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Morning Reading List: Still Thirsting for a Cup


(John McDonnell -- The Washington Post)


(Filling in on MRL duty for Katie, who's out of town.)

A thrilling 2009 postseason for the Capitals was cut short Wednesday night, and now General Manager George McPhee and Coach Bruce Boudreau need to look ahead in order to make next season's run more successful. Four key issues: goaltending, defense, net presence and roster turnover.

Speaking of looking ahead to the future, the Caps signed last year's first-round (21st overall) draft pick, center Anton Gustafsson, to a three-year entry-level contract. Anton's father, Bengt, was a longtime Capital who played 629 games for Washington, including one five-goal outing against the Flyers.

Columnist John Feinstein says that while the Caps lost Game 7, the journey was a valuable one. "They have done what once seemed impossible: turned Washington into a hockey town."


Other Assorted Caps Links
Owner Ted Leonsis: "We were all touched by the fan base last night -- the two minute standing ovation at game's end-in a blow out loss- was truly spectacular-and was moving and we are all appreciative of your thoughtfulness and your love." (Ted's Take)

Boudreau's next step for the Capitals: "a little more maturity." (USA Today)

Corey Masisak dissects Game 7, an end that just doesn't seem to fit the incredible six games it followed. (Washington Times)

The sting of a maddening playoff exit could last for months. Is it time for training camp yet? (D.C. Examiner)

Seven games, a lifetime of memories: looking back at a series that lived up to the hype. (Stop reading after Game 6, if you'd like.) (NHL.com)

Ryan Dixon: "OK, so the final act of the Sid and Ovie drama was a bust; hey, the Seinfeld series finale was essentially a clip show, but that did nothing to tarnish the brilliant legacy created by all the shows that preceded it." (The Hockey News)


The Other Game 7s
Dan Cleary scored with three minutes to go, lifting the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 victory over Jonas Hiller (36 saves) and the Anaheim Ducks.

Scott Walker was the hero for the Hurricanes in their second Game 7 of the playoffs, scoring his first goal in 25 career NHL playoff games to give Carolina a 3-2 overtime victory over the Boston Bruins.


Some Extras
In case you missed it: The further adventures of Gloating Bruins Fan. Check out his appearance behind the Rangers bench when John Tortorella threw that water bottle. (Puck Daddy)

Did the NHL cheat the Canucks? Uh, no. (New York Times)

So, you want to be an NHL owner? It's not as easy as simply being a multimillionaire. Though that probably would help. (Globe and Mail)


Hop in the DeLorean
It might be fun, maybe once a week, to revisit some of the Caps' most memorable games once the postseason lull officially hits. I thought of this today when I stumbled across two stories -- written by two future ESPN superstars -- following Washington's legendary Game 7 overtime win against Philadelphia in 1988. Here's the first:

The last thing a hockey player is supposed to do is show any hint of fear or panic. But in the euphoria of the Washington Capitals locker room last night, captain Rod Langway let his guard down just a bit, perhaps still a little shocked at just how far from behind his team had come to beat Philadelphia in this seventh and deciding game. (Hunter Did More Than End Game -- Michael Wilbon, Sunday, April 17, 1988)

And the other, a column:

No matter what happens from here on, no matter how badly or how often they lose, nobody can call the Capitals chokers anymore. They fought off three match points, and became only the fifth NHL team to win a seven-game playoff series after losing three of the first four games. They did something they'd never done before: They proved themselves. (Standing Tall, After All Those Years -- Tony Kornheiser, Sunday, April 17, 1988)

We'll have more on this year's Caps a bit later this morning.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 15, 2009; 5:30 AM ET
 
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Comments

Guess Boston isn't built for playoff hockey either. LOL

And now the Pens have the home field advantage. Grr! That being said, I hope Carolina beats Pitt, although I don't particularly like Carolina.

No matter who wins that series, I'm rooting for the Western Conference winner in the Stanley Cup. (RedBirdie, I noticed you plan to root for the Western Conference winner also).

Analysis of season. It seems pretty pointless to win one's division. All the division winners of the Eastern Conference are gone. What did getting first in the division get them -- home field advantage in one series. Yeah, it's hardly worth the trouble to get psyched up for a team to win the Conference and go for the President's trophy. It almost seems like the strategy should be to stay somewhere in the middle of the Top 8 pack and pick up some gritty rental players at the deadline.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Okay. I sat back last night and enjoyed two great games. I did turn off the Ducks/Red Wings game with a bad taste in my mouth. Many times over the last month I have read that our defenseman were not as physical as they should/could have been. At times, very true. However, I do remember the Caps being called for hooking/slashing/cross-checking penalties during the playoffs and as time went on I am sure that BB stated to stay out of the box, so the extra physical play eased up.

Why am I bringing this up? Because one man in particular, that has a reputation for being a mean SOB that keeps his crease clear, Chris Pronger. The problem is, at least last night, allowed to get away with waaaaaaaaay more than I have ever seen our Capitals get away with in one game. Anyone else that watched last night's game, please chime in, Thomas Holmstrom (a mean SOB in his own right) was given two handed cross check, I mean vicious two handed cross checks, in between one of the two handed cross checks Pronger gave him a baseball swing slash on the ankles, and then back to the cross checks. No call. Now it helps that Holmstrom doesn't look for a place to fall like certain Penguins, but the cross checks and slash were crazy. Another instance was when Hossa went behind the cage and got hit up high, which was a penatly itself, but then Hossa lost where the puck was turned to look for it and Pronger literally grabbed him and spun him down. As Pronger got up he looked at the official, looked like a kid that just got busted, but no call. The lack of consistency in the league is disgusting and frustrating for this Caps fan even when the boys aren't playing.

Maybe we should have gotten Pronger because we might have gotten away with some cheap stuff in front of the net with one of Canada's other Golden Boys.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I should have pointed out that Holmstrom was trying to gain position in the slot when he was continually cross checked and slashed. It was definitely pre-lockout defense, which was awesome physical hockey, but against the rules now as we found out all season long and especially in the playoffs.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 7:00 AM | Report abuse

I keep hearing that Pittsburgh was the better team, blah blah blah, but really the penalty calling was inconsistent with one set of standards used for calling penalties on the Caps and another for calling penalties on the Pens. Their repeated PP opportunities allowed them to wear down the Caps defense and thus establish and maintain a huge shot on goal disparity. I am not sure if the Pens defense would have been as worn out by the end of the 7-game series as the Caps defense was if the Pens were called for all their infractions - but it is probable.

Posted by: MReilly9 | May 15, 2009 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Bill McCreary is the best referee in the NHL and that is a very sad statement.

Posted by: lornemyoung | May 15, 2009 7:19 AM | Report abuse

The best referee in the NHL is a retired one!

Posted by: caps512 | May 15, 2009 7:31 AM | Report abuse

Talk about getting worse for the caps fans. Carolina wins and now faces pittsburgh. I can't stand pittsburgh winning. I can't stand that Carolina jumps over us and goes to the finals if they win. Go redwings. beat chicago and take out the east.

Posted by: samb99 | May 15, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

bottom line here is

Mcphee chose NOT to make any moves at the dealine and it obviously cost us
Case closed

Posted by: phrdlick | May 15, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

If I hear on VS, NHL Network, TSN, or here that Crosby just shined in game 7 and took it to another level I will puke. He had two goals. The first was the result of a shot from the point on the Powerplay that bounced off of two Capitals sticks, hit Crosby's back skate, bounced to his stick, and the net was open because Varly had challenged the shot from the point. His second was on a break-away from his own blue line generated off of a leg trip by Satan on Ovechkin. Yeah, he had to bury the breakaway but Theo was in net. His assist was for a blast from the point after poor Varly was reeling.

Crosby did not play any better and his, I've been shot by a sniper, impression was rediculous. The game was already over, but please please tell me how Brooks gets a double minor for a high stick when blood wasn't even drawn? Again, inconsisent, because there were hundreds of time this season (I get Center Ice) where a player was bleeding due to a high-stick call (which I thought meant at least 4 if they're bleeding) and it was only a two minute call.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

lol @ fanohock1

FORE!

Posted by: PensFan98 | May 15, 2009 7:58 AM | Report abuse

What time do all of the team meetings, etc. take place today? Will most of the players actually take off tomorrow for their summer destinations, or are some still going to hang around? And the multi-million dollar question...Did anyone remove their nameplate from their locker?

I guess Ovi and Green have a date in Vegas come mid-June. Hope several players have dates with weights this summer. In all seriousness, hope they all relax first, work harder second, and come back to DC in September/October ready to go.

Posted by: Kim-3 | May 15, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

"Mcphee chose NOT to make any moves at the dealine and it obviously cost us"


Agree completely. One or two grit/go-to-the-net guys, and another competent D-man would have made the Caps the team to beat in the East. The thing is, you just never know how often you'll have the chance to make a run ... improvement isn't always incremental ... and I think an opportunity to seriously compete for the cup was squandered this year by GMGM. Sure, he'll say he didn't want to mortgage the future, which is admirable ... but nobody was asking him to mortgage the future. Most fans just wanted a few of the obvious deficiencies addressed. He did nothing, and it came at a price.

Posted by: PensFan98 | May 15, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

@Penfan98: Aren't you supposed to be hanging out on a Carolina site now? Of course you are probably from DC and bought your Crosby jersey during the playoffs last year. I am sure you were a solid Pens fan when they finished last in the Eastern Conference during the 2003-04 and 2005-06 season. Get lost and find a Carolina site to play on.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

The real fans here didn't think we were a contender this season due to Theo's poor play. What we saw in the first game against the Rangers was what most of us expected during this season's playoffs. Varlamov played a few good games but his emergence in the playoffs, this early, was a surprise. GMGM will probably seek the additional help to put us over the top now that the goaltending seems to be falling into place. I believe when he signed Theo he thought Theo could carry us but it became obviuos that Theo would not be consistent enough to get us a cup this season. Remember too fans, GMGM said that Varly and Alzner were the names brought up by the suitors, I am glad he didn't pull the trigger.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Jesus Christ, how pathetic do you have to be to troll opposing teams message boards *after* beating them?

Stay classy, Pens Fans.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 15, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

@Kim 3 What time do all of the team meetings, etc. take place today?

My office building looks down over KCI, which between the months of September and May, is the BEST and most exciting thing.

Today, however, just like on April 23, 2008, it is the SADDEST place to be. End of season locker clean out.

I saw Coach Leach pulling into the garage when I arrived at 8AM. Last year, the boys were leaving with their gear around Noon.

GO CANDY CANES...BEAT CINDY AND THE CRYSBYS

Posted by: Caps16Fan | May 15, 2009 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Carolina vs. Pittsburgh?...so much for fighting for the top seeding in the playoffs. Unbelievable. These two teams were almost out of it at the mid-point of the season. For the Caps: BS on waiting another year or two. It's all about finding ways to win. Yes, we need better defense, yes we need tougher forwards, but there was enough talent on this team not to get embarassed in your own building in Game 7! I'm sorry if I upset some of you who are "feeling good" about our progress this season. Carolina has far less talent than the Caps, yet found ways to win when they shouldn't have. We had a great team which needs some tweaking, but there was a flaw on this team (which showed up at different points during the year) of not coming to play and looking lethargic. This also must be somehow addressed.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | May 15, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond: Let's see how the 'Canes do against the Penguins before we give them too much credit. Their playoff road has been different than the Caps during the playoffs. Let's see how they do with a common opponent. I will be shocked if the Canes get this to game 6.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it ironic that Walker scored the decisive goal against the Bruins? That is the guy that sucker punched Ward that the Bruins, especially Ward, expected to be levied a lengthy suspension.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

This team was obviously more than 1 piece away from real, serious contention. GMGM wanted to see how the cards would play out with the Goalie situation and the Pothier situation before shuffling the deck too heavily.

He got his answer on both Defense and Goalie, and got a goalie solution (Varly looks like he could be special despite a couple shaky games and Nuivert or whatever the spelling is didn't look bad either). As for the Defense, Poti, Green probably Pothier and Erskine look like they should stay, and SM/MJ/JS all look like they need replacement. Alzner made Jurcina better, so maybe you could try to pair those two as the only fix and try to make a deadline trade next year, but it really looks like the caps are 1 net-crashing forward (could be clark if he gets a whole year to mesh in) and 1-2 defensemen away from a serious run that isn't completely contingent on luck.

Posted by: thecack | May 15, 2009 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Tarik's article in the dead tree edition this morning dealt strictly with personnel, so I can see why he didn't mention this, but it seems to me that one of the main deficiencies that the Caps have to address before they can seriously challenge for the Cup is a lack of discipline, i.e., taking stupid and unnecessary penalties. Although we were still sucessful during the regular season despite being one of the most heavily penalized teams, I think it hurt us in that guys got used to taking them and continued to do so during the playoffs, and I think that we got a reputation among the referees as being a team that takes a lot of penalties, so they were more inclined to keep sending our guys to the box during the post-season. It's something that BB really has to emphasize next season, to the extent of limiting the ice time of the most egregious offenders, or even sitting them for a game or two.

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 15, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

"I think that we got a reputation among the referees as being a team that takes a lot of penalties, so they were more inclined to keep sending our guys to the box during the post-season."

See, this is what I hate about officiating in any sport.

Something is either a penalty or it isn't, If it's a penalty, you should call it, and if it isn't, you shouldn't. "Reputation" should have no say in it.

This is one of the reasons why basketball is borderline unwatchable for me at times. If something is a foul when Steve Blake does it, it should be a foul when Kobe Bryant does it.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 15, 2009 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I have question for caps fans, do you that we are really more talented than Carolina? They have a great goalie, decent defensemen and guys that crash the net. We have the best player in the world, a top center, semin, and green. I think they just have a different kind of talent than we do. If we were to play them I think we would win in 7.

Anyways I hope walker sucker punches orprick

Posted by: caps512 | May 15, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Sit Eric Fehr in front of the net. If he has to stay around, he needs to give up on the 'big game sniper' schtick and make himself useful.

Posted by: thiazzi | May 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Mcphee chose NOT to make any moves at the dealine and it obviously cost us"


Agree completely. One or two grit/go-to-the-net guys, and another competent D-man would have made the Caps the team to beat in the East. The thing is, you just never know how often you'll have the chance to make a run ... improvement isn't always incremental ... and I think an opportunity to seriously compete for the cup was squandered this year by GMGM. Sure, he'll say he didn't want to mortgage the future, which is admirable ... but nobody was asking him to mortgage the future. Most fans just wanted a few of the obvious deficiencies addressed. He did nothing, and it came at a price.


Posted by: PensFan98 | May 15, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Its impossible to judge GMGM's deadline performance without knowing what the potential deals were. If, as he claims, teams were asking for our core guys in exchange for older or less-skilled players, then I don't blame McPhee for not pulling the trigger.

Posted by: rbpalmer | May 15, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Check out "Did the NHL cheat the Canucks?(New York Times)." Looks familiar to our series. And when you add in the Brashir suspension and the Walker non-suspension...Perhaps a Detroit Pittsburgh rematch?

But we're just talking here.

Posted by: innatmelbourne | May 15, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

mcphee was just on Elliot in the Morning and said semin had jammed his thumb during the playoffs and that they had to numb it up before every game, which affected his stickhandling and shooting ability.

Posted by: _stevo | May 15, 2009 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Found a way to deal with the loss. Just signed up for a $40 team round pass to watch the Hershey Bears - Providence Bruins series on AHL.com. Games will be available live and on demand. The series starts tomorrow night.

http://ahl.neulion.com/team/console.jsp?&ref=O_B_AHLLive_general_040809&utm_source=general&utm_medium=Other&utm_content=AHLLive_CalderCup_2009_AHL&utm_campaign=AHLLive_CalderCup_2009_AHL-040809%20%3C

One thing I didn't mention is how small breaks can really turn the game. In our game 7 forget Ovechkin's breakaway. Fleury made a great legit save on that one. But, a bit later on Ovie came down the wing and blasted a shot destined for the top near corner only for the puck to hit the knob of Fleury's stick. A few minutes later a shot from the point by the Pens hits our stick and is going wide when it hits Crosby in the skate and incredibly bounces right to his stick (and you can see on the replay that he didn't kick it to the stick as he had no clue where the puck was). Crosby is left with a basically empty net because Varly was challenging the original shot. Couple of bounces that both went the Pens way and could have turned the game even though it ended up as a blowout.

@ fanohock1

Since I watched all the series I've noticed the difference in officiating also. Our series were called much closer than the others, especially the ones in the West. For example, both of the Chicago series were very physical and tough. The officials really let them play. It seemed that the Caps got called for every tiny infraction.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

McFee simply couldn't pull a trigger. A guy like Guerin and Kunitz weren't cheap. GMGM has already spent alot of his money and a couple of million dollar band-aids weren't going to do it. Besides are you telling me not one of our defensemen can a little more physical w/o getting canned in the sin bin?? It should take a trade deadline to wake up some of the players that have put 82 games. Anybody watch those gm 7's last night??? All 4 teams looked very competitive and the games could have gone either way....makes me more disappointed.

On one hand I thought getting blown out was probably better than an O.T. loss or a last minute 3rd pd goal (like Det did to Ana).

We are TOO good to crap the bed like that again!

No excuses.....Don't be THAT team (Denver Broncos) that has THE BEST PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE, POUND FOR POUND, AND GO 13 YEARS W/O COMPETING FOR A CUP. Elway eventually won one, but after a career of chokes.

This is my last post........see you all next season!

Thanks you CAPS for the greatest season of life. Enjoyed almost every minute!

Posted by: bhound69 | May 15, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

but nobody was asking him to mortgage the future. Most fans just wanted a few of the obvious deficiencies addressed. He did nothing, and it came at a price.


Posted by: PensFan98 | May 15, 2009 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Really? So asking for Varly, Carlson/Alzner and a pick isn't mortgaging the future? You gotta love Pens fans, coming in here and telling us what deals the Caps should make.

Until the Pens win the Stanley cup, your GM has made the same wrong moves (or lack of moves) as GMGM.

Posted by: Moose33 | May 15, 2009 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Im not going to blame all on McPhee for not getting anybody at the deadline. It was reported that the Ducks wanted 2 or 3 of our prospects including Varly.. Carlson and Alzner... NOWAY!!!!!!! Those 3 you dont even think of giving up for an older defenseman.. I dont think Pronger would have helped anyway b/c we need 2 guys like him..

Did we have talks with the Islanders about Gurien? Who knows, But we have to remember since we are deep in our minor leagues, We dont know what the Islanders asking price could have been for us. Islanders I bet wanted a pick and a prospect and im guessing it was one of the 3 mentioned above. Yes he went to Pitt for a 4th round pick.. and now ask yoruself are the Baby Pens loaded like we are? Looking at thier roster I would have to say no.

The offseason is going to bring changes and im looking forward to see what happens.. We all know we could use some "Dirt" on the blueline and upfront with our forwards.

Posted by: darrylrbaker | May 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Everyone continues to wank about McPhee not making a deal at the deadline... what exactly was out there that you propose? Pronger for Varly? No... Bouwmeester? No... the only potential deal that made any sense was Guerin and his salary was way too much, only if he could have duped the Isles in to taking Nyls would that have worked. Pothier was an excellent addition and had an extremely solid play-off run. The bottom line is the boys they have will do the trick for the next 5-7 years. They need to apply themselves more, mature and focus -- I for one think #52 is the prime culprit... look at his interviews, his face is consistently fleshly looking and he has dark circles under his eyes. I believe Greenie's genes are going to mandate that he consistently keep up the workout regimen or he'll be a flash in the pan.

A sad farewell to a few of the boys and a great season.

Posted by: Dave_in_Alexandria | May 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Also you have to look at the Salary Cap! We would have been way over, and in order to get under to aquire guys like the Pens did we would have had to give up alot..

Posted by: darrylrbaker | May 15, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Is it September yet??? We'll be back better than before next season. Go Caps Go.

Personnel wise.. buy out Nyls (please), drop Fehr, Feds-thank you but pls retire, Koz- I'm 50/50 here, drop Schultz, Brash - ok, go to Russia or come back, GOT TO KEEP GORDO AND SHAWN MO! Say goodbye to Johnny, keep Theo as backup. Just pick up a good, tough defensemen. Somebody that will hit other than Erskine!

Posted by: dsphvywght | May 15, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

How can people trash GMGM when he has gutted and rebuilt this team, not just for a playoff run but for many playoff runs. The team is still a work in progress and I think they acheived to the level of the team this year (I know, I'm disappointed too, but that's what happens in the playoffs, each game won gives you more hope so you have further to fall when you lose). If you watched the other 7 teams in the 2nd round there was far less disparity between the quality of their O and their D. This is no surprise it has been a weakness of the Caps all year. I had a great time this season and expect I will next season too.

PS - Is Dion Phaneuf available?

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 15, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The whole trade deadline deals thing was beaten to death on here at the time. This is like resurrecting a dead horse. There were good reasons why McPhee didn't make the deals at the time. People who are back to criticizing him for it now are arm chair quarterbacks who are just looking for a scape goat.

Bruins made deadline deals and finished #1 in the East and they're now exactly where we are. Playoffs are just very unpredictable.

If some believe that 1 or 2 trade deadline deals would have guaranteed us advancing further that's just wishful thinking. You can believe what you want, but that's just not a fact to any person of reason. Had McPhee made the deals and we'd have been knocked out at this point anyway the same critics would've been all over him for making wrong deals.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Also, Calgary made some blockbuster deals at the deadline that in the opinion of most pundits strengthened them more than any team in the West and made them a legit contender for the Stanley Cup. Where are they now? Knocked out in the 1st round.

So for those of you who think you know something that McPhee doesn't you really don't know anything and are extremely irrational. I'm glad you're not our GM.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

There were several plays during OT of the Bruins-Canes game last night that I'm positive would've drawn penalties on the Caps had they been the culprit.

I was really pulling for the B's last nite because they're an Original Six team in a big TV market, and wouldve stood a chance at getting a few calls against the Pens. Now we get to see the refs do their thing... do you really think they're gonna do the Canes any favors when they can have their golden boy Crosby facing either Chicago or Detroit in the Finals?

Posted by: chombie13 | May 15, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Reality is that the Caps didn't have a lot of cap room at the trade deadline and a 38-yr. old Bill Guerin wouldn't have pushed us over the top...for Pittsburgh, he made sense since they were close to winning it all last year. Mortgaging our future for a rent a player also didn't make sense. Did we want to give up a top prospect like Alzner, Neuvirth or Carlson?

The team's progress this year was great and I am surprised to see so many fans questioning GM GM for not making more moves. Yes, this offseason we need to get rid of some bad contracts like Nylander and Theodore plus potentially let some vets leave like Kozlov, Brashear, and Morrisson if he wants too much.

I'd anticipate the Caps making a run at Boowmeester who would be a great fit both as a strong defensive presence and another puck mover. Pronger is stronger defensively, but is also older and has been injured quite a bit. He gets away with a lot because of his reputation and the fact that refs let a lot of stuff go in the Anaheim-Detroit series that should have been called.

The Caps front office has built the team for the long-run much like the Penguins and now need to add 2-3 pieces to get us to the final four next year!!

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 15, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

@ds_kelly

i did hear somewhere that phaneuf may be available...probably pretty steep price, but may be worth it

Posted by: _stevo | May 15, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Just my 2 cents on free agency...

UFA's
Kozlov
Brashear
Fedorov
Johnson

RFA's
Fehr
Gordon
Morrisonn
Jurcina
Schultz

Say goodbye to
Kozlov -2.5M
Brashear -1.2M
Morrisonn -1.975M
Schultz -.650M

Buyout contracts
Theodore -2.25M
Nylander -4.08M

UFA resigning
Fedorov - $2.5M MAX - 2nd/3rd line C 15ATOI

RFA resigning
Gordon - $1.0M 2yr PK, 4th line C
Fehr - $1.0M 2yr 2nd line RW 6th on team in productivity per minute played
Jurcina - $1.5M 4yr - breakout year
Johnson - $.825M 1yr - 15 to 20 starts in net as Varlamov backup

Money out?
RW Kozlov -$2.5
LW Brashear -$1.2
D Morrisonn -$1.975
D Schultz -$.650
G Theodore -$2.25
C Nylander -$4.08
C Fedorov -$2.5M

New money in?
C Gordon $.275M
RW Fehr $.265M
D Jurcina $.588M
G Johnson $.000M

Net money saved
$14.027M

Needs
D - 1 Tough S@H Defensemen, block shots, enforcer, hits
RW - 1st or 2nd line, North American, big, space eater in front of the net
C - 2nd line, fast and with great vision to center Semin and Flash

Available
D Jay Bouwmeester - Puckmover, not a S@H guy, Green-like but a little more disciplined - $6.5M/4 (best guess on his market value)

D Mike Komisarek - S@H defensemen, big, block shots and hits, enforcer type.
$4.0/4

D Johnny Oduya - Combo defensmen, solid if not spectacular
$2.5/4

D Paul Mara - Not exactly Komo, but definitely S@H D
$2.5M/3

D Matt Smaby - Big kid, young, enforcer type, hits
$1.5M/3

D Mattius Ohlund - Veteran, solid combo type
$3.5M/2

RW Maxim Afinogenov - Might like playing with fellow comrades here or in KHL
$3.5M/3

RW Todd Bertuzzi - still has some game, big and mean, would look pretty good on Ovie line
$2.5M/2

RW Marian Hossa - that would be sick if we got him
$8M/4

RW Mikael Samuelsson - much cheaper veteran Detroit player. Big and Swedish.
$1.8M/2

RW Mike Knuble - You and I know him.
$2.0M/1

RW Scottie Upshall - Phoenix may let him go
$2.0/2

RW Ryan Clowe - Really, really good young big player, would look nice next to Ovie and Backstrom
$3.0M/4

C Mike Cammalleri - 1st or 2nd line, big offensive player, can play wing.
$5.0M/4

C Jiri Hudler - this guy gets points period.
$2.0M/4

C Chris Higgins - talented, Montreal is needing an overhaul
$2.5M/4

C Tomas Plakanec - see above
$2.5M/4

C Saku Koivu - He would be great centering Semin
$5.0M/2

Just some food for thought...

Posted by: JSchon | May 15, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I'm all for Knuble and Samuelsson.

Posted by: thiazzi | May 15, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@ Tarik

I just read the interviews with Malkin, Varlamov and Semin after game 7 on Puck Daddy and they mention that Varly is being sent down to Hershey to join the Bears run yet I have not seen anything about it on this blog (at least not in your posts... don't have time to read all the comments). Please clarify.

IMO, that would be a wrong decision. Varly is mentally spent as he admitted in the interview and Neuvirth is playing very well down there.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

No matter who wins that series, I'm rooting for the Western Conference winner in the Stanley Cup. (RedBirdie, I noticed you plan to root for the Western Conference winner also).

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 15, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

a wee bit behind this morning (the cast came off! yay!), but i figured I owed you a reply here, despite being about 45 posts behind. Yes, I'm all in for the Wings now! I might even break down and borrow one of my husband's wings shirt.

I kinda sorta want a re-match of last year (but not really, because that means the Pens get to raise another EC Champs banner. ugh. Mostly, I want to earth to swallow both teams whole, and then default to caps-Bruins EC final. but since that's unlikely...), just so I can watch the Wings dismantle the Penguins again.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Did you hear...Crosby texted his teammates after The CAR/BOS game went final and said...

Good...we got the Hurricanes......


As if that shouldn't have been bulletin board material enough for us....

I keep saying that our time will come and that we are on the right track. I knew that this year wasn't the year we were going to hoist the cup...still doesn't hurt any less....

Posted by: OVIHtrick8 | May 15, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

@ JSchon

Great post as usual. I would just add one thing. I can't remember where I saw this breakdown... think it was on NHL on the Fly... they discussed how many fans think that Ovechkin is too selfish and doesn't pass enough. They showed many examples of him entering the zone with absolutely no one to pass to because his line mates just couldn't keep up. So their point was that often he just has no other option, but to shoot off the wing and that, in their opinion, created a need for someone very fast to play on his line. Someone who has the wheels to keep up or at least enter the zone moments after Ovie does. The only guys like that on your list are Hossa and Afinogenov. I think that having a big guy who goes to the net on Ovie's line might be overrated because he will simply have no time to get in position with the way Ovie bolts down the wing and let's it fly.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@jschon

if all that happened and the prices you listed worked out. I would go for Hossa, Komo, and hudler for a total of $14 mil

anybody but afinogenov at $3.5. he is good but maybe for 1.5 ( i think he had like 5 goals this season)

Posted by: _stevo | May 15, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

mcphee was just on Elliot in the Morning and said semin had jammed his thumb during the playoffs and that they had to numb it up before every game, which affected his stickhandling and shooting ability.

so my broken wrist theory was wrong, but not too far off. between that and a broken foot, wow, I'm not sure how he managed to skate. I hope this helps him shake some of that "Semin is a delicate wilting flower" stuff.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

People who think Semin is delicate need only re-watch the Flyers series from last year.

Posted by: thiazzi | May 15, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Semin is still a little soft. So what? He played and was completely ineffective. Everyone plays injured in the playoffs... it just hurts less when you win.

Semin is a great talent... no question...

but if you have to give to get... why not dangle him out there?

No one says you have to trade him if the offer is not right.

Posted by: sinbin | May 15, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Hossa...keep dreaming. No way the Caps can swallow that sort of paycheck. besides, Hossa, as much as I love the guy for giving Pittsburgh the middle finger, is a mercenary and wants a Cup (can't entirely blame him). Not even a life of Caps fandom can make me say "The Caps are a shoo-in for the Cup fianls next season!"

Not Bertuzzi. He didn't fit so well in Detroit and the Caps are similar to the Wings.

Samuelson or Hudler. I expect Detroit will sign one of these guys (maybe both is they don't get Hossa), so the other could be ripe for the taking. I keep hearing that Detroit really wants to keep Hudler, so probably Samuelson will be available.

Johnny Oduya, just for the name. Can you imagine a season of Locker and Joe B. with that name?

The "D" issue is the problem. Does anyoen think we can turn Sloan into a beat down D guy? I'm still thinking GMGM has to tell Kronwall he needs to play like his brother and make people regret their decision to be born. Monstor Kronwall hits + monster Ovie hits=teams scared to play the caps!

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@jschon -

Great post, I appreciate the thought you put into all your postings. I think Clowe would be a great choice, but expect he's a high-priority RFA re-sign for the Sharks, esp. since they can get rid of Grier and Roenick's salaries, among others.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | May 15, 2009 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@ranndino: I saw that piece on Ovi too. I tell you what, we could probably get Afinogenov at a bargain because he got the Nyls treatment in Buffalo the last couple of years. That would mean his stock has gone down so he won't have much to stand on as far as negotiating a big contract. I believe he is an unbelievably talented player that has the wheels to stay with Ovi.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 15, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

I am heartbroken looking out my office window at the scene down at KCI...

The boys are inside collecting their gear and there is a smattering of fans hanging around on the sidewalk outside.

Pretty soon it will all be over.

I remember this day last season too and I DO NOT want to be feeling this way again next year.

I have all the faith and trust in Ted L, GMGM, Gabby and Coach Leach and Evason. They know what they are doing and we all need to take a chill pill and let them work.

The team will not be the same next year...and that is going to be a good thing...it will be better!

In the meantime, get back to work everybody!

Posted by: Caps16Fan | May 15, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

Someone mentioned the criticism of #8 not passing enough---one, he shouldn't pass with the shot he has, and two, no one is there to pass to cause he camps out at the blue line half the time. Two trick pony: sick wrist shot and consistent Rule 47 violator. GO PENS.

Posted by: sean1smith | May 15, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

seriously, peeps:

1) enough with all the whining about penalties and officiating

2) caps were outplayed

3) caps have to add more grit. way too much finesse

Posted by: doughless | May 15, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Hi Tarik,

Is there any truth to this rumor about Kozzie?

"Sports Daily" has been informed that the St. Petersburg Army team will be strengthened during the offseason by the addition of three forwards-the Czech Petr Čajánek, Sergei Zinoviev and Viktor Kozlov.
Kozlov has been in the NHL since 1993 and during that time has played for four (sic) clubs: San Jose, Florida, the Islanders, New Jersey and Washington. During the last regular season he played 67 games for the Capitals, accumulating 41 (13+28) points. It is also true that Salavat Ufa is also interested in the services of the 34 year-old hockey player.

-- Tatiana Chernova, Hockey Department reporter

Posted by: bajgirl | May 15, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

new post, y'all.

Posted by: RedBirdie | May 15, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Doughless, it is so refreshing to read a Caps fan express that. The series was great but I think it should have been a 5 game series victory for the Pens. They outplayed the Caps in game 1 and should have won game 6 but gave up at least 2 weak goals. Caps have great forwards but they lost 70% of the battles on the boards and you can't go deep in the playoffs that way.

Posted by: sean1smith | May 15, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Semin is delicate. Mcphee has given a save the face version in order not to embarass his player. Behind close door, things are a little different.

Also, they should not re-sign Fedorov. If not for that one goal in game 7, which was just a bad defensive play, his contribution would be very minimal. He is done. If he wants to keep playing, he needs to play in the KHL next year.

Buy out Nyls. He can join Brash and fedorov in the KHL. He probably would love to play with Jagr again. Get rid of Fehr and Fleischman, two non-entities.


By the way, my prediction is that Green will never get another offensive year like this year. His record indicates that, even in Junior, he never scored that many goal. The fact that he needs to get better defensively will also slow down his offensive prowesses. He just doesn't have the brain trust to put it all together consistently.

Posted by: atybat | May 15, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@sean1smith

Seriously, shouldn't you be trolling the Charlotte Observer message boards now?

How much of a loser does someone have to be to troll an opposing teams message board *after* beating them? This is not a rhetorical question - exactly how much of a loser are you? I'd love an answer.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 15, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Hey, I was trolling at the phone booth games 5 and 7 too. You can't tell me Caps fans weren't trash talking the Pens all year. You want us to shut up now?

Posted by: sean1smith | May 15, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Hey, I was trolling at the phone booth games 5 and 7 too. You can't tell me Caps fans weren't trash talking the Pens all year. You want us to shut up now?"

You didn't answer the question - how much of a loser are you to be trolling the message boards of a team whom you already beat?

Seriously, what are you getting out of this? What fulfillment is it giving you? What satisifaction?

The team you root for won, congratulations. The team we root for lost, it's not fun and we're licking our wounds and analyzing. You trolling for responses here just seems meaningless to me, so I genuinely wonder.

Is it the attention you crave? Honestly, you'd probably get more attention from Canes boards. Does it increase your sense of self-worth?

I honestly want to know, thanks in advance for your insight.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 15, 2009 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@Jschon: That is one of the best posts I have read on a fan's post. Terrific thought and research. I know I am a Pens fan so you may not care what I think but J. Oduya is very solid. I was hoping the Pens could find a way to sign him. I read the Post so I am really not trolling, and I know that after a loss it stings, but you guys are being too "jumpy". The Caps will win the division again next year, get a top three seed, just need to stay out of game 7's with lower seeds.
Pens and Caps fans need to rejoice in the fact that we have the best two players in the game (argue how you want), but it is up to us fans to expand the NHL. We get to see the best night in and out and need to relay our enthusiasm to others who don't get it. WE can make this game as popular as at least basketball.
Pens/Caps may someday (hopefully soon) develop into an awesome "old-school" rivalry, just imagine it then.

Posted by: penscapsNOTarivalry | May 15, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

@ atybat

Nothing annoys me more than fans who have never played even in a pickup game downplaying injuries and calling players who play professional sports at the very top level through major injuries soft.

It was obvious to any keen observer (like me and others who have posted about way before it was officially announced) that Semin and Green were badly injured so no, McPhee is not making it up as you seem to claim.

It sucks that by being brave and playing through pain players open themselves up for criticism from perspective-less couch potatoes like you.

I've made this analogy before. Say you have a very nice car that runs great. Pop a tire and damage the transmission and it's not the same car no matter how good it was before. Expecting it to run the same is just plain stupid, but somehow expecting a badly injured player to play at the same level makes sense for people like you.

Green's shoulder injury prevented him from being physical or taking hits, from shooting or passing hard. And I'll never know how anyone can play hockey with a broken foot (Poti and Semin).

Another analogy. In the old days of hand to hand combat imagine one warrior being either hit with an arrow or either slashed or stabbed with a sword. Do you think he would be just as effective after that against someone who is not injured? Get real.

The fact is that Semin, who you are calling soft, is 100 times tougher than you or other of his critics will ever be. You probably miss work with a cold and a paper cut. He plays professional hockey with a broken foot.

Posted by: ranndino | May 15, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Phaneuf:

Recently, he was signed to a six year contract extension with the Flames, averaging 6.5 million dollars per year; he also serves as the Flames' Alternate Captain.

Fanohock1: Agree completely with your posts.

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | May 15, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@JSchon - good post and it's fun to be a virtual GM since we have nothing else to do for the next few months. So I'll ante up 2 more cents and give my opinion on your well considered thoughts:

Say goodbye to
Kozlov
Brashear
Federov
Johnson
Schultz

RFA resigning
Gordon
Jurcina
Johnson
Morrisonn
Fehr – If he gets an offer, let him go. He may not make the team next year anyway.
Despite his success in the AHL his shot doesn’t seem quick enough or good
enough for the NHL.

Buyout contracts
Theodore – I doubt they will offer a buyout. They could use JT & Varly as 1A & 1B goalies splitting time. Gives Varly one more year to adjust to the schedule, travel etc.
Nylander – Buyout if needed, but this guy can still play, just needs a more suitable team. Now that Naslund retired in NY a trade with them may be possible.
Needs
D - 1 Tough S@H Defensemen, block shots, enforcer, hits
RW - 1st or 2nd line, North American, big, space eater in front of the net
C - 2nd line, fast and with great vision to center Semin and Flash
Available
D Jay Bouwmeester – Good presence but another guy that doesn’t hit for his size. I think he will be too expensive, anyway.
D Mike Komisarek – Good Choice. Even heard Espo on XM say at the trade deadline he’d “love to see him play with Green.”
D Johnny Oduya – Good choice, too.
D Paul Mara – Not what we really need but if we have to go to plan B we could do worse.
D Matt Smaby – Got enough big, young D men. We need more experience.
D Mattius Ohlund – Too European, we need someone who has grown up clearing out the crease.
RW Maxim Afinogenov – No – sporadic play, can’t count on him to do the work.
RW Todd Bertuzzi – Too much baggage, and may be a victim of “assumed penalties” given his history.
RW Marian Hossa - that would be sick if we got him. It would be sick, but still wouldn’t put a body in front of the net.
RW Mikael Samuelsson – Too European
RW Mike Knuble - Could work.
RW Scottie Upshall – Seems inconsistent, don’t see him as a top 6 guy on the Caps.
RW Ryan Clowe – Excellent choice.
C Mike Cammalleri – Good choice though he is very streaky.
C Jiri Hudler – Don’t see him leaving Detroit.
C Chris Higgins – Good plan B choice.
C Tomas Plakanec – Just don’t know about this guy, seems inconsistent
C Saku Koivu – Good player but I have a hard time wrapping my brain around this one. Seems
Like more of what we have. We really need a bigger center to crash the net.

Posted by: ds_kelly | May 15, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

VTDuffman sorry for the delayed response; I was looking for tickets to the next round of the playoffs online. Maybe Leonsis could help? As far as answering your question? The winners decide on the questions. GO PENS!!

Posted by: sean1smith | May 15, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Thoughts about Game 7: The standing ovation felt great. It went right to the soul. I feel badly for the fans who left early with the "I can't watch this garbage" comments flying from their mouths.

Ovy was just as fantastic in the handshake line as he is in the game: no sore looser attitude there. We fans should learn from that. Please, those with young children, teach them that what it always boils down to is this: it is a game. End of story. There will be a winner and there will be a loser. We all love to win. Fight to the death and give it your all. But at the end of the day, we have to be prepared for any outcome and hold our heads high and move on.

There is always.....next year. Go Caps!

Posted by: CapsRockTheRed | May 15, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I have always been a believer that in a 7 game series, the better is revealed. The CAPS forced it to game 7 through sheer talent alone. You can easily add heart to the equation given the amount of injuries that some of these players had to deal with. However, the converse is also true on PIT's side as well, (at this time of year all teams play with injuries, Gonchar for ex).
My only disappointment aside from Game 7 was the manner inwhich the PENS IMPOSED their playing style on the CAPS. Yes, the D-men & FORWARDS had problems clearing the zone. Was this due to: a)lack of talent/will/discipline or just plain lack of hockey smarts? or b)the PENS forced them into mistakes? I would argue the latter. Other factors include: Varly's inability or reluctance to play the puck, adding more pressure for the CAPS blueliners. Seemed to me our immensely talent forwards expended so much energy early in their shifts just to get the puck out of our own zone that a sustainable offensive attack was impossible to establish.

This team is not that far away however the decisions by GMGM this offseason will go a long in defining the CAPS for 2009-10 and beyond. My concern is the "recent" supernovas of the NHL, Lemieux and Gretsky (Ovechkin is in this class) won their last CUPs when they were in their mid to late 20's. The window of opportunity is small and the time is definitely now for this TEAM. The irony is a little tweaking on our cup-contending CAPS may prove even more tenuous and difficult then starting from scratch, the post Jagr CAPS.

Posted by: cgar_dan | May 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

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