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Morning Reading List: A Few Pieces Away?


(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)


The Hockey News' Ken Campbell says the Caps need a few more things to make a true Cup run, starting with some structure.

"What Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals have to learn is that once they get down in a game, it's not necessary for them to go freelancing all over the ice and try to do everything themselves." Campbell writes. "Nor is it necessary to throw out the playbook the moment you get yourself into a hole."

The challenge, then, is to somehow find that discipline and diligence without stifling all the creativity that's made the Caps one of the most exciting offensive teams in the league. A defenseman who's willing to take on a lot of the dirty work couldn't hurt.

Also in The Hockey News, Adam Proteau says the Capitals may soon have to choose between Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom: "The silky-smooth setup man, or the sniper. If there's ever a choice you don't want to be wrong on, this has got to be it."

Proteau must not read the comments on this blog, or he'd know there's not much debate (at least among fans) that locking up 21-year-old Backstrom should be a priority. (Though if you'd choose Semin in a one-or-the-other scenario, feel free to sound off.)


Even More on the Caps (No, Really, It's the Offseason)

Bill Simmons says Alex Ovechkin "plays it dirty and is unlikeable in general," but would be even more unlikeable if he were French or German. O...kay? (D.C. Sports Bog)

Corey Masisak breaks down the salary cap situation. In a nutshell, the Capitals need to get rid of a few high-priced players if they want to make even a small splash in free agency. (In the Room)

We've learned this season that a broken stick is seen by refs as justification for a minor penalty for slashing, and Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau is among those who think the standards of enforcement need to change. "Some of these sticks can break if you breathe on them," Boudreau said last week. (Puck Daddy)

SI.com puts Alex Ovechkin on its list of The NHL's Most Rugged Players: "The term 'hard-hitting sniper' is often an oxymoron, but NHL's most electrifying goal-scorer (he netted 56 this season, leading the league for the second year in a row) isn't shy about dishing hits (he ranked ninth during the regular season, and third in the playoffs after two rounds). He also has a taste for glass, often leaping into it after scoring a goal." Also mentioned is Anaheim's Chris Pronger, a defenseman at the top of fans' (and probably the Caps') most-wanted list. (Sports Illustrated)

"Thirty-four years ago, Toronto Marlboros forward Bruce Boudreau scored five goals in one game for a Memorial Cup record. Last night, Kelowna Rockets forward Jamie Benn came a goal post from giving the Washington Capitals coach some company." (London Free Press)


In the System

Rookie defenseman John Carlson, the Caps' first-round pick in 2008, is already making a huge impact for the Bears in Hershey. (NHL.com)

And for more on 19-year-old Carlson's rapid rise, go here. (On Frozen Blog)


Pens vs. 'Canes

Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin scored less than 90 seconds apart midway through the first period and Pittsburgh held off Carolina, 3-2, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. (AP)

The Hurricanes' Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu both left the game with injuries. (NHL.com)


Wings vs. 'Hawks

Game 1 of the Western Conference finals drew the highest rating ever for an NHL on NBC broadcast, excluding the Cup finals and Winter Classic. Really? Did anyone know Ovie-Crosby happened? (Puck the Media)

Whew -- that was a close one. (Deadspin)


Some Extras

Darren Eliot says high-priced goalies guarantee little these days, and with the salary cap in mind, teams would be smart to shift priorities to skating and scoring. (Sports Illustrated)

The NFL, NBA and MLB all support the NHL in its fight to block the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes and move to southern Canada. (AP)

Patrick Roy denies being offered the Avs coaching job, but sources say it's his if he wants it. (Denver Post)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 19, 2009; 7:02 AM ET
 
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Next: Morning Reading List: Golden Rivalry Boosts NHL

Comments

It's a building process. One Step at a time. Our time will come soon enough

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | May 19, 2009 7:02 AM | Report abuse

It's unfortunate the Caps went into the playoffs, their position locked up, with a string of games against lesser opponents. They did not really ramp up to playoff level fast enough. Frankly, I am starting to question BB's coaching. I did see strategic changes during both series, but they seemed to come late. And the players (it's human nature) may have a tendency to go back to what they are used to doing. I guess it comes down to discipline. The Caps are a joy to watch cause they are having so much fun. But I would like to seem them play more as a single unit, adopting different styles according to the situation at hand.

Posted by: KlayKey | May 19, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Crosby's right up there when it comes to playing dirty. I missed this in real time but we have a DVR and my son yelled "rewind that and watch Crosby." It was very early in the game and Cole had finished a check on Crosby behind the Penguins net, the whistle blew and players began to glide. As Crosby glided towards Cole, well after the whistle, he gave him a two handed slash across the hands.

That is the kind of crap that the Golden boy gets away with that announcers won't even talk about in a replay. The whole sequence leading up to Ovi and Crosby squaring off in the regular season game started when Crosby cross-checked Ovi from behind and he ended up having to stop himself from toppling onto the bench. That is where the clip picked up that VS used to talk about the two being rivals, but instead of showing the first part they just showed the EVIL Ovi going after Crosby. Crosby is a punk that gets ticked off whenever anyone touches him and he expects a call. Very much like Lemiuex.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

Bill Simmons is worthless. He was funny a few years ago but he's such a Boston homer (an obnoxious one at that), even after living in L.A. these past few years, that his opinions don't mean much. And this isn't the first time he's taken a shot at the Caps or D.C. area sports.

Posted by: TrabZ | May 19, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

I completely agree with Ken Campbell: we need a junkyard dog. Remember a few years ago when Snyder (the owner I hate) stole the three best players from the NY Jets? Well, it's time for Ted (the owner I love) to raid the Flyers. Sign UFA Knuble and then trade for Carcillo and Hartnell. They're desperate for a goalie, so send them JT and throw in Fehr (and Flash, if you have to). Then talk Niedermayer out of retirement and coax him to the East. Add UFA Hal Gill and then we're finals-ready!

Posted by: CAP-lanta | May 19, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1,

Maybe Walker should test Crosby's jaw the next game? It could be a solid as Lemiuex's.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | May 19, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

fanohock1, I couldn't agree with you more. His "Crysby" moniker is well-earned. Not only does he expect a call, he almost always gets it. It was painful to watch Round 2 as almost every time a Cap touched Sid or Geno, whistles blew, and a Pens power-play ensued. Meanwhile, Caps were getting viciously cross-checked in the head/face/back while the refs and the announcers looked the other way. I am going to watch this series closely to see if he gets the same treatment.

Posted by: AmyS1 | May 19, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Let's face it, the Pens have opened up a can of worms with their dirty play in this game. If the league doesn't do anything about it then the 'Canes must.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | May 19, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Did anyone else see that classy Pittsburg fan flipping off the Carolina coach after Pittsburgs third goal?

Posted by: fatboy08 | May 19, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Yes, I did. The more I get to see of that organization (owner, coaches, players, fans etc.) the less I like it. However, like everything else, there's good to go along with the bad.

Posted by: FloridaCapsFan | May 19, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Sometimes I few like one of the precious few people on this board who likes Semin and appreciates what he does for this team...

That said, if there is a "choice" between him and Nicky, IMHO that's not a choice at all. Like, not even for a second.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 19, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Ha! I posted the other day the Caps needed a "defensive coordinator." Now campbell writes:

what Boudreau needs now is someone to help him get that message across to his team. What he needs is an assistant coach such as Craig Ramsey or Perry Pearn, a guy who’s perfectly content to be the second-in-command and is willing to stand by and quietly do his work.

Hmmmm. Maybe the bloggers aren't so dumb. I also posted about a month back that the Caps should offer Backstrom 11 yrs/$66M (same salary as Zetterberg) extension and lock him in for the same timeframe as Ovie. Backie or Semin? They can do both I hope if they'll both be happy with $6M.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I think it is obvious that the league wants Cindy and the Pens to advance, EVERY call goes their way. Power plays last night, 4 for Pitt, 2 for Carolina, sounds like round 2.

Posted by: phrankbama | May 19, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't want to see Semin go either, but if their is a choice I see Backstrom in the league as a major contributor for at least another 10 years. I also believe that Semin and Ovi's friendship is so tight that he would probably take less (a little less) to just stay in DC with Ovi long term. Semin seems very content to be the Russian that doesn't speak English and quietly fill the net with pucks.

As it was said in the many many posts we need a couple of veteran grinders to play the wing on a line for Ovi and Semin. To say that Semin is a regular season guy and too soft for the playoffs is a joke. The leading scorer all time in the playoffs, Gretzky, never had to get dirty. He used the same skill to surgically dismantle teams in the post-season as he did during the regular season.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Salary cap: already posted - buyout Nylander, release Kozlov, trade Mo for a #2 pick and cut Fedorov to $2M (let him start Dec 1st). That saves $10M in cap space. Hal Gill would be a good pick-up, don't know how many years he has left though. Use the $10M for the #1 RW grinder, the junkyard dog d-man and the balance for call-ups Aucoin and Bourque, plus modest raises for Gordon and Fehr.

In a perfect world, you could trade Theo for a #3 pick and bring back Johnny for $1M, saving another $3.5M for that Selke-type forward or deadline acquisitions.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

I heard Ted on the radio yesterday and he said they don't expect to be a big player in the free agent market. He said his priority is to sign their own guys. Ha also mentioned packaging up some of the young talent for a trade.

Posted by: phrankbama | May 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Getting rid of Semin would be horrible.

Posted by: BigMogilny | May 19, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Didn't hear Ted say anything about flipping youngin's for a trade.

Posted by: thiazzi | May 19, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Definitely want to keep Semin, unless you can get a Phaneuf. Maybe Backstrom will take what Zetterberg got - $6M average over a long term. (He'd never be hungry for sure.) Then maybe Semin can take a "little less," ($5.5M?) like fanohock posts, rather than go somewhere else where he'd be way less comfortable. Then you have Ovie, Backie, Semin and Green, starting in 2010-11, long term at about $25M year total. I think they can make this work if they are constantly rotating in young guys, that's the key, like you have Varly the next two years at real cheap and Carlson for the next three years at real cheap. Plus you have to have guys like Steckel, contributing at under $1M, and you must have guys like Erskine, contributors at a little over $1M. With the cap where it's at, your average salary is about $2.5M. With Semin at $5.5M, you therefore need a Bradley and an Erskine to balance. It can be done - look at Detroit. A "home town discount" from some of the guys really helps. McPhee I think is creating that type of environment.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

This is where GMGM is really messed up when he signed Ovechkin and I'm hoping he doesn't make the same mistakes with Backstrom and/or Semin. Ovie's contract is a salary cap killer because unlike the contract given to Lecavalier and the ones to Zetterberg and Franzen, Ovie's contract stays at the top dollar amounts over the course of the entire contract. Right now, the cap hit for Ovie is $124 mil / 13 years = $9.54 a season. If he had tacked on a couple of additional years, say, a year at $4 mil and a year at $2 mil, the cap hit becomes $130 mil / 15 years = $8.67 mil a season. That saves almost $1 million a season against the cap. With Backstrom, if they want to lock him up for essentially his career, instead of giving him $66 over 11 years, I hope he gets something like $70 over 13 years as once again, that would make his contract a little bit more cap friendly.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Whats this I hear about getting Junkyard Dog?

Why not SGT Slaughter he's disciplined and tough or Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat perhaps, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Special Delivery Jones, Coco Beware and lets not forget about Jim "The Anvil" Nyhart.

There's a new movie coming out called "Sophies Choice II". Starring Ted Leonsis (Sophie) and GMGM (Nathan) and Coach Boudreau (Stingo).

Backstrom has a chance in becoming one of the top 5 Swedish players ever to play in the NHL. He is that good. The choice is easy between him and Semin.

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

hands down Backie!!! we are short centers and how many great centers are out there?? Backie is the real deal. even starting to pick of his physicality.

where are all the hockey experts on this blog that have been denying that the Caps are not going to be able to keep the roster as is??? i am sure the main offenders will show up soon to hurl more insults. how many goals did Semin score off of sweet Backie cross-crease passes this year??

i would love to see our young guns stick together, but based on the needs the Caps have and salary caps issue I just don't see how it is doable. and think of all of the talent in Hershey that is going to be looking to move up. Semin is going to want a mint when his contract is up. the guy is awesome, no doubt (although a bit fragile). Semin packaged with some others would free up serious cap space (in a scenario where the cap is declining) to help Ted and GMGM fill the gaps that are going to make the difference in bringing the Cup home to the Phone Booth.

you better Ted, GMGM and there salary cap guru are painfully aware of the decisions to be made. other teams are dealing with the same issues, so who knows what the potential upside is.

Posted by: doughless | May 19, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

@cainoo7x: Yes, just after Ovechkin signed Tampa did the thing with Lacavalier, where the tail end of the contract at lower salaries, thereby reducing annual hit. Detroit then copied that maneuver with Zett and Franzen. I see this as "skirting" the cap and believe they will address it next CBA. Since I posted Backstrom accepting a Zetterberg deal at $6M/annual, yes that includes the "scheme." However, Backie is younger and in 11 years should still be at prime (and maybe not wanting lower salary at end). Either way, 11 yrs/$66M extension should hopefully be "win-win" for player and team. Caps might as well use the scheme while it's in place, though. Semin, being older, and maybe you do that with him and give him $6.5M/yr but $5.5M cap average over, say, 10-11 years.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

cainoo7x, I gather that Ted looked the NBA and NFL caps and considering the NHL's hard cap, decided that "dead money" on the cap was something to avoid. If you tack on "not really expected to play" years like the Wings, you might lower the cap in the short term but unless the cap increases yearly like the NFL's you'll have a problem when retired players are still taking up space on the cap. This is simialr to the argument why a Nylander buyout doesn't make sense right now, need every penny for the Backstrom/Semin extension with an expected shrinking cap.

Posted by: koalatek | May 19, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

That is the kind of crap that the Golden boy gets away with that announcers won't even talk about in a replay. -Fanohock

I second that emotion. The announcers act like they didn't even see it, the commentators after the game don't address it and the media ignores that it ever happened.

Superfly Snuka!! My sister remembers him with horror, as I would push her down, get up onto the arms of the couch and leap through the air, taking her down just before she reached the door. I'm pretty sure it was traumatic for her. If she'd ever learned to not panic, and just stiff arm me while in flight, I likely would have stopped. Sadly, I did not. Ha.

Semin doesn't have to go anywhere until the trade deadline, if he ever leaves. That kid wants to stay with Ovechkin and will likely do a deal. Backstrom is here until he wants out. I'm not worried. as long as it doesnt become a tampa situation a la richards (yet to perform outside tampa) st louis, & vinny.

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

By the way, part of the "scheme," why it skirts the cap: Say Vinnie plays 9 of the 11 years he signed at $85M. Cap hit tamp pays over 9 years is 9/11 x 85 = $69.5M. Then let's say they trade him w/2 yrs left at like $2M and $1M (can't recall exact figures). The acquiring team only is charged with cap hit of three million over those two years. That means $12.5M worth of cap hit simply vanishes. First, that's trtuly skirting what the league is trying to do. Second, based on the way the CBA is written, how they split up the money, I think it makes the other players get less. Either way, I can't imagine the league won't tackle this loophole in the next CBA.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Whatever. Let's pull the trigger and dump some guys in favor of more grit up front and on the blue line. Keep our crease clear and crash theirs. Dominate along the boards.

To sell the game, the NHL and certain broadcast outlets (TSN, CBC) are pushing the hero angle: Crosby is a hero, like his mentor Mario Lemieux (and every hero has a "foreigner" sidekick: Lemieux/Jagr & Crosby/Malkin).

It's become fashionable to accuse Ovie of being a dirty player and therefore a villain. It helps that he's Russian, which reminds some observers of, vaguely, the Cold War days. He can't possibly be a "good guy," not with Crosby in the league.

It sells tickets, merchandise, and means higher than average TV ratings in the US.

Ovie's not going to stop scoring and hitting, and Crosby's never going to shed his reputation as a diver, whiner, and testicle puncher.

Posted by: Angler1138 | May 19, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

As has been pointed out by several over the last couple of threads, Semin was one of the leaders in the NHL in points per game this season. I am also amazed that he was a +25 this season when Ovie only managed a +8.

The main problem I see with Semin is that he's missed about 20 games each of the last two seasons. Maybe that works to the Caps' advantage if they can get him signed to a longterm contract for less than $7 mil a season, but I'd be wary of committing more than that.

His other problem is that he pulls his disappearing act somewhat regularly, struggles against physical play and has developed a reputation where he ends up committing a lot of stick penalties (slashing, hooking, tripping) and at the same time, those penalties are never called on the opposition because of his apparant reputation as a diver/embellisher.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Not to be super critical of Ovie's play, but his +/- will increase as he learns to backcheck a little better. I've noticed on defense he tends to circle around waiting to pick off a pass and rarely playing a man unless he can unleash a big hit. Guarantee his +/- skyrockets when he picks it up a little more in the defensive zone.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 19, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Backstrom or Semin? You need a center - so that means Semin would be the first to go.

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | May 19, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Ken Campbell's analysis sounds right to me. I like it that he doesn't just think that a couple of additions will solve all the problems but looks at the bigger picture and the systems in place. It is interesting that he thinks BB needs an assistant coach to balance him and complement him, rather than wanting him to change his style.

I am not sure exactly how he means spontaneity should be balanced by discipline --how to achieve it, what it looks like and why it is lacking. But there is a discipline and maturity problem from the many penalties, to playing as individuals and being inconsistent.

It was interesting watching the Canes-Pens game yesterday. Though the Canes lost, I didn't see them lose as much control of the puck as we did at times, and having their net being crashed. What do others, more experts than me think? I didn't see Crosby sit on top of their net and score repeatedly.

We won the first game, though being outshot, due to the sheer talent of individuals. Canes lacked our brilliant offense but got close to winning (and could have easily won if a couple of calls had gone their way) because of better, more disciplined systems (from better defense to better coordination, more aggressiveness etc.).

I wonder what others thought in comparing Caroline to the Caps against Pitt.

Posted by: caraveli | May 19, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek and tominfl1

If the player retires from the game before his contract is up, those remaining years don't count against the cap, do they?

I think the real risk is that the player continues to play but at a very diminished level so you end up having a high cap hit for a player that doesn't produce.

But, as has been pointed out, as of right now, you can trade that player to another team and that cap hit for that team is based only on the remaining years of the deal, which if you've structured the contract using the "scheme" will make that cap hit much more paletable for the receiving team.

And as we've seen with Nylander, even with shorter term deals you can end up being on the hook for a lot of money to a player who doesn't produce. The difference is that Backstrom and Semin are a lot younger.

I could easily see giving Backstrom a ten to twelve year deal using the "scheme". Sure, maybe he thinks that he'd still be productive and underpaid in those last few years of the contract, but do you really think he could walk away from $70 mil or so guaranteed right now?

This seems to be exactly the same dynamic working in baseball right now where teams are locking up young, talented players to long term deals that are for a substantial amount of money, but at the same time probably a lot less than what the player potentially would have earned had they gone through arbitration and reached free agency. The fact is, there is a lot of risk in sport and it would take a player with some really big stones to walk away from the kind of money being offered right now in a long term deal for a potential payoff down the road.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Caraveli:

as rantdino and rocc00 will let you know, i am not an expert. that said, i think you observations and those of Mr. Campbell are tough to argue with.

Posted by: doughless | May 19, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

It's way too early to decide between Semin and Backis. They are not UFA's this upcoming year, so that question is way premature.

The real questions are with the current ufa's and rfa's

Kozlov -- offer him half his salary and see if he wants to stay, otherwise find a Bear to promote, like Bourque or Osala

Feds -- same as above, Aucoin and Nylander can do 2nd line. I'm much less keen on Nyles, but he is signed for 2 more years, I believe

Nyles -- trade if possible to the Islanders or someone else for a veteran center

Brash -- don't think he fits any longer, sorry to say, certainly not at 1.2 mil

Gordon and Bourque -- must resigns who shouldn't cost too much

Jurnica -- proved that he is worth resigning for a -modest- increase

Morrison -- may not be worth over 2mil with Alzner and Carlson ready to make the jump to the NHL

Keep Jose and Varly as co-starters, let them earn their minutes, sorry but Johnny is a bit expensive as a backup who is hot and cold, esp. w/ Neuvy also almost NHL ready

Schultz and Fehr -- offer a minimum contract so they can resign as depth players or walk

Find a tough blueliner or two who are ufa's (Pronger and Komi top the list)
Find a tough forward to join Clark and Laich in the crease to score junk goals
Find a pest, like Matt Cooke, to piss off opponents

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS | May 19, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

cainoo7x: I seem to recall back when they signed the CBA, the word was that you can't use retirement to "cancel" the cap hit on a deal, once signed. I have glanced through the document but can't recall for sure. I'm not a lawyer (Finance), so reading pages and pages is beyond my patience. I think it was hard cap and no way around, until Tampa did the scheme with Vinnie. Note: If Vinnie plays all 11 years with tampa, it evens out in the end. Only if he gets traded does cap value disappear. Vinnie still must play the final years at those lower figures. The CBA prohibits renegotiating contracts. Also, extensions on current long-term deals (I remember reading this) cannot be signed until the current deal (like Backstrom and Semin) reaches the final year. They really tried to put everything in place to make the cap hard and to make it scheme-free.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's a random thought. In all likelihood with the Nylander and Theodore contracts limiting what the Caps can do this upcoming season, the Caps simply aren't going to be able to address all their needs with the space they have, or without committing to risky multiyear deals.

Instead, the Caps should let most of the guys go (Mo, Feds, Kozlov, Brashear) and with the money they have, the should try and sign Gaborik to a one year deal. Given that he hardly played last season, I wonder if Gaborik would take a chance on a one year deal to reestablish his value, and what better place to do that than with the Caps playing with other premier playmakers in a wide-open offensive system? How dynamic would an Ovie-Backstrom-Gaborik line be?

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Caravelli, its hard to compare the Canes and Caps, because the Caps were more depleted than the Canes, injury wise. We all knew Poti had a bum groin, it was obvious to me that Green's shoulder was a mess, though many pundits and observers continued to make asinine comments about Green 'not showing up' which really pi$$ed me off because they clearly had no idea what they were talking about (yeah, YOU, Keith Jones and Engblom, you tools, what were YOU watching?), Erskine we knew was badly hurt, Mo is no surprise, but he's not the most agile blueliner anyway, Semin had a non functioning thumb thanks to all the uncalled slashes Orpik delivered (but we shouldn't mention the refs right, because Semin's stick didn't break), etc...

If 4 of your 6 blueliners have broken feet, twisted ankles and pulled groins, you're in deep trouble. The Canes haven't had that problem. BUT, the Canes play a much more disciplined brand of hockey, meaning that they stick to the plan, forecheck tenaciously, and aren't content to shoot from the perimeter. They don't have to block as many shots because they aren't letting the Pens have a free for all in their zone. When I saw Cole cut to the slot and then dish to Larose last night, I immediately said 'thats a goal,' to my wife. You could see that the goalie and defense were flustered and they couldn't recover by the time Larose was down by the net. The Canes switch things up play-wise, not just shot wise. The Caps were often telegraphing what they were going to do next. In the Caps series', Fehr and Flash were continually shooting from the boards 40' out with no screens or anyone close for a rebound, and they weren't the only ones doing it. The Canes don't play like that all game long. Thats a huge difference there: better shooting decisions. More cycling with less errant passing. I don't see the Canes trying cross ice passes over and over.

Again, its hard to compare the two, but the Canes are vets with championship experience and their play shows that. Ruutu and Cole out is huge, both on dirty plays, but you wont see anyone blaming the Pens for that. McKenzie, that boob, said it was 'kind of a slew foot' so as not to indict Eaton when it was 'definitely' a cheap shot, not 'kind of' a cheap shot.

my blood pressure is going up again...

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Gaborik? the guy thats injured for most of the season, every season? The brittle one? What are you smoking?

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

You could be right about retired players still counting against the cap, but this article about Naslund's retirment seems to contradict that. Of course, the writer of the article could be way off as well.

http://sports.mobile.msn.com/en-us/nhl/article.aspx?aid=9537190&acid=2&afid=142

Does anyone on the board here know definitively whether retired players count against the cap?

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

cainoo7x, I think heard the same as tominfl1, retired players still count against the cap. It doesn't appear to be directly addressed in the CBA in the sections I checked.

Posted by: koalatek | May 19, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

lol @ the thought of Gaborik.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 19, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Gaborik? the guy thats injured for most of the season, every season? The brittle one? What are you smoking?

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse


IMHO, if the Caps can't trade for what they need to improve, I don't think Gaborik would be a bad roll of the dice on a one year deal. If he stays healthy, and I understand that's a big if, it would make for some amazing hockey to watch in DC next year. Plus, if he's playing well they could always decide to trade him if they got a great offer.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Gaborik, while it might make for some fun hockey to watch, does not address ANY of the Caps' perceived deficiencies. Namely another gritty/pesty winger and a strong defenseman. We have all the scoring we need.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 19, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

lol @ the thought of Gaborik.

Posted by: snakegriffin | May 19, 2009 11:15 AM

Seriously! We need grit, size and fearceness up front to compliment what we have. Gaborik shatters if you look at him hard. Why would anyone suggest that? Do we want to be a good regular season team again, or a Cup contender?

On another note, look at the TSN boards and read the junk that the pens fans spew. They are a load of tools. They keep referring to the Caps fans as whiners (when they began the whining after going down 2-0, despite the refs giving them every chance to get back in it) but it seems that other viewers are picking up on the fact that the Flyers, Caps and now the Canes are not getting calls while the Pens are given a free pass to do what ever they want. Last night, a Cane was hauled down behind the net, right IN FRONT of the ref, and he sat there, looked at the ref, and the ref just skated away. No call. We're not the only ones that think the NHL is trying to get the Pens into the Finals at all costs.

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Here's an interesting bit I picked up off the Flames messageboard.

"the 35 and older rules

retired players effecting the cap is all about how old the player is when they signed their final contract.. if a player retires in a contract they signed after they are 35 (as of June 30th) they will still count against the salary cap... this rule is designed to stop teams from offering long contracts to players to have them retire just a year or 2 into the contract... if a player retires due to medical reasons and it is established by a league doctor that this player should not play again (like Alexander Mogilny or Keith Primeau) a team can in essence have them put on LTIR for the remainder of their contracts... this only affects a team negatively during the summer when there is no LTIR so it affects their ability to spend over the cap during those months (during the summer a team can go over the cap by 10%... this gives a team time to make moves after signing free agents rather than cleaning our just to attempt to sign a free agent)

a players who signs a contract @ 35 years of age or older will count against the cap even in the minor leagues... for example if the Flames chose to send Nolan to QC he would still count against the cap"

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:25 AM | Report abuse

If he stays healthy, and I understand that's a big if, it would make for some amazing hockey to watch in DC next year.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:19 AM

With all do respect, thats insane. It wouldn't be amazing in the playoffs, where we need to be. It might look good in the regualr season, but its not about the first 82 games. Its about the 28 after. Gaborik offers no toughness at all. He might be a skilled scorer, but he is not what this team needs. He's Flash with more skill, but less endurance.

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what these guys at Hockey News looking at.

But after next year,

We lose contracts of Pothier, Theodore, which combine for 7 mil. That alone will be enough to take care of Semin and Backstrom. I am thinking both will cost around 12-13 mil per season.

Datsyuk and Zetterberg together account for about 13.5. So using that combo as an example we will probably need around 12-13 mil to cover both Backstrom and Semin.

Right now they are at 6.8 mil so the 7 mil we get from Pothier and Theodore will do the work.

Also Nylander's salary if we are still stuck with him will drop by 2.5 after this next season.

Looking at it even further, one more year and we lose contracts of POTI, CLARK and NYLANDER completely. All will be well in their mid to late 30's. 9 mill will come off.

GMGM will have flexibility after next year. This coming season his toughest decisions will be to wheather bring back Kozzy and Federov and Brasher who accounted for 7.5 mil.

At this point I just don't see a reason to spend 2+ mil on Morrison who will certainly be awarded arbitration in that range.

My 2 cents.

Posted by: lightshow | May 19, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@snakegriffin and oo7

I understand completely that Gaborik does not address any of the perceived needs of the team. All I'm saying is, if the Caps are unable to address those needs reasonably, be it because of the money tied up with Nylander and Theodore, no reasonable trade offers, or the inability to find/sign the right free agent, then I would rather they try something like signing Gaborik to a one year deal than committing $6 mil a year for a long time to Komisarek, for example.

Certainly the Caps' weaknesses were exposed in the Pittsburgh series, but the fact is the Caps still almost won anyway! If our D-men would stop redirecting pucks into our own net, we'd be having an entirely different conversation right now.

Maybe it's not such a horrible idea to boost the firepower on O and give it one more run with essentially the same system and offensive mentality.

Posted by: cainoo7x | May 19, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

OK, if the player signs before 35, and retires during the contract, it seems like no cap hit for the remainder of the deal. So, all we need is for Nylander to retire!

oo7: You put a note a few posts up about the Caps having so many injuries on defense. The only thing I can say is we had the option to dress Alzner and Sloan. Looking back, maybe that would have worked better. But, then again, it would be really tough to go to Green and Erskine before game 7 and tell them they weren't playing.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Stick breaks often caused penalties against the Caps, unless you were a Cap having your stick broken, that was OK with the refs, game after game after game.

Posted by: soloman5000 | May 19, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

@KlayKey: You make some excellent points. I'd like to hear more about your views of the discipline problem.

@007:

Thanks for the analysis. It makes sense. "BUT, the Canes play a much more disciplined brand of hockey, meaning that they stick to the plan, forecheck tenaciously, and aren't content to shoot from the perimeter. They don't have to block as many shots because they aren't letting the Pens have a free for all in their zone. The Canes switch things up play-wise, not just shot wise... In the Caps series', Fehr and Flash were continually shooting from the boards 40' out with no screens or anyone close for a rebound, and they weren't the only ones doing it... better shooting decisions. More cycling with less errant passing. I don't see the Canes trying cross ice passes over and over..."

Now that is a pretty huge difference. (And I just don't buy the injuries or the ref argument. They don't have anything to do with the Caps taking 7 penalties, for example, or their poor shooting decisions. All the teams have missed key players at different times during the playoffs).

What the two of you are saying, which I am beginning to see more clearly, is a major strategic issue, not just a couple of players.

To me it looks pretty serious,for example, that the Caps were unable to crash the net, shoot more effectively, adapt to new teams and situations quickly rather than do the same things that didn't work before and expect different results. It is still disturbing that an opposing team was able to be so dominant over us over a 7-game period. I guess I am seeing that brilliant, individual talent can only take us so far.

Now Boudreau has been brilliant and a hero in my book, but I am beginning to be concerned over his inability to get them to play a disciplined game (even take fewer penalties) and be consistent. Maybe it is only a question of time.

Maybe he needs an assistant coach to complement him. Could it be that he could only take this team this far? I don't think so at all, but the thought would have never occurred to me before.

Another question someone can give me some perspective on. Why haven't either BB or Ted talked about more fundamental and systemic issues than just minor needs for fine-tuning? Are they just being savvy about what to divulge to the media? Are they in denial? Am I wrong is seeing these a big issues? Somehow seeing the Canes game vs. the same team that dominated us and, in the end, beat us so badly, makes me see deeper problems in this team.

Posted by: caraveli | May 19, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Everyone keeps saying Pronger (who's 35) and Komi (who's over $4 million.) If we haven't got the money, what about Paul Mara for something like the $2.8 I think he makes now? I know he isn't a #1 guy, but he's 29 and a middle-class man's John Erskine who would fill a need for less money.

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Paul Mara is not a top 4 D, we need to stay away from him.

Game 1 Caps vs Pens: Pens outshot the Caps 37-26, playing from behind basically the entire 3rd period mind you. Caps 3 Pens 2.

Game 1 Canes vs Pens: Pens outshot the Canes 31-26, playing with the lead since the 1st period. Pens 3 Canes 2.

Cam Ward had to make just as many spectacular saves as Varly did. I believe half way through the 3rd the Canes had not even registered a shot on goal. The Pens then sat back and protected a lead. Their aggressive offensive play slowed down because they had the lead (unlike Game 1 against us) and the Canes were shooting from EVERYWHERE the last 4 minutes or so. There were times where the Pens had the Canes pinned for long periods of time, just like us, and there were time when the Canes top line kept the Pens pinned, just like Ovi's line in Game 1. Not sure why everyone things the Canes were so much more effective.

The Pens also played a tough 7 game series, emotional and physical, series against our Caps. The fatigue kind of showed after the Game 1 emotion and a 2 goal lead set in. I know the Canes played 7 against the Bruins but that series, aside from after the whistle junk, did not have the same feel or intensity as the Pens vs Caps series. Remember too that the Caps came out of the gate slow and had to go 7 games with the Rangers and the Pens closed the Flyers in 6 and came to Verizon with 6 days rest under their belt to the Caps 3. Yesterday both teams had the same amount of time to rest.

We'll see how the series plays out but the Canes will probably crash the net more but that is due to their lack of skill compared to the Caps. The Pens didn't necessarily "crash" the net against us, rather they camped out in front of the net. I think the Pens will take this series in 5.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Another point regarding the lack of intensity in the Canes/Bruins series is there were 3 games that were decided well before the game was over. Game 1, 5, and 6, were for all intents and purposed blow-outs. Aside from Game 7 in the Caps/Pens series both teams were still in it with as few as 5 minutes left. I believe that adds to why the Pens were kind of lathargic last night. I believe they will start disecting the Canes on Thursday. I just hope the Pens don't win the Cup, and further I hope Crosby doesn't win the Conn Smythe. Right now those are both distinct possibilities.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Heck, looking back games 2 and 4 were blowouts for the Canes. Besides having to pull out an OT win in Game 7, and an OT win in Game 3, the other 5 games of the series were not emotionally draining for the Bruins or Canes.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I would rather be married to both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi (at the same time) than have Sidney Crosby win anything.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Linsday, Tarik, Katie- Your blog is great and I am thankful for it!

As for the story my man Greg over at Puck Daddy had on the referees, please also check out my post at http://wnst.net/wordpress/edfrankovic/2009/05/16/nhl-referees-under-scrutiny-news-from-caps-breakdown-day-nhl-playoffs-memorial-cup-thoughts/

for more on that subject (I was the one who asked Bruce and George about this last Friday and you can read the full quotes there). Thanks, Ed

Posted by: Emfrank123 | May 19, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

I just read the blog from Emfrank123. It DOES NOT sound like Nylander is coming back. First, McPhee says it doesn't make financial sense to buy him out. Then they clearly say he doesn't fit with the team, which seems to be a contradiction - except that they throw on the table sending him to the minors or asking him to retire. If you send him to the minors (first, that would be bad morale in Hershey) you pay him all the money, but no cap hit. OK, we've talked this before, and someone always says that a NMC also means no minors. Does anyone know the facts here? I can well imagine Nylander wants the money. He's very well off, but $8.5M is $8.5M, and his name isn't Bill Gates. Maybe there is some way around the cap - "If you agree to retire, we'll pay you $8.5M to advise Ted Leonsis on where to vacation in Sweden." Just kidding of course there. Bottom line: when someone doesn't fit, you really don't want them around. I know, because my wife is always changing the locks and then I have to climb in through the window.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I was curious since people keep bringing up suiting up the Hershey men but uhm, they were/are also on their own Cup hunt so I'm not sure if that could have been a reasonable expectation. I mean, I would imagine Hershey coach (Woods?) would have preferred to keep his guys good-to-go rather than banged up by the NHL guys and then have to play their own playoff games. *shrug* Just an observation. Their Cup hunt is just as valid as ours, yeah?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 19, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the Semin or Backs question is huge right now. Both are due after next season when the $8.5M a season for JT and Nyls will open up. I'd like the Caps to simply hold that money and use it to pay those two. What to do until then? I think the Caps are the standard one tough blueliner/crease clearing defenseman from the Conference Finals. No matter how it ended the fact remains that this team - warts, injuries, and all - were one game from the Conference Finals. One game. I would have loved to beat the Pens but based on what we now know about injuries, we'd be in deep trouble in vs. Carolina. It wouldn't have gone six and we'd be out.

I keep: Ovi, Backs, Semin, Feds, Laich, Steckel, Flash, and Bradley. On defense: Green, Poti, Jurcina, and Shultz.

We see Sloan, Alzer, Beagle, and maybe Aucoin up next season.

Gordon, Brash, Kozlov, Morissonn, Fehr, and Pothier are all suspectible right now.

I'm sure we'll be on the lookout for the type of defenseman we need and probably another crease camping forward. I think it can be done and the team doesn't need to mortgage everything for a big name. The idea of trading someone like Semin for a big, older defenseman doesn't make much sense to me.

We'll see. It's a long way out...

Posted by: saintex | May 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh, not sure if anyone was interested but I was looking for some Olympic hockey tickets for some of the Canadian and Russian games and looks like all the Canadian games are sold out through the 2010 Winter Olympics site. Not sure if I want to take my chances with other ticket sources. Any opinions/suggestions on it?

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 19, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Oh crud, keep Erskine also.

Posted by: saintex | May 19, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I just read the Hockey News piece on the impending salary issues the Caps may have. It's quite interesting. So, let's make this more fun as fans. Put your top five Caps in order as to which are must keeps - MUST keeps. In the event of cap issues, we pick everyone we don't see below your top five players. In truth, we'll say only the top three are truly safe.

1. Ovi
2. Backstrom
3. Varlamov
4. Semin
5. Green

I was going to put Laich at number 5 but I didn't want that much of an uproar. Here's why: if we have scoring from Ovi, Backs, and Semin (all of whom are capable of 100+ per season) then my offensive numbers are well and good. Truth be told, I don't need 30 goals from a defenseman when I've got that. What I need is an actual defenseman. Look how far this team went with 1 goal from Mike Green in the playoffs. I love Green but he's not any higher than that in my book. When you consider trade value....

Posted by: saintex | May 19, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoastCapsFan: I have to disagree with the Bears Calder Cup run being important. Although it is nice to follow them now that the Caps are out. The fact is, the bears are just an extension of the Caps bench. All minor league coaches know that. Fans know it for the most part too. I was stationed in Norfolk and would poke my head in on the Admirals and for the most part, when the were the Blackhawks farm team it was a revolving door. Saw some good young talent run through there though. Actually saw some cool talent run through there:

Quintin Laing
Tyler Arnason (avalanche now)
Craig Anderson (Panthers b/u goaltender)
Michael Leighton (Hurricanes b/u goaltender)
Shawn Thorton (Bruins)
Nolan Baumgartner (former caps draft pick)

I also saw Ryan Smith playing for the Rochester Americans and knew he would be a stud. Look at him now with the Sabres. Just making my point that minor league fans are kinds of fans of hockey because their favorite players, unless perrenial AHLers tend to get the call.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

On board with the saintex comments.

I think we need to play some of the guys from Hershey. They will be hungry and will do anything to stay at the NHL level.

We need more mobility on defense (a mean SOB to clear out the crease would help as well) and a couple forwards that are not adverse to getting their hands dirty infront of the net.

But as a bunch of people have said already, just as important as adding pieces is the system and discipline BB will employ in the coming season. You can have 6 Prongers on D and if the forwards aren't helping with the backcheck, you're going to lose.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 19, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

To those of you wondering what will happen to Nylander, he will be traded. To those that ask how....well it's very simple, he will be packaged with Alzner and another prospect or draft pick for the veteran D that will clear the crease, most likely Pronger. And if you look at that and don't think Anaheim would do that deal if Neidermayer comes back you are crazy.

That would give Anaheim a second line center, which they very much need. Gives them Alzner who can learn from his idol, Neidermayer. And Alzner and Whitney are their D of the future to go with Getzlaf, Ryan and Perry up front.

Salary cap space matches basically.

Our d next year looks like this.

Green-Pronger
Poti-Juice
Erskine-Carlson/Pothier

Maybe that exact deal doesn't happen, but that is how Nylander will be dealt. We can't keep all the young prospects with the thought we can sign them all once their first contracts expire.

Posted by: ThePat | May 19, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I really really hope that Feds stay. Besides his leadership, he has scored critical, game or series-changing goals.

Posted by: caraveli | May 19, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1, No Movement Clause does mean you can't send Nylander to the minors or waive him or do much of anything without his OK. I suppose Ted or GMGM can try to convince Nylander to agree to be sent to Hershey (it's only two hours away, plus you get your full salary!) or if he wants to stay in Sweden, loan him to a SEL team.

I've read that Nylander's NMC expires after next season, so he may want to find himself a place he likes now, rather than letting GMGM decide in 2010.

Posted by: koalatek | May 19, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@saintex

Why on earth would you not want a 30 goal scorer on defense?

What you haven't realized yet, much to my amazement, is that the system that we employ requires us to put the foot on the gas. The same system that was employed last year when Boudreau took over and went 37-17-7 and took Philly to game 7. The same system that went 50-24-8 with 108 points, most ever by a Caps team and took Pitt to game 7. The same system that Green qb'd and was THE MOST IMPORTANT piece to the machine.

Take away Green and the system doesn't work the same. Green missed 14 games this year, we went 7-7 in those games. No other player who missed games was missed as much as Green.

Green stirs the drink that is Boudreau's system.

1a - Ovie
1b - Green
2 - Backstrom
3 - Varlamov
4 - Semin

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 3:00 PM | Report abuse

koalatek: Thanks. The thing that really gets me is why did Nylander play so ineffectively this year. I keep reading, "doesn't fit the system." Is it that simple? Do Ovechkin, Bradley, Backstrom and everyone else all play one exact system, and Nylander plays another? To me, he always coughed up the puck because it looked like he didn't want to get hit. Well, there's no system anywhere except some pick-up leagues where you can guarantee not being hit.

ThePat: You would give up a minimum of six years of Alzner for one year of Pronger? Alzner doesn't need to be re-signed for two years, at which time every big contract has expired except (for now) Ovie and Green. Backstrom and Semin, as someone has been pointed, will in 2010-11 use the money from Theo and Pothier. Then the year you need to re-sign Alzner, Varly and Neuvy, you have Poti, Clark and Nylander (if still here) coming off. I already posted that Ovechkin, Semin, Green and Backstrom will use like $25M. Let's guess $4M for Varly, $3M for Alzner and $2M for Neuvy in 2011-12. Laich also re-signs that year for $3M and Erskine for $2M. You've used up now $39M for 2 goalies, 3 d-men and 4 forwards. You have $17M (today's cap) for 9 forwards and 4 d-men - 13 players. You'll have Carlson at $1.5, a veteran d at $3.5, and two entry-level players at 1.5 total - you now have $10.5M left for 9 forwards...I know it gets tough...Gustaffson at $1M; a Matt Cooke type and a Bradley type and a Brashear type and say Beagle for $5 total...$5.5M left for five guys named Steckel and Bourque at $1.5M each by then and then $2.5M for three guys LIKE Flash, Fehr and Gordon (although younger versions).

I used today's salaries because I also used today's cap. The secret is marginal guys like Morrisonn cannot be kept at inflated salaries. You move them and bring in younger middle and lightweights so your heavyweights like Alzner can be kept. Sorry for length of this.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Im not exactly sure what the love affair is with Pronger.

He doesnt hit, Green in less games had more hit and almost the same amount of blocks. 88 pims, nothing amazing there. He's 35 and makes $6.25M. There are much better options out there.

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I never got the Pronger thing. We don't need a 6 mil+ d man. We just need people who can play their position. Tons of affordable, stay at home D men are up for FA this year. Make it work.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

JSchon, good points all. You can't a 1a and 1b in my game, my rules! Since I'm keeping a young goaltender in my top three the difference really isn't much. I'd love to have a 30+ scorer on defense and he fits the system but I just don't have him above the other four. If I do they I feel my choice is between Semin and Green - a diffent proposition than was what's in the article and I'd keep Semin if that were my choice. I think Green would bring more in trade value - maybe a young at-home defenseman and a 15 goal scorer.

I love talking about this stuff...

Posted by: saintex | May 19, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I am also sick of hearing about how Bear callups are going to save us.

Really guys? AHL'rs are going to save the team next year? Sure, some prospects might make the cut, but our farm is well off enough to trade for people/sign FA's. As I have already expressed, bringing in people who did not grow in our system will be a huge benefit to us.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"I heard Ted on the radio yesterday and he said they don't expect to be a big player in the free agent market. He said his priority is to sign their own guys. Ha also mentioned packaging up some of the young talent for a trade. "

Posted by: phrankbama | May 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse


Ding Ding Ding...We have a winner. If Ted's plan is to only resign our guys and not go after some of the FA's we need then expect next years results to be like this years. We need that junkyard dog D man and a gritty winger or two who will stand in the crease and bang in the dirty goals.

Posted by: jotay131 | May 19, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I also suspect Nyls will waive his NMC. I said earlier in the year that Nyls wants to play hockey just like any other player and he doesn't want to sit in the press box and draw a check. From what I've read, he doesn't seem like that kind of man. If there's a trade available to a team that's not horrible and Nylander can skate, I think he'd waive in a minute.

I like Nylander, really. I understand he doesn't fit this system but I'd still like him to be able to play hockey somewhere. There are places he'd fit and my guess is he'll go when the opportunity presents itself. And I wish him all the luck.

Posted by: saintex | May 19, 2009 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Ha also mentioned packaging up some of the young talent for a trade. "

Posted by: phrankbama | May 19, 2009 9:40 AM | Report abuse


Ding Ding Ding...We have a winner. If Ted's plan is to only resign our guys and not go after some of the FA's we need then expect next years results to be like this years. We need that junkyard dog D man and a gritty winger or two who will stand in the crease and bang in the dirty goals.

Posted by: jotay131 | May 19, 2009 3:28 PM |

I said a similar thing about a week ago.

Would like to see some of our prospects packaged up and shipped off.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

WAS Gets...
Mike Komisarek
Chris Higgins

MTL Gets...
Michael Nylander
Karl Alzner
Oskar Osala

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I hate Chriss Higgens. Dude is slower than molasses.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I think Nylander plays the system, but his instinct is to hold the puck and wait for a chance whereas the rest of the team tends to just shoot it or take it to the net. Nyls needs linemates who think like him, I think a Kozlov-Nylander-Fehr line might work. The problem being that you can't waste him on the third (checking) or fourth ("energy") lines.

Posted by: koalatek | May 19, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

backie if I have to choose. he can find the defensive zone. I am not sure Semin knows where it is.

I don't know what kind of money teams will throw at Semin on the market. He may be hindered by the 'what would his numbers be if the other team did not triple AO'. He is not the #1 guy on any team, which puts right back to caps being the 3-6 guy on the roster.

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | May 19, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Here's the list, defenseman-hunters:
http://www.sportscity.com/nhl/2009-nhl-unrestricted-free-agents-by-position/#Defense

I brought up Mara because he's affordable. Is there anyone else on that list for a reasonable price? Does Boynton fit the bill? (Also not really a top 3 or 4 guy...) It looks like Komo might command almost $5 million:
http://weblogs.newsday.com/sports/hockey/blog/2009/05/is_mike_komisarek_really_worth.html

If Ted and GMGM don't want to splurge on FAs, do we think it's worth picking up anyone from that list in the Under $3 Million group, or don't bother?

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:10 PM | Report abuse

richmondphil. HIggins is actually a very fast skater/player. He did have an off year and got injured but he is superior than Laich and probably a good trade for the Caps at the right price. He is looking for a fresh start. Look how well it worked for Michael Ryder...

As for Nyls, he will not accpet to go to the minors, nor will he accept to retire. Which men would want to retire after a year like this last one? The guy has pride and believe he can still play hockey. He will accept a trade, preferably on the East Coast but no one will want him unless they get top cheap prospects. Nyls' contract, es pecially after not being to crack the top 12 forward line up of the Caps for most of the play-offs, has become one of the worst in the NHL. No GM who wants to keep their job will accept a
trade straight up.
My guess is that GMGM will spend every day of the summer trying to offload him and we will see Nyls in a Caps uniform next pre-season. He will play all the pre-season games and get a point per game or close. Then, someone will say: "hey, we can use this guy"....

Posted by: atybat | May 19, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Jschon,

Komo is UFA. In your hypothetical does Mtl sign him to a new contract before making the trade?

Posted by: Steve_R | May 19, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

No he's not. Higgins is pretty slow, comparatively. He also does not muck it up as much as we probably want.

As for Mara and Komi...Mara? Hah, no thanks. Komi is a much better player, but also demands about double the price of Mara. Once again, you guys are looking way to far up the list. We dont need Prongers and Lidstroms, we need Eatons and Scuderis and there are plenty of guys like that available.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:27 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil: What you just said is exactly why I brought up Mara. Komo could demand THREE times the price. If we can dump enough salaries to get Komo, great, but otherwise I'm waiting for people to suggest some better names off that list in the

(Of course if we're going to start trading folks that's another thing; I just don't see a ton of attractive, affordable FAs at Defenseman right now.)

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

oops, it didnt post right:

"...in the less than $3 million range."

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I think he mentioned Higgins/Komi together for the fact that those two are good friends.

I don't see it happening though, as Komi demands too much money.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil: What you just said is exactly why I brought up Mara. Komo could demand THREE times the price. If we can dump enough salaries to get Komo, great, but otherwise I'm waiting for people to suggest some better names off that list in the

(Of course if we're going to start trading folks that's another thing; I just don't see a ton of attractive, affordable FAs at Defenseman right now.)

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:30 PM

People I would like over Paul freakin Mara:

Beauchemin
Skoula
Warrener
Bergeron
klee
scuderi
oduya
semenov
koistinen

But, really who knows. Tom Poti sucked up a storm as a ranger and has done pretty decent for us, so maybe Mara can re pick-up his game.

Also Caps fans, Nolan Yonkman is a FA this year, hahaha.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Higgins is a power forward. He had injuries and issues off the ice this season. Got mixed up with boozing with Carey Price.... Higgins has potential to be a Simon Gagne-type player. I saw about 75% of the games he played last year; he is fast.

I doubt Kommisarek will play again for Montreal based on statements he has made after their elimination. He is from Long Island and most certainly wishes to be back on the East Coast. He will demand approximately $4.5-5 Millions but would be the physical defensive player/shot blocker that the Caps need. Plus, he is still young and Montreal has many great defense prospects coming up (McDonaugh, Subban, Weber).
If I was GMGM, I would get Kommi's cell phone (or at least his agent's...).

Posted by: atybat | May 19, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Nolan Yonkman. That's a bad name from the past. He's the joker that actually injured Nylander in a practice when Nylander was here in his prime last time. Yonkman was fighting to be a 6 or 7th defenseman and took Nylander out before the season started that year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

When I say slow, of course I don't mean in comparison to Walz, Gaborik, or a young Fedorov.

But dude is not fast, nor has he ever exhibited Gagne-like play.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Nolan Yonkman. That's a bad name from the past. He's the joker that actually injured Nylander in a practice when Nylander was here in his prime last time. Yonkman was fighting to be a 6 or 7th defenseman and took Nylander out before the season started that year.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 4:40 PM |

Figured some of you would remember him. Wasn't he a first rounder as well?

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:42 PM | Report abuse

And I mean pre-walking groin injury Gaborik, of course.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 19, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

@ Phil --

It's just a bad list overall this year.

Beauchemin - Played 20 games last year.
Skoula - Was a -12
Warrener - MISSED THE ENTIRE SEASON with an injury.
Bergeron - Maybe he's the answer?
klee - Is 38.
scuderi - Pitt will make him a good offer.
oduya - Would take him in a heartbeat, but doubt the Devils wouldn't find a way to keep a 27-yr old +21 d-man.
semenov - Wasn't he a scratch for the playoffs?

I can understand that Mara doesn't add much except as a physical guy at the #5 or #6 spot, but it's really just a thin, thin crop. Sad.

Hopefully we can offload enough salary to get into the $4-$5 million range, or else it might not be worth any of these guys..

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Higgins and Gagne have very comparative stats for their first 4 seasons. If you eliminate this current year, Higgins was in constant progression, having even earned a co-captaincy while Koivu was injured.
Gagne really came about during his 5th season with 40+ goals. I think that Higgins has as much potential. My opinion. If you can sign Kommi and bring in his best friend, you get a real good deal here and what you may be really missing. Plus, they can go out drinking with Green! You would have to make about $7- 7.5 Million in cap space but Montreal have a history of taking on underpeforming Europeans.... I'm sure we can find at least one for them... Maybe they would even take Theo back...

Posted by: atybat | May 19, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

What you haven't realized yet, much to my amazement, is that the system that we employ requires us to put the foot on the gas.

@JSchon

It's hard to put your foot on the gas when the driver doesn't show up for the race, eh?

The team didn't show up for game 7.

Why?

We have a team built of primarily one-way players and offenceive defencemen who simply do not have the physical tools to play in the SCP's.

They didn't show up because they were no longer willing to pay the price.

A system like BB (who, to me is hockey's answer to Yogi Berra) uses might have worked in the 1980's, but you'll never win a Cup with it now.

Posted by: btcg | May 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

@ Aty --

Considering they've a) crucified Price and b) ruined Halak by dumping him behind Price's corpse, they just might take Theo...

Posted by: mischadc83 | May 19, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

If some of you can't bear to continue to watch the Pens get handed powerplays but are still trying to scratch the hockey itch you have to watch the Memorial Cup. You have to have NHL Network, and if you do, that is some great hard hitting hockey by a bunch of hungry.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Bill...

Green had a separated shoulder. Apparently there were other injuries as well. Had Green been healthy enough to play like he did during the season, maybe we are talking about Game 2 vs CAR instead of talking FA's.

Boudreau won a Calder Trophy and has the Caps playing hockey good enough to compete for the EC right now. It remains to be seen whether or not Boudreau can get it done in the NHL.

87-41-15 during the regular season and 10-11 playoff record in 2 years gives him time to prove you wrong.

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

How are you Bill?

Wings tonight?

Posted by: JSchon | May 19, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

btcg:

based on what i saw in the playoffs, Bouds definitely better find a way to balance "the system." skating down the wings, taking shots form 40 feet out, not crashing the net / clearing the crease and not clearing the puck through the neutral zone are no way to win the Cup.

Posted by: doughless | May 19, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

How are you Bill? Wings tonight?

The missus and I are in upstate NY: she's giving a speech tomorrow on (yawn) International Trade.

Got VS. here in the hotel and I am looking forward to tonight's game.

I'll tell her you said hi.

BTW- Gonna have a party after the Wings win the Cup, probably to watch the final game. You're invited. I'll have a fresh keg of Blue Moon in the kegerator just for the occasion.

Posted by: btcg | May 19, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@ doughless

I see it that way too.

Posted by: btcg | May 19, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

@btcg

Good luck with your party. I certainly hope the Wings win the Cup. I probably like them better than Chicago. And will root for the Western Conference team no matter what. As for the East, I consider Carolina the lesser of two evils. I dislike Pittsburgh so badly that I rooted for Philthy against them in Round 1. And I like Pitt even less after the past series and it's not merely because they beat the Caps. Their guys are jerks.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1: "I would rather be married to both Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi (at the same time) than have Sidney Crosby win anything."

LOL.

One small question: why did Caps and BB get called whiners when they even mentioned that there were injuries on the Caps' team, yet every single FREAKIN' time Sergei Gonchar was on the ice in Game 1 against the Canes, the announcers had to mention his knee and the hit from Ovechkin. That is a double whine---boo hoo, his knee hurts, and boo hoo, Ovie is dirty. Way to feed into the Pens crap, announcers!

Anyway, thanks to all for comments on salary caps and ramifications. I'd hate to lose either Backstrom or Semin---they are really part of what makes the team a "team". And I think we need a gritty player to pair up with (hopefully, a healthier) Green next year. Laich, Bradley and Steckel must stay, and I'd like to see Poti, Erskine and Pothier stay too. Jurcina has his flaws but I liked what I saw in the playoffs for the most part.

Is there a way to have Varlamov, Neuvirth and Johnson on tap for goalie? Or is three out of the question?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 19, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Objectively speaking, Backstrom probably fits our needs better than Semin. However, I happen to like Semin a lot and feel that his departure would really hurt the Caps, as in we need scoring from other guys besides Ovi and he's our best hope.

On the rest. I assume Morrisonn is a goner and will be replaced by Alzner or Carlson since the Caps will probably not be able to satisfy him, salarywise.

Kozlov and Fedorov -- nice to have but their price may be too high.

Brash -- assume he's a goner. He gets injured in nearly every fight he gets into. Plus, he's 37. What's the point in having an enforcer who's injury prone.

It would be nice to trade away Nylander so we can afford Semin. I assume we'll buy him out after next season when it won't be quite as costly. With Nylander not really fitting in with our team, I will be really upset if Semin is gone and Nylander still around and unproductive.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Good rating & summary from above about what most fans felt about the team:
http://onfrozenblog.com/2009/05/19/final-grades.html


Posted by: Rocc00 | May 19, 2009 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Nolan Yonkman, to answer a question, from memory, was a second rounder, like #37 overall, maybe 1999.

From the list of defensemen, I will take Bobby Oduya. I will call him a poor man's Lidstrom. Oduya it seems always piles up the minutes, doesn't play a flashy game, but always in the right place at the right time. Not a bad guy on a team with an up-and-coming Alzner. I have no idea his worth, maybe in the $4.5M range, certainly worth more than Orpik, who got like $3.5M.

I'm not convinced they can't trade Theo. You might need to find someone with an aging PF who can still muck it up, a guy like Guerin, maybe a guy who, like Theo, has one inflated year left on his contract. Then it's "Our inflated contract for your inflated contract." Let's just pretend the guy makes $4.5M like Theo. OK, so you drop Kozlov in favor of this new guy and sign Johnny for $1M. If you do all that, you are $1.5M to the good on the cap. Now trade Mo for a #2 pick that you can use at next year's deadline...and let Jurcina move on via don't match the offer (maybe get a #3)...and you've almost cleared enough to sign Oduya for $4.5M. Oduya isn't the physical presence we all believe we need, but that guy could wait until next March 1st, when we package the underachieving Bouchard and the #2 pick from Mo.

Then, in the playoffs next year, we have Green, Oduya, Poti, Pothier, Erskine, Alzner and the deadline pick-up. Sacre bleu! And best of all is we can quit forcing Green to play PK, because Oduya can do that all day long, thank you very much. So...Green playing mostly offense...like Coffey did...and maybe he doesn't get his shoulder torqued...and the Caps, following the Tom in (rainy) Florida plan, advance to the Cup Finals where they defeat twice-defending-champion Detroit (which means Sidney doesn't raise the Cup this year).

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

"We need that junkyard dog D man and a gritty winger or two who will stand in the crease and bang in the dirty goals."

Where have I heard this before? Literally read those words this morning but can't remember which rag. (Not that it is a surprise to anyone.)

Posted by: Boo- | May 19, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I would gladly keep Backstrom and trade Semin for a guy who continuously crashes the net. Semin does not win puck battles or crash the net, the only sniper we need is Ov, it's pointless to have two snipers on one line. Get a net crasher/cherry picker type player, a gritty D or two, and we'll be good to go.

Posted by: ejohnsto | May 19, 2009 7:05 PM | Report abuse

All right...here's the deal...Theo to Colorado for Darcy Tucker. He has one year left, cap hit $2.25M. Not much left in the tank? We only need him to show up for the playoffs. Sign Johnny $1M and your cap savings is $1.25M. Let Kozlov go for Bourque (Tucker will be there too) and your savings is now $3M. Move Mo for a #2 and your savings is now $5M.

(Cue Bob Barker)

"Johnny Oduya, come on down!"

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 19, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

Why does everyone think that trading Semin for Pronger (or another top D-man) would have guaranteed the Caps the Cup this year? They are a very young team. The problems this team faced can't be blamed on one person or a lack of defensive stars; they are a young team with an inexperienced coach. A lot of times the guys looked lost, creating that nice umbrella instead of fighting for the puck or passing the puck to the nearest Penguin. It looked like they were playing the system and when it didn't work, they didn't know how to adjust. Give them at least another year, I'm sure they will adjust.

Besides, I don't think that there is any outside guy you can bring in to "lead" this team. After four amazing years, Ovechkin is clearly the leader of this team and I think alot of the older, gritter guys everyone wants would take offense. So we'll just have to wait until the team matures.

Posted by: madden091 | May 19, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

@madden091

Join the club in not agreeing with trading Semin for Pronger. First off, Pronger is nearly 10 years older than Semin so we'd be getting an old guy. Second off, he's more expensive than Semin -- by about a million. And, this is considering that we're all afraid we can't afford Semin to start with. We'd barely afford the cap hit. Then, if we sign him and he turns out to be a bust, we're essentially repeating the same error we did with Nylander, except at defense.

Everybody's favorite solution to any problems on the Caps is -- trade Semin. Semin is much better this year than last. He did well in the playoff series against the Rangers. Okay, not so well in the Pens series but, even so, he had two assists in Game 1 and 2 more in Game 6, our winners. Unfortunately, he sprained his thumb too badly to be as effective as he should.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

OT!
Xome one Chicago... Havlat, you feeling it?

Posted by: oo7 | May 19, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

mean SOB to clear out the front of the net? Joe Finley? anyone?

Posted by: DER27 | May 20, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

joe finley isn't that tough. He acts tough, but he isn't tough. He's a big guy who skates slowly and makes questionable decisions with the puck. He's not a good fighter, he's a decent hitter, but he's going to get his clock cleaned by guys smaller than him. Big Joe still has a ways to go.

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 20, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse

oh yeah

TRADE SEMIN. Injury prone and character deficient. The Sabres became a better team after trading Bure, lets dump Semin and get a strong young two-way center (Kesler) and a solid young defenseman (Bieksa) or an energy forward who can forecheck on the top line (Burrows)

Posted by: cstanton1 | May 20, 2009 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Sign any defenseman BUT Komisarek. He is terrible. His plays make Jeff Schultz look like Lidstrom! Trust me, I've seen him play many times. Don't waste your money on him. Save it for better defensemen like Oduya, Ohlund, Semenov or Scuderi.

Posted by: hockeynightincanada | May 20, 2009 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Vancouver is a team that will be going through an overhaul. Sedin brothers, Sundin and I hear that they may trade Luongo. I would love to see Bieska in Caps red.

Posted by: JSchon | May 20, 2009 7:27 AM | Report abuse

I just checked Johnny Oduya on NJD. Only made $600K last year, couldn't believe that. He's 27, was 7-22-29 in points, +21, over 20 mins/game. I think as UFA he will get a serious raise. This guy is no Scott Stevens and no Mike Green. Just a steady eddie guy on the blueline. He's gotta be worth more than Orpik. Anyone watch him enough to critique his ability to keep the crease clear? I'm thinking that's not his specialty, but again you can get that at the deadline next year.

Posted by: tominfl1 | May 20, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

If the Caps had waited a little bit longer, Oduya would have been on our blueline. Some of you boobs are suggesting we do the same thing now: get rid of young players that haven't even begun to reach their potential. Now everyone wants to ride Oduya's jock strap.

I'm going to design a tool that allows me to send electric volts directly to someones computer. I'll call it "the Pink Floyd". A short, sharp shock whenever someone types something I deem stupid, like 'trade Semin'. He's 25. He's a 30+ goal scorer, who gets better every year and puts up a point per game. Getting rid of that guy is retarded. Next time you type something like that, imagine the smell of singed hair and burning sensation in your fingers.

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Komisarek had an off year last year, most people contribute it to his shoulder injury he got after going toe to toe with Lucic. The season before he led the league in hits and blocks.

Komisarek does have deficiencies on defense but with him you get every single intangible there is when describing a prototypical S@H defensemen. Anybody willing to take 300 pucks off of the body, lay 300 hits on opposing forwards, go toe to toe with Lucic or __insert tough guy here__ is ok with me.

Posted by: JSchon | May 20, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Is it October yet?

Posted by: CheckingLine | May 20, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

I'm going to design a tool that allows me to send electric volts directly to someones computer. I'll call it "the Pink Floyd". A short, sharp shock whenever someone types something I deem stupid, like 'trade Semin'. He's 25. He's a 30+ goal scorer, who gets better every year and puts up a point per game. Getting rid of that guy is retarded. Next time you type something like that, imagine the smell of singed hair and burning sensation in your fingers.

@0o7

Jagr averaged a point a game for us too. So what's your point?

Be careful in the developement of that voltage machine. After watching your Black Hawks last night, I'm sure you took a few jolts of current yourself, and I'd wager you're not Comfortably Numb this morning, eh?

You should have known that the Wing's theme is Welcome to the Machine! ;)

Posted by: btcg | May 20, 2009 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm still cheering for the Hawks. I don't really want to see Detroit win the Cup again.

"Jagr averaged a point a game for us too. So what's your point?" I'm gonna take that as a joke. We can't compare Jagr's stint in DC with Semin's. My point is that some fans always want to give up on a player before he even matures. The Caps org has been doing it for 20 years. It doesn't mean that every player traded away was a Semin in skill, but we've let a lot go that came together elsewhere, with little return. Caps gave up on Oduya, Dvils sign him, he has one adjustment year and then explodes. I've seen it over and over. Now people want to trade away a stick handling, 30+ goal scoring dynamo, instead of unproven AHL talent. That was my point. Sure, Semin might bring you a lot, but I didn't notice Detroit trading Zetterberg or Datsyuk away. Build a winner, and players will take less to stick together. Thats the model.

I remember having one 30 goal scorer for years, and getting bounced in the first round every time.

Posted by: oo7 | May 20, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

oo7... I see your point and I agree with it...

But we do have a problem here in Washington, we have an awful lot of guys we have to wait on. The problem is figuring out who to wait on and who not to. Semin at his very worst will be a 30G 30A guy, he shouldn't be a part of any discussion about trading until his contract year is up. We need to figure out whether or not Fehr and Flash are top 6 forwards. I see more Jason Allison than Brian Sutherby in Fehr. Flash, I am pretty sure can be a 25G 25A guy.

Jurcina is 2nd pairing D guy. Schultz is a question mark.

Then we need to find out about Alzner/Carlson/Osala/Bouchard/Perrault/Beagle/Godfrey/Nuervirth/Holtby/... Who else am I missing?

Posted by: JSchon | May 20, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

oo7:
i'm having trouble getting going today
my fingers are poised on my keyboard

here goes
trade semin for orpik
trade green for a bag of pucks
sign feds for one year @ 5mil

OK oo7 - 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... GO!!

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 20, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

JSchon:

some think very strongly that BB system will never work in the playoffs

your missing Woods

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 20, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Now people want to trade away a stick handling, 30+ goal scoring dynamo, instead of unproven AHL talent. That was my point. Sure, Semin might bring you a lot, but I didn't notice Detroit trading Zetterberg or Datsyuk away.

I am going to address you and JSchon in this post.

You want to make comparisons to the Red Wings? Okay.

First, the Wings could easily trade Datsyuk and Z if they chose to. They have solid NHL proven 2-way players in Helm, Abdicator, and Leino just chompin at the bit trying to crack the roster. Players like Draper and Maltby are most likely not good enough to play on the team anymore. Hard decisions are going to have to be made on them, as well as Hudler, Samuelson, and Hossa, and others: all solid, 2-way players.

I've told JSchon at the games about an interesting disctinction about the Wings D:

There isn't a single defenceman on the team that's known primarily for his offence: they're all known primarily for their D. There is no Mike Green on the Red Wings. And if Green were a Wing, he'd be in the 3rd pairing, replacing Lebda, and they would be on him to change his game.

Have you seen Jonathan Ericsson? He was a 9th round pick. Need I point out the position other Wing's players were drafted at? The Red Wings have not had a top ten first round pick since 1991.

Face it: GMGM and his staff cannot draft at this level. Also, they do not have the savvy to land a Brad Stuart or a Andreas Lilija. Instead, we get Mironov's, Cote's, and Kiwi's.

So, we have 2 choices:

1-Stay with what we've got. The East is pretty weak, and there's no reason that we cannot have a good regular season again next year. Who knows, maybe the Eastern teams will have a rash of injuries in next years SCP's, and we can advance further?

2-We can do as the Wing's did in the early 1990's, when they decided to embrace a defenceive system, and move a player like Semin for a couple of 2-way players and maybe a pick.

Option 2 is only only hope if we're ever to compete seriously for the Cup.

Posted by: btcg | May 20, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It's not true that the Caps have to trade a number of players to open up cap space.

The team has a number of expiring contracts that could free up as much as $10M on the cap for 2009-2010.

Morrisonn, Fedorov, Kozlov, Brent Johnson, Donald Brashear and Milan Jurcina are all going to be free agents.

Other than perhaps Fedorov I don't see a compelling argument to bring back any of the others.

Posted by: leopard09 | May 20, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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