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Catching Up with Mike Knuble

Mike Knuble made his first trip to KCI Tuesday to chat with media folks while he and his wife are in town house-hunting and checking out school options for their children. He'll wear No. 22 this fall, following in the footsteps of fan-favorites Dino Ciccarelli and Steve Konowalchuk.

The Capitals made no secret that Knuble had been at the top of their free-agent wish list this summer. They're hoping he will take up residence on top of an opposing crease, cause havoc and knock in rebounds as he has with regularity for the past six years. And Knuble, 37, is hoping for a second go-round with the Stanley Cup after getting his name on it with Detroit back in 1997-98.

"I had a taste of the Stanley Cup early when I was in Detroit and I hadn't even played," Knuble said. "Now, I want to win one where I have had a bigger role on the team."

Since 2002-03 when playing with Boston, Knuble has made something of a science of serving a complementary role alongside some of his teams' skilled forwards. When the Bruins' Sergei Samsonov suffered a wrist injury that season, it gave Knuble the opportunity to play with Joe Thornton and Glen Murray and he found his niche. Right now, the assumption is that Knuble will skate with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the top line at the start of the season.

"I figured Joe makes the passes," Knuble recalled. "Glen shoots the puck so it's got to go to the net at some point. So I'm gonna go to the net. ... I can shoot and I can make the odd pass, but I don't need to be that guy. I realized these guys are better than me and there's usually something left around the net. I like to plug around and try to complement those guys and help them do their jobs better."

But what may prove to be just as valuable as Knuble's propensity to crash the net or block shots might be the presence of a blue-collar player who has experienced many of the NHL's ups and downs to provide perspective in the Caps' young locker room.

"I came in as a third- or fourth-line guy," Knuble said. "I know what it feels like to sit there the whole game. I know what it feels like to be thinking 'Oh gosh, I need to get out of here, I need a trade.' At the same time, though, I know the pressures of being consistent every night, the pressures of playing with the top players and not holding these guys back."

Only 12 hours passed between when Knuble found out he wouldn't be returning to Philadelphia and when he signed with the Caps. So after playing on the opposite side of the Caps-Flyers rivalry, how did he view Washington?

"They are a legitimate contender," Knuble said. "Playing in the Southeast Division has always been seen as the lower-type teams and I don't think that's the case now. With whoever won this division getting the third seed, in the past, it was the seed everyone wanted to play in the playoffs. You felt like you'd have a better chance than against a fourth seed from another division. That's really not the feeling now."

Knuble admitted that while shifting allegiances has taken some adjustment, the transition might not be too hard for some of his family members.

"My kids are getting older and Alex is one of my son's favorite players. We'll have to drag him out to a birthday party or something and Alex can be the novelty."

By Katie Carrera  |  July 22, 2009; 12:03 PM ET
 
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Comments

Can't wait to see him Rockin the RED!!!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | July 22, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

does anyone know the dates of training camp yet or is it TBA

Posted by: bryaningrocery | July 22, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't matter if you played for the Flyers, Penguins, or Rags in the past, if you're wearing red now you're a friend of mine.

Posted by: SmallZ827 | July 22, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

EXPERIENCE!!!!!!!!!!! Knuble has the potential to be a hugh assest for the team. not only that but he is obviously the epitomy of a "blue-collar" player. we have plenty of finesse, now we have some grit to go with it.

the only piece missing is on the blue line, or perhaps in the net.

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@hbcapsfan

with ovies propensity to shoot he should pound in about 30!!!

Posted by: bryaningrocery | July 22, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I like Knuble's attitude and understanding of his role here. Seems like a great fit. I love this signing by GMGM. I would have like to see a better #2 center signing but lets see what Brendan can do. I'm more interested to see what defensive pairings will flush out.

Posted by: dsphvywght | July 22, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I think that if Clarkie can get in the mix this year. We'll have two top level offenesive lines. Add the pups to the blue liners the next two years will rock. The next five years will be unbelievable... and I forgot to mention Varly or Neuvirth, eh...

Posted by: Berndaddy | July 22, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Somebody needs to warn him about making sure he's not in the way of Ovie's blasts, say maybe Clarkie?

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | July 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

It would of been sweet if Knuble chucked some plates and a lawnmower into the KCI parking lot...

Posted by: SA-Town | July 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I am SO glad Knuble is here in DC now, he was one of my favorites in Philly (my husband is from there, so we keep up with them as well). What a great fit for us...good job GMGM.

Anyone else listen to the "teleconference" with GMGM and BB? I thought it was pretty interesting, they gave some fairly candid answers/observations. Also there were a few really funny fans and questions, you could hear BB giggling in the background after some of the questions! Is is October already?

Posted by: NatyBG | July 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Man, I'm excited about what this team can be with a real grinder parked in the crease. Our future is bright.

Offensively.

We just have to find a way to remedy the supernatural level of incompetence on the blue line.

Last season, Mike Green was the best Offenseman in the NHL. But when he was skating backwards (or watching forwards skate around him), he was just as much a liability as schultz. Mike "Shwag King" Green's giveaways per game ratio was unrivaled in the NHL.

Don't be surprised if a marketing company endorses him and has him skating around with pens and t-shirts to give away.

The blueline is now the elephant in the living room.

Posted by: large23220 | July 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Anyone else listen to the "teleconference" with GMGM and BB? I thought it was pretty interesting, they gave some fairly candid answers/observations. Also there were a few really funny fans and questions, you could hear BB giggling in the background after some of the questions! Is is October already?

Posted by: NatyBG | July 22, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

What type of candid observations, I'm curious

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

It would of been sweet if Knuble chucked some plates and a lawnmower into the KCI parking lot...

Posted by: SA-Town | July 22, 2009 12:33

Nice carry over... ;)

with ovies propensity to shoot he should pound in about 30!!!

Posted by: bryaningrocery | July 22, 2009 12:19 PM

I hear ya, can't wait!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | July 22, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, for one thing, BB said that Schultz is a "top 4 dman". That was pretty candid.

Posted by: WhyGo | July 22, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Top 4 on our team that is.

Is that the same as top 4 on Atlanta or top 4 on Boston or Detroit? Just wondering...if the NHL has a standard rating system for top 4.

Posted by: WhyGo | July 22, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

if Bouds said Schultz is a top 4 d-man, i am concerned.

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Looks like I'm getting a Knuble jersey

Posted by: hockymn22 | July 22, 2009 1:13 PM | Report abuse

BB and GMGM say a lot of things.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 22, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm a STH and have never seen a fan wear a Schultz jersey!

OV (plenty), Backstrom, Clark, Green Semin, Laich, Varly, Bradley, Poti, even an Erskine!

But no Schultz. So which one of the bloggers here is getting a Schultz jersey? He's a top 4 Dmen cause BB said so.

Posted by: puckman | July 22, 2009 1:21 PM | Report abuse

I have seen one AND ONLY one schultz jersey. the guy who started the "1,2...it's all your fault" he wears a schultz jersey, i saw him wearing one during the away playoff games in pittsburgh. i died a little on the inside of the horrible respresentation of a Caps player in Pitts lol

Posted by: capsfan387 | July 22, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Pens fans love Schultz apparently. Pensfan98 does.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 22, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

The fan forum question was "why do you think Schultz takes so much abuse on the blogs?". BB responded, in part that Schultz, when healthy, is a top 4 dman, just gets the job done, nothing fancy but the results are evident.

Posted by: WhyGo | July 22, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Whygo - BB sounds like a politician, he didn't directly answer the question.

There are numerous players on the Caps that are not fancy but get the job done; most of the D and the 3rd & 4th line. They don't catch the abuse the questioner was referring to.

Posted by: puckman | July 22, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

if BB says schultz is a top 4 dman thats good enough for me. BB has left more hockey knowledge in the bowl than we will ever have. however, this year there is more competition than in previous years, particularly if jurcina is resigned and/or we make some sort of trade. will be interesting to see how fast "top 4" turns into "hershey is that way".

btw, last year many were wondering about erskine and why they resigned him. i think that turned out to be a good move. imagine if we hadn't done that. i think he would have signed somewhere else (or would have demanded from us) at least twice he current salary.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I ask of Schultz is the same thing I ask our entire defense, save Erskine and Jurcina sometimes.

Hit more. Clear the crease.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 22, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

if BB says schultz is a top 4 dman thats good enough for me. BB has left more hockey knowledge in the bowl than we will ever have. however, this year there is more competition than in previous years, particularly if jurcina is resigned and/or we make some sort of trade. will be interesting to see how fast "top 4" turns into "hershey is that way".

btw, last year many were wondering about erskine and why they resigned him. i think that turned out to be a good move. imagine if we hadn't done that. i think he would have signed somewhere else (or would have demanded from us) at least twice he current salary.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 22, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Look, even if Bruce was being honest it still doesn't make Schultz a top 4. Just because a coach says something doesn't make it so. And coaches (even good ones) have been known to be wrong about a player here or there. I remember when Caps fans were in love with Ron Wilson and all the miserably bad player decisions he made that ended up proving costly later.

(and if Schultz gets moved in the next 2 months you'll know BB was just posturing to get us better value in a trade in case someone out there was listening :).

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

BB stayed with the positives that he sees in Schultz's game. I am sure he has more information and a better understanding of his capabilities than the people on this board. If it wasn't Schultz, the naysayers here would just find another whipping boy to go on and on and on and on, etc., about. Kinda like Nyls.

Posted by: _Mark | July 22, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

They can hide without a gritty defenseman all year- will continue winning games 7-5...come playoff time same old story...Crosby will knock in 4 from 2 feet and everyone will wonder again - what happened?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

if it begets a trade, Shultz is DEFINITELY a top 4 d-man!!!!

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Schultz= Dubinsky - that's all I can remember about last year.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

BB stayed with the positives that he sees in Schultz's game. I am sure he has more information and a better understanding of his capabilities than the people on this board. If it wasn't Schultz, the naysayers here would just find another whipping boy to go on and on and on and on, etc., about. Kinda like Nyls.

Posted by: _Mark | July 22, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

whatever -- choosing Nyles as an example doesn't give your point any credence. Nyles legimitately has become a whipping boy not just for the fans, but also the entire org. The Caps have been trying to dump him for a while now or have you not been paying attention?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

They can hide without a gritty defenseman all year- will continue winning games 7-5...come playoff time same old story...Crosby will knock in 4 from 2 feet and everyone will wonder again - what happened?

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse


exactly. After the abundance of critical goals scored within a few feet of the crease, you'd think even the staunchest Schultz supporters wouldn't make an argument in his favor. I even saw comments implying that if Schultz was in the lineup we may have won the series. l m a o

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Schultz= Dubinsky - that's all I can remember about last year.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

it took a play like that to get him out of the lineup.

Two of the signature plays from that series was Kozlov with the great power move ploughing over the Rangers goalie, and of course Dubinsky making Schultz look like the pylon that he is.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@_Mark

Schultz...Does BB see a 6'7" monster that is scared to hit?

Because most people on this blog watch every game and the intelligent ones seem to be right most of the time...hopefully he finds his game this year and grows a pair.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

we have officially hit summer sports purgatory - sigh.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | July 22, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps really see him as a top 4 guy, why did they just re-sign him to a 1 yr deal? It doesn't sound like this org wants to "lock him up" for any amount of time. Probably because

1) he's just a stopgap player in their minds until Carlson/Alzner/Godfrey make the lineup
2) signing him to longer than a 1 yr deal may scare teams off from making a trade. Most teams will want to see what Schultz can do for them in their system before committing to a longer term contract.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: thiazzi | July 22, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

and finally (because even I am now getting nauseous with all this Schultzmania)

-- 5 yrs ago the scouting report on Schultz labeled him as a soft defenseman whose biggest asset was his height/reach and the fact he could skate fairly well for a lanky mofo. His upside was he could become a steady reliable player with an outside shot of becoming a more dominant player if he significantly increased his physical strength and tenacity.

Fast fwd to today - how far has Schultzie come in 5 yrs?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

that assesment is remarkably similar to what most advocates say about him today, they say 'just you wait, he will be something someday'.

Posted by: WhyGo | July 22, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Please cstanton, answer your question for us. Don't leave us hanging.

(This was a Knuble thread at one time.)

Posted by: puckman | July 22, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

I watched the games, majority of the home games in person, and I saw mistakes. I just don't believe that those mistakes are going to be the total basis of my opinion.

Keep going back to Crosby camping in the crease and abusing us. He did. But we also had a hurting D corp and did not get it done as a team.

Our D is pretty young but they have another year of experience, they are starting out healthy (hopefully), and they will feel the pressure of some more young guys that are eager to get to the big club.

Posted by: _Mark | July 22, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

puckman:
It was not a political answer - you could tell that BB was pretty passionate about it ... almost fired up. His response was actually much longer than that, but that is the essence of what he said. He clearly is a Schultz fan.

Posted by: Boo- | July 22, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

clearing the crease is a matter of want and desire. It doesn't take a lot of skill to do it. And you don't have to be incrediby big or strong either. That's why you see it get done by smaller defensemen who have a very competitive mentality.

Certain players lack that mentality. The player who got abused more than anyone else was Mike Green. But if Schultz was in there, he'd also be easy pickings for any forward willing to pitch a tent in the crease.


that assesment is remarkably similar to what most advocates say about him today, they say 'just you wait, he will be something someday'.

Posted by: WhyGo | July 22, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

If this was only 2-3 yrs out from him being drafted, I could maybe buy that. But 5 yrs later he shows no willingness to engage in any confrontation near his net. He looks incredibly uncomfortable jostling around in the crease, and the second the whistle blows he starts skating away instead of making sure no one's giving his goalie an extra whack or looking for rebounds. He looks like he wants to carve out an nhl career without paying a physical price. I don't know if thats what you really want in a prospect like Schultz.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

He's also a flash fan.... ::facepalm::

Posted by: nag1055 | July 22, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

@puckman

i have seen one schultz jersey total. he sits two rows behind me

as for erskine...that would be me and the guy that sits on the other end of my row, we each have sexy lumberjack jerseys

Posted by: _stevo | July 22, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

ultimate d pairings

Green Poti
Mo alzner
Carlson pothier

Orlov

maybe not at the begging...but come playoffs

Posted by: bryaningrocery | July 22, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

oops, begining that was

Posted by: bryaningrocery | July 22, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Poti's a player who gets a free pass a lot but he was one of our worst defensemen in the last month of the year and in the playoffs. He made a lot of turnovers and mistakes for a player who is supposed to be a calming veteran influence. In the playoffs his turnovers led to a lot of extended offensive zone time for the other team. I hope that was related to his groin injury and he comes back strong this season.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

alright, WHO BROUGHT UP SCHULTZ?

I think we have beaten, buried, resurrected, buried again and apparently dug up this topic AGAIN.

I'd be curious as to what else was said in the conference call...

Posted by: mrszilla | July 22, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@ bryaningrocery

"ultimate d pairings"? That's like asking for cream of wheat for your last meal.

How about:
M. Green/C. Pronger
N. Lidstrom/D. Phaneuf
R. Langway/P. Coffey (we have a time machine for this game.)

Now THAT's ultimate.

And, seriously people, the last two years' D-Camps really should have checked people's expectations about Alzner (last year) and Carlson (this year) rapidly rising to the NHL. I thought that Carlson would stand head and shoulders above the rest this year, but he looked very average. I felt the same way about Alzner's performance in D-Camp last year, and his NHL starts were not impressive. It's not realistic to hope for a blueline messiah to rise from the OHL/USHL and save us.

I HOPE Alzner/Carlson will be an All-Star pairing in 3 years. This year, it's not going to happen.

I agree with you that Orlov might make it up. He came with something to prove: very physical, good control of the play.

Posted by: large23220 | July 22, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I saw one Schultz jersey last year. His mother was wearing it.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 22, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

mrszilla:
It was a pretty cool call - you can listen to the audio here:
http://capitals.nhl.com/team/app/?service=page&page=NHLPage&id=18038
or so it says - I have not tried it :-)

Posted by: Boo- | July 22, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Enough with the Schultz & Theo & Nyls Bashing--I've had it!!!!

1) Get it through your heads, people: NYLS DOES NOT SUCK--it's just that he isn't fitting into BB's scheme at the moment. I bet he feels somehow cheated that he hasn't been on the ice for SOMEONE--even if that isn't for the Caps...he needs to PLAY HOCKEY, don't you get it?

2) Yes, Varly is amazing and may well be our #1 netminder, but at this time last year, GMGM most certainly DID NOT think to himself:

"Now HERE is a goalie who will cost me a truckload of money AND let in lots of goals...Theo's the one for me!"

Honestly, given what was available on the FA market at the time, any NHL goalie who can get 30+ wins is good to have. I believe Theo will be OK.

Would you rather we had signed a REAL head case like Gerber or Emery just because their GAA/SV% was better?


Let me see....would I rather have

a) A goalie who may let in "three-or-more" (but still we win more often than not), or

b) Someone whose GAA may be less than 1.50, and SV% over .950, but whose MGLTIS (Man-Games Lost to Tantrum-Induced Suspensions) costs me 17+ games I might otherwise have won?

Sounds like a no-brainer to me.

3) Schultz will do what Schultz will do...for good or for ill.

Let's please not be like the fans in MTL. To them, the Habs are either The Greatest Team That Ever Was Or Ever Will Be (i.e., the Yankees of NHL), or a bunch of Overpaid Bums. Usually the latter, should they fail to:

a) Win every game by at least 5 goals and/or a shutout,
b) Sweep every playoff series by similar margins, and
c) Win the Stanley Cup and all of the individual awards, every single year.


Folks, the bottom line:

We have the Weapons--now the question is, do we have the Will?

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Schultz and this board...The dead horse that just won't die!

Posted by: Greg S. | July 22, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Mmmmmmm.... Yeah does.

Posted by: large23220 | July 22, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I'm listening to the call now.. some idiotic questions punctuate some great insights by McPhee and Boudreau.

"lol do u think Knuble will go to da net lol?"

Posted by: thiazzi | July 22, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Do you think it'd be wrong to call Knuble "Knoobie"?

Posted by: superpaqman | July 22, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Sorry folks...You're right...that horse isn't just dead, it's mummified...no: FOSSILIZED!

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Did you guys hear - we got a new defensive coach - Bob Woods! From some team called the Hershey Bears! Oh, and his team actually won the Calder Cup this past season! Looks like our d-men will get a resurgence in their defensive capabilities. End response to every yahoo who thinks we still need stuff for our defense and ignores the fact that coaching may help us fix those problems.

Next person to complain about our defense has to put on a Pens jersey and kiss an 8x10 of Sidney Crosby. And I mean it!!!! =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 22, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Wish Ovie could come to my kid's Birthday party (or mine for that matter). Lucky little Knuble. Just one of the many perks of your Dad being in the NHL.

Posted by: Grape8 | July 22, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@LeftCoastCapsFan

Shhhhh...coaching couldn't possibly change anything. You...I see what you're doing there, with your logic...you.

Posted by: SmallZ827 | July 22, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

How about some line combos to pass the time? Anyone?

Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble
Clark-Morrison-Semin
Bourque-Laich-Fehr
Steckel-Gordon-Bradley

Flash?
Aucoin?
Giroux?
Nylander?

Not a big Flash fan as he plays very weak on the puck, although he still has the potential if he gets stronger. Bourque is tiny but plays with an edge sometimes and can run the point on the power play as he did in Hershey (BB had him do it a bit on his call up as well). Aucoin and Giroux are amazing AHL players that are wildcards.

Poti-Pothier
Alzner-Green
Erskine-Jurcina

Schultz?
Morrisonn?

I won't beat a dead horse on Schultz; just too inconsistent. Morrisonn is also inconsistent sometimes - solid at times and then just can't handle the puck or clear the zone at other times.

Thoughts?

Posted by: Roose | July 22, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Bob Woods isn't a specialist in terms of developing defensemen. Where did this misnomer originate?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1 insider

Posted by: thiazzi | July 22, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Ovie-Backstrom-Knuble
Clark-Morrison-Semin
Bourque-Laich-Fehr
Steckel-Gordon-Bradley

Switch Clark and Semin on the wings.

That's a pretty good lineup but I think that Laing will play a lot of games this season. So I would expect Laing to be on the 3rd or 4th line LW, I would expect Steckel to play center, and I would expect Gordon to play wing or be scratched in rotation with Eric Fehr and Flash.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

thiazzi you gotta come up with some new material. I'm not posing as an insider per se. I'm just wondering where the Bob Woods=developing better defenseman idea comes from. That's a new one to me.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Wow!


Meanwhile, the extreme lack of activity on the NHL's free agency market lately has had a big impact on European league players as teams hold out for the potential North American leftovers created by the salary cap crunch.

"There's approximately 100 unemployed players in Europe, and they started their on-ice sessions this week," said one agent. "If you add all the RFA/UFAs in North America, you can understand the panic among players."

He added that many GMs are waiting out the market, believing they'll get better deals as unclaimed players are more desperate for employment — on both sides of the ocean. And despite the tax-free offers in the KHL, the recession is having a major impact on hockey overseas.

"The NHL has escrow and a cap, so [the economics] will follow a somewhat predictable route when we see season-ticket renewals, but Europe is a mess. There are fewer rich owners to bail teams out when the going gets tough ... there could be bankruptcies but also 30- to 50-per-cent cuts on salaries.

"If you have a deal, you're okay because there's no collective bargaining, but guys without a long-term deal take the hit ... and most players in Europe have no financial cushion.

"It's going to be one friggin' ugly August-December. Alcoholism, divorces, etc., will follow."

~from James Mirtle

Posted by: CodePoetry | July 22, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Thanks CodePoetry. That is really interesting. I knew that the Russian economy was hit just as bad or worse than ours and I was wondering how the KHL was promising all of these big contracts to NHL players.

Posted by: capsfan01 | July 22, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1: You'll note the words "defense specialist" came out of your lips and no one elses. I think it stands to reason that with Woods' familiarity with Boudreau's style of hockey, he'll be able to teach the Capitals' a defensive style that works within Boudreau's hockey. That, of course, remains to be seen but I'd rather that we give Woods a chance to see what he could do with the players we have now, versus getting a player from outside of the organization who supposedly fills the holes in the meantime, but when placed with Woods' style of defense, looks like an ignoramous on skates.

Oh, and just for the record, cstanton1, I don't need you to make a comment on my posting. Not everyone here wants to get a response from you. No one really needs to have you post a comment to a comment like you have the definitive word on anything revolving around Capitals hockey. It just makes you look...sad. =*(

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 22, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@SmallZ827: Ouch! Did I spill the beans too soon? I just thought...well, it made sense and I know I didn't have stats to give it the credibility most people prefer and I suppose I could have yelled it louder and reminded the rest of the board they're a bunch of dumb-dumb heads if they don't agree with me and fail to realize that I make their lives better just by addressing their comments so I just well...fine. I take it back. NHL players don't really need coaches anyways. What they need is cstanton1 telling them what they do wrong, ad nauseum. That'll teach them to not do what he wants! Argh! =P

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 22, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

definitive words usually come from Rantdino and Roc00

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

bob woods developed his defensive expertise playing 47 games w/ the philadelphia bulldogs of the professional roller hockey league in the mid-90's. unfortunately his five game stint w/ the anaheim bullfrogs didn't go as well. not sure if all franchises in the roller league had nicknames starting w/ bull...

that guy has been around.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | July 22, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

considering you feel the need to post a comment to all my postings, why don't you just heed your own damn advice LeftCoastCF

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 5:19 PM | Report abuse

LCCF-That, of course, remains to be seen but I'd rather that we give Woods a chance to see what he could do with the players we have now, versus getting a player from outside of the organization who supposedly fills the holes in the meantime, but when placed with Woods' style of defense, looks like an ignoramous on skates.


Right, because getting a proven defenseman from another team will automatically result in him looking like an "ignoramus on skates when placed with Woods' style of defense"

I take it back Leftcoast. You should go back to your non-hockey postings. You made more sense back then.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

i have witnesses many a game where the current crop of Caps d-men look like ignoramus' on ice. there are some guys available that could easily be an upgrade (even withstanding the fact that we have NO clue what kind of D coach Woods will be).

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Can we go back to talking about plates and lawn mowers...? It was SO much more fun than this chain.

Posted by: Caps16Fan | July 22, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

i have witnesses many a game where the current crop of Caps d-men look like ignoramus' on ice. there are some guys available that could easily be an upgrade (even withstanding the fact that we have NO clue what kind of D coach Woods will be).

Posted by: doughless | July 22, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

no don't you get it, we could bring in any crop of proven players and Woods' new defensive system will make them look like ignoramuses. LeftCoast has spoken.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

When Green and Schultz and about half the rest of the team were still in the nursery of the AHL with Coach B and Coach Woodsie, the Caps had Hanlon as coach. Coach B and Woods tried to do their bit by training their guys in that mode so they could be promoted to the NHL. That's what development teams are about.

When Bruce came up the style changed. Woods no longer had Schultz and Green. Bruce had other issues with which to contend and left the defensive coaching (if there was any) of the assistants (Evason mostly).

Now they have a real defensive coach who knows defense. Bruce won 2 Calders and a Kelly with Woods as Assistant along the way. Woods worked the defensive side of play.

If the defensive corps has a hope of re-signing next year, it will be because of him. About half of the defensemens contracts end at the end of this year. They're bubble players and they know it.

Posted by: Greg S. | July 22, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

I have to comment on the "ultimate" defensive pairings posted a while back. Pronger, Green and Phaneuf?

I would replace those 3 with Bourque, Stevens and Orr. So it would be:

Orr/Stevens
Bourque/Lidstrom
Langway/Coffey

Honorable mention: Niedermayer, Robinson, Potvin

Posted by: Moose33 | July 22, 2009 5:39 PM | Report abuse

So for the sake of discussion (that excludes you LCCF)

When you look at the defensemen on the Hershey teams, even the team that recently won the Calder Cup, that has been the weak point of that team for a while. They've been relying on their forwards and their goaltending. Thats why I don't automatically buy into Woods being a great coach for the defensemen per se. There's no evidence of it.

Two players who played a huge part in the defensive turnaround once the playoffs hit were Staffan Kronwall and John Carlson - neither of whom were developed by Bob Woods. They came into the org on their own merits.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

FTR - Bob Woods Hershey team ranked 22nd in the AHL in goals ALLOWED. There were only 7 teams worse defensively.

Again, maybe Woods will be a benefit to us defensively. But there is no evidence that his strength lies in developing defensemen.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

I cannot resist throwing in my two cents about all these negative depressing debates about what a horrible team/players/GM/coach we have and now the swirling doubt about whether Woods can make a difference as a D coach...

Critics can say whatever they want, the Caps love to prove them wrong. Not so long ago people were freaking out that Bruce hadn't ever coached in the NHL, people went on and on about how he wouldn't be able to make a difference, why bother is hopeless BLAH BLAH BLAH. Bruce made them shut up, and I believe Woods will too. To say that Wood's familiarity with our boys is a non-factor, or that his experience as a coach is a non-factor, that he has yet to prove himself... that all sounds just as petty and mean-spirited as questioning Bruce's qualifications. And to say that certain players have absolutely no chance of getting better sounds just the same. They are humans, they have good seasons and bad seasons (well aside from Ovie but he's a machine). Deal with it.

The D coach was leftover from BB days (Before Bruce) so I wasn't really surprised that they hadn't improved as much as the offense. Now both groups will get the Hershey treatment, and I think we are all the better for it. I'm not going to tell you all to stop complaining or spreading this gloom and doom, go ahead. I'm not going to get involved in this constant pissing match, which seems to be mainly based on optimists vs. pessimists. You want to be a non-believer, that's totally your choice. Hate on your own team, I can't stop you. Throw in the proverbial towel, say we are screwed, nothing will improve our existing players etc etc etc

But I want it on the record- I BELIEVE!

PS- are the fans of any other Division winners complaining this much?

Posted by: mrszilla | July 22, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1: I believe there have been a number of your postings that I just scroll right over. But do please knock down any argument anyone makes that actually gives our team the benefit of the doubt that they may actually be more successful than they were last year. You seem to be running the last 4 Stanley Cup champion teams, so you really know more than I do. Oh, wait, you're not. So your statements have the same weight as anyone elses. I post comments but fail to take myself too seriously. That's my only problem with you. I think you can make a point without sounding like Crosby when forced to eat his vegetables before dessert.

@mrszilla: Be careful, you actually sound like you think we actually have a chance at the Stanley Cup. Don't let cstanton1 hear you or he'll think you're just looking at our team through rose-colored glasses, which is a definite no-no in his book. And is that a smile on your face? Now is not the time to think of all the goals Ovi will be scoring next year. Shame on you some more. The hockey world according to cstanton1 forbids any such positive thoughts related to the Capitals. Until we win the Stanley Cup, there is nothing to celebrate. *snicker*

The Capitals s*ck until cstanton1 says they're a good team. From all his postings, we'll be waiting a long time before we can actually be happy with them.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 22, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, when did people on this blog get so testy? I recall the days when you could make a comment and not have someone all over you for an opinion. Pretty sad that either people are taking it this seriously or just don't have anything better to do...

Posted by: superpaqman | July 22, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

@superpaqman: My money's on the latter. :) Let's face it. It's summer, we're all bored, there've been enough changes that we have abso-frickin'-lutely no idea how the next season will go, and Caps fans as a crew have a healthy dose of pessimism in their makeup. It's easy to wander down the road of pessimism when faced with an unknown, and that might just be what's happening. I think it's a lot of people freaking out about unknowns and question marks because there are a lot more of them than last year, and turning on themselves, the team, and each other because they don't have any useful outlet for it.

I usually come here when I want my optimism and go to Japers' when I want my pessimism, knowing that the truth is generally somewhere in the middle. It seems to work okay. Lately, I've been buried in a work schedule suddenly gone haywire and a workout schedule that keeps me sane and is knocking a few inches off my butt in the meantime. By the time my derriere finds its home in section 429 again, it should be a bit smaller.

Come to think of it, cstanton1, you might want to run your ideas past some of the guys over there. They're always up for a new viewpoint (as long as it agrees with theirs) and might be willing to carry on an interesting debate, plus are very stats-focused and have a bent for finding the most obscure stats you can imagine. Might fill your time some.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 22, 2009 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@kittypaws,

Interesting you come here for your optimism post reading on the Caps. Gee, with CStanton here. And StanleyCup1908 who continuously posted the same, negative posts all the time, especially when anything ever went wrong for the Caps.

Kitty, hope things settle down for you soon at work. BTW, did you ever get that computer certification you were going for. (I'm in the IT business also.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 22, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Coffey doesn't belong in any great all time defensemen list because he wasn't a defenseman. As Bob Fachet the long time Caps beat writer for this paper once said, "Paul Coffey has a hard time defending Dave Brown one on one". He was a closet winger, plain and simple.

My ultimate defense parings would be:

1. Bobby Orr/Denis Potvin
2. Ray Bourque/Rod Langway
3. Scott Stevens/Nick Lidstrom

Posted by: joek443 | July 22, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

if you wanna see the most amazing stats in hockey besides Gretzky's offensive stats, check out Bobby Orr's plus/minus from 1968 to 75. They are unbelieveable.

http://www.hockey-reference.com/players/o/orrbo01.html

Posted by: joek443 | July 22, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

joek,

Thanks for the links, especially to Bobby Orr's stats. Those are some unreal Plus/Minus ratings. One year in triple digits. Amazing.

And to think that only 2 of this year's Caps were +20 or better (and both are pretty maligned for their defense, ironically enough).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 22, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Wonder where the Knubles will settle. Are they looking for houses in Fairfax Co where the school district's supposed to be good?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 22, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

I imagine Johnny's house will be for sale soon if it's not already. Arlington schools are great. Though Johnny has the nicest house on a not-so-nice block, so maybe that's not the best idea.

Posted by: alpca3877 | July 22, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell knuble to have his kids go to an arlington school lol, i would love to live near him lol and i already know where half of the caps players live lol.

Posted by: samrosen8 | July 23, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Can't say I've ever seen a fan blog where the fans attack each other so much. GEEZ!

Posted by: snakegriffin | July 23, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Some fans are attacked for actually hoping for the best next season. We're seen as naive oafs who don't see the reality that the Capitals are a horrible team. I'm reamed constantly for believing that we'll be better next year while others insist that statistics are 99.9% capable of predicting what happens next season and because their stats indicate we'll lose again, there's no real point in being excited about it.

Some fans post on here because if they spouted half the stats they do on here in person, they'd get their a$$es handed to them. Here, they can comment and insult others because their intelligence is measured by how many comments they can contradict and/or disprove. It's kinda' sad when you think that we're supporting the same team but somehow the same amount of loathing that person can direct towards the Penguins or the Flyers, they direct towards another Capitals fan because that other fan chooses to support the team and not give them lists of what's wrong with the organization. I just want to see my Capitals win.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 23, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

As a Caps fan living in Philly the past 7 years, you folks are in for a real treat with Mike. Had the pleasure of hosting him at a S. Jersey Chamber lunch during their "bad" He is a great all-around guy, and was always my favorite Flyer. He is a solid workhorse and locker room leader, just what the Caps need.

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | July 23, 2009 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Was Schultz on the ice for any of Crosby's tap-ins from 2 feet during the playoffs?

Posted by: GoEagles | July 24, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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