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Morning Reading List: Caps Open in Boston

The NHL released its 2009-10 regular-season schedule yesterday afternoon (viewed here in its entirety), and while the Caps certainly don't have an easy first 10 days -- they open in Boston and will then face the retooled Leafs, Flyers, Rangers and Red Wings -- GM George McPhee said he likes the way things shook out.

"We play good teams right off the bat, and that's what you want," McPhee said. "There's one stretch where we play a lot of road games in late November [and] early December. But other than that, we're happy with how it worked out."

The league also made the announcement nobody was surprised to hear: The Winter Classic will be played at Fenway Park (gasp!) between the Bruins and the Flyers. You don't say.

Word around town was that the Caps were under consideration to play in the outdoor game, but NBC nixed the idea because Washington's TV market wasn't as enticing. But would the Caps have made for a better game?

From ESPN's Scott Burnside:

No offense to Simon Gagne, new Flyer Chris Pronger and repatriated bad-boy netminder Ray Emery, but the decision to have the Flyers face off against the Bruins, announced at a press conference in Boston on Wednesday afternoon, is one that simply flies in the face of logic.
If the point of the Winter Classic is to showcase the game's greatest talents on a grand and unusual stage, to appeal to an audience that might not otherwise tune in to NHL games, it behooves the NHL to do it right. It behooves the NHL not to compromise on a product with a proven ability to achieve those lofty goals.
That at least three of these outdoor games will pass without the Caps and Ovechkin on display is ludicrous.
If, as sources tell, the decision was made based largely on the fact that Philadelphia is a bigger television market than Washington, someone ought to send those decision-makers video of some of Ovechkin's many highlight-reel goals.
Does anyone remember the buzz of the Washington-Pittsburgh playoff series a year ago?
Does anyone remember the theatrics Ovechkin delivered to the normally stifling skills competition at the All-Star Game in Montreal in January?
Did anyone notice that Ovechkin won his second straight Hart Trophy in June and that the Caps are among the most exciting teams in the NHL with a supporting cast that includes Norris Trophy candidate Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin? Well?

Also on, games to watch in 2009-10:

Nov. 28: Washington at Montreal The Washington Capitals will be in Montreal, and although details remain sketchy, it is possible that this game will be played at the cavernous Big O (Olympic Stadium) as another in what has been a year of special events marking the team's 100th anniversary.
Jan. 21: Washington at Pittsburgh These four-a-season matchups between Pittsburgh and Washington always provide lots of drama thanks to the Crosby versus Ovechkin subplot, a storyline that is likely to follow both superstars throughout their careers. That drama will be brought into sharper focus this season after the Pens' dramatic come-from-behind victory in the second round of the playoffs that culminated in a Game 7 drubbing of Ovechkin and the Caps in Washington.

A few other items of note this morning:

* From, a story on newly-signed Flames defenseman -- and former Hershey Bear -- Staffan Kronwall:

After scouring the latest Calder Cup, the Flames have plucked a pair of skaters - Jason Jaffray, a spirited forward with the Manitoba Moose; Staffan Kronwall, a hulking defenceman with the Hershey Bears.
"I think it's the best way for scouts to watch guys that aren't in the NHL," Kronwall said Wednesday from his home in Sweden. "Such a tight schedule, we play 80 games - very similar to the NHL - and it's the same style. Obviously (playing in the Calder Cup) is huge. Most guys in the NHL have played in the American league at some point.
"A good way to show off."
It's worth noting, too, that the AHL puts its finalists through the spring wringer. The 2009 version didn't end until Hershey won Game 6 . . .. on June 12.
"Once it's over, you relax, you feel just drained," said Kronwall. "Mentally, you're just in a different world. During that whole (playoff) stint, basically, you're a machine. You follow your routines exactly. Every day is the same. When you raise that Cup, it's all worth it, right?"
In 21 post-season games, Kronwall contributed a dozen points, best of the Bears' blue-liners.

* As usual from Alex Ovetjkin, a great Ovi update:

SovSport correspondent Pavel Lysenkov had a phone interview with Alexander Ovechkin yesterday and asked him about the prospect of playing at the "Big O". "Chic idea!" immediately reacted Ovechkin. "It is cool if the league has invited our team to the Montréal's celebration. I have a personal reason, my mother became the Olympic champion in basketball in that city. She was there as a member of Soviet Union delegation at the opening and closing ceremonies. Well, it would be nice if I could play at that arena 33 years later."

Check out the interview here.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  July 16, 2009; 10:26 AM ET
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Next: Schultz Signs Q.O.


ESPN and Burnside LOVE the Caps! Screw the Flyers. We should be at Fenway this year!

Posted by: ZMANN84 | July 16, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Looking for more information on what's up with Schultz? I think this'll get sorted in the next day or two but am looking forward to hearing about it.

I notice that everyone signed. Wonder if, as someone mentioned, the players smell a Cup brewing and want to stick around.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I vote that after the Caps win the Cup and NBC decides, "oh, it is a good idea to have a multiple Hart Trophy winner and exciting Capitals team play in a Winter Classic", we tell them to go blow.

NBC is running this league now. Bettman has no back bone whatsoever. He knows it is the right move to have OV and the Caps in this and he just bent over and said "ok".

His new name is Gary Bendover.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | July 16, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm looking forward to that home and home series in early November against the Panthers. The Cats should have a pretty decent team this year. I expect them to get the 7th or 8th spot in the playoffs. Gettin rid of J-Bouwm and adding Jordan Leopold will actually help this team, which is stacked on defense and goal.

For more Panthers info, check out the Litter Box. Whale4Ever was awarded best rookie blogger in hockey. It's great stuff. Informative, funny and makes you think.

Posted by: RIVETTESGR | July 16, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I look at the WC this way, it is very un-predictable with snow and poor ice. Not the kinda conditions we shine one.. For me, I will watch the caps regardless of who else is and where they are playing. We know what we have and that is all that matters!!!!

Let's Go Caps!!

Posted by: hbcapsfan | July 16, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

I agree it should be the Caps and the Bruins for the winter classic. But maybe there are better things ahead.

Hey Tarik? Any news about Brent Johnson? You reported during the playoffs that they were still in negotiations. Anything new?

Posted by: holliden | July 16, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

I thought his name was Buttman.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 16, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

The Capitals are a much more talented team the the Flyers, but Burnside should have at leasted mentioned Richards and Carter. Gagne? Really? What year did you last watch hockey?

Posted by: Stu_c | July 16, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Nice interview and attitude by Ovi. Can't wait till the season starts!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | July 16, 2009 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Looking forward to the new season starting!

Let's GOO Caps!

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 16, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: mikebrady1 | July 16, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Will NBC get to decide who plays in the Stanley Cup Finals too?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | July 16, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Will NBC get to decide who plays in the Stanley Cup Finals too?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | July 16, 2009 11:11 AM

They already did. Remember last playoff season? All the no-calls for the Pens, and the lame calls against their opponents? That was the NBC at it's finest.

Posted by: Greg S. | July 16, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Looks official, they signed Schultz. I am glad.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | July 16, 2009 11:08 AM |

Thanks for that.

Now the fun question is who is getting traded/sitting in the AHL next season?

Posted by: richmondphil | July 16, 2009 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Here is the updated cap. It now has a full 23-man roster and over $600K in space, fully counting Alzner's bonus.

Down at the bottom I list the "extra" players not counted in cap. I put Mo down there because I can't see him staying. I put Jurcina down there because he's unsigned. I put Collins and Bourque down there because I don't know if they can go to Hershey w/o waivers. Usually, players signing the QO after the entry-level contract require waivers - I think. And I don't think they want to just lose Bourque.

As for Schultz, he's a fair value at $682K as a #6/7 defenseman. I don't expect him as a 1-4 defenseman, as he's sure not being paid like it. I understand he has plenty of room to improve, but can't quite understand the amount of criticism. He's a better value at salary IMO than ShaMo.

Ovechkin 9.538
Nylander 4.875
Semin 4.600
Knuble 2.800
Clark 2.633
Backstrom 2.400
Laich 2.067
Morrison 1.500
Bradley 1.000
Fehr 0.772
Gordon 0.761
Flash 0.725
Steckel 0.725
Aucoin 0.500
S/T 14 Forwards 34.896
Green 5.250
Poti 3.500
Pothier 2.500
Alzner (w/bonus) 1.675
Erskine 1.275
Schultz 0.682
Sloan 0.640
S/T 7 Defensemen 15.522
Theodore 4.500
Varlamov 0.850
S/T 2 Goalies 5.350
Total 23 Players 55.768
Clymer (Buyout) 0.367
Total 23 Players + Clymer 56.135
Cap Space (Est) 56.800
Available 0.665
Extra Players
Morrisonn 1.975
Jurcina (Arbitration - Est) 1.250
Collins 0.625
Bourque 0.578
Extra Players - Sum 4.428

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 16, 2009 7:12 AM |

I am just moving this to the new thread for reference.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 16, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

my friend who is an intern for the Islanders, has some awesome pics of their development camp. David Toews (Jon's brother), Tavares, etc.

Apparently he had to deliver Tavares contract to him! Nice!

Here is one of Toews scoring on a breakaway.

I wish I was an intern...

Posted by: richmondphil | July 16, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Wait, no I don't. Then I would be broke!

Posted by: richmondphil | July 16, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"NBC nixed the idea because Washington's TV market wasn't as enticing.."

NBC blows

Posted by: RITdude | July 16, 2009 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Philly-Boston at Fenway makes no sense. Because Philly has a bigger TV market? Is it as big as Wash/Balt which is usually looked at as one? But if the idea is to get non-hockey fans to tune in, what non-hockey fan can name even one Philly player. But almost everyone knows of Ovi.

There is a lot of non-hockey fans, and the majority are NOT in Philly.

Even NY/Bos. would have made sense due to the greatest rivalry in US Sports-Yankees- Red Sox.

I should be working in the NHL front office if this is the kind of thinking they come up with.

Posted by: rjma1 | July 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

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