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As season opens, Caps keep a long-term focus

Morning Roundup

While other teams turn to veteran free agents to fill roster holes, the Washington Capitals have protected the integrity of their salary cap by making a commitment to young talent.

"We're starting Friday night with 11 of our own first-round picks in the lineup," General Manager George McPhee said. "The league average is four. The closest team to us has seven. So we put this plan together, and we're in pretty good shape. It's a good team. They're our guys, and hopefully it leads to a Cup one of these days."

MORE FROM THE POST
Check out the league outlook and biggest story lines this season.

Here's a scoreboard with today's slate of opening-day games.

One of our Box Seats bloggers has a Caps season-preview set of hockey haikus (offense, defense, goaltending and predictions). Enjoy.

Stay tuned for the complete Capitals season preview, coming tomorrow online and in print.

AROUND THE WEB
Ted's to-do list around Verizon Center has some check marks: More red, wi-fi access, new Red Rocker uniforms, "Green initiatives." (Ted's Take)

Here's why Olie Kolzig is a fan favorite. (RMNB)

More on the Caps' patience with their youngsters. (Examiner)

By Lindsay Applebaum  | October 7, 2010; 9:34 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Roundup  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: George McPhee on Caps' youth movement
Next: Boudreau: Michal Neuvirth could play first three games

Comments

"We have to win a championship. We're at a point in our development where there's nothing else. There's a clarity of purpose."

- Ted Leonsis

Make no mistake, GMGM and BB are on the hot seat.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

less than 2 hours til the season get under way....finally

Posted by: _stevo | October 7, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

So we know NJ put Salvador and Samela on LITR and are playing with 20...but does anyone know what teams like Boston, Calgary, Toronto, San Jose, Vancouver, etc did to make cap? I thought some of those teams were worse off than NJ.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 7, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Teds 101 things...about 5 of them help the Caps...and the rest benefit the Bullets...

Here we go again, back to the days of taking the Caps profits and put it into the Bullets...

#102- SELL THE NBA FRANCHISE OR MOVE IT!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 7, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Prediction: One of McPhee and Boudreau is gone shortly after the conclusion of this season if this team doesn't at least make it to the ECF, possibly further.

I don't think Leonsis would dump both of them at the same time but at least one will be gone.

This may be just stating the obvious to some of you but others seem to think we are set for eternity with...

a) McPhee guiding this franchise to new heights, i.e., narrowly winning a single playoff series due to poorly constructed rosters, and...

b) Boudreau making us the most exciting show on ice, i.e, one-dimensional, run 'n gun hockey that ultimately gets exploited by opposing coaches each and every postseason.

Uh oh, here comes kitty with her high horse attitude, cheerleader mentality, fancy words and obscure statistics.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 7, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Oh...and we don't NEED a "WAVE CROWDED GETTING GO-ER" in hockey.

Only in snooozzy pro basketball.

Posted by: SoaringCaps | October 7, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

Boston, Calgary, Vancouver all have guys on LTIR. SJ was never in cap trouble, they have about $1M in space. Toronto is in trouble from the stand point if their young players hit their bonuses. Due to there being no bonus cushion next year, it all has to count this year and they'd then face a penalty next year if the players actually reach the bonuses. So I expect them to make a move at some point to make sure they don't get penalized next season, basically Kaberle will be dealt at some point, or Finger waived eventually.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

@ThePat

How many guys did Boston have on the LTIR, I thought they were nearing $5mil over ($1.8 over + $3 mil penalty for being over last year). Or was I misinformed about how over they were?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 7, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

@SAOTI

Sturm and Savard should both be on it I believe.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@ SoaringCaps...Ted's list was 101 things to improve the Wizards, Verizon Center and Wizards in game atmnosphere now that he controls those two entitities...it really had nothing to do with the Caps except any arena improvements that would also benefit Caps fans...Ted has owned the Caps for 10 years now and has already gone through his list of intended improvements and I think we have seen a sold out building better benefits to Season ticket holders, more coverage in the media, and three straight division titles. The only thing missing is playoff success, but the team has been built for multiple years of being a top contender, and i for one have thoroughly enjoyed watchingthis very exciting team!

Posted by: boomer44 | October 7, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Don't understand why nothing has been put on Caps insider about Souray coming to Hershey...While Katie is doing a nice job I just feel that there are gaps in news. There has to be something behind him going to Hershey...it just seems strange that their have been rumors about Souray coming here (far fetched as they may be) and no story on the big story out of Edmonton....

Posted by: rdiehljr | October 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

"We have to win a championship. We're at a point in our development where there's nothing else. There's a clarity of purpose."

- Ted Leonsis

Make no mistake, GMGM and BB are on the hot seat.

Posted by: tmac2yao | October 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Joke don't look at this, it will squash your rants of Ted & GMGM not wanting to win a Cup. 3 sentences can put the kabosh on your whole off season tirade. Amazing!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | October 7, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@rdiehljr, Katie reported Souray's loan to Hershey here a few threads back, and it appeared in the Capitals Insider notes in this morning's print editions.

Posted by: Justafan | October 7, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I'd be willin to suffer thru one more of 'these' if it means seeing a change at the top.

Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen. I still say it'll take at least 2 more failures.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

tmac, how could anyone think that GMGM and BB are here for eternity with you reminding us differently all the efing time?

Posted by: nimrodrsp | October 7, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"I'd be willin to suffer thru one more of 'these' if it means seeing a change at the top.

Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen. I still say it'll take at least 2 more failures." - cstanton1

Sounds like a statement by an unsatisfied parent. Coincidentally, what are the odds cstanton1 is either the eldest of 2 siblings or eldest of 3 siblings.

ZING - :P jk

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | October 7, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

tmac2yao,

I believe you were in the same category I was last year, skeptical nut mostly positive about the team as a whole. Guess you are just as fed up with the GM/coach of this team as I am not making the necessary personnel changes and coaching adjustments after teh debacle that was last year's post season.

Now people like you and I are considered haters when I simply view us as realists. We have seen it happen too often and nothing has changed, what would possibly make us think it would change this year? Especially with the non-moves and we are happy with what we have quotes. I really hope you are right and if there is an early exit this spring one or both of those guys will be gone but I'm not so sure that will happen unfortunately.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

There's a reason there's hasn't been a ton written - other than here - about Souray - he ain't that good.

As for GMGM being in the hot seat, c'mon the guy won a whole playoff series since he got here, that has to count for something, right?

Posted by: govtimbo | October 7, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

PhilR can you add me to your list, I guess I'm now a 'hater' as well. I probably agree with Tom's assessment, I put GMGM in the 11-15 GMs in the league - but he's not anywhere close to the top. And FTR I do respect and admire a lot of what BB's done, the VC was a morgue before his arrival in the Glen Deadpuck Hanlon era. Who also had Ovie, Sasha and Green on his squad, btw.

I had a sick feeling when Ted acquired the Bullets as well, I really hope they don't distract him from the Caps. But Abe Pollin's reign was not good for hockey fans in the area, on the whole.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 7, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Something to think about regarding the Calder Trophy...

Last season's order of finish was this:
1. Tyler Myers, BUF 1178 (94-29-5-3-1)
2. Jimmy Howard, DET 778 (24-45-34-16-5)
3. Matt Duchene, COL 755 (12-42-53-25-1)
4. Tuukka Rask, BOS 339 (2-14-19-31-33)
5. John Tavares, NYI 303 (0-2-18-50-49)
6. Niclas Bergfors, ATL 30 (0-0-2-2-14)
7. Jamie Benn, DAL 20 (0-0-1-2-9)
8. Michael Del Zotto, NYR 15 (0-1-0-0-8)
9. Victor Hedman, T.B. 6 (0-0-1-0-1)
10. Evander Kane, ATL 6 (0-0-0-1-3)
11. Johnny Boychuk, BOS 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
Cody Franson, NSH 3 (0-0-0-1-0)
13. T.J. Galiardi, COL 3 (0-0-0-0-3)
James van Riemsdyk, PHI 3 (0-0-0-0-3)
15. Tyler Bozak, TOR 2 (0-0-0-0-2)


For the top 3, here are the stats:
1st - Tyler Myers, D, BUF, 82GP, 11G, 37A, 48Pts, +13, 32PIM, 3PPG, 13PPA, 0SHG, 1SHA, 1GWG, 10.58PCT
2nd - Jimmy Howard, G, DET, 63GP, 37W, 17L, 10OT, .924Save%, 2.26GAA, 3SO
3rd - Matt Duchene, C, COL, 81GP, 24G, 31A, 55Pts, +1, 16PIM, 10PPG, 11PPA, 1SHG, 0SHA, 2GWG, 13.33PCT

My question to the posters is simple:
What do you think G-Mikail Neuvirth, D-John Carlson and C-Marcus Johansson will put up as stats for this season? and based on your prediction, where would that put them in voting for the Calder?


My Point Predictions:
John Carlson, D, WAS, 812GP, 9G, 36A, 46Pts, +25, 33PIM, 4PPG, 11PPA, 0SHG, 1SHA, 3GWG, 9.2PCT
Mikail Neuvirth, G, WAS, 55GP, 35W, 10L, 9OT, .917Save%, 2.43GAA, 4SO
Marcus Johansson, C, WAS, 77GP, 10G, 44A, 54Pts, +15, 22PIM, 2PPG, 7PPA, 1SHG, 1SHA, 2GWG, 10.50PCT

Calder Trophy standings... ugh, no clue!
top 6 for all of them with Carlson or Neuvirth possibly being a winner!

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 7, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

erg, it's 81GP for Carlson, not 812GP...

Posted by: FrankM73 | October 7, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

@Frank...I think your numbers are a little high for Neuvy 35 wins seems like alot. I think at the end of last season that Carlson was an early favorite for Calder. He might get a little tired after 812 games. lol

Posted by: nimrodrsp | October 7, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR...love to talk to you sometime about rebuilding and keeping a team together during the salary cap era...it would take too long i this forum....I do agree with you, cstanton & tominwherever that the Caps could use more grit to make a playoff run, we will see what happens this year, but I wouldn't scuttle a GM & Coach who have brought us the most exciting team ever in Washington...if they fail again in the first or maybe even second round changes would be warrented, either management/coach or players, but let's enjoy this season, I know you are not a hater, you are a Caps fan who is more than ready for that long awaited Cup!

Posted by: boomer44 | October 7, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Wild 1-0, Latendresse with the goal

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Latendresse is now the early season front runner for MVP! ;)

Did people see that Backstrom and Chimera will be wearing the "A"'s for road games.

Posted by: sgm3 | October 7, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Legitimate question: If McPhee is on the "hot seat", who's on his tail? Is there a Board of Directors? Or are dissatisfied fans and posters going to find him with their pitchforks or torches and demand that he leave the town? And is it really such an epic fail that our own team has made it to the Playoffs the past couple of years and last year's President's Trophy that we'd run out Boudreau as well? Is it really that bad? I honestly feel some people need to take a chill pill and thank you, I'd rather hope for the best than go running around declaring the sky is falling. If you want to call me a homer with rose-colored glasses on, go for it. At least I'm not talking out of both sides of my mouth when I say I love the Caps, for better or for worse. Again, the urgency you people seem to keep preaching is nauseating. You wouldn't happen to have big signs in your trucks demanding people repent or we're all going to hell for believing in the current roster of the Caps and also trusting that the front office knows what they're doing, would you? Oh, you do. Explains a lot....

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | October 7, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Yeah and Mike Knuble and Tom Poti will do so for home games. Interesting choice going with Chimmy. I know there are a few here who really don't like him. Personally I would have liked to have seen Bradley but if he might not play every home game then it would make that harder. The question is does this mean Chimera is going to play every game no matter what? Also Laich would have been a great choice over Chimera.

Also Varly played the whole practice including the skate at the end. Sounds like he is finally getting close.

Posted by: icehammer97 | October 7, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Don't get me wrong, I want to win the Cup as much as any Caps fan, but you have to acknowledge that the Caps have set up a pretty smart system to provide long-term competitiveness in the salary cap era.

If we fall short this year, maybe you argue that BB should go, but GMGM has, for the most part, done an excellent job building a solid team from top to bottom. While some might prefer we sign a pricey Dman and experienced goalie this year (assuming that the "right" guys are *even available*), I'd prefer to see how things go this year and KNOW that we have some outstanding years from Carlson and Alzner in our future.

The best way to increase your ODDS of winning a championship are NOT by betting on any ONE year, but to instead build a robust system that makes you a competitor year in and year out. The Caps playoff success has been on an upward trajectory over the past four years. Instead of copying other dysfunctional teams, we should realize we (along with Pittsburgh) are setting the model that others are attempting to replicate (see: LA, Edmonton, NYIslanders, and Tampa).

Posted by: haroldhendu | October 7, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

hey Ted,

if you read this, how about some new food choices at the Phone Booth. You know a Hard Times, Five Guys, burritos....anything besides the crap that is there now. And, $8 beers are getting a little ridiculous. That said, adding the beer guys running through the stands is nice add.

best, doughless

Posted by: doughless | October 7, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Prices in general for concessions are out of control at the VC. I could not believe how quickly my wallet emptied of 100 bucks last Friday evening! Of course my daughters are going through growth spurts and are just bottomless pits right now so that certainly did not help.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, isn't it just amazing that all the Wizards preseason games are being shown on CSN. Ted needs to make that happen for the Caps as well, the only winning team in town right now.

Posted by: PhilR | October 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Now people like you and I are considered haters when I simply view us as realists.

------------------

i was thinking about this today. The fans who consider themselves the most trueblue loyalists are also pretty consistent in their criticisms of certain players - Steckel, Erskine, Sloan etc

Why doesn't that make THEM haters? Just because they don't criticize the GM and coach?

" do agree with you, cstanton & tominwherever that the Caps could use more grit to make a playoff run, we will see what happens this year, but I wouldn't scuttle a GM & Coach who have brought us the most exciting team ever in Washington..."

Boomer, i don't have a problem being patient if I think its only a matter of time before the holes get filled. My main issue with GM/BB is that they most likely don't consider those "holes" to really exist. So, its nothing more than wasted time in this window of opportunity that we have with this core group.

"If we fall short this year, maybe you argue that BB should go, but GMGM has, for the most part, done an excellent job building a solid team from top to bottom"

GM is the architect who hires the coaches. If he can't find the right coach, then why keep him around? Everything starts with the GM. The coach is an extension of the GM's philosophy. McPhee doesn't go hiring someone who doesn't align with his own philosophies.

And just like Hanlon started a foundation of work ethic before losing his way, and BB then took it a step further by unleashing some creativity on offense, the next coach (hired by our new GM) will hopefully build upon this. It doesn't have to be torn down to move to the next level.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@doughless

I like the idea but I'd have to say Chic-fil-a would be the best.

Posted by: ThePat | October 7, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Not much new on Souray because he will NOT be coming to the Caps, Hershey was willing to take him on oan because they lost both Carlson & Alzner to the big club, they were in need a veteran D-man to fill the gap untill some of the younger guys get seasoned enough to play to Hershey's standards. There fans expect them to dominate every year, and Souray can teach the young guys how to quaterback a power-play. Also Edmonton will pay almost all of his salary, while giving him a chance to show he can still play to other clubs without poisoning their locker room or their AHL teams locker room.

Posted by: tigger_caps_fan | October 7, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

"GM is the architect who hires the coaches. If he can't find the right coach, then why keep him around?"

How many coaches has Lou Lamirello had? He has been a pretty successful GM over his career. Correct?

Posted by: sgm3 | October 7, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

I can pummel $100 bucks at the Phone Booth by myself if I am hanging with the boy'z. PhilR, I am sure 2 kids are buzzsaws.

y'all think there will be an kind of ceremony saturday night related to the Pres Trophy or winning SE division, or do you think the Caps are sufficiently embarrassed that there will be little fanfare??

Posted by: doughless | October 7, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

@Doughless
Yup totally agree though I don't like 5 Guys. I would also like to see a few of the "locals" get a crack at a stand or something. Yea I have a hard time paying $8 for a Bud. I can get almost a case at Costco for that price. I've already told my kids $5 for an ounce of Dipping Dots is OUT.
Ted take note, I bet you see a lot of folks eating/drinking before and after games outside or worse at home.

Posted by: Iceman10 | October 7, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

getting a couple of pre-game bevvies is a must. Was at Irish Channel last friday nite. gotta figure where to stop saturday and monday to get my game face on.

Posted by: doughless | October 7, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

How many coaches has Lou Lamirello had? He has been a pretty successful GM over his career. Correct?

Posted by: sgm3 |

what the heck does that even mean? He's won the Cup with different coaches. He had the ballz to fire his coach before the playoffs started despite the coach having a great reg season record that year. Do you think McPhee would ever do that?

no correlation between McPhee and Lou L at all. A great GM can win with different coaches. And he has the guts and vision to make the right move at the right time (i.e. firing Ftorek and replacing with Robinson). And then letting Robinson go when he outlived his usefulness.

Posted by: cstanton1 | October 7, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, George McPhee is consistent. Every year he extolls the virtues of the "Hershey pipeline" and every year he ignores the pre season "Competiton" and forms his roster from an obviously predetermined list. Not only is this practice sickening ( To me ) it's highly unfair to the players.
Last year his explanation was that his opening night players had "Earned the right" to be there from their previous season's play. HUH?!!!!! That's what the man said. And, then there're those who wonder why the team displays such an obvious sense of complacency. Well, when there's no real competition for roster spots, what does one expect the guys attitudes to be?
This year, Mathieu Perreault EARNED a roster spot by his outstanding play during the preseason. In my mind, there's no question about that. But, McPhee GAVE the spot to the Swede, with a bunch of verbal mumbo jumbo that supposedly explains his non - decision. It's obvious he intended to have MJ on the opening night roster ALL THE WHILE.
I won't argue the A. Gordon, or J. Beagle demotions. They're nowhere near as clear cut. But, I'm thoroughly disgusted by the MP vs MJ decision. Again, typical McGeorge.
A year ago I predicted that Neuvy would prove himself to be a far superior goalie than Varly. What's transpired since then has merely made me even more convinced. What mystifies Puckguru is how Varly could ever be considered a top flight prospect in the first place. THE GUY CAN'T CATCH THE PUCK! Period. It's kind of like being hailed a a great hitting prospect who can't hit a curve ball. Oh well.
Right here, right now let me go on record as predicting an eerily similar regular and playoff season result as last year. Incredibly, McGeorge has convinced himself that the same bunch of spineless wimps will somehow morph into world beaters. Sorry, sports fans. IT SIMPLY AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. Too many wimps ( Sarge, Flash, E. Fehr, Greenie ( Yes, Mike Green ) B. Gordon, etc. Oh, well. McGeorge obviously will never be held accountable by Mr. Ted, so HERE WE GO AGAIN!!!!!

Posted by: Puckguru | October 7, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

How many tough guys do you want on a 23 man roster?

How many did Chicago have last year?

I don't think DJ King was brought to Washington for his sparkling personality or his skating.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 7, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

You should love Johansson. Unlike Perreault he has decent size and is a solid backchecker and special teams player.

Perreault is another 5'9 squirt who can poke in a few goals.

After leading the league in goals last year, doesn't Washington already have enough of that kind of player?

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | October 7, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@RoyHobbs - totally agree on both counts, MJ and DJ King.

Well, it took me a minute to get on board with King - until I realized he was the guy who took on Boogard, that dude's scary. I've long felt guys like Downie, Campbell etc. take way too many liberties with our skill players, and I'm glad that need was addressed.

Posted by: govtimbo | October 7, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

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