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Morning roundup: passing fancy


(John McDonnell - The Washington Post)

Morning Roundup

Caps center Nicklas Backstrom's penchant for making perfect passes is a big reason that Alex Ovechkin is the NHL's most prolific goal-scorer. Now the 21-year-old Swede is garnering attention -- and perhaps a big contract -- of his own.

When it comes to shooting, Backstrom often seems more interested in setting up a goal than scoring one himself. His 16 shots rank sixth on the team and are about a fourth of the 61 Ovechkin has taken.
"I know I have to shoot more," he said, before adding after a pause, but "I know I have other guys who shoot it better than me."

Some numbers, because we like numbers:

Season Goals Assists Points Points through eight games Assists on Ovechkin goals
2007-08 14 55 (11) 69 5 21
2008-09 22 66 (T-3) 88 3 22
2009-10 2 9 (2) 11 11 4

Note: Parentheses are league rank

Click here to read the whole story.


(The Post)

Veteran center Michael Nylander is off to the Red Wings-affiliated Grand Rapids Griffins for a conditioning stint.

He's still on the Caps, though, and he'll still count against both the 23-man roster and the salary cap. The 37-year-old center, who hasn't suited up for a game this season, is due to earn $4.875 million in 2009-10.

* A few more details on the move, from of the Grand Rapids Press:

Grand Rapids general manager Bob McNamara said Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland and Washington GM George McPhee worked out the arrangement earlier this week.
Nylander reportedly still counts towards the Capitals' roster and salary cap. He did not have to clear waivers.
McNamara isn't worried about Nylander's arrival disrupting the Griffins' progress.
"Hopefully, he'll give us a shot in the arm," McNamara said. "At this stage, it might be a little different if we were 5-0. But guys have got to earn their opportunities, and this will only enhance what we've got going."
Nylander is expected to practice with the Griffins on Thursday morning, and be in the lineup Friday night for their home opener against Abbotsford.

Other odds and ends:

* Caps president Dick Patrick on Alex Ovechkin's monster contract: "We had such confidence in him so we just wanted to go ahead and extend it out and wrap it up for the whole time -- just put it to bed." (NHL.com)

* From John Buccigross's mailbag: Who will reach 1,000 points first, Alex Ovechkin or Sidney Crosby?

Sidney Crosby missed 29 games in 2007-08, which has put him about 30 points behind Alex Ovechkin's career points total. They entered the NHL in the same season. Crosby does have a slight lead in points-per-game average and one would expect that would continue because of Crosby's assists totals. Both will hit the 1,000-point mark in about five to six seasons if they stay injury free.
I would think Crosby would have the better chance of reaching 1,000 first because of his assists totals and the "violent" way Ovechkin plays. At some point, if No. 8 continues to go 100 mph toward the net and be involved in hard-impact collisions, injury is inevitable. He will likely adjust as he gets older and play a little less recklessly, but I think we are years away from that. In the meantime, we can only hope No. 8 does not miss any extended time. There has never been anyone else like him. Or Crosby.
It is very important that you don't take either of these two players for granted; watch them as much as possible over the next 3-5 seasons when they will be at the height of their powers. It is a very small window and it will be gone before you know it. They will likely have long and productive careers; but the exhilarating portion of it, where their athleticism takes your breath away, won't last forever.

* After a four-day layoff, the Caps get back to business tonight in Atlanta at 7. Here are some players' thoughts on the Southeast Division opener against the Thrashers:

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  October 22, 2009; 6:46 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps recall Aucoin, Giroux

Comments

4 days seemed like 4 weeks. But talking about taking players for granted, I don't think we'll ever realize just how good Backs is with OV on the team. His play making ability is down right scary.

Posted by: Osfan092589 | October 22, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

ive maintained all along how the rise of Backstrom has coincided with the meteoric rise in Ovechkins goal totals. I believed that Backstroms arrival was a huge reason Ovie reached 65, too bad the Calder Trophy voters didnt agree with me. He got robbed.

Posted by: DER27 | October 22, 2009 8:00 AM | Report abuse

I have been speculating for about six months that Backstrom signs for 11 yrs/$66M, thereby matching the length of Ovechkin's deal.

Then McPhee can work on Semin, also in the $6M range. That works within the cap for next season, since Theo, Pothier, Jurcina and ShaMo come off. That alone is over $10M in cap value, and you can be all but certain that Nylander's final season (cap hit of $4.875M) will also come off.

Total savings = $15M.

Semin and Backstrom at $6M each adds only $5M over what their cap figures are for this season. Alzner, Carlson and Sloan say plus the replacement goalie, if Neuvirth, adds back $4M. (Let's assume BMo comes back at $1.5M.)

New costs = $9M.

Delta = $6M.

The cap is supposed to drop by a few million. Given that, you have $3-4M maybe to cover raises for Flash, Fehr and Steckel and very likely add a veteran, FA defenseman.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 22, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

Tom there was an article on NHL.com, I believe yesterday where the gm's were stating they didn't expect the cap to drop more than $1m if at all. That would put the Caps in great shape cap wise if your figures are correct. I expect they are.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 22, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

forgot to mention that I believe I saw it here or on japers rink

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 22, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 22, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Laviolette likes our young Russian's artistic style.

http://tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=295642

Scroll down

Posted by: Fro_ | October 22, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Personally, this is why I have been saying it's GOOD to separate Backstrom from Ovechkin.

It's that whole scenario like in "A League of Their Own," where the younger daughter, Kit, is complaining to her older sister, and says, "haven't you ever heard how they introduce us? This is our daughter, Dotti, and this is our other daughter... Dotti's sister." I feel like Backstrom is known as "Ovechkin's pivot," and not as a hockey player in his own right, and that's not cool, because he's fantastic!

Posted by: irockthered | October 22, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

From previous post
---------------------------------------
Kind of a random thought, but are the Caps going to get a third jersey?

I was looking on NHL.com and more and more teams are getting them!

I want the caps to get a third jersey!

Posted by: digster1013 | October 21, 2009 6:22 PM


No! No more third Jerseys! That's how the Caps ended up with the god awful "Eagle diving to its doom" sweater. In all of it's iterations. It made me sick!

Posted by: rovingbandit | October 22, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Who is this "Crosby" guy Buccigross keeps mentioning? I've never heard of him.

Oh wait... Is he that ball-punching crybaby on the Penguins? Someone better tell him that there's no crying in hockey either. (since someone mentioned A League of Their Own)

Posted by: griz0615 | October 22, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I could be wrong, but I thought the diving eagle jerseys (white and teal) were actually our regular jerseys to begin with, and the black jersey with the Capitol dome on it was originally the third jersey. Then they did away with the teal jersey and made the black jersey a regular.

Posted by: hillg | October 22, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@Osfan092589 - I hope it's at least 12 yrs before we find out how good Backstrom is without Ovie.

Posted by: ds_kelly | October 22, 2009 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, the black jersey was the original third jersey, then became the full-time colored jersey.

Posted by: koalatek | October 22, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

"It's that whole scenario like in "A League of Their Own," where the younger daughter, Kit, is complaining to her older sister, and says, "haven't you ever heard how they introduce us? This is our daughter, Dotti, and this is our other daughter... Dotti's sister." I feel like Backstrom is known as "Ovechkin's pivot," and not as a hockey player in his own right, and that's not cool, because he's fantastic!"

========================================

Then what is the relations of Semin and Green to Ovechkin? Just curious! I am sure they have the same sibling problems at Pittsburgh between Crosby and Malkin.

Posted by: JohnWWW | October 22, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

@koalatek - thanks for confirming that I am not yet senile. :)

Posted by: hillg | October 22, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Did those old white jerseys with the eagle diving to its doom remind anyone else of the US Postal Service?

Posted by: griz0615 | October 22, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Gotta take care of Backstrom's contract before anyone else!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 22, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

realoldcapsfan: Well, that is good news. Means we have likely (under my scenario) close to $6M for raises to a few guys and the rest for a mean-spirited, crease-clearing defenseman.

D for next year: Free Agent, Green, Poti, Alzner, Carlson, Erskine and Sloan or Collins as the 7th guy.

Forwards are same we have essentially except Nylander is gone and likely Boyd Gordon. Another of the 3rd line guys could be gone if pushed out by a player from Hershey.

In goal, likely you have Neuvirth and Varly. And, as I showed, you should be able to fit Semin and Backstrom with nice raises.

Posted by: tominfl1 | October 22, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Since we're sometimes talking about crosby today...

I may have missed the thread about it already, but I just saw the commercial on VS that has Pins stuck in a Crosby Bobblehead like a voodoo doll. Just about wet my pants laughing..


I need More Bobbleheads!

Posted by: jdhoover | October 22, 2009 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Did those old white jerseys with the eagle diving to its doom remind anyone else of the US Postal Service?
____________

Posted by: kratzmark | October 22, 2009 10:37 AM | Report abuse

If you have not seen it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xFqdaQI-Pc

Still laughin...

Posted by: jdhoover | October 22, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Did those old white jerseys with the eagle diving to its doom remind anyone else of the US Postal Service?
________________

me. Although it looks darn nice on a black hat.

Posted by: kratzmark | October 22, 2009 10:41 AM | Report abuse

As far as who plays with who. Bruce likes to have all the pieces interchangable to a degree. As long as he is coach the lines will be mixed and matched every so often. That way when things are not clicking, you roate the players and try to get something going. Backs and Ovie will be together and seperated like a fighting married couple.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | October 22, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Ya'll see Toews get destroyed last night? - OUCH!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 22, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, that was quite a hit. Is he okay? He had trouble getting off the ice and looked woozy on the bench.

Posted by: hillg | October 22, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Nice piece on Backie. I think he is going to become a true star of this team. Ted & GMGM, get ready to write a large check.

Posted by: doughless | October 22, 2009 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Have to look to see which dmen are ufa's for next year. would love to see a phanouf type avail. should be able to get a 1st pr defensive dman with that type of cap space.

imagining a lineup like this:

ovie-backs-sasha/knuble
sasha/flash-bmo-knuble/
laich-steck-brad
laing-beagle-fehr
perrault/laing

fa dman-green
alzner-poti
lumberjack-carlson
sloan

varly-neuvy

this could be down right scary for opps.

Posted by: realoldcapsfan | October 22, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@hillg

I know he went to the dressing room - I have not looked to see how bad he may be. Man, he got hit hard though- reminded me of the Scott Stevens hit in the playoffs where the guy was crawling for dear life to get back to the bench.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | October 22, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I like the way the lines are set up now with Backstrom centering Laich and Semin. Backstrom makes that line great. Ovie is going to score regardless of who his Center is. With Ovie's shooting and Knuble stationed in the crease, BMo's speed keeping up with Ovie, the line shouldn't miss Backstrom that much. We need to top shelf lines.

Posted by: GoEagles | October 22, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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