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Leonsis: 'I Was Horrified'

Ted Leonsis took some time at the beginning of his live video discussion to address the Capitals' entanglement in Tuesday night's steroids bust. Here's some of what he had to say:

"I was horrified. It's about the worst thing you could hear about your team. ... We're doing everything we can to cooperate and hopefully exonerate our entire team and organization. ... I'd like to be dismissive of it, but i dont think you can. We have to be very serious and cooperate fully."

Richard Thomas, the man who told authorities he sold steroids to Capitals and Nationals players, was due in court today at 1 p.m.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 28, 2009; 2:23 PM ET
 
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Next: Bond for Steroid Dealer Set at $425,000 (Updated)

Comments

I believe if they threw all the players back into a pot, and redrafted, the Caps would have the following players drafted:

Ovechkin - 1st Overall

Green - one of the first three defensemen taken, along with Chara and Phaneuf

Backstrom - Would be Top 10 for forwards, especially given his age

Semin - likely in Top 25 for forwards, maybe upper 2nd round overall

Varlamov - might be in Top 5 for goalies, given age, maybe ahead of guys like Thomas, who have less years to left to play

Carlson and Alzner - I would guess they'd each be in the Top 50 for defensemen, Top 200 overall

Neuvirth - maybe Top 20 for goalies, given age

Everyone else is a role player. Excuse me, Brooks Laich would be in the Top 10 rounds (out of 23 rounds overall, since each team would need 23 players)

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 28, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is tied for 9th with Savard on points. NHL.COM stats.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:28 PM

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

No Bias against Sid with the exception he's from Nova Scotia. I still think Nicky is the better passer and I think you will see Backstrom out assist Sid soon... It may not be this season but it will happen.

This is a kid that is the real deal and I think has a lot more natural ability. (just my opinion)

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 2:27 PM |

Just because everyone wants to downplay Crosby's style of play, doesn't mean it is any less skillful. Again, if standing in the crease is so easy, why does no one on our team do it consistently? It ain't easy.

I also don't care if Backstrom out-assist Crosby, the finisher is just as important as whoever started the play. a point is a point is a point, and right now Crosby has more.

Look, I am not down-playing Backstrom. I called him one of the top 5 centers in the league. I am just stating that in a vacuum circumstance (future considerations don't matter here), I would take Crosby over Backstrom.

I think that Crosby's leadership needs to be pointed out as well. Make fun of their crash and burn regular season all you want, he brings his A game to every playoff game. Granted, Backstrom is one of FEW players on our team that gives it his all every game as well.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 2:38 PM |

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and I disagree that Backstrom is a better passer than Crosby. Well, if he is, it's a matter of petty degrees.

They are both mindblowingly skilled passers. In all honestly, probably the two best passers in the league right now. I never see a player thread through so much traffic and have the puck land on someone's stick as much as these two do. They also love to do those no look and backhand passes to tape. It's ridiculous what these two can do, passing wise.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOWk9BLXyvA

This is with a completely FLAT stick by the way. That is some straight Kovalev/Semin crap right there.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: Look, Crosby DOES NOT stand in the crease, he stands next to the net. Players like Holmstrom stand IN THE CREASE and take a beating. Even NHL on the Fly can't get that right. Give me one replay of Crosby standing with his back to a goaltender, creating a screen, and then trying to stash garbage. Crosby stands in the crease as much as Briere. Crosby stands off to the side, just like Briere, out of reach, and when the loose puck comes to him he stashes it, and moves towards the net. I'm not going to knock it because it works. I totally disagree with anyone trying to say he is willing to take a beating in the crease to get a goal, because he doesn't.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 28, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Malkin and Thornton are pretty amazing as well. Crosby has better puck control and movement than Thornton but I think Joe is a better straight passer. Malkin had more assists this season but he gets a lot by making people focus so much on him and then passing across the zone, not as much by threading passes through people.

Posted by: Stu_c | May 28, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Again its just my opinion. I just think Backstrom has much more natural talent and a higher ceiling. Im not saying Crosby is crap I just think Crosby has elevated to the top of his game already. The scary thing is I don't think we have seen that from Backstrom.
Of course you could argue that its harder for Crosby since he has all this pressure which is what a lot of people do but personally i think that's a total cop out. For those people that didnt grow up in Canada or the Northern US where Hockey is just as big as football in Texas your put under similar pressure from a very very early age.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

On the Steroids issue...for a chuckle

http://survivingtheworld.net/Lesson341.html

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@Stu_c

I agree with that assessment. For what its worth I would even take Malkin over Crosby at the Center position... That guy is ridiculously strong and is a pretty damn good passer in his own right.

@fanohock1

Your right. He does go off to the side. For a good example of a screen just watch *shudder* Hartnell.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is tied for 9th with Savard on points. NHL.COM stats.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:28 PM


Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Savard is the more complete player. Points are just stats to be used to help in measuring a player's worth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 28, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil: Look, Crosby DOES NOT stand in the crease, he stands next to the net. Players like Holmstrom stand IN THE CREASE and take a beating. Even NHL on the Fly can't get that right. Give me one replay of Crosby standing with his back to a goaltender, creating a screen, and then trying to stash garbage. Crosby stands in the crease as much as Briere. Crosby stands off to the side, just like Briere, out of reach, and when the loose puck comes to him he stashes it, and moves towards the net. I'm not going to knock it because it works. I totally disagree with anyone trying to say he is willing to take a beating in the crease to get a goal, because he doesn't.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 28, 2009 2:49 PM |

LOL. Are you being serious right now? okay, argue with me over semantics just to attack Crosby on something that doesn't even matter.


seriously, arguing with me over this just to make a point, "Crosby doesn't take a beating," is quite homer.

Jesus Christ people.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Sidney Crosby has elevated his game already to his ceiling because he is an old veteran at..... 21 years old...oh wait, same age as Backstrom... some of you are completely ridiculous. Nikky is a great player and will keep improving but, bias aside, Crosby (like Ovie) are players that truly stand apart from the rest.

Posted by: atybat | May 28, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Hypothetical situations. Vacuum. Past/Future doesn't matter.


I guess people don't understand what I mean by this.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

@atybat

Just my opinion.. Like most people from that part of the world I have followed him pretty closely since he got kicked out of midgets. Funny enough his game hasn't changed all that much he has just gotten bigger and stronger but his skills have been pretty similar.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Malkin, Crosby, Ovechkin, Richards, Pronger, Chara, Getzlaf, Lidstrom, Datsyuk, Zetterburg and that top 10 list doesn't even include goalies. Backstrom is not top 10. Maybe more in the 20th best player range. Maybe.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 28, 2009 1:26 PM |

Backstrom is tied for 9th with Savard on points. NHL.COM stats.

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:28 PM


Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Savard is the more complete player. Points are just stats to be used to help in measuring a player's worth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 28, 2009 2:58 PM


At least I posted a statistic. you just pulled stuff out of your posterior. You want to say he's a top 20 at best? Based upon what?

I never said anyone was a "more complete" anything. Define your terms. "More complete" in what way?

Posted by: Greg S. | May 28, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Alright, the Crosby back and forth has gone on long enough. Let's talk about something more constructive, like who will be the Caps second line center?

Sign a FA like Cammalleri?

Trade for a guy who may need a change of scenery like Marleau?

Somebody from Hershey ready to fill that void?

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is almost as complete as they get. If he would just shoot more. One of the only forwards on our team willing to back check consistently.

Take a look, Backstrom, if he is on the ice, will usually be the first forward back.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't Nick like top 5 in PP points this year too? Beast.

Posted by: thiazzi | May 28, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Alright, the Crosby back and forth has gone on long enough. Let's talk about something more constructive, like who will be the Caps second line center?

Sign a FA like Cammalleri?

Trade for a guy who may need a change of scenery like Marleau?

Somebody from Hershey ready to fill that void?

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:13 PM |

Cammalleri will be quite expensive, but would fit the bill perfectly I think.

Marleau? I dont know, hes very inconsistent. Would make a good third line center, if he took a price cut.


I would preferably have our second line center NOT be from Hershey.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I don't know.. I see GMGM going with Nyles on the second line. Hate to say it but i see that happening.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

cainoo7x: I've already posted several times that Aucoin and Steckel will score at least as many pts (60) as our #2 and 3 centers (Feds and Nyles) did this year, when we were #2 in the East, so I will stand in the minority (maybe just a minority of 1) that Aucoin will do just fine as #2 center UP UNTIL THE DEADLINE.

Then you deal some of the picks you got for Jurcina and Morrisonn and get yourself some gritty players (Kunitz and Guerin types) at the deadline.

The team can really start the season with what they have. The playoffs will require a first-pair, S@H defenseman and #1 RW, power forward. A savvy, veteran center would also be a nice-to-have for next May.

Maybe Fedorov's stint in Russia won't work so well and he'll come back to DC after the Olympics.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 28, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Are you seriously suggesting to rely on the deadline to build our "playoff team?"

Um..I would rather have what we need at the start...thank you...

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Any thoughts on other FA or trade possibilities?

Personally I think 2nd line center may be the most important hole to fill for the Caps going into next season.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Any thoughts on other FA or trade possibilities?

Personally I think 2nd line center may be the most important hole to fill for the Caps going into next season.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:22 PM

I completely agree with you, in that aspect. Our second line center is probably the most important position to fill. Defense needs tweaks, but we really need someone capable of playing center; aka someone who knows how to backcheck properly.

Unfortunately, FA for centers this year is a bit weak.

Cammalleri almost seems too perfect of a fit for us. Guys like Palhsonn, Peca, etc might be able to fill that niche, but I dont know how consistent they would be on our second line. Connolly would have been perfect, but he already re-signed. As would have Franzen, but he re-signed too.

Out of the choices, Cammalleri seems like the obvious #1 choice.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

The caps need someone to put the nut in the bucket. Ovie, Semin and Green scored 45% of the Caps goals. After those guys you have Backs and Laich at 22 and 23 respectively. You got Flash with another 19 and then a drop-off.

You also have to factor in the 25-30 goals Feds and Koz would have scored which are not going to be there next year. And I'd be surprised if Green scored 30 again next season.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 28, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mike Comrie maybe. Though he resigned right before he was traded, so he isn't a FA anymore. I also have the same reservations about him as Marleau.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

I agree that Aucoin and Steckel could put up better numbers than Feds and Nylander did this season. My problem with that argument is that those two were pretty terrible.

On one hand, I'd like to see Aucoin get a shot but on the other hand, the guy isn't young and he's had a few cracks at the NHL and hasn't been able to stick. I'm not sure if I'd be confident relying on him filling that spot for a whole season.

On the third hand, gambling on Aucoin may be the best option the Caps have as it may be better than committing money and years for a free agent that may not pan out (Nylander) or giving up trade chips the Caps may need to address other areas, as you pointed out.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

@cainoo7x
Unfortunately Nyles wont move. I can almost guarantee you. GMGM loves the guy and I just think you will see him stay and fill in that 2nd line guy.It makes Financial sense for that to happen. Then GMGM focuses on our obvious lack of snarl on the blue line.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Are you seriously suggesting to rely on the deadline to build our "playoff team?"

Um..I would rather have what we need at the start...thank you...

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:22 PM

There's not as much cap space as you think. I posted cap space earlier this morning. Kozlov dollars will be used by a full season of Pothier, for instance.

I disagree completely that #2 center is top priority. If I could only do one "swap out," I'd get the big, bruising blueliner at the start of the season. There are always plenty of forwards at the deadline.

As I've said, Aucoin and Steckel can do just as well next year as Feds and Nylander did this year. Also, if you're still paying Nylander anyway, he's going to play. Then there's Gordon. How many centers do you want and how do yo fit them into a cap that is limited?

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 28, 2009 3:37 PM | Report abuse

If only the Caps could go back in time and grab Getzlaf instead of Fehr in the 2003 entry draft. Or NJ could have messed up and taken someone besides Parise one pick in front of the Caps.

It pains me to look back at the draft class and see how badly the Caps missed when guys like Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry were all available at that pick.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Steckel is a role player. He played his role well. That doesn't mean he is ready to step up.

I'm not doubting that Aucoin can do it, but what if he doesn't? I am not prepared to have Semin have an AHL'r on his center.

I am aware of the cap, but there are things that happen called trades. Every team will make one before the draft. Mostly, its just picks for picks, but trades will happen. We obviously have a surplus of contracts, so we can afford to see some guys go.

Yeah, we have tons of centers, but which one is capable of playing on a first/second line? Backstrom? Well, that takes care of one line.

There is a huge difference between a Cammalleri and a Steckel/Aucoin/Gordon.

I said our blue line needs tweaks, but I don't necessarily think it needs different personnel. Our guys have shown us that they are capable of playing solid defense, they just choose to do it whimsically. (Attn: Green)
I also see nothing wrong with Nyls being our second line center. This year had to be some weird fluke.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

I also see nothing wrong with Nyls being our second line center, if we cant trade him*.

Let me add that. lol.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 28, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil:l. Our guys have shown us that they are capable of playing solid defense

I have to disagree yet again with you here. Our Lack of D has been our weak point all year. Hence the reason most of the games we won were won by a one or two point margin. I dont want to kill Varly with our lack of D and I def. want someone who will put people like the aforementioned Crosby on his keaster for getting to close to our crease.

Im sorry man, Its the same in Hockey, D wins Championships and ours isn't that quality.

Posted by: Dizzy1205 | May 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I agree that given the contract situation that Nylander could very well end up being the second line center next season. I expect him to rebound a bit if his head is in it, but after not playing at all in the playoffs I'm not sure that is possible.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 28, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

"I was horrified"

That's hillarious.
What a drama queen.

Posted by: Cheef | May 28, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom is not Crosby yet and who knows if he will ever be that good; I think the potential is there. Nor is he probably Daytsuk yet. He certainly has more growth in his game and he'll be a center at the very top of the NHL during his career. Watching the playoffs and seeing Crosby every night is pretty amazing - I haven't seen anyone to compare when it comes to play around the entire net on the offensive end. His passing is excellent.

Yeah, I'm a Caps STH but even I can admit that the guy is damn good.

And we do need a second line center but more than that, we need centers that can match-up over a series with Crosby and Malkin. If you put your checkers on with Crosby, who is on with Malkin? That's a very difficult issue and it's what we're seeing right now in the playoffs.

Posted by: saintex | May 28, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd like to see what the Caps could've done with the equivalent of three first overall picks in five years like the Pens got. If you can't make it to the cup (or win a cup) with the caliber of players like Crosby, Malkin, and the Flower, then it truly should be viewed upon as a failure. The Pens have been set-up to win a cup this year, and with all the injuries to Detroit's big name guys, I fear this could be the Pens year.

But seriously, how can you not be this competitive with three first overall picks in five years. Let us all hope it's the Wings again, cause I don't know if I'll be able to watch Crosby and that weak stache of his having a date with Lord Stanley. I hate the Wings, but I hate the Pens more.

Posted by: reesem37 | May 28, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The kind of presence that Backstrom has with the puck in the opposing end is almost unmatched in the NHL. It is as if time stands still, he is the clear eye of the storm as he hovers, and then the lethal laser pass. I am awestruck by Backstrom, you don't expect it from him for some reason because he is not physically imposing like a Crosby or Malkin. The little extra that Crosby does more than Backstrom is what he does in the crease or around it, the tippy-tap goals, and he brings it on every shift and dominates. Backstrom dominates but not physically but with finesse. The rap on the Euros probably holds with him. If he could more of a rat around the net, or be more physical he could be a top 5 forward in this league. Malkin does not deserve to be included in this conversation. Anyone who takes shifts and nights off like him is disqualified.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | May 28, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: suewin123 | May 28, 2009 10:22 PM | Report abuse

All this discussion about Backstrom and Crosby is missing the point. Both Crosby and Backstrom are going to be great players for years to come. It doesn't matter who is going to end up marginally better. The real advantage the Capitals have over the Penguins is organizational depth. The Capitals farm system is rated as loaded and in the upper tier of the league. The Penguins farm system is rated next to last in the league. With the salary cap the NHL has now, that difference will be huge in the future. The Penguins will not have the money to buy free agent talent, they need their farm system to add the talent and the outlook isn't good for them.

Posted by: croftonpost | May 29, 2009 1:30 AM | Report abuse

@croftonpost:

Regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of your assesement of the Pens and Caps farm systems, none of that matters when George McPhee sits on his hands at trading deadline and does nothing to upgrade his team. Which is pretty much what he did this year while the Pens added Bill Guerin and Chris Koonitz to give Crosby the wingers he needed.

Posted by: Jumpy66 | May 29, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

agreed on Crosby. He dips into the net area, he doesn't just stand there and get pounded. What makes him so deadly is his lightning quick hands - he's able to dip that stick in a flash. It's a MUCH smarter way to go to the net - to go to the net not "stop" to the net...

None of our forwards should plant themselves in front of the net - they won't last long in this league if they do. We didn't lose to the Pens because we couldn't score. We scored plenty.

We lost because our D were ineffective, and we were not able to get the puck out of our own end. I can see Carolina - a top defensive club - had much the same problem, so maybe it's something the Pens are doing well.

Posted by: WritingLight | May 29, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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