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Nicklas Backstrom: 'I wanted the long term'

(Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)


Here's more on center Nicklas Backstrom's new 10-year deal with the Caps:

Backstrom's new contract gradually escalates from $6 million in each of the first four seasons to $8 million in the final year. His cap hit of $6.7 million puts him second on the team behind Ovechkin's $9.538 million and just ahead of Alexander Semin's $6 million. The contract also compares favorably to those of players the Capitals consider to be his peers: Chicago's Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (five years, $6.3 million cap hit), Los Angeles' Anze Kopitar (seven years, $6.8 million), Colorado's Paul Stastny (five years, 6.6 million) and Philadelphia's Mike Richards (12 years, $5.75 million).
"I don't want to answer that," Backstrom said when asked if he accepted less money for the stability of a decade-long deal. "I am just happy to be here." Full story »

After the jump, a few photos from the scene at Kettler Capitals Iceplex:

(Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)


Caps owner Ted Leonsis is flanked by Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson. (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)


Nicklas Backstrom's supporters, from left: Parents Anders and Catrin Backstrom, brother Kristoffer and Sherif Abdalla, a friend. On the right is Amelia Falk, Marcus Johansson's girlfriend. (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)


Nicklas Backstrom answers questions during a news conference as his mother captures the moment on camera. (Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  May 17, 2010; 4:29 PM ET
 
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Next: Ted Leonsis: No. 1 pick helps, 'but you have to build around them'

Comments

Congrats Nicklas....and Thank You!!!!

Posted by: j3rockstar | May 17, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik, I am a avid CI fan and i usually like what yall have to say and have to report,BUT,I thought it was totally classless and unprofessional that at nickys big signing party in front of ted and everyone that you ask him if he took less money to stay here.How do know that he doesnt feel that he made out and got a good deal.A deal HE wanted.Well one way is because he didnt answer your dumb question! Its just kinda degrading to question HIS deal and whether he could of got more.Here he was looking all happy and than after that question he just looked pissed and rightfully so.You need to brush up on your skills T cause you do ask some retarded questions.GREAT JOB NICKY,CONGRATS! GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | May 17, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Is it me, or is Ted trying to rock the Backstrom schlicked back 'do?

Posted by: sjshanno | May 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

Great news. Awesome to know Nicky will be staying with us for a long time.

@gratefuldid

Chill out. Sometimes reporters have to ask questions their subjects don't like. Comes with the job. Tarik is not employed by the Caps PR department.

Posted by: ranndino | May 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

IMO, the only things close to classless is the use of the locker room for a presser?

Cmon, I thought we are past the Mom & Pop stuff now Teddy L!

just poking @ you.
Great Day for Caps nation.

Posted by: Rocc00 | May 17, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

8.5 has ZERO chance of making the roster. UNLESS we rid some of our dead weight (Fehr, Gordon, Walker, Br Morrison, Fleishman). Sorry guys...

Posted by: SoaringCaps | May 17, 2010 1:42 PM |

What an idiotic post. Fehr and Gordon, dead weight? Fehr was the most improved forward this year, and has shown that he is willing and able to play in front of the net - one area where we need major improvement. Gordon, meanwhile, has shown his worth as a 4th liner/PK man. His faceoff % was the best on the team (yes, even better than Steckel).

As for the rest of them - BMo and Walker are most likely gone anyways, and hopefully Flash will be too. He doesn't have the tools to be anything other than a 2nd liner, and we have 5 forwards signed for next season who are better. He is just baggage at this point.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, right keep Gordon absolutely - what with our PK being so stellar and all - no need to change a thing....

Posted by: govtimbo | May 17, 2010 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I'd go sign John Madden, I know he's not a 2nd line center but he can still do the job on PK and is still a good defensive center. And mostly importantly he's been with winning teams all his NHL career.

he signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks worth $2.75 million last off-season, probably won't take that much to sign him.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 6:54 PM | Report abuse

In light of the great news, I am saddened to say that my fiance has broken it off between us. After being a Caps fans all my life, it almost pains me to think about the team, as the Caps became one of the biggest things we shared. It truly hurts me to think of anything Caps-related..

Posted by: richmondphil | May 17, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse

Yes, right keep Gordon absolutely - what with our PK being so stellar and all - no need to change a thing....

Posted by: govtimbo | May 17, 2010 6:36 PM

Let me point something out... Gordon was not used much this year, so that statement is totally pointless.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

@Richmondphil, very sorry to hear that, sir. Here's hoping you find someone else to share your Caps passion with. Give it time.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | May 17, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

I would keep Stecks over Gordon for 2 reasons....Gordo isn't getting any younger, and that bad back of his frankly scars the pants off me. I am not saying gordo is not valuable, but Stecks is less risky.

Posted by: capscoach | May 17, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Madden seems to have lost a step, from what I've seen - plus I think that's a pretty bad contract to take on.

If anything I would like to see a little more overall team speed, but especially on our PK - the other team's PP usually had plenty of time and space to operate and were rarely under duress. And the points were free to take chances. There are many younger, quicker guys available, for less money.

Posted by: govtimbo | May 17, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

I would keep Stecks over Gordon for 2 reasons....Gordo isn't getting any younger, and that bad back of his frankly scars the pants off me. I am not saying gordo is not valuable, but Stecks is less risky.

Posted by: capscoach | May 17, 2010 7:56 PM

Agreed, but the best thing to do would be keep both. Each is valuable as a faceoff/PK man - and Gordon more so.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 8:22 PM | Report abuse

We have enjoyed the Backstrom news today and were discussing at dinner tonight what a class act he is on and off the ice. Not flamboyant, doesn't attract attention of the local Po Po, and is as humble as he is skilled. No surprise to log on now and see his family with him in support of this big news, pride all over their faces.

RichmondPhil, sorry dude.

Posted by: Caps16Fan | May 17, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

Gordon needs to be signed, Steckel is already signed, that alone makes Steckel more valuable. Better try someone from Hershey, rather than carry a fifth center in Boyd Gordon. Let's move along, no reason to bring him back.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 17, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

underpants, he can play wing as well as center. Plus, we only have 3 right now - if Gordon signs. There's plenty of reason to bring him back, as I already pointed out, and no reason not to.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

If anything I would like to see a little more overall team speed, but especially on our PK - the other team's PP usually had plenty of time and space to operate and were rarely under duress. And the points were free to take chances. There are many younger, quicker guys available, for less money.

Posted by: govtimbo | May 17, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

doesn't necessarily have to be Madden but I think they need to show everyone that they're serious about upgrading their overall defense and PK.

they had the right idea when they traded for Belanger but I'd rather have a playoff veteran like Madden who's been there and done it.

for some reason nobody wants to pay for defense and everyone thinks they can find a role player like Madden on their own. but very few actually do, I don't think either Gordon or Stecks will ever be that type of a defensive forward.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

@timmyv38

Our PK stinks, it needs to improve. Gordon doesn't help. Save the million and put it towards someone

Posted by: underpants2 | May 17, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Remember that really annoying thing she always did? Yeah, that one. That thing was gonna drive you nuts after, like, two years of marriage or so. You were just ignoring it pre-marriage because it was outweighed by certain other things, but post-marriage, that thing would've started to get to you.

So, let that thing start getting to you now. Because you're going to have to get over this by October so you can watch the Capitals pain-free!

On the other hand, if you think you want her back, I think the best thing to do, is to find another person or two to date, one way or another, soon, and/or otherwise try your best to live a life and have some fun. That way, if it happens that you talk to her again, your head will be more likely to be screwed on the right way. For whatever reason, pitiful and sad isn't attractive to people, even former intimates.

Thanks,
Dr. Squishy

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 17, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

underpants, I agree that the PK needs to improve, but getting rid of one of the Caps' best PKer's isn't going to help, unless they get someone who is better. And for Gordon's price, you won't find someone better. If the 2nd/3rd line centers the Caps end up getting are better PKer's, that would change things.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 10:14 PM | Report abuse

I think the team is weak if you have both Gordon and Steckel as centers. That's two 4th line centers. Doesn't work.

I don't mind Bradley, Steckel and Gordon as the 4th line - for energy and grit but no so much PK.

I will say, repeatedly as I have, you need a "checking line" that can be used in an attempt to shut down the other team. Then Kono, Tik, Kelly Miller, Ulf Dahlen. I am thinking Chimera can do that with Belanger if you had a real strong defensive RW (and that player is not now in the organization).

Now put Ovi, Backie and Knuble on the 1st line. You have left the 2nd line to fill among Semin, Flash, Laich, Fehr, Perreault and maybe even Johansson. What makes the most sense? To me, long term, Laich and Fehr. What if moving Semin and Flash allow you through trade and FA to get a second line center, a checking RW and a stronger blueliner?

Maybe you move Poti too if you can get Volchenkov, who would play left side along with Schultz, Alzner and Erskine as your extra. Your right d-men are Green, Carlson and maybe Collins or a UFA vet (Collins wasn't bad when he played two years ago and is signed for next year).

Out - Semin, Flash, Poti approx $12M.

In - Volchenkov ($5M), the center and the checking RW.

That to me would be a better balanced team.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

Bobby Beathard the former GM of the Skins was famous for finding talent in later rounds and among undrafted FAs. But he made his share of mistakes in early rounds.

I think where GMs really earn their money is finding good role players in later rounds and I don't think McPhee has done a very good job in that area.

Right now that's what this team lacks - a few good/tough role players who can do the job in their own end and on PK. If he can't find those players in the draft which is always the preferred option, he'll just have to find them in free agency. Other than Bradley, I don't think there's anyone worth keeping among their 3rd/4th liners.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

I find it foreboding that he brought a shady nightclub promoter with him to his presser. What is Sherif Abdalla's connection to this and Backstrom? Play Lounge isn't "that kind" of night club from what I've read, but it still seems odd to have him at the presser.

Posted by: lornemyoung | May 17, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

To me, the only real hole when it comes to forwards is 2nd line center. Ovie/Backs/Knuble is a near perfect 1st line. Semin/Laich are good together, but they need a strong #2 center, which is something the Caps are missing. Belanger/Chimera/Fehr would make a strong 3rd line, and Bradley/Steckel/Gordon would be an excellent 4th line - and having both Gordon and Steckel would give that line a great chance of winning faceoffs.

Other than that, improvements need to be made on defense. Get rid of Poti - he was one of the main problems with the PK last season. Let Corvo go, he's not worth the money. But Green, Schultz, Carlson, Alzner, Erskine, and one more dman - preferably a large one who can clear the crease and block shots - would be a solid defensive group.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I am really sorry to hear about your plans falling through. I think we "conversed" awhile ago about Houston. It stinks for you. The disappointment will be tough. Rely on your friends. There's been a young lady on Japers' from Richmond (you are there, aren't you?) who says no one down there knows anything about hockey and she has no one to talk to about it.

Posted by: Steakum | May 17, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

But Green, Schultz, Carlson, Alzner, Erskine, and one more dman - preferably a large one who can clear the crease and block shots - would be a solid defensive group.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 17, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

no offense but that's a defense corp that would scare absolutely nobody... gone are Poti and ShaMo, probably their two best defensive d-men last year and put in Erskine and a player to be named later in their place? unless you plan to bring in the best defensive D-man out there, that would be not be an upgrade.

as much as I like Carlson, Alzner and their potential, you can't count on either of them to be the anchor next year. And God knows Green can't be an anchor of any kind when it comes to defense.

As far as Schultz is concerned, he needs to put on some serious weight. you can be either slow or weak but you can't be both slow AND weak. he'll always be slow but he needs to get much stronger if he wants to be an elite defensive d-man.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

joek443: You're forgetting that Schultz was league leader in plus/minus. That means he must have done SOMETHING right.

I know, I know...plus/minus is a meaningless stat.

In support that plus/minus is meaningless, you can see that the yearly winners are mostly a coolection of no-name bums:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_Plus-Minus_Award

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 17, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal1

I think Schultz and Green are a good 2nd D pair, the problem is that they're the first D pair on this team.

as far as plus/minus, I'm more impressed with Rafalski (+23) and Lidstrom (+22) than Schultz's plus 50.

Schultz played on a team that was plus 74 on even strength, those guys played on a team that was dead even on even strength.

Posted by: joek443 | May 18, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

While I wouldn't have a problem with dealing Semin if the Caps got a top center in return. I am in not in favor of getting rid of Semin just in hope of acquiring a center. But I would have to look at any particular deal to see how it would work.

You have to look at ease of deal to see if it would be possible. My idea:

Out Flash and Erskine.

In: Volchenkov (signed as UFA) gritty 3rd or 4th line wing who is a great on the PK, blocking shots, and creating havoc (acquired in trade for Flash)and is relatively cheap (no more than $1M)

I then think Backstrom and Ovie should be split up.

Have line 1A: Ovie/MP(eventually)/Knuble

I know the thought process would be (MP can't play against the top centers. Well, if he is that means Backstrom isn't. I would gladly take that. I know MP is more of a 2nd line center but with his wings he would be fine. The top 2 lines would play about equally at even strength creating huge matchup problems for other teams.

Line 1B: Laich/Backstrom/Semin

line 3Chimera/Belanger/Fehr

(this is the energy line, I think you are dismissing Fehr's ability to cause turnover's in the offensive zone. He is great at causing havoc with his long reach. It will also be able to chip in a decent amount of goals too. But make it be known they are meant to cycle in the offensive zone. Fehr is good along the borads too)

line 4: acqired gritty, defensive wing winger/Steckel or Gordon/Bradley

Gordon could be switched with Belanger. So line for is the defensive line with line 3 beig the energy/checking line.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

no offense but that's a defense corp that would scare absolutely nobody... gone are Poti and ShaMo, probably their two best defensive d-men last year and put in Erskine and a player to be named later in their place? unless you plan to bring in the best defensive D-man out there, that would be not be an upgrade.

as much as I like Carlson, Alzner and their potential, you can't count on either of them to be the anchor next year. And God knows Green can't be an anchor of any kind when it comes to defense.

As far as Schultz is concerned, he needs to put on some serious weight. you can be either slow or weak but you can't be both slow AND weak. he'll always be slow but he needs to get much stronger if he wants to be an elite defensive d-man.

Posted by: joek443 | May 17, 2010 11:23 PM

If ShaMo stays (which I certainly hope would be the case), add him to that. As for Poti - good riddance. He was one of the worst PK dmen last season in the entire NHL - as in the worst one on a team that was horrible on the PK. He plays well even-strength, but that's not where the Caps have problems. Green and Schultz are more than capable of being the #1 pair, Carlson has shown that he can take a full defensive load (with Erskine or ShaMo, maybe?), and Alzner certainly seems ready to be a full-time dman.

With Schultz, I agree that he needs to bulk up, but he's not nearly as weak as people think. I've seen him throw some solid hits. But even as he is, he's very good at trapping guys on the boards with that huge wingspan of his.

Posted by: timmyv38 | May 18, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

Saying Green and Schultz are more than capable of being a number one pair is a pretty far stretch. The number one pair is supposed to be your sut down pair of d-men.....do you see that with this pair, especially Green?? Sorry, they are a number two pair and that is where they need to be.

Get Volchenkov to be that number one pair shut down d-man and re-sign maybe Shamo to be his partner? Not sure what the answer is but Green and Schultz certainly is not it!

Posted by: PhilR | May 18, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

@richmondphil sorry to hear that - hang in there.

Posted by: mikebrady1 | May 18, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if someone has given their two cents on this or not. In the last thread someone asked if Marcus Johansson was given #90 because they were hoping him to be a Juneau type player. IMO humble opinion he has selected #90 because his birth year in 1990. The same reason Crosby picked #87 and Patrick Kane picked #88.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 18, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

first, caps need to trade Nyls for anything at the draft.

second, don't sign any FA's not already here unless it is a #1 stay at home d-man. Then make tha salary cap fit by trading away salary or rights, etc.

third, decide if Johanson is the future 2nd line center. Either put him in the line-up or look to hershey for the 2nd line center. If there is a need at the trade deadline, there will be a 2nd line center with an expiring contract available.

The caps are talented enough to play around the shortcomings Johanson may have in adapting to the NHL. If he is the guy, put him in the October line-up and give hime plenty of season to mature.

fourth, let varly and neuvy play. A goalie will be available at the trade deadline if needed.

fifth, use the season as 82 practice games for the playoffs. Work on perfecting the system and play within the system.

sixth, win the cup

Posted by: cadlecreek1 | May 18, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

In my opinion, the only rfa/ufa that should be signed are:

Flash
Fehr
Neuvirth
Shultz

Everyone else, needs to walk, especially Morrisonn and Gordon. These guys are all replacable. Once Flash is signed, you can decide what to do with him.

Semin needs to be traded at the draft. We need that cap space and I don't think if the Caps are rolling along at the trade deadline, he can be removed from the lineup at that point. I keep going back to Ryan Suter from Nashville, but when you look at the guys they have (R. Ellis, A. Sulzer) ready to get in the lineup, that is a great destination. He can be our top pair dman with Green. Then you have Shultz play with Poti, and Alzner and Carlson. Poti's contract makes him untradeable.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

I consider myself a true hockey fan and have watched the Flyers throughout the playoffs. They don't have a great goalie (neither Boucher and Leighton), but their top two defensive pairings are superior to anything they Caps could use. Pronger, Timonnen, and Coburn are all strong two-way players who make few mistakes in their own end and can play the point on the power play. The 4th player Karl is young and reminds me somewhat of Carlson.

Reality is that except Poti, our defenseman are pretty mediocre when it comes to playoff hockey. Schultz and Green were both exposed badly in the 1st round and would have looked even worse if we had advanced to play Boston or Philly. We have good trade bait available in Fleischmann and Semin so why not use it to get a top defenseman? As currently configured, we'll have some improvement with Carlson and Alzner up for the full year but our top defensive pair of Green and Schultz is not championship caliber.

Posted by: wizfan89 | May 18, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

joek443: I agree Green isn't #1 pair defensively; he is offensively.

sgm3: Fehr, in my mind, is more effective on 2nd line than 3rd. That's because I want a very effective 3rd (checking) line.

The one thing people should remember when creating defensive pairings is BB's desire to have three each RH and LH d-men. What this means is the team can always expect the same play from the D. Green and Carlson are good example with similar style. They need then another RH D (Collins?) with that style. Then you'd have three LH D like Volchenkov, Schultz and Alzner. They'd be primarily your defensive defensemen and the RH guys the offensive defensemen.

Volch is #1 pair for sure, Schultz #2 and Alzner #3 with Erskine and Sloan in reserve.

You have Green and Carlson and just need that other RH player. I'm not saying all teams do it this way, or that's it's essential, but it seems to be BB's way so I am to assume it will continue.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Poti was probably our best d-man in the playoffs and down the stretch - and Carlson/Poti was inarguably our strongest pair. So I certainly don't understand why you'd want to ditch him.

Yes, our PK stunk up the joint - but why is that solely the D's fault? None of our forwards puts even the slightest pressure on the opposing points, where they have to worry about 'D' - unless Backstrom and/or Semin or maybe Flash are out there.

I realize Gordon is a hard worker - but to pretend that he's somehow untouchable escapes me.

And no, Schultz-Green is not a #1, shutdown pairing. I think that became abundantly clear this spring.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I realize Gordon is a hard worker - but to pretend that he's somehow untouchable escapes me

Posted by: Timbo_1


I could not agree with this statement any more. He, along with many others, are part of the problem, not the solution. We need to find guys that can get us over the hump. Many of these guys have had 3 postseasons to contribute, they have not. If they are not under contract, or have NO TRADE VALUE, they need to be gone.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I think where GMs really earn their money is finding good role players in later rounds and I don't think McPhee has done a very good job in that area.

Posted by: joek443

Totally. In fact, they don't even have to be role players - superstars can be had in the later rounds, if you knew where to look [hint: it ain't Lethbridge, if you're good, chances are they know about ya].

Let's look at another organization as just one recent example: Pavel Datsyuk was picked in the 6th round, Zetterberg in the 7th. Nick Lidstrom - probably the best d-man since one Robert Gordon Orr, #4 - didn't go until the 3rd round.

So these hidden gems can be found. If you're willing to look. And stop drafting based on height and geography alone.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I also think that Fehr is well equipped to be a 2nd line RW and maybe even a 1st line RW. He is a must re-sign when considering that Knuble and Semin are both free agents after next year.

But because of the depth at RW, I think Fehr can play the 3rd line role well too. He has the size, he is great at causing turnovers in the offensive zone, he plays well along the boards and he also has skill(having skill doesn't detract from the other traits, it is possible for some gritty guys to have skill. They are not mutually exclusive).

In addition, with the guys under 25, people on the board have to also realize that many of them will improve next year. Players aren't static. I expect Schultz to be even better next year, along with Fehr, along with Alzner, along with Carlson.

I just don't think a Semin trade is the right way to go because I don't think any team will trade back a player of equal value. He is too skilled to just give up. I say you play him throughout the year and then he walks with Fehr moving up.

The Caps can still get their #1 D-man by getting rid of Flash and Erskine. I think getting a gritty 3rd or 4th liner who is great on the PK in return for Flash is more than possible.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I just don't think a Semin trade is the right way to go because I don't think any team will trade back a player of equal value. He is too skilled to just give up. I say you play him throughout the year and then he walks with Fehr moving up.

The Caps can still get their #1 D-man by getting rid of Flash and Erskine. I think getting a gritty 3rd or 4th liner who is great on the PK in return for Flash is more than possible.

Posted by: sgm3

My problem with this is he is too valuable to let walk for nothing. I think you would be surprised with what can be gotten in return for Alex Semin. Especially if Kovalchuk signs, and a team feels like they missed out on him.

I don't know how you turn Flash and Erskine into a #1 dman.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

You can turn Flash and Erskine into a #1 d man if you trade them to make cap space so you can sign a UFA. Even more so if you move Poti. Plenty o' room for Volchenkov then.

Flash will get you a #2 pick or a checking forward and Erskine a #5 pick is my guess.

Yes, it isn't terrible if Semin walks after next year IF you sign Volchenkov as a UFA and you need the cap space going forward for him. You then would have essentially traded Semin for Volchenkov. Would anyone not make that trade?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

BTW, at the end of next season, constrained by cap space, you can either keep Semin at say $6.5M/yr or Laich at say $3.5-4M/yr with the difference put into the blueline, who do you keep?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@underpants2

You turn Flash and Erskine into a #1 D-man by freeing up the salary cap space that will enable the Caps to sign Volchenkov. In addition, hopefully they can get a good 3rd or 4th line winger who is a great penalty killer in a trade for Flash.

I am not completely dismissing a trade of Semin. If good value was offered in return then yes, but it's hard to say without seeing what is offered. If the trade offer is not comprable I think it would be best for the Caps to keep him and make a run for the Cup. The pain is that he will walk away for nothing but his presence (hopefully he connects on some of his shots next year) may help the Caps to win the SC. I think that would be better than accepting a trade where the acquired assets are worse than what the Caps give up.

The tough thing about trading Semin is that the only useful return (assuming the Caps sign a D-man) would be a top line center. Acquring a mass of players won't help much immediately because there is already a log jam at the forward spot.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Do you really think Laich will go for that much? I was thinking 3-3.25. A lot will obviously depend on how he performs next year though. Hopefully Laich pulls a Pavelski and his value skyrockets with a great playoff performance.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

If Laich signs for anywhere close to that I want his agent.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Here is a short little article on Matt Cullen and his impending free agency.

http://www.ottawasun.com/sports/hockey/2010/05/17/13985281.html

What I found most interesting was the paper stating that there is speculation that the cap will rise to $58M.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

You turn Flash and Erskine into a #1 D-man by freeing up the salary cap space that will enable the Caps to sign Volchenkov. In addition, hopefully they can get a good 3rd or 4th line winger who is a great penalty killer in a trade for Flash.

I am not completely dismissing a trade of Semin. If good value was offered in return then yes, but it's hard to say without seeing what is offered. If the trade offer is not comprable I think it would be best for the Caps to keep him and make a run for the Cup. The pain is that he will walk away for nothing but his presence (hopefully he connects on some of his shots next year) may help the Caps to win the SC. I think that would be better than accepting a trade where the acquired assets are worse than what the Caps give up.

The tough thing about trading Semin is that the only useful return (assuming the Caps sign a D-man) would be a top line center. Acquring a mass of players won't help much immediately because there is already a log jam at the forward spot.

Posted by: sgm3

Agreed, you don't want a mass of players for Semin.

Caps cannot make a run for the cup with Semin on the team.

Absolutely would not trade Semin for Volchenkov either. Volchecnkov was terrible in the series against Pittsburgh, and proved he could not carry a defense corps in the Olympics. I am not sure why he has been made out to be the solution to all problems. Semin has a lot more value than Volchenkov straight up, provided he allows any team he is traded to work out an extension. Look at what Boston got for Kessel. Is he a better goal scorer than Semin? Maybe, a little, maybe?

This team needs a MAJOR overhaul. We all thought they we close, we were all wrong. Close teams don't implode the way this team did in the first round.

First line:
OV/Backs/Bertuzzi
Second Line:
Laich/(Trade/FA)/Knuble
Third Line:
Flas/Perrault/Fehr
Fourth Line:
Bradley/Steckel/Chimera


Defense:
Green/(Someone acquired via Semin Trade)
Carlson/Alzner
Poti/Schultz

Goalies:
Varly/Neuvy

Thoughts? I know I am going to get ripped to shreads. Chimera is a 4th line player on this team, not 3rd. Caps are in a great space salary wise, much better if you trade Semin.

Also, give some rookies a shot this year. This team will run away with the division again. Let's see what Della Rovere and Johansson have. Better them then Belanger and Gordon.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

My overall point with Semin is that he has much higher value to a team that is trying to make the playoffs (FLA, ATL, CLB, NYI), or a team that fights to make the playoffs (STL, NAS, LAK).

Our ticket to the postseason for next year is already punched.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I am pleased that GMGM resigned Backstrom, but I still think the term is too long. I'm not a fan of signing any player, even Ovechkin, over 5 five years, but here we are.

Now it is time for the Caps to make some moves to be a true Cup contender. With a blue line that consists of Green, Schultz, Alzner, and Carlson, I'm not sure the Caps are moving in that direction. They may all turn into HOFers, but does this team have time to wait for them to develop? Then add in two young goalies and a 2nd line center straight from Hershey or the SEL and we'll be back here next April wondering what went wrong.

I think it's time to take some risks. Along with a few roster players, I think the Caps should consider packaging Schultz, Alzner, Carlson, Neuvy, Varly, Holtby, Perreault or Johannson for 2 veteran defensemen (including one with a Cup ring that could mentor the young guys) and a 2C.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@ underpants2

if you can get a stud d-man like Bogosian for Semin then I'm for it.

BTW Volchenkov is an UFA so no need to make a trade for him. However from what I've heard there will be about 10 teams going after him so I don't see the Caps getting him unless he decides to take less money to be here.

Posted by: joek443 | May 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Laich had 25 goals & 59 pts. Here are the LW'ers. Is he worth $3.5-4M based on the others on list?

http://www.nhlnumbers.com/sort.php?pos=L&type=none

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I like the way your D lines up, though I'd flip Poti up to playing on the 2nd unit [at least] with Carlson. Those two were hands-down our best defensive pairing in the playoffs, and seem to have very good chemistry.

Upfront though, I'd quibble:
1) Bertuzzi looked good, but only very late in the season - and when he was playing with Zetterberg, a proven big-game performer, and Franzen, who plays lights out in the playoffs.
2) Unless Peter Forsberg from 3 years ago centers that 2nd line [of Knuble and Laich], I think they'd struggle a bit. Knuble can be effective, when properly lined up - i.e., with Ovi and Backstrom. On another line, I just don't think he'd have much time or space - fleet, he ain't. And on that note - for all his vaunted speed, I saw Laich get beaten to his share of loose pucks in the MTL series. And I think Pavelski comparisons are pretty premature, Pavelski has sick hands.
3) Semin - unless a Kessel-type deal is on the horizon, he's way too talented to give up on yet, IMO.

Otherwise, I like your lineup - and that's a good 3rd-line, Fehr-MP-Flash. Fehr's definitely a finisher - but he absolutely needs to be with guys who can get him the puck.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

The reason so many teams want Volchenkov is he blocks about 20 shots per game (just kidding). He would give us something we really need ala Knuble did last year.

I wouldn't mind letting Semin walk after next year to get a bigger deal elsewhere if ti means getting Volch for roughly $5M and have the balance of the money for an upgraded something else.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

There will be a lot of teams bidding for Volchenkov but I don't think he will get much more than $5M/yr, if that.

I would also deal Semin for Bogosian. But unfortunately you need the other team to agree to the deal.

@ablake70

It is not the time to deal those D-men. In addition to them already becoming good and getting better, trading a low priced Carslon or Alnzer for a top veteran puts a severe strain against the salary cap. The Caps need to have some young players on the roster who are not making a lot of money.

I do agree with acquiring a veteran defensemen. I'm all for signing Volchenkov to help fill that role. The Caps do have more than enough youth on the blue line right now.

@underpants2

I agree that those teams may be looking to add a guy like Semin. However, I don't see them giving up one of their key pieces to acquire Semin. If somehow the right 1 for 1 trade arose for Semin I think the Caps should take that. But that does not usually happen with highly skilled players.

Remember, the Maple Leafs got Kessel by giving up draft picks.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70 - Carlson should be untouchable, he was at least our 2nd best d-man when it counted. And he's only going to get better. Maybe Johansson too. Otherwise, I'd consider it, depending on whom you're talking about. They'd better be damn good - but I don't see Schultz's trade value ever getting higher than it is right now - I don't ever see him not getting exposed by fleet forwards, in pressure situations [i.e., the playoffs].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The other great thing about the scenario you pointed out is that the Caps get a year when both Semin and Volchenkov are playing together.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal1

Laich might be worth $3.5-4 million to some team, but I don't think the Caps should pay it. With the talent on this team (even without Semin) his contributions can be replaced with a younger, cheaper player.

@sgm3

Alzner makes just under $2million and Schultz is projected to make more than $2 million. That's not exactly cheap. There are solid, veterans that can be had at that price. Having a blue line of 4 developing guys is a recipe for disaster.

@Timbo

Too many players on this team are labeled "untouchable". Since no one on this team has won a cup, the only player I'd label untouchable is Ovechkin. You have to give to get. I'm not saying the Caps should give away all their prospects, but it makes no since to keep hoarding them. No team is going to give the Caps it's shutdown dman or 2-way 2C for our 7th dman (Erskine) and a RFA forward the team doesn't want(Flash). Semin would net a good 2C or dman, but not both.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3 - nice pickup on tom's point, Semin and the good Mr. Volchenkov playing together is tantalizing.

I really don't think the comfort factor can be overstated - as just one example, after the tragic crash, Fedorov, while of course still an outstanding player, especially in big games [higher playoff PPG than Stevie Y] - was never quite as dominant as when he knew Konstantinov had his back, riding shotgun.


Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Kessel was worth more than semin arguably because Semin is only one year from UFA and nothing the acquiring team can do about that. With Kessel, Toronto knew they'd have him for at least four years under control.

sgm3: Yes, I thought of that. That is why "Semin walking" might not be so bad. Using the money for another UFA is like a trade.

1) trade Flash for checking forward
2) trade Poti and Erskine for picks
3) sign Volchenkov
4) Semin walks after next year
5) money available then for Laich and Varly

Additionally, if Knuble retires, you have money and a slot for Fehr to advance.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

People thought a lot worse of Hal Gill when he was Schultz's age and continued to think worse of Gill throughout most of his career.

Schultz finally had a breakout year and I see him getting better. He is slow, just like Gill. Gill makes up for his lack of speed with great positioning, timely poke checks, and good reads on the play enabling him to block shots.

I think Schultz can do all of that and become a very solid defenseman. I'm in no way calling him a #1 but I think he will be a very solid 2nd paring defenseman on the Caps for many years.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I like that plan. If at all possible I would try to keep Poti.

He is a solid D-man and I sort of put him in the Semin bucket. He plays out the year and then leaves after his contract expires and then that money can be used for other players.

He played well in the playoff last year too before he got hurt. Personally, I like the idea of pairing Poti with Volchenkov.

You are right in that BB loves 3 RH Dmen and 3 LH Dmen, but Volchenkov did play last year on the right side so maybe BB will make an exception. I think Volchenkov needs to play with a Dman who has good positioning. The book on Volchenkov is that he was able to block a lot of the shots because he knew his defensive partner would be in the correct position. That is not true of Green.

I could live with an Alzner/Volchenkov Poti/Carlson pair too but I do like the idea of playing the two kids together because they seem to have good chemistry with each other and I do think chemistry is important. Especially for Dmen.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@ablake - I'm not saying I completely disagree [in fact I think you may be onto something] but I do think you're underrating Carlson's potential upside. Hell, he might be our best d-man, right now. conversely, Schultz [and to a lesser degree Alzner] are probably somewhat overrated; they're simply not the same caliber athlete [JS in particular] as Carlson and the potential upside is simply not equivalent.

And I totally agree about Laich, btw.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Like many many people on here have said, it seems like the two holes are a quality 2nd line center and a shutdown defenseman.

Poti is under contract for another year and he could be paired with the new shutdown "D" that most think we need.

That allows Green/Schultz to be the 2nd pair, and Alzner/Carlson to be the 3rd pair. Ideally, except for match-ups dictating ice time, the pairings would get basically even ice time at even strength. Green could then QB the PP, and the new shutdown D with Poti would be the primary pair for PK.

Players we let walk:
ShaMo: 1.975mil
Juice: 1.375mil (we don't owe the 5th round pick because he never stepped on the ice for us)

BMo: 1.5 mil
Belanger: 1.750mil
Walker 2.5mil (Carolina had to be nuts)

Theo: 4.5mil

Yes, Backstrom got a healthy raise, a raise he deserves, but we also lose the big contract that Nylander had going against the Cap ealier this year and shoot that money to Backstrom.

We should keep Flash in the system and hope that another team offers him decent money to snag him from us as a RFA and we choose to take whatever draft pick (2nd or 3rd round) for compensation. As a 20 goal scorer it is a reasonable expectation.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 18, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@sgm - Perhaps you're right on the Gill comparison. Maybe. But Gill has a bit of a mean streak, and is a notorious workout fanatic - are either of those true about JS?

And part of the reason Gill was underrated is because he played college hockey, which still doesn't get the respect it deserves from scouts [most of whom are Canadien, and came up through the junior ranks].

But you're right about smarts, a good quality for a d-man. Maybe he could impart some to his partner.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I agree that Schultz needs to get stronger which has to be done in the offseason. I have no idea what his work ethic is so I can't comment on that. I hope it's good. But I also think Schultz doesn't hit as much because of a lack of confidence.

However, he has become more and more comfortable playing each year, as evidences by his play last year, and I think he will start hitting more the more confident he gets playing in the NHL.

I also think this year's playoffs will help him tremendously next year. He only had 3 overall playoff games before this year with the last one being a train wreck. Schultz seems like a guy who takes a while to reach his potential, but his ability to improve every year is encouraging and I think it will continue.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 2:13 PM | Report abuse

@fanhock1

I agree with your D plans.

I am hoping the Caps can peddle Flash for a gritty 3rd or 4th line forward who is great on the PK. Doesn't Calgary have a lot of those and they need a scorer too? Maybe they could be a trade partner.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

@ Timbo_1

I'm not saying the Caps should trade Carlson, Alzner, Schultz, etc because I think they suck. They are still young and have the potential to be good or great players. The problem is that the Caps rebuild started 6 years with Ovi and this franchise is ready to take the next step. I don't think this is the time to have a blue line of four developing players(I included Green). The Caps should pick 2 and trade the other 2. There is always a risk that Alzner will become a Norris winner and the Caps are still cupless, but that's a risk they have to take.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

The cap ramifications prevent getting equal value in return and it would not be smart to trade a John Carlson or Alnzer for a $1.5M veteran d-man.

Using the Red Wings as the best example. They always make sure they have good, young players ready to come up because those guys are quality players who can play at a low salary. This enables them to pay their top veterens enough money to keep them.

In addition, Carlson/Alzner was the Caps best D pair in game 7 and Carlson was the Caps 2nd best D-man all series (behind Poti). I think they are ready and they don't seem to get shaken by high pressure situations.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Kessel was worth more than semin arguably because Semin is only one year from UFA and nothing the acquiring team can do about that. With Kessel, Toronto knew they'd have him for at least four years under control.

Posted by: tominsocal1

The acquiring team can sign him to a contract extension a year before any team can even talk with him.

Let's look at the numbers:

Semin $6m
Volchekov $5m probable

versus

R. Suter $3.5m (acquired for Semin)
T. Holmstrom $3.5 (UFA at seasons end, made $2.25 this year, would need more to get him to leave Detroit)

Which would you rather have? Knowing at years end, we will be in the playoffs. What were we really lacking? It wasn't shot blocking, how often did teams out shoot us? It was leadership, and play in front of the net.


To me, the key to getting to where we want to get is getting Semin out of here. Not because he is bad, but because he has a lot of value, and we just do not need him.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

I would not be in favor of that. That means line 2 would be Laich/TBA/Holmstrom. Too slow. Holmstrom is great but is declining also. More than a 1 year contract would be risky.

Suter is a very good player and would be a solid return so that is intriguing. But I don't know enough about Suter to know if that is equivalent value or not.

IMO, I would much rather go with Semin/Volchenkov than Holmstrom/Suter.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Suter is a good hockey player, I'll give you that. What does bringing in the two players you posted do to solve our problem? It depletes our 2nd line scoring and brings in another puck moving defenseman. Holmstrom would be a nice addition, but it still doesn't solve the 2nd line center issue.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I like Semin a lot as a player, I am definitely a glass half-full when it comes to his ability and committment. I think he gets the short end of the stick a lot and I don't think its fair.

That said, I would trade him. I do think he'd be valuable to lots of teams that are solid but have trouble scoring goals (Buf, Bos, Mtl, LA, etc). Ultimately, I think we'd lose him anyway bc Semin's choice is to accept something in the $6M range (doubt GM would pay more) or get traded by the deadline, since no way would GM let him go for free.

Posted by: justbrewit | May 18, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Ryan Suter is a good hockey player, I'll give you that. What does bringing in the two players you posted do to solve our problem? It depletes our 2nd line scoring and brings in another puck moving defenseman. Holmstrom would be a nice addition, but it still doesn't solve the 2nd line center issue.

Posted by: fanohock1

Suter can kill penalties, he can play top dman minutes, and he has some scoring ability. Volchenkov has no offensive upside, plus cost more.

Semin/Volchenkov cost $11m
Suter/Holmstrom cost $7m

$4m available in cap space for 2nd line center.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

Schultz is cap friendly now, but his raise is expected to be between $1.5-2 million. With that salary you could add a couple hundred thousand more and get Gill ($2.25 million or Tim Gleason ($2.5 million) and both of those guys have cups.

The problem with the Caps is that GMGM overpays for marginal talent. Do we really need million dollar grinders, especially when they lack grit? Should Dave Steckel get $1.1 million per year just to win faceoffs? Should Tyler Sloan get $640,000 to sit in the press box? Look at some of the other teams salaries for role players.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Russia is on www.atdhe.net right now. Finland v. Russia in a mostly meaningless game (both have already clinched spots in the quarterfinals).

I think this is the schedule for the IIHF World Championship:

Quarterfinals are Thursday morning, 10:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Eastern.

Semifinals are Saturday 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern.

Bronze medal game is Sunday 10:15 a.m.

Final is Sunday 2:30 p.m.

Check it out!

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 18, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I agree about looking at Steckel's salary and seeing if there could be a possible suitable replacement for him. He is a pretty limited player.

Sloan can always be sent to Hershey ifneeded for the cap so that isn't a problem in my mind. He is there if needed by the team.

Gill was a good signing by the Habs. I think Schultz will be turning into a similar type of player. I expect him to be even better than last year. He is 24 and keeps on getting better, esepcially considering he was on the #1 pairing most of last year.

I'm all for signing him to a 2-yr $4M contract. What if he improves this year by the same amount as he improved last year?

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Letting Semin walk for nothing should not be in the cards. I understand you save $6m on the cap, but that is not a reason to let him walk. You let Poti walk and thank god for his $3.5m in space. You let Semin walk and you should be fired. Semin is a young, 40 goal scorer.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I would not be in favor of that. That means line 2 would be Laich/TBA/Holmstrom. Too slow. Holmstrom is great but is declining also. More than a 1 year contract would be risky.

Posted by: sgm3

Agree with pretty much every word of that statement. Unless your #2 center is named Malkin, Forsberg or Fedorov [in their prime] this line would struggle mightily for time and space.

And I too would far prefer Semin/Volchenkov together over Holmstrom/Suter - much as it kills me to say that about a Team USA standout.

Final note on V-train: he does a lot more than block shots, the guy has a nasty streak and hits like a freight train - plus he has pretty quick feet, especially for his size, so he can actually catch guys to hit them. Also, like almost every Russian d-man before, he is a very good passer, usually right on the tape. [Unlike say, Mr. Joe Corvo, who didn't exactly live up to his billing in the tape-to-tape passing department].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

I think I would rather have the Caps use Semin in a role to try for the Cup next year than trade him for prospects or draft picks that will not help the Caps win now.

Again, if the right 1-for-1 deal arose I would be in favor of moving Semin if it would make the Caps immediately better or at least no worse.

But assuming that doesn't happen, I think the Caps play him and hope he can help get the Caps the Cup next year.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I think I would rather have the Caps use Semin in a role to try for the Cup next year than trade him for prospects or draft picks that will not help the Caps win now.

Again, if the right 1-for-1 deal arose I would be in favor of moving Semin if it would make the Caps immediately better or at least no worse.

But assuming that doesn't happen, I think the Caps play him and hope he can help get the Caps the Cup next year.

Posted by: sgm3

Agreed, it would have to be for a player, not a bunch of picks, unless top 5. But his zero goals in the last 14 playoffs games tells me he cannot help us win the cup.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

under2:

I'm not saying let Semin walk for nothing. You would do this only if you signed Volchenkov as a UFA. It's series of dominoes. First you trade Flash at the draft for a checking RW, hopefully a very good defensive player to serve as "shadow" against Crosby and the like. Then you re-sign Belanger at reasonable $1.75M and you have a checking line then with Belanger-Chimera-New RW. Then, July 1st, if you sign Volchenkov, you move Poti and Erskine.

+Volch, Belanger, New RW
-Poti, Flash, Erskine

is about cap neutral for next year.

NOW, you keep Semin for next year. The only thing you are short for next year is #2C. Use Perreault until March 1st and then get the upgrade at the dealine.

At the end of next season, you decide what to do with Semin. Maybe sign him, maybe trade him, maybe he leaves. If he leaves, you still have Volchenkov so like a trade. To keep him, you might trade Green instead if Carlson turns out to be super.

You could trade him before next season but only if you got back a really good #2 center or a top-pair d man (if volch can't be signed).

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

The problem with Schultz is not what he could be, but what he is now. Right now, Schultz is not ready to be a top pairing D on this team. If the Caps were still rebuilding or he were the only guy still developing, that would be fine. With GMGM stating that Alzner and Carlson are joining Green and Schultz on the blue line, that's four guys that still need to grow into their position. With a team poised to make cup run, that's not a good situation. And just adding a shot blocker like Volchenkov is not going to change that. The window for this Caps team opened this year. That is too many guys learning on the job in my opinion. I would rather spend that money on a Gill or Gleason.

What makes you think they would send Sloan to Hershey? He was here all last year when waiving him could have meant giving Bourque a chance, bringing up Alzner after Nylander was ditched, or at least clearing the log jam at D. Even when other teams were dumping their dead weight in the AHL, Sloan and Laing still had roster spots. GMGM even gave Sloan a 2 year deal. Their salaries could have been used to bring in a good veteran at the deadline or to give a prospect a chance, but we had to have our AHL vets. And please don't tell me how Laing is a good shot blocker. If he's not getting himself hurt, he's deflecting shots into our net.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

The problem with Schultz is not what he could be, but what he is now. Right now, Schultz is not ready to be a top pairing D on this team. If the Caps were still rebuilding or he were the only guy still developing, that would be fine. With GMGM stating that Alzner and Carlson are joining Green and Schultz on the blue line, that's four guys that still need to grow into their position. With a team poised to make cup run, that's not a good situation. And just adding a shot blocker like Volchenkov is not going to change that. The window for this Caps team opened this year. That is too many guys learning on the job in my opinion. I would rather spend that money on a Gill or Gleason.

What makes you think they would send Sloan to Hershey? He was here all last year when waiving him could have meant giving Bourque a chance, bringing up Alzner after Nylander was ditched, or at least clearing the log jam at D. Even when other teams were dumping their dead weight in the AHL, Sloan and Laing still had roster spots. GMGM even gave Sloan a 2 year deal. Their salaries could have been used to bring in a good veteran at the deadline or to give a prospect a chance, but we had to have our AHL vets. And please don't tell me how Laing is a good shot blocker. If he's not getting himself hurt, he's deflecting shots into our net.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry for the double post.

Posted by: ablake70 | May 18, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

Volchenkov is a much better defender than Gleason, and Gill for that matter. Much more mobile, much better hitter [helped by his mobility] and a better passer on that all-important breakout pass. The guy does a lot more than just block shots.

That said, I agree that some of the other moves are total head-scratchers; there's a pattern of overpaying guys who are role-players, and who don't even necessarily excel at those roles.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 18, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I'm fine with getting rid of Laing and Sloan and I have not been either one's supporter. Although I do respect Laing tremendously because of the phenomenal effort he always gives. Unfortunately he just doesn't have the talent to match that effort.

I understand your thinking about Gleason and Gill. That could be a way to go. Although I don't think there is any way Gill will be moved now.

As tominsocal1 said, Volchenkov is much more than a shot blocker. He is a complete defenseman, who is gritty, and does whatever it takes. He is a guy everyone has been asking for. In addition, he can also skate and stick handle.

I think pairing Volchenkov with Poti leaves the Caps with their shut down pair defensemen. Schultz/Green will be the 2nd pair with Alzner/Carlson being the third. If BB was smart the time would be split pretty evenly with the Volchenkov pair being on the ice at all times against the opposing teams top line.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

varly had a 36 save shutout against the fins (5-0)
ovi and semin each had one assist - on the first goal of the game - by fedorov

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | May 18, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

under2:

I'm not saying let Semin walk for nothing. You would do this only if you signed Volchenkov as a UFA. It's series of dominoes. First you trade Flash at the draft for a checking RW, hopefully a very good defensive player to serve as "shadow" against Crosby and the like. Then you re-sign Belanger at reasonable $1.75M and you have a checking line then with Belanger-Chimera-New RW. Then, July 1st, if you sign Volchenkov, you move Poti and Erskine.

+Volch, Belanger, New RW
-Poti, Flash, Erskine

is about cap neutral for next year.

NOW, you keep Semin for next year. The only thing you are short for next year is #2C. Use Perreault until March 1st and then get the upgrade at the dealine.

At the end of next season, you decide what to do with Semin. Maybe sign him, maybe trade him, maybe he leaves. If he leaves, you still have Volchenkov so like a trade. To keep him, you might trade Green instead if Carlson turns out to be super.

You could trade him before next season but only if you got back a really good #2 center or a top-pair d man (if volch can't be signed).

Posted by: tominsocal1

I am ok with all that, except, you have to trade Semin at the deadline. Even if you have Volchenkov signed as a UFA, why would you let one of your best assets walk for nothing? It is bad business. And once the season is over, you can only trade him for negotiating rights, which would be for a fraction of his worth (mid round draft choice). It's like saying I got a new car, don't need the old one anymore. You would never just give it away.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

@underpants

You keep him at the deadline because his presence will help the Caps win the Cup. Trading him would hurt their chances. As many have stated, the Caps aren't in it to win the regular season.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

under2: The only thing about what you said there is the Caps will be buyers at the dealine, not sellers. Therefore maybe you would keep Semin for the Cup run. OTOH, you might find a Western team at the deadline willing to swap assets. It is unlikely a team like the Caps at the dealine would trade a stater for picks or prospects. That is my thinking. I don't mind him leaving as UFA because the Caps can attract replacement UFAs easy enough.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock,

Your theory is the same as mine on why Johansson chose #90 -- his year of birth. I believe I posted a similar sentiment on one of the threads in Japers' yesterday.

(Easy to remember his year of birth -- it's the year before my younger daughter's even though she's only about a 1/2 year younger. Yes, last year was the year that NHL started drafting guys my younger daughter's age, as was true in MLB as well.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 18, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Not sure if someone has given their two cents on this or not. In the last thread someone asked if Marcus Johansson was given #90 because they were hoping him to be a Juneau type player. IMO humble opinion he has selected #90 because his birth year in 1990. The same reason Crosby picked #87 and Patrick Kane picked #88.

Posted by: fanohock1

Well, that was me. I'm sure you're right about this, but he did strike me as being somewhat Juneauesque. As in a two way guy, good passer, not really big, good skater etc

Posted by: TempusFugitRGV1 | May 18, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

tominsocal1 & sgm3

I agree, you can't let it be a distraction at the deadline, that is way you can't keep him. What UFA will you want next year to replace him? This team has failed. You cannot further compound the situation by letting your most tradeable asset walk for nothing. It would be one thing if Semin's presence on the team meant the team was destined for greatness. we all see, that is clearly not the case.

You two seem clearly knowledgeable. I just cannot understand why you believe we need Semin in any way, shape or form for a cup run. His play just a few weeks ago was absolutely horrible. I know, he wasn't the only one, but this is the guy that has a year left to ufa.

What happens if we go into next postseason, get bounced, Semin walks? Cap room is a valued commodity, but Semin's talents to another team is much more valuable. Are you telling me it will have been worth it?

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Leonsis brings the luck to the Wizards.

That's pretty cool.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Green signs 5 year extension.

Posted by: capsfan5 | May 18, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Green signs 5 year extension.

Posted by: capsfan5 | May 18, 2010 8:44 PM

Where did you hear this? I can't find anything.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Re; Volchenkov

My friend works for the Sens and although he obviously isn't part of the management or anything that relates to the team persay, things do pass around. That thing being passed around is that if Anton does not re-sign with Ottawa, he will be a Capital. It's just a hearsay rumor, but I'm just passing it along...

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Also, for the people who may have posted them, thanks for the kind words. I've been a Caps fan for far too long to let anything change that.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:05 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Thanks for the news. We'll see what comes to pass.

I'm sure you'll be dancing in the street if it turns out to pass.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 18, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

I'm, of course, talking about your news on Volchenkov (aka A-Train or who I call Vulture) when I was talking about the "dancing in the streets".

I also meant to say it earlier, I'm sorry to hear the news on your broken relationship.


Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 18, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Suter can kill penalties, he can play top dman minutes, and he has some scoring ability. Volchenkov has no offensive upside, plus cost more.

Semin/Volchenkov cost $11m
Suter/Holmstrom cost $7m

$4m available in cap space for 2nd line center.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 18, 2010 3:23 PM |

If Volchenkov wants 5 mil/yr, then I don't think the Caps should acquire him. 5 mil/yr for a mostly defensive player is far too much money. 4 mil/yr, maybe up in the 4.5 mil/yr. Unfortunately, stock for these type of guys are up, so there could be a team throwing that much money at a defensive guy..who knows.

Suter's hit is a meager 3.5 mil/yr, but he isn't a UFA and I would bet that he makes more money on his next re-up than Anton will.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

@richmondphil

Sorry to hear about the relationship issue. We've all had 'em and we all get over 'em.

I watched Volchenkov more closely this season after seeing you talk about him so often. That would be great if we can land him.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

There's been a young lady on Japers' from Richmond (you are there, aren't you?) who says no one down there knows anything about hockey and she has no one to talk to about it.

Posted by: Steakum | May 17, 2010 11:16 PM |

Haha..I'm on there, but I don't comment there like I do here. Japer's is just a must-read blog for any Caps fans,..so much information there. Tell her to comment over here, there's tons of posters from Richmond here on CI.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Green signs 5 year extension.

Posted by: capsfan5 | May 18, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

that better not be true unless it's a sign & trade deal as in the NBA... I wouldn't commit to Green long term unless he got over his identity crisis and proved himself in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 18, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Hershey couldn't even get 20 shots on gaol tonight en route to getting shutout.

It looks like the Russians and Varlamov killed off 9 penalties en route to their shutout if I'm reading the game summary accurately. I couldn't find a power play summary.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 9:20 PM | Report abuse

@tmac

Thanks man. About Anton, yeah, I think it goes without saying how much I'd love to see him in a Caps uniform. Our team has a few different issues to work on, but acquiring a rugged blue liner would be a giant step in the right direction.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:23 PM | Report abuse

@rich

No doubt it will fill a void.

After watching Montreal shot block the Caps right out of the 1st round, it's hard not to appreciate that skill.

Aside from shot blocking, is Volchenkov good positionally and with his stick. What are some of his other strengths, defensively? How fast is he?

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

Also, has anybody else heard anything about Green signing an extension?

Does anybody know if capsfan5 is a reputable poster? I don't recall seeing him around here.

Unless he has an inside connection, I don't see how this is valid since there isn't a piece of news on it anywhere.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Bad day at Black rock for the Hershey Bears today in Manchester. They lost 1-0.

Seems that they're suffering from Bruinitis.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 18, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

He is very good defensively, in all situations. He's strong on his skates, doesn't get beaten in the corners or along the boards that much, very good positionally and with his stick. In fact, he used to hit a lot more than he does now, he uses his sound positioning to block most shots now. Granted, he still hits a lot. He can also recover very well should he good beat, so he's not the fastest out there, but he's fast enough for his size.

He's actually got a decent shot and he can make a good first-pass up the ice, he just doesn't do it nearly as much. I guess he just doesn't have the offensive awareness, but he has a great shot and pass.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Thing about Anton, he's always been paired with someone of the same ilk as him; Chris Phillips. I'm not sure if he's going to be able to play with Green, or if he'll have to play with someone who is a bit more defensively sound. I would like to think he is capable of making up for a hyper-offensive guy like Green, but that's asking a lot out of any player.

I think an Anton/Carlson pairing as a nice ring to it... You get the offensive instinct with Carlson, who is also a solid two-way type of guy, paired with the all defense of Anton. I see someone else suggested Anton/Poti, which also would seem to work well, but I would more like Poti's contract out of here. 3.5 is a lot of cap space.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Also, I like ShaMo. I would vote to keep him.

Posted by: richmondphil | May 18, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

I do not believe that Green can sign an extension even if the Caps wanted to. I think, under the current collective bargaining agreement, that a player is not eligible to sign an extension until there is less than 1 year remaining on his current contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

My thinking on Semin is that the Caps should trade him only if they get a top center in return. However, I do not see any teams giving up a player who is of equal quality to Semin due to his contract situation.

Therefore, I am for keeping Semin for this season and making a cup run. Then letting him walk and using the extra cap room to re-sign the correct players and possibly acquire another player from outside the organization.

If the Caps keep Semin and lose in the 1st or 2nd round next year then keeping him would clearly not be worth it. But if they keep him and advance to the SC finals and win the Cup then it is clearly worth it. No here knows what's going to happen next year, but I think keeping Semin for one more year is worth the risk.

I am making this statement based on the assumption that all the Caps could acquire for him are some combination of picks, prospects, and decent to good players not at the talent level of Semin.

Semin is an enigma, but it is okay to have one of those on the team as long as you have players around him who are consistent.

Again, if the right 1-for-1 deal arose where the Caps landed a high quality center for Semin, then I would take it. But I doubt that's going to happen. (I didn't include D because I think the best thing for the Caps to do is sign Volchenkov without giving up assets and trading Flash for a 3rd or 4th line winger who can play the pk and trading Erskine away for whatever. Trading Flash and Erskine would free up the cap space for Volchenkov)

Posted by: sgm3 | May 18, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

If we land Volchenkov, top 2 pairings:

Volchenkov - Green
Alzner - Carlson

or

Alzner - Green
Volchenkov - Carlson

Where does that leave Schultz, assuming we resign him as an RFA?

Well, Schultz would obviously have a huge edge over Alzner going into next season given his improvement and experience.

Having said that, while a lot of people haven't been that high on Alzner, I've always liked what I've seen out of him. He may not bring a lot of physicality but he's a highly cerebral player who just knows where to be on the ice and makes good decisions with and without the puck. He uses his stick extremely well and has already improved his physical work along the boards. He looked bigger and stronger every time he got called up.

The only thing I noticed is that he seemed to be going through the natural adjustment of getting used to the speed and physicality of the NHL. Given time, I think that he will prove himself to be a noticeably better defenseman than Schultz, which is what we should expect given his draft position (even if it was a relatively weak draft class). I wouldn't even be surprised if he moves ahead of Schultz on the depth chart by the end of next season.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

If they don't want Flash, they don't need to trade him. All they have to do is let him walk.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Do you guys think that Leonsis' ownership of the Wizards will take anything away from his ownership of the Caps?

The Wizards just beat the odds and landed the top overall pick. Will John Wall steal Ovechkin and the Caps' spotlight?

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 10:40 PM | Report abuse

First off, as sgm3 pointed out, Green can't sign an extension until July 1, 2011.

Also, underpants2, the thinking with Semin is this: If we sign Volchenkov, and then trade Semin, it will make for "Russian disruption." GMGM can let them play together a year and see what happens. Semin isn't why we didn't win. That said, I would still trade Semin at any time for a equal value center that we need much more.

tmac: If you let Flash walk as a RFA...first, he could throw a monkey wrench into the plan and ask for arbitration instead. Second, rather than let him sign and then don't match, receiving a draft pick for 2011, why not trade him at the draft for a current 2010 pick or, even better, a TRUE checking line right-winger that this club desperately needs.

There is value in a 2011 pick as it gives you ammo for next year's deadline deal, but better to get immediate help.

The BEST scenario: 1) trade Flash for an Esa Tikkanen RW type for line #3; 2) sign Plekanec (#2 C) and Volch; 3) trade Poti, Semin and Erskine; 4) Promote Fehr to #2 RW and Johansson or Perreault to #3 C.

I think that is cap neutral and it makes the team far more balanced.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 18, 2010 10:56 PM | Report abuse

John Wall ain't exactly Lebron James or Ovi... till they get rid of the cancer known as Arenas and his contract, they ain't going nowhere.

if I were Leonsis, I'd clean the house first... get rid of everyone in the front office and most of the players and start fresh

Posted by: joek443 | May 18, 2010 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I wasn't saying to let Flash walk. There was a previous poster talking about trading Flash to free up cap space and I was just saying that they could simply let him walk instead.

How would Flash choosing arbitration throw a wrench into the plan if the Caps don't want to resign him?

I don't know exactly how it works but whether a player is an RFA or a UFA, if a team doesn't want to resign the player, they don't have to, regardless of what the player does, right?

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 18, 2010 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope BB and GMGM are paying close attention to the way the Flyers have been dominating the Habs... I thought Pronger's best days were behind him but the guy is still a stud. he's this generation's Larry Robinson.

they seem to think you can win with a bunch of "puck-moving d-men" which to me is just an euphemism for finnesse d-men. I know the game has changed since the lockout but you still need a stud back there. And till they do, I don't think they will ever have much success in the playoffs.

Posted by: joek443 | May 18, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

I was saying the Caps could trade Flash to free up cap space with the thinking of what he would make if he signed a 1-year contract.

Flash has enough value where it would not be smart of the Caps to decline arbitration if Flash accepted that because it would mean the Caps would lost Flash for no compensation. By actively seeking a trade partner in June the Caps could trade Flash's rights for that 3rd line gritty winger and get rid of Flash's expected 2010-2011 salary.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 12:48 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

sorry dude but your a clown.First for even thinking that post about mike green signing 5 yrs was even true,and to think Teddy L will loose focus or shy away from the caps is just coo-coo for coco puffs! And to let flash just walk is pretty insane as well.Flash stunk it up in the playoffs,along with a bunch of others but i still dont see a reason to just let him go or get rid of him at all.When flash is on his game he is pretty fun to watch,with a lil more exp now and a good kick in the butt from BB i think flash will come around and be the player he was in the first half of the season last year.

And I also think that by the middle of the season next year neuvy will be our number one goalie,and probably rightfully so!

Posted by: gratefuldid | May 19, 2010 5:59 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

Will Wall and and Wizards steal the spotlight from Ovi and the Caps?

Well, if the Wizards have a better year than the Caps. But I don't see that happening next year.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao and others

Ted posted the news on Green's extension on his site. Check out Ted's Take. It talks about both Backstrom and Green.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

Your not the only person who thought Pronger's best days were behind him.

I thought the Flyers had overpaid for him. But they seem to be vindicated. Especially when they're on the verge of making the Stanley Cup with a backup goalie who suddenly found greatness.

I still wouldn't have wanted the Caps to have paid the rumored package of players for him.

One key for the Flyers in making the Stanley Cup. They didn't have to play Pittsburgh. (Their track record against the Pens is not exactly great.)

Posted by: CapsFan75 | May 19, 2010 6:47 AM | Report abuse

@gratefuldid

That clown comment was weak. Let's act like adults, assuming you are one. Crap like that just degrades the quality of this blog for everybody.

Re: Green

I've been following this team for 30 years but I don't know a lot about contract-related issues. I was unaware that Green isn't even eligible to sign an extension at this point. Forgive me for lacking your expert contract knowledge. I simply saw the post and was curious about it. After seeing Ted's blog, I'm assuming that's where the guy got it from and that Ted was referring to the past.

Re: Ted and the Wizards

It was just a random thought. I figured I could throw it out there without being called a clown. I didn't say he would. I just wanted to hear people's thoughts on the subject. It's one more thing on Ted's plate even if it doesn't detract from his focus on the Caps.

Re: Flash

For the second time, I didn't say that we should let him walk. I could easily call you a clown for failing to read my two posts on the subject or failing to comprehend what I wrote in those two posts. Try again.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 19, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

I too really hope GMGM and BB are watching this Flyer-Hab series to see the type of D core that is needed to make it deep in the playoffs. We have got to pick up at least one(and hopefully two)tough, gritty, stay at home d-men and some more 3rd/4th line grit or we will be sitting here discussing these same issues thiis time next year.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 7:32 AM | Report abuse

@gratefuldid

If you are a little kid and I'm old enough to be your father or something, I guess I should be more understanding and just assume that you lack maturity.

Generally speaking, my only advice would be to show more respect to people, even if it's online. It'll make you feel better about yourself in the long run. Trust me.

Posted by: tmac2yao | May 19, 2010 7:33 AM | Report abuse

@joek443

To be fair, Pronger is the best physical defenseman in the NHL and is probably Hall of Fame bound. To then say the line about puck moving defensemen how you can't win with them is a reach. Chicago improved greatly once Brian Campbell got back, he is a pretty good puck moving defenseman.

It would be like saying, "I hope GMGM watched the SC last year and saw Malkin lead the Pens to the SC and win the Cup. To see it is clear you can't win unless you have an enigmatic Russian on your team."

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3,

I would say that Brian Campbell is a more well rounded D-man on both sides of the ice than "our" puck moving D-men.....just sayin'......I think he was trying to say they have to be able to play both sides of the ice and show some grit....which our puck moving D did not do.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I am in full favor of adding a Volvhenkov like defenseman to the Caps because, like you, I do thyink they need to upgrade defensively.

I guess my feeling is that so many people will call a guy a "puck moving defenseman" implying he has no defensive abilities whenever a team loses, but when they win all of a sudden that player is "well-rounded" (in no way am I trying to say that you are doing this, this is just a general statement). This is done so they can keep repeating that their previous conclusion on how to win still holds true.

There are plenty of good, puck moving defensemen remaining in the playoffs. I would look at Dan Boyle, Campbell, and Matt Carle (I think he is). Then you can even look at Montreal and how much they relied on PK Subban in the series against Pittsburgh. To call him a physical presence would be a huge stretch.

In addition, who was Detroit's masher on D the past 2 years?

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

In answer to your Detroit I would answer with Kronwall, that man is a hitting machine!

Hard to put any of our Dmen in the same sentence as Boyle or Campbell at this point....they are proven playoff commodities while none of our guys are at this point unfortunately.....I see a place on all teams for those puck moving Dmen, I just feel that there also has to be two or three tough, gritty, stay at home guys as well and we simply do not have that at this point. Two tough Dmen for next year is my wish but I'm sure we will only land one......maybe resign Shamo to be the other?

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Just got into a huge and annoying debate with a co-worker about the Caps...he was channeling Wilbon and talking about how OV and the Caps can't show up for the big games...I was thinking about how much I hate those comments when I decided that if we add a nice stay at home defensemen and 2nd line center...they should be slightly older with the ability to mentor these young guys. Hopefully Knuble will help Laich continue to develop in a nice net precescence player, but Alzner and Carlson need a mentor and so do our forwards. Federov was so valuable to our team despite his age...we need two guys who can really encourage and set an example for our young guys.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Maybe I am biased, but I just really don't like Shoa Mo. I would rather sign Juice back...he showed a lot of improvement before we traded him, and I think he could develop into a solid stay at home guy with a little grit too. I know he is not particularly gritty now, but with encouragement he could develop into it.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach,

I would not be against resigning Juice if he could turn into that griity #2 Dman....he undoubtedly showed improvement last year but I just have not seen that mean streak in him that Shamo has naturally. I would like to see both gritty guys come from outside the current stock of players tell you the truth, just don't see GMGM doing that for some reason.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I agreein adding 1 or 2 of those defensemen. Volchenkov being one, but the Caps could only add a 2nd if they get rid of Poti. I don't see that happening.

I would be happy with the pairings of:

Poti/Volchenkov
Schultz/Green
Alzner/Carlson

Poti/Volchenkov would face the opposing teams top line and the other two pairs can split time. Ideally, even strength time would be split between all 3 pairings. Poti/Volchenkov would be the top PKers with Alzner, Schultz and possibly Carlson.

I think also with the Alnzer/Carlson pair, it looks to me that Carlson likes to hit and he does it well. He is young and should get bigger and stronger in the offseason, but I see him as being a very solid physical defenseman who also has all the other great skills that will make him an elite D-man.

One last thing on Pronger. He is, by no means, just a big physical defenseman. He is very good at all points of the game which is why he plays on the PP. The guy is just a great player and a future hall of famer. If the Caps could get a Pronger I would do it in a seconed (although it was smart not to give up Carlson, Varly, and the thing that was asked for by Anaheim).

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I don't think we can add two solid stay at home D men AND a good 2nd line center.

Does anybody really think there is a chance that Johanssen can make the roster? Was GMGM being serious. It is ggod that he was playing in the elite league with older guys and can handle that, but he is very young. Could he maybe play on the 4th line...he is supposed to be solid defesively and maybe starting off playing 10 minutes a game wouldn't be a bad thing. We would probably save money.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

PhilR: Brian Campbell in a $7mil a year guy that does not have the shutdown responsibilities, nor is he considered the primary pair for the PK. That is left to the Keith/Seabrook pairing. Right now, our puckmoving D-man has more points in consecutive seasons (which proves it's not a fluke) than Brian Campbell ever has in his best seasons in the NHL. Campbell's point production doesn't even come close.

On the Blackhawks this season, a team that had an impressive +62 goal differential, Campbell was only a +18. The Caps were a +85 and Green was a +39.

As far as the Pronger deal. The Flyers gave up 2 first round draft picks. Anaheim will get a good pick out of that this year because the draft is based on season standings, not how well the teams did in the playoffs. The Ducks will pick 13th and 14th this draft. If the Flyers don't win the Cup with Pronger it will be considered a bust because the Flyers banked their foreseeable future on this guy. It doesn't matter if the Flyers get to the Stanley Cup Finals this season, if they lose this season, except for the 0-3 comeback, will be forgotten. Nobody remembers the loser in the Finals after a couple of years.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

From everything I have read is that Johanssen is 1 more year away. I think the chances of him making the team from camp are extremely slim. If he stays and plays in the AHL, there is always the chance he could get called up late in the season if he is extremely successful (i.e. John Carlson). But I don't think it is very like he will be on the Caps next year. So expect him in 2011-2012.

I agree the Caps cannot get 2 solid D-men unless they get rid of Poti. But I thought Poti was fine last year, especially in the playoffs.

It will be tough to acquire a very good 2nd line center(with high salary) and a top D-man unless the Caps trade Semin. Just no enough cap room.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

One other thing to keep in mind regarding GMGM's thoughts about Johannson possibly making this team is he doesn't say that about everyone playing overseas. He hasn't once said that about Anton even though he was a 1st round pick. The last time GMGM said that about a player playing overseas, that none of us had seen except for the draft when Ovi announced his selection was Backstrom. GMGM said he would be NHL ready at the end of his 2nd SEL season and man was he right. Johansson is not expected to be as good as Backstrom, which is fine. If he can establish himself as a 2nd line center rather than a 1st line center the Caps can secure his service beyond his entry level contract if he pans out. If he was to end up being as good as Backstrom the Caps wouldn't be able to afford him too.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach & sgm3,

I think they could add two stay at home, gritty Dmen and go with the centers they have until the trade deadline and then acquire that 2nd line center to go into the playoffs.....that would give that center a little over a month to gel with his linemates and would give the D pairings the entire season to hone their skills. I think we can go with the kids at center for most of the season and still finish at least 2nd in the East.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

sgm3: Johannson has a clause in his contract that he can go back to the SEL this year if he doesn't make the Caps squad. If he doesn't make it he won't be in Hershey, which IMO is better because the skill level in the SEL is top notch, and players come straight from that league into the NHL and do just fine so it has to be a relatively physical league as well. If it wasn't the transition would be difficult for the former SEL players.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I would prefer to trade Green over Semin. I say keep our offensively gifted forwards and get rid of the offensive D man. I really think that Green is great and many Caps fans are too critical of him...I just don't think a team as offensively talented as ours needs a D man like that. Carlson can do Greens job to a lesser degree without hurting our defense.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@fanohock1,

I was not talking about regular season numbers if you read my post.....I was talking about PLAYOFF performance. In that arena Brain Campbell makes Mike Green look like a pee wee player at this point. Will Green turn into a proven playoff performer that is a puck moving Dman? That is yet to be seen.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I actually agree with you to go with the young centers the Caps have in the system and signing a D-man. (If the right trade arose for a center then you definitely take it).

But if the Caps sign Volchenkov they will not have cap room for another defender unless they move Poti or Schultz or Green.

In addition they would need to move 1 to open up a roster spot with V-train, Poti, Schultz, Green, Alzner, Carlson being in the top 6.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Is Schultz a RFA or UFA this year?

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@fanhock1

Yeah, MJ does have that clause. I would be interested to see if playing in the AHL this season is a possibility if he is a top 3 line guy for the team.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I thought it may be useful for him to get some game experience on the smaller rinks here in North America.

But he could easily go back to Sweden next year.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

Schultz is an RFA this year.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Maybe its just me but I would rather keep Schultz and trade Green as capscoach suggested. I agree that Carlson could do the same job (although it might be to a lesser degree) and then we could get those two Dmen....I just don't see a huge market for Green at this point with the size of the contract.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

I think it would be unwise to get rid of Green. If the Caps can sign Volchenkov then Green no longer has to play against the opposing teams top line. Green being a 2nd pairing defender, not playing on the pk, would be incredibly valuable to the Caps.

I'm all for having shut down defensemen, but you want more than one who is a great skater and stick handler.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

You may be right sgm3 (shrug)...maybe we can find a taker for Poti's contract since there is only one year left on it....I think that eye injury will prevent that from occurring however....

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I think the only way you could find a take for Poti's contract if the Caps accepted a player making similar or more money in return that the other team is looking to get rid of.

If I was another team, why would I trade for Poti when I could possibly sign Hamuis, or others for similar or less money.

The only possible option I could see is Toronto. Burke has said he is willing to take on big contracts if the team is willing to trade other assets as well (draft picks/prospects).

However, I thought Poti played well in the playoffs and I don't think it would be worth it to give up draft picks or prospects just to get rid of Poti.

Like you said, everything is contingent on his eye injury and how he recovers.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Phil R: Actually Campbell has only produced 2 assists in 11 games this playoff year, hardly number a team would expect from a player paid $7mil a year to increase production. He is booed in San Jose now because he was a deadline acquisition at the end of the 2008 season that only managed 7 pts in 13 games. Good for the average guy but not for someone expected to produce. Campbell has NEVER produced in the playoffs it is actually a gorilla on his back.

Of course the complaint is that Green hasn't either, but Campbell is far from a player we should point to as an example of what we wish we had. Campbell averages .347 pts per game in his playoff history. Mike Green averages .679.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The Pronger move by Philly is still questionable. They gave up a lot and he's signed for seven more years!

Of course, if he leads them to a Cup, it's all worth it...otherwise, no.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 19, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

I believe he is booed in San Jose because he did not resign with them and bolted for Chicago.....and I still say he dwarfs Green's performance in the playoffs but hey, we will agree to disagree on that point. Green is also younger than Campbell so he still has time to mature, I just hope he does!

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

The Mike Green contract issue is interesting. I wonder when this will get cleared up.

At www.tedstake.com, which is owner Ted Leonsis' blog, it states:

"It started with Alex Ovechkin. He loves it here. He trusts us and he signed a mega deal. He will be here for a life time it seems!

And now Nick Backstrom has signed a ten year deal. Nick and Alex are certainly 2 of the 10 best players in the entire league and form the basis of our core. And they like and respect and trust one another.

And let us NOT forget that Mike Green. He signed a 5 year extension too. He is a first team All star. Make that 3 of the 10 best players in the NHL here for a long, long time."

Now, last time I checked, Mike Green signed a FOUR-year extension in the summer of 2008, which means that runs through two more years from now. See, e.g., http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/16904-Capitals-resign-Mike-Green-to-21million-fouryear-contract.html

So what are we to make of this? One would think the owner knows what is going on with the contracts on his team. Although this post was made shortly after Backstrom's deal was made, and the reference to Green comes immediately after a reference to the recent Backstrom signing, which might lead one to believe he's talking about another recently made deal with Green, it's also true that just before talking about Backstrom he talked about Ovechkin's contract signing, and that was done long ago, so we can't infer from the timing of the post or the fact that it comes just after talk about Backstrom that he's necessarily referring to a recent signing of Green.

Typographical error could well explain this--the 5 is next to the 4 on the keyboard and he did use the numerical form rather than spelling it out.

But there are now only two years left on that four-year extension, and two years doesn't seem to qualify as a "long, long time." Even if he really thought Green was signed for three more years after now, that still doesn't seem like a "long, long time."

It definitely seems like the best theory is that Ted believes that Mike Green recently signed a five-year extension. The fact that this hasn't been reported anywhere else, at least as of now, is very strange though.

It is all very mysterious. Someone should just ask Ted what the hell he's talking about probably. He's very accessible. I don't feel like asking because I don't want to be the one to possibly point out to him that he made an error. I think I've upset him before. Someone else's turn. Let us know what he says.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 19, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

@youaresquishy

The current collective barganning agreement only allows a player to sign a contract extension when there is less than 1 year remaining on his contract.

Therefore, Green is unable to sign a contract extension until next summer, after July 1.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Leonsis doesn't need to know how many years every player has left on his contract, that's GMGM's job.

Posted by: joek443 | May 19, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Just curious...how would people feel if we signed Belanger, promoted Perrault, and kept Steckel and Gordon as our centers. Can Belanger be effective with Semin? What if we saved a lot of money and skipped a high price center and just added two good D men? I am not sure if I even beliee this, but they could probably keep us in top 3 spots in the east,and we could add a great center at the deadline if necessary...It would be risky, but the reward if it worked would probably be great.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach,

Look at my 9:43am post.....we pretty much said the same exact thing.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I've had a similar discussion with tominsocal1 about this. We are both on board for re-signing Belanger if it is for about $1.75M and calling up MP.

However, we both think it would be best to have MP be the 2nd line center and have Belanger center the 3rd line as an energy line. That would leave Steckel or Gordon to be the 4th line center.

Personally, I also like the idea of possibly putting MP on a line with Ovie and Knuble and then having Backstrom center Semin and Laich.

I think that would even out the lines much more. There really wouldn't be a true 1st line, it would be 1A and 1B. Ovie will score no matter who he is playing with and I think MP's style of play may be suited to play with Ovie. Just an idea.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

Look at my 9:53am post to see why getting 2 D-men is unlikely.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

My only concern with MP on the 2nd line is size...There would be virtually no grit on that line. I could actually see him playing well with Ovie and knuble! but is he good enough defensively to cover for ovie's missteps?

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

@capscoach

MP may not be good enough in that respect. I'm not sure. His lack of size is an issue, and is one reason why I think being paired with Ovie and Knuble could help him.

Either way, I think it's worth giving an extended try during the regular season. That's what those 82 games are for.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Yes I think that's right--extensions can't be signed except in the last year of a contract, unless the current contract was only a one-year contract to begin with in which case an extension can't be signed period. And I also think the CBA generally does not allow any other kind of renegotiation or modification of a current contract, even if technically not an "extension." (So it can't be the case that, say, Green recently signed a new five-year deal that replaces the four-year extension he signed two years ago, which technically wouldn't really be an extension--more of a modification).

But in which world is two years, or even three years, a "long, long time"? It's one thing to make an error about the length of someone's contract, and maybe you wouldn't expect an owner to remember that Green signed a four-year extension rather than a five-year extension two years ago. But making an error about what constitutes a "long, long time" is another kettle of fish. Sure, maybe three years constitutes a long time, and maybe Ted believes Green is signed for three more years, but a "long, long time"?

I think this is more than a little strange.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 19, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Possible line combos?

Ovie, Backs, Knuble
Semin, MP, Laich
Fehr, Belanger, Chimera
Brads, Steckel, Gordon...can he move to wing?

I don't think we should mess up the chemistry of that 1st line...they are pretty special. I could see switching Fehr and Laich to add grit to the 2nd line if 21 doesn't play as well next season

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

If we do put Alzner and MP on the team right away, BB has to let them go through little slumps...They need to know that the team has enough confidence in them to let them have a few bad games. Going up and down seemed to really rattle Alzner.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps need to add another 3rd or 4th line winger who is great at penalty killing and defense and can forecheck well. It will probably mean that either Gordon or Steckel have to go or one has to be the 13th man. It would be risky depending on Gordon with his history of back issues.

In addition, I wouldn't mind upgrading on Bradley too with a comprable style guy making a comprable salary, but just better. I'm not sure if it is possible or not, but I think it needs to be considered. Possibly replacing Bradley with a young guy from Hershey if that guy can fill the role could also be an option.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

MP needs to get stronger, he does well at first when he's called up but seems to run outta gas after a few games.

there are plenty of good small players in the league, it's harder for those players but by no means impossible.

Posted by: joek443 | May 19, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach

I agree. BB has to allow the young guys to go through slumps. If a 1 game benching is needed, that is fine, but do not take MP off of the top 2 lines because he has a few bad games. Who cares if it costs the Caps a few games in the regular season. The key is to use that time to groom them and get them ready to play in the playoffs.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

And now that MP has played in the league a bit, he is probably aware of this. My guess is that he will come into next season much more prepared for a long term stint with the Caps. I really think MP is capable of playing the way he plays when he is first called up all the time. There was something about that kid that I just really liked.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Still not sold on MP being that 2nd line center but that would be fine until the trade deadline and then move him down to 3rd line center and Belanger to 4th....keep Steckel as reserve and say bye-bye to Gordon as back issues don't just magically go away.....Just my opinion but that is how I would like to see it work out with a proven playoff performing 2nd line center coming in at the trade deadline.

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

A few things upthread to clear up:
1) Almost every pass Pronger makes is tape-to-tape: that is the definition of a "puck-moving" defenseman. I can't stand the guy, but he passes extremely well, which is what scouts [good ones, anyway] value. As do Timmonen, Carle and Krajicek. As a forward, it is a lot easier to play if you're not constantly fishing for the puck because your d-men always put it right on your tape [i.e., the opposite of Mr. Corvo].
2) Seabrook is NOT on the Hawks' top PK unit; Hlamarsson is, however, and people from Olcyck to Jones [and even the xenophobic Maguire] have raved about #4's play. Plus he's only 22, and lasted until the 4th round. He is the biggest reason for Campbell's improved play in his own end, IMO.
3) Volchenkov-Sutton comparisons are misguided. V is much more mobile, has pretty quick feet [especially for his bulk] and, like almost every Russian d-man before him, makes very good outlet passes, invariably on the guy's tape. Not saying he's Markov or Gonchar-like in this area, obviously, but pretty underrated.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

sounds good to me! I do think it is smart to start integrating some of the high performinh AHL players into the NHL more...we will probably be ok Cap wise this season, but the next one will be very tricky! By getting MP, Alzner, Carlson, and maybe even Johanssen a little ready now, we are probably makeing the 2011/12 season a lot less stressful.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Perreault has looked good at times, like when he first got to Washington this year, and again when he was called up late in the season. But he also kind of disappeared for a long stretch before he got sent back down to Hershey in the middle of the season--he had 0 goals, 2 assists, and was -1 for the 12 games just before that. An unproductive stretch can happen to anyone, especially a rookie, but I'm not convinced he's really an NHL player, not yet at least. Maybe if he's the center between, say, Laich and Semin, all of a sudden he gets very consistent (and that's where I'd put him). He's very interesting to watch at times for sure. And very small. And he's only 22, so maybe he could use another year in Hershey.

Posted by: youaresquishy | May 19, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I like MP too, but he has 100 pts in the AHL - that is hardly the kind of production you'd expect from a #2C, let alone one playing in the A. He's a good player in the A and has shown flashes in the NHL, but top-6 NHL forwards are should dominate at that level [if they ever even play there in the first place].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world would we not overhaul this lineup? We failed to make it out of the first round yet again. Some of you are suggesting we resign Belanger, move Chimera to the 3rd line. Perrault 2nd line center? Why should we expect different results?

If this is how McPhee approached the offseason we will continue to rack up points during the regular season, and fail in the playoffs.

This group had their chance, they blew it. Are you all forgetting that just 3 weeks ago this team folded epically?

Posted by: underpants2 | May 19, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Spread out over two seasons, I meant to say. Decent, not dominant.

Btw yesterday someone [perhaps his agent] posted that we should go after John Madden. Please, no - the guy's not even playing 10 minutes a game, and has definitely lost a step [at least]. He looks slow against SJ's 5th and 6th d-men - hardly flyers themselves.
Plus he's got a big contract.

I realize we need to improve the PK - but there are much younger, faster, and cheaper ways to do that.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@underpants - I agree. A #2C in the NHL should dominate at the minor league level - and 100 pts spread out over two seasons, while decent, is hardly dominant.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Here are some names with heights and weights.

Centers:

5'10" 189 Tomas Plekanac
5'11" 200 Scott Gomez
5'10" 179 Danny Briere (offcially a center, plays wing sometimes, lighting the lamp when at center this playoff season)

Wings:

5'9" 180 Martin St. Louis (someone fudged this)
5'10" 178 Patrick Kane
5'7" 173 Brian Gionta

Mathieu Perreault 5'10" 174. We keep calling him too small to play at the NHL level, but Matty P has something in common with the players listed above other than just being small. He can play the game. He has proven it at every level. Even at the NHL level.

While playing in the QMJHL he was selected as the 2006-07 player of the year. Sidney Crosby won this award is 2003-04 and 2004-05. He has beaten the odds at every level and come out looking like a star. I certainly hope he gets a chance to secure a regular spot on the this team next season.

Even though he is small he almost always comes away with the puck in the offensive zone turning nothing into instant offense.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

It was a minor miracle to make it to the playoffs against Philly after being the worst in the east...so that run was a success in my mind

We lost in game 7 to the eventual stanley cup champs last season, and were dealing with horrific injuries...worse than average by far.

We had an upset this season...I am not downplaying it, but this happens! Thats what makes the playoffs so entertaining...anything can happen. It sucks for us, and some changes need to be made, but I refuse to believe that a team that had such huge success in the regular season can't learn to succeed in the playoffs!

As I said...in my mind we have now had ONE playoff upset sinc BB took over. Guess what...there will probably be more...Some people are only capable of thinking the worst and are blind to the positives.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

One thing everyone really has to keep in mind is that the AHL can be brutal. Much more brutal than the NHL at times because there are many more players in those line-ups (not Hershey) that are hoping to get into the NHL any way they can. They don't care if it's scoring or punishing someone to land a 4th line job. My point, if smaller players like Matty P or Aucoin can still be successful at that level, they are doing great things. Aucoin's numbers in the NHL are good too. Getting 26 points in 74 NHL games with the limited amount of minutes Aucoin gets is impressive. Matty P's 9 points in 21 games with his limited time is impressive too. Not to mention these guys come up and play with different players every time they come up. Continuity and line chemistry would allow them to prove that they are even better players.

In a way I am sort of surpised that BB, having dealt with size being an issue for him, even though he produced in the AHL and produced 70 points in only 141 NHL games these small guys wouldn't get more of a shot.

Posted by: fanohock1 | May 19, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2,

So what sweeping changes would you make to this team in the off season? Would you completely blow it up?

I think we are three to four players away and why not give the kids a chance to play during the regular season at center, how else will they get NHL experience?

Replace at the deadline with a proven 2nd line center and save a bunch against the cap. What is wrong with that strategy?

Posted by: PhilR | May 19, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

We lost in game 7 to the eventual stanley cup champs last season, and were dealing with horrific injuries...worse than average by far.

We had an upset this season...I am not downplaying it, but this happens! Thats what makes the playoffs so entertaining...anything can happen. It sucks for us, and some changes need to be made, but I refuse to believe that a team that had such huge success in the regular season can't learn to succeed in the playoffs!

As I said...in my mind we have now had ONE playoff upset sinc BB took over. Guess what...there will probably be more...Some people are only capable of thinking the worst and are blind to the positives.

Posted by: capscoach

What "horrific injuries"? We were up 2 - 0 in the series. You don't call that an upset? They have lost 3 or 4 games 7 on home ice under BB? They didn't even show up for game 7 against the Penguins.

Posted by: underpants2 | May 19, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

In Mike Green's AHL season he scored 9 goals. He has scored much more than that in each of the last 3 years.

It's not about offensive stats in the minors, it is about how a player plays.

If you look at Plekanec, in his first two seasons in the AHL he scored 19 goals (46 points) and then 23 goals (66 points). Then he scores at least 20 goals in 4 of his 5 years in the NHL.

No one is saying MP is going to be an all-NHL type player. But he could definitely turn into a very good 2nd line center (or switch him with Backstrom so he can play with Ovie and Knuble).

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

@fan - they fudged Gionta's numbers too, and probably St. Louis'. One thing those guys do share though, is they are seem to be pretty thick humans, especially lower body [Gionta and MSL definitely are] - I love watching MP with the puck, but he seems to get outmuscled sometimes, especially in his own zone [well, so does Briere, but still].

O-T, but Briere's been a whole new player since Krecji went down; it's like he has new life.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach, @PhilR

I agree with both of your responses to underpants2.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

@underpants2

Two of our players had a broken foot...Green had I believe a bad shoulder, Ovie was injured and would not have been playing had it been the regular season, and Some other guys were injured too.

Game 7 against the Pens was depressing and embaressing...but lets be honest...even in the regular season they were a comprable team to us. (not this season but last). In every series someone has to lose. The Pens beat us and franly outplayed us in the first 6 games even before we completely imploded. 1 team out of 30 wins the Cup every year. Just because we weren't that team doesn't mean we are horrible...How would you change this team? Fire BB who in 2 1/2 seasons took us from worst team in the league to president's trophy, trade away our 40 goal scorer AND 2 time Norris Trophy finalist...Who do we replace them with? Despite their flaws, who will we find better? I am all for slight changes and adjustments? But lets not pretend that our team is full of posers who don't know how to play the game. We WILL win a Cup one day soon. Patience is a virtue and it seems you have run out of it.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

They have lost 3 game 7s under BB...but lets PLEASE stop acting like we were really supposed to beat Philly...I was damn proud of the caps that year and they fought tooth and nail just to make it in.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying he doesn't deserve a shot, or that the AHL setup isn't brutal, it definitely is - but scoring in the NHL is a far different matter than putting up points in the minors, is all. Much less time and space.

I am saying, however, that #2C would be a stretch, and a big one - at least at this point in his career.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I agree that BB is a hell of a coach, and seems like a very good person as well. If anything, that would be my only quibble - he sometimes shows too much loyalty to players, [especially to guys who played for him at a different [lower] level] and to his boss [just because a guy was a high draft pick, does not automatically mean he's an NHL star in the making - unfortunately].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

PhilR: You and I are in agreement. With MP in the line-up all year next year caps might get 110 pts. With an experienceed center maybe 116 pts. Is that worth the extra $3M in salary?

I'd much rather use MP at #2 center and sign a brusing d-man like Volch and then get the extra center at the deadline for the #2 pick we get from trading Flash.

My exception is if you can get a Plekanec, then you could trade Semin and MP might then get pushed aside. And, if you did that, you'd have a very respectable 2nd line of Laich/Plekanec/Fehr.

In that case, I'm not sure MP is the #3 center. Belanger is better in that role.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | May 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I don't think anyone here is saying it is a guarantee it will work. But I think he has shown enough to be given a chance to play on that 2nd line(or 1st if you want to puck Backstrom with Semin and Laich) for the first half of the season and then re-evaluate.

MP doesn need to add strength, especially lower body, and hopefully he addresses that in the offseason.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

great point...I also love BB and think he should have a long career as the Caps coach, but his devotion to players like Green, Flash, and some others has gotten him in trouble...if you read his book you can see that trait throughout his career as a coach.

Posted by: capscoach | May 19, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach - I loved his book! So glad he stuck with hockey after what must have been a frustrating playing career, despite all his success racking up points being stuck down on the farm so long. I'll admit I was a little nervous when he first came in [having watched Hartley with the Avs, often at a loss with how to handle a superstar [Forsberg] but BB has obviously got a great hockey mind.

@tominsocal - I would love to see Plekanec in this lineup with Volchenkov. In addition to everything else, he is also terrific on the PK, and did a great job against Crosby's line [which made me quite happy]. And he's already done well with an enigmatic Russian winger [two, actually, the brothers Kostitsyn].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I agree that BB may be too loyal in some cases and that may come back to bite him.

I would also love to have Plekanec too but I don't that is feasible if the Caps sign Volchenkov. Unless Semin is traded or there are some major moves made.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I realize getting both Volchenkov and Plekanec is pretty unlikely - but it is nice to dream a little.

I actually think there's no way MTL lets Plekanec go after the season he's had [70 pts, 45A - on mostly 2nd PP and with Markov out for a lot] and especially the playoffs, unless they're insane.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | May 19, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo_1

I agree that there is no way Montreal wants to let Plekanec go but they are running into a pretty cap problem of their own.

They already have big contracts in Cammaleri, Gomez, Gionta, and Markov.

Then they have to re-sign Halak, who is going to cost considerably more than last year. In addition, if they want to keep Carey Price they are going to have to re-sign him too.

They will be interesting to watch this offseason.

Posted by: sgm3 | May 19, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

if erskine gets traded/released as many of you wish, i hope that it's to a southleast team so that he can pay-back his "former" teammates in spades.....by far the toughest player on the roster, he was badly mismanaged this year by the coaching staff...would love to see him play his game against the caps, because apparently only then will they realize what they had....when will the caps ever get it???

Posted by: vermontcaps | May 20, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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