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Pokulok and Sloan To Hershey

Defensemen Sasha Pokulok and Tyler Sloan were assigned to Hershey today. I'll be honest, I didn't expect Pokulok, the 14th overall pick in 2005, to last this long. That can only be seen as a positive development.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 21, 2007; 5:30 PM ET
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Hey, Tarik! How can it be only a positive development? That you foresaw it correctly? Lol! Sorry. Couldn't resist.

There are a few stories that I'd love to see from somewhere. I'm not getting it from Canada where I'd expect it. Maybe with the Post's weight we'd get more info.

It seems to me that Bettman and the owners are trying to depress the hockey marketplace by keeping with the Versus "network", and the lack of marketing of the pre-season games. Also, there's precious little written in most US markets, this one included, on the world of hockey. Your sports colleagues yesterday on the Kojo Nnamdi talked briefly about how they felt that Bettman has killed hockey as a national sport to be only a regional one. I'd love to see some real digging in on this.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 21, 2007 7:12 PM | Report abuse

A hockey insider I met mentioned that the NHL has been trying to work out a deal to show some additional games on ESPN/2. I have no idea to the validity, but at least it's a good rumor to spread.

Posted by: Bubba | September 21, 2007 7:48 PM | Report abuse

They've been talking to ESPN since the lock-out cost NHL coverage to be replaced by Texas Hold 'Em poker. ESPN doesn't want to re-sign NHL because more people watch that than Hockey.

I really do think that there's a good story here in the business of sports. And Tarik would be good to co-author it with a business journalist.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 21, 2007 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. Down with Bettman. I really would like to know who in the hockey world actually likes this guy... The sport we all love has been going downhill since he took over. It's time the league realized its mistake and gave someone else a shot!

As for the ESPN bit - I buy that the NHL has been trying to work out a deal, but ESPN is not going to show hockey until they get good numbers back from network TV. Until the Stanley Cup Playoffs get even reasonable ratings, I don't see ESPN touching hockey.

I miss ESPN hockey - announcers and analysts actually had some idea what they were talking about. VS "figured out" that they don't need to pay real analysts and so they pull some hockey bum from the street and put him in front of a camera.

Posted by: Raber | September 21, 2007 8:59 PM | Report abuse

I think it's great news about Pokulok, because it's clear that his concussions last year were CAREER-THREATENING. And remember, this is the guy the Caps chose in the first round of the Sydney Crosby draft, so if he'd completely flamed out without ever playing in an NHL game would have been a horrendous flop.

And that's still possible -- but now, at least it appears he has a chance to recover and put things together for a year in Hershey. He's got all the tools plus he's a giant. A defense featuring Pokulok, Alzner, Green, Schultz and Finley in a year or two could be among the best we've ever seen here.


Posted by: Oneal | September 21, 2007 9:58 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Oneal that the development of a big, tough blueliner is good news for the Caps and its fans. The fact the this kid may fully recover from a serious head-injury is great news for everyone, IMO. I like that the Caps are developing so many blueliners who may pan out because this time needs a lot of help in its own zone. Yes, Morrison and Jurcina (spelling?) are developing nicely and Potheir and Poti are great pick-ups, but the defenders need to keep the puck out of their own zone without so many penalities.

Posted by: Jim | September 22, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Greg S.,
Tarik does a great job as the Caps beat reporter without your "coaching". I suspect he knows more about doing his job than you do. I took Tarik's meaning about Pokulok as being that he is closer to NHL ready than might be expected given the concussions and all the lost time at the AHL level that he has suffered. Certainly not a comment that called for a snide response.

Posted by: Preston | September 22, 2007 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Preston, I am NOT about to tell Tarik how to write an article. I'm not a reporter and am not pretending to be. Blogs are much more informal than a Post article. I was commenting on the way he said that Pokulok's reassignment was a good thing. Having never watched him play, I wouldn't know. However, the way it was written sounded like he didn't expect him to last this long, and he was glad that he was reassigned. Just seemed funny to me. Sounded like, 'gee, I'm glad that they reassigned him and validated my thoughts, otherwise...' And if you missed my subtle humor, fagetaboutit.

I like Tarik's reporting. I wish we got more of him.

Posted by: Greg S. | September 22, 2007 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Greg S.
I've seen Pokulok several times at practice this summer, and he is nowhere NHL ready. He is still a great prospect, however, and just needs to start over and make up the lost time and development he has suffered due to injury. I think the Caps kept him up with the big club as a way to give him a shot of confidence before he rejoins the Hershey Bears, where hopefully he will have a productive and injury-free season.
You are right, Tarik is a terrific hockey writer, and we Caps fans are lucky to have him.

Posted by: Preston | September 23, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Tarik, With the new NHL rules, aren't all big NHL defensemen prospect (6-5 and up) big risks? I'm also thinking about Joe Finley...It seems that the new NHL is catered more to the Mike Greens, karl Alzners of the world...

Posted by: dave | September 24, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

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