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Decision Time

As you probably know by now, the Caps have until 3 p.m. tomorrow to set their 23-man, opening night roster. To get to that number, Coach Glen Hanlon and General Manager George McPhee will have to make some tough decisions.

Three players have to go.

The veterans who don't make the cut must be put on waivers by noon today. The waiver wire is not public (or shared with the press), but I'll do my best to try to figure out who (if anybody) gets waived.

I'll be in and out today as I work on my NHL and Caps previews.

Update:Defenseman Jame Pollock official passed through waivers today. He has been assigned to Hershey.

Update:As I reported last week, Tomas Fleischmann has been signed to a one-year, two way contract. Will get the money details to you later.

Update:According to my sources, minor league defenseman Dean Arsene is the only Capital on waivers today. So that means they'll have to send down players who are waiver exempt -- Steckel, Green, Schultz -- or make a trade to get down to 23 players.

Update:Fleischmann's contract will pay him $495,000 this season, according to my sources.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  October 1, 2007; 10:17 AM ET
 
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Next: Clymer Clears Waivers

Comments

Anyone know what time CSN is doing its hour long season preview? It's tonight, if I recall correctly.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Nevermind... found it on their site.

It's a half-hour preview starting at 7, then they're replaying AO's first NHL game. Something called "Caps Speak: A Hockey Roundtable" at 9:30... No idea what that's all about.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Klepish was already dumped today

Posted by: Jon | October 1, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

What, you don't count slashing and hooking as "doing" anything? ;-)

Posted by: 20008 | October 1, 2007 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Man, what is up with Sutherby? I remember people talking about him being the next captain. Now he might not even be on the team. I would dump Bradley and Clymer.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | October 1, 2007 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Vogel says Klepis is a goner.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Yeah I remember that Sutherby as future captain material talk, too. Didn't he also win the MVP of the Young Stars at one point?

Posted by: tokyo fan | October 1, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I haven't watched a lick of the Caps preseason games or seen any practices, however my guess is the Caps are going to trade either Sutherby or Emminger - or both. and get a draft pick and/or future considerations for them.

My guess is Sutherby and he'll be headed out west.

Posted by: Da Brat | October 1, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Is there some reason why they don't send Schultz back to Hershey and let him play 25 minutes a game? It seems to me that that would be more beneficial then having him on the 3rd pairing here. What is he 19? The seasoning and experience in a "go to guy" role would do wonders for his development. It would also allow the Caps to keep another d-man in case of injuries. Just my two cents. Anybody agree?

Posted by: Tim | October 1, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Schultz should go to Hershey and get top pairing time and come back later this season. Green has earned a spot. Eminger...not so sure. We could use Erskine's toughness so I hope he stays around as well.

Posted by: Brandon | October 1, 2007 11:45 AM | Report abuse

One knock against Schultz going to Hershey is that it seems the fans there hate him and are likely shaking his confidence. Better to let him build up here than leave him down there to be mauled.

Posted by: Brad | October 1, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

For all those that complain about who is making the roster and who is not making the roster. Can you please let us know how many practices you have gone to, how many games you have been to this preseason, how many tream meetings you have sat in, and how many off ice sessions you have been involved in. Oh last, and certainly not least, I wonder if you can tell us if Schultz, or any other player for that matter, has been asked to try things during the pre-season to see if it works that he won't do during the regular season.

My point is, we don't know what the coaching staff has asked of Schultz and others and we don't know how he has looked in total. One game live and another on the internet feed (an example) and one or two practices does not make for complete analysis.

I think I will trust the professionals who have been hired for this job to make the decision, especially when there jobs rely on it. If they were wrong we will find out soon enough. But the complaining and moaning is ridiculous, take it to the boards where you have the space to air what are basically uninformed opinions.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind criticism of the team, but the constant wave of complaining before the first puck of the season is dropped is ridiculous. This is the time of year when everyone is suppose to be hopeful, especially after all the free agent signings. But the chorus of defeatism is unbelievable.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 1, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin, its not a chorus of defeatism, its just that we have watched a lot of prospects which we later look at and say, "His development was negatively impacted because he was rushed to the NHL", only to see the same thing happen time-in and time-out. First Sutherby, then Eminger, now Green and Schultz. This organization and its "professionals" have brought us two back to back 70pt seasons, and a long string of playoff-less summers.

I think its good to second-guess the professionals, and even more important to role ones eyes when you see the same things happening again and again.

Posted by: cccp11 | October 1, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

What is the reason to shut people up? Just because you don't agree with them?

Posted by: Blank | October 1, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Freakin

I think you need to calm down a lil bit. I think here and on the boards, people are critical because we can be and its fun.
Whats the fun of just letting your team play? Its fun to analyze and critique because it gets you more involved.

We all know that don't know exactly what's going on in the locker room or practice or on the ice in the game but its fun to throw in our two cents.

Obviously there's moderation as well but criticizing us isnt any better. Its all about having fun, getting into the season and wanting the Caps to be the best they can.

LETS GO CAPS!

Posted by: Greenfield Quarles | October 1, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Great points cccp11!

Posted by: someone else who knows | October 1, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

OK - if you dont want to talk about preseason....Anyone watch Schultz last year? I'm not trying to be too down on him - he should eventually be a really good NHL player, but until he can learn to utilize his size and get better on the boards - there are better options on D than Schultz. Hershey fans don't like him, but that shouldnt be the reason he stays up.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of "chorus of defeatism," Finn's been awfully quiet lately...

Of course it's up to the professionals, but it's a fans right to critique and toss around their own ideas regarding which way the team should go, and for the record: 3 practices and 2 pre-season games.

I don't really see anyone around here doing the whole "the sky is falling" routine anymore... There are cuts that need to be made by tomorrow, and we all have our ideas about who should stay, who should go to the minors, and who should leave the organization.

Brad - That was my line of thinking as well when I said that Schultz should hang around, along with Green. If I had to choose between Eminger and Erskine, I think I'd take Erskine for his physical game.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Well I have been to all the Pre-season games and a couple of practices, And I will say this, Shultz isnt ready at all... I played defense and I see alot of mistakes simple mistakes he looks as bad as Eminger. I like Shultz alot and I think in a few years he will be a decent defenseman. However I cant believe that he does not hit with his frame he should be knocking people off the puck and clearing people from out of the crease. Haven't seen it.

And this talk that the people in Hershey on him too much.. Give me a break!! this guy is a pro athlete it comes with the job!!!

Posted by: DB | October 1, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

For what it is worth,the team roster at Caps.com list all four "bubble" defensemen-Schultz, Green, Eminger and Clymer- and the three (more?) bubble forwards-Bradley, Steckel, and Sutherby. With the Goalies, that totals to 24 players, so one more has to go. The two that appear to be gone are Klepis (sp?) and Flieschman (again sp?).

Posted by: A Hardwick | October 1, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

cccp1 - I agree that rushing youngsters into the NHL has been a major problem in the past.

The big difference between then and now, though, is the nature of the roles they would be expected to play. Over the last few years, those guys were being expected to step up and take the reins even though they weren't old enough to drink and were anything but NHL-ready out of the box guys like Ovechkin, Semin, and Backstrom. We have a solid bunch of veterans now who are able to take the heat of the front-line, high TOI duties, giving the younger and/or less developed guys room to breathe. I don't think that leaving a guy like Schultz in the big league would be nearly as damaging now as it would have been in any of the last three seasons.

Also, this ain't the trade deadline. It's the final roster for one - count 'em, one - NHL game. GMGM will be able to shuffle bodies around soon enough to his heart's content.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

See Blank, twisting what I said. I didn't tell people to shut up, I said there were other forums for the defeatism. Heck, you can spew the junk here too for all I care. Just realized I will call you on it when you are wrong. Or is it that you want to shut down people criticizing your opinion, or people who don't see every move of the organization as faulty. Is this when you call me a LeoLem?

My larger point is that it seems this fan base can never be satisfied. In July it was we won't sign anybody of value as a free agent, because no one wants to play in Washington. WRONG. (Two examples of this below my typing, even one from you Mr. Blank and from everyones favorite, Finn...the real one I believe). Then it moved onto Semin doesn't want to be here and he probably won't even show up for training camp. WRONG. Then it turned to the re-signing of AO. I'll put my last dollar that those with this criticism are wrong too. Now it is Schultz and Olie.

I guess your right, criticism is valid, but when the criticism has been so wrong so often in the past few months alone it is hard to take any of it as anything more than white noise by the uninformed.

As promised:

"Yashin at $2m a year -- that's what we're going to get

Posted by: Mr. Blank | July 1, 2007 06:46 PM "


"Wow! Drury and Gomez... And the Caps are left with nothing yet again! How sad!!!! Screw GMGM and Ted.

Posted by: Finn | July 1, 2007 08:03 PM "

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 1, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Been here

Posted by: Finn | October 1, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

A Hardwick:

Klepis and Fleischmann probably aren't listed on the roster because neither of them currently have contracts with the Caps.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I agree that people freak out and make some outrageous statements, but isn't that half the fun of being a fan of a sport?

Also, I will add that if anyone says Erskine is a good hockey player, they clearly just never watch any games. 170gp 4g 8a 12total points 405PIMS. and -13 last year in 29 games.

I made this comment earlier as well and no one responded: Why does Morrison get a free pass? What has he ever done? 202gp 5g 30a 35total points 215pims.

Is taking penalties really something to be happy with? I know stats don't tell the whole story, but these are terrible numbers.

Posted by: Rob | October 1, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Anonymous (1:27pm) - I can't imagine that Fleischmann won't make the team, but according to Mike Vogel, Klepis has been let go, and since he wasn't on contract that'll be the end of all that.

Down to 25 now.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

I am confused about Schultz getting the spot without Eminger getting a longer look. To me, schultz has looked.. shaky in this preseason. It definitely looks like he could benefit from another year in the farm, especially since ppl say that he's had shaky games there, as well. I haven't closely watched him on the PK, but I just don't see how a couple of percentage points there could outweigh having an apparent 5-on-5 liability.

If the Caps are indeed set on their top-6 D that includes Schultz, I think they'll part ways with Eminger, and keep Erskine. The latter is a more logical choice as an extra D - inexpensive, instant toughness (just add ice), used to that role. The only way I can see the Caps keep Eminger is if they extend the tryout to the first 10 or so games of the regular season, which seems unlikely. Although, thats the solution I'd prefer - perhaps Eminger can regain his confidence with a solid partner like Pothier, once he firmly knows that he is a 3rd pair guy, and the expectations of greatness are off his back.

Anyway, whatever happens on that bottom pairing, the emergence of Green is far outweighing these concerns, IMHO. The Caps have got to keep the reigns off this guys, keep his confidence up, and just let him gradually cut down on mistakes, as experience comes. He looks like he's on his way to becoming a deadly weapon, especially once the other Caps learn how to take advantage of his rushes.

Steckel has been a nice addition. He's got better size and reach than Sutherby, better on the PK (reach!), same below-average speed, great face-offs, maybe even some scoring ability as an added bonus. Less physical, but lets get to playoffs first. Its an upgrade! I like Brashear-Steckel-Laich, the latter to add some speed to that line.

Posted by: Vlad | October 1, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I think some of us have to remember that the Caps have been a bad team for at least 3 years, Yes the Stats are horrible hell even our lovable AO was a -19 so what does that tell you...

Morrinson is becoming a good D-man in the shape of how Calle used to play on the Blueline, Erskine for skill isnt anything to talk about but we need him IMO to be physical guy back there the Caps dont have anybody and this guy played well last year when he was in there, plenty of times b/c he plays his position he was able to block a pass, or a shot or hell here's an idea knock somebody off the puck..

Posted by: DB | October 1, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Rob,

You can never judge a defenseman by goals, assists, and points, unless you're talking about how offensively gifted that defenseman is. It's not their job and a good defensive defenseman is rarely heard from. Plus/minus is a far more telling stat for a blueliner.

Morrison has been on the + side of the +/- over his last 2 seasons, and is +20 for his career, and given what the Caps looked like those two years, that's nothing short of miraculous. He hasn't posted a negative number in any league since 04-05 with Portland, and has never been in the minus side in the NHL, either with the Caps or the Bruins.

He was one of only 9 Caps with a + rating, and one of only two that did so while averaging 20:57 or more per game (The other was his partner, Jurcina). As for the penalties, he took fewer than Brashear, who doesn't score much at all, but I don't hear anyone asking what he's doing on the team, and only 16 more minutes than Semin.

For comparison:

Pothier: -11
Nycholat: -3
Eminger: -14
Erskine: -13
Green: -10
Clymer - 17

Total: -68

It should also be noted that Schultz was +5 in 38 games.

That is why Morrison is a solid D-man and deserves to be here. Give Schultz a break while y'all are at it.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Rob, I guess I just don't find it fun to freak out. Sports to me is suppose to be a fun diversion from the real stresses of the world. My teams can get my ire up that high, but not during pre-season and not about who will be the 6, 7 or 8th defensemen. We will agree to disagree.

As for your comments about Morrisson. Would you like an NHL player who played 994 NHL games with 51 goals and 278 assists? What if I added that he won the Norris twice and is in the NHL HOF? I'm not comparing Morrisson to Langway in any way shape or form, but my point is that not every defensemen is going to be putting up huge points. The failure to put up points doesn't necessarily make them unsuccessful. I would like to see Shaone work on the PIM issue, but with the improved depth of defense and more puck control forwards on the team he will hopefully not have to take as many PIMs.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 1, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I have nothing against Schultz in general, I think he'll be a solid defenseman, maybe even during this season. But if giving him a spot means cutting the cord on Eminger, while sending him down gives Eminger another look.. would you be comfortable in saying "Shultz is our guy, Eminger isn't"?
I wouldn't..

Posted by: Vlad | October 1, 2007 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Just for some perspective - I haven't been all that pleased with Schultz in the preseason, but we're all arguing about who will make the 4th line and the 3rd defensive pairing.

With all the bickering, it's easy to forget that the top 3 lines and top 2 defensive pairings actually look pretty good this year. I am officially excited for this season!

Posted by: billy | October 1, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Hockey season is back, yeah!!!
But where can i get information of what transpired during the off-season? God bless Tarik for keeping us informed on the most important transactions, but I would like to know where the non-returning players are and by that I mean even the ones that contributed very little. It would be nice if the organization kept a complete history of the team.

Posted by: gocaps | October 1, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Vlad, to me those are two distinct questions. Is Eminger our guy is not directly connected to is Schultz our guy.

If Eminger hasn't proven himself, he hasn't proven himself. Reading season previews and preseason picks it would seem that Eminger still have some value around the league and with the glut of young defensemen in the system added to the fact the team is not sold on him as a player, makes him very trade worthy. Lets also not forget his salary cap number is probably attractive to other teams as well.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 1, 2007 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Vlad,

I'll take my chances with Schultz's +5 last season over Eminger's -13 and get whatever trade value out of Emmy I can. Sounds like a good plan to me.

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Correction: "Eminger's -14."

Good to hear that Fleischmann is a done deal. Interesting that he settled for the two-way. Wonder if that's what held things up?

Posted by: HolyOlie | October 1, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Flash - ah - Saviour of the universe
Flash - ah - He'll save ev'ry one of us

Good job by flash to secure a contract.

Posted by: TJ | October 1, 2007 2:59 PM | Report abuse

freakingandpeaking & HolyOlie,
I understand what you are saying and I agree that right now Schultz has a lot more going for him; but my point was that keeping Schultz forces a decision on Eminger, while sending Schultz down just postpones it, giving Eminger some time to show what he's got this year. If Schultz looked like he was ready, I would've agreed to ship Eminger off right now. But as things stand, I think the Caps have not much to lose and perhaps something to gain by keeping Eminger for a while and sending Schultz down.

But I agree with billy, its really not a big deal, I'll be pretty happy at this point if the Caps can get something of value for Eminger. Its mind-boggling to read some established NHL previews touting the Caps youth movement and mentioning Eminger in the same line as Ovechkin, etc.

Posted by: Vlad | October 1, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Didn't they pass Arsene through waivers over a week ago? I thought he was in Hershey already (working off ice)?

Posted by: Jay | October 1, 2007 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Ecklund has a list up on his blog of all waiver-players today... Not sure where he got it from, but it lists Arsene as our only waiver guy as well...

Posted by: cccp11 | October 1, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

If Dean Arsene is the only Capital on waivers today, then what the heck are doing with their extra forwards? Even if they send waiver-exempt Dave Steckel down (which I hope they don't), don't they still need to get to get rid of someone else? Maybe a trade really is in the works.

Posted by: norske | October 1, 2007 3:08 PM | Report abuse

If we're not waiving any players, does that mean the only option to get to the roster limit is sending back waiver exempt players such as Green, Steckel, and Schultz? If so, and that is what is happening, I would be very disappointed.

Posted by: Stormblue | October 1, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

So if veteran's who are cut have to be on waivers by noon today and only Arsene is on waivers, we can assume one of two things:
1.the guys not making the team are those who are waiver excempt,i.e. Steckel, Green, Schultz OR
2.There are one or two trades coming up involving veterans. With Vogs saying that's a possibility and Ted saying the same thing in his blog, my money is on the trade option.

Posted by: b.orr4 | October 1, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

don't forget about backstrom and ovechkin, they are waiver extempt, too.

sounds like someone is going to get traded.

Posted by: Tarik | October 1, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin-Kozlov-Flash
Semin-Nylander-Backstrom
Pettinger-Gordon-Clark
Brashear-Steckel-Laich

Poti-Green
Morrisson-Jurcina
Shultz-Pothier
Erskine

Kolzig
Johnson

That's 21. So the Caps could keep two of {Eminger, Clymer, Sutherby, Bradley, Klepis=on waivers?)

Posted by: Vlad | October 1, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, were/are you out at the charity golf tournament. Any AO hole's in one this year?

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | October 1, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Fleischman on a 2-way will keep the pressure on. Also, I don't see why we need Erskine, he's good in a pinch, but it seems like we have a couple guys like that. If he played on any consistent basis, teams will start to exploit his slow play. I think Schultz is a good 7th D where he can learn from the other guys and play 10-12 minutes a night.

Posted by: chris | October 1, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,
Have you heard anything about the possibility of a player going on IR? It was suggested to me that one player may be hiding a nagging injury and might go on IR. I assumed that might mean Eminger but could it possibly be Sutherby (who hasn't played much)?

Posted by: Jay | October 1, 2007 3:27 PM | Report abuse

If Green and Steckel don't make the roster with the camps they've had.... some people should be getting fired.

They're probably trying to deal Sutherby and realizing that nobody's gonna give up squat for him, despite his alleged 'leadership qualities'.

Posted by: SM | October 1, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Are you talking about Fehr? I think it's a given he'll be headed to the IR.

As for any others, we know that Eminger had an ankle injury. I've also seen Sutherby flex the thumb he injured last season and look uncomfortable at times. But I don't think either of those things could put a player on IR.

Posted by: Tarik | October 1, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe it was in reference to Fehr. I am beginning to wonder about Suts going on IR though. If nothing else, it would give them a couple weeks to make a potential trade happen if they needed the time. If Suts is experiencing discomfort I would think they would have an excuse and I doubt he could say too much about it if he wants to stick around, right?

Posted by: Jay | October 1, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

About Arsene, he wasn't cleared to play during Caps training camp and hasn't been participating in the official practices with Hershey either so that could explain the timing with regard to waivers.

So options still left to get from 23 to 21, some combo of 2 via trade or IR or waiver-exempt players, i.e., still plenty of questions.

note: 23 assumes Klepis out and Fehr on IR.

Posted by: sk84fun | October 1, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

They have to get to 23, not 21. I think 25 assumes Klepis gone and Fehr on IR.

Posted by: Jay | October 1, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

and

to the comment "don't forget about backstrom and ovechkin, they are waiver extempt, too"

Actually, I'm pretty sure that due to Ovechkin only missing 1 regular season game the last 2 seasons, he is no longer waiver exempt; he has played in 163 games and playing in #160 means his exemption ended.

Posted by: sk84fun | October 1, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Jay, sorry I left out the word skaters, 21 skaters plus the 2 goalies equals 23; didn't mean to add any confusion to the topic; I know it is a 23 roster max

and I understand the Ovechkin comment is just a technicality, just making a note about the waiver rules.

Posted by: sk84fun | October 1, 2007 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Is Aresene on waivers coming up or going down? If coming up, is this a prelude to a trade which would include Arsene so the receiving team does not have to risk him coming up through waivers?

Posted by: TJA | October 1, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Ben Clymer and defenseman Jame Pollock to Hershey (AHL)

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

HUH

Posted by: H | October 1, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it refreshing that we don't have to bicker about who plays on the first line because he would be a third-liner anywhere else???

It's nice to finally have that in Washington, after 30+ years. We finally have a team that's worthy of our following and it feels good!

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