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Catching Up With GM George McPhee

Earlier this afternoon, I interviewed GM George McPhee for a feature story I'm working on. During the course of our conversation, though, a few other items of interest came up. Here's a summary:

*We kind of already knew this, but McPhee confirmed that Brian Pothier (concussion) won't resume his career anytime soon. The defenseman has, however, shown signs of improvement recently, McPhee said.

*As far as Chris Clark and his groin tendon injury, McPhee said he's working under the assumption that Clark will be ready to go when training camp opens four weeks from now. That's consistent with what the captain told me earlier this month, so no surprise there.

*As you might have heard, the Capitals won't be among the 18 teams introducing a third jersey this season. But it might not happen next season, or the season after that, either, if McPhee has his way.

"We just came up with these jerseys a year ago and we're still building equity in them," he said. "Personally, I'm not a third jersey fan. Half the time, you don't know who is playing out there. So I'm in no rush to do it."

*I asked McPhee about the Caps' salary cap situation - the spreadsheet I'm looking at has the team's 23-man roster a little less than $1 million over the ceiling of $56.7 million, and, yes, that's minus Brian Pothier's $2.5 million hit. McPhee, though, disagreed with my assertion that his team is over. But he also didn't want to elaborate in much detail, so it was tough to argue my point.

"Not necessarily," he said about being over the limit. "There are lots of ways to do it. It's so convoluted. We're going to be tight this year, but we'll be able to operate with the players we have. We're fine."

*Asked if he envisioned any roster moves before camp opens on Sept. 20, McPhee said: "It's really quiet. I expect it to remain that way until we get to camp."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 21, 2008; 3:24 PM ET
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Next: Catching Up With Coach Boudreau



Posted by: pat | August 21, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: pat | August 21, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

*yawn* I guess it's too much to expect GMGM to tip his hand about the roster at this point, but nice try, TEB!

I never liked the third jersey concept either. If this is the NHL's way of promoting hockey, they're barking up the wrong tree. Get a frickin meaningful TV contract, Bettman!

Posted by: bigonetimer | August 21, 2008 3:41 PM | Report abuse

It's really quiet? Since when do we believe him when he says things like that? Something is brewing ...

Posted by: Boo! | August 21, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

God forbid local viewers wouldnt know who the caps are if they are wearing a 3rd jersey

Actually most local people already cant tell the difference between the caps and canes when they play

Posted by: ... | August 21, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

GMGM not tipping his hand, big surprise...Bigger question is will Alzner start the season in D.C. or does salary cap force him to the Bears? (At least for fisrt few games/injuries, etc.)

Anyone know when single game tickets become available?

Posted by: 4check | August 21, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Good to hear from GMGM I suppose, but there's not really a whole lot here other than the Pothier news. That's a really tough break for the guy.

Posted by: EricS | August 21, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

What are the 18 teams going with 3rd jerseys this year?

Posted by: Tommmy | August 21, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

i think if we did a 3rd jersey it should be the vintage red white and blue jerseys. even though its not happening this year.

good to hear an update from GMGM even if youre never sure if what he says is true or hes bluffing

Posted by: mike d | August 21, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

did you ask about the Gaborick rumors that have popped up again??

Did you ask him if he bought an Olie Lightning jersey? it's the least he could do since he didn't support him while he was here

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I can just hear the enthusiasm in Mcphee's voice...Tarik, how did you not fall asleep half way through the interview?

I mean..make something up...Sundin was here begging for a roster spot, and he told him to get lost....Kolzig sent his locker name plate to McPhee in the mail with a scorpion in the box...something...

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Some of the 3rd jerseys:
Sabres - retro jersey
Pens - Winter Classic jersey
Flyers - Orange version
Stars - IIRC white version of their boring home version
Canes - IIRC black jersey
Canucks - Retro jersey
Bruins - IIRC Alternate logo
Leafs - That retro many spiked leaf logo
Flames - IIRC black jersey

I think the Oilers and Thrashers have third jerseys too.

Posted by: tallbear | August 21, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't mess with...


Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Personally I like the 3rd jersey, that is when its the retro version.

So I guess I like retro better than anything. i wish all teams would go back to their original designs.

I love the caps retro and i always like the simplicity of philly's orange 'away'/home or whatever you want to call it.

On the ugly side of thing..Vancouver's and LAs take the cake

Posted by: Tommmy | August 21, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

in terms of uniforms, does anybody else wish that the Caps would bring back the pants that had the stars down the side. Those pants were sick.

Posted by: reekie | August 21, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

So with GMGM saying he plans on staying quiet, should we read that to mean someone's moving? ;)

Posted by: keef | August 21, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Did you ask him if he bought an Olie Lightning jersey? it's the least he could do since he didn't support him while he was here"

C'mon people--let's not make the Olie situation into the next Slovakian-player-who-used-to-play-here-and-wear-number-12-but-whose-name-may-not-be-mentioned-because-GMGM-did-him-wrong saga. Move on...

Posted by: Right Winger | August 21, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see the Flyers bring back the slacks...hahahahah...what a bunch of pansy losers...

Posted by: Bring back the Hockey Slacks!!! | August 21, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

"We'll stand pat at trade deadline." -McPhee pre-deadline
Result: Huet, Fedorov, Cooke brought into fold

"Saw Anton Gustafsson play once in Sweden last year. He wasn't any good." -McPhee pre-draft
Result: Caps trade UP several spots to snab Baby Gus

"Things are quiet." -McPhee right now

Posted by: Ben | August 21, 2008 4:18 PM | Report abuse

1) 3rd jerseys are merely a revenue enhancer. The Caps with their popular new red threads probably don't need one at this time
2) As far as the Cap situation. Shouldn't the NHL have on their web site what each team's cap number is at all times? If as the league professed after the lockout that they were going to be more 'transparent' as to league workings, we find it would be very fan-friendly to publish a daily updated cap liability for every team based upon trades,contract extensions call-ups/demotions/long term injury,etc.
3) We've written to Ted and the NHL on a few locations with respect to this matter and thus far have not received an answer back.

Posted by: Fauxrumors | August 21, 2008 4:22 PM | Report abuse

How about an interview with a farm animal ?

Posted by: Chief | August 21, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Caps definitely took advantage of merch sales to boost revenue.

why do you think they pushed rock the red during playoffs, and made t shirts and had extra red everything to sell? revenue.

Yeah, sure some of you will say the caps are the only team in the league that didnt care about that but wanted to build an atmosphere in the building but c'mon, it was a business move

telling everyone to buy something red, well, where else is the best place to get that on game day? At the VC store

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse


Dont think Rock the Red wont carry into next year. Red Jerseys will be flying off the shelves, and I would think long sleeve red t-shirts will be selling once it gets cold.

The Red T-Shirt was perfect, since it was warming up...People didnt want to wear Jerseys during a warm spring.

Posted by: SA-Town | August 21, 2008 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Q: "How about an interview with a farm animal ?"

A: Like, your mom?

That was way too easy...

Posted by: Fro | August 21, 2008 5:26 PM | Report abuse

One theory - Since the salary cap is calculated each day, and not each game, could the Capitals send Alzner and other waiver exempt players to Hershey on non game days, then recall them in time for game days? The player would never actually leave the team because the intention would be for them to rejoin within a day or two. This would reduce their Cap hit as they would only be on the roster 2/3 or 3/4 of the season and their cap hit for the season would be reduced accordingly.

I have looked briefly for rules limiting the number of times you can send down and recall a player and didn't find anything right off the bat. Anybody know for sure?

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 21, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Interesting about the cap. So, if you take George literally, we're maybe not over the cap and don't have to do anything. I won't claim to be enough of a cap expert to know, but if the cap is "fuzzy" and can be argued sixteen different ways, doesn't that kind of limit the effectiveness of the cap? Just saying...

Posted by: old time hockey | August 21, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

In George we Trust. :)

glad to hear he is so confident that he won't have to move anyone...although I believe we have a roster of like 26 players right now don't we??

Posted by: mike b | August 21, 2008 5:48 PM | Report abuse

"Tarik, how did you not fall asleep half way through the interview?"

It is really Tarik's job to make the interview interesting, not the other way around. So the question should be "Tarik, how did you not make GMGM fall asleep half way through the interview?"

Lets face it, the reason the Caps are so way down the list of interest on sports teams at this location is the lack of good reporters.

Posted by: x | August 21, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I had the same thought when I read this as some of the others here. Based on his track record, GMGM's saying that he expects no trades before camp has me fully prepared to read about a trade by noon tomorrow.

It is really too bad about Brian Pothier. He is so young to have his career in jeapordy. I feel really bad for him.

Posted by: Kim | August 21, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

@ x - Tarik's story isn't even out yet and you are already criticizing it. Why can't Caps fans just be thankful that Tarik dishes out the scoop and various tidbits here on the blog in between his articles?

Furthermore why do people expect a Caps story in the Post every day in August? And by the way, it's the editors who decide how many column inches get devoted to a story, not the reporter's.

Does it make you feel better about yourself to criticize the way other people do their jobs?

Posted by: y | August 21, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse


Your point about reporting being a factor in fandom has merit to a point, but ANY element you insert into a situation not just sports, can be argued as a factor. Any!

You are assuming a hell of a whole lot by making that statement, especially to a Pulitzer ladened publishment like The WP.

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | August 21, 2008 7:26 PM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy,
No limits on moving waiver-exempt players back and forth. This most absolutely can be done. That said the only waiver exempt guys we'll have on the roster are Backstrom and Alzner. Since the bonuses are what mainly eat up cap room for most waiver eligible players (since most are on entry level deals) the savings on the cap figures aren't enough to cover the Caps current deficit. Also, not sure about these two but if their deals are two way deals, rather than one way, their paychecks would be affected and I'm sure that wouldn't go over well.

But technically McPhee is right, if you go with the roster we're all assuming but subtracting Alzner and adding Lepisto then the team is just under the cap. Should McPhee choose to do nothing he is certainly capable of opening the season in compliance. But if the team has an injury or two it becomes real tight real fast.

Posted by: Jay | August 21, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't care how BB and GMGM decide how to manage the players and cap, as long as they don't sacrifice wins for cap space... ie... not playing a better player to avoid trading someone.


I agree that there isnt enough hockey coverage in DC. Its not Tarik's fault. The only way to remedy this is for us to win, win and win. There is so much competition for space in the paper. VA Tech gets tons more pub than the Capitals and they are 300 miles away. Navy gets more pub and thats crazy.

Once we reach the level of success as other local teams there will be a shift. We've only started to scratch the surface. We are on the right track.

During the playoff run, there were multiple columnist and of course Tarik writing everyday for the Post about the Caps.

Check the paper... No one is writing about the Wizards either.

Quit complaining, its the off season.

@Fantasy Hockey participants

We now have 12 players, we have room for 2 or 4 more people.

Go Skins Go

But I'd be ok if closed it at 12.

Posted by: JSchon | August 21, 2008 8:48 PM | Report abuse


You are an idiot. You have no idea the context. It was not a press conference you dummy. He probably caught him in the hall, and rattled a few questions...

Dont come on her insulting the person who is trying to keep us all involved....If you want to do inside reports, you have a free forum here to post what you find...I doubt anyone will care what you have to say.

Posted by: x sucks | August 21, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse


12 is fine with me...I thought Boo! wanted to play. If so, 14 is fine too. The live draft sounds fun, hopefully I can make it up there.

Posted by: fullright | August 21, 2008 9:22 PM | Report abuse


i wud love to be in the league. public yahoo leagues suck lol

Posted by: ontheverg | August 21, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

I would love to join you guys but I'm afraid that I don't have the time - seems like you all spent a lot of time on it last time. But thanks for thinking of me!

BTW, who all is going to the preseason games?

Posted by: Boo! | August 21, 2008 9:30 PM | Report abuse

One reason GMGM is not worried about the cap is simple, at some point during the season the odds are very high someone will missed 10 games or more. It happens to every team at some point during the season. I do not know who or when, but once that $$$ are subtracted the caps will be under the cap and if that does not happen the caps will have to be under the cap NEXT year by the amount they are over this year.

Posted by: Rich C | August 21, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse


I'm not sure how many I can make for now, but I'll try my best and will definitely make a few at least.

Wow, talkin' about makin' games. This is cool!

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | August 21, 2008 9:46 PM | Report abuse

Fantasy League

Forgive me...I missed the post about a live draft. for any and all info. but a live draft would be lots of fun.


I'll be trying to get to all of them :)

Season Opener

Any one have any interest in trying to get down to Atlanta for the opener? Flights are dirt cheap (or were yesterday)...I found some for under $150 round trip. A group of 4 of us are already trying to go.

/rambling over

Posted by: Yosh | August 21, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

anyone else listen 2 caps report where stretch called gmgm best gm in the game for that not interested comment 4 the draft? 2 funny since it was so obvious.

Posted by: jim* | August 22, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Takik knows he's gonna get the same answer from GMGM any time he asks about the 'trade situation' but there's some unwritten rule that says he has to ask. What I'm waiting for is the time GMGM is a littl distracted when he asks "is there anything happening on the trade front" and GMGM answers "a lower body injury."

On a Third Uni... I'm about as excited about it as GMGM, we've got a couple great jersys but if they did it I'd hope to see a retro with stars and stripes. Few would buy a 2nd jersey let alone a third so it's not really much of a revenue thing.

The Hockey New's annual prediction issue is out and they are predicting the Caps will finish third in the east behind Mont and the Pengweenies. Cup to Detroit.

Hey Tarik, any word on Alzner and where he's working out and chances to beat out somebody for a spot come regular season? I'm excited to see that there will be competition at a number of spots in camp.

Posted by: TheCapitalist | August 22, 2008 7:42 AM | Report abuse

Rich C - That is incorrect. Teams must be in compliance at the start of the season, not at the end of the following season. The exception is earned bonuses for 35+ player on one-year deals, I believe, which are applied the following season if the current season can not handle it. As far as contract dollars and entry level bonuses, those are absolutely required to be in current compliance and will not be forwarded to subsequent years.

Posted by: Nomad | August 22, 2008 8:28 AM | Report abuse

"in terms of uniforms, does anybody else wish that the Caps would bring back the pants that had the stars down the side. Those pants were sick."

Posted by: reekie | August 21, 2008 4:02 PM

I agree reekie. Those pants were cool. I'm tired of all the teams with just boring, solid, one-color pants. How about some stipres or something? The Rangers have cool pants too with the stripes that go down the side and aoroung the leg at the bottom. The Caps old stars and stripes were the best though.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | August 22, 2008 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: BearsWoooo | August 22, 2008 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the post BearsWoooo -- too funny

On a side note -- how many Bears games do you go to? I live in Lancaster, and would love to meet up with other Bears/Caps fans. If you want to communicate, I can shoot you my email.

Posted by: JIM | August 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@ right winger

and anyone else who wants to blame Olie...I will move on once GMGM is gone and we have a GM who will repect and talk to the players/coaches and address our needs not his own. Like it or not the past is our legacy and from Olie to Bondra to Hunter to May to Kreiger to Miller. The past is nice to mold the future...GMGM has made the mistake of non communication at least 5 times already!!! now we need defense let's address our issues -- we have a potent offense and let's take advantage of that

Posted by: Hlushko | August 22, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

Re: Sombrero Guy's question on why the Caps can't just send Alzner down on off days.
From reading the CBA, it sounds like a player's salary depends on how many days, not games, he's on the NHL roster. So a paper transaction on off days actually takes away salary from Alzner so you would probably expect a grievance filed by Alzner, his agent and the NHLPA.

And according to the CBA, the salary cap is calculated daily. So a team always has to be in compliance.

Posted by: tallbear | August 22, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

For the fantasy league, send the email to for me. I'd be interested in going to ATL for the opener, but I don't think I'll be able to make it.

On GMGM's comments, it's quite possible that it is actually quiet. It's August... not much on the hockey front in terms of deals usually. Sad to hear that about Pothier, he wasn't bad while he was out of the volcano anyways.

I'm not sure how GMGM sees us as under the cap, but I'll take his word for it. Not much we can do, and as long as the players who make the team are the ones that bring in wins, I won't complain.

Third jerseys can be cool, but definitely are not a necissity. No need to rush the scene with an ugly one.

Posted by: CapsCorndog | August 22, 2008 9:51 AM | Report abuse


You sound like Chief. You're arguing idealism versus realism. In an idyllic situation, Kolzig would still be here as the backup and there would never have been any problem to begin with.

Not only that, but are you telling me that you wouldn't have played Huet the rest of the season? Kolzig was not playing well, and Huet was on the roll of his life. I don't understand why everyone is unhappy with the poor "personnel" decision when it was clearly the correct hockey decision.

GMGM has made a lot of good hockey decisions lately -- we have the strongest team in years, an award winning coach, and talent waiting in the wings. I'm sorry that it didn't work out with Bondra and Kolzig, but it happens.

The point is that Kolzig's ego was hurt because the best goalie was playing, not because GMGM or BB did anything wrong. These are hockey moves; there's nothing personal.

I'd rather have a GM who isn't afraid to make hockey decisions than someone who is afraid to hurt feelings.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | August 22, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse


We go to as many as we can. My son and I both play and my daughter is a cheerleader so we often have scheduling conflicts. The last few years we've been to about 10-12 games a season plus playoffs.

Posted by: BearsWoooo | August 22, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

We will be getting a 3rd jersey next season or the one after. Right now it does not make sense because there is a buzz with the team and the new uniforms are still selling real well. When that dries up, you will see a 3rd jersey with the weagle on it.

Posted by: O-V-P | August 22, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse


Too Funny!

Posted by: CantMissKid | August 22, 2008 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Nomad - Usually you are correct, there is a "bonus cushion" that allows teams to exceed the cap by potential bonuses that may be owed to players 35+ and entry level contract guys. Because all potential bonuses factor into a players Cap number (Alzner's salary is 875K but his Cap hit is 1.675 because of potential bonuses).

Teams that exceed the salary cap to pay bonuses must be under the cap the following season by at least the same number they exceeded it in the previous season, so on a two year average they were at or under the cap.

This season however, is the last of the current CBA. The NHLPA can ratify the extension of the CBA for another 4 or 5 seasons, but until that happens there is no bonus cushion because there is no guarantee of a following season for teams to make up for exceeding the cap to pay bonuses.

A couple of articles on the subject


Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 22, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse


If guys like Backstrom and Alzner are on one way contracts, they could get sent down for a day or two, but would get paid the same amounts no matter where they were officially. I agree that if frequent send downs and call ups were negatively and falsely impacting a player's earnings, that would create some bad blood. It was just a hair brained idea :-)

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 22, 2008 10:40 AM | Report abuse


They talked about that kind of situation on the Caps Report this week. Basically, they said you could send down Backstrom for the whole season if you wanted to since he's on his entry-level contract.. but why the F would you want to?

Posted by: Jordan | August 22, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Our 3rd jerseys this year will feature me, Jaromir, and Mario in chaps.

Posted by: Sid the Kid | August 22, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@Sombrero Guy

Yeah, but IIRC rookie contracts are all 2-way. Although I suppose you could just make the AHL salary equal to the NHL salary. I didn't check to see if there's an AHL maximum. Bizarrely, I remember that said that we could've done it with Semin either last year or the year before, he was on a one-way deal and waiver exempt.

Posted by: tallbear | August 22, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Penguin Pile jerseys.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Jordan - Earlier I had mentioned sending down waiver exempt guys to Herhsey anytime we have a couple of days between games as a means of artificially lowering the teams Salary Cap.

The Cap is calculated daily, and the 07-08 season was 187 days so I assume the 08-09 season will be about the same.

Every day Alzner is on the roster, he costs us $8,957.22 against the year end Cap each day he is on the roster (1,675,000 divided by 187). Backstrom costs us $12,834.22 per day against the cap per day. I believe Schultz is waiver exempt as well until he plays in his 160th NHL game.

I just tossed out there that the Caps could send those guys down on off days, recall them for game days and add a little more wiggle room under the Cap. Both players would still be with the Caps and would never actually travel to Hershey, because they would be "recalled" in time for the next game.

I don't expect the Caps to do this, mostly because they would make less money the days they were on an AHL roster and the Caps don't need to create bad blood with players, but it was just a potential loophole.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 22, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I have some time off so I thought I'd poke around and see if there's anything interesting going on in the Hockey world.

There's an interesting "what if" type article on TSN. Basically, it's the same type of thing done at ESPN with the NBA concerning "players with the most trade value".

Our lads on the list:

Player: Nicklas Backstrom
Position: C
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 20
Contract Expires: 2010 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $2.4M
Comment: After a 69-point rookie season, the skilled Swedish playmaker sure looks like he could have 100-point potential in the not-too-distant future.

Player: Mike Green
Position: D
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 22
Contract Expires: 2012 (RFA)
Salary Cap Hit: $5.25M
Comment: Turned in a spectacular 2007-2008 season, emerging as possibly the most electrifying young offensive defenceman in the game.

Player: Alexander Ovechkin
Position: LW
Team: Washington Capitals
Age: 23
Contract Expires: 2021
Salary Cap Hit: $9.538M
Comment: 163 goals and 310 points in three seasons, combined with a contract that will keep him in D.C. through 2021, makes Ovechkin the premier asset in the game today.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 22, 2008 11:57 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see how GMGM works out this cap thing. Gotta hand it to the lawyers on this one. For convolutedness, this one wins hands down. Almost need a Visio chart to follow it, and that's probably exactly how it was crafted.

But there was a paragraph in McKenzie's article on TNS that was cited above that struck me. He wrote:

"For some reason, this seems to be taking a few NHL teams by surprise. Both the general managers and owners have been made well aware of this new distinction. Many player agents contacted by TSN had no idea of this new wrinkle which could significantly impact the types of contracts offered in free agency and the teams' flexibility to stay under the cap."

If it's a surprize to GM's and agents as to how this CBA works, how the heck are us poor schmucks supposed to figure it out?

Posted by: Greg S. | August 22, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@drinking partner
just keep bending your elbow to see it the way you want to see it

GMGM is a genious just look how many cups and playoff berths he has brought to us...ROCK ON GMGM

Posted by: Hlushko | August 22, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Then, over on The Hockey News...

Top UFA's for next summer had this little snippet about our ex-goalie Olie.

"Olaf Kolzig ($1.5 million)
Long in the tooth already, if he helps get the Lightning back in the playoffs another team will come calling."

Long in the tooth....

Our "top" UFA's next year will be (per THN):

Sergei Fedorov ($4 million ’08-09 salary)
No way the then 39-year-old gets $4 million a season again…unless it’s from a Kontinental club.

Viktor Kozlov ($2.5 million)
Despite surpassing the 60-point plateau only once, someone will offer big bucks for the 6-foot-5 pivot.

Brent Johnson ($825,000)
Serviceable backup wins more than he loses (99-88-23) and has a career save percentage on the happy side of .900.

Other ’09 UFAs - Donald Brashear, John Erskine, Alexandre Giroux, David Steckel."

Posted by: Greg S. | August 22, 2008 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@drinking partner
and the government has been saying the economy is can only say for so long and the truth cathes up eventually
look at all the banks who stated subprime won't affect anyone

maybe we can start the genius GMGM for prez rally since he is such a genius

Posted by: Hlushko | August 22, 2008 12:27 PM | Report abuse


Are you related to Chief?

Posted by: Steve R | August 22, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Greg S, good info, thank you.

Posted by: Steve R | August 22, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that Olie is getting $1.5 ... we should have kept him for that.

Never been a fan of stars on breezers, but I would not mind a 3rd sweater. If we ever get one, I hope it is Old Timey. I think the old style logos and the sweaters that tie around the neck.

Posted by: Boo! | August 22, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

@ Hlushko

I'll say the same thing to you that I said to Chief: if you can do it better than he can, go do it and prove me/us wrong.

Go change something instead of whining about it.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | August 22, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Far be it for me to disagree with the Hockey News, but even if the vastly improved Lightening make the playoffs, Olie is not going to look like Young Olie doing it.

First, the defense on the Lightening is still terrible. He's going to see a lot of rubber. Second, judging by the way Melrose coached the Kings, there will lots of hard hits but not much defense. I seem to recall Kelly Hrudey seeing 50, even 60 shots a game (although it was usually closer to 30). So, even if Olie has a 90% percentage, Does a team that wins a bunch of game 7-5 or 6-4 yield a goalie who is highly sought after? I doubt it.

Oh, and ESPN's trade list is a joke. Sure, OV would be the player everyone would want, but does anyone think there is any price a GM could offer and get OV? I sure don't. That may make OV the #1 player, but not #1 "trade value". This isn't a fantasy league.

Posted by: old time hockey | August 22, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

am I missing a link to the GMGM article Tarik was working on?

Boo! I'm with you on the Olie issue; I think that may bite us on the butt...have a feeeling GMGM lit a fire

and I think drinkingpartner had way too many drinks but I side with Hlushko and Chief's valid points and it would be nice if we had a GM with as much energy as our coach and our star player -- our team deserves better for what they gave us at the end of the season with the hole they dug out of

Posted by: capsgary | August 22, 2008 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I still can't figure out all of the GMGM hating. I've done the research posted the information and still people are haters...everyone has their own opinion.

But you can't argue with his drafts/trades since the last year pre lock out.

Someone please present a rational argument for why he is such a bad GM...judging only since that last year before the lockout...and no Bryzladflkjof comments...I'll grant that one.

Posted by: Yosh | August 22, 2008 1:45 PM | Report abuse

It's amazing that anyone can utter the word "genius" or "great" or even "good", in connection with Caps Team Manager.

The same person that destroyed a viable contender, pissed off countless players and coaches, only to hire people like Cassidy, sign guys like Doig.

Make no mistake, by being a loser this joke of a GM has been allowed to pick the best players available, while true genius managers assemble contenders without having to lose.

Washington and the government job association, now extends to the Caps, just show up, do just enough to keep job and then get promoted. What a life, what a legacy.

Posted by: Chief | August 22, 2008 2:06 PM | Report abuse

He was mean to Olie, he puts empty envelopes in the church collection basket and he once beat a baby seal to death...with a spotted owl! I think he is also somehow responsible for global warming and the high gas prices but I can't prove it.

Posted by: Chieshko | August 22, 2008 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Jose/Olie would not be a bad combo, huh? Having said that, given Johnny's recent comments, I hope that having a new #1 really will motivate him to play the best he ever has. If he thinks that he has a shot at #1, then he might become an incredible keeper ... and then he might actually have a shot at being #1! A stretch, I know, but stranger things have happened. (For the record, no, I don't think he has what it takes to be #1, but it does not matter what I think ... it really matters what he thinks.)

Posted by: Boo! | August 22, 2008 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Washington and the government job association, now extends to the Caps, just show up, do just enough to keep job and then get promoted. What a life, what a legacy."

Hey, stop talking about the President like that!! That guy is a genius!!

Posted by: wanggo | August 22, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

@ BearsWoooo

That's about as many games as my wife and I make (or me and a friend), but that may change as we are adopting a child in January. If you ever want to go to a game, email me at

Posted by: JIM | August 22, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

@Chief well spoken points eventually the GMGM statue will be tipped--I got the rope you bring the truck/tank


I'm with you I support our team/players 100% --I'm just against GMGM

Posted by: capsgary | August 22, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@ gary,

No rope or truck required.
I'll just put the gnome in my yard, for my dog to use.
I believe a statue requires height

Posted by: Chief | August 22, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

re:GMGM haters
many people on this board like to live in the past and continue to rehash old news and second hand stories of GMGM. they seem to focus on several things.

1. his early draft history is horrible. very true

2. he hired bruce cassidy. um, yeah that didnt go so well.

3. he has somehow dissed every former cap player ever. well, i'm sure not every former player loves him, but i dont see this as an issue. i see pictures of langway and bondra at team events. he traded hunter for a chance at the cup, etc.

4. the team has sucked since he has been gm. not exactly true, they just sucked in the playoffs until the team was dismantled. everyone knows the story of this team since the early 2000. but some folks dont seem to get the fact that the team purposely stripped itself down to the nubs in order to rebuild. that included signing guys like doig because, well, you need 20 guys to field a team.

some folks refuse to acknowledge the reality that this team is on the way up and that GMGM has drafted and traded well lately. he's no fun to listen to and has made his share of mistakes, but i think most people who know the game would admit that he has done a good job of rebulding this team and managing itself against the salary cap.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | August 22, 2008 3:17 PM | Report abuse


We know you just want it so you can bug hole freak!

Posted by: No Gnome | August 22, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Chief on this one . . .

It doesn't take a genius to create a winner after having years of high draft picks.

That being said, Chief you need to be ready to eat some pie (preferably humble) if they make a long run in the playoffs this season (I would say at least into the conference finals)

The other side of this coin is that without a strong fan base and some long term prospects for a return on investment, you can't expect the owner to allow the GM to spend freely.

Posted by: Whoohoo | August 22, 2008 3:21 PM | Report abuse


ah yes the cap...we have basically the same team this year with no improvement on D...are need...oh yeah and how much cap space do we have for our need? so let's get Alzner in their fast and let him develop with our vetern D...what we have no solid D?!?

As a season ticket holder I hope our D can do what they did the last 1/4 of the season but they were so banged up at the end and in the playoffs -- and we got rid of our most solid D of the playoffs..Eminger (GMGM tends to sit and ignore our draft picks, Sutherby, must I go on..and the past does mold the future..a good GM would learn from their mistakes and maybe treat players and coaches better instead of standing there looking in the mirror admiring themself

Posted by: capsgary | August 22, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

actually,whoohoo it seems to take around 3-5 years of high picks to turn into a winner.

tampa bay drafted vinnie 1 in 98 a won the cup in 03-04

carolina drafted ward in 02 and stall in 03 and won the cup in 05-06

the pens began their parade of 1s and 2s in 03 and made the finals in 07-08

so even with high picks, it does take a few years. the caps are on the cusp of that time frame.

Posted by: Cap Fan 1 | August 22, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

and before anyone gets all out of shape..yes Green is awesome but he is more of an offesive threat..i.e. not Alzner's style for you bandwagon fans out there

Posted by: capsgary | August 22, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

you are on no matter what Capfan1 says

out of those 4 instances "from the past" how many of those teams GM's blew away/ignored their franchise players..face it we need a new GM

Posted by: capsgary | August 22, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Wow....Ollie is of his rocker! Maybe he needs a rocker, or should have retired to his rocker. What a piece. Hope he invested in a boat to live in.........

Posted by: Hollie Ollie | August 22, 2008 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Hollie Ollie | August 22, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Hollie Ollie!

I've had people on this blog dispute my assertion that Olie got his name for his temper. Now I have it in his own words.

From the link provided by Hollie Ollie at 3:51: Have you put any thought in to your new mask for Tampa Bay? Will you stick with the Godzilla theme? Where did that come from, anyway?

OK: I got that nickname when I played in Rochester back in 1992-93. I got loaned to Rochester from Washington and I immediately drew a connection with the fans. I'm a big guy, I play with a lot of passion and back then my temper was probably a lot more prominent than it is now! The people saw the way I played, they saw how fiery I was, and I came to the rink one day and they had a sign that said, "Nobody beats Godzilla!" It's kind of stuck with me ever since. It probably took me three or four mask designs before I finally chose the one I have. I think the first one that I had looked more like Barney, the cartoon dinosaur! The mask in Tampa really won't deviate too much from my design, other than instead of red it's going to be black and blue, and instead of the Capitol Building and Washington Monument on the sides, it's going to have a lightning bolt and palm trees. But no question, it will still have Godzilla.

Posted by: uncatim | August 22, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Vinny's got the reach advantage, but Ovie's got the Russian Machine advantage. I think Vinny goes down in that fight.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | August 22, 2008 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I see a storyline from all this being Olie coming out of the gate strong and making it look like we were the bad guys for letting him go, then running out of steam as the season moves on. Wanting to show someone up is a strong motivating factor.

Posted by: AP | August 22, 2008 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Vishnevski just hit the waiver wire....

Posted by: Steve R | August 22, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: uncatim | August 22, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chief...

Im not even going to ask if its ok with with the other participants in the fantasy hockey league...

But if you want in, its ok with me... and since you asked, I retract my initial emotional "NO".

It of course up to you...

Posted by: JSchon | August 22, 2008 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Chief says "yes" JSchon. It'll be fun to put his picks under the microscope

Posted by: Steve R | August 22, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse


But if you want in, its ok with me...

ok by me...assuming I'm still in. I just wish Chief et al would take a deep breath, step back and take a new look. Has GMGM built the best team possible? probably not. has he learned from his mistakes? me thinks so.

As for his treatment of is a business. The only...ONLY...player I think that really got the shaft was Calle Johanson...Bondra yeah it sucks GMGM didn't bring him back, but the trade was the smart move. Olie...I'm his biggest supporter on this blog, but it was/is time to say goodbye (though at 1.5 million I woulda taken him as a back up).

Anywho...drunk rambling synopsis...GMGM learned on the job and like I said before...I'd rate him a solid B from the year before the lock out to the present.

Posted by: Yosh | August 23, 2008 1:23 AM | Report abuse

Olie would have NEVER resigned with the caps for 1.5 million.I don't think he was mistreated at all like a lot of other people around. If we would have stuck with Olie , or even a rotation, we would have never made the playoffs last season. BJ out played Olie for the most part last season. Olie made ALOT of money while he played with us, we don't owe him anything, other than a big thanks for what you did in the past.The fact he wanted to leave was his decision, he made that clear before any discussion with GM or coach after the season was over.

@ Chief
I think it would be fun to see you in the fantasy league, and let us see your GM capabilities.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | August 23, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I received a visit by a certain jeff halpern here at the dealership on Wednesday night. Talked to him for a few minutes. He misses washington, loved Dallas, was surprised to get traded to Tampa, is happy they are trying to do SOMETHING, but the have no D, traded the only good player they have, so it's going to be a long season. But, he said, we have a great team here in DC!

I'll get more when he comes in to take delivery on his new Beemer!

Posted by: Leeguru | August 23, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

@ Lee,

You have the pleasure of dealing with the cheapest guy in the world.
He gives "us" a bad name.

Posted by: I Know | August 23, 2008 1:00 PM | Report abuse

I kind of like Chief, put him in the league.

Posted by: MNMNT | August 23, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

It would be hilarious to have Chief in the league. He won't do it for two reasons. He fears losing his anonymity that makes him feel invincible, and he is afraid he might actually have fun and would find something he couldn't be negative about.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 23, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I gotta believe that he regrets movin' on - he'd be livin' large if he had stuck around (but, from what I've heard, there was no love lost on either side with his departure ... not that I have an inside scoop or anything). Did he have anything to say about Olie? Can you ask if he can spare some change for a beemer for me?!? ;-)

Posted by: Boo! | August 23, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Look for Halpern to retire, word has it he's finished playing.

Posted by: Doc | August 23, 2008 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Boumedienne to Toronto


Posted by: Oneal | August 23, 2008 11:47 PM | Report abuse

does anyone remember why we got rid of Andrew Brunette way back when?

Posted by: markmarcus | August 24, 2008 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@ BearsWooo & JIM

I'm also a fellow Bears' fan, and I'm from York. I also attend between 10-12 games a year at Giant Center, as well as 1 or 2 games of theirs' in Philly. If either of you guys are interested in another Bears' game buddy, I would also be interested. It's always a plus meeting fellow Bears' and Caps' fans. Looking at both teams, anyone else thinking the possibility of double Cup? My email is if either of you guys want a 3rd stooge, lol

Posted by: Matt | August 24, 2008 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Double cup?!? How cool would THAT be!! :-) I don't know enough about the Bears to speak about their coaching staff since BB left - do you think that they are in good hands?

Posted by: Boo! | August 25, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

According to, we're 2.6+M over the salary cap. Putting Pothier on LTIR frees up 2.5 M. Where's the other 100K coming from?

I think that Erskine won't make it. That puts us 400K under.

Yo-yoing players up and down to AHL is not going to work. As soon as you bring them back, you're over the limit, no?

Posted by: Greg S. | August 25, 2008 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Can't wait for the panic next summer in Pittsburgh, either. They have 12, count 'em 12 U/RFA's to sign. We have 9, but one is Fedorov (retires), another is BJ (who I think will be given a hearty handshake on his way out the door), Juice and Fehr may exit, too. But the Pens have some serious guys to sign: Satan, Sykora, Fedotenko, Staal, Sydor, and Gill. All except Staal are UFA's, too.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 25, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Forgot to add that this is part of being a GM, too. You have to stagger your R/UFA's out over time so you're not crippled if one bolts to another team. Looking at the Capital's timing for signing, GMGM's done a pretty good job of that.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 25, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Personally I think Erskine's spot on the team is pretty safe, just because the man is so dam inexpensive. You need 7 D-men, and if Alzner makes the squad, Erskine would presumably be the 7th. If Alzner and Lepisto BOTH make the squad, Erskine could get forced out but Lepisto makes about 200K MORE than Erskine, so that doesn't help much.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 25, 2008 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Don't get all worked up over 100K over the salary cap. It is a NON-ISSUE. We option one player to Hershey if needed to clear the cap room. If the player is claimed, the problem is gone, if he is not claimed, the problem is gone. END of Story! Is it training camp yet??

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | August 25, 2008 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Augh, we lost Boumedienne.. This makes me frown.

Posted by: Jordan | August 25, 2008 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I really want to pull a Rip van Winkle and not wake up until training camp. Waiting for the saga of Cheif playing fantasy hockey to unfold just plain sucks. Any rumors out there? How's Pothier's thumb?

Posted by: Steve R | August 25, 2008 12:49 PM | Report abuse


I am pretty sure it was expansion draft that took Andrew Brunette away from the Caps. Poile the pecker, loved him.

Posted by: uncatims-bro | August 25, 2008 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Where is Nylander working out?

I would think with as much time as he has had off from full speed, he would be up at Kettler early? Just a thought...

Posted by: SA-Town | August 25, 2008 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I've been trying to figure out where Tarik came up with his Million over after taking out Pothier, because the HockeyBuzz database doesn't show it. Like I said above, it showed 2.6M over. So where's the other 900K?

Schultz is listed as an AHL/Prospect on that database. Appropriate, but unfortunately wrong.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 25, 2008 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Greg S,

2,692,212 over per nhlscap
+763,889 for #55
= 3,456,101 over
- 2,500,000 for Pothier LTIR
= 956,101 over as of right now

I think anyway.

Posted by: Steve R | August 25, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

That's what I'm looking at, Steve...

It's hard to be an informed fan when the data is wrong all the time. Frustrating.

Wondering if there's a market for accurate info on players. I could at least justify the time I'd spend playing with the numbers.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 25, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

I haven't posted here in a while, but if you're looking for a slot for a fantasy league, I'll gladly join up.

828 will probably beat me though =(

Posted by: Whiter Mage | August 25, 2008 1:32 PM | Report abuse


If you look at the Capitals cap using hockey buzz, you'll see that they have left Schultz off the team. We all know he'll be there.

Add in Schultz's $763,889 and subtract Pothier's 2.5 million and you end up with $57,656,101 or a little under 1 million over the Cap.

Posted by: Sombrero Guy | August 25, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Whoops, should have read Steve R's post first.

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