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Laich on Penguins: 'Just another hockey game'

Coach Bruce Boudreau put the Capitals through a demanding practice this morning at KCI, an indication he wants the team to be prepared to dig in for the final 10 games of the regular season.

Boudreau cited the Capitals' finish over the last 10 games of the 2008-09 season as a motivating factor. Last season Washington went 6-4 over that stretch when the Capitals were in similar circumstances.

"We want to stay at least at the level where we're at," said Boudreau, whose team leads the NHL with 106 points, "and not get caught up in that we're X amount of points ahead of teams and stuff like that, so they didn't practice very well, but I was hoping it was going to be a hard practice."

It would be understandable for the Capitals to be looking well ahead to the start of the postseason, but some key players are doing their best to prevent that from happening and to keep the team focused on the immediate task at hand. In this case, that means Wednesday's game against arch rival Pittsburgh and capturing the Presidents' Trophy.

"We still have stuff to prove in the regular season," said center Brooks Laich, who is fifth on the team with 56 points. "We haven't wrapped up first overall yet, so that's still a goal, so that's our focus, and after that we'll worry about playoffs."

Laich also said his teammates are trying not to place too much of an emphasis on the Penguins game, even though it could be a preview of the Eastern Conference finals. Last season the Capitals lost to Pittsburgh in seven games in the conference semifinals.

The Penguins are in second place this season in the Eastern Conference, trailing Washington by 16 points. The Capitals and Penguins play each other twice more in the regular season.

"Pittsburgh? Just another hockey game," Laich said. "It'll be a good hockey game. A very good team, a team we respect, but just another game."

When asked if the media overglamourizes the matchup, Laich said: "Well, you guys got to sell newspapers and television advertizing and whatever. I don't know. For us, we just play. We enjoy playing in the game because they're a very good hockey team, and you always want to challenge yourself."

By Gene Wang  |  March 22, 2010; 4:00 PM ET
 
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Comments

Eastern Finals Preview?

The Penguins will finish 4th, and we will play them 2nd round.

Cant really say the Pens deserve the Atlantic Title when they got pimp slapped by the Devils this year.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Just another game for the players.......but some good ole bragging rights for some fans.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | March 22, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

PENGUINS SUCK!!!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 22, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

crowd needs to start screaming "wahhh wahhh wahhh" everytime crybaby crosby gets the puck rather than booing him.

Posted by: brian58 | March 22, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"SA-Town," don't forget that the NHL re-seeds the teams after the first round of the playoffs. It's not a fixed bracket like the NCAA Tournament. The highest-seeded remaining team plays the lowest-seeded remaining team in the second round. Thus, even if Pittsburgh were to finish fourth, it is entirely possible that the Caps would not play them in the second round--all that would have to happen would be for one of the other two division winners to lose (assuming, of course, the Caps finish with the #1 seed, which seems likely).

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Penguins will finish 2nd. Doesn't matter, because I expect Buffalo to lose to Montreal so we would play montreal before NJ or Pitt.

Posted by: BACKS | March 22, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Bragging rights for fans? I dont think we will have anything to brag about to pens fans until we beat them in a 7 game series and win the cup. God i hope that happens this year.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 22, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't care who we play - we will have to go through everyone to get the Cup.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | March 22, 2010 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Bragging rights for fans? I dont think we will have anything to brag about to pens fans until we beat them in a 7 game series and win the cup. God i hope that happens this year.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | March 22, 2010 4:49 PM
-------------------------------
Completely agree. Time to win.

Posted by: netminder71 | March 22, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Echo that -- don't care who we play; Bring 'em on.

There's a good chance Buffalo gets the No. 2 seed. There's not a whole heck of a lot of difference for the Caps who the 2, 3, 4 seeds are -- they are all tough and will be a challenge come the second or third round.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Well it would be nice to cleanly take care of a first round series...something did not taste right with the last two years having 7 game series against the Rags and Flyers. Also why not sweep someone - its seven games we shouldn't have to play.

Guess thats the idea behind the team approach to practice and not letting some other hot 8th place team surprise us in the first period of game 1.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 22, 2010 5:28 PM | Report abuse

I always root against Crosby and hope he performs poorly but I think booing him when he touches the puck is the wrong way to go.

Crosby is a guy, like Ovie, who gets extra motivated by those type of things. I'm sure he loves to show up the crowd who is booing him. I don't think we want to provide him with any extra motivation.

Personally I think the crowd should do nothing special when he touches the puck. Booing certainly hasn't hindered his production.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Just another game? This guy's been around McPhee too long. I wouldn't play poker with either of them, not even with Ted's money!

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | March 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Eastern Finals Preview?

The Penguins will finish 4th, and we will play them 2nd round.

Cant really say the Pens deserve the Atlantic Title when they got pimp slapped by the Devils this year.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 22, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

if you want the Caps to go farther in the playoffs this year, you want the Pens to finish second so that the only way they can meet will be for the conference finals... to finish first overall and face the pens in the secound round again would be a waste of a great effort.

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

yes it IS just another game, a totally meaningless game for the Caps on Wed... it means a lot more to the Pens since they're still fighting for the division

Laich has it exactly right

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

I actually agree that facing the Pens in the 2nd round is dangerous for 2 reasons.

1) The obvious reason. The Pens are very good and could beat the Caps.

2) If the Caps beat the Pens (especially if it is a 6 or 7 game series) they are set up for a let down series against whoever they play next. That would be less likely if they met the Pens in the ECF because the next series would the SCF which would greatly lessen the chances of a let down series.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Just another hockey game"...lolWUT?

Brooksie, you're too much of a gentleman. Too bad this team can only have one Captain at a time...

As I see it, Wednesday's objectives (In no particular order) are:

1) Continue fine-tuning/improving on problem areas for the post-season,
2) Stay healthy.
3) Make it clear that the Verizon Center shall henceforth be known throughout the NHL as "The House of Pain"...for opponents in general and for the Pittsburgh Penguins in particular.

And, of course:

4) Score more goals.

www.die_pens_die.com does not exist yet...but it should!

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 22, 2010 6:14 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

I agree and I wouldn't be upset at all if the Caps didn't face the Pens on their way to winning the Cup this year... not in the least

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I for one am looking to get that pensmonkey off our back. Whenever we face them, whether 2nd or 3rd round, great. Let's knock them the heck off.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think the crowd should do nothing special when he touches the puck. Booing certainly hasn't hindered his production.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 22, 2010 5:35 PM

@sgm3: I agree that he probably expects to be booed at VC...booing is so last year.

That being said, how about something unprecedented in the history of the NHL?

I propose that, if we do face the Pens in these playoffs, then whenever Crosby touches the puck in our building, he should hear:

(wait for it...)

Absolute, coffin-like, dead f###ing pin-drop SILENCE...

...which erupts into the loudest cheers ever heard in the history of the Phone Booth when he turns the puck over, gets hit, or our goalie stones his @$$!!


I know,I know: it sounds silly and may not work. But if Ted does another stellar job of limiting the number of Pens fans in our building this for year's playoffs, it could work.

At absolute worst, the abrupt noise gradient should be good for at least one distracted "WTF?" moment from Crysby, worth its weight in rubies and diamonds (can't say gold 'cause that's a Pens color).

I can just imagine what he'll say to the Refs then...hehehe:

SID-THE-ID: "Excuse me Sir, but could you make an announcement and ask the crowd to stop doing that...whatever it is they are doing? It upsets me and it's taking me off my game."

REF: "Yeah, whatever. Look, Sid: like it or lump it, it's their building, so shut up and play."

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 22, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

The only team in the Eastern Conference that can take out the Caps are the Pens. The only team in the East that can take out the Pens are the Caps. These teams will play each other for sure. Hopefully the Caps prevail this time around.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 22, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone has seen this on NHL.com but

Washington Capitals 10 Greatest Games collector's edition is a 10-disc set featuring 10 of the all-time best games in Capitals history. The collection features many of Washington's great victories and heroic individual performances in their entirety, including Peter Bondra, Olaf Kolzig, Dale Hunter, and Alex Ovechkin in some of their proudest Capitals moments.

The Capitals 10-Disc collection includes:

Caps Beat Flyers in Game 7 of Patrick Division Semifinals - 4/16/88
Caps Advance to Stanley Cup Final for First Time in Franchise History - 6/4/98
Ovechkin's scores two goals in his first game with the Capitals – 10/5/05
Ovechkin Notches Caps' First Playoff Hat Trick in 16 Years - 5/4/09

Both DVD collections will be available starting March 23 wherever DVDs are sold, including Shop.NHL.com, the Blackhawks and Capitals team stores and the NHL Powered by Reebok store in New York City. Suggested retail prices for the Blackhawks and the Capitals DVD sets are $39.92 and $49.98, respectively.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 22, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

The only team in the Eastern Conference that can take out the Caps are the Pens. The only team in the East that can take out the Pens are the Caps. These teams will play each other for sure. Hopefully the Caps prevail this time around.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 22, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse


I know it is easy to focus on the big rivals but NJ is no easy team. I think the Caps have a better chance against them then the Caps given the fact that NJ is 6-0 against the Pens this year.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 22, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

The only team in the Eastern Conference that can take out the Caps are the Pens. The only team in the East that can take out the Pens are the Caps. These teams will play each other for sure. Hopefully the Caps prevail this time around.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 22, 2010 6:48 PM

You are missing the team that has owned both this season - the Devils. They are 3-1 against the Caps, 6-0 against the Pens. If either the Caps or Pens has to face the Devils, they run a pretty good chance of being knocked out. Other than the Devils, there isn't a team I am too worried about.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

@Lloyd Christmas:

I respectfuly disagree:

Out of all of the EC teams that appear to be playoff-bound this year, only New Jersey has given us fits this season.

Carolina hjas given us some trouble, too. However, I don't think Carolina has the horses to make the playoffs this time around.

Posted by: Rhino40 | March 22, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

the regular season wins/loses against particular teams don't mean anything... I really don't care if NJ beat pitt 6 outta 6

the Pens are still more dangerous than NJ

And championship teams in any sport almost always play their best games on the road

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

When it comes to the Caps, the Devils are more dangerous than the Pens. When it comes to the Pens, the Devils are the most dangerous team of all.

Last year, the Pens beat the Caps due to their defense. This year, they don't have that defense - which is why the Caps have won both games against them. The Devils, on the other hand, have one of the best defenses - which is why they have done so well against both the Pens and Caps.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:18 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

The Devils certainly have given the Caps fits this year. 1 win and 3 losses. In the first two losses, the Caps had gotten off to a 2-0 lead that they could not hold onto. (I believe the first loss was an OT loss.) The second one was where the Devils scored 5 unanswered goals (and the fans were ready to run a certain forward out of town).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

NJ has had great defense since 1994

regular season wins/loses do not matter among elite teams... the caps beat the pens 3 outta 4 times last year and what happened??

there is a HUGE difference between facing the same team up to 7 times in two weeks and playing 4 to 6 times spead over 6 months

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

spread over 6 months...

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Vote for Ovie for Messier in week 4:
http://ultimateleader.nhl.com/default.aspx

Posted by: flyingblindoh3 | March 22, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the wednesday game could be a clincher. Pittsburgh plays Detroit tonight. A loss puts the Caps' magic number for the East at 2. A win on wednesday clinches the East. I think they can still clinch on wednesday even if the Pens win tonight. Point is - how great would it be to clinch the East at home against the Pens. Brooks, this is not a meaningless game.

Posted by: Rainier1 | March 22, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

NJ has had great defense since 1994

regular season wins/loses do not matter among elite teams... the caps beat the pens 3 outta 4 times last year and what happened??

there is a HUGE difference between facing the same team up to 7 times in two weeks and playing 4 to 6 times spead over 6 months

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:26 PM

I would have to disagree. I'd bet if you looked back through NHL history, very few teams have won a series against a team in the playoffs when that team swept them in the regular season. In general, the regular season records show how well two teams match up. However, there are definitely exceptions to that.

And about the Caps last year. They beat the Pens 3 times, but the only time they played the Pens with their new coach and new personnel, they lost - which was actually the better indicator, since THAT was the team they were facing in the playoffs, not the Pens of the first half of the season.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

Rainier, you are correct. Someone posted some details about that up at the beginning of the post.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

@Rainier1. NJ and Buf can still get 110 points if they win out so for Wednesday to be a clincher they would have to both lose Tuesday and Wednesday. Even then I think we would lose point tie breakers to them if they did win out and we lose out (other then the Pens game). The best Wednesday can be is us clinching ahead of the Pens.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 22, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

SJ beat the ducks 4 outts six times in the regular season last year

in the playoffs the Ducks beat'em in 6

the records do NOT matter in hockey in playoff time

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

joek - like I said, there are exceptions. But there is BEATING a team in the regular season and SWEEPING them. And, as I said before, the records simply indicate how well the teams match up - it isn't set in stone.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

icehammer - if we win the next game and Buffalo loses their next game in regulation, I'm pretty sure we would automatically beat them. Caps and Sabres both have 10 OT losses, but the Caps went 3-1 in the season series. I might be wrong, but I think that would be the case.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 7:49 PM | Report abuse

the Bruins (#1 seed) swept Carolina (#6 seed) during the regular season, 4 games to none... outscoring them 18 to 6

but Carolina beat the B's in the playoffs last year in 7

again the regular season records do not matter

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

what is far more important is how the team is playing going into the playoffs

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anyone has seen this on NHL.com but

Washington Capitals 10 Greatest Games collector's edition is a 10-disc set featuring 10 of the all-time best games in Capitals history.

Posted by: icehammer97

I saw this icehammer, but I have no intention of buying it, even though I have a small truckload of Caps related merchandise. The only Caps video I intend to buy is the Stanley Cup Championship video that (hopefully) comes out this summer or next. The Caps greatest game ever hasn't been played yet. That'll be the one that ends with Bettman handing Ovi the Cup

Posted by: TempusFugitRGV1 | March 22, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

While I believe the Caps can beat anyone in the playoffs, I would not be distraught if someone else took out the Pens for us.

Posted by: ccCapsfan | March 22, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

The Caps can and will take out the Pens.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:00 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps beat the pens in regulation will we clinch 1st place in the east?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 22, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps beat the pens in regulation will we clinch 1st place in the east?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 22, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse


No. It won't take many more wins, but Buff, Pitt, and NJ can all reach 110 points.

If we get 5 points we clinch.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps beat the pens in regulation will we clinch 1st place in the east?

Posted by: peteywheatstraw | March 22, 2010 9:12 PM | Report abuse


No. It won't take many more wins, but Buff, Pitt, and NJ can all reach 110 points.

If we get 5 points we clinch.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:18 PM

If we beat the Pens in regulation, they will be out of the race for first - they won't be able to get higher than 106.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I am assuming the Pens lose to Detroit (which is 12.5 seconds from happening). Also, even if the Pens had won tonight, if we beat them on Wednesday, they'd only be able to get to 108.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Did you see jimmy Howard facewashing Sidney CBee after losing bad to the Wings?

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

See it??? I almost choked on my Guinness laughing at it. *giggle*

Posted by: SlugGirl69 | March 22, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

LOL Jimmy Howard. Mauling Crosby! Hahahahaha, whole crowd chanting "Crosby sucks!" Love it! Let's do that on Wednesday!!

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Well today I love Howard!!!! U teach that crysby kid some manners!

Posted by: capscoach | March 22, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

@Sonyask

That was pretty awesome. Loved how after crosschecking Zetterberg like 5 times, 4 Wings players jumped Sid and then Howard comes over for the facewash. I don't think any other Pens were in that scrum...

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 22, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, let's do that Wednesday!

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Wait, just saw the replay, Guerrin jumped in...but as Mr. Spicolli once said, awesome, totally awesome!

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

@jsnyd1

And to think that after Canada had won the Olympics that a Caps fan thought that Crosby was a better role model for his kids than Ovi, even though he loves to watch Ovi.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Crosby held without a point, again. And the Pens are now 1 loss from being knocked out of contention for 1st.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Like it or lump it, Zetterberg was awesome tonight.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 22, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Crosby's not getting along with any goalies... Lundy now Howard.. maybe Theo can facewash Crosby on Wednesday!! haha. I'm kidding of course.. well not really.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Zetterberg is extremely talented - hardworking, tricky... just a fantastic player.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan75

Crosby's known for pulling that baby crap. You don't see Ovie doing that. It was a sourgrapes move.

Posted by: jsnyd1 | March 22, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

Your point on the Pens-Caps matchup of last year was correct. The last game was more like the "real" Pens that we'd have to face since they now had a new coach and people were more used to his systems.

What didn't help the Caps last year was all the injuries to blue liners as well. Green (shoulder and mono), Poti (broken foot), Erskine (broken foot), and Shaone Morrison were playing with injuries. Schultz was out with broken ribs. Our D corps was a mess, from the health standpoint.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Yeah Crosby does do a lot of little dirty things that you don't really notice... he does a lot of pushing and crosschecking near the opposing goalie's net. I think he thinks he can get away with it because he's Sidney Crosby.

Perfect scenario would be for Ovie to get a hat trick on Wednesday. =) Haha. Wednesday night can't come soon enough.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@jsnyd1

The fan who believes that Crosby is a better role model than Ovi should be exposed to some videos of Crosby's worst behaviors.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

I agree with your post on Crosby.

My least favorite Pen is Orpik, for numerous reasons, not the least of which, he is a dirty player who complains about our guys being dirty.

I would love to see a game, especially a playoff game, where Semin scores the game winning goal near the end of a game, where Orpik is in the box.

(It happened in February and, okay, Knuble was the one who scored the winning goal, but nonetheless, I enjoyed Orpik in the box as the Caps won.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Ahh the crosby we all know and love. Cross checking Zetterberg in the last 5sec of the game until Howard jumped in and took care of him. I don't think I've ever seen a player use his stick more towards other players as much as crosby does. Constantly slashing, sticking after whistles.

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 22, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

Damn, sorry guys, I type too slow.

Posted by: ludeman95 | March 22, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope our kid goalies can recover from their "varlamitis". Varlamitis is what goalies get when they are hot the first two periods and then lose the game in the third or OT. Holtby had that yesterday in Hershey. And the Chicago Black Hawks goalies are currently afflicted.

Varly will probably recover. It's taking a little more time to recover from the injuries and be up to snuff than we all would like.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

So I just went to Pensburgh to see what they were saying b/c I love Pens fans in misery. Some girl fans were saying Sidney was sexy when he's pissed off. EWWWWWWWWW. Sorry, just thought I'd share that with you guys.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 10:01 PM | Report abuse

@rachel216

So are our "friends" in Pensblog posting all sorts of "doom and gloom" posts at the moment?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | March 22, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Crosby is one of the dirtiest players around, and the NHL won't do anything because he's their little Canadian darling. It's horrible for the game that they let him get away with so much.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: They complained a lot about the refs, Versus, and the Detriot fans singing "Don't stop believin." Most of the fans just said the Pens didn't play with enough intensity. They don't seem to be all "doom and gloom," YET. After Wednesday's game, they will be. =)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

@rachel--EWWWW is right. There is absolutely NOTHING sexy about Crosby. He has zero sex appeal. Ovi on the other hand....

Posted by: dfe1 | March 22, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Crosby is one of the dirtiest players around, and the NHL won't do anything because he's their little Canadian darling. It's horrible for the game that they let him get away with so much.

Posted by: timmyv38

Yup, and I never really realized how bad it was. He does A LOT of chirping and lots of extra stuff after the wistle. Hmm no wonder all his NHL mates don't like him very much. The funny thing is most of the time he gets into a scrum, there are like 4 players trying to kill him while no Pens are trying to help him. It's quite fun to watch.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

dfe1: Crosby looks like a maniac when he's pissed off.

Okay I've done enough bashing of Crosby tonight. =)

Posted by: rachel216 | March 22, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

a skilled player being called "dirty" is not a bad thing... I for one don't mind Ovi being called dirty, it's a badge of honor in my book

not everyone can be as good and clean like Gretzky was... Mark Messier broke a few jaws with his fist and elbow and Gordie Howe was no boy scout either

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Ovie is called dirty because people dislike how good he is and how hard he hits. Crosby is called dirty because he constantly takes cheap shots, and he knows he will never get called for it. For example, Ovie has never punched a guy in the nuts while one of his teammates held the guy in a headlock. Actually... I don't think anyone except Crosby has.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 10:29 PM | Report abuse

A Caps win Wednesday will clinch them beating Pittsburgh. If the Sabers lose as well then the best they can do is tie the Caps but if the Caps, NJ, and the Sabers all tie in points then it would depend who had the most points in games between the Caps and the other two and I don't feel like looking that up right now. To be honest it is not worth the effort considering if the Caps win two and have an OT loss in the last ten games they clinch no matter what and I know they can at least do that. The 7-3 we have to go to beat the Hawks or the 5-4-1 to beat SJ or the 5-5 to beat the Yotes I think is more important.

*All records are if the other teams win out. For every loss in regulation take one needed Caps win away, and the same for every OT loss.

Posted by: icehammer97 | March 22, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Maybe because I have been a Caps fan so long I am actually not hoping for any team in particular to finish 8th and I am not wishing the Pens into 2nd or 4th....I found that over the years its the things I do not expect that hurt the most. For once we can say we confidently will beat whoever it is needed to beat. So be it if the road to Stanley goes through Philly, NJ, Pitts, and Vancouver - then nobody will be able to say we lucked out or didn't earn it (you know Pens fans will say that anyway).....Plus I really like that no team actually is looking forward to facing us in a series.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | March 22, 2010 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Dale Hunter is one of the most popular Caps players of all-time and we all know what he was like in his playing days

it all depends on which uniform they wear... if he's one of yours, you love him to death.. if he ain't, he's scum

that's all

Posted by: joek443 | March 22, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

Totally agree, joek. But Hunter paid for everything he did with loads of penalty minutes - something Crosby knows will not happen to him. Plus, whenever anyone goes after Crosby, he just backs off and lets one of his teammates take care of it.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 22, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

the difference between Crosby and OV is Crosby's dirty plays are all pre-meditated. They do not happen during a play, he punches a guy in the crotch repeatedly long after the whistle goes, he decides in advance that he will jump someone off a face off and follows through, there many many other examples.

This is the Sidney Crosby we see AFTER hours and hours of coaching on media relations and image consulting, this is Crosby AFTER he puts on a false image of a class act as dictated by his agent. Imagine what he would be like if the NHL didn't hold him on a leash. What he IS like when the cameras are off.

Sure OV plays hard and sometimes hurts people, but they get hurt in game situations where there is less than a second to think and when playing someone too soft can cost your team the game with you being held responsible.

Its a good thing Cindy-Prissy-Pussy-Crosby is an inferior physical specimen, it allows his victims to come out of his assaults unscathed.

Posted by: OVIwankanOVI | March 22, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

LMAO! Crosby one of the dirtiest players in the NHL? Come up with some more jokes like that, and you'll be selling out the Apollo!

Posted by: SC87 | March 22, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

and every player does things like that, people just overreact because it's a superstar like Crosby...same thing with Ovechkin's dirty plays that aren't really all that bad

Posted by: SC87 | March 22, 2010 11:08 PM | Report abuse

For those who missed it tonight with Crosby and Zetterberg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PfDVU0goR4

Posted by: dfe1 | March 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

For those who missed it tonight with Crosby and Zetterberg:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PfDVU0goR4

Posted by: dfe1 | March 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

Howard, my favorite player until Wednesday!

Posted by: HappyWeagle | March 23, 2010 1:36 AM | Report abuse

There are some major differences between the Caps this year and the prior 2 years. In 2007-8 even though the Caps were the 3rd seed, it was because they won the SE Division and not because they were better than the 4th or 5th seeded teams. The Caps had 94 points and both the Devils (99) and the Flyers (97) had more points and were better teams. The Flyers beating the Caps really was not a big upset if an upset at all. In 2008-9 the Caps were the 2nd seed and earned it. However, lest anyone forget, the Pens made a couple of excellent moves at the trade deadline and went from out of the playoffs to the 4th seed. The last month of the season the Caps basically tread water while the Pens, to their credit (D*mn I hate saying this but I am trying to be somewhat honest and objective), were playing great hockey and had to really work to obtain a high seed.
This year the Pens are not playing great hockey at the end of the season and appear to be entering the final playoff drive as a struggling team. The same can be said for both the Devils and the Sabres as well. No other team in the East, besides the Caps, with the possible exception of the Canadians are playing strong hockey.
As has been mentioned several times by multiple different posters, coasting or struggling entering the playoffs is a good way to lose early. I do think the Caps are in a great position for a deep run in the playoffs as I don’t really see any team, including the Caps, having no weaknesses that can’t be exploited. And I do think the Caps are in a better position to exploit weaknesses better than the other teams. I do not see any team beating the Caps this side of the Cup Finals.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | March 23, 2010 1:56 AM | Report abuse

@icehammer97, the first tie-break is wins, not points between the teams. So NJ has the edge over most teams, for instance, because they have only 4 OTLs. Fortunately, as you note, we are going to clinch the East with just 5 points (fewer if Buff or NJ lose).

Posted by: Sonyask | March 23, 2010 5:41 AM | Report abuse

@realoldcapsfan, I agree completely. We are a better team than the last two years. We have a more-than-complete roster with spare parts. Right now, no team in the NHL is playing better except Phoenix, and they're a long way off from playing us. Yes, our game is not perfect, but we are continuing to play focused and to tune up for the playoffs.

We are not going to have an easy road to the finals. Chances are we need to play a tough Penguins team, a rejuvinated Devils team, and/or a strong Sabres team with the best goalie in hockey. Of those, I really relish a series with the Pens. We must have a healthy respect, but we have the talent and motivation to take them down convincingly. What a great series.

I'll be happy if we finish off the season just like we're playing now, winning better than 2/3 of the time and never giving up on a game.

Posted by: Sonyask | March 23, 2010 5:52 AM | Report abuse

LMAO! Crosby one of the dirtiest players in the NHL? Come up with some more jokes like that, and you'll be selling out the Apollo!

Posted by: SC87 | March 22, 2010 11:07 PM

NO, it's the truth. And I don't know how much longer you can say you're a Sens fan. YOU LOVE CROSBY. Get over it. Stop being so sensitive. Yeah, lots of players do stuff after the whistle but Crosby's stil the only guy who's punched a guy in the crotch not once but twice!! He's a overly sensitive guy. He gets hit and wants to take it out on other people. Remember that scrum with Lundqvist? He gets mad when someone puts an ARM on him. Haha, Ovechkin's "dirty plays." Go back to Pensblog.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 23, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Well, puts a hand on him.

Posted by: rachel216 | March 23, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

I saw lots of talk on Backie contract on other thread. I have been predicting 11 yrs/$6.5M per year since last Sept. Would not be surprised to have a signing this week or next, if GM wants to wrap up the contract before the Playoffs. If he isn't signed in next ten days, and Caps run deep in Playoffs, Backstrom will likely then wait the few weeks to see what perhaps he can get offered as a RFA. Teams with cap space can offer him Gaborik money (7.5, not unreasonable for Backie) and the comp is only 2 #1s a #2 and a #3.

2009 Compensation

$994,433 or below - None
$994,433 to $1,506,716 - 3rd round pick
$1,506,716 to $3,013,434 - 2nd round pick
$3,013,434 to $4,520,150 - 1st and 3rd round pick
$4,520,150 to $6,026,867 - 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick
$6,026,867 to $7,533,584 - 2 1st round picks, a 2nd and 3rd round pick
$7,533,584 - 4 1st round picks

That was last year - it might go up for 2010. It went up 10% in 2009.

Sign him now!

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

I would also point out that teams can offer Jeff Schultz 2.5 or thereabouts and only have to cough up a #2. Also, Fehr will attract in the low to mid 2s and a #2 pick as comp and Flash will attract MAYBE $3.5M and a first and third (comparables for many players 26 years old with Flash stats are around $4M avg) as comp.

If GM doesn't move quickly, he will be allowing other teams to set the Caps payroll. And you don't want to accept the comp, the picks don't start until 2011 and mature until God knows when and for none of those players is the comp worth the player. The Caps are built to contend over the next five years and you can't lose your budding stars for draft picks. That is going backwards.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 7:28 AM | Report abuse

It would be nice to clinch the East tomorrow night vs. the Pens. The Caps are 6-1-1 over their last 8 games in the regular season. For some reason we have their # in the regular season and we have won 4 straight in Pittsburgh which is sortof an unknown stat.

If the Pens win though the media will swallow that up and say Crosby has Ovies # since the olympics....yet if we win people will say it means nothing cuz its not the playoffs. It never ends.

Posted by: Redskins2Win | March 23, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

a win is a win but some wins are more important than others... for example a win that clinches the president's trophy is not the same as one that clinches the Cup

NOT even close...

Posted by: joek443 | March 23, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Let's just hope Sid's scoring slump continues. Funny, if Ovie goes more than one game w/o a point it's a 'slump', but I have heard nothing about Sid's lack 'o performance lately (only two points in the last 5 games). I just hope he doesn't put on a show like he did in Detroit last night -- cross-checking and beating Zetterberg in the head until the goalie got fed up and ripped Sid's helmet off! Actually, that would be quite amusing to see again. Go ahead Cindy!

Posted by: AmyS1 | March 23, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

to me winning the President's Trophy is leading the most laps in a race but to win the race, you gotta lead the last lap...

ask Kurt Busch how he felt after the race on sunday when he led the most laps but couldn't win it... only to watch Jimmie Johnson win another one

Posted by: joek443 | March 23, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Awesome about Zetterberg vs Crosby. I like how Howard went after Crosby too. Zetterberg is definitely my favorite non-cap.

Posted by: LloydChristmas | March 23, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
I know in hte past folks have shown all the numbers. What is our cap number looking like when we give all the guy raises that are due(based on your estimations)? I know between Nyls and Theo we will have cleared ~10M...

Posted by: DBnMD | March 23, 2010 8:38 AM | Report abuse

DBnMD:

Ovechkin (2008-2021) 9.538
Backstrom (signs 2010-2021) 6.500
Semin (impending UFA) 6.000
Flash (signs 2010-2013) 3.300 Avg Penner, Weiss, Olesz, Parise, Zajac, Kostitsyn
Knuble (impending UFA) 2.800
Laich (impending UFA) 2.067
Fehr (signs 2010-2012) 2.000
Chimera (signed thru 2012) 1.875
Steckel (2010-2013) 1.100
Bradley (impending UFA) 1.000
Johansson (est) 0.950
Perreault (w/bonus - impending RFA) 0.792
Laing (re-signs yearly) 0.550
S/T 13 Forwards 38.472
Green (2008-2012) 5.250
Poti (impending UFA) 3.500
Schultz (signs 2010-2012) 2.000
Alzner (w/bonus) 1.675
Erskine (impending UFA) 1.250
Carlson (EL 2009-2012) 0.846
Sloan (2010-2012) 0.700
Collins (impending UFA) 0.650
S/T 8 Defensemen 15.871
Varlamov (impending RFA) 0.822
Neuvirth (impending RFA) 0.822
S/T 2 Goalies 1.644
Total 23 Players 55.987
Cap Space 56.800
Available 0.813

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

As usual, the Penguins-Caps game is being overhyped by the media, especially since for all intents and purposes the Caps remaining games are basically exhibition games.

And Pittsburgh frankly isn't nearly as intimidating as last season. Last year the Penguins were playing excellent hockey down the stretch. This year they're stumbling, and I read somewhere they're like 1-10-3 or something vs. the top teams in each conference so far this year. They need to step it up. Crosby has pretty much disappeared the last week and a half too. Oh except when he was crying and taking shots at Zetterberg from behind last night.

The Caps, no matter how you slice and dice it, are a very, very good hockey team and much improved on last year. They'll have eight 20-goal scorers by the end of the season. Incredibly, out of all their games they have either won or lost by one goal in all but six of the games. They're going to be extremely hard for any team to beat 4 out of 7 times.

Posted by: southside721 | March 23, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1
Thanks....So things are gonna be tight again next year and on the out years barring some reconfiguring....all the more reason to win it this year.

Posted by: DBnMD | March 23, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I think the Caps can outscore anyone in the playoffs, but I am a bit concerned about the defense. If Theo stays hot, the Caps have a good chance for playing late into spring and into the summer.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | March 23, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"SA-Town," don't forget that the NHL re-seeds the teams after the first round of the playoffs. It's not a fixed bracket like the NCAA Tournament. The highest-seeded remaining team plays the lowest-seeded remaining team in the second round. Thus, even if Pittsburgh were to finish fourth, it is entirely possible that the Caps would not play them in the second round--all that would have to happen would be for one of the other two division winners to lose (assuming, of course, the Caps finish with the #1 seed, which seems likely).

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

They don't really re-seed them. They say they do, but it all works out the same. It's not re-seeding; it's just the farthest teams apart playing each other in each round.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | March 23, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Fluery's 3rd goal was weak last night...he is gonna get lit up tomorrow.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 23, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

While I am sure every team in the NHL would absolutely love to have Backstrom who out there would have the money to offer him more than $7M/year?

You have to take into account every teams salary cap situation and other teams self imposed salary restrictions.

The only one that would come to mind would be Toronto. However, since Toronto doesn't have a 2011 first round draft pick they would not be able to sign Backstrom.

In addition, since every team knows the Caps would match almost any offer I don't see any teams making any.

I do understand the thinking of another team offering Backstrom a huge contract just so the Caps have to match it and hurt their salary cap situation, but that doesn't seem to ever happen. It's almost as if there is an unspoken agreement among teams to not do that.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 23, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom is gonna stay.

No extra couple dollers is gonna move him away from Ovie, Green, and D.C.

That is unless he is holding deep hatred for the Nylander saga, and he will get sweet Swedish revenge on GMGM.

Posted by: SA-Town | March 23, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Malkin has missed some games this year...can anyone look up Sids #s when Malkin is out? Just curious...he may have good #s but its seems that he doeasn't.

Posted by: jeets | March 23, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Howard's quote on the Crosby incident last night:

Howard, on Crosby: "He does that stuff all the time, and somehow he gets away with it."

Posted by: sgm3 | March 23, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

The Caps, no matter how you slice and dice it, are a very, very good hockey team and much improved on last year. They'll have eight 20-goal scorers by the end of the season. Incredibly, out of all their games they have either won or lost by one goal in all but six of the games. They're going to be extremely hard for any team to beat 4 out of 7 times.

Posted by: southside721 | March 23, 2010 8:47 AM

That should actually say "they have only lost by more than one goal six times". Over half of their wins have been by two or more.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 23, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

With clinching the East, it's not just Caps wins that matter - it is also losses by the top seeds. The Caps don't need 5 points to clinch, they need a combination of points gotten by them and points lost by other teams that will equal 5. For example, if Buffalo and New Jersey each lost their next game and the Caps won their next game, the magic number would be 1. So the Caps could potentially clinch the East on Thursday against the Canes, if they beat the Pens in regulation, get a single point against the Canes, and both Buffalo and New Jersey lose their next game.

Posted by: timmyv38 | March 23, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

sgm3: The following teams have cap space for next year at present to sign Backstrom for $7M/yr:

Atlanta, Anaheim, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville, Islanders, St Louis (Blues, not Marty), Toronto, Tampa (oops, there's Marty after all)

The Islanders have like $20M of cap space so they will be forced to sign players or be too far under. I'd bet anyone a beer that if he goes RFA he'll get a $7M offer sheet.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Tom's numbers show how difficult the cap situation will be next year. How comfortable can GMGM be relying on Varlamov and Neuvirth, with Holtby as the injury back-up for next year, given how they have played lately? How about relying on Perreault and Johansson as centers for a full year? Erskine as an every game d-man? Some tough decisions will have to be made.

Posted by: zmega | March 23, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

TominFl -- I wouldn't worry about Schultz and Fehr just yet. The jury is still out on both of them. This year's playoffs will be a true test of how far they've really come in their development. Their market value will sink or rise depending on how they play in the playoffs this yr.

Also, a position like Fehr's is fillable. When the Penguins lost Ryan Malone, they didn't miss a beat even though he was at the time their only true power forward outside of Malkin. We have depth at forward.

Two Hershey Bears next season should challenge for a roster spot at forward - Andrew Gordon and Steve Pinizzotto. Both high energy gritty players who skate well. Pinner leads the AHL in shorties and Gordon offers a slightly different skill set but they're both solid 3rd line options

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 23, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't we getting the morning updates on the blog anymore? Did I miss something?

Posted by: CDon | March 23, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

cstanton: Absolutely. We also have Aucoin at $525K who can play the 13th forward instead of Laing or one of the others. I'm not worried about goalie and here's why: Caps next year should be able to get 100+ pts even if they bring Kolzig back (just kidding there). For next year, let the young goalies play and then trade for a vet at the deadline next March 1st if neither Varly or Neuvy is up to the task.

zmega: No matter what, when you have high-priced guys, you must balance out with lower priced guys. The key is to keep adding one or two key vets at the deadline to make up for short-falls, so you want to be under if you can (not like last year with Caps) so you have room for the trades like we did this year.

I agree Fehr and Flash aren't proven but you can check through the numbers at what similar players make and you'd be shocked. 30 goals is worth $4M and 20 goals is worth at least $2M easy.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

Those teams have more than $7M in cap space but how many players do they have to sign? If a team has $8M in cap space but 6 roster positions then signing Backstrom for $7M/year won't work.

Also, Atlanta, Columbus, Anaheim(need to re-sign their young stars), Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, Florida, and Tampa (Lecavlier's contract is burdensome and Stamkos will be getting a big one soon) can be crossed off the list due to the salary restrictions they put on themselves.

Toronto can be crossed off because of the lack of draft picks. Dallas has been having money issues.

The only team I could see doing it would be St. Louis.

I don't see the Islanders wanting to give up 4 first rounders since they are trying to build their team through the draft. I could see them going after a UFA for a 2 year contract. Maybe Marleau, who would be off the books by the time they need to re-sign Tavares.

I would be more than willing to bet a beer that Backstrom will not receive a $7M+ offer from a team other than the Capitals if he becomes a RFA this offseason.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 23, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Looking at Tom's chart, I ask myself who we could best afford to lose. More specifically, who is making significant money but could be replaced with a roughly equivalent player at lower cost? The only name I come up with is Poti. Maybe he gets traded this summer.

Posted by: zmega | March 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

30 goals is worth $4M and 20 goals is worth at least $2M easy.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I hope teams aren't paying out simply on goal production. There's so many other aspects to a player. Take Laich for instance. If Laich and Flash scored the same # of goals, are they really worth the same to a team? Laich is a multi-dimensional, multi-situational player. Any goals he pots is a bonus. Flash is the sum of his stats, much like Semin. If he scores, he's useful. But his play away from the puck and other intangibles is negligible. The only true intangible quality that a Flash or Semin have is they sometimes force teams to pay less attention to Ovechkin - kind of like how having another deep-threat wide receiver takes some of the burden off the primary receiver with regards to coverage.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 23, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

The only name I come up with is Poti. Maybe he gets traded this summer.

Posted by: zmega | March 23, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

i'm betting his trade value is near zero. Teams can go find a Poti type in free agency without having to necessarily give up draft picks or prospects.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 23, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

If I'm Backstrom, the first thing going through my mind is: "If I sign with this other team, what's the likelihood of Ovechkin checking me into the boards?"

He's staying in DC until Ovechkin retires.

Posted by: sandyflee | March 23, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

nice to see Bertuzzi and Howard give Crosby a good ole fashioned facewashing. I like that Crosby's a fiesty player though, its better for the game than if he simply was some catatonic automaton who displays no emotion. He was frustrated, Zetterberg tied him up off the faceoff and Crosby pushed him around to get some room. I have no problem with that and I think the Wings responded appropriately.

If you look behind the play at some Caps games, you'll see that kinda stuff happen. In the last game v Tampa, Mark Parrish gave Schultz a big shot way behind the play and knocked him down for no reason. Parrish is a foot shorter but he's not afraid of Sarge and Schultz is an easy target that way. The next shift Parrish was on the ice he went and parked himself in the crease and Schultz didn't want to be anywhere near him. He even let Parrish have a couple of extra shots at the puck until Laich moved in and cleared him away.

Players try to create room for themselves and one of the reasons Crosby is successful around the net is that some players around the league don't want to engage him too often because he'll respond aggressively. And they know if they hit him back they'll probably have to deal with his teammates. So they'll give him that extra room until they absolutely have no choice but to engage him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | March 23, 2010 11:45 AM | Report abuse

cstanton: When they go to arbitration, they use stats. And the money they get in arbitration (or would get) helps drive the ultimate salaries of all players.

I agree with you on Flash. If I sign Semin long-term, Flash is a candidate to be traded. Laich is already going to get $3.5-4M in two years and he can be what Knuble is now. You have Ovi and Semin and Fehr also as 1-2 line wingers. Flash can get you a solid veteran D that's more needed than another scoring winger.

See my chart above for list of Flash comparable players. The money's there for what he does.

sgm3: The comp for $7M is 2 #1s, a #2 and a #3. Easily a fair trade for a player who is a top-ten winger in the NHL. Atlanta or Florida could offer just to make us match.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1

I agree that would easily be a fair trade for player of Backstrom's value, but when you combine the draft picks with a huge contract many teams are scared off.

Florida doesn't spend near the cap and are overhauling the team with the thought of a multi-year rebuilidng plan (according to the letter by the owner). I think they want to keep their draft picks since thet are likely to be very high. In addition I think they want to keep their costs down.

Atlanta is another team that just doesn't spend that much money. So the combination of spending a lot of money and giving up draft picks doesn't make a lot of sense for them.

I agree that teams could make an offer to just make the Caps match, but that has almost never happens. Has that even happened to anyone since the lockout?

It would not be legal, but my guess is that there is some sort of an unspoken agreement not to do that to other teams RFA's to raise the price. This then protects all teams by keeping the prices a little lower for all RFA's and gives the teams a better bargainning position.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Also, who are the UFAs this year?

If a team signs Backstrom to an offer sheet they can't sign any other significant UFA because of the possibility of having to pay two players $7M+ each.

So if the Caps have 10 days to match and wait all 10 to match then the signing team would be left with no plan B since all quallity UFAs, such as Marleau, are likely to be signed by that point.

That is another potential snag for teams looking to sign RFAs.

Posted by: sgm3 | March 23, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Good points.

Posted by: tominfl1 | March 23, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

No way Caps players think of this as just another gm. In fact, I am sure Ovy will be up to his old antics of either going after Malkins head or after Sids/Gonchars knees. Keep wasting your energy, Ovy.

Posted by: grant44 | March 23, 2010 3:50 PM | Report abuse

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