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Morning Reading List

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Steve Mitchell--The Associated Press

*The Times looks at how the Capitals roster and salaries are structured, and suggests that they might be able to sustain themselves better in this salary-cap era than say the Penguins will and did after their Stanley Cup Final run last season

*Mike O'Connell talks about his record that Mike Green broke over the weekend.

*With the road trip wrapped up, Mike Vogel shares his thoughts of this year's dads and mentors visit and all of the excitement of the past weekend.

*All of the clips from last night's Red Line Monday are up on Caps 365, and because of the acclaim it received last week here's Professor Matt Bradley, lab coat and all, for this week's forces of hockey.


*Not to get ahead of ourselves, what with a game against Montreal on Wednesday, but Paul Stastny, who has been out since Dec. 30 with a fractured forearm, may make his return for Colorado when the Avalanche visit Verizon Center Friday.

*You may have seen this yesterday in the comments section, but just in case TSN ranks the top lines in the NHL with a few combinations you might recognize.

*Green makes Pierre McGuire's roster for Team Canada in 2010.

In the system:
*The Bears snapped their losing streak with a 3-2 win over Syracuse last night, and in case you didn't realize how badly Hershey needed a win here are John Walton's pre-game notes.

*The Syracuse side of that loss in which the Crunch scored on the first shot of the game.

*Hockey's Future did a Q&A with Josh Godfrey on everything from injuries to shooting accuracy.

By Katie Carrera  |  February 17, 2009; 8:00 AM ET
 
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Next: Kozlov Not Practing

Comments

Meh.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Ugh. 2 morning reading lists in a row. It's been quite a while since that's happened.

I guess I can be thankful that without Katie's MRL's, we'd have gone just about 2 whole days without any news. Makes working on a fed holiday even more difficult.

Posted by: FFSEnough | February 17, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Reposted from last thread regarding whether the VC will be invaded by Pens fans on Sunday:

I'm not sure there will be that many Pens fans here on Sunday. I remember a few years ago when they weren't very good (nor were we) there were not a lot of those obnoxious Pens fans in attendance and those who were there were very quiet. Unlike last year when they were rude, loud, obnoxious and numerous - of course they were en route to winning the East and we were in the middle of our late surge.

Let's hope they look at the team this week and decide to sell their tickets...those sales might be an economic stimulus to Pittsburgh!

Posted by: DevilsCapsGal | February 17, 2009 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Liked the Times article on the Caps and the salary Cap. Ted is a smart man.

Posted by: tomdchancar | February 17, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

Also check this out to add a little spice to the dessert:

Did you know that the CAPS play 4 straight home games "before" kicking off the 21-game salute. While those teams present a good challenge they are at home and our crowd is the 7th man. It will be a good tune up for us.

Puck the Penguins Update: Lost one precious point to the lowly Islanders. See what I mean by the road games -- me me spot on dudes.

The other thing I'm sure you missed but the Wind is here to make sure you don't is that the Penguins (who we love to hate) play 8 out of the next 11 games on the road. Man if there ever is a time for them to melt away on the thin ice of new day let's consider this the beginning of the end of their season. And to boot they have to play our CAPS twice in the Phone Booth with the ZOO present.

And always thanks for your continued support.

Rock n Roll

Posted by: windjammersouth | February 17, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm with Ovie, hip-hop over country every time, although maybe not Russian hip-hop!!

Posted by: DaveUKCapsFan | February 17, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Is that Times article accurate? I ask this not to be a naysayer, chickenlittle, but because the Caps are up against the Cap this season. Yes, Kozlov and Federov are set to come off the books, but who will replace them? Do we have a right wing ready to step into a 1st-2nd line assignment (maybe Fehr or Flash or Bourque or Osala)? Do we have a pivot in Hershey ready to supplant Feds (someone in Chocotown) or can the Caps resign him for less than 5 mil/year? Will the Caps sign Backstorm and Semin to affordable extensions? Can the Caps unload Nyles contract (4.8 mil/2 years) or will Nyles return to 2nd line pivot form? Will the Caps trade prospects/picks for a solid blueliner at the deadline who may carry a big cap hit (cf. Pronger @ 6.5 mil). All these questions are still in the air. I trust that GMGM and Ted will keep the core together better than the Pens, but it's not a sure thing given injuries (cf. Clark) and underachieving (cf. Nylander).

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 17, 2009 9:04 AM | Report abuse

I was peeking at my schedule to plan games with my season ticket (don't worry, I'm not windjammer) - the Caps have 9 of the next 10 at home. Didn't see that coming. Considering that 7 of the 9 after that are on the road, the team could clean-up over this stretch and put the NJDs well behind. 9 of 10...yes. Maybe I'll just pitch a cot up in 413 and sleep there.

Posted by: saintex | February 17, 2009 9:15 AM | Report abuse

I started to peek at the Wizards schedule for early April to try to determine when home ******* games might be to see how they'll conflict with my school schedule, but then I decided not to jinx the Caps :)

If you're camping out in 413, you better not be taking up my seats!

Posted by: Don-Ald | February 17, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS
Well, I read article as looking at the 2010-2011 season. In two years, Nylander's salary goes down and IIRC his NMC expires for the last year of his deal. If Clark hasn't recovered, he can probably be bought out at a reasonable cost. Mo will likely be gone, Pothier's deal expires. A big question is whether Theodore is still here, or whether GMGM goes with Varly and Neuwirth both.

The Caps' main issue this year was the accounting for Alzner's potential bonuses, which was around 800K in cap space that needed to be allocated. (Backstrom too, although it was probably more likely that 19 hits his incentives.)

Posted by: koalatek | February 17, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Not to be obnoxious, but why is this blog called Capital Insider by Tarik El-Bashir when half the time, it’s just a bunch of links posted by Katie Carrera? At the least, give her a byline.

Posted by: patrick24 | February 17, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Alzner reassigned to Hershey....looks like he may be there a while barring injury.

Posted by: thd1 | February 17, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Does anyone know any Pens fans that have had tickets for Sunday that dont want to go anymore?

Im betting they have been trying to get these tickets all year, and will be out in force.

Not to mention the suckers that wear Caps red unless the Pens are in town..I can see a Wings fan doing that, but Eastern Rivals? Not so much.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 17, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

JIMALLCAPS:

I think the easiest to replace is Kozlov, since Flash and Fehr are progressing and Bourque next year must play in DC or go through waivers. Basically, everybody just moves up one peg. Beagle is also looking like he can pull 4th line duty. Also, we assume Clark will return eventually.

Fedorov could possibly come back. Who knows? Maybe they offer him $3M or thereabouts and he's having enough fun that he returns. With all the above forwards, though, an option is putting Laich back as a center.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

@patrick

The biggest value of this blog is the updates from practice and pre game skates. Everything else you can find on your own so dont complain.

Posted by: SA-Town | February 17, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: Okay, it's time for me to prove that I'm not always negative, only when the situation calls for it :)

There are no guarantees in a situation like this. I'm given to understand that in many ways drafting is a crapshoot. There will always be question marks and there will always be hits and misses. I think we'd be a fool to take Pronger, and we don't need him, not that he wants to leave Anaheim anyway. Were I looking for a blueliner, I'd look to Jordan Leopold, Ruslan Salei, Marc-Andre Bergeron, or Rob Scuderi if PIT'll part with him (which I kinda doubt but could happen). All four of them are UFA at the end of the year and all three carry cap hits that are less than a quarter of Pronger's.

I don't think we'll have a problem keeping our keys to the castle. Some shuffle will always happen and we will always have some large salaries. Nothing is perfect, but it's good to know that Ted and GMGM have been thinking long-term and will continue to do so, and are smarter than to mortgage their souls on a single playoff run.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Well the article's inaccurate in the sense that Malkin's still on his first contract, but it's pretty dead on.

When you consider that there really isn't a second Ovechkin, then the decision of what to part with doesn't occur for probably another couple of years, and Green's next contract. But if someone wants to sign Semin to an offer sheet for $7m plus on his next contract, then I'd take that compensation and be in even better position.

Plus, you've got the organizational depth at the D which could allow for a trade for a forward if need be. Pittsburgh's got some organizational depth and a little money coming off the books, but they'd have to move one of the bigger contracts to get a first-tier player, and they don't have as many players coming back as the Caps do.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to add - I think when Aucoin signed it was two-way this year and one-way for next, so he either makes the club or goes through waivers. And I checked stats for Perrault, Osala and Bouchard. They all look like they need another year at Hershey. Giroux has fine numbers but 1) he is UFA after the season and 2) he didn't quite make the grade whenever he was called up. He'll get a decent shot though somewhere next year.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I actually know of at least one group that in the past has gotten blocks of tickets for the Penguins games that was not able to get them this year. While I still expect a lot of Penguins fans, I am hoping that we will not see big sections of them this time around. However, if they are there, hopefully those will be very quiet sections come the second and third period.

Posted by: Kim-3 | February 17, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

117: Malkin has already signed a $9M extension starting next year:

http://www.nhlnumbers.com/overview.php?team=PIT&season=0809

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Right, but the article implied that he's making it now (and Fleury's making his $5+), which clearly they're not.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@ Kittypawz and TominFl,

Didn't mean to come across as a naysayer by any means. I do think that the Caps are in much better shape than the Pens who traded too much away for too little gain with the Hossa trade. I also think that Fluery is overpaid right now. He may become a top 5 goalie warranting 5 mil/year, but not this year. I also agree that Pronger would be a boneheaded trade for what Anahiem can demand for him. I just wanted to kick off the daily speculation on a slow news day. I think the Caps do have options, such as resigning Feds for less than 5/yr and bringing up defenders and wings and maybe even a center. I do think Koz will play to the end of his contract and be let go, unless he improves a lot soon, esp. in the playoffs (still at 0 goals). The Caps need to figure out how to resign Semin and Backs and get rid of some bloated salary players. My list includes Nylander and Morrison (if he gets what he seems to think he is worth given his last two summers at arbitration) and maybe even Clark unless he can recover. But Clark is that uncertain factor -- great signing at the time as a 30 goal scorer and team leader, but who could have known that the contract had a you will be on LTIR for 2 years clause?

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | February 17, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Come on trade deadline!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | February 17, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

117, also:

I respectfully disagree on talking compensation for Semin, even if it's $7M and therefore four first rounders.

The earliest of those first rounders might be ready to contribute about 4 years after you draft him. That's a fine strategy for a rebuilding team, like the Caps from four years ago, but a Cup contender can't afford to let a world-class player slip away like that. I would say instead you consider trading him. At the very least you want to get maybe a second-pair D-man or second-line forward just coming into first RFA contract (therefore cheaper) plus picks.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I've never seen someone stick with their internet shtick for so long. good job windjammer.

Posted by: richmondphil | February 17, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I agree with lylewimbledon.

Posted by: _jordan | February 17, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

JIM:

You made one point I didn't know - that Nylander's NMC expires for the final year of the deal.

And, I didn't think you were negative at all. The salary cap forces the team into a juggling match. Generally, the biggest mistake a team can make is overpaying older players. We have a few ourselves.

I think everyone pretty much agrees that Mo is likely gone.

Posted by: tominfl1 | February 17, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

How do I hate thee, O Pens? Let me count the ways...

--They have been the Yankees to our Red Sox
--The Cowboys to our Resdskins
--The Ohio State to our Michigan (or vice versa)
--The Alabama to our Auburn
--The Moriarty to our Holmes
--The Joker to our Batman
--The Wo Fat to our McGarrett....oh hell, enough metaphors; you get the point.
--OV bags the hardware and STILL Bettman markets Crosby to death: FAIL
--NBC keeps featuring the Pens as Game of The Week...Why? do they actually want their ratings to drop? EPIC FAIL
--Their players quit competing, so quite naturally they do the only "rational" thing: they fire their coach. MEGA FAIL
--They Just Don't Get the fact that "La Festivale du Mario c'est fini" ÜBER FAIL.
--Crosby isn't as good as Maklin, and neither is as good as the Gr8 One....Yet Don Cherry continues to shill for Crosby. GALACTIC FAIL.
--That damn commercial for Center Ice: it seemingly assumes that ALL hockey fans who don't live in their favorite team's market MUST BE Penguins' fans--BLEAEEAAACCCHHH! COSMIC FAIL.
--The 4-OT loss in the Playoffs.
--The playoff series losses after the Caps amassed 2-games-to-none or 3-games-to-none leads over PIT.
--All the years when the Pens seemed to exist solely to keep the Caps from getting beyond the first round.
--Jagr, who tormented us for years, but then all of a sudden mysteriously sucked when he put on a Caps sweater (Frantisek Kucera at least knew which side his bread was buttered on).
--PIT's tendency to bring in goaltenders who couldn't stop a Nerf® ball against any other team, but who somehow become impenetrable when playing against the Caps.
--Kasparaitis: Evil
--Satan: having him play for the Axis of Evil is almost as appropriate as having him play for New Jersey.

I am not from DC, as I moved here from CA in 1986. I am a relatively recent convert to the faith, as I began following the Caps in the early 90's. One thing is certain: For as long as I have been a hockey fan, I have always hated the Pens and always will. They have been the authors of more heartbreak for Caps fans than any other NHL team, and so have MUCH to atone for before the karmic books are balanced. So it is natural to experience a little Schadenfreude when the Caps are doing so well and the Pens are...well, not.

At the risk of repeating myself like windjammer:

There are many rivals, but there is only one Enemy. And that Enemy is Pittsburgh.

'nuff said.

Posted by: Rhino40 | February 17, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

just bought season tix for the first time! so pumped!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: ralph4100 | February 17, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

The NTC of Nyls is no longer a barrier to any deals. The value of his contract is. He is going nowhere. Why do you guys keep bringing it up, it ain't happening.

Posted by: atybat | February 17, 2009 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@JIMALLCAPS: It's all right, since there seems to be a headhunt on naysayers right now! :) We'll see how long that lasts.

Anyway, I totally agree that Mo doesn't get resigned. He plain and fancy isn't playing like a 1.9 defenseman, let alone the 3 that he's rumored to want. He's been through too many arbitrations, and I think we'll probably move him at the deadline or come draft day so that we get something for him.

On Clark - yup, that's the risk you take. Crap happens sometimes. I think we don't need to make a decision on him yet - I get the impression he's still got value in the locker room. I'm more interested to see what the goalie situation turns out to be. Based on what I have seen so far, I'll be more interested to see how the goalie tangle sorts itself out - and a tangle it is right now.

Backstrom gets a hefty contract next year, I think. Semin ... hefty, but not as crazy as it otherwise might be simply because he's hurt as much as he is.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

"I respectfully disagree on talking compensation for Semin, even if it's $7M and therefore four first rounders."

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to resign him, I just feel that's around the area where you have to politely turn him down. Assuming Gandler's still his agent, that might be their starting point.

Posted by: Section117 | February 17, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Slightly unrelated discussion, courtesy Puck Daddy: The Philly Phantoms will be wearing a unique jersey for their Friday night game against Portland. They must be seen to be believed - I will not describe. Just ... go look.

Posted by: kittypawz | February 17, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Re: Morrisonn - I have a bad feeling about Morrisonn... it's that we will have trouble trading him, because he just isn't playing up to his potential - or his salary - this season.

@atybat - The point with Nylander's NTC is that to the best of our knowledge as of the last interview posted, NOBODY had approached Nylander about waiving it. Unless and until he does, he has it IN WRITING, that he will not be traded. THAT is a problem. If someone can find me something - other than atybat's word for it, since I don't know him from Adam - proving that Nyls has been approached and agreed to being traded, THEN I'll let his NTC drop as a barrier to trading him. Until that time, no. As I understand his CONTRACT, which is a legally-binding document, he CANNOT be traded without his permission. He has said so, and I believe him. Therefore, the NTC is still a barrier, whether we want it to be or not.

Posted by: irockthered | February 17, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

New thread.

Posted by: irockthered | February 17, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

You would consider trading Semin? Even with his bone-headed plays and his unfortunate knack for for making them at the worst of times, he's 1) Ovechkin's best friend, 2) The most talented player on the team, and 3) is a PLAYOFF PERFORMER. He kicked absolute ass in the playoffs last year, and there's nothing to say he won't do it again.

If there's one thing Semin seems to understand, it's playoff hockey. He was a hard-hitting, play-making beast, and it would take A LOT for me to even consider letting him go -- certainly not a "second-pair D-man or second-line forward."

That's nuts.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | February 17, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought the Times article was a little off base, at least in terms of Hossa. He didn't leave because they didn't offer him enough money. He left because he knew the Pens were going to suck and/or he didn't like playing there. (I assume having a giant crybaby as a captain can get old, eh?)

The best way to build a team is to study the team he left for: the Wings. They've been able to inspire a ridiculous amount of loyalty from their players because the organization treats them right and, of course, they continue to win. If the Caps can do that, it will be easier to keep guys for less money. Obviously, you are going to have players who care more about money than winning but who wants a bunch of guys like that hanging around anyway?

Posted by: amberlynne | February 17, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, DrinkingPartner. Even if it's just hypothetical situations where they're even considering trading out Semin, I don't see it happening either. Like you mentioned, he's got a few reasons to stay in DC that doesn't involve money. I'm predicting Semin staying on longer.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 17, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Quick question. I wasn't sure where or if they post it but when would we know the playoff schedule? I really would like to fly back to DC for some of the Caps playoff games at the Verizon Center but want to anticipate airfare rates and ticket prices as soon as possible. You guys seem to always be in the know. I'd appreciate the info you could give me.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | February 17, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

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