- well done McPHail.

Posted by: Jaymagz | August 13, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks J,

Knowing my luck, I'll show up and get tossed.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Jaymagz,

Actually Emmy morphed into Carlson. Jury is out on that one, check back in 2-3 years.

Posted by: Steve R | August 13, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy how Semin at 13 (not 14th like you said) was a "lucky pick".

Does that mean that mean every player who pans out after pick 12 is luck?

Posted by: Jeff | August 13, 2008 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Jaymagz (aka Chief)-so, when he picks a good player, it's luck, and when he picks a 4th liner he sucks? Is that how it works? I thought you would know better than that.

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 13, 2008 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Chief,


Yes it is a blog. A blog where several of you commens have been removed and i don't think there is one person on this blog who views your opinion as constructive or appreciating the caps in anyway. If your so tired of management go cheer on the pens or some other bandwagon team.Also let me know i'm up for that 1 on 1 any day chubby

Posted by: capsfan98 | August 13, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Chief is Jagr

Posted by: Anonymous | August 13, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

for those of you who are wondering why I do what I do:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

I was being facetious in regards to Tarik banishing us. :)

Posted by: keef | August 13, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@Jill

I cannot find the article now, maybe it was pulled but it was report about Andrew Gordon and draft pick Burke.

Posted by: keef | August 13, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The Semin pick is definitely lucky. The guy is first line talent, and he went at #14. Look at that draft - Semin wasn't rated very high, and it's definitely fortunate how he turned out. I would call that luck.

Go ahead and look at the drafting by McPhail since 1998. It's horrific.

Posted by: Jaymagz | August 13, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I read a while back that some of my comments were removed, funny I never noticed which were removed and for what reason. Darn, I really care.

Nice of you to reiterate a challenge on a blog, again I'm busy laughing at you.
Almost spilled my coffee, must be chubby fingers.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@Tarik.....This is a serious question.If the situation in Georgia gets worse,and the U.S. sides with the Georgians,can the State Dept. withhold the work visas of the Russian players in the NHL? If not,what do you think the reaction of fans will be towards the Russian players,especially Ovie,since he says in the commercial" I do it for Russia,I do it for you."

Posted by: roccky | August 13, 2008 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Semin ?

You talking about the guy that "missed his flight", took a year off from the NHL (actually the Caps), came back because of OV and some cash, then throws a puck like the little baby that he is, only to score goals this past season and become "super".
That the same guy ?

I guaranty once other teams take him more seriously and actually recognize him, he's finished.
He's the perfect hero for many on this board, a euro punk that wears capri pants, talk about needing a beating at Kettler.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

roccky,

I'm guessing most people in the US look North of Florida when trying to find Georgia on the map. Geo-politics isn't high on the publics awareness level. Just my opinion but I think there will be no change in how the Russian players are greeted in the US venues.

Posted by: Steve R | August 13, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

There have, without question, been a number of "missed" picks by McPhee since 1998. Especially the first few years his drafting was extremely sub-par (and thats possibly being kind).

But being fair, the drafting (as well as his trades and general moves) have clearly, in my opinion, improved the last few years.

There are very few people who are NOT excited about the direction the team is going, or the team that is going to be on the ice come October. When you look at the players on the roster I think every single one was acquired in some way by McPhee.

While it's easy to pick on some poor decisions by management (both Ted with Jagr, etc and GMGM with some of his moves) I think anyone who doesn't see the improvement this team has made (and continues to make) since the lockout is simply blinded by unfounded hatred of management.

Posted by: Jeff | August 13, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Jeff-well put. And how easy is it to say, "the GM sucks because XXX pick didn't pan out." or "Why didn't we draft QQQ when he was there for us--look at him now?"

yup, hindsight's a bit%$h

Look at the cases of Henrik Zetterberg and Alexandre Daigle. HZ gets passed over practically 7 TIMES by every GM in the league before Holland took him #210. Think some asses haven't been chewed for that in the last 8 years or so?

Daigle: "can't miss," according to many. Goes #1 to OTT and does...nothing. Dude's playing in a decent pro league in Switzerland now, at 33.

Point is, the litany is long with names of failed first round NHL draft picks; it has to be the biggest draft crapshoot in American pro sports.

McPhee is probably an average GM, somewhere in the top half of the league, if you had to rank them. Yes, there's luck--#8 is proof positive--and there's gonna be a lot of busts. But the guy has done well recently, so the haters out there should stop taking the easy way out and laying all the "problems" on GM. As a Cap fan from inception, I can tell you that only David Poile has been a better GM for us, and he made his hay with great trades, not so much the draft.

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 13, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

According to the box office I have to wait til mid-September before I can get my Oct 25 Caps game tix. I just want to hold them in my sweaty hockey-starved hands! :(

Sigh, maybe to pass the time I'll just join the Caps Insider off-season hockey debate skills training camp...

Posted by: austinsteve | August 13, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

you have got to be the most timid caps "fan" because you won't show your face to us....Semin just started scoring this year? are you crazy? he had more goals last year then this year

Posted by: capsfan98 | August 13, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the trolls article on NYT, I'm shocked. I had no idea that trolls were unattractive miscreants angry at their lot in life, who only forget momentarily about their dissatisfaction when they make others momentarily feel that way as well.

Posted by: oo7 | August 13, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

people talk about detroit as if it's a drafting issue only (seeing pearls where others see rocks). however, i'm not sure it's even mostly a drafting issue. i'm sure another team could have made Zetterberg a failure if they worked at it. maybe they could have brought him up & down & gave him minutes in a way that shook his confidence, player development might have been weak so he didn't refine skills, the coaching strategies might have not matched his style of play, he might have been put on a line that didn't work (if a receiver can't catch it influences the QB's stats too), & he might have randomly wound up on someone's @#$^ list and sat in the box all year doing nothing, etc..

my major concern w/ gmgm is player development. i am not mad happy w/ the drafting but what you do w. players after you pick them is a major gm issue. why did the caps take so many bad penalties for so long, why did so many players not know their rolls, why did i see flash skating around like he had no idea a hockey game was going on & why do people say his upper body exercise routine is insuffienct, etc.? any team that tries to learn that stuff in season is going to have a slow start and be behind teams that work years in advance developing players to be as ready as possible for that season.

Posted by: jim* | August 13, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Jim hit the mark.

Taking that one step further, imagine how a player responds to an organization that is genuine.
You never hear about bad blood between players and front office in Detroit.

There's a giant problem within this organization, no matter how many draft picks you have to waste.

This year, the team is over the Cap as of today, are they better compared to the budget ? No way.

Bruce Cassidy decision should have been the last screw up allowed. They deserve being at max cap and knowing the Cup is not even close.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

As long as Ovechkin isn't revealed to be behind the Russian invasion, I don't think anybody will or should blame him

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 13, 2008 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Jim, good points--Detroit probably gets a lot of credit for more than they deserve--I guess when you're the champs, to the victor goes the spoils! But I don't think anyone could have screwed up Zetterberg. Detroit is a puck possession team, and HZ is a puck possession machine; a perfect fit. He was cash money from the minute he got to the NHL in 2002.

Player dev is partly the responsibility of the GM, but what you're referring to (bad penalties, players not knowing their roles) are primarily the coach's responsibilities. Bad penalties happen a lot because a player is outhustled--that's on the coach and player, not the GM. Don't know your role on the team? That is squarely on the coach. Insufficient upper body strength--again, that is coaching, and player desire...the GM doesn't force you into the weight room; your coach and, especially, your teammates do. By the way, it was DET that drafted Flash in the second round...go figure!

Now, extending the argument to GMGM picking bad coaches? Yes--Cassidy was, I think, the dumbest move he has made in his tenure with the Caps. I also think that TL insisted on getting a "bright, young up and comer" and GMGM picked the wrong guy. The right guy, apparently, turns out to have been right under our nose all along.

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 13, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

The example of why this organization sucks is in your post.

That "coach" you reference had no business making it into TL's office.

When you decide to take a stand and call for accountability, I'll start thinking Real Change is taking place, otherwise keep on justifying everything.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Dis someone say Change ? Real Change ?

Posted by: NOBama | August 13, 2008 9:17 PM | Report abuse

@ roccky - Ovie doesn't say "I do it for Russia." He says "I do it for Washington."

Posted by: Jill | August 13, 2008 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Is that what you're doing, Chief, taking a stand? Calling for accountability?

What you're doing is grinding a very dull axe. I've yet to read a post of yours that didn't smack of negativism. You offer no solutions, just complaints, and tired ones at that. Still hanging on the Bruce Cassidy debacle? That's your problem. Hate the organization? Tough--you're one less person I have to worry about taking my seat at a sold out game this year.

Give your thumb a rest and suck on that.

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 13, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Little defensive little wrister ??

Keanu should have never been in TL's office and you know it.

Bottom line, current team manager is responsible for ruining the team and not winning a single post season appearance. Cup finals was all Poile.
Don't worry about your seat, I haven't paid for a seat since 1998 and won't be anytime soon, I get them all for free these days.

Posted by: Chief | August 13, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

@Jill.....if you're right,then they've changed the commercial,or it's a different one.He absolutely says, " I do it for Russia,I do it for you".

Posted by: roccky | August 14, 2008 1:44 AM | Report abuse

Has anyone heard the rumor that Nylander is going back to the Blackhawks? Also heard his Potomac house is for sale.

Posted by: fat jack | August 14, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It's the accent that's confusing -- you are not the first person to think he says "Russia" -- but he definitely says "Washington." Check it out on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_--AjrXPkN0

Posted by: Jill | August 14, 2008 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Nylander is not going anywhere. Especially not to the Hawks. They couldn't afford him. Only reason his house is for sale is because he is moving closer to Ballston/Kettler.

Posted by: Tim | August 14, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Tim, i hope that is true especially because his kid is on my son's hockey team

Posted by: fat jack | August 14, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@ Jill.....I listened again,and my 6 year-old granddaughter,who has better hearing than me,obviously,says "I do it for Washington". I stand corrected,but it still doesn't change the fact that there might be an adverse reaction to Russian NHL'ers this season if things get worse in Georgia.

Posted by: roccky | August 14, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

why is flash in the lineup but gordo isn't?
flash is a winger, but i'd rather have gordo on wing playing some defense than flash not producing anything

Posted by: Anonymous | August 16, 2008 4:39 AM | Report abuse

"Gordon is trash outside of the PK and faceoff dot"

perfectly said. And to the person who said that Bradley is easily replaceable when Clark enters the lineup, thats absurd. You need grit thru the lineup not just a tiny sprinkling of it here and there. And with our top lines taken up by guys who don't play very gritty hockey, you need as much of that element on the bottom two lines. Clark also won't fight or even hit to the same degree as Bradley does. Bradley is far more indispensable to the lineup than is Gordon.

Posted by: AJ | August 20, 2008 1:06 PM | Report abuse

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