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Morrison: 'I'm Back on Track'

Here are a few notes from the conference call with the newly acquired Brendan Morrison:

*The soon-to-be 34-year-old said he's pretty much been told that he was signed in the hopes that he can fill the second-line center role.

"That was the initial talks we've had and kind of what we've discussed," he said. "Obviously, I know nothing is guaranteed and they don't hand out positions. But if I get my game back in order and play the way I'm capable of playing, then that's the role I want and the role I hope to fill."

*Morrison did not miss a game from 2000-2007. But since then, he's had surgeries on his wrist, right knee (ACL), hip and groin/abdomen (sports hernia). All the injuries reduced his trademark burst of speed -- the one asset that always helped him overcome his smallish stature -- and also contributed to the dip in his productivity, he said.

"When I started [last season], I thought I was healthy but my legs didn't start coming around until probably the three quarter mark of the season," he said. "Skating had always been one of my assets and I was having real difficulty getting to places and challenging guys and beating guys. It was frustrating. But I felt the last 20 games of the season my legs started to come back. I have no doubt that I will be back and be skating well and feeling strong. The last couple of summers, because of the surgeries, I haven't been able to work out the way I had been accustomed to in the past. This summer I'm back on track."

*To make sure he was 100 percent, the Caps brought him to Washington last week. He was seen by head athletic trainer Greg Smith and team physician Ben Shaffer.

"He has a clean bill of health and is committed to coming to camp in great shape," GM George McPhee said through a team spokesman. "We think he could really flourish here."

*Morrison played two seasons on the same line with the second newest Capital, Mike Knuble, at University of Michigan. They also skated together during the lockout for Linkoping in the SEL. Morrison said he hasn't spoken to Knuble today, but the two talked last week and are excited about being reunited.

*As many as six teams were interested in Morrison's services, he said. But all of them were only offering one year. So he picked the Caps because it's where he felt he fit best and had the best chance of winning.

"To be frank with you, the one-year deal is the best option for me, too," he said. "It's a big year for me personally."

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  July 10, 2009; 8:13 PM ET
 
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Comments

First! Not a bad bet for $1.5 MM

I don't think BB's recent comments endorse Laich to fill Feds shoes, so every reason to believe Morrison will be the 2nd line center.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | July 10, 2009 8:22 PM | Report abuse

First a wing that crashes the net; then a possible second line center for cheap.

If they can give up a package for a solid defenseman without losing too many quality parts, this team rates as a Cup contender entering the season.

Posted by: pga6 | July 10, 2009 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I really like this move.

Now the interesting thing about the off-season will be who McPhee moves out in order to get under the cap.

Posted by: eggseronius | July 10, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I guarantee he is not guaranteed the 2nd line center. He has his work cutout for him to EARN the spot along with Nyls, Stecks, and Laich. Should make for an interesting summer...

Posted by: gonchpup | July 10, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

From my previous post this is absolutely and FANTASTIC signing. I've loved this guy's game since he came in to the league with Vancouver. Great 2 way player and a more than adequate replacement for Feds at 25% the cost. I don't even care if anything is done with the D. I think the D is fine so long as it doesn't involve Schultz as a full time player. Replace Schultz with Alzner and I think we're contending anyway. We are a vastly better team then we were on June 30th. Both signings are great on the PK so that's addressed as well in these signings. Don't know that GMGM could have done a better job with what he had to work with. Excellent work GMGM.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 10, 2009 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Washington D.C. B-Mo

Posted by: SombreroGuy | July 10, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Say it ain't soooooooooo

Posted by: allenradwill | July 10, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I still think Schultz is better than most give him credit for. He is a fairly good puck handler and smart with his outlet passes, and a +12 or something like that? He's big, so everyone expects his role to be more physical, but that's just not his game. I like Alzner as well and feel he played fairly well with the Caps when given the chance. The coaching staff obviously felt Schultz was a better bet for the bulk of last season and I have complete confidence in their decisions. Both of these kids will continue improving and I, for one, would prefer the "patience" approach as opposed to buying an expensive veteran. With this young team, we are in for some great hockey for many seasons to come.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 10, 2009 9:02 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: Not to be picky, but I am picky...

Your words: "Morrison will at least be a Fedorov equilalent but at 25% of the cost."

1.5 is not 25% of 4.0 but 37.5%. Plus, Feds never would have been paid 4.0 for the coming year. At best, he would have made maybe 2.5. So Morrison is 60% then of Fedorov...who only played 52 or so games...when Morrison played 81...so pts per game, Feds at 2.5 equals Morrison at 1.5...plus Feds has better leadership...plus Feds was way better at faceoffs...and could play defense when needed....no, I say Feds at 2.5 is better value then Morrison at 1.5, except that Feds has become an old man, hard for me to say when I'm in my 50's and feeling as chipper as ever.

I've about finished the bottle of wine, and this deal isn't yet looking any better. Maybe the deal only looks good if Gordon would be earning like 1.2 and they move Gordo for a very high #2 and you are gaining Morrison's leadership for a difference of $300K. Comparing Morrison to Fedorov though at what Feds could've possibly been signed for doesn't work for me unless Feds held to the 4 million.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:04 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup,

Nyls ? That's a joke, right? :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | July 10, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

No joke with Nyls. He can contend. He is in much the position as Schultz... once a player is blackballed by some fans, the rest have a tendency to look for faults and not the positives. Every team needs players with different assets. Puck control is his. It worked well for him with Jagr a couple years ago and the fans had no real issues when we picked him up again. Let these centers put it all on the line this camp and see who Bruce feels will contribute the most.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 10, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup,

Nyls ? That's a joke, right? :-)

Posted by: dezlboy1 | July 10, 2009 9:06 PM

Morrison's points per game played last year were lower than Nylander's. Yet Nylander has been derided in D.C. more than anyone save GW Bush. And now Morrison has been ordained the Second Coming of the Lord.

At this moment in time, how can a reasonable person assume Morrison will outperform Nylander next year?

Are we banking on his super faceoff percentage? His super-duper points percentage of .375 pts per game?

Find me another Cup-challenging team whose 2nd line center averages only .375 pts per game. As excited as the Knuble signing made me, this one has me yawning.

Can someone spell out in compelling fashion why Brendan Morrison is better than Micheal Nylander?

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

How do you know Feds was going to come back at $2.5M? I suspect no one knows that except him, and it would have been more of a cap-buster than this deal.
Anyway, slice the stats and the money anyway you want. The fact was, Morrison played in 81 games and Feds played 52. Durability is a factor in the NHL, especially with the salary cap.

Posted by: pga6 | July 10, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

@gonchpup,

I would love to see Nyls come back next year, fully healed, and be great. But, he is going to have to change some of his game to keep up with the coach's "go go go" system, vice Nyls tendency to hold the puck and do that spinning keep away trick.

Posted by: dezlboy1 | July 10, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

$4.875 million vs. $1.5 million

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 10, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Agree with pga6 - Feds hadn't played a complete season since 03-04. Morrison is cheaper, younger, and (aside from injuries the past 2 seasons) has been consistant and healthy. Good signing.

Not to mention, Feds comanded $4 million after a 07-08 season that was very similar to last season. Considering he took a deal in Russia for 2 years & $3 million/year, what makes you think he'd sign for $2.5 for 1 year here?

Posted by: eggseronius | July 10, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Huh. I hope he proves out. If so this could be as big of a deal as was the Knuble acquisition (in terms of fit and bang for buck). But I'm not convinced yet ... bring it, Brendan!!

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 9:36 PM | Report abuse

If nothing else, Morrison will be happy to be reunited with Knuble.

For the money, Morrison was not a bad pickup. Plus, it's only a 1 year deal. Fedorov at his prime was much better, except Feds had gotten too old to play the role we need him to play.

Not ready to give up on Schultz just yet. I'm assuming we trade some people on defense, either Morrisonn or even Poti.

Nylander just hasn't fit in our system. I don't know if his injury contributed a great deal to that situation as well.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 10, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Now that I have seemingly defended Nylander, I have to point out this:

Every time he had the puck, and an opposing player came within one stride of a check, Nyles coughed it up in an instant. Was he trying to play through a still-injured shoulder? I have watched Nylander for some years, and we have yet to see the player who played for the Rangers in 2006-07. He looked last year like he was afraid of his own shadow. I try and not be critical of hockey players in this way, to question their toughness, since no one ever tries to run me into my computer screen, but I have never, ever, ever seen a player more apt to cough up the puck before being hit than the 2008-09 version of Micheal Nylander.

If he really has a problem, send him to a specialist or buy him out.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Did I say Feds would have signed for $2.5M? No, I said Morrison at 1.5 was not a better value than the most I would've paid Feds.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

@tominfl1

$4.875 million vs. $1.5 million

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 10, 2009 9:32 PM

freakin: I will try and bite my fingers here...your post makes...zero sense. The fact that they already signed Nylander for that amount absolutely, positively has no bearing on how much they pay Morrison, two years later, in a down market.

By your logic, Morrison would be a "steal" at $4.5M.

Man, and McPhee got him for one-third of that!

Maybe I will pull a John Kerry come next spring: "I was against the Morrison signing before I supported it." But, for now, I am against it.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

Don't think it'll be Schultz that moves for one simple fact - cap hit. They need to clear more salary than Schultz's cap hit provides, and they need to be able to replace whoever they move with a player who makes less than they do. This means they probably won't move anyone much under $2m or they won't get anywhere.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 10, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Look, here's the bottom line:

If Morrison expends second-line minutes (18 mins/game) next year and only produces 31 points, like he did this past year, I will say that the Caps will have wasted the opportunity to allow a Hershey graduate to fulfill that role (and, in the case of Chris Bourque, we could lose him to waivers). OTOH, if Morrison ups his production to, say, 50 pts, 20-30-50, and improves his faceoff proficiency to nearly 50%, and chips in on the PK, then he will be a soild upgrade to the player he displaces, very likely Boyd Gordon, and worthy of that salary.

I will say here and now that 45 pts is about the midpoint value of his contract. The merits of the deal will speak for themselves when the numbers are in.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

you gotta be kidding... just about ANYONE will outperform Nylander at this point. You gotta be on the ice to contribute and in case you haven't noticed he AIN'T getting any ice time. I'm not 100 percent sure what the deal is with him but healthy scratches don't help you win.

Also I haven't heard anyone say signing of Morrison was " the Second Coming of the Lord", not even close. It's a solid signing with what they had under the cap, GET A GRIP!!!

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:05 PM | Report abuse

As many as six teams were interested in Morrison's services, he said. But all of them were only offering one-year. So he picked the Caps because it's where he felt he fit best and had the best chance of winning.

its so nice to be loved! Free agents weighing offers and going "Oh, skating with Ovechkin? Please, where do I sign?"

Posted by: RedBirdie | July 10, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Not to be picky, but I am picky...

1.5 is not 25% of 4.0 but 37.5%. Plus, Feds never would have been paid 4.0 for the coming year. At best, he would have made maybe 2.5.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 9:04 PM

You used your made up $2.5 to indicate that the value of signing Morrison over Fedorov was not as great as pokerface indicated. You don't say this is the most "you" would have paid for him, but instead the most he would have made if he resigned with the Caps. Thus, you implied that if Feds signed it would have been for $2.5 m.

Posted by: eggseronius | July 10, 2009 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Again, I think the jury is out on our 2,3, and 4 centers. I doubt it will happen, but imagine if Gus Jr. comes out like a banshee! I'm sure he will not be as "turn-key" as Backstrom, but in a year or two.... in the meantime, as I said earlier, we have Nyls, Laich, Steckel, Gordo, and now Morrison. Wipe the slate clean and let them go. Let them fight for their spot. Will Morrison find some jump in his legs? Will Nylander be able to adapt his game to fit the team? The talent is there with both of them, but who is ready to go the distance for that spot? Bruce will, no doubt, consider every aspect of what each player brings and then decide which is the best fit and looks most promising.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 10, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Also I don't care if they lose Chris Bourque or Boyd Gordon... since when have they become indispensible?

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that this signing looks nice and low-risk on paper, but this one season is BMo's make-or-break season. Given his last two years, if he can't produce on a high-octane offense like the Caps', he's done in the NHL. Gives him impetus to work but there is some risk for us as well.

I'm not convinced yet either ... jury's out for me. I've got a gut feeling that this may not be all it's cracked up to be. We'll see what happens - I hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 10, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Bourque has some sentimental value, and I appreciate his fire, but am not sure what his actual production would be if he stayed up with the big boys for a length of time... not sure how it would all play out.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 10, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

they didn't give him the Nylander money, it's only for ONE year. I'm sure he knows better than anyone that it's a make or break season for him. It's a no risk deal for the Caps.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

Gordon, while not indispensable, is a very cheap face-off expert of PK'er. I posted many times on the undeniable value of being able to throw both Steckel and Gordon out on the ice in PK situations and having confidence that they will win the face-off.

Posted by: RedBirdie | July 10, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

@joek443: I don't mean to be rude, but I think I just said that. The only risk I see is that the logjam in Hershey continues - or that we're cap-jammed again at the deadline, not a wonderful scenario. It's a question now of who GMGM moves to get us back under the cap.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 10, 2009 10:30 PM | Report abuse

here's another ridiculous list... the "thrill" list

Hall of Fame writer Michael Farber's list for hockey is sure to engage debate, most notably because of one "great" exception:

10. Mario Lemieux
9. Dominik Hasek(notes)
8. Paul Coffey
7. Pavel Bure
6. Guy LaFleur
5. Gilbert Perreault
4. Bobby Hull
3. Alexander Ovechkin(notes)
2. Maurice Richard
1. Bobby Orr

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm not especially enthusiastic about this signing, but I'm not completely opposed yet - we'll see what happens.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 10, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

I don't mean to be rude either but who gives a rats a$$ if that creates a logjam in hershey.. that's GMGM's problem.

as fans, do we really have to worry about that sort of stuff? they have people who actually get PAID to worry about stuff like that.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

joek443:
No risk deal? Any time money is tied up there is a risk (at a minimum it's opportunity cost). If he does not pan out it could be the difference between the Caps being able to and not being able to afford the right player. That is a risk. It may be low risk, but it is certainly not no risk. So let's just hope that he's right and this is his year!

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Also I don't care if they lose Chris Bourque or Boyd Gordon... since when have they become indispensible?

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:12 PM |

You heard it here first: Chris Bourque and Boyd Gordon, together, will garnish more pts per game per dollar paid than Morrison.

You don't think Boyd Gordon is indispensible? Try winning a Stanley Cup when your team has a $9.5M player w/o a 4th liner making $700K. The numbers don't add.

joek443: You suggested I needed a "grip." Then you said, "About anyone would outperform Nylander." Well, excuse me, but Nylander in pts per game outperformed Morrison last year.

Morrison needs to up his production from 31 pts to 50 pts (Laich this year had like 53 pts at $1.7M) to make the contract worth while. Forget what Nylander makes - I'm willing to bet if Aucoin plays 15 mins/game we will get 40 pts from his $500K. Now explain why pushing him aside for Morrison makes economic/rationale sense. Where are the Dallas fans crying because they lost Morrison and his $2.7M salary and his 31 points?

For sure, I want Morrison to succeed. I even want NYLANDER to succeed. It's just a matter of what I want versus what I reasonably expect.

Why do you people expect Morrison to improve over last season? You think he's going to dive into the Potomac and drink its pure waters and discover the fountain of youth?

Dudes, please, pass the bowl down this way.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

--Boo-- ,

they are giving him 1.5 mil for one year. I don't know about you but that's a lot of money in my world but in the world they operate in it IS a no risk deal...

I mean who can you get these days for that kind of money in the NHL?

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

I'm no genius but last time I checked, you can score NO FRIGGIN point being a healthy scratch..

and you DO need to get a grip.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:47 PM | Report abuse

some people ALWAYS have to find something to complain about...

I mean who actually is anal enough to calculate "point/money"? they're giving him 1.5 mil for ONE YEAR. what was the deal for Nylander? like $20 mil for 4 or 5 years? and the guy is a healthy scratch... LMAO

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

joek443:
Hard to say. For all we know there could be a better option in Hershey. Or if we unloaded someone else that money could be combined with other money to afford someone bigger and better. Like I said - it's all about opportunity cost ... and it's a very complicated puzzle. I'm not saying it was a wrong move, I'm just saying it is not a no risk move. But hopefully it was least a VERY calculated risk.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

I don't mean to be rude either but who gives a rats a$$ if that creates a logjam in hershey.. that's GMGM's problem.

as fans, do we really have to worry about that sort of stuff? they have people who actually get PAID to worry about stuff like that.

Posted by: joek443

joek443: Your notes are making less and less sense. We have a code of conduct here, so I will simply chuckle to myself and move on.

HOWEVER, let's discuss that logjam at Hershey. Let's take, for instance, the curious case of Chris Bourque.

Bourque is a RFA and I fully expect one of the 30 NHL teams to offer him an NHL deal for under the threshhold of a 3rd round pick (like $900K or something). The caps can match or lose. If they don't match, because they've signed Morrison, you've lost what was a high #2 pick. Now, OTOH, let's say the caps match, but they can't keep him on the roster because he is the odd man out.

So they go to send him to that "logjam" that is Hershey except he must go through WAIVERS and he gets CLAIMED and you, essentially, lose him because you signed Morrison for one year.

A poster named JSchon comes on from time to time and explains the importance of moving the youth up to the parent team. I don't always agree 100% w/JSchon, but on this aspect I do. If you lose Boyd Gordon or Chris Bourque for some number of years, so that you can have Brendan Morrison for one year, and Morrison doesn't give you a Cup-challenging difference, then you have made a mistake.

Signing Knuble was a clear and marginal difference over whatever you could have gotten from one of the "Hershey kids." Signing Morrison...can we really say the same thing? If not, why do it?

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 10:58 PM | Report abuse

--Boo--

like I said to another guy, it's the job of GMGM to make those kinds of decisions and he gets paid a lot of money to do that.

that doesn't mean he can't be second-guessed but he's not going to keep his job if he keeps making the wrong decisions. I'd much rather let him worry about that sort of stuff since it's his job and just let things play out first.

I'm not going to add up any salary numbers or calculate the salary/point productions. I like the Caps but they don't pay me to worry about stuff like that.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

what has Chirs Bourque done in the NHL? just because he has a famous last name, doesn't mean he's going to be a PRODUCTIVE player.

Every young player in the minors has a potential to play in the NHL.. till they find out they can't play in the NHL.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Any chance we can wait and see how Morrison performs and what position he ends up playing? No sense in being the bitter relative who goes to an effing family gathering b*tching and complaining about everything without even giving it a fair chance.

It gets irritating when a discussion on hockey ends up with a bunch of adults trying their hand at fortune telling.

Let's be honest, regardless of how many scenarios the Capitals organization run through with trades, promotions from Hershey, and draft picks, it's going to be a crap shoot. Last I check too, whether any of their selections met the expectations of a majority of the fans, wasn't exactly on their list of things to consider when making them. So, yeah, chill out people. Surmise, politely contemplate, but geez, even if you end up being right, it ain't because you know more than the other person. And no, it doesn't make you a better GM than McPhee; it doesn't make you a better owner than Leonsis; it doesn't make you a better coach than Boudreau; oh, and yeah, it doesn't make you a better hockey player/fan/etc.

*sigh*

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 10, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1,

I'm no genius but last time I checked, you can score NO FRIGGIN point being a healthy scratch..

and you DO need to get a grip.

Posted by: joek443

JOEK:

I think you said it all in the first three words of your note.

Come back next April and stand up like a man and let's talk what Morrison did vs what you expected. I've been here 16 months or so and I will be here. I have eaten crow, like when I said Sloan would get $750K this year.

I didn't say Morrison would stink, I said he needs to get 50 pts to be of value. I pointed out that pts per game he scored less than Nylander this past year. You made some dopey comment about you can't score from the press box. I'm telling you, pts per game, this past year, based on GAMES PLAYED (which takes into account healthy scratches), Nylander outscored Morrison.

Please, dude, pass the bowl.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

Also Mike Knuble is a PROVEN commodity in the NHL. he's big and strong and in case you haven't noticed the Caps don't have enough guys who will stand in front of the other team's goalie and take punishment.

and he has played very well against the Caps over the years. and you're upset that he may take opportunity aways from young guys like Chris Bourque? LMAO are you serious???

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:12 PM | Report abuse

hey tominfl1,

did Nylander play in the playoffs???

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:14 PM | Report abuse

You guys are ridiculous.

All you guys do is preach for guys to do the little things that don't show up on paper. Well guess what guys...Morrison does that. And then when we sign him for nothing, everyone is all up in arms stating his point production over and over and over and over and over and over again.

If he does not do well, then put him on waivers. It is not a big deal.


Are people really suggesting for a career AHL'r to do better than an established NHL'r with tons of playoff experience? Based on what? One bad season on two horrible teams?

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:17 PM | Report abuse

I didn't say Morrison would stink, I said he needs to get 50 pts to be of value.
__________________________________________
A guy making 1.5 mil needs to get 50 pts?

Well hell, Ovie better net up 300+ points by this logic.


BMo is consistent. A worker, and great in the playoffs and in clutch situations. He never missed a game, has a ton of surgery and then has a bad year. Anyone who suggest that he is not capable of getting 20+ goals again must not watch too much hockey outside of the Capitals.

This was a great signing.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:20 PM | Report abuse

LOL like I just said, something people always have to find something to complain about

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

LOL like I just said, something people always have to find something to complain about

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:22 PM | Report abuse

Why do you people expect Morrison to improve over last season? You think he's going to dive into the Potomac and drink its pure waters and discover the fountain of youth?

Dudes, please, pass the bowl down this way.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 10:42 PM |

The real question is why do you expect him to continue his one bad year, coming off of surgery?

Again, I see no problem in thinking that, with our team, BMo will be capable of putting up 20-30=50+ again.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:25 PM | Report abuse

joek443:
Who's worried? I didn't say anything about being worried, I just said it is not a no risk deal. Period.

Rich:
I don't know a lot about BMo - most of what I know about him is on paper and not on the ice. Given that, I said who knows - maybe we would be better off with a guy from Hershey. I would rather take a healthy, consistent AHLer (and there are some really good ones in Hershey!) than a guy who misses over half of the season because of injury. Not that he will, but his track record for last few years is not great so it is a possibility. Again, not saying it was the wrong move, just that there is some risk there. I hope he is indeed "back" and that this is all a moot point ... guess we'll see soon enough! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 11:26 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1 probably is calculating all the points each player needs to score next season to earn their money... LOL

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:27 PM | Report abuse

joek: You are way off base. I have been 100% supportive of the Knuble signing.

richmondphil: Most of your posts make sense, so I'll give you a pass. But, did I ever say a career AHL player would do better than Morrison? Did you read? I said I expect Morrison to get 45 pts. Then I said Aucoin would get 40 pts if you gave him 15/mins per game. I added that the marginal difference between Aucoin's expected production at $500K and Morrison's at $1.5M didn't make sense to me.

I have been McPhee's most ardent supporter - two crappy moves since Ted forced him to trade for Jagr (the Pokuluk draft 1st round in '05 and the Nylander signing).

I see no sense in giving anyone $1.5M for 31 pts at #2 center. What are his intangibles? Certainly not in the faceoff dot. I'm not here to do anything except offer honest critique to what the team is doing...9 great moves and 1 move that I question...some of you need to wean yourselves of the red kool-aid IVs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Phil:
He has had a number of seasons when he has been out with injury, not just one. Frankly, you could say that he is injury prone. And it is hard to be consistent when you are always out ... Not to say that this can't be his bounce-back year, but questions/comments about that track record are still legitimate.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Track record for the past 2 years, you mean. BMo is the model of consistency and responsibility in both zones.

Give Perrault a shot sure, but I hardly doubt Aucoin would ever do better than BMo, in any situation. There is a reason some of these guys are 26+ and still in the AHL...


I love this signing. He is great in the playoffs, and just a workhorse.

Give me a potent winger like Semin, and I am anticipating good things....

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:33 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

Uh, no that is not true at all. He only had 1 season with injuries; 07-08. It was just a ton of different injuries. He has one of the longest ironman streaks in the NHL ever....

I don't see why, after showing that he can play a full NHL season again after the injuries, that he can re-pick his game up again.

@tominfl1

Pardon me tom, but did I ever say tominfl1? No need for the personal attacks now there. I think it is a safe assumption everyone here can read, right?

And are you accusing me of being blinded by red? Um...I guess..but you are familiar with my track record here right? I am usually the one dissenting about something or another....

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:37 PM | Report abuse

geez Aucoin is a career minor leaguer who is almost 30...

Rob Weber always used to say that if given the opportunity, lots of the "career minor leaguers" would put up decent numbers in the NHL. That may be true but GMs and coaches don't get to keep their jobs if they don't produce enough wins.

you would think that they would let anyone and everyone who can help them win play.

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

oops I mean Ron Weber

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:39 PM | Report abuse

tominfl1

one can win a lot of arguments if one takes both sides of the arguments like you do.. LMAO

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

What are his intangibles? Certainly not in the faceoff dot. I'm not here to do anything except offer honest critique to what the team is doing...9 great moves and 1 move that I question...some of you need to wean yourselves of the red kool-aid IVs.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 11:31 PM |

Intangibles?

-He actually is a two-way player. Maybe this can rub off on Semin and Flash and some others.
-He digs in the corners.
-Net presence.
-Leader.
-Pinnacle of Consistency.
-Hard-worker
-Great in clutch situations.
-Great in the playoffs
-Veteran presence
-Is retardedly quick. (dont know how quick he is now, but he used to be at least.)

After never missing a game 7 seasons in a row, he has a bunch of injuries. He returns the next year and has his worst year ever. But, and here is the important part, he played almost every single game last year.

Refresh him, give him another potent winger like Semin, (he hasnt had any skilled guys on his wing since Naslund when Naslund was good) and I predict great things.

All for just 1.5....I'll take it.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Again, I see no problem in thinking that, with our team, BMo will be capable of putting up 20-30=50+ again.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:25 PM

Phil: I very clearly, over and over and over and over and over, said that if Morrison gets 50 pts, he is of value. Then you come and criticize my opinion with your opinion that he will get 50 pts.

Let me tell you how I have been trained by the world's largest defense contractor: I give you a variety of outcomes and tell you which are of value and which aren't. So, here goes:

1) Morrison scores less than 40 pts. In this outcome, he has effectively blocked the path of one of the Hershey "kids."
2) Morrison scores between 41 and 49 pts. He has earned his value.
3) Morrison scores more than 50 pts. In this scenario, he has outperformed the contract and given the Caps a bonus.

This is what I put in every single God forsaken note. I don't mind for an instant if Morrison blocks Chris Bourque if he, Morrison, gets 70 pts and plays a leadership role and the Caps get to the ECF.

Are you the Great Carnac though and can you predict exactly what Bourque will do in his career? Can you predict for certain that letting him go so you can have one year of Morrison is the right thing? All I am doing is pointing out the opposrtunity cost of this move, some other financial professional already put forth that term, either kitty or -boo-, and that is precisely the value to which I have tried to relate to the signing.

I am not a communist; I am not an Islamic Fundamentalist terrorist; I am not a Penguins fan; I am just relating the $1.5M to what we could have had otherwise.

Are my notes so difficult to comprehend? For C's sake, I've only had a bottle-and-a-half of wine. It's not like I came on here after hard drinking and started rambling.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 10, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

Phil:
We must be looking at different stats - I saw more than one season with missed games and relatively low production.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I see tominfl1's concern, as well as kittypawz, Boo, etc. It is a completely valid point to bring up. Why, when we could have capable guys in the system, especially given our Salary Cap situation.


I just don't understand the harsh criticism on BMo. Paint me optimistic, but I think he is going to flourish here in WSH.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Phil:
We must be looking at different stats - I saw more than one season with missed games and relatively low production.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 10, 2009 11:48 PM |

Must be.

From 2000-2007, BMo never missed one game.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 10, 2009 11:52 PM | Report abuse

listening to tominfl1's rants, you would think that he's the one who just wasted 1.5 mil of own money on Morrison...

Posted by: joek443 | July 10, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

News alert:

Giroux: Is not a Cap option.

He is a defined 'tweener'


Posted by: ralCapsFan | July 10, 2009 11:53 PM | Report abuse

I thought we were just having a nice little back and forth here, but after that last rant, I don't even feel like responding.

Step off your pedestal...take a deep breath, and relax.

I also said nothing about Bourque, you may want to keep your train of thoughts in line with which poster you are talking to. Someone who was taught business by the world's largest defense contractor should surely have some sense of reading comprehension.

Unfortunately, I was not trained by the world's largest defense contractor, so my lack of reading comprehension is excusable.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

I also concede my point about understanding what Tom, kitty, and Boo are trying to say. I sent that before I saw his rant.

Evidently, I don't understand anything.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Phil: Actually, I have a good deal of respect from having read your posts for quite some time. Plus, if I recall, you have played the game quite a bunch more than I have (a few pond games when I was a kid in Detroit in the 60s). I am going to buy into your expectation that, point for point scored, Morrison is better than Nylander. If you have watched him and you think he is value at $1.5M, well, maybe I should just shut up and give him a chance. I always remember him as a gritty player, and, if there's one thing we all agree on, the Caps needed more grit against the Penguins.

Again, I have always respected your opinion, and apologize if my tone at any time with you was out of line. I prefer to remain a gentleman at all times during my discourse but do understand that, from time to time, my patience can wear thin.

I believe with another glass of wine (or maybe a shot of tequila) I will mellow out and no longer be that fiesty individual you read above.

Yours,
tominfl1

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

well I'll sleep better knowing that tominfl1 was trained by the world's largest defense contractor...

did they produce the golden toilets?? God Bless America!

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:07 AM | Report abuse

No worries, we are all getting a little bit too worked up over this, my self included.

Seriously, we are getting worked up over what should be good news no matter what. GMGM is obviously trying to make our team better. Whether it pans out...well, we shall see.


I didn't expect this signing to happen, I don't think anyone did. I was certain no more signings were going to happen unless a trade happened. But it happened, and I am happy with it.

If BMo returns to his normal form, he will make a great 2nd line center. If he doesn't...well then waive him later and call up someone. there is the potential that he bombs, and he creates more salary cap/roster hell for us, which seems to be your concern. At 1.5 mil though, I think the potential payout outweighs the risk here.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:14 AM | Report abuse

Phil:
Dude, I'm not sure why you're so fired up. I am not being critical of BMo, I'm just saying that he is a bit of an unknown given his injury history and the fact that he has not had huge production recently. Hopefully that will change and he will find his old game with the Caps. Not saying that won't be the case, just that it's a question. It's not harsh criticism, just a question. No biggie.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 12:23 AM | Report abuse

you know, the NHL has made all these rules changes since the lockout to free up the game. But last year there was only a couple of guys who had over a hundred points. Guys like Gretzky and Lemieux used to have 100 points by the allstar break.

Looking at that free agent signings, if you can score a point a game nowadays, you are an elite player. I remember the days when a point a game player was just a good player. what has happened? what am I missing here?? LOL

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

1ST PRD: VAN - JARKKO RUUTU 1 (HENRIK SEDIN, DANIEL SEDIN) 18:01
2ND PRD: VAN - (PP) DANIEL SEDIN 1 (BRENT SOPEL, HENRIK SEDIN) 5:32
VAN - BRAD MAY 1 (GEOFF SANDERSON, ARTEM CHUBAROV) 6:42
VAN - GEOFF SANDERSON 1 (MATTIAS OHLUND, MARKUS NASLUND)
10:15
CGY - OLEG SAPRYKIN 2 (ROBYN REGEHR, CRAIG CONROY) 10:31
CGY - VILLE NIEMINEN 1 (MIKE COMMODORE) 12:38
3RD PRD: CGY - MARTIN GELINAS 1 (CHRIS CLARK, ROBYN REGEHR) 1:14
CGY - CHRIS CLARK 2 (ROBYN REGEHR, MARCUS NILSON) 12:56
OT: NONE
2ND OT: NONE
3RD OT: VAN - BRENDAN MORRISON 2 (MARKUS NASLUND) 2:28

BMo digs the puck out of the corner and puts it past Kipper.

One of the many reasons why I love him. He ain't no superstar, but he shows up in the playoffs.

(also funny to see Clark's name up on there)

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:25 AM | Report abuse

At 1.5 mil though, I think the potential payout outweighs the risk here.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:14 AM

Phil: For 2009-2010, you are 100% correct. I don't think anyone questions whether or not BMo outperforms Chris Bourque next year. My point, and I should have been more clear, is long term. Let's say Columbus offers Bourque around $950K for next year, an NHL deal, just below the 3rd round pick threshhold, and we can't keep him due to cap/roster constraints. So, we lose him and get nothing. IMHO, Bourque isn't just a bum to let walk. However, when you have too many NHL contracts, you end up letting guys go cuz you can't keep the numbers.

So, my opinion, now and forever, is that BMo needs to offer enough next year to potentially offset what Bourque would give you over 4 yrs (until otherwise he'll be a UFA).

The Caps are transitioning from a "development team" to a "do it now team," so these situations will manifest themselves from time to time.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Looking at that free agent signings, if you can score a point a game nowadays, you are an elite player. I remember the days when a point a game player was just a good player. what has happened? what am I missing here?? LOL

the goalies have gotten better, the goalie equipment has gotten better, D-men are better, defensive schemes are much better, obstruction is no longer an accepted part of the game, and on and on and on.

Posted by: RedBirdie | July 11, 2009 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Phil:
"I think the potential payout outweighs the risk here."
Exactly what I was saying! It is a risk. May not be a huge risk, but a risk nonetheless. I did not say it was right or wrong, just that it was a risk. I'll leave it to GMGM to do his homework and calculate those risks. That was all I was trying to say before I got beat up for supposedly picking on poor little defenseless BMo! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 12:30 AM | Report abuse

Dude, I'm not sure why you're so fired up. I am not being critical of BMo, I'm just saying that he is a bit of an unknown given his injury history and the fact that he has not had huge production recently. Hopefully that will change and he will find his old game with the Caps. Not saying that won't be the case, just that it's a question. It's not harsh criticism, just a question. No biggie.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 12:23 AM

No big deal. I understand that, but I feel like he is being critiqued a bit unfairly.

He played all 82 games for 7 seasons, and runs into some serious injury problems. He worked through them, came back, and put up lousy numbers. Anaheim fans hated him. He gets picked up on waives, and significantly picks up his game in Dallas over his game in Anaheim. 3-6=9 in 19 games..that is only a slight drop in production compared to us usual output. And he did anchor the second line in Dallas, while he was given 4th line duties in Anaheim. But during all this during his first year back off injuries, he manages to play every game practically. Only missed ones due to being a healthy scratch.

Maybe he will bomb...the critiques are valid, but I think they are skewed a bit. It looks worse for him than it really is I think. Getting waived is never a good sign, but I think all he needs are some fresh legs around him. It seems like he never found his groove in Anaheim, but was back on track somewhat in Dallas.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

RedBirdie, I hear what you're saying but don't you think they should do something about that?

did any team average over 4 goals/game last year? I don't think there was any that was even close. where is the OOOOOffense??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:37 AM | Report abuse

Phil:
I hope you're right. Like I said in my first post on the subject ... bring it, Brendan! :-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 12:43 AM | Report abuse

So, my opinion, now and forever, is that BMo needs to offer enough next year to potentially offset what Bourque would give you over 4 yrs (until otherwise he'll be a UFA).

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 12:29 AM |

Fair enough, but this only holds if it happens to turn out this way.

Personally, I think GMGM is smart enough to make a signing like this and not lose any of his beloved RFAs. He probably has a plan in the works. GMGM is known, as we all know, to be very very frugal with his picks/drafts. It would be out of character almost to see GMGM give away a basically NHL-ready prospect at the risk of another potential "Nylander."

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:44 AM | Report abuse

@Boo

I hope I am right too, haha.

we gotta remember sometimes, we all want the same thing here. To see our Caps do well. Only time will tell how effective these 2 FA signings will be...

Anyways, if BMo makes me eat my words half way next season, you guys are allowed to rag on me for it forever! :)

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1: my $4.875 vs. 1.5 makes sense if you consider the fact that I think this move was made in part to force Nylander out. There is no longer a slot for him on the roster to even compete for. It is another way of trying to force him to Europe/Russia.

As for purely production reasons as to why this move was made. Under Boudreau he has 15 goals and 36 assists for 41 points in 91 games and was scratched for almost the entire playoffs. He is clearly on the downside of his career and doesn't fit into Boudreau's Caps.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 11, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Phil:
You are right - we all do want the same thing. But you don't have to eat your words if you are wrong - I never said he was not the answer; I'm still undecided. So while I don't agree with you, I don't disagree either. Now I can't make you eat your words for that, can I? Having said that I do think Knuble was the way to go and I expect him to payoff with dividends. We'll see, I suppose. OK, I'm outta here - ya'all have a good one!

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 1:06 AM | Report abuse

Plenty of ruffled feathers tonight. Maybe I can offer a fresh perspective. I think it comes down to the depth chart. If you look at it from the point of view not of Morrison taking Bourque's place but of who fits where than it might make more sense. Boudreau likes 3 scoring lines and 1 checking line. So you need 3 pretty good offensive centers and you lose 1 to the KHL. Laich, Steckel or Gordon won't fit as the second line center and Bourque, while he did play center at one time, is probably better suited as a left wing. Bourque would be behind Ovi, Flash and Laich on the depth chart. So maybe the plan is to get rid of Gordon and put Bourque on the checking line left wing. Maybe Fehr is headed out. There are many possibilities. We don't know yet where everyone is going to fit in, and it's probably too early to get upset over things like that. I would think that both Fehr and Gordon could be expendable if cap space is needed. Everything is pretty fluid and McPhee has a lot of options

Posted by: tempusfugitrgv | July 11, 2009 1:07 AM | Report abuse

And another thing: maybe Bourque just needs to move on. Seems like small guys sometimes need a change of scenery to really blossom. I'm thinking mostly of St. Louis and Briere who both had to change teams to really hit their stride. I don't think it would be a disaster for the organization if Chris Bourque moved elsewhere. The organization has plenty of depth, or can replenish through free agency. This move makes me think that McPhee is looking ahead to the playoffs. And if BMo fits well he can be signed for another year

Posted by: tempusfugitrgv | July 11, 2009 1:13 AM | Report abuse

I know this isn't likely to happen but don't they at least have to consider widening the ice surface? Maybe not to the international level of 100 feet but somewhere in between 85 and 100 to really free up the game?

there should be at least a few teams that average over 4 goals/game every year.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 1:19 AM | Report abuse

And then you would lose primo, and muy expensive front row seating to accomodate that extra ice. No way the greedy owners ever stand for that!

Posted by: tempusfugitrgv | July 11, 2009 1:24 AM | Report abuse

After all this talk about value and everything, has anyone considered the possibility of getting rid of Chris Clark?

While everybody loves him and he is a good captain who all the players like, is he worth $2.633 mil/year? If he overcomes his prior injuries and regains his form then yes, but if he is relagated to 4th line duties, as it seems he will be, then he may be a player taking up too much cap space for his position. That 4th line position might be better served by a younger, cheaper player from Hershey.

I'm not saying the Caps should get rid of him, and I love Chris Clark, but I think the possibility has to be considered.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 11, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

I don't know about getting rid of Chris Clark but don't think he should continue to be the captain.

OV should now be the captain of the team. Crosby wears the C on his jersey, so for no other reason he should wear the C on his as well.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 1:32 AM | Report abuse

I agree with that.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 11, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

With BMo and Knuble coming in here, both known for their locker room presence, maybe Clarks leadership and role here in Washington is at an end.

I like Clark as well, and find him a great fit for the 3rd line (boooo fehr), but his contract is somewhat bogging us down. Here is hoping he can return to his feisty self next season.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

I wasn't even thinking about the additions of BMo and Knuble but they defintely do make Clark more expendable.

I wouldn't be shocked if he is moved as a way to make cap room. Either traded or sent to the minors. It just seems like it's coming, especially with the addition of Knuble.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 11, 2009 1:46 AM | Report abuse

This just struck me,but do you think that BMo signing might possibly be hinting that the Caps are going to take the compensation for Jurcina? I mean, 1.5 doesn't sound to far of of what he is going to be awarded, maybe a little more, but maybe we are seeing Juice out of here.

I like him, but maybe it is time to let him walk simply for the fact that he is the easiest to let go of.

Is Finley ready to step in next year? Carlson and Godfrey, not so much, but Finley will be 24. Is he ready?

Then there is still ShaMo, and even Schultz. For some reason, people always leave him out of the equation. As easy as it sounds to just forget about him, that is another contract on the back end we must deal with.

It really is a clusterbuck back there at the blue line...

Green, Poti, Pothier, Schultz, ShaMo, Erskine, Alzner, Carlson, Godfrey, Finley, Jurcina...

Who is going to be the odd man out? Trade? I hope so...

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 1:51 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be shocked if he is moved as a way to make cap room. Either traded or sent to the minors. It just seems like it's coming, especially with the addition of Knuble.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 11, 2009 1:46 AM |

At 2.6 cap hit, and then 1.3 on waives, if we sent him down he would probably get picked up by another team.

I am also not too sure if he has any trade stock really, coming off all his injuries. Maybe back to Calgary? Don't really know what we would get for him though at this point.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

You know whats so irritating? When people who have never (or barely) ever seen the guy play so they search his #'s on the internet and classify him as "x" player and this is a bad move because of "x". Please spare me the investigations. I and others have seen this guy play for over 10 yrs. Read Tarik's article, BMo was completely injury free throughout his entire career with the exception of the past 2 yrs. He blew an ACL for crying out loud. It always takes 1 good yr before somebody can come back from that type of injury in any professional sport (ie. Pavel Bure, Carson Palmer etc.). Last yr was his recovery yr and he even stated he felt his legs come back the last 20 games of the season. If you haven't seen the guy play how can you have an opinion. GMGM is taking a very cautious gamble here at a very low financial risk from a $ and term standpoint. I've wanted this guy to be a Cap ever since he came in the league. Can stats tell you how well he backchecks? Can stats tell you how he goes in a corner as the smaller guy and wins battles? Can stats tell you what a great penalty killer he is? Don't even start with the +/- junk cause it isn't counted in uneven situations. Those of us that have seen this guy throughout his career are all for the move and those that just look at #'s on the internet aren't. Gee I wonder who's opinion I'd put more weight into? Let's not even talk about what kind of teams he played on last yr. How did Dallas do in the playoffs last year? Wasn't Anaheim still wondering if they were gonna make it at game 80 of the season? No he gets an upgrade in talent surrounding him and he's a year removed from major injuries. I probably would've taken this risk at 2.0M but what do I know, I've only watched the guy play in the league for over 10 years no biggy.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse

There is no way we are winning anything unless we get experience between the pipes. That is the key area where there is an illusion of depth and richness, but it mostly a bunch of young prospects (Varly included) and Theo. Enough said. You just need one, and we ain't got that ONE who can stymie a legit playoff contender like a Boston or Pittsburgh.

I think GMGM knows this, and there is still a bunch of FA goalies out there, not a lot of veterans though. I expect that to be our next move: get rid of Theo and get someone else, either via FA or trade.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | July 11, 2009 6:42 AM | Report abuse

Aside from game 7, I thought Varly handled the Pens well! Picking up a free-agent goalie is such a gamble and I think management is riding on letting the young ones fill the void. Johnson or Theo has to go, but I don't think it will be to pick up another veteran. A full season between the pipes should have Varly or Nuevirth ready. Remember, Varly was thrown to the wolves with only a handful of NHL games under his belt... he'll be fine next playoffs!

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

@Political_Stratgst: Cam Ward would like a word.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Political_Stratgst,

of all the positions the Caps have to worry about, goaltending is not one of them.

Do you think Boston has a legit playoff goaltender? LOL Tim Thomas may have won the Vezina but he has done NOTHING in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse

@pokerface1208: Certainly it's a low-risk gamble from this standpoint. A very McPhee move - and certainly BMo's got everything to play for at this point. This season makes or breaks him; if he can't post some healthy numbers with the offensive studs on the Caps, he's done. The only hesitation I've got is a gut feeling that we're going to need some room to play at the trade deadline.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 8:02 AM | Report abuse

throughout the history of NHL playoffs, we have often seen young goalies who seeming have come out of nowhere to steal the show. So anyone who says you need an experienced goalie to win just hasn't paid enough attention watching playoff hockey.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 8:09 AM | Report abuse

Associated Press:

The league is expected to announce at a news conference there Wednesday that the Boston Bruins will play the third annual Winter Classic at the home of the Boston Red Sox on Jan. 1. The opponent is expected to be the Philadelphia Flyers or the Washington Capitals.

-We have a chance!! Make it the CAPS!!!!!!

Posted by: rachel216 | July 11, 2009 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I thought that was a done deal, the bruins and philly.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

About 2 weeks ago it was reported that Philly was in.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Yep, just googled "Winter Classic 2010" and it's Philly @ Boston in the NHL's worst-kept secret.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Oh... I feel stupid now. That sucks...

Posted by: rachel216 | July 11, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

I think those decision makers in the NHL should feel stupid!

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 8:40 AM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
lol! Relax, dude! I never said bad player, bad move, bad anything. I freely admitted that I know the guy more on paper than the ice, and said that I hope he brings his best game. I really do hope that he is exactly what we need, I just won't believe it until I see it for myself. What's the big deal? Saying that I am not convinced YET and that there is some risk involved with the move (as there is with ANY move that takes away cap space) is not labeling a player as "X". I don't get how comments like that are "irritating" and cause people to go ballistic. Boy, it's starting to feel like some people are just looking for a fight. Well, stand down, soldier, you're not going to get one here.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse

rachel216:
Don't feel stupid. It's not official yet ... it is not even "officially" at Fenway. But all of the rumors (leaks?) would lead us to believe that it is the Bruins and Flyers at Fenway. I still can't believe they are taking the Flyers over the Caps, especially when the Flyers apparently did not want it! Gimme a break.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, I believe it, I just think it is ridiculous that they (apparently) did not pick the Caps. Darn NBC! >:-|

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@Boo: I've said for a long time that it's human nature not to be happy unless there's something to complain about. Ever noticed that when the Caps are doing phenomenally well and there's nothing to complain about, that the CI denizens turn on each other almost without fail?

I'm with you on BMo. I'm not convinced yet, there is some risk (and we really don't want to be cap-strung at the deadline like last year), but I'm keeping an open mind. He could be what we need, and certainly we know he'll give it all he's got, for his own sake.

We'll see.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Kitty:
Exactly. Not sure why that warrants a public stoning. What next - burning at the stake in the town square? Geez.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 9:13 AM | Report abuse

One reason they may be going with the Bruins/Flyers matchup is to re-kindle some old rivalry... last year couldn't have been a better pick with Detroit vs. Chicago - THAT was an awesome pairing. I see the same with this one. As much as I would love to see our boys out there, (and you've got to agree, we field much more colorful talent) they're probably looking for a nostalgic game. Remember those two teams going at it back in the 70's?

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@gonchpup: Nah. Most likely they're doing it because the Flyers have a larger TV draw. Rumor had it that the NHL wanted the Caps, but NBC didn't like the ratings they got from Caps / Rangers and went with the Flyers instead.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik - how's Eric Fehr doing?

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

I don't know. I see Philly as having a larger "home" TV draw, but if what you say is true, the networks have got to be seriously underestimating the draw of Ovi himself. I believe every visiting arena sells out when he pays a visit. I went up to a game in Ottawa a couple of years ago and was blown away by how many local kids were wearing #8's and pressed against the glass to marvel at him. I guess those decision-makers at NBC don't know their hockey, eh?

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

To the capologists: How are we supposedly right at the the cap limit when Fehr, Gordon, Morrisonn, Jurcina and Schultz are all restricted free agents and may wind up making 0 next year. This leaves a $51M cap hit, meaning we're still 5.8M below the 56.8M. Anyone want to enlighten me?

Posted by: jck747 | July 11, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Random thought but is it worth considering moving netminder Neuv and getting a draft pick or something in return in place? What are the chances both Varly and Neuv stay? Can't see both quality netminders sitting on the bench or taking turns? Could we cash in now while the iron is hot? Or stick Nyls in goal and trade him to Pheonix.

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | July 11, 2009 10:16 AM | Report abuse

@jck747: Probably the best way to explain is to use the metaphor of a bank account. Extending a QO to an RFA is committing to pay that salary, should they choose to sign - it's just like writing a check. So, when you calculate the cap (balance your checkbook), you have to take those floating RFA's into account (note those checks in the registers). The RFA's may not have signed (cashed their checks) yet, but they're still floating, and the Caps will be held responsible for them if they choose to sign (cash the check). If you don't and you sign a bunch of free agents (spend all the money in your bank account), when one of the RFA's signs (cashes the check), you're over the cap and have too many players (the check bounces). Then you end up in a situation where you have to deal talent to get yourself under the cap, or waive them to Hershey, in which case they can and probably will get picked up and you lose them for nothing (work extra overtime and pay a bunch of penalty fees for a hot check).

Bottom line: Until after the deadline for signing, which is next week, for purposes of cap calculations you still have to treat RFA's with outstanding QO's just as if they'd signed. Does that make sense?

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

It appears that BMo has something to prove. I have no problem that he is auditioning for his next contract. I can't see this signing is anything less than a solid move.

Posted by: djorl | July 11, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't believe the Caps as an organization really embraced the idea of playing in the winter classic. When asked about the possiblity a few weeks ago, GMGM didn't sound too thrilled about the whole idea.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:03 AM | Report abuse

@tottenhamcaps: You can bet that a lot of GM's are looking covetously at the goalie situation in the Washington organization. Anaheim wanted one of our young goalies as part of a proposed Pronger trade. I consider him untouchable this year, because Braden Holtby hasn't shown us anything at all in Hershey yet - he will this year - and Varlamov still has some question marks around his ability to avoid injury, his conditioning, and his ability to play a full NHL season. He's only played in playoffs so far, and we saw what happened to him. He got worn out by Game 7, and that's why he flamed out like he did.

Neuvirth is very much a different style of goaltender from Varlamov - they're night and day different. Where Varlamov is spectacular, aggressive, and acrobatic, Neuvirth is steady and cool, and position-based. Neuvirth's technique is very, very good, and because of that, my guess is he'll have a longer career than Varlamov who will have to rely more on technique when his athleticism fades. Because they're so different, if both of them pan out they could make a 1-1A tandem that is really hard to deal with.

Because of Neuvirth's steadiness, he may turn out to be exactly the foil Varlamov needs, or he may still turn out to be our goalie of the future. It's too early to trade him away until we know more about Holtby and see how Varlamov does with the big club.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Perfect sense, you have to account for potential liabilities, I understand. Not to get into too much minutia here, but then I assume the outstanding qualifying offers (liabilities) would be the aggregate of last years salaries. This totals right around $5m which puts us right back to being barely under the cap. Thanks.

Posted by: jck747 | July 11, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

that sounds good in theory but Dominic Hasek is about as acrobatic and unorthodox as a goalie gets and he's about the most dominant goalie we've seen in the last 20 years. Also he had a very long career.

If they could find a team that wants Theo, I would have no problem with the Caps going with Varly and Neuvy as their goalie tandem.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

during the first game of the playoffs, the loss to the Rangers I said on here before the game was winding down that I would start Varly in Game 2 against the Rangers. Most of you thought I was crazy suggesting that and we all saw what happened.

yes, Varly did run outta gas towards the end because the Caps were just AWFUL defensively. Being asked to stop 40 shots/game eventually takes a toll, not to mention all the point blank chances. He does need to get stronger but there's no question in my mind that he's the goalie who will win us the Cup.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Two rookies is a horrible idea. If we traded Theo, we would resign BJ, no questions asked.

Did someone suggest that goal tending was our problem? Really?

We need Theo. Varly is not ready to taken on a full NHL season.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Andy Moog and Grant Fuhr were 22 and 21 respectively when they became a tandem for the Edmonton Oilers in the early 1980's.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Haha. Is that what you are going to present as proof that having two rookies in net is a good idea usually?

I guess I need to rephrase then. 99.9% of the time, having two rookies in net is a bad idea.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

@joek443: Sure. Hasek's an exception to a lot of rules. Look at Jim Carey for an example of goalies flaming out. Would I bet on Varly doing what Hasek did? Hells no. That's a crazy gamble. Keep Neuvirth for another year.

And dude, we need Theo still. Neuvirth's not ready for the NHL yet, and Varly's not ready to swing a full season by himself. Besides, rookie/rookie tandem on a Cup-contending team? You have got to be kidding me. Nah, keep Theo another year is the way safer route.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 11, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse

kittypawz,

AGAIN I defer to the Edmonton Oilers Dynasty. How did the Moog/Fuhr tandem work out for them??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I don't care how old they are or how much experience they have, if they're your best two goalies in the camp, they should be the two making the team.

As far as Theo, he's a caree .500 goalie in the playoffs and we already know what he can't do.. lead us the Cup.

As far as Carey, he did ver well during the regular seasons but he NEVER did anything in the playoffs. The true measure of any NHL goalie is measured in the playoffs and Varly has already proven to me that he's got what it takes.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

You are referring to two of the best goalies of their time who played in the 80s with a ridiculous 1st and 2nd line.

Again, rookie/rookie tandems work about 99.9% of the time. You have pointed out the most obvious example of the .1%.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

jck747:

I posted around 8 last night the most likely 23 players for the roster and their salaries, with some (RFAs) as estimates. We were smack dab at the cap. You can take the RFAs out, but then you are short players and you have to replace them w/someone. It actually doesn't matter the cap now, only opening night.

--boo--:

I got the impression from pokerface that he watched every one of Morrison's games last year. Being he played in Anaheim, I was asleep. My hat's off to pokerface for being such a diligent fan of the game.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

@tom, kitty, et all

Do you think BMo is setting us up to take the compensation for Juice?

Price is around the same, and he would be the easiest to let go. Ideally, not the one we want to let go, but maybe that means our 4 young guys are further along than we think? Specifically Carlson and Finley.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

To me, Neuvrith is not ready for full time. Well, maybe he is, but how would we know? He played a handful of games against weaker teams. Varlamov took the Cup winners to 7 games.

Neuvrith has done nothing for me to think he is ready for the NHL full-time next year. Varlamov...yeah sure, lets see what he can do. Lets see if he can adjust to a full season.

But I think the water needs to be tread lightly with Neuvy still.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I do realize that they're stuck with Theo at least at the start of the season because I doubt that any team wants him. But injuries happen and if a few teams want to trade for him, they shouldn't hesitate to trade him because of the fear about two rookie goalies.

Every player starts out as a rookie. Goalies more than any other positions in hockey do produce young phenoms. If they can play, let them play. Unless the Caps get struck hard by injury bugs, they should easily win the division and make the playoffs. And it's ALL about the playoffs. Wouldn't you rather play them a fair amount in the regular season and get their feet wet first??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

how would we know if he's ready full time unless we play?

the caps have gotten past the stage of worrying about just making the playoffs. the regular season should be treated as somewhat of a long test session.. to find out who can play in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Goalies, more than any other position in hockey, has produced the most late-bloomers.

Most young phenoms? Probably not. Forwards outweigh goalies considerably.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

COUGH***JIM CAREY***COUGH

Posted by: Rocc00 | July 11, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

With that logic, call Holtby up and see if he can take us all the way.

There is a structure to this. Rush young players, and they can break. It happens. Daigle, Carey, Bryzgalov to an extent. Some young guys just cannot take the pressure.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

As far as Carey, he did ver well during the regular seasons but he NEVER did anything in the playoffs. The true measure of any NHL goalie is measured in the playoffs and Varly has already proven to me that he's got what it takes.
Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 11:53 AM |

But if he loses 30 games in the regular season, we won't get there.
1 playoff does not make a great career much less a great goalie.

COUGH***FELIX POTVIN***COUGH

Posted by: Rocc00 | July 11, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Back to the Winter Classic... it's Philly at Boston in '10 because it'll be Washington at NY in the new Yankee Stadium in '11

Posted by: capsfan7 | July 11, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

There are 2 seasons - the regular season and then the playoffs, right? What's the loss in letting the two kids and a vet ( Johnson or Theo ) remain on the roster. Give them each plenty of time during the season to develop and allow the coaching staff a real chance to see what they bring. Neither had enough time up here last year to be a good indicator.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

hey Rocc00,

I was the only one on here during the game chat calling for the pulling of Theo in favor of Varly in Game 2.

if you have to wait till a player has several years of experice to know he can play then that's your problem.

How did Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Tom Barrasso, Andy Moog, Grant Fuhr or Cam Ward do early in their careers? did you have to wait till they were 30 to find out if they could play??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

ok..so as far as the majority goes, I'm seeing most want to keep Theo for the start to mentor (call it what you will) Varly in the opening weeks. Neuv isn't ready...so then why not resign BJ...explain to him the reasons that we want to keep him and then offload Theo when thh KHL netminder (i forget his name...possibly Biron??) can't handle the pace of the NHL. We could throw Nyls in for free too. Would/can you have 3 netminders under contract at the NHL level..if not forget the last part.

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | July 11, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Good sign. Feds aint' coming back, this is a one year deal that they could only wish they signed Nylander to. If he does not pan out you trade him in a package for a player(s) to help for the push to playoffs. Expiring contract and a veteran center, it's a win/win deal.

Posted by: flee001 | July 11, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

To me, Neuvrith is not ready for full time. Well, maybe he is, but how would we know? He played a handful of games against weaker teams. Varlamov took the Cup winners to 7 games.

Neuvrith has done nothing for me to think he is ready for the NHL full-time next year. Varlamov...yeah sure, lets see what he can do. Lets see if he can adjust to a full season.

But I think the water needs to be tread lightly with Neuvy still.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

This isn't necessarily directed to you richmondphil, rather to the Chris Bourque discussion last night. I think you can pretty much insert Bourque's name where Neuvirth is in your post...with the obvious caveats

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 11, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

What is wrong with the Caps? With so many scouts, GMs, coaches, Statisticians, cap experts and multi-talent tacticians on this blog giving their advice for free, why are we not putting the best team on the league? Come TED! Fire the morons you have working for you and listen to these people. By the way, Tarik would be a good PR man, he seem to do nothing wrong here.

Posted by: opita1 | July 11, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

HockeyBuzz(yes not really reliable) is reporting that Afinogenov to Caps. He reported this last week also and it didnt happen so I doubt its true. I would actually like this move since he could find his stroke again and be a nice scoring asset to this team. He wouldnt cost much either.

Posted by: capsfan5252 | July 11, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

1) It is a lot easier to plug Bourque into 4th line duty at 8-10 mins a game then to plug Neuvirth in as one of the goalies.

Phil: I don't think the Morrison signing affects Jurcina. I have the 7 d-men as Green, Poti, Pothier, Alzner, Erskine, Sloan (#7) and either Schultz or Jurcina. I think they will trade Morrisonn and one of either Schultz or Jurcina. However, if Carlson is ready, which I doubt he would be after only a handful of games in Hershey, there would be I think a little cap savings compared to say Jurcina. Of course, I don't know what Carlson signed for and if there's a bonus and we don't know what Jurcina will get. As for Finley, people who watched him last year (I didn't) said he was slow and a ways off. I would expect, coming from college, they'd put him in Hershey to start his pro career, if not SC.

I think the real effect of signing Morrison, for now it seems, is he'll get $1.5M and one of the fringe guys, Fehr, Gordon, Bourque or Beagle, won't make the club as a consequence. The marginal cap hit then of having Morrison vs one of the others is in the $500K range.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 1:53 PM | Report abuse

ok..another random thought. I've read these blogs the entire season and finally got the time to get on and write etc.
Can someone clear up for me the whole 19 and 28 issue next year? As I understand it, they both become RFA next yr. With what limited space we have now under the cap what will happen next yr. I know 92 and Theo won't have contracts that count, (about 10M I think)...how can we resign both players knowing that Varly and Neuv will want NHL money...Some other blogs suggest moving 28 and keeping 19. Can we keep both? Or is it just not going to work? Any thought
Kitty- thanks for clearing up the netminder situation previous posts.

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | July 11, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

would anybody trade Semin for a defensemen like Kaberle?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | July 11, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

i remember Morrison when he came out of Michigan I liked him then think its going to be a good pickup. No I would not trade Semin for Kaberle.

Posted by: petercov1 | July 11, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

We cant afford both Semin and Backstrom. We have to trade Semin. I think Backstrom is a better all around player.

Posted by: capsfan5252 | July 11, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

The only reason we couldnt afford Semin is if he has a monster year. Either he's back in 2010, or next year will be very good.

Posted by: SA-Town | July 11, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If Semin gets traded, who would we trade him for? Odds are, anyone better than him is also expensive, from a salary point of view. Which, of course, would put us in a bigger bind from a cap hit point of view.

If we trade him for another winger, we end up with a similar situation as what we got. If we trade him for a center, who will play on the wings? If we trade him for defense, who will play on the second line for offense? Trading Semin for a center or D-man reminds me of the French story "The Necklace" where the wife cut off her hair and sold it for a watch chain for her husband. While he sold his watch for a comb for his hair. (The sacrifices for a Christmas gift.)

If Semin were to go, he would have to go to a team that has plenty of cap space which probably rules out most of the good teams that have anything worth trading -- for Semin.

It seems that our best trade bait is probably defensemen. We have lots of NHL ready defensemen. Granted, none of them are stars, except for Green.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 11, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Bourque can win a job but doubt if he would have won the 2nd line center job or the 1st line right winger job.

At least Morrison is only a one year deal, if it doesn't work out. Theodore is gone after next year anyhow. (It would not be too surprising if the Caps trade him to a team in need of a goalie due to an injury in mid-season.) As expensive as Theodore is, at least it was only a 2 year deal and it would have been worse if we had signed Huet. Nylander's the main albatross contract we have.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 11, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

gonchpup:
I agree - I think Ovi (and the WC in general) would have just as much if not more of a draw than the Flyers but Kitty is right - the buzz was that the NHL wanted the Caps and NBC insisted on the Flyers because of their comparative playoff ratings. Of course, that does not take into account that the Flyers played the Pens in round one ...

Joe:
Actually I think that GMGM and Ted both spoke about the WC favorably earlier. I took that last bit from McPhee as frustration because he said that had not heard anything so he assumed they were out. Who knows - the NHL may have even indicated that they were the team of choice ... I could see how it would be frustrating to know that and to then not hear back.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Trade SemiN? You have to be kidding he is one of the top 5 forward talent wise in the league, be it from the neck down. You can never get value in a trade if you plan of signing him. He will either sign with the caps for a home team discount as he is comfortable here and does not have to be the big star and play happily in OV shadow or he is going back to play in Russia no amount of money will keep him in the NHL

Posted by: RichC3 | July 11, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3,

My point exactly. It would be hard to get good value for Semin in a trade. Odds are, I figure he'll take a home team discount. Most introverts don't like changing jobs.

Semin definitely stepped up his game last year. He became much more defensively responsible and had the team's best Plus/Minus rating. Edged out Green and far and away better than anyone else on the tea. Far cry from previous years where he was in the minus.

Overall, he'd get my vote for most improved Capital for this past year.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 11, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

After the announcement of having a "big announcement this coming Wednesday" AT FENWAY PARK, which is involving the Boston Bruins for the Outdoor Game and either the "Philadelphia Flyers or the Washington Capitals." Tarik, do some digging. I'd think you'd be all over this already....where's the inside scoop??

Posted by: hockymn22 | July 11, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't see why the Caps can't keep Semin and Backstrom. First off, McPhee could give Backstrom a front-loaded, fifteen year that essentially skirts the cap (like everyone is doing). Even if not, let's say for 2010-11 you sign both players at $6M per year. Semin already has a cap hit of 4.6 and Backstrom 2.4. So, the increase is $5M for those two. Theo comes off at 4.5 and gets replaced by Neuvirth at 850. Pothier comes off at 2.5 and will be replaced by Carlson, also around 850. Right there, those two swaparoos will cover the increases for the two players. I don't think anyone else gets a big raise in 2010-11.

The following year, 2011-12, Nylander, Clark and Poti come off and that gets you $11M (also Laich, but he would be re-signed). At that time, you are re-signing Alzner, Varlamov and maybe several others. It all comes together unless there's another ineffective contract (the Nylander deal) agreed to by McPhee.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

@Tominfl
Thats a good idea. (hope it works out) Now the bigger question is how do we get Semin to eat Spinach and bulk up. Too many "knocks" causing lay offs. Imagine what he could do 82 games healthy. If he stays healthy next yr, I think we'll be hard pressed to keep him to a "home town discount" don't you?

Posted by: TottenhamCaps | July 11, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

would anybody trade Semin for a defensemen like Kaberle?

Posted by: capsfan5252 | July 11, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

LOL are you kidding? I'm certainly not a huge Semin fan but you gotta get more than Kaberle for him.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 4:51 PM | Report abuse

@Kitty- I hear ya. It is a very low risk move but the trade deadline is a long way away and many things can be done between now and then. I'm sure if GMGM needs to make a move at the deadline he'll make sure it happens. I dont think Nyls AND Theo will be here when the deadline has passed, one will be gone.

@Boo - you take things a little personal don't ya. My beef isn't with you in particular. My beef is with all the panic, uneducated and drunken opinions (a bottle and 1/2 of wine can make me think alot of strange things too). My only point is, if you haven't seen the guy play and all you've done is look at his #'s on the internet then in my mind if you come out with some strong opinion about the signing it's baseless and ignorant.

@TominFl - yeah I do get to see alot of the west coast games as I'm in Colorado and I have Center Ice so while you're sleeping off your hangover I'm still up and coherant watching these players you know nothing about other than a little google search. I'm not saying I'm an expert as I'm not in the NHL either but I've seen this guy play for a very long time and I'd like to think that somebody who's seen a player for over 10 yrs vs. somebody who looks at stats on google has a little bit better idea of what we're getting.

I have been back here 2x's now since the Caps were eliminated b/c I can't stand all the panic, ridiculous analysis (trade Semin, really?) and stupid criticism of GMGM. While I realize this is justan opinion type of forum its so frustrating reading some of these comments. If you look at what GMGM has done since he got here, I honestly don't know that there are many other GM's who could have done as good a job as he's done. Has he made mistakesin Nyls sure, but you don't think Ken Holland has made any mistakes?

You are all fans of a Stanley Cup contending team RIGHT NOW. We could very legitimately win the East in the regular season and win the Cup next year and for many more to come. Do you want to be the Florida Marlins and win a title only to dump the whole thing or more like a Detroit? Look where the Avalanche are, you think they'll contend anytime soon?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@Boo - sorry I'll get off my high horse but my isn't isn't with one person. If it were just a couple of people then that's understandable but it seems like this whole board is filled with panic and it's amazing to me. We are fans of a hockey team that has been in town for over 30 years, we should act like we know a little about the sport. When I first moved to Colorado in 96 they had to announce when the other team was "Now at full strength"! How embarassing is that? This was even after they won the Cup! I don't come on this board and talk about all the experience I've had in the sport it's not about me but gosh I wish there wasn't all the panic like in the chat rooms during the playoffs. If it was 0-0 after 1 we were doomed and were gonna lose 10-0! Unreal and so Avalanche..ish!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 5:24 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208,

let me ask you a question since you get to see a lot of the players in the west. how much do you think Rob Blake has left in his tank?

I've always been a big fan of his and wanted to see the Caps go after him if they had a little more money to spend. Someone on here suggested that he was just a puck mover even though he's a big guy but I've always thought that he was a great open ice hitter and a tough guy to play against.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

@joek443 - R U kidding me? He is phenominal! An older Phaneuf if you will. He was here in Colorado for a bit as well. He's not as physical as a Pronger but he does lay his body alot and yes a very effective puck mover. He would be a tremendous upgrade to our D but he'll never play out east in my opinion. He's always been a west coast kinda guy which is why he's in SJ now. Good news is we don't have to worry about he playing in the East like Pronger is now.

So to answer your question, he is way more than just a puck mover and he would upgrade our D (and most if not all D's) but I just don't see it happening.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

@joek - oh and he's got maybe another year or 2 left in the tank. I say 2 maybe 3 most. I think it really depends on how SJ does. I don't see him being moved at all during the season or at the deadline. He's an UFA after this yr and he's already 39 so there you go. Great player though, love watching him. I've always been a fan of Pronger also, too bad he's in Philfidelphia now.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The NHL had "lobbied to pit the Washington Capitals against the Bruins in an effort to showcase" Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin and his "exciting, young team." But the Flyers were "brought back into the discussion by NBC, which will broadcast the contest."

Sources said that the net told the league it "wanted the Flyers instead of the Caps in order to draw a better television audience and increase advertising revenue."

The NHL "relented and agreed to have the Flyers participate, with the Caps as a possible 2011 opponent against the Rangers in a game that could be played at Yankee Stadium."

-----------
I HATE NBC!!!!!! :(

Posted by: rachel216 | July 11, 2009 5:37 PM | Report abuse

So we sell more tickets than the Rangers, have increased our TV revenues 2 and 3x's over yet we're still the step child. Last time I checked more people want to watch Ovechkin (especially the Canadien viewers)more than Philly. Way to go NBC! Must of been the brilliance of Pierre McQuire speaking there.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208, yeah I kinda thought he was a west coast guy. I still think that the Caps need a veteran d-man like him to settle things down. This team still goes into a funk during a game, the puck just doesn't come out of their zone for a long period, everyone just running around and giving up a great chance one right after another. And this sort of deficiency really gets exposed in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

joek- well yeah we do but remember we have the same thing happen in our opponents end as well. I'm mixed on the veteran D thing. Look at past Cup winners, they didn't have that big bruising Dman. The biggest hitting Dman in the East last yr was Chara and yes Boston was the best in the regular season but that didn't do so well in the playoffs. Lidstrom isn't the big bruising Dman, Pitt didn't have one etc. Would I like one sure but I don't think it's essential to win a Cup. The type of Dman I would love to have on this team right now is another Calle Johannson. That guy was better than ANYBODY gave him credit for. He was NEVER out of place defensively and he always made ONE pass to get out of the zone. Who knows maybe Alzner or Carlson is that type of player. I haven't seen either of them play except when Alzner was with the Caps for a cup of coffee. I also think that people aren't looking at Pothier. He is a great skating puck moving Dman and he's yet another year removed from the concussion so next year could be a great year for him too.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:01 PM | Report abuse

the pens may not have a big bruising d-man but Orpik, Scuderi, Eaton and Gill certainly did the job for them. It's good that they lost two of those 4 but they still have Orpik and he's one tough S.O.B. to play against.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
I wouldn't say that I take things personally as much as I have a relatively low tolerance for blanket judgments and personal attacks. I'm here to talk hockey. I welcome healthy debate and am fully aware that everyone here will never agree. However that does not mean that people should resort to name calling and insults. So we can certainly disagree about players, teams, philosophies, systems, trades, games, etc., but it is never necessary to be disrespectful or to get all fired up about anything discussed here. After all, as much as I love hockey, it is just a game. For the record I have gotten on this soapbox before - I'm a big believer in the "can't we all just get along?" mantra.

As for the rest of my comments about BMo and my general hockey knowledge, suffice it to say that I grew up with hockey in the great white American north and have been a Caps fan since I moved to the area in the 80s. Hopefully that takes me out of the 'ignorant' camp. To simply say that the jury is still out is far from panicking, wouldn't you agree? So what I have basically indicated is that I have reserved judgment until I can see him play myself. Fair enough?

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 6:06 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: We agree on 2 things - 1) Calle Jo, and 2) you've watched Morrison more than I have.

That still doesn't make you right. I said I was unsure (unlike I was very sure Knuble was a great move) on the signing and some regulars agreed. Kitty and boo aren't "panic" people. I'm not a panic person, I love the team as is, think the players need to mature a bit, and think McPhee has been fabulous. You might be taking your opinion a wee bit too seriously. Data from the internet isn't always wrong. There's a reason he was put on waivers last year. Good luck to you.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208, I have to agree with you about Calle Jo. too. Picking him up from Buffalo was one of the best moves Poile ever made. The one thing still holding this team back is their defense.

They still give up too many easy goals. I hear a lot of talk on here about sorting out all these many d-men on the roster but when you look at them, you can't really say any one of them is "tough to play against". Erskine is about the toughest they got but he's a limited player.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Boo - I still do get on my soapbox and after I fire off I sit there and say to myself "there I go again". See to reserve judgement until you see somebody play that you're not familiar with is exactly the right posture to take. I don't even think my original post was directed at you. When I read comments I rarely look at who typed them. I just speed read through them and pick out the big points. Could I be wrong about Bmo? Absolutely! It's a matter of the type of player he is NOW. If he is the player he has been throughout his whole career minus the last 2 yrs, phenominal, if he is still injury plagued and ineffective then in my estimation I'd rather have a 1.5M hit for 1yr then 4M hit for 5 so it's a very good move. Plus I'm looking at it like Pavel Bure. He was nothing but an extremely fast scoring machine. After he blew his knee he was nothing like himself for 1 year after then he became himself again with the speed etc. Even Gretzky said when he was a Ranger that had Bure not retired he would have stayed another year. So if you look at BMo being a year removed he should be in for a solid season in my estimation. BTW estimation = HOPE! :) My other point is Feds is gone. Feds got us what, 11G's and 22A's during the season? Something like that? If BMo can stay healthy chances are he can hit that plateau fairly easily. I know Feds was hurt but you know what I mean. My last thing is BMo kills penalties. Feds didn't kill many penalties for us so this and the Knuble signing are much better improvements for our PK which I think was a HUGE problem throughout most of the season and playoffs.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

BTW, pokerface, you are also guilty of drawing conclusions from limited data.

I never have a hangover.

And, to echo boo's point, I've been following hockey since the mid-60's. Does that also exempt me from "camp ignorant?"

Actually it doesn't. Years of watching doesn't necessarily make one knowledgeable. Just like being sober at any given moment doesn't necessarily make one's thoughts coherent.

I agree with boo, though, it's best to get along. There's a certain talent to stepping on one's foot without messing up his shine. I apologized to Phil because I felt I stepped over the line with him; that isn't the case with you.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Tom - I never suggested Kitty was a "panic" person. I've talked with her and respect her insight but from the get go she had reserved judgement until she sees him play as she isn't real familiar with him which is the stance that should be taken if you don't know something. Yeah do I take some things to heart and a little too serious, of course I do. I'm still a kid when it comes to hockey. I've done a lot of things in this sport and I'm very passionate about it so sometimes I come across as a jerk but not meaning to be at all. I'm also not implying for 1 second that I'm "all knowing" or whatever. I do have a technical background so my mind is more of an analytical type. You and Boo have to agree though that there is a lot of panic on here and the bashing of GMGM is so ignorant and unjustified. Look at what he said pre July 1 - we'll sit this out and look what happens. We have a much better upgrade for Koz and now a decent if not phenominal replacement for Feds (time will tell) and yet people say he's an idiot and we'll never win until he's gone. Wouldn't you agree that's an ignorant opinion? I'm using the word "ignorant" by it's definition of "not knowing something". In my mind if you state that GMGM should be fired, that is an ignorant or "not knowing" opinion.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
Fair enough. I do hope he pans out and while I am still reserving judgment about him, I am very excited about the gap that Knuble fills. I firmly believe that there are more changes to come and hope that GMGM gets the team where it needs to be. We're so close to the Cup I can taste it. I've been waiting for a long time ... I hope this is the year!

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Right now I'm watching "Coaches" on the NHL Network with Gabby as the guest. He just said he got the call at 6:30AM from GMGM offering him the job. He said he was getting off the phone at 7AM and GMGM says, "we have practice at 10AM and you need to be here"! LOL! It's a 2.5hr drive and he's 3 hours away from practice. Gee what a drive that must have been!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

Wait a minute, I think I was just called a panicking person again ... well at least I think I got away from the ignorant thing ... :-|

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

And lastly people, I'm very grumpy because I still can't stand the frickin fact that the Penguins won the Cup. I can't stand that team, that town and that crybaby @ss Sid (Mario Jr.)! I can't stand the fact that he won a Cup before OV. It's hard for me to respect players that always complain. I could've respected Mario he every picture of him hadn't been with him turned around looking at a ref with his hands up in the air like "where's the call"? Also every offseason he used to setup a meeting with Gary Bettman and do nothing but complain about the league. My attitude is if you're so miserable and can't stand the league and the way it's called, go play somewhere else. Did you ever see Gretzky doing that? Can't flippin stand it and that's why I love OV so much. Have you EVER seen him stop playing to complain to a ref? He plays the game hard every shift and doesn't care what anybody does to him he keeps going. He plays the game the way it should be played at this level.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
Thanks for the heads up - just switched over. Did he mention that that was over Thanksgiving, too?

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Nah, I don't think I was calling you panicky! LOL! Honestly for the most part (what I can remember as I don't look at names) I have typically agreed with most of your posts. Were you ever in the chat rooms during the playoffs? OMG! You want to talk about panic! Holy wow! So no, we're good bro. We're all in this for the same thing. I think this could be the year too. The minuses are Feds and Koz gone, the pluses (I think) are, Pothier will have a great year and will be an improvement on our D as he didn't play hardly at all during the season, Knuble HUGE improvement over Koz (nuf said), Morrison is at least an equal replacement if not an upgrade over Feds and our young core has yet another year and another playoff round under their belt. I also felt Gabby was out coached in the Philly series 2yrs ago and maybe had bit of an "awe" factor going on. This past year I think he was better and I don't anticipate him ever being out coached again in the playoffs. We growing towards a Stanley Cup right before our eyes.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

No, you know what he didn't. I forgot about that but you're right! Too funny! Can you imagine, "Honey, we're having turkey in DC"! LOL! Gee, that had to suck! :)

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Boo- R U in the DC area? Do you get to see the Bears much? On this show with Gabby they just showed a clip of the Bears celebrating the Calder Cup and a guy with the name of "Arsenic" came in the screen, #29. I haven't even heard that name or know what he plays. Any idea?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if anybody caught it or not but Graham Mink signed with the Panthers AHL team Rochester Americans. I didn't realize he was 30.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 6:59 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
I was not here much during the playoffs - it just got too wacky (the blog is a lot different than it used to be). Besides, I had enough hockey banter going on in email to keep me occupied. RE: BB, I don't think he had an 'awe' factor as much as he was adjusting to the logistics of it all. He seems pretty grounded and was very successful in the AHL so I don't think that was an issue, but he did say that the building was so loud that he was having a hard time communicating with the guys. So between that and the fact that he had a very young and (playoff) inexperienced team, I think external factors got the best of him. On a different note, FWIW, I've been hit with a couple of dudes and bros in the past 24 hours, so I guess it is time for my quarterly declaration that I am a fan of the female persuasion. :-)

JMU:
You will be happy to know that Gabby is giving Brads props as being the guy on the team who is the most fun! :-D

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 7:01 PM | Report abuse

Ha! - OK, dudette! LOL!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
I am in the area and have been to Bears games but am not an avid follower. 29 is a Dman named Arsene - I don't know much about him. Mink, however, is great. I was sorry to read that he was leaving. He played a big part in Hershey's Calder success - I would have liked to seen how he could have done in DC next season.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 7:08 PM | Report abuse

Two things that need to happen to OV for him to take the Caps and himself to the next level.

1. He should be the captain of the team immediately. What do Gretzky, Lemieux, Yzerman, Sakic, Messier and even Crosby have in common? they all wore the C on their jersey. I know it's mostly symbolic but it needs to happen.

2. He needs to be on the ice for all situations, meaning he should start killing penalties. Again the players I mentioned above, they were all great all around players. They weren't just great offensive players.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: Peace. The only thing that gets me a bit (your criticism of my criticism of BMo is partially justified for me not having watched him play) is that I have been an ardent McPhee supporter forever and I'm not in the "panic" group, whatever that is. McPhee has made two bad moves - Sasha Pokuluk (it was a huge reach in 2005, so he doesn't get a pass from the concussions) and Nylander. As for this season, after they made the great move to Knuble, I was in the "let's let it ride until the deadline" camp that was eloquently described by kittypawz. Then Morrison comes out of the blue and I look up the stats, admittedly a short-hand way to draw a conclusion, and he has numbers just like Kozlov and Nylander. Again, having not seen him play, I can't see him being an upgrade on Feds. OTOH, I admitted my uncertainty, and said clearly that if he gets 50 pts, he's a bargain.

Some people, not you, but some get bent out of shape when you put a numerical production value as a means of judging performance. I am also in an analytical job and all I do day after day is compare - support ratios, starting perf and learning curve, etc. Morrison got 31 pts. If he played really great but only got 31 pts, or if he is now recovered from injury, great. And, finally, I'm not against signing him, I was only worried about the long-term ramification if you are forced to cut lose a younger player.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 7:34 PM | Report abuse

Joe- I respectfully don't agree. OV can't physically get anymore ice time. If you agree with me on that then that means that you have to take away ice time somewhere else, either the PP or even strength. I don't see that happening as this is when he is at his best. Also, every player you mentioned up there is a Center. It's easier to kill penalties being a center vs being a wing. Bure, John Leclair, Cam Neely, Keith Tkachuk, Bondra etc didn't kill a lot of penalties. Our PK needs help for sure and the 2 signings help in that. I really thought Quintin Lang was great at the PK. He always dropped down perfectly and blocked shots. Absolutely phenominal on the PK but he was hurt all last year. I think it was Lang who I'm thinking of.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Tom - well I guess I can only say trust me. This guy is a solid player and yes he's been hurt but if he is truly through all the injuries and is healthy I have to believe the last 2 years will be more of an aberation. I don't really know how this would effect our youth as I don't know of any centers "primed and ready" to take over a 2nd line center job. So I don't THINK this is hurting any of our youth but who knows. I think Nyls being on the roster hurts more in the youth category than BMo. Here I am, the lady is out on an Alaskan cruise, kids are gone and I'm watching replays of the Caps/Rags series and can't wait til the puck drops. I can't wait, I really think this team is much improved and can't wait to win the East.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208, I hear what you're saying. There are detractors of OV who say that you can't expect a winger to lead you to the Cup. If you're right that he can't physically play anymore than he does now then you give credence to their theory.

could it be that they're right and we're wrong? that a winger as great as OV is can never play the dominant role that a great center iceman can play??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: Well, your notes seem pretty insightful. I can trust you on Morrison as our "Rocky Mntn scout." Not just you, but richmondphil was also giving props to BMo. Now, my comment on curtailing the youth is based on you can only carry so many players. As of now, you have Backstrom and Morrison and you are still stuck with Nylander at center. Then you have Steckel and Gordo, both capable 4th liners, and Aucoin also has an NHL contract. Having Morrison surely means whoever was otherwise the 14th forward is now the 15th forward - not on the team. All of the potential 14th/15th forwards either have NHL contracts or they are RFAs who will be getting an NHL contract through the qualifying offer (although I'm uncertain on Bourque). The Caps are also up against the stops with 50 players under contract. I hate to see the team lose a guy they've trained for 4-5 yrs just to sign a guy for one year UNLESS that one year guy really comes through. I also have to mention kittypawz's point that you have now expended some of the cap room you COULD HAVE used for a deadline deal. As a for instance, last year we were rumored to be getting Guerin - only we were capped out and Pitt got Guerin. The Wash-Pitt series was so close (us up 2-0 and then OT in Game 3) that if Guerin switches sides, we likely win. I don't want that happening again. This isn't panic; this isn't McPhee bashing; this is just "let's look at the facts."

BTW, hopefully this was coherent, the bottle of wine (Marietta Lot 45 red) has been consumed with the ribeye, my wife as usual drinking about 1/3rd and me the balance. We were in CO recently (Durango & Mesa Verde) and had prickly pear appetizers so we mail-ordered prickly pear syrup and I earlier made a half-gallon of prickly pear margaritas that are now becoming "frozen." It's a prickly proposition.

Kudos to your wife being in Alaska. Haven't made it there yet. I drive a cheapo car but eat, drink and travel like I am king of the earth. It's a matter of priorities.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 8:38 PM | Report abuse

For those worried about re-signing Semin and Backstrom next year. There is no need to worry. That is part of the reason, GMGM hasn't invested in higher priced UFA's, to make sure the cap space is available to keep both Semin and Backstrom.

Nylander's NMC is gone after this season and he will not be a Cap and they won't buy him out. If he is still with the team (I still believe he is headed to Europe this season) they will waive him and send him and his contract to the minors and eliminate the cap hit completely. Theo is off the books, as is Pothier. Those three players currently count for approximately $12 million in cap space.

In a worst case scenario the salary cap drops 10%, which would leave roughly $6million in cap space currently availablity. Also, if needed B-Mo and his $1.5 million is also gone from the cap.

Anyway, presuming both Semin and Backstrom sign for $6.6 million per season. That means the Caps need an additional $2 million of cap space to keep Semin and an additional $4.2 to keep Backstrom (remember they each currently count $4.6 and $2.4 against the cap). That is 6.2 million and roughly the cap space availabile next season in a worst case scenario.

The best part is that the following off-season the Caps will have nearly $10 million coming off the books in the name of Clark, Poti, Bradley and Knuble.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 11, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

Awh, look at this ... I love it when everyone plays nice! :-) Is it time for a group hug yet? ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

About signing Backstrom and Semin... no worries? You state we will have room for their approximate 6.6 mil salaries. That is, seeing as how we will no longer "have on the books" - Nylander, Theo, Pothier, and possibly B.Morrison. The following year, add Clark, Poti, Bradley, and Knuble. My worry is you are considering making room for 2 at the expense of 8 players. Now, hopefully we will be seeing more of the Hershey kids ready to go in the near future, but if they do make it to the NHL on a regular basis, I am sure they will be commanding significant pay of their own. In the meantime, I a not ready to throw in the towel on several of the vets, namely Clark, Pothier, Poti, Knuble, and Brads. Call me sentimental, but I hate to see wholesale changes on a team...

Posted by: gonchpup | July 11, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

LOL Boo!

Tom - why are you and Kitty worried about the trade deadline already? That's a long time away and there are plenty of things that can be done both to make us some financial room and the room in the # of contracts we have. It's about timing and priorities. Right now the focus is on opening day etc. Lets try to get rid of the Theo and Nyls contracts and see where we're at. As I stated earlier, I bet that 1 if not both of them will be gone by the trade deadline. Nyls wants to stay on the east coast and his wife and kids love DC that's why he doesn't want to waive his NTC. So the tug of war has begun. He will eventually waive it but he won't be headed to Europe.

As far as Backstrom and Semin, they aren't going anywhere. I hate adressing this because I could write a book on how and why this won't happen. Both of them are part of our young core and nucleas and they aren't going anywhere nor do they want to.

Mark my words, when the trade deadline comes GMGM will have enough room to do what he needs to do. Theo will not finish the season here. He would be a great pickup for a playoff contending team as the team he goes to would only be on the hook for a fraction of his salary and he's an UFA after this season. I don't see a scenario where he makes it past the deadline here barring any injuries.

As a personal side note and I could be wrong. I think Johnson hasn't signed anywhere b/c GMGM is working on moving Theo so he can sign Johnson and Varly and Johnson will share the nets next year which would be a fabulous tandem.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 11, 2009 9:15 PM | Report abuse

gonchpup: OK, I'll call you sentimental. But not in a Barbara Streisand kind of way - just in a Robert Redford kind of way.

--Boo--: I'll only engage in group hugs with women. Men are yukky.

freakin: I posted all that data earlier today, only my speculation was Backstrom and Semin get 6 each, not 6.6 each. I'm happy though to see you love numbers as much as I do.

All: 10 oz Cuervo; 2 oz Grand Marnier; 4 oz Triple Sec; 16 oz water; 12 oz Minute Maid frozen limeaid; 4 oz prickly pear syrup. Shaken (not stirred) and put in freezer so it almost freezes. Magnifique! Pour into the margarita glass and squeeze in a quarter fresh lime. You will think you died, went to Heaven, came back to Earth, won the Stanley Cup and then had a bank error in your favor. You can get prickly pear syrup from desert.usa. The stuff rocks for all cooking applications.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
I think that is exactly what is happening with Theo and Johnny. Frankly, I am surprised that Theo is not gone already. For example, what the heck are the Flyers doing in goal? They would have been better off taking Theo off our hands. Anyway, I also would not be surprised if he or Nyls were gone before the deadline. The challenge with Nyls is that he not only has a NTC, he has a NMC. So he is really going to have to want to move for that to change (or they just wait until next summer when it expires). My guess? If BMo really is all that and a bag of chips, Nyls rides the pine (well, the plush press box seat) until he can't take it anymore and asks to move on.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 9:23 PM | Report abuse

Ah come on, Tom - online we're all just Caps fans!! ;-)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 11, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

pokerface: You see, after 30 years in the defense industry, my brain has been conditioned to think always 24 months in advance. Call me a stepford hockey fan.

You are a million percent right here - if Theo or (much less likely) Nyles can be moved, all thse deadline worries dissapate. My odds though on trading these players: Theo - not likely; Nylander - hell must first freeze over.

So, assuming not trading these two, and since trading either is less than 50/50, IMO, you are CAPPED OUT.

You say McPhee will have room to move....but, last year he DIDN'T. The stars (not those from Dallas) just didn't align.

Did I tell you how good these margaritas are (I've had two)? Did I tell you I never get hangovers, headaches or that nothing ever hurts? Did I tell you that whatever happens to me, it just goes away?

Back to frozen ponds and frozen drinks. I have posted numerous times that it would be really great to move Theo for a pick and then sign Johnny and save $3M in cap space. But, much more likely, if you find a trade partner for Theo, it will be some team wanting to unload an unappetizing contract of its own. And Nyles? Maybe Philly would offer to dump Danny Briere in exchange. I would - if I were Holmgren.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 11, 2009 9:35 PM | Report abuse

not sure who to direct this towards, but someone posted do we want to be like the florida marlins and win it all (i realize baseball) and not be heard of again or be like the red wings and win several cups.

only my opinion, but i would take one cup and be happy till the day i die if we never made the damn playoffs again. its been too many years of playoff frustration in this town. i'll take one cup and die in peace.

Posted by: capsfansince74 | July 11, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

How did Ken Dryden, Patrick Roy, Martin Brodeur, Tom Barrasso, Andy Moog, Grant Fuhr or Cam Ward do early in their careers? did you have to wait till they were 30 to find out if they could play??

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 12:38 PM |

Come on man. You are playing with the minority of goalies here, and you know it.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

capsfansince74, that's baseball... no salary cap there

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 10:10 PM | Report abuse

Come on man. You are playing with the minority of goalies here, and you know it.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 10:10 PM |

yeah, I think Varly can be that great... would you rather think he can be just a pretty good goalie?

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 10:12 PM | Report abuse

No, I think Varlamov is ready, as I said.

It is Neuvrith who I question still.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 11, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

well as much as I'd like to see both of them to be the one and two, we're stuck with Theo for one more year unless a team in desperate need of a starting goalie comes calling GMGM.

so that will probably happen next year.

Posted by: joek443 | July 11, 2009 10:23 PM | Report abuse

@freakinandpeakin - Re: Nylander

I do not believe you are correct in your thinking that Nyls will go to Europe during the 2009-2010 season, for the following reasons, which I have stated many, many times, but will restate once more for the record.

1) Michael Nylander is a father first and a hockey player second.

He has six children, five of them in school in the DC area. Put yourself in his shoes. Would you keep a boring job (i.e. sitting in the press box during Caps games) for the sake of keeping your six children happy and in their existing schools, or would you be selfish and yank them all out of school in the middle of the year to go someplace where they don't speak the language, and neither do you?

2) Nylander has a NMC on his contract.

What this means is that even if we loan him out to a team in Russia, he must clear waivers first - and must CONSENT to be waived first. This means that he must give his consent for any team in the NHL to collect him off of waivers. He could end up in Ottawa, or Dallas, or just about anywhere rather than on the Russian team he supposedly wants to play for.

3) The fact that Nyls' brother plays for a team in Russia has no bearing on him moving to a team some 2500 miles away from the one his brother plays on.

True, 2500 miles is a lot closer than here to Russia, but STILL! You can't just hop in the car and go visit the kids' uncle when it's a three-day drive or more!

4) Just because Avangard Omsk has two former Capitals (that I am aware of) on their team does NOT mean they are the "home for wayward Caps!"

While both of the players that Omsk has that I know are former Caps (Jaromir Jagr and Jakub Klepis) are foreign-born, Russian league teams have a limit of three foreigners per team. Does this mean Omsk has room for Nyls? Yes it does. Does it mean automatically that he's going? No.

Posted by: irockthered | July 12, 2009 12:34 AM | Report abuse

tominfl1: It is all about the numbers. Which is why I am already up on that one of three bets with you (wasn't it Sloan's contract?). :)

@gonchpup: Where did you see that I traded two for 8 in the player category. Don't re-write what I wrote. I kept two players (Semin and Backstrom) by discarding a forward that is riding the bench, a goaltender who, by any reasonable claculation, will be playing his final season in Washington, and by not re-signing a defensemen who is coming off a major concussion and was not around for much of this past season. Two of those players have been around the past two seasons, but haven't been on the ice all that much and the team already has players on there salary cap to take there spots.

I added B-Mo to the list if the team really needed an additional 1.5 million. The remaining players you cite all come off the books the following season and could be re-signed, but all would re-sign at lower amounts then their current contracts and have nothing to do with signing Backstrom or Semin and have everything to do with bringing up or bringing in new talent to replace them.

@irockthered

You also presume that Nylander is willing to take a check and sit on the bench. That is completely possible, but most athletes want to play. I am of the firm belief that the B-Mo signing was done in part to force Nylander to accept the idea that he has no roster spot on the Caps anymore.

If Nylander is going to go to Russia/Europe no one will take him off waivers. His contract is way to large and at that point Nylander can say he isn't going to play for them. In fact, no team would claim him without asking him if he would play for them first. As for the NMC, it only has one more year on it. So he knows that after this season, in which he won't see much ice time, he will not be in the Caps plans and will be waived and sent to the minors. Perhaps at that point the Caps can do re-call waivers and a team would take him and his $4.875 salary cap while only actually paying him $1.5 million (his salary is $3 million and the Caps would be responsible for half of his salary, but would lose his cap hit). That might be a viable option for some of the poorer teams, because they could get a huge cap hit to meet the cap minimum while actually paying him only $1.5 million.

Lastly, I never spoke of a team or his brother. I have no idea if that is in his thought process. I am taking it purely from and athletes and competitors perspective.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 12, 2009 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Tom - we can certainly agree to disagree but I think Theo is a goner. I think GMGM prefers Johnson so he's trying to unload him. Worst case scenario is he and Varly split time in net and Theo is dealt at the deadline. Once again Theo will be an asset to a team on the bubble for the playoffs who need a vet in net. Come March when the deadline is here the team he's being traded to will have less than 1M (or about that) in salary to pay him and he's an UFA after this yr so he will be have some value. Who cares what we get for him, it could be a bag of pucks for all I care, I want the space to work with. I still think he'll be gone for that though as he does have experience and he only has 1yr left. If not already, he's 1 pulled groin or torn A/MCL away from GMGM getting calls for his services.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 12, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

Wow, what a day yesterday. Reading back through the comments, I feel loved

@pokerface1208: Why am I worried about the trade deadline now? I look at it one season at a time, mostly, but I look at the whole season at once. Think back to last season. We got killed by injuries last year, and had no room to move at the deadline whatsoever. That probably cost us a shot at the Cup. In order to effectively have room at the trade deadline, you need to plan for it in the offseason and leave room for the inevitable mess of injuries. Granted, ours was pretty bad last year as injury years go.

Re: Nylander: Sure, from a competitor's perspective he'd rather play, but I bet that matters less to him than keeping his kids secure. I, too, think he's gone at the end of the year, one way or another, but I don't think he gets traded this year, so that's next year's issue.

Re: Theodore: In order to trade, you have to find a partner. What will we have to give up to find someone to take Theodore off our hands. I don't think it's that easy - Theodore has a reputation, and if he's good enough for the Flyers, why are we getting rid of him? (Besides, the Flyers are in cap hell right now.) I think we need Theodore for one more season, to get Varly a full season under his belt and make sure we don't push him too hard, too fast and burn him out. I love Johnson, but I don't think he can carry that load.

I'm afraid I agree with Tom on this one :) The only move I think that remains to be made is to figure out the D question - who moves? That's going to depend on which RFA's re-sign, and I think that most of them will for their QO's or a little more. We need to clear a space on D, and honestly I'd like to carry 7 D if we can. Leave space in both number of contracts and the cap to make a move / support injuries if we need to. We're looking pretty good for the regular season, IMO, and we'll see what the season brings and see if we need to do something at the deadline.

Oh, hey, cap experts - does the bonus cushion apply this year?

Posted by: kittypawz | July 12, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

freakinandpeakin:
I completely agree - athletes want to play and while Nyls may be a father first in the long-haul, pro-athletes make family sacrifices in the short-term all of the time for the chance to play the sport that they love for the limited time that their bodies will let them. While I would never speak to probabilities (because none of us could ever know what kind of conversations he is having with his wife and the franchise about a move), I would not be the least bit surprised to see him go. And if he does go I think his family is just as likely to stay here as they are to go with him.

RE: Jose, I think he's a wild card. If the Caps can find a home for him I bet they will move him. I could see him being a part of a package deal but have no idea what that would look like (it seems like several players would be involved between two or three teams). The Caps would do well with Varly and Johnny next season ... I hope they find a way to make that work!

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 12, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

kitty: I think last year was the only year they had to count the bonuses from the get go. I think this year they can exceed the cap by the bonuses, and then you get a reduced cap next year. So, Alzner's bonus was always in the equation, last year, for the top of the cap. In the end, because he only played 30 games, I doubt he saw a penny of the bonus. So the Caps might've gotten an underrun at the end, even though it didn't matter.

I want to clarify my position on Theo. Very unlikely he can be dealt before the season, so he is part of the cap max. But, as pokerface points out, a deadline deal with Theo is maybe 50/50 likelihood, if Neuvirth and Varly play well. Finding a partner for Theo's last $1M isn't nearly as difficult as all $4.5M.

I also think Nylander extremely unlikely before the season, but a possibility at the deadline. At that point, he'll know for sure if his days are numbered with Caps and being on the road for a month isn't so bad. He'll know that his NMC is about up and at least he'll get a vote on where he goes. Again, the acquiring team would be risking $1M for the remainder of this year and only $3M for the following year. And that would surely be better for him than being sent to Hershey for 2010-11.

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

@tominfl1 - FINALLY someone who makes sense talking about Nylander! He had chances last season to waive that NMC and go to Chicago, and passed on them, and he sat in the press box for most of the playoffs.

@freakinandpeakin - I didn't think waivers worked that way. I thought if you were claimed off waivers, you were stuck with the team that claimed you, period. That's why putting someone on waivers is a risk, and why Nylander's refused in the past.

And I didn't say you said anything about a team or his brother; other people have mentioned Avangard Omsk as the "Home for Wayward Caps" in the past on here, and while they do technically have a roster spot for another foreigner (and are, to the best of my knowledge, about the only KHL team that does!), that's not much incentive.


Posted by: irockthered | July 12, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

irockthered:
lol! You talk like people say Nyls is a goner tomorrow. I for one never said he would definitely go, just that I would not be surprised if he did. And I have never spoke to when he might go this season (just that I would not be surprised if he did go). So I don't necessarily disagree with Tom. That sounds plausible, as do a number of other scenarios that include Nyls leaving. Anything is possible. Frankly I am surprised that you agree with Tom because that means that you concede that Nyls may actually go ...

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 12, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

(darn typos)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 12, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Theo, Nylander... Nylander, Theo...Nylaner, Theo...

here's another wacky trade idea... Semin for Heatly?

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Boo: I actually had thought, before Morrison, that they would give Nylander a chance this coming year. Clearly, we don't know what's up with his shoulder, or psyche, or whatever caused his performance drop, but BB displayed zero confidence in Nylander during the playoffs (opting to give Beagle a sweater instead at one point). Maybe still they can pair him with Clark as a 3rd line and hope they both rebound. I am believing poker and phil, who have both watched Morrison, when they say he will at least give us the toughness that Nyles completely lacked.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 12, 2009 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Trade Semin for Heatley? Sure let's get a guy who's a proven NOT a team player and give up a guy who put up more points than he did in 20 less games last year.

If you exclude Gaborik and Kariya (who only played 17 and 11 games respectively) the leaders in Points Per Game last year look like this...

1. Ovechkin (1.39)
2. Malkin (1.38)
3. Crosby (1.34)
4. Semin (1.27)

Posted by: Davethecapsfan | July 12, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Heatley's career stats

GP-507 G-260 A-283 PTS 543

50 goals scored in 2005-6 & 2006-7

Semin's career stats

GP-254 G-108 A-108 PTS 216

Davethecapsfan, you're gonna say the fact that Semin played 20 games less than Heatley last year as a positive? LOL

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Tom:
Yes the BMo thing really does put an interesting twist on Nylander's situation - all the more reason that he might go. I am sure that he was none the happy to hear about BMo, and the fact that before that deal was done people were talking about Laich for #2 only makes it worse for Nyls. Ya gotta wonder if they are trying to force him out; clearly he has been all but written off. He was already ticked at the end of last season when he talked about his relationship with BB and company ... with everything that has happened since then he may reach his breaking point sooner than later. Never a dull moment.

FWIW, if nothing else I would assume that there are no NMCs in GMGM's immediate future.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 12, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I have a few questions I'm not sure I know the answers for.

Can the Caps send Theo down to Hershey before the season and receive salary cap relief since he'd be on the Hershey roster?

Can Nyls play his NMC (no "movement" clause) card and deny the Caps from sending down to Hershey?

If Nyls signs a contract in the KHL, isn't this in violation of the agreement the NHL and KHL have between themselves with the IIHF since Nyls is under contract with the Caps for 2 more years (re: Jiri Hudler situation at hand)?

Posted by: puckman | July 12, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Dave is obviously saying that Semin put up more points than Heatley with 20 less games played. That's impressive.

Semin- 62 games played, 79 points
Heatley- 82 played, 72 points

No one ever said Semin playing 20 less games was a positive..

Posted by: rachel216 | July 12, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

puckman:
Nyls can avoid Hershey with his NMC (if he had a NTC he could not). Going to the KHL would be a violation of his contract, however if he and the Caps agreed (which it seems like they would), he could do it. RE: Theo, I can't think if a reason why he couldn't be sent down, although waivers would be an issue. Plus I don't know enough about the AHL to know what the implications would be for the Bears if they did that.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 12, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Kitty - we can agree to disagree then on the trade deadline. I don't think you need to be overly concerned about it at this point. Certainly keep it in mind but I'm sure that GMGM knows what the market is for both Nyls and Theo and he knows if he's gonna be able to move 1 or both of them between now and then. BTW, we did have some cap space to do some things at the deadline so it's not accurate to state that we "Couldn't" do anything. GMGM said the reason he "didn't" do anything was b/c Pronger cost too much and he didn't see anything out there that was better than Pothier and Clark coming back. Whether you agree with that assessment or not, that's why he didn't do anything it wasn't b/c we didn't have any room.

@Boo- you know I've had many an email conversation with Ted and I can promise you this, he and GMGM have learned from the Nyls contract and I can promise you that there won't be another NMC in a contract unless it's something like what they put in OV's contract. This is a very quick learning Mgt team we have in place. The great thing about GMGM and Ted is they never make the same mistake twice and you won't see another Nyls contract come around town anytime soon.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 12, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

On a side note, you want to know a team that is in complete Cap room HELL? The Chicago Blackhawks! They right now are at the cap and out of a 23 man roster they have 12 RFA's/UFA's after this upcoming season with Toew's and Kane both RFA's. Talk about a team that will need to dump some salary! If they don't then only 1 of the 2 will be a Blackhawk in 2yrs if that. IMO they are going for the Cup this year and this year only. I think that Hossa deal is gonna haunt that franchise for many years to come and they better hope they win this year b/c it isn't gonna happen anytime soon after that. I'd much rather be in our Cap situation right now.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 12, 2009 1:44 PM | Report abuse

re: Semin vs Heatley. It's a moot point which player is better. Heatley's cap hit is 7.5 and Semin's is 4.6. The only way to afford it, practically, would be to package Semin and Theo for Heatley and then sign Johnny for a million and you are $400K to the good vis-a-vis the cap.

Someone asked yesterday if people felt that Semin would go for a hometown discount. If you believe the reports that he's reserved as a person, you can expect he might take a small discount to play with the Washington Russians rather than take every last dime to start anew on a team that has maybe no Russians. If someone offered me $6M/yr to earn a living in a comfortable environment, or $7M/yr to work in an unfamiliar place, I'd happily take the lower amount.

I believe before training camp Backstrom will be extended for 11 years, matching the length of Ovie's contract. The amount will be $66M, $6M a year, and these guys will be together for years like it used to be on the Canadiens. Then McPhee will offer Semin 5 yrs at $30M, again $6M/yr, and Semin will accept. Then along with Laich and Green they can be the Five Muskateers for the next decade. Five happy guys, playing with their buds forever. And they will have their little buddy, Varly, to tag along, and then little Gus, and Dovgan, and a few other Russians here and there, and maybe John Erskine will be a lifer too. It will be a wonderful story.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 12, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

LMAO Tom! Are you hittin that wine again today? I agree with you though. I think both guys come in around the 6M mark so together they'll be a 12M hit where currently they both account for 7M so it's an increase of 5M which is a bit higher than Theo's contract alone. And lets not forget that GMGM can throw in an extra yr for both at 1M-2M to lower the cap hit as well. So many possibilities too many days left until the season starts.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 12, 2009 3:02 PM | Report abuse

@irockthered

Yeah, waivers does mean a player goes if he is picked up by a team off waivers, but Nyles isn't a normal situation. He would have to waive his no waive clause, he has a high cap hit, is an underperforming veteran, and (in my scenario) has an agreement to go play in Russia/Europe. Name me a team who would take that player? It is possible a team would take him off waivers, but even if they did he would still be off the Caps cap.

@puckman: the Hudler situation is different. Hudler filed for arbitration and in the NHL world that binds the player to the team and only leaves the team the option of walking away (and this isn't a clear case at this point). In the Nyles situation both the Caps, Nyles and the KHL team would agree about the transfer of the contract. The Caps have done this in the past with, I believe, Rastislav Stana.

As for the issue of getting rid of Theo at this point. I actually think the Caps should keep him to start the season as a security blanket. Sitting here right now I can tell you Brent Johnson is not a goaltender I want to roll into the playoffs with as my starter. I can also tell you that Neuvirth and Varlamov have limited NHL experience and who konws how they will perform over the course of a full NHL season. I don't want to go into the season with those as my only goaltenders. Let Varly or Neuvy get playing time at the NHL level during the season. If they show they can handle the starting job for the better part of the season and a good trade becomes available at the deadline then move Theo. If not, Theo's contract expires at the end of the season and we have him as the back-up during the playoffs.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 12, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

LMAO Tom! Are you hittin that wine again today?

pokerface:

Hey, it's eight o'clock in the morning somewhere.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 12, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Dave is obviously saying that Semin put up more points than Heatley with 20 less games played. That's impressive.

Semin- 62 games played, 79 points
Heatley- 82 played, 72 points

No one ever said Semin playing 20 less games was a positive..

Posted by: rachel216 | July 12, 2009 1:24 PM

At the end of the day all that matters is the production, not the points/game average or any other stat. Mario Lemieux probably would have put up the kind of numbers that Wayne Gretzky ended up with had he stayed healthy. But he didn't. Semin missed 20 and 19 games the last two years. That's not a good trend.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 5:59 PM | Report abuse

And Dany Heatley is a headcase who has no worked his way out of two organizations and refused to go to a third.

I think most gave him a pass for wanting out of Atlanta considering the back story. However, know that he has complained his way out of Ottawa...and for a completely bogus reason...and refused to go to Ottawa, I just don't want him on my team.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 12, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

no = now

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 12, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

and the second Ottawa = Edmonton. I really should read before hitting submit. :)

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | July 12, 2009 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Caps/Rangers game 7 on NHL network right now.

Posted by: tess2201 | July 12, 2009 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Watching Game7...still amazes me how no one on the Ranger bench even sits next to Avery, yet alone says anything to him. What an a## :)

Posted by: ralCapsFan | July 12, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

wish I had NHL network :( I was there, but I'm wondering how tense it was on TV. Are they showing the DC broadcast, complete with Smokin' Al totally nailing that Feds would be the one to score the game winner?

Posted by: RedBirdie | July 12, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

1. Ovechkin (1.39)----9.?mil
2. Malkin (1.38)----8.7 mil
3. Crosby (1.34)----8.7mil
4. Semin (1.27)-----????

This my friends is why keeping Semin and Backs will be tough to keep.

Imagine your Semin's agent. How much do you think your client deserve?

And if Varly and Neurvy turn out to be great goalies, a great tandem will cost much more than a starter and a cheap backup...

Posted by: hardyboys0 | July 12, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Semin hasn't even scored over 40 goals in a season. He and his agent can talk all they want about his points/game average but till he actually scores 40 or 50 goals and 100 points in a year, he doesn't deserve that kind of money.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 9:24 PM | Report abuse

As far as Backstrom, I'd lock him up for 10 years or more... he's more of a priority than Semin in my opinion.

Both he and Semin are very talented but Backstrom has more intangibles that don't show up in stat sheets. To me, he just competes harder than Semin.


Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Joe:
Semin has not played an entire season. This season will be very telling. If he can make it through all 82 without injury, the production will probably be there. But that's a big if for our sensitive boy. :-X If he brings it, he'll get it. We'll see!

Posted by: Boo- | July 12, 2009 10:04 PM | Report abuse

While we're trying to figure out how to sell Semin out, why don't we figure out scenarios how we could also deal out Ovechkin? I think those people who seem bored out of their gourds because there's no real hockey going on would have a field day playing out scenarios in their heads on which team could actually afford Ovi and who we could get if we get rid of Ovi.

Sorry, I put that up because I think it's a stupid idea that we'd even consider dealing out Semin. I think Sash has proven that he can rally a win for us just as well as Ovi. If I remember correctly, he scored a couple of Playoff goals for us while Ovi was struggling to score. To me, that counts. Go do all your statistically analysis crap, I'd rather watch grass grow than watch you people disregard Semin's hard work just so that the Washington Capitals match up your stupid fantasy team.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 12, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

LeftCoastCapsFan:
also - wasn't it semin that carried the team while ovi was in his mini slump to start the year. GMGM should do everything he can to keep him - he is a game changer

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 12, 2009 10:35 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface1208: Fair enough on agreeing to disagree. Had we had more cap space and more contract space, we would have had more options, which might have enabled GMGM to do something. I'm more of a planning ahead type. It's obvious, though, that GMGM and Ted have something up their sleeves and they're still on plan. Be it moving Nylander or Theodore, or something else, they'll manage. They always do.

Re: Nylander. There's always a possibility they'll find a way. Bluntly, it's d***ed unlikely this season, but there's a pretty good possibility for next season. If they find a way, fantastic. But, don't expect it to happen, and don't flagellate them if it doesn't. Frankly, I think we can straighten out the cap and go into the season as we are and do just fine through April. It's around March / April that the final tweaks will need to be made, and we've got to be able to make them.

@LeftCoastCapsFan: Easy there. I for one really don't want to get rid of Semin. Really, really don't. He's a tremendous talent. BUT - there's a question of whether the Caps can afford two of that caliber of player plus Backstrom and still have room for the rest of the gang. It's a tough question, and there's no doubt that signings this season have to be done really, really carefully in order to be able to pull both signings off without crippling ourselves.

Posted by: kittypawz | July 12, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Semin scored exactly ZERO goals against the Pens in the playoffs... a goal or two by him would have beaten the Pens perhaps?

I sure think so.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 10:48 PM | Report abuse

@LeftCoastCapsFan & @Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Glad someone else here besides me appreciates Semin's work with the Caps. The fact that he carried the team for the first month this year. And did well in the playoff series against the Rangers.

Re: his injury situation. There does not appear to be a chronic injury but rather different things each year.

At least, when it comes to signing Backstrom and Semin, Theodore won't be an issue since his contract ends this year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 12, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Joe:
Semin was injured. Imagine how it would feel to hit a slap shot with a broken thumb. Ouch. I for one hope they find a way to keep him. I could see the brilliance in him when he first started to play for the Caps (I would always tell my DH to watch him - he didn't get it until early last year when he exploded). He has gotten better and stronger each season and, more importantly for him, he has matured. I've got a feeling that he will be incredible next season. Bring it, Sasha!

Posted by: Boo- | July 12, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

Anyone can be traded for the right deal. To me there's only 3 or 4 players on the Caps that I would consider untouchable. OV. Backstrom, Green and perhaps Varly.

I don't think GMGM would actively shop Semin around unless he demanded crazy money but I'm sure he would listen to any offers. If everyone who gets mentioned in these trade talks among the GMs actually got traded, more than half the players would get traded every year.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 11:00 PM | Report abuse

-Boo-

I hear what you're saying, hope they keep him around and he has a long and productive career with the Caps.

All I'm saying is that he hasn't done enough yet for anyone to say that it's even stupid just to consider trading him. Since when has he become a Wayne Gretzky? even he was traded.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

@Boo

Amen to that. Semin has certainly matured from when he started out. If he can stay healthy for a full year -- look out.

Even when injured against the Pens, he was responsible for several key assists in Game 1 and Game 6.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 12, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Semin was responsible for several key assists in Game 1 and Game 6 of the series against the Penguins, even with his thumb injury. (Probably had major trouble holding the stick and essentially was shooting one handed.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 12, 2009 11:28 PM | Report abuse

Joe:
True, but he is oozing with potential (and Gretzky was not traded at/before his prime). There has been lots of chatter about trading him since the Caps may not be able to afford him in 2010-11, but with Jose leaving and probably Nyls, I am hoping they can swing it. One thing in our favor is his attachment to Ovi and the other Russians. Being less than willing to speak English probably ties him pretty closely to the Caps. But, then again, there are other Russians out there and he surely speaks more English that he lets on, so for the right amount of money he would probably go (if the Caps don't trade him first). Anyway, viable trade? Yes. One I hope they make? No. They boy's got insane hands.

Posted by: Boo- | July 12, 2009 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Boo-

one little correction about what you said, Gretzky was only 28 when he was traded.. in the middle of his prime. he scored 168, 142, 163 and 121 points in his first 4 seasons with the Kings.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Aside from Ovi, who would you say is able to find the net on a regular basis? Semin, as far as I can see is the only one who really fits that bill. Now, imagine the scenario where Ovi goes down and misses considerable time. For those of you chatting up the Caps without Semin, what would our offensive output most likely be? We need him! He should remain a priority and I am willing to bet that management is seeing the same.

Posted by: gonchpup | July 12, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

Joe:
The bulk of his productive years were in Edmonton but whatever ... I think that is splitting hairs. Regardless, yet get my point.

Posted by: Boo- | July 12, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

I mean, YOU get my point ... I think I need to go to bed!! ;-)

Posted by: Boo- | July 12, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

the bulk of his BEST years were with the Oilers of course. In his 8 seasons with the Kings, Gretzky averaged almost a point and a half/game. Till his last years in the NHL with the Rangers, he was still better than a point/game player so he was productive till the very end.

Posted by: joek443 | July 13, 2009 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Gretzky had about 1200 points AFTER he was traded... I think most of us Caps fans would be thrilled if Semen had that many in his entire career.

Posted by: joek443 | July 13, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Joe:
Yes, the bulk of his best production was with the Oliers, which means that he peaked there. Granted, it's all relative - Gretzky on his worst day was still better than most! :-) So he was still amazing during the twilight of his career (hence the reason he's the great one). Like I said, it's all relative ... and this is splitting hairs. :-) Surely you get my point?

Posted by: Boo- | July 13, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Joe:
I'm not sure what you are arguing anymore ... what does that have to do with whether or not Semin should be traded when your whole argument was that he is trade worthy? I'm confused ...

FWIW, while there is no debating that Gretzky was amazing, the game has changed so much that no one will ever see that kind of production again. THN did a great analysis of that last season and basically showed that, relatively speaking, Ovi is more productive than were the greats. It was a really interesting read.

This time I am really going to bed - night, all!

Posted by: Boo- | July 13, 2009 12:33 AM | Report abuse

People please! Do you really think the Caps are gonna trade Semin? I would say he's almost as untouchable as OV and Backs. As far as not being able to afford him, why do you think GMGM has structured every FA contract around the times that Semin and Backs are due for new contracts? GMGM has never traded away a young player the caliber of Semin and I doubt he ever will. He is the part of the core in which we are building around. Granted I know it's possible he could get traded but that is about at 1%. Both of the kids aren't going anywhere except to the Stanley Cup Finals with their buddy OV.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 13, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

And BTW they'll be going to the Stanley Cup Finals many times over with their buddy OV. Ov, Backs, Semin, Green, Varly, Alzner and Carlson are all pretty untouchable. GMGM sure has done a better job with his drafting then our ole buddy David Poile! It is because of him I throw up in my mouth every time I hear the word "POTENTIAL"! The kinds of players he drafted have about as much potential as him becoming an elite GM.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | July 13, 2009 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Poile has done real well with Nashville.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 13, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Semin scored exactly ZERO goals against the Pens in the playoffs... a goal or two by him would have beaten the Pens perhaps?

I sure think so.

Posted by: joek443 | July 12, 2009 10:48 PM |

And you would not even be able to make this statement if it wasn't for Semin putting the team on his back in the Rags series.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 13, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Here's my thing: When people start calling players "trade-worthy", it's like they completely ignore all variables that go into making that claim. Last I checked, Semin was a vital part of the Capitals and for joek, whether it's just for arguments sake, raises that kind of a statement, yeah, it's on. Expect to be reminded how baseless that kind of comment can be in light of Semin's contributions to the team. I loathe people who have selective memory about Semin's performance. It's about as bad as the referees ignoring all the sh*t Semin had to suffer from all their selective memories about what rules to enforce during the playoffs with the Rangers and with the Penguins.

S*ck it, if you wanna' pretend he didn't take his fair share of lumps during the Playoffs. Don't come up here and disrespect Semin 'cause you will be called out on it.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 13, 2009 1:02 AM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
you forgot schultz in your untouchable list - we all know that GMGM has a thing for him and probably would never trade him

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 13, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

I would only trade Semin if you could get someone like Phaneuf in return.

I've read the notes and the tally is in - one vote to trade Semin; and everyone else's vote not to trade him.

I posted yesterday that they will sign Backstrom very long-term $6M/yr and Semin medium term $6M/yr and they will all be happy. Boudreau is on record as saying Semin has "more raw talent than anyone in the league." That's a paraphrase, but that's the jist of what I've read and what Locker has said on air.

He isn't going anywhere unless the Caps get blown away with an offer. They will trade Mo; they will not re-sign Pothier; they will trade Poti, Schultz and Jurcina if need be; they will go with young, cheap goalies for a few years; they will do whatever must be done, even if they have to give Backstrom a 25-yr deal with a bunch of ones on the back end (wouldn't that be funny), so they can keep the core together.

Ha! Give Backstrom a 25-yr deal with 15 yrs at $7M and ten years at $1M. That's $115M over 25 = cap hit of $4.6M/yr. McPhee's a sharp cookie. If the Flyers can pull one with Pronger, let's us do it with Backstrom.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 13, 2009 6:18 AM | Report abuse

TottenhamCaps implied we should move Neuvy in a post I read from Saturday. I'm not sure if anyone else disagrees, but I have to. Varly definitely looks good, but he's young, and anything can happen. The Caps were in the same situation just over 10 years ago. They had a young netminder in Jim Carey who won the Vezina and then fell to pieces. The other young goaltender in the system at the time was Olaf Kolzig. Just think about how bad the '90s would have been if the Caps banked on Carey right away and traded Kozlig.

I say we hold onto to both of them until they're due for their big paydays. At that point we will be forced to decided, but until then, let's let them fight it out. Just my opinion of course.

Posted by: fanohock1 | July 13, 2009 7:37 AM | Report abuse

Here is the updated salary cap spreadsheet. It shows an overrun of $200K, already assuming Mo and either Schutlz or Jurcina are traded. Also includes Alzner's bonus at "full," which is not a given. The team can actually overrun by the bonus, paying the penalty the following year.

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 (Est - RFA) 0.900
Gordon (Est - RFA) 0.900
Flash 0.725
Steckel 0.725
Aucoin 0.500
S/T 14 Forwards 35.163
Green 5.250
Poti 3.500
Pothier 2.500
Alzner (w/bonus) 1.675
Jurcina or Schultz (Est - RFA) 1.275
Erskine 1.275
Sloan 0.640
S/T 7 Defensemen 16.115
Theodore 4.500
Varlamov 0.850
S/T 2 Goalies 5.350
Total 23 Players 56.628
Clymer (Buyout) 0.367
Total 23 Players + Clymer 56.995
Cap Space (Est) 56.800
Available -0.195

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 13, 2009 7:43 AM | Report abuse

I'm in a wait-and-see mode on BMo. I'm not sure I like it for a few reasons.

First, we've got cap issues. Like it or not, Nylander is here and accounted for in the cap. BMo isn't.

Second, Nylander's 33 pts in 72 games is better than BMo's 31 pts in 81. Not by much, but better none the less. Also, I understand he's coming off of 2 yrs of injuries which brings me to the 3rd point.

Thirdly, BMo's injuries are now coming to the notoriously poor ice at the booth. Knee and groin issues on bad ice don't go well together.

Fourth, Nylander knows he's a bubble player. Hopefully, he'll come inspired (longshot, but ever the optomist).

Fifth, there are players in Hershey that need to move up and CAN move up - maybe not to 2nd line, but still up. Some may also be in the cap calculation already, or at least would be cheaper cap-wise to BMo.

Having said all of this, if I could find an acceptable trading partner for Nyls, I'd trade him in a NY minute.

I would still be in a wait-and-see mode on BMo. I think the need for a Defenseman trumps another center.

Posted by: Greg S. | July 13, 2009 9:35 AM | Report abuse

pokerfaceI208:
For the record, when I say Semin has potential, I mean that he could be SO much more than he already is. Like I said, I pegged him as being exceptional the first time I saw him play. His early NHL game was hampered by the fact that he could be a bit of a drama czarina (i.e. throwing pucks, taking unnecessary penalties, etc.), but he has matured a lot. He does not seem to be as moody or as prone to let his emotions get the best of him. Trust me, I think he is all that and a bag of crisps (a lil somethin' for my friend UKDave), but I think he has the potential to be even more. I don't think he is anywhere near his peak yet and if he can stay healthy for an entire season he is going to be a force to be reckoned with. Like I said, that kid's got insane hands.

Posted by: Boo- | July 13, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I believe BMo will add depth to our current roster. We might consider 2 lines of around same skill-level as lines 2a&2b. So they can split icetime evenly enough until somebody will be traded or forced into press box. Like we have OV-Backstrom as 1st line pair we have also BMo-Knuble nad Laich/Nylander-Clark as 2a and 2b lines. BB will try Semin with both and then the better line will occur eventually.

We have enough players to fill good 3 lines. And still good role players in 4th.

Also, if that rumor about Afinogenov is right, it is still ok as long as Maxim is motivated and playing with Ovechkin/Semin.

Caphit problems aside. It is fixable.

Anyway, PK and PP should be better than last season (on the paper) with BMo, Knuble and one more season behind the shoulder.

Posted by: Rambutan_ru | July 13, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Holy moly folks. The tension on here is worse than the playoffs.

My one and only point to make about BMo. If he can't get 50 points this season on a line that includes Semin, that would be pathetic. Since he does enter a zone and turn around in a circle, I think he will do just fine.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | July 13, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

This could be a great signing but only if he actually has his speed back. Nylander doesn't work out with the system because he slows the play down so much. Morrison used to be a really good fast centre but he needs to still have that speed to really be effective.

Posted by: Stu_c | July 13, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Here's my final thing on any moves the Capitals make before the season begins: Each of those hires should be based on their performances with our team during the season, not prior to it. It's nonsense to write off someone before they've even played for us.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 13, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ha! Give Backstrom a 25-yr deal with 15 yrs at $7M and ten years at $1M. That's $115M over 25 = cap hit of $4.6M/yr. McPhee's a sharp cookie. If the Flyers can pull one with Pronger, let's us do it with Backstrom.

Posted by: tominfl1 | July 13, 2009 6:18 AM |

There is no way in hell the Player's Association is going to let anyone sign a 25 year contract.

@LeftCoast

Suicides are a no-fun drill.

BMo is awesome. You guys will see....As for Afinogenov....KEEP HIM OUT OF WASHINGTON UNLESS HE WANTS TO MAKE 500K AND SOME CHANGE PLEASE!

Posted by: richmondphil | July 13, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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