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Olympic hockey: Cool, but slippery

Time to break away from the Alex Ovechkin injury for just a bit. Here's a column from Tracee Hamilton on the NHL's future role in the Olympics:

Compared to Washington's other professional franchises, the Capitals are one happy family. They aren't facing the extreme dysfunction that surrounds the Redskins or the spate of early-season injuries that plague the Wizards -- assuming, of course, that all is well with Alex Ovechkin. Ice, apparently, is nice. So, of course, is winning.
All the happy, however, may not last. In February, the NHL will break for two weeks to allow its top players to participate in the Olympic tournament in Vancouver. It will be the fourth Games in which NHL players will participate -- and perhaps the last.

Click here to read the rest.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  November 2, 2009; 2:42 PM ET
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Next: Caps: Ovechkin is week to week



How is it that ESPN is getting the inside scoop on contract negotiations with Backstrom and Semin but Capitals Insider isn't reporting anything?

It makes you guys not seem much like Insiders unless I missed a previous post.

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 2, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao: "Hearing things aren't going well on the Semin front" -- which is the "inside scoop" you're referring to from Pierre Lebrun of ESPN -- is not something we would report. There's no source, no specifics, no way to back it up.

I think readers would prefer to know that everything we report is accurate as opposed to us telling you every time we hear a rumor. Just posted the link because it was an interesting read.

Hope that covers it!

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | November 2, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

LeBrun also works for CBC... I think he's reliable

Posted by: joek443 | November 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: superpaqman | November 2, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Just to be clear, nothing against Pierre whatsoever - he's a columnist, and very good at his job, and it's completely different.

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | November 2, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

From a previous post. Backstrom's agent Gunnar Svensson is sitting down with GMGM Nov 11-12 to finalize a contract that will be very similar to that of Anze Kopitar's, 7 years, around high 40s.

Posted by: jakopz | November 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay- Amen- he does not quote a source...unprofessional to say the least.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 2, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I am hoping eleven years, $66M, to match the length of Ovechkin's deal. At $6M/yr, close to value of Richards from the Flyers.

The player is generally willing to accept a lower yearly rate in exchange for long-term security.

Kopitar is a good comparable though. His cap figure is $6.8M/yr. I hope they can get Backstrom a little lower due to "Ovie discount."

Posted by: tominfl1 | November 2, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse


Here's hoping for a Ovie discount. Deserves a celebration with Siduri 2006 Clos Pepe Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Posted by: jakopz | November 2, 2009 3:30 PM | Report abuse

@joek443 - Not without a source he isn't. "I heard Alexander Semin has been taking fighting lessons from famed bongo player Ricky Riccardo," after all!

Posted by: irockthered | November 2, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I think Semin will be the best trade bait we ever had. Gotta sign Backstrom no matter what!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 2, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

@lylewimbledon - I disagree. I think Semin will go back to the KHL rather than play for any other team in the NHL, unless it's VERY heavily Russian, and even that seems unlikely.

Posted by: irockthered | November 2, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Lindsay, for goodness sakes, we've all spent the past 24 hours reading posts that basically say "Ovechkin hurt -- no information..." How is that any more valuable than mentioning that Semin is in contract negotiations with the team? It's not a big deal, but the first poster called your shot pretty well, just say, "sorry, we'll get it next time." No biggie -- you're doing a good job.

Posted by: MarylanDChris | November 2, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse


Yes, but we can trade him well before it gets to that point- i.e. this year.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 2, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Next time I go to the grocery store, I'm going to see if I can get this famed Ovi discount...sounds like a pretty good deal.

Posted by: Moose33 | November 2, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@MarylanDChris: Right -- "Ovechkin hurt -- No information," because anything we gave you other than what the Caps tell us would be pure speculation!

I'm not trying to defend myself, just explaining the reasoning behind not posting vague rumors. Usually if someone addresses me in a comment and seeks a response, I will respond.

And now I will step off the soapbox. Thank you, Washington!!!

Posted by: Lindsay_Applebaum | November 2, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

For anyone that likes rumors, I'd suggest this quality site: (click on "Rumors" - rumors are actually sourced)

Posted by: MetalCapsFan | November 2, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

People need to keep in mind the difference between a columnist and a reporter. Reporters need to have facts and sources that are verifiable or another way to check the accuracy of a fact. Columnists are all about discussing opinions or speculating. Totally different beast.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 2, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Semin would play here for 35k a year plus $60 a month metro fares.

he loves it here...

Posted by: SA-Town | November 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Also Semin is not trade bait in my book. I've said it before but I don't think we should dismantle the young guns. There are other ways of getting what we need without trading away our best assets.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

OH NO leave Linday alone, she's still in trouble for using corporate resources to make the OV mug!! OH NO she's gonna have to pick up Mr. Tony's dry cleaning as punishment!! OH NO Caps need an enforcer!! OH NO rumour has it there are some folks in the Post newsroom who are willing to drop the gloves!! OH NO, one scrum and now the Caps are a bunch of panzies!!! OH NO still stuck in second place in the Conference...OH NO it's NOVEMBER...

Posted by: ChickenLittleCapsFan | November 2, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I apologize for the second sentence in my first post. That was over the top. I was just surprised to see ESPN discussing the issue before reading anything here. I'm sure you guys will post reliable information regarding the negotiations once it becomes available. I am curious as to where LeBrun got his information though.

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 2, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Regarding the financial aspect of keeping Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green together...

I checked the cap hit of Pittsburgh's core pieces (Crosby, Malkin, Staal, Fleury). It comes out to $26. 4 million.

If you assume that we can keep Backstrom and Semin for a combined cap hit of $12 million and add that to Ovechkin's and Green's cap hits, we would be at $26.788 million.

Even if Backstrom + Semin pushes $13 million, I still don't see why we can't keep our core together if Pittsburgh is able to do it (assuming they don't trade Malkin or Staal at any point).

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 2, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Basically, I can't see any reason that management couldn't keep this core together from a financial perspective. Unless Semin wants to leave for the KHL or another NHL team, it should be within the means of this organization to keep him.

As far as the constraints that having that much money tied into 4 players creates, I wouldn't mind seeing us fill more of the roster with young, low-cost players who have the potential to outproduce their cap hits. In the salary cap era, getting the most out of every dollar spent can go a long way to putting any given team over the top. Malkin's cap hit last season was under a million, believe it or not. That allowed them to do a lot more with their remaining cap space. We currently have Backstrom, Fleischmann and perhaps Varlamov but going forward, I'd like to see more young guys withing the organization given a chance to overproduce, especially if we are going to build around a costly core of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Semin and Green.

Posted by: tmac2yao | November 2, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Also Semin is not trade bait in my book. I've said it before but I don't think we should dismantle the young guns. There are other ways of getting what we need without trading away our best assets.

Posted by: Capsyoungguns | November 2, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Wingers are easier to come by than centers or defensemen. So if we're going to keep Backstrom and Green (along with Ovechkin's contract), and still pay 2nd tier guys (Laich etc), accomodate the FA contracts (Knuble, BMo), and somehow try and create room to bring in a defenseman or two, its buh-bye Semin in my book.

And, he may skip for Russia anyway. He's a headcase. Never know from minute to minute what he's going to do.

I say dump him while you can considering we have skill wingers like Flash, Bouchard etc waiting in the wings. They don't have to put up Semin's gaudy #s. Because we should get back a real decent player or two in a trade anyway.

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

If Laich pots in 30 goals this yr he's going to want a raise as well.

Its debatable how much you can get back in a trade involving Semin anyway. He's expensive, one-dimensional and could book for the Eastern front. Every team is feeling the salary crunch. It will be hard to find a trading partner who is willing to give us what we want. Too bad Dan Snyder doesn't own a hockey team...

Posted by: cstanton1 | November 2, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

thank god evil Danny doesn't own this team!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 2, 2009 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh crap - I might get censored by him - I should watch my opinions!

Posted by: lylewimbledon | November 2, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

the young guns aint so young anymore. i am ready for that honeymoon to end. time for the guns to produce. i think OV and Backie are the 2 "guns" that have impressed the most. Backie is going to be something else. his 2-way game is really coming along.

Posted by: doughless | November 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Semin played like a bonehead last night. the game winning goal started in the Bluejackets zone when he didn't skate to meet and control a loose puck. he just STARED at it.

Posted by: doughless | November 2, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

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