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Jeff Halpern Catch-Up and a Look at the Bolts


(John McDonnell - The Washington Post)


Earlier this week I stopped by KCI in the hopes of catching up with a few Caps, because veterans usually begin to trickle back into town around now.

Instead, I bumped into a handful of former Caps taking part in an informal practice.

On the ice were former center Jeff Halpern and former prospect Stephen Werner taking shots on former backup goalie Brent Johnson (who sported his red, white and blue pads but was minus his Capitol Dome mask). For the record, current Caps Jose Theodore, Boyd Gordon and Brian Pothier have been skating at KCI, I'm told. They just weren't there on the day I stopped by.

So I talked to Halpern for a few minutes, and because he was the Caps' captain in 2005-06 and a native of nearby Potomac, I figured some of you would be interested in what the Tampa Bay alternate captain had to say.

Halpern said he liked the Caps' moves this summer and thinks they'll be the "class of the league" next season. But he also thinks the Lightning could catch the Southeast Division by surprise after a forgettable 2008-09 season fraught with injuries, a revolving door roster and ownership problems that still aren't resolved.

"For our team, the biggest difference is [second-year center Steven] Stamkos has almost overnight turned into a bona fide scoring threat in this league," Halpern said. "It was amazing to see that. So now we have that one-two punch with him and [Vincent] Lecavalier. And [Mike] Smith, when he's healthy, is one of the best goalies in the league. And management did a good job of picking up Mattias Ohlund and Matt Walker and shoring up our defense. I mean, we went through 22 defensemen last year."

Halpern didn't mention second overall pick Victor Hedman. But I will. Take a long look at the Lightning's revamped roster. On paper, the Bolts look good enough to perhaps to challenge the two-time division champ Caps.

"In Tampa, we would love to be on par with [the Caps]," Halpern added. "We feel like we've sewn up a lot of areas. We're in a lot better position than we were last year. It remains to be seen what we can do, but I'm encouraged."

Halpern returned from a serious knee injury in December -- perhaps a few weeks too early -- and did not get fully up to speed until much later in the season. He finished with 16 points in 52 games -- his lowest point total as an NHLer.

"I didn't feel 100-percent comfortable," Halpern said. "It's difficult to jump into the middle of a season. So, obviously, I'm much more excited about how I feel on the ice right now."

Which is a good thing for the 33-year-old. He's entering the final year of the four-year, $8 million contract that Dallas used to lure him away in 2006 after seven seasons with his hometown team. Halpern knows he needs a solid year -- the type he had in 2007-08 when he totaled 20 goals and 22 assists for the Stars and Lightning -- to earn another lucrative multi-year contract.

"Any time you go into a contract year, it's all about proving yourself," said Halpern, who still spends his summers in the Washington area, splitting his on-ice time between KCI and Rockville and working out with his personal trainer in Georgetown. "Things were going well for me, then the knee injury was a hiccup. So this is a big year to reprove myself and get back to the level I was before the injury."

When Halpern left the Caps, they were a season into a ground-up rebuild that was taking its toll on the players, team management and fans. It was also too early to say whether the painful process would work.


(Toni L. Sandys - The Washington Post)


Even with the Caps at the bottom of the league standings, it was tough for Halpern to sign with a team other than the one he grew up cheering for. His agent Mike Luit said the day he signed with the Stars: "I don't want Dallas to take this the wrong way, but it took Jeff a very long time to come to this decision. He said to me, 'No matter which way I go, when I sign a contract, I'm going to feel sick.'"

It was the hardest decision Halpern ever had to make, and he still thinks about it three years later.

"At the time considering how everything played out, Dallas was my best option after my talks with Washington and how things were going there," he said. "I thought I made the best decision.

"I had great times in Washington, great memories, great friends," he added. "Whenever you start with an organization, you always hope you can win with that organization. Seeing the Caps as good as they are now, it's disappointing not to be a part of that."

After a brief pause he added: "But my allegiances are with Tampa now. Those are the guys that I'm behind."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 12, 2009; 9:33 AM ET
 
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Comments

Like I said I Monday, I'm going to wait for more details on this Kane incident. I suggested that maybe the cabbie knew who he had and fabricated a story to get some money. Now reports are saying this guy has had his license revoked a few times for alchohol related offenses. Additionally he has used several last names. Starting to sound more and more to me like some bum cab driver that realized he had a 20 year old payday in his back seat.

Posted by: fanohock1 | August 12, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Halpern did a good job being the Captain during the tear down and intial rebuild. The departure that took me by surprise the most during that time was Zubrus. He was young, Russian (Lituanian), and he clicked with OV.

Posted by: fanohock1 | August 12, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So does this mean Halpern might think about coming back, say around the trade deadline? If he returns to form this season he would be a welcome (re)addition in my eyes

Posted by: rovingbandit | August 12, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I love Jeff....but he should have stayed. He would have been a great Captain throughout those tough years. I don't believe this team will need his services anymore.

Posted by: j3rockstar | August 12, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

its good to see some old and not so old faces still cuttin it up at the caps' complex.i just wish it was because they were still on the team.I'm still kinda hurt that they got rid of my boy brent johnson.he'd be a way better back up to varly then theo will be.(being that varly makes the #1 spot,which he should).GOOOO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | August 12, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Halpern should have stuck around for the rebuild. I'm a bit surprised when the so many veteran Caps jumped shipped even though the team had the leagues rookie of the year in OV after the lockout year. Also, with the Bears winning the Calder Cup, it was obvious that the turn around was only a season or two away. If he would have stayed, he'd be the captain of this team. I'm not sure if I would want to welcome back Halpern to the Caps fold if he wanted to come back. I still feel he turned his back on this team when it needed him the most.

Posted by: madflava | August 12, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

I know it probably will never happen BUT...

COME BACK JEFF!!! I would welcome him back with open arms, and I think most Caps fans feel the same way. As opposed to other people who had left us over the years, I feel no animosity towards him at all. I think it would be beyond great to get him back where he belongs.

Posted by: mrszilla | August 12, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't see him coming back. If memory serves, it was mutual and known that he would depart well before the time came. I believe it was Ted (but don't hold me to that) who made a comment after that summer saying something like they no longer had ... how did he put it? I don't recall his words but he basically alluded to the fact that there had been some guys in the locker room with entitlement issues and that was no longer a problem. Anyway, I don't think there was any love lost there. I could be completely wrong, but that's the way I read it at the time.

Posted by: Boo- | August 12, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I personally wouldn't mind seeing Jeff back in the fold, it would be good to have someone with a little bit of a legacy with the team in uniform (not to say anything against the current team). Also I was thinking about it earlier, but defensively, Tampa could give us some trouble next year, and if Lecavelier (sorry can't spell and too lazy to fix myself), St. Louis and even Stamkos play well, our undefeated streak against them may come to an end.

Posted by: superpaqman | August 12, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

I definately remember when Halpern signed with Dallas and him stating that he got sick to his stomach. I can't imagine growing up loving your home town team, getting drafted by them, playing for them and then making the decision to leave. It makes me sick just thinking about it. Jeff has always been a very good guy and very supportive of whoever he is with. I agree that Tampa will be improved but I don't see them ending up within 10 points of us so I don't see them as a division contender. I do see them as pushing for a playoff spot though. They are much improved but they're a couple more years away from their rebuild than we are from ours.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 12, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I like Halpy as much as the next guy, but let's be fair. Jeff is a solid mid-level forward. He's not OV. He's not going to have a 20 year career. Asking him to stick around in DC through a rebuild is asking a lot. Anyone who's ever played sports knows how miserable it can be to play on teams that aren't as good as other teams in the league. And, for all of us rec-type players, at least its only a few nights a week. Imagine if your job was to play for a crappy team. It would be like going to work each day as a salesman where you had a crappier product at a higher price and spent day after day trying to sell stuff only to get beat by the rest of the market. That would get very, very old.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | August 12, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I think Halpern left for business reasons. That is fair for both sides.
If he were to return I think it would be as a fourth line player whose primarily value would be as a penatly killer.

Posted by: miklosis1 | August 12, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Great stuff. There is absolutely nothing happening in hockey right now but Tarik still manages to give me my fix. Thanks!

Posted by: ouvan59 | August 12, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

remember that halperin didn't necessarily leave voluntarily. i dont think the caps offered him much if anything in terms of a deal. i'm sure he could have stayed, but at a lower cost than he got from dallas. given his contract situation, he would be a good playoff pickup, particularly if gordon and stecks are hurt or not getting it done for some reason.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 12, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

ps. hey tarik, do you know if the caps/kettler charge the non caps players for the ice time? if they dont, thats a pretty nice perk given how difficult it can be to get good times. just wondering...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 12, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1:
I would think that it's kind of a courtesy thing across the league - you always hear about guys from different teams in different cities practicing with each other in the summer. But I would be curious to hear the official answer.

Posted by: Boo- | August 12, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Ice time at Kettler is probably $350+ an hour. Unless the Caps are offering to give free ice because they've paid but no current Caps need it, Halpern and company are paying out of their own pocket. At 2mil a year he can afford it. The only perk I see them getting is the Caps ice manager was probably called by Halpern and Johnson and asked if they could be given a heads up if a Caps ice slot is available.

Posted by: fanohock1 | August 12, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Zubrus may speak Russian, and may have clicked with Ovechkin, but Lithuania is not Russia.

"It's an entirely different country. You get mad if anyone thinks you live below Sunset."

Posted by: P-Mac | August 12, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Nice to hear from old number 11, and especially glad to hear he's recovering and doing well. I've always liked the Bolts so I wish him and his team well (but not as well as the Caps). Might be nice to see a bit more of the "southleast" back in the playoffs.

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | August 12, 2009 11:39 AM | Report abuse

Zubrus was born in the USSR, at the time he was born, it was in the same Republic. It was obviously not part of the USSR by choice. Based on Zubrus' birthday he was 11 going on 12 when Lithuania re-gained its independence. When Zubrus was born Lithuanians were referred to as Soviets or Russians on the ice.

Posted by: fanohock1 | August 12, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Nice to hear from Jeff and glad he is doing well but I am one Caps fan who didn't really care he left and have ZERO interest in seeing him come back. He is a 3 maybe 4th line center at best and really the Caps just don't need him. Wanting him to come back is up there w/ wanting Bondra to come back. There time has passed and they need to move on as does the Caps.

Posted by: jotay131 | August 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

How times have changed--notice ALL the empty seats at VC in the bottom photo. Also Halpern and a young Ovie are eyeing the puck, while a dumbfounded Derian Hatcher doesn't know whether he's coming or going.

Posted by: redrocker2 | August 12, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Nice to hear from Jeff and glad he is doing well but I am one Caps fan who didn't really care he left and have ZERO interest in seeing him come back. He is a 3 maybe 4th line center at best and really the Caps just don't need him. Wanting him to come back is up there w/ wanting Bondra to come back. There time has passed and they need to move on as does the Caps.

Posted by: jotay131 | August 12, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse


Well I would still welcome Bondra back with arms, and Kolzig for that matter. Whether they can play or not :) I'm a sentimental fan and would always welcome back the old school guys

Posted by: mrszilla | August 12, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

How times have changed--notice ALL the empty seats at VC in the bottom photo. Also Halpern and a young Ovie are eyeing the puck, while a dumbfounded Derian Hatcher doesn't know whether he's coming or going.

Posted by: redrocker2 | August 12, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Wow, good catch! Didn't even look at the seats. Geez.

Posted by: mrszilla | August 12, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Halpy was always one of my favorites, thanks for the story Tarik. I understand why he left when he did. It would be awesome to bring him back at the deadline assuming that would be an option.

Posted by: Grape8 | August 12, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Grier signed a 1 yr deal with Buffalo.

I really liked him when he was here. Would love to see him in the corners again in a red sweater.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 12, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Lithuanians look too fondly on the Russians. The Russian Empire took control of Lithuania in the 1700s and held it until independence was granted after WWI, when many European contries gained freedom from crumbling empires. The Nazis took over in 1940 blitzkreig and then the Soviets in 1944. Lithuania lost 3/4 million people 1940-1952 from Nazis and Soviets, equal in % if America lost 60 million today. If Zubie took a liking to Ovechkin, you can take that as a testament to Ovie being a good guy.

This has been your history lesson for today.

Posted by: tominfl1 | August 12, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg S: Ditto on Grier. Always seemed like he would get the breakaway goal on the PK. I was hoping they'd sign him the last few times he was a FA. Oh, well, no cap room. Excellent checking line player when he was here. Not as good as Ulf Dahlen, but one level down.

Posted by: tominfl1 | August 12, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Best checking line Caps since late 80s:

Ulf Dahlen
Kelly Miller
Bobby Gould
Mike Grier
Mike Ridley (although mostly 2nd line)
Steve Konowalchuk

Who am I forgetting? I think Gus was really good defensively, although never a third liner. Sorry, my knowledge of the 80s is fuzzy.

Posted by: tominfl1 | August 12, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Sheez, I didn't need a history lesson. My original post identifies Zubrus as "Russian (Lituanian)" (yes I spelled it wrong).

Those that were avid Caps fans when those seats were empty like in the picture all know that OV and Zubie had chemistry. I know, I know, he's Lithuanian, but he grew up in the Soviet Union and knew Russian. OV often pointed out how Zubie helped him greatly when he arrived in Washington. To assume Zubie hates everything Russian because he is Lithuanian is to assume I hate everything Japanese because my grandfather did.

Just like the young american kids of today; they don't remember the Cold War. I never thought my favorite player in the NHL would be a Russian. I watched the 1980 Olympics unfold and cheered when we beat those commie bastards. (Sorry OV, Varly, Semin) but that's the generation I grew up in. My son's on the other hand don't remember the cold war. My oldest was born right after the Berlin wall was smashed to bits, and the Romanian leader, and his entire family were killed by firing squad. My youngest wasn't around until 1992 so as far as my son's are concerned OVs just another player from another country. That he hails from the former Soviet Union is not significant to them at all.

Posted by: fanohock1 | August 12, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

fanohock: I only put the history lesson because I like history, not because you need to know or anything. Difference though is we grew up long after Pearl Harbor, and we were never occupied by Japan, whereas Zubrus was a teenager when Lithuania became the first Soviet state to declare its independence. It would be natural human reaction for most Lithuanians over 35 years old to hate Russians (they lived during an occupation). And now that I have beaten that horse to death...

BTW, when I saw all the empty seats, my first presumption was that picture was taken during a preseason game. Does anyone know if Caps hosted Flyers in preseason in 2005?

Posted by: tominfl1 | August 12, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Preseason theory is a good one since half the people in the photo are in short sleeves.

Posted by: thiazzi | August 12, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Bears signed an enforcer today. Might not mean anything as far as the Caps are concerned, but an interesting story nevertheless.

http://johnwaltonhockey.blogspot.com/

Posted by: tess2201 | August 12, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Gus was top notch on the PK. The one you missed was Gaetan Ducshene

Posted by: fatboy08 | August 12, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Tarik wrote: Halpern didn't mention second overall pick Victor Hedman. But I will. Take a long look at the Lightning's revamped roster. On paper, the Bolts look good enough to perhaps to challenge the two-time division champ Caps.

Tarik, your better than that. They were the second worst team in the NHL this past season and still have an ownership situation that is in complete flux and you think they are going to challenge a Stanley Cup contending team this season? If you had said the Canes I could have bought that, but this is purely laughable. How about they become playoff contenders before you have them challenging for the division.

I take it all back if by "challenge" you meant actually win one game against a Bruch Boudreau coached team.

And for anyone who wants Halpern back, why do people want players back so badly that were never part of successful team here in Washington. Halpern is an aging third or fourth line center that is coming off knee surgery, has never achieved the personal statistics he achieved in his younger Washington days. Add to that that the Caps have younger cheaper players who are at least as effective and have the potential to continue to improve.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 12, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

@tom......Gaetan Dueshene, was best defensive forward along with Doug Jarvis during the 80's

Posted by: RichC3 | August 12, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

@freakinandpeakin: I've noticed that as a group, Caps fans tend to be a nostalgic bunch. I've seen a lot of commentary that references a preference for the team of the 90's over the team of today, especially among self-proclaimed oldtimers. It's not universal by any means, but it seems to be a trend.

Posted by: kittypawz | August 12, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

ummm. yeah doug jarvis did win a selke. not late 80's but still.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 12, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

it would be nice to see jeff back! but i doubt it would happen. the caps organization doesn't seem to be very good with goodbyes. cold dismissals and 'ignore them till they leave' tactics seem to be the method of choice. i do hope jeff gets back on his feet this season and he's happy in tampa. very nice to hear from him! :)

Posted by: spinner-33 | August 12, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure it was very hard for Jeff Halpern to leave the Caps. Yes, it was for business reasons. But, all the same, it was still hard.

I understand how he feels. I recall at least one job where I liked the people and everything but was afraid that things looked more sour for that company as a whole than I liked. (Unfortunately, I was right and leaving was a good decision.) Generally, my track record is to stay at jobs too long (and get dumped in a layoff or feel that I have no choice but to leave since I'm going nowhere.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | August 12, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Don't blame you for waiting to make decision on the Kane incident. After thinking about things, I don't know if Kane had had too much (alcohol) to drink or was up way past his "normal" bedtime. I know that, even with no drinking involved, I would not be functioning at my best at 5:00 a.m. and more likely to overreact to anything.

I would not be surprised to hear that the cabbie had somehow provoked Kane for other reasons and the fight over $.20 the last straw, so to speak.

Even if Kane had done the alleged deed, nothing he did sounds like my idea of a felony. The amount of money involved ($15-$20) is way too small and sounds more like a withheld payment than a robber. Also, he did not cause a serious injury to the cabbie. At most, it's the type of damage from a bar fight.

The whole incident comes across worse because of the fact it's involving a highly paid professional athlete and that it appears to be a fight over .20 when it sounds like he's not giving a good enough tip. But nothing he did really sounds bad enough to be a felony.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | August 12, 2009 5:47 PM | Report abuse

We've certainly read enough installments of the new off-season soap opera "As the Black Hawks Turn". What will happen in the next installment? Stay tuned.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | August 12, 2009 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Wow, look at all those empty seats in the second picture.

How times have changed...

Posted by: blindskateluke | August 12, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

it's interesting how some on here act like the Caps have actually won something recently. Yes, they have the most exciting player in hockey who has won numerious individual awards but they still have yet to get out of the second round in the playoffs. And the last 3 playoff series, in two of those they were down 3 games to 1.

And some of you say, "we dont need Halpern, can do without him... " While that's true, just about every team in the NHL can use a player like Halpern. I do believe that this team will win the ultimate prize very soon but till that actually happens, they still have a LOT to prove.

Posted by: joek443 | August 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the story on Halpern. My recollection is that he wanted out of DC. Glad for him that he is doing well in Tampa, but he can stay there. Kono and Ulf are also gone so that magic isn't happening again.

Posted by: NovaCath | August 12, 2009 7:15 PM | Report abuse

The home town kid angle is nice, but the fact is that there are plenty of Jeff Halperns in the NHL.

Posted by: dcsportsdude | August 12, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the reminders on Gates and Doug Jarvis. I lived on Long Island in the early 80s so hardly got to follow the Caps. Then moved back to Baltimore in 1984. Went to a few games, but could hardly follow due to Ch 20 in DC coming in as almost pure snow and no radio. I do remember going to a playoff games with the Isles I think and Gartner scored in OT and the Caps won 2-1. It wasn't until I got HTS in like 89 (it was the O's "Why Not?" season) that I could really start following the team closely.

Posted by: tominfl1 | August 12, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy playing for that lowly Tampa team. Can't ever play for a top ten team can yah?

Posted by: ejohnsto | August 12, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

@kittypawz

I'm an old timer Caps fan who's bucking the trend. I'm more fired up about the current Caps team than the ones of the 90's. I enjoyed the group of the mid-late 80's but I really like this group.

Some of it may be because the core group is about the age of my first born and possibly represents her coming of age.

BTW, this year the hockey draft involved kids the age of my younger child. (Sign of getting old or, to look at the bright side, the sign that she's coming of age.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | August 12, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

No offense but why is Brent Johnson working out at KCI? He's a Penguin - don't they have ice for him? I'll cut Halpern slack because he's a local (and he's not a Penguin). I don't want Penguins hangin' around KCI, former Cap or not.

Posted by: CAP-lanta | August 12, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

it's interesting how some on here act like the Caps have actually won something recently. Yes, they have the most exciting player in hockey who has won numerious individual awards but they still have yet to get out of the second round in the playoffs. And the last 3 playoff series, in two of those they were down 3 games to 1.

Posted by: joek443 | August 12, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Joe, the best part is if you ask these people about the Redskins they will slam the ownership. Interestingly, the Dan Snyder ownership has been more successful than the Ted Leonsis ownership, in that Snyder's Redskins have won two playoff games and the Caps have only won one playoff series.

Add to that that if not for the luck of the draw the year the Caps got Ovechkin (if they hadn't won the lottery they would have picked third and likely ended up with Cam Barker) this team would be fighting for those last playoffs spots at best and wouldn't be a true contender.

Leonsis has the most overrated and under criticized ownership group in all of Washington sports if not around the country. Leonsis gets away with way to much now that Dave Fay has passed.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 13, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Joe, the best part is if you ask these people about the Redskins they will slam the ownership. Interestingly, the Dan Snyder ownership has been more successful than the Ted Leonsis ownership, in that Snyder's Redskins have won two playoff games and the Caps have only won one playoff series.

Add to that that if not for the luck of the draw the year the Caps got Ovechkin (if they hadn't won the lottery they would have picked third and likely ended up with Cam Barker) this team would be fighting for those last playoffs spots at best and wouldn't be a true contender.

Leonsis has the most overrated and under criticized ownership group in all of Washington sports if not around the country. Leonsis gets away with way to much now that Dave Fay has passed.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 13, 2009 12:13 AM | Report abuse

freakin, not sure where to start other than to say you are entitled to your opinion. couple thoughts re: snyder and ted. both took over good teams. both had some early success with their new teams. skins won a division and the caps made the playoffs pretty consistently, with little success. thats where the similarities end.

danny has taken a team with incredible support and has succeeded in alienating the fan base and creating a horrendous game day experience. he's lucky the team had such a strong base of support to start with.

skins have won two playoff games since 2000. hardly a sterling record (although better then the cowboys!!). they will be mired in mediocrity as long as snyder has the reins...(i'm a fan and season ticket holder, btw).

as far your measurement of success. neither team has sniffed a championship yet. but the caps have won four division titles and a playoff series. i dare say their best days are ahead of them. can you say that about the skins, who have won 1 division under snyders tenure?

ted did not have the fan base the skins had yet took the risk of blowing up the team to get better. luck to get ovie? sure, lucky to have a ping pong ball go his way. but why was he in the position to be in the race for ovie? because he knew he had to be bad, get high picks and rebuild. talk about luck, the pens got a one pick for crosby and a number two pick in malkin in back to back years. THATS LUCK. without that luck, they'd be in kansas city. is mario overrated as an owner?

ted has done more to create a great game day experience than any other owner in town. mostly because he had to to attract fans. but i'd say you can ask anyone what is a better experience, going to a skins game or a caps game (and i'm not talking about the respective stadiums, which were not built by either guy).

sorry, i think your arguement is flawed and would probably not be shared by most people who are familiar with both teams.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 13, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

dcsportsfan1:

First, lets get facts straight. Ted Leonsis purchased the team the summer after the Caps made the Stanley Cup Final. Dan Snyder purchased the Redskins in the late 1990s, 5 years into the Norv Turner era and six years removed from a playoff appearance. So don't even try and sell that the Redskins were a successful franchise when Snyder came on board, that simply isn't the truth. The Redskins were less than mediocre prior to Snyder's tenure. Now I am not jocking Snyder's ownership, but don't try and compare where Leonsis started to where Snyder started. Leonsis started with a SC Final team and through his ownership destroyed the franchise and his whole ownership tenure has been saved by getting Ovechkin.

Second, You talk about Snyder alienating fans and game day experience. I couldn't care less about game day experience. I would trade a great game day experience for championships any day of the week and I'm sure every fan would agree. Ted has jaded everyone's view as to him and his team by putting on a great atmosphere at the arena (and I agree he has) but his product on the ice has continued to underachieve. Every fan and every expert that looks at the Caps has consistently stated that the one area that this team needs improvement on is at the back end on defense. Yet, three or four years later we are still waiting for that improvement.

Third, you cite the Caps 4 division titles. The Caps play in the worst division in the entire NHL and perhaps in all of sports. The Redskins play in the toughest division in football and one of the toughest in pro-sports. It should actually be disappointing that the Caps have only one 4 division titles in the southleast...and yes, I expect more from the Redskins as well and they have been disappointing too.

Ahhh, the classic Pens vs. Caps argument. Were the Pens lucky to get Crosby, sure. But here is where your comparison falls apart and why Mario is a million times better than Leonsis as an owner. In the four years since the lockout and since Ovie and Crosby first appeared in the NHL the Penguins have been to two Stanley Cup Finals and won a campionship. What have the Caps achieved as a franchsie in that time frame? One playoff series win and that was in seven games against a piss poor Rangers team. To take that discussion forward, the Penguins also have a GM who is willing to trade an asset to get players to help the franchise win today. We have a GM and owner who keep talking about the future and being competitive for 10 years. That is fine and well, but they refuse to use any of the potential assets of the future to help the team today and teams need to do that to win.

Sure, most fans may agree with you today. That doesn't mean they are right.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 13, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

freakin, as i said, you are entitled to your opion. couple notes:

the skins won a division (the toughest division in football) in danny's first year. so obviously he inhereted a good team that was succesfull.

ted started w/ a sc cup finals team for sure, but they were not thought of as one of the elite teams in the league at the time. they had their success by making the playoffs a few years. what you and some others hear just dont get is that he PURPOSELY broke the team up. you call it destroing the team. fine. the fact is he did it on purpose. unlike snyder who can't seem to figure out what ted did, that signing high priced free agents doesnt guarantee you anything. the destruction of this team was on purpose and the fruits of that destruction are being seen now and in the future.

the caps play in the worst division in hockey. ok, maybe. but it's produced two cup winners in the last decade. the canes have been to the cup finals twice. florida has been to a finals for crying out loud. so cant say the division hasnt had its outstanding teams.

as for mario. the guy was ready to sell his team and move it out of town. he got crosby and malkin and now he's a great owner? you need to apply the same standards to him and ted. we can argue about who's got the better GM. i can say that you are correct in that they have been willing to trade guys than the caps...THIS PAST YEAR. dont forget what GM pulled off the year before. the pens won the cup, which is great for them. they also traded some of their top picks for guys like gill and hossa who are no longer on their team. so lets see where that gets them going forward. they had three no brainer picks in crosby, malkin and stahl.

lets hope you are proven wrong and we can have an argument about which championship winning owner is the best.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | August 13, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@freakinandpeakin
I am new to hockey (tho' learning rapidly and am a rabid fan of our current team) and I have never been particularly interested in football so I will defer to others regarding the two franchises' history, But I know a HUGE number of people who are Redskins fans. And what I have heard consistently from this fan base over the past year or so is how jealous they are of the success of the Capitals' franchise and of Leonsis as our owner. The consensus I've heard at game day parties and in casual group conversations is how much they hate Snyder.
As to the classic Pens vs. Caps argument, I don't want Mario as an owner, otherwise Ovi might have to live with him. I think Ovi likes his independence.

Posted by: newbiecapsfan07 | August 13, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Over on OFB, they have a story that says Dave Prior is out and Art Irbe is in as goaltending coach.

Posted by: FusilliJerry1 | August 13, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

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