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McPhee, Poti Speak

From the media conference call:

McPhee on Poti: "Our scouting staff thought that [Poti] had the best year of his career last year and that he's really coming into his own. We needed a left-handed shot for the power play, he's excellent on the penalty kill and moves the puck, very, very well. We've felt we've got some young defensemen who are good at shutting the other team down, but we needed a little more skill to help us out with special teams."

McPhee on Kozlov: "Alex [Ovechkin] has spoken very highly of [Kozlov] in the past. He's can play center and the wing, he's also coming off one of the better years in his career. And he's pretty darn good in the shootout, too."

Poti on receiving assurances about more improvements: McPhee "said they have a list of guys they are taking a hard line to get. He said assured me that they are committed to winning and they want to put Washington back on the map."

Poti on his role in Washington: "I was able to show everyone what I could do, given the chance and given the ice time. "[McPhee] wants me to come in and do what I did for the Islanders last year - play hard, eat up a lot of minutes and play a lot of special teams."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 1, 2007; 10:25 PM ET
 
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Comments

People have been whining and complaining about these signings all evening but I for one think they're a good start. Poti will be a good top-4 defenseman and Kozlov on a wing with Ovechkin will provide a dynamic combination...not to mention the fact that he's good in shootouts. Remember those? The horrifying new additions that have resulted in a number of lost points for this team?

I say this with no sarcasm whatsoever: Good job, GMGM.

(Now go get Nylander!)

Posted by: CapsChick | July 1, 2007 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Admittedly, i hadn't considered that one aspect: Poti wouldn't want to come to a loser. I like that he was concerned about the Caps going after other players. Hopefully, Kozlov isn't the last one.
I'd like to see one of three things happen now:
- Bring in Forsberg on a two to three-year contract. He should be affordable and he will be invaluable to Backstrom's development. Not to mention, when he's not hurt, he's an amazing player. Even still.
- Bring in Nylander for any amount of time. Good first line center. Should be an excellent center for Ovie. Also good for Backstrom.
- Bring Lang back. If we could re-sign him, I think that would be wonderful. He played well while he was here, departed under good terms, and has the ability to play with top forwards. he reminds me of a center-Semin. They're both sooooo lazy, but talented. He would also be a good feeder to either Semin or Ovechkin.

C'mon Mcphee. You know you want Forsberg. You know Backstrom certainly does.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | July 1, 2007 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Forsberg isn't coming to the Caps. That isn't a good enough reason for him to play in the NHL. He will go back home and play or just retire. Lang would probably be too expensive. I'm not so sure I like Nylander. He didn't work out too well when he was here before--well he didn't play bad it just didn't equal more wins.

I'm still disappointed overall in what the team considers BIG signings.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

You have to believe that signing Yashin to a short, relatively inexpensive deal would be the final move to bring Ovie the "Toys" he is familiar with. Imagine Kozlov and Yashin feeding Ovie. The excitement would definitely be there. So we do need that centermen. Whether it is Yashin, Comrie or Nylander, all second tier guys we need one of them to round out these improvements.

Posted by: Cup1975 | July 1, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. It's been a good day for the Caps and the word is that GMGM is still moving. Sure, Drury and Gomez are great, but if GMGM had offered up the sort of money that would have been necessary to compete with the Rags, we'd be in a bind next year when it came time to lock up OV and Semin for a long, long time.

The fact is that the Caps are an improved team today, and they didn't have to lose anything to get there. It's not a done deal - I'll change my tune if it turns out the GMGM brought Kozlov in to play center, but all indications are that he's not done.

Nylander would be an better choice for center considering his price tag, and the fact that he could help Backstrom adjust. I don't think anyone here could argue (and I write that knowing full well that the gloom and doomers will do so) with a one-two punch of elite Swedes up the middle, three highly skilled Russians on the wings, and a promising winger like Fehr or Fleichmann to round it out.

Clark can move back to the checking line, which is where I've always seen him as a better fit. The power play is significantly improved with Poti to quarterback. We now have someone who can win a frigging shootout and has an existing chemistry with AO.

It's been a pretty good day. Not a spectacular day, but one of the better ones in a while.

Posted by: HolyOlie | July 1, 2007 11:14 PM | Report abuse

The Cap is 50 million now, even if they had signed Brier, Drury, or Gomez the Caps would have plenty of room. My bet is players like them do not want ot be here. GMGM has not really built a team players want to come to. That's why they end up with "could be's" like Pothier, Poti, and Kozlov. Guys that want the extra time to prove themselves so they will settle on D.C.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

I never said that Backstrom would bring Forsberg to the Caps. I said that I want Mcphee to work his little heart to exhaustion trying to get Forsberg here. Frankly, I don't think Forsberg will play next year, he's got way too many injury issues. But I'd still like to see it happen.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | July 1, 2007 11:21 PM | Report abuse

It's not just the annual price tag on the big free agents-- it's the length. 8 years/7 years for guys who are mostly around 30 (Yes, Gomez is younger). Granted, it'd be nice if the Caps were more near-term oriented, but those deals are just too long. I don't want those old guys eating up cap space that we need for OV, Semin, and hopefully Backstrom in the upcoming years-- or have the flexibility to make a big splash after we prove we can get to the playoffs.

Posted by: GJ | July 1, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

How long is the current CBA? They might be able to just cut them outright after the next CBA that contract is so long haha

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:32 PM | Report abuse

If the Cap keeps going up do you think a 6.5 million a year contract is going to be that big of a deal in 5 years? I think these teams realize that.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:33 PM | Report abuse

A first I laughed at the Poti signing but the more I think of it the more I believe that it's not such a bad signing afterall.

Kozlov is another good addition as his stats last year were decent and more importantly, he actually was quoted as saying that he was actually interested in playing here in Washington.

After the jagr experiment I think the most important thing to look for in UFAs is going to be quality guys that see the talent the Caps have and want to be part of the team.

All in all, these signings make sense and like many others have said, if GMGM keeps choppin the wood by getting more key acquisitions we'll be in good shape.

Posted by: Catalyst | July 1, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

From TSN...

"The Colorado Avalanche have signed winger Ryan Smyth to a five-year deal worth $31.25 million"

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | July 1, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The length on those deals are ridiculous. No way should the Caps have signed Briere or Gomez. Now Hannon or Schneider over Poti? I agree with that. The best signing was Smyth for only 5 years at less money than Gomez,Briere and Drury. Colorado is my clear winner of the day while fans in Montreal,LA and Edm have to be asking what in the world is going on???

Posted by: eric(reisterstown) | July 1, 2007 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I'm just tired of Ted talking and not putting his money where his mouth is. Players would gladly come to DC if the $$ was right. Ovie, Semin, Kolzig and some quality youngsters are a good base to build on, but in the end Ted ain't payin for the big guys. Will he ever?

We will find out when it comes time to pay Ovie his new deal.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:42 PM | Report abuse

HolyOlie, that's a nice assessment.

Any of the forwards that are known to be on the Caps radar - Nylander, Yashin, Zubrus, would be a nice addition (as long as the term is reasonable).

If, for the sake of argument, we suppose that Zubrus will be back, this team will be at least +Backstrom, +Kozlov, +Poti, +Jurcina from where we were last year (Zednik was a non-factor). No big names, but a very considerable improvement that puts playoffs within reach.

The crown jewel would be if the Caps managed a trade for a Marleau/Regehr type, which as of now are no longer available through free agency (Hannan would have been nice at that price, though!).

If they are considering the possibility of such a move in the next few months, it would be nice to ink Zubrus now. At the very least, he's a decent and cheap center for Ovechkin. And if/when the Caps do manage to trade for an elite center, Zubrus will be even more effective as a top-6 RW.

Posted by: Vlad | July 1, 2007 11:44 PM | Report abuse

Smyth is spectacular. I only wish that he was a right winger instead of a lefty so that we would have had a reason to pursue him.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Vlad - thanks!

St Louis just landed Kariya. I need to go to bed...

Posted by: HolyOlie | July 1, 2007 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Nylander would be a good fit. A solid veteran playmaker for OV, and mentor to Backstrom. Heck, once a Capital, always a Capital?

Glad to see GMGM getting veteran players to solidify this pretty young Caps team. (and not signing em to 8 year contracts!).

Posted by: Dezlboy | July 2, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious to know if anyone has any idea why Poti got incessantly booed on home ice with both the Islanders and the Rangers.

Posted by: a1e0 | July 2, 2007 12:49 AM | Report abuse

"I'm curious to know if anyone has any idea why Poti got incessantly booed on home ice with both the Islanders and the Rangers."

Because he is a HUGE defensive liability. He's a very poor man's Gonchar, they are both similar defensively (though I'd say Gonchar is slightly better, God forbid). Gonchar is much better offensively, but Poti is the same style. I think I could begin holding my breath at the drop of the puck opening night and not take a breath before Caps fans start to bash Poti (its gonna be that quick). You all think the official message boards hate Pothier, check out the stance on Poti come December and you'll know why a few of us are calling it a bad move.

Posted by: Jay | July 2, 2007 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Nylander just signed with Edmonton.

Posted by: caphickey | July 2, 2007 2:26 AM | Report abuse

I'm hoping Nylander is just a rumor; I'm seeing the story attributed to one source right now, and TSN hasn't added him to their tracker yet.

Also, am I the only one a little soured on McPhee if Nylander is going to Edmonton and this quote from the Caps website is true?

'After spending the better part of the day on the phones, McPhee was asked if he was done.

"We're never done."

The question was then rephrased. Would you expect more signings tonight or are you going to take a breather and get back at it tomorrow?

"We'll probably just get back at it tomorrow."'

Way to be, McPhee. Miss out on the free agent we needed because you didn't feel like making a couple of late-night calls or staying up past your bedtime.

Posted by: KurtYungel | July 2, 2007 4:43 AM | Report abuse

Poti & Kozlov...well, enjoy the Cup while you can Anaheim, because next year, it appears the Caps are making a serious run!!

BWAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!

PS - season tickets are available now by simply pressing here...:::::::::

Posted by: Attaboy | July 2, 2007 7:45 AM | Report abuse

If you look at the length of the contracts that Gomez, Briere, etc... signed, they are very long (over 4 years)! Briere has a no trade clause - talk about digging yourself a hole if it doesnt work out.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 2, 2007 8:04 AM | Report abuse

I like Poti....don't get me wrong.

but "Poti will be a top 4-defenseman"...

LOL, Rosie O'Donnel would be a top 4 d-man on this roster.

I hope that Ted/George are just taking it easy and they aren't done. If they are done, its going to be easy to turn the seats at Verizon into chaze' lounges next fall.

Posted by: caphcky | July 2, 2007 11:36 AM | Report abuse

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