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Dustin Stevenson enjoying his extended stay at Caps training camp

After practice Tuesday, the Capitals' coaching staff posted three lists of players on the wall at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

The first group was the lineup for tonight's game in Columbus, the second group was the players who would be practicing today but not playing, and the third group was the players who were about to be reassigned to Hershey or back to juniors.

Defenseman Dustin Stevenson didn't expect to see his name in the second group, but was thrilled when he did.

"It was shocking for me. I was really excited," said Stevenson, who played Tier II junior hockey in northern Saskatchewan last year. "I guess I shouldn't say shocking, because that was my goal, but I was very excited and it gave me more confidence going forward."

The 6-foot-5, 207-pound 21-year-old is still just one of several defensemen fighting for a spot with Hershey - and he has been kept here mostly to get another week of work with the coaching staff - but the fact that 14 players were sent down yesterday and he wasn't came as a pleasant surprise.

"Let's face it, he played Tier II in Saskatchewan," Coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think he's handled himself quite well once he got over all the [awe] of where he was."

Stevenson was the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Player of the Year and playoffs MVP last season, when he scored 11 goals with 36 assists in 56 games for the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

He had committed to play college hockey at St. Lawrence University in upstate New York this year, but the Capitals lured him away with a three-year, entry-level contract in April.

When he arrived in Arlington at the beginning of training camp, Stevenson noticed the steep increase in pace and competition at this level, but he has gained confidence with every session on the ice.

"I came here early before the rookie camp and I was skating with some of the vets that came in early, and it was quite nerve racking," Stevenson said. "But now my confidence is quite a bit better and it definitely helps my game being here."

Stevenson is a well-rounded defenseman who can play a physical game but also move the puck well and join the rush offensively.

"I thought [he] was a really good sign," Boudreau said. "He's a project, but he's a prospect as well."

Stevenson said the team hasn't talked to him about specific plans, beyond telling him he should work to stay here as long as he can.

Stevenson will likely continue his development either with Hershey or with the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL before long, but for now, he's enjoying the experience practicing with the Caps.

"It's been quite a learning experience," Stevenson said. "I'm just trying to learn as much as possible and take as much from this camp as I can."

Note: Alex Ovechkin isn't making the trip for tonight's game, but he joked with Nicklas Backstrom after practice Wednesday that maybe he would drive out to Columbus just to watch.

"What is it, six hour?" Ovechkin said.

By Greg Schimmel  | September 22, 2010; 2:28 PM ET
 
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Next: Lineup vs. Blue Jackets

Comments

So, for those of you that have been down to Kettler......what are your thoughts on Stevenson???

Posted by: PhilR | September 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

If Andrew Gordon does not make the big club and they have to put him on waivers that will be a disaster.

Posted by: ThePat | September 22, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

If Andrew Gordon does not make the big club and they have to put him on waivers that will be a disaster.

Posted by: ThePat | September 22, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I agree about Andrew Gordon, I think that he could be a good NHL player - with more upside than someone like CB. We would probably lose him if he gets put on waivers which would be bad.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 22, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

If some of you think I have already gone off the deep end let them lose AGordon on waivers and it will REALLY happen! Love watching that guy, he needs to be with the big club without a doubt at this point, preferably playing on the 3rd line but I don't see an open slot for him.

Posted by: PhilR | September 22, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

The Caps will most likely be keeping 14 forwards. So while there may not be a starting spot open for him, there should be a roster spot available.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 22, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Im with you on the deep end if we lose him to waivers. I would not be happy. You figure they will keep him up because of that.

Posted by: ThePat | September 22, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

another kid who plays well in his own end of the ice, and i don't even know if he's still around or what, is Patrick Wey. He keeps things simple, he skates backwards very smoothly for a guy his size, and he's all about rubbing em out along the boards and keeping his crease clear.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Not sure, but don't think AG goes through waivers to go to Hershey. He just finished his entry level and has a two-way deal $90K/$500K. The waivers thing doesn't necessarily apply just because entry level deal is up, depends on age of player and NHL games played, and I can't break the code.

For sure he'd be snatched. 37+31=68 in the AHL for a relatively young player with defensive skills has value.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 22, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

i don't know waiver rules very well, but it was mentioned on the Hershey site that AGordon would have to clear waivers to get to Hershey. And Corey Masiak made mention of it as well.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

"he's all about rubbing em out along the boards and keeping his crease clear. " - cstanton1

You just made him sound like a male gigolo or massage boy. Just saying.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

He does have to clear waivers. I think that is why the team is only going to go with 7 D and thus 14F's. Well at least that is what I am hoping for anyway.

Posted by: ThePat | September 22, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

You just made him sound like a male gigolo or massage boy. Just saying.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce

now why your mind just straight to that...just saying

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:32 PM | Report abuse

*just* = "jump"

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Pretty nice write up about Stevenson. I asked early about our D depth in Hershey since both Alzner & Carlson will be here this yr & was told Orlov is the next best in line. I'm not real in turn with a lot of things in Hershey so I look to others who are. Lets hope he can continue to develop and contribute at the NHL level in the next 2-3 yrs. We have a lot of talent at the parent club and almost more importantly we have talent at the AHL level.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

to Ovie's comment and knowing his love of cars and speed.... he'll try to make the trip in 2 hrs.

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | September 22, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

society I guess...I dunno, it's your fantasy dont try to make me rationalize it. :)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

To me Neuvy signing right now indicates the team is more confident in him. I think Neuvy is likely the #1 goalie here in DC by midseason.

Posted by: ThePat |


That was from a post from a few threads ago.The reason im reposting it is for one,im late to the blog and two,I'M FINALLY GLAD SOMEONE ELSE FEELS THE SAME WAY AS ME!Ive been saying on here since early last season that i think neuvy will end up as our #1.I still like varly but i just see more coming through with neuvy.He has better poise and self confidence it seems than varly,i could be wrong so dont bash me but its just my opinion.And for the price the caps got neuvy,probably best thing gmgm has done in a long time.Though i do feel he could of got more and gmgm wanted to be a tight arse and offer him this amount because he also feels he could be our #1 guy and want to lock him in at a cheaper price before neuvy wants more.So good for caps but neuvy could of got more.Now i wonder how the whole varly thing is gonna work out?? GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | September 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

"I'm not real in turn with a lot of things in Hershey so I look to others who are. " - pokerfaceI208

I'd say just go to your local blockbuster and rent the dvds of the games, but smg3 has them all checked out from the past 3 years. So you will just have to get put on the wait list.

:)

(zing)

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not real in turn with a lot of things in Hershey so I look to others who are. Lets hope he can continue to develop and contribute at the NHL level in the next 2-3 yrs. We have a lot of talent at the parent club and almost more importantly we have talent at the AHL level.

-----

not having watched 73 hershey games over 3 yrs I can only provide so much insight.

But when you talk "talent" at Hershey, remember that a lot of the key components for Hershey's success aren't really "prospects" who will eventually find their way into our lineup.

Is Bouchard for example going to be able to take the next step up? Is there even space for him at a top 6 level or will he get passed over by more recent high draft picks?

Defensively, unless you count some of the new kids we have who haven't proven themselves at the AHL level, we have no one destined to make the jump anytime soon to our defense (since Carlzner is already slated for DC this yr).

Defensively-speaking, the intriguing prospects are Godfrey (IF he makes the jump to the AHL this yr), Finley (still a project player as well), and then a couple of lesser known players down the road like Cullity and Wey. I'm not a Patrick McNeill fan so I excluded him from the list.

But i think sometimes fans look at the Hershey successes and think we have a ton of AHL talent ready to make the jump. In reality, the most qualified talent we have to make the jump consists of some bottom 6 forwards (AG, Pinner, Beags, maybe MP) that most other teams also have in their AHL systems.

personally i'd like to see Orlov, Stevenson, Godfrey, and MaJo all spend this upcoming season in Hershey and get a brief callup at some point. I also feel Alzner can benefit from more time down there. He's not a dominant AHL dman by any stretch.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@SeminAllOverTheIce

>>"He's all about...keeping his crease clear. "

@everyone

awesome that Ovie would even think of driving to Columbus to watch a preseason hockey game. That says something...(Like the Russia House is closed tonight?)

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 22, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

iirc, about 3/4 thru last season Ted wrote a lengthy piece in response to some criticism he picked up from some public blogs (**cough**) that the Caps were a regular season contender and a soon-to-be playoff pretender. He said "we get it, we know the playoffs are a different animal"

well, he's saying it again. Along with some finger-pointing at officiating. So now we have, hot goalie plus bad officiating = early exit for the Caps.

And i smell a new buzzword. "Auger". Whoohoo, i love it when he learns new words and uses it over and over again. A few yrs ago it was "pedantic". Now its 'bedrock' and 'auger'

"One year, a goal scored won't get called back," he said on ESPN 980's The Sports Fix. "It'll happen to the other team, or we'll be on the power play in overtime in the playoffs. If you're there enough, good fortune will shine on you. I believe that.

"I believe that if the Caps can qualify for the playoffs, 10 or 15 years in a row, and we have a really good team that's young and has upside, that with that continuity and that knocking on the door enough, that we'll get our fair share of Stanley Cups. That's what I believe and I have to believe.

"I promised the fan base we wouldn't create a team that would get to the Finals and then not make the playoffs, or make the playoffs barely then [not] make the playoffs the next year. That we'd be generationally great and would win the Cup. Well, I think we're on our way to having a really really good team. We got younger this offseason. The players who made the team that we think are better players than we had are younger, they're our prospects in goaltending and defense. That augers so well for our future.

"At the same time, we want to win today. I do think we're positioned very very well. We've managed the cap well. We have our bedrock players signed for the most part for long-term deals....The fan base has confidence, and it's just a matter of time, I believe, until we win the Cup."

Leonsis also said his team needs to learn how to "stand up" in defining moments, that the Stanley Cup is "the hardest trophy to win in sports" and that he believes this year's team will be better than last year's.

"The NHL playoffs are very different [than the regular season]," he said. " They're officiated differently. Things that work in the regular season don't. You have to adapt. We get it. We know. Hopefully we'll do better this year."

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI - LMFAO! Poor sgm! LMFAO! I'm sorry but that was too funny to not laugh at!

------------------------------------------
I also feel Alzner can benefit from more time down there. He's not a dominant AHL dman by any stretch.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Hmmm.... once again I didn't see him in Hershey (I'll stop by Blockbuster on the way home and see if sgm has returned any dvd's yet) but I don't know that he's got much else to prove there. In order to get better you play against better competition. While up here for his brief stints he certainly didn't embarass himself and played fairly well I thought. I think his development will be further accelerated here than in Hershey.

Part of the problem with Alzner is that he isn't flashy. He's just solid positionally so he doesn't look out of place. He doesn't have a huge slapper or great speed or anything like that. He's just solid positionally. He honestly reminds me a lot of Calle Jo and that's never a bad thing.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

auger n "a tool for boring"

Maybe the Caps are headed to the Gulf to help fix oil leaks. Wait, didn't Ovi "auger" the ice once in the World Champ game to bury some trinket under the center dot?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 22, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

He's just solid positionally. He honestly reminds me a lot of Calle Jo and that's never a bad thing.

-------

could calle jo play effectively today? i doubt it. The forwards today skate as well as Calle did back then so he wouldn't be able to negate his size disadvantage with his skating.

Alzner isn't small but he doesn't play big either. And he has no explosion when he engages a player the way Carlson does. Alzner just holds players against the boards. Calle also played a lot with Mark Tinordi as his partner. That in itself gave Calle a lot of success because Tinordi maintained such a presence in his own end. Alzner doesn't have a strong veteran defensive dman like Tinordi to play alongside.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

maybe he can auger into the bedrock and find something good

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I've read the arguments why so many think Neuvy is better than Varly, but I just don't get it. The guy played in the AHL behind a stacked team. He has just as many injury concerns as Varly, being injured 3 times last season. With his "great positioning and confidence", he crapped the bed a number of games last season, same as Varly. IMO, Varly has the edge right now because he's been with the big club all year and has held his own. In reality, it's still too early to determine if either is going to be a stud or a bust.

Also, I think it's hypocritical for some to complain about "negative" posters caring more about being right than winning praying that Varly will suck so they can be right about Neuvy.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 22, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

@ablake

Im behind Neuvy because of the fundamental way he plays the position. I agree both have their faults. And who knows who will be better. Im actually very shocked so many on here today have felt the same way I do and favor Neuvy over Varly. Time will tell.

Posted by: ThePat | September 22, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1: See, that wasn't so hard. Positive vibes, düüüde...

Agree Stevenson and Wey have good sandpaper--possibly 80 or even 40 grit.

Also agree with your analysis of the Hershey roster.

Also Agree that we need a Beast somewhere in our D-pairings.

But who is left out there in trade or FA? I have to say that almost all of the guys we really wanted wound up going elsewhere for ridiculous amounts of money or long contracts or NMCs/NTCs, or any combination of the above.

So I'll ask an honest question: Who out there do you think is still available--either through trade or FA--that would provide the Caps what they need at 2C and on the blueline? 'Cause I honestly don't know who the Caps should pursue at this point.

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 22, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Rhino,

Toronto needs scoring help and is over the cap. Flash and picks/prospects for ? Beauchemin? Komo?

Posted by: Steve_R | September 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

here's some interesting openness about the culture of losing. Enter the Leafs. And anyone who watched them over the past few yrs can attest to how lifeless that team was. They could be down 5 zip in a game and it didn't embarass them into playing harder. That was a team in dynamic need of a personality overhaul. Not saying the Caps are at that level, but there are certain parallels. Note the comments by Poulin and Loiselle as well as Burke.

--------------------->
Then Burke starts talking about something he calls “blue and white disease.” And suddenly, as a lifelong Leafs fan, I question my devotion.

“The absolute insistence on winning was not here,” says Burke, who put together the Anaheim Ducks club that won the Stanley Cup in 2007. “If you need to be a championship team, success has to be something that’s desirable and attainable at any price. I really believe when I got here that the team had blue and white disease.”

This sickness, he explains, is caused by contradictions and market realities. No matter how poorly the team has played the organization thrived as the NHL’s most lucrative franchise. Win or lose, to be a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs meant you were paid handsomely, in the media and league spotlight, and lionized in the public as a demigod.

We love the Leafs so much they don’t need to love us back.

“I tried when I got here to embarrass them and shame them,” Burke says. “We talked openly about blue and white disease. We talked openly about complacency. I’ve been able to move the needle on every group of athletes I’ve ever had by shaming them and barking at them and publicly challenging them and I didn’t the move the needle on this group one bit.

“If you can’t change the tone in the room through the force of your own personality, if you can’t do that, there’s only one thing to do and that’s start putting people on airplanes. So we blew up the room. We basically dynamited the team.”
“The moves that were made last year and this summer, well, it doesn’t take much to change the chemistry of a dressing room,” assistant general manager Claude Loiselle tells me as we sit inside the Leafs practice rink in Etobicoke. “When your core is pulling in the right direction, everybody follows suit and you will see the momentum change. I can feel it here now after two days into camp.”

A few minutes later, I ask Dave Poulin, vice-president of hockey operations, if a cultural shift has rumbled through the organization over the past year. “There’s no question,” says. “He has focused so much on character.”

The message to players is now clear: If the desire to win is not encoded in your DNA, if you do not hit the ice desperate to win, you will be tossed on the tarmac with a one-way ticket out of town.

“You don’t necessarily blame the former people,” says Poulin. “I’m a believer in assimilation. I think when you come into an environment, it is as it is and you assimilate to that environment. That was the case more than anything.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1: See, that wasn't so hard. Positive vibes, düüüde...
-------

uh oh..wait till he gets to the Leonsis post

haha

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Rhino,

Toronto needs scoring help and is over the cap. Flash and picks/prospects for ? Beauchemin? Komo?

Posted by: Steve_R

what he said..

except, from what I can tell the Leafs top 6 is pretty well filling up. Even if they drop Kadri to the 3rd line between Armstrong and Versteeg. Although I bet when that line gets going they'll end up as the 2nd line. Either way, without boring anyone with Leaf roster details the top 6 on the Leafs is looking pretty set. The only real option if you assume that the FAs they've signed (clarke macarthur etc) are safe in their spots, they could bump the German kid Mueller off the roster. But they seem pretty intent on having him make the team.

I think the Leafs are an unknown commmodity right now. About 20 games in, IF significant flaws start to show, then Burke will be a more receptive trade partner. Right now I think he's pretty happy with the roster as is.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

the Leafs need help on their PK units, much like we do. Maybe you catch Burke napping and offer him up Gordo and he replaces Hanson as the 4th line center. But he won't bring much back in a deal unless its a salary trade.

So I think unless you're trading someone like Semin, I don't think we have anyone who we'd want to get rid of that the Leafs will insert into their top 6. And I have heard thru the grapevine that the Caps hate Brian Burke so the personality aspect of a potential trade can't be overlooked. Some GMs will simply never deal with other GMs. You'd think they would, but GMs have their comfort zones too.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@SAOTI - (meets yojimbo) I see I lost my own LMFAO part of the post. But very funny, agreed...

Now, about GMGM and the org! He's done a GREAT job! We're Cup contenders for the foreseeable future. He drafter Backs and the two goalies and Greener and Carlsson with pick #23.

But - the org has to be as good as possible top to bottom. The thing is to take advantage of having the like of Ovie and Backstrom and such like to get other people on board on the non-playing end.

It matters a great deal that the organization have dynamic, charismatic, and energetic coaches (at all levels), scouts, etc. These kinds of people are a powerful draw for the players themselves and we can retain talent (esp our Euros who may fondly look elsewhere, otherwise) and lure free agents.

For this reason, I do think the signing of Yzerman was a home run for the Bolts and I look for them to be a serious team for the long term.

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 22, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Part of the problem with Alzner is that he isn't flashy. He's just solid positionally so he doesn't look out of place. He doesn't have a huge slapper or great speed or anything like that. He's just solid positionally. He honestly reminds me a lot of Calle Jo and that's never a bad thing.
-----------

Interesting comparison - Calle was pretty explosive though, seemed like he was as wide as he was tall. I have to disagree with cstanton here - he'd still be a standout d-man, you'd just have to pair him with a guy like Tinordi - which I agree was a smart pairing. Speed kills.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | September 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

wow - lots of grammatical errors! (From a tee shirt: "I am very disappointment in your grammar".

I meant "the organization HAS" not "have" and "the likes of Ovie and" not "like of Ovie and..." Sorry...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 22, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

i'd like it to be on record that Timbo disagreed with me on something. And I did not tear him a new one as I am apparently apt to do. I am so unfairly depicted sometimes it brings a tear to my eye.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Johansson was with the Caps before Tinordi came over from Dallas and after Tinordi retired. #6 played with many partners, maybe he and Coti were a tandem for awhile and maybe Calle also covered Hatcher's out-of-position backside before the trade.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 22, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

no preseason games on TV here huh... I see they're showing European football on CSN tonight.

and people say this is a hockey town now? I saw CSN Philly doing a Flyers preseason game last night.

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Hatcher wasn't really an out-of-position dman. In his prime he was a solid physical force on D. On some nights he was a downright menace to the opposition.

His decline started around 1990. give or take.
And it had little to do with him being out of position. He wasn't a guy who just decided he was going to lead a rush up the ice on every shift. His status as a defenseman fell because he chose not to play defense anymore. That's all. He wasn't pulling a Greenie and being overly aggressive at the offensive end. He decided to forego the defensive part of the game and was able to keep his job and make money because he was able to put up points from the blueline. He always had a great shot and he became more of a finesse player. But he just extracted all of the teeth from his original defensive style and became a one dimensional player.

sorry, that's my 2 cents on Hatcher. He had more talent than Derian but Derian had more heart. Sorry, no stats to back this up. You just had to have been there! :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

and people say this is a hockey town now? I saw CSN Philly doing a Flyers preseason game last night.

Posted by: joek443

check out justintv. They've been showing some decent preseason games. Watched some of the Ottawa/Toronto game last night. Then some idiot changed the actual channel on me. Very physical tilt. A lot of big hits, 2 or 3 scraps. Ottawa held their own.

btw, re: the talk of possibly trading for a Leaf, the most available dman is probably Jeff Finger.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

is this game broadcasted?? or where can i see it??

btw, hey everybody!!!!!! i haven't been on here for so long. But I'm just as excited as you all that hockey season is upon us!!! :) LET'S GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | September 22, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

oops, clearly I didn't read... thanks cstanton1.. I'll check if justin tv works..

Posted by: rachel216 | September 22, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

ah geez, another cheery fan. bah!


btw, Calle also played with Witt.

Don't remember him with Cote and I thought both Cote and Calle played the same side. I thought Reekie played with Cote and later with Gonchar.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

Hatcher wasn't really an out-of-position dman. In his prime he was a solid physical force on D. On some nights he was a downright menace to the opposition.
----------------------------------------

Ken Beatrice thought that the acquisition of Hatcher's childhood rival Al Iafrate had a lot to do with Hatcher getting soft on D and become more active offensively

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I remember when that trade for Iafrate was made and Poile was on with Beatrice and he told Poile that he thought it was a terrible trade... LOL when was the last time you heard Steve Zaban or Andy Polli do that??

they only like to talk smack behind their back.

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Ken Beatrice thought that the acquisition of Hatcher's childhood rival Al Iafrate had a lot to do with Hatcher getting soft on D and become more active offensively

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

again, i can't provide stats. But in my mind, and i believe this 100%, there were 2 distinct reasons for the collapse of Kevin Hatcher part 1.

1) Stevens left.
2) Ken Daneyko hurt him pretty badly on a fight that Hatcher instigated.

That was the first time in Hatcher's career he'd ever really been hurt in a fight. Daneyko put him out with a left at the 20 min mark of the 2nd pd in a game. Lights out! You could hear the punch land up in the stands. And Hatch had no idea where he was. Some guys can take a punch like that and it makes them even more determined to come back and play their same style. Hatcher, wasn't that type.

And losing Stevens who he relied on to provide him some confidence on the ice (along with Rod), that didn't help matters either.

kevin hatcher part 2 was pukey to watch.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

hatch went from a bear to a teddy-bear. All while he was still in his prime.

iafrate got burned out in toronto and there were rumors that he was about to kill gary leeman because leeman banged his wife.

The Leafs were just a bad team during that time. But Iafrate and Richardson were their twin towers on D. Both young, both big, and both talented.

Iafrate actually got featured on the Letterman show for a hit he put on Rangers dman Tom Laidlaw. Crushing hit along the boards, and Laidlaw was a big strong player in his own right.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Flash scores, 1-0 Caps.

Posted by: MReilly9 | September 22, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I always thought that Iafrate was the biggest waste of talent I've ever seen. There was no question he had all the physical tools to be one of the best D-man ever.

the problem was that there wasn't much between his ears.. the exact opposite of Bob Rouse, one of the guys the Caps gave up to get him.

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

trade him now while his value is at its highest!

argh, he prolly just won himself a 2nd line center spot or something....

too bad preseason hockey isn't quite playoff hockey. Flash would be MVP

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

iafrate had some great games for the Caps. He just wasn't the anchor the team needed when Stevens left and Langway retired.


Iafrate did make life hell for Mario a few times. Abused the heck out of him.

but yeah, he was moody and inconsistent. And too much of a rock star mentality.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 22, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

End of 2nd period score : Caps 5, Jackets 1

Posted by: JMinVA | September 22, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: When I said Hatcher was "out of position," it had nothing to do with offense. In his end, he'd vacate his spot constantly to chase someone in the corner and the other team would score.

And this was 92 onward. After Big Al came over. Say what you want about Iafrate, but that slapper was wicked. I recall being at the game New Year's Day 199vs NJ. They sucked then and had goalie with long name in net. Iafrate got a penalty about 40 secs in. Came out of the box, puck went right to him, skated alone, into their zone, and just over the blueline, top of faceoff circle, unleashed one like a missle. Goalie with long name (Billington?) never had a chance.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 22, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

If Iafrate had better work ethic and actually cared about the game, he had all the physical tools to have become the greatest D-man since Bobby Orr.

There's only been a few hockey players who are 6'3, 220 lbs and also a threat to win the fastest skater and the hardest shot contests every year.

Posted by: joek443 | September 22, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

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