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Question of the Week

As you've probably noticed, we're at the height of vacation time for NHL club officials and media, which has resulted in hockey headlines slowing to a trickle. But if you're reading this blog, you're probably a lot like me - already thinking ahead to training camp, even as you prepare to head back to the beach.

It would seem to me that GM George McPhee has done a fine job addressing the Caps' needs by bringing in Nylander, Poti and Kozlov (and Backstrom). On paper, at least, the Caps figure to be much stronger in 2007-08, no question. (Some say McPhee still probably needs to go out and get another veteran stay-at-home defenseman. I tend to agree.)

Anyway, here's my question for you, the fans: If McPhee stands pat, has he done enough this summer to make the Caps a legitimate playoff contender next season?

How do you feel? Confident? Cautiously optimistic? Giddy?

Let's hear it.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  August 6, 2007; 11:57 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'd go with cautiously optimistic.
I think we are within 10 points of the playoff points cutoff. What I'm not sure of is which side we will be on!?!?

Posted by: Mark Tucker | August 6, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

A legitimate CONTENDER for a playoff spot? Sure. For anything more than that? No.

And, since it's likely to take a while for the team to 'gel,' it's unlikely we'll see the benefits of his new acquisitions immediately. It might take a few months to get going, or that lack of a 'stay at home defenseman' that many people feel is a problem could hurt us badly. We are at the point, however, where we wouldn't exactly be a 'dark horse' for playoff positioning.

However, whether we actually make the playoffs or not, even if everyone remains healthy, still has too many questionmarks to be confident about anything. Will Kolzig last a whole season? Can Johnson play as an effective backup like he did in 05-06, or will he be over his head like in 06-07? Can our defense, which many people forget was heavily revamped already before the end of last season with the additions of Schultz, Erskine, and Jurcina to the line-up, and which has had a few other additions with Poti and Boumer in the offseason, step up enough so that they aren't a liability? Will Nylander REALLY make a difference? Can Backstrom actually play at this level, or is he going to bust? Etc., etc.

We're a 'legitimate' contender, but we aren't exactly a 'likely' contender at this point.

Posted by: I like Laich and Fehr is Fair | August 6, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Tarik

Still hearing troubling reports of Semin's knee. Can you follow up?

thanks

Posted by: Bill | August 6, 2007 12:17 PM | Report abuse

The Caps should contend for a playoff spot this year. Let's not forget that some of their returning players will be better this year and Nylander is sure to bring out the best in Ovechkin.

Plus, they have Chris Bourque and a few others in Hershey who should make a difference in the near future.

Posted by: Rob | August 6, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Heward is still a free agent why not bring him back cheap for a little help on the defense

Posted by: Russ | August 6, 2007 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I really like the team this year. McPhee went out and got some solid players to make the Caps better. McPhee will have to make a move but I don't seee that as a necessity right now. Unless the Caps are completely falling apart McPhee should be able to hold out till the deadline to pick up that stay-at-home D-man.

Posted by: Chris | August 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously optimistic. Lines 1 and two are going to produce. But after that there is not a whole lot of scoring.As long as here are no sigifigant injuries than they shoud be contending for a 4-8 spot.

Posted by: Mac | August 6, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I gotta think that if the Caps are where they were last year in january, then he's gone. What he's done so far is good on paper. Is it enough? We wont know until they start playing the games.

In all fairness this question can't be answered now;

Posted by: Go Skins Go | August 6, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously Optimistic as well. To me, there are a few too many "ifs" to be completely confident of success.

If one of Erskine, Schultz, Green, Eminger can really step up and play some serious D...

If the team can stay injury-free, especially Olie...

If the new lines gel...

If Backstrom is all that and a bag of chips ...

If Semin's knee is not a problem...

Then (taking a sip of kool-aid here) they can contend for the division crown and a top-three seed in the playoffs.

Posted by: stepguybrian | August 6, 2007 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm hearing that Semin's knee will NOT be a problem.

Posted by: Tarik | August 6, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

confident, cautiously optomistic, and giddy

Posted by: capman jones | August 6, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

another sport-express rumor... Semin once said they make stuff up about him

Posted by: Mr. Blank | August 6, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I feel really confindent with regards to the offense. It will finally be nice to have 2 full lines that provide an ability to score bunches of goals. It will be fun watching front 6 this year. Im expecting big things from them.

I'm still not condifent with the defense, but cautiously optimistic of some improvement back thee. I agree that we need one more stay-at-home, physical D-man. Another crucial aspect of the Caps season relies once again Olie. If he stays healthy, and the D improves, the Caps could push for a lower seed in the playoffs. Otherwise, its a close miss.

But regardless, this team (on paper) is MUCH improved from the last few years.

Posted by: DuggerWV | August 6, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Def still some "ifs", but at least they are heading in the right direction. I think they will be in the mix come April, which will be at least more than we've had in a couple of years. They should be a lot more fun to watch this year so i'm looking forward to it.

Posted by: Esmydee13 | August 6, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

If they stay as is, not so confident ... Defense has depth, but no one who is even a #3 on a strong squad. Aging goalie. Who is our first line RW? Kozlov? Clark? Give me a break. A lot is riding on Backstrom. Once again only one injury away from disaster.

Posted by: mrmoa | August 6, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

It is now time to have the patience and let the young defensemen develop. The caps seem to have a strong group of potential stars in the make. Lets give them the chance and encouragement they need; we will be glad we did.

Posted by: Opita | August 6, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

if the Caps want to do anything in the playoffs, they need to address the defense. they have made some nice moves but you never have too much defense in the NHL. defense is what makes you win in the playoffs.

Posted by: texaspete8 | August 6, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

'Contender for a playoff spot'.... yes, but I expected more than that.

We've seen how tight the playoff races usually are, and how one rash of injuries or a bad stretch of games can make the difference between finishing in the Top 8, or on the outside looking in.

As far as I'm concerned, the Caps MUST make the playoffs this year, so to not add some more key pieces in order to increase your margin for error (even at the expense of trading a young d-man like a Mike Green) is a big mistake.

By the way, Tarik, did you see the translation of the Semin (aka 'Wild Siberian') interview on the Caps Messageboard? Very interesting read. Doesn't sound like he'll be sitting down with you to do any in depth interviews in English anytime soon. Seems more than happy with continuing to play the 'can't speak English' card with the media for the foreseeable future, and he's not taking any English lessons either apparently. He seems content to just pick it up as he goes along which, from the sound of the interview is a big reason why he's so bored living in America.

Posted by: SM | August 6, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

My feeling is that some of the players are getting restless. They did a good job getting some help on offense, but the D is going to have to step up, and a true leader needs to emerge. Leadership on D is going to be critical.

If morale stays high, and the team leaders are effective, the Caps will make the playoffs.

Posted by: Mar | August 6, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse

They could slide into a 7 or 8 spot. They should certainly have some meaningful games in April which'll be a nice change.

The team is still a 1 super-star show. We need a superstar D-man to push us over the top. But I think that should be a goal for NEXT off-season or possibly this season's trade deadline.

Posted by: C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS! | August 6, 2007 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously optimistic. In my opinion it all still rides on defense and goaltending. Poti helps, but don't overestimate his value to this team. A healthy Kolzig is paramount. If Johnson is shaky while Kolzig is out for any length of time then kiss the playoffs goodbye. However, if Johnson plays well he still probably isn't secure in his position come the trade deadline.

Posted by: Snktimoniuz | August 6, 2007 2:35 PM | Report abuse

They have improved, and should contend for a lower-tier playoff spot, but that's probably it. Unless Backstrom steps in at a high level and the younger D-men make huge leaps then I think it's one more year and a few pieces from being a top-4 in the conference type of team that could go deep into the playoffs. At that point, goaltending might be a question so there are still major issues to address...

Posted by: glrhb | August 6, 2007 2:39 PM | Report abuse

the caps will be a surprise team this year. still a couple players away, the makeup is there. if a couple players step up could be the penguins of last year.

Posted by: will | August 6, 2007 2:45 PM | Report abuse

we should finish 7-10 in conference

Posted by: me | August 6, 2007 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Hopeful for the playoffs. I think we still need a nasty stay-at-home defenseman (can Erskine fit the bill??). Also, how about a big winger to camp out in front of the opponents net a-la Holmstrom?

Posted by: Va. | August 6, 2007 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Confident they will secure a playoff spot. There are offsetting factors that could teeter it either way - negative of injuries or positive of rookies stepping up. Plus there is enough stock in the farm that a midseason trade could push us over if need be.

Just as long as the beat Pittsburgh at home this year.

Posted by: stormblue | August 6, 2007 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Tarik wrote, "I'm hearing that Semin's knee will NOT be a problem." at August 6, 2007 01:21 PM

TARIK! You are on VACATION! Turn off the blackberry, computer, telephone, etc. Please! And, thanks for the info! :-)

Posted by: Dezlboy | August 6, 2007 3:20 PM | Report abuse

McPhee needs one more D man. This isn't a want, this is a need, a fact, something that needs to happen sooner rather than later. I know Heward is not A grade material but IMO he would fit the bill nicely and then see what develops leading to a trade. Will the kid we drafted have any shot of making the big club?

Posted by: Cj | August 6, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Remember when the Bolts beat the Caps in triple OT at home to finish them off in the first round (unfortunately, many of you probably do - painful)?

Anyway, the Caps are probably like that year's TB - good enough to make the playoffs, but not go very far. Will they be like the Bolts and win the cup next year? I doubt it, but they should be improving each year.

Posted by: Arlington | August 6, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously optimistic about the playoffs, but pretty well satisfied with the moves. All very bang for the buck without crippling us in the future. Torn between the need for a stay at home defenseman vs seeing if our youngsters can fill that bill themselves through development. There are lots of ifs-- but then again, that goes for just about every team, and a strong regular season doesn't mean deep in the playoffs anyway (Nashville). It's all about making the playoffs and peaking at the right time. And if we get lucky, we could see that happen here (or we could have 2-3 key injuries and collapse like the Wizards-- this is DC sports, after all).

Posted by: GJ | August 6, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Catiously optimistic. I'm really excited to see what our offense can do this year. If Ovie can score 50 goals wit ha converted winger playing center, imagine what he can do with a true playmaker. Poti should be an upgrade on the PP, and Kozlov brings us a pretty good right winger with the flexibility to play center if need be.

The D is still a bit on the young side, but I'm betting we'll see some good things from Jurcina and Morrison this season. Jurcina is a big guy and a physical presence in the defensive zone. If we can get him to use his booming slapshot more often he could put up some decent offensive numbers as well. As for Morrison, I liked what I saw from him last year and I think he's right where he should be development wise. Boomer and Erskine both have some NHL experience. Some of the younger guys are wild cards, but depending on how they shape up, we could have one heck of a season.

Posted by: Murshawursha | August 6, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Some of the hockey analysis on here makes me shudder. Jamie Heward!?!?!?!

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 6, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

With the remaining FA's that are out there, and the guys that could make the Caps more of a contender. I agree, one more d-man, say Markov could provide that one more piece of the puzzle. And what about Peca, even though he has been injured and that has slowed down his production as of late, he is still a guy who could help mentor the younger centers. Plus he's not affraid to post up in front of the net. Alzner should hopefully crack the line up and hopefully contribute.

Now onto the real question...GOALIE. Olie now is an above average netminder at best. Johnson's job is as good as gone, and why keep waiting for our prospects to get better, when we could get someone decent for the time being.

Posted by: digis | August 6, 2007 3:52 PM | Report abuse

See, there is some of that insightful hockey analysis I was talking about.

You even wrote it. Michael Peca is old and hurt. the Caps acquired three veterans this offseason, why add the man who looks like death warmed over. Nevermind the chances of Peca actually wanting to sign in Washington.

Olie is the team leader, not just a goalie. You don't dump him so willy-nilly without effecting team chemistry. Olie has been a rock back there, especially considering hte la ck of any defense that has been in front of him for the last several years.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | August 6, 2007 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Think the Caps will squeeze in. Buffalo got a lot weaker, so did the Isles - so there could be some more room for us to compete. Having said that - our current D will be fine for regular season - but I bet if we do make the playoffs we'll see some of the other needs addressed to hopefully take us a round or two...

Posted by: cs | August 6, 2007 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree that if the Caps are in the hunt come the March trade deadline, there will be players (rentals) available. Although it wouldn't hurt my feelings to acquire Markov (just in case the Wings don't get that done).

Posted by: Blueline | August 6, 2007 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Currently, this squad is at best a first-round team. If Olie or Ovie gets hot, maybe 2nd round, but that's the max.

For this team to be a true Stanley Cup competitor, we need (in order):

- Development of one of our young d (Jurcina, Eminger, Morrison) into a stud shut-down defenseman
- Maturation of Backstrom into a force so we can roll two legit scoring lines
- Acquiring or developing a competent back-up goalie who can play 30+ games at better than .500

I don't expect any of this to happen this season. But we should fight for the 7th or 8th seed.

Posted by: topshelf22304 | August 6, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

The Southeast is going to be such a crap-shoot this season, we could easily be a 3-seed, and could just as easily miss the playoffs altogether. I'm going to stay optimistic though.

Posted by: Braad | August 6, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

I think that the Caps are in the best position offensively than they've been in for 5 years, but that there is so much that could go wrong.

Ovie, Semin, Backstrom, and Nylander should serve to produce more than has been since '03.

But I'm unsure about the Defense. Unless Green, Eminger, and Schultz play to the potential they're supposed to, I don't think that the rest are Cup worthy, yet. The Jurcina and Morrisonn pair are the best D we have, but we need more good chemistry than that.

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | August 6, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I think spring hockey games will have meaning, and not having to due with the draft lottery! I think the concern is how well Olie will hold up.

Posted by: Larry | August 6, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

The Caps have a chance to contend but it is the other team's decline that may play in their favor. The Islanders will deline. The Bruins and the Canadians may not be very good. It will be a more exciting pre season and season than the Caps have seen in a few years....a good thing for us fans.

Posted by: ken | August 6, 2007 5:50 PM | Report abuse

SM -- I did see the Semin interview. I'm still planning to do a sitdown interview with during training camp. That's going to be interesting.

Dezlboy -- Technically, I'm between vacations for a few days. I go back out of town later this week. Then I'll be rested and ready for camp. (And I can't turn off the treo. Because my post email is the only account i use.)

Posted by: Tarik | August 6, 2007 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps need a veteran stay-at-home, pass well, non-rattled blueliner. He can be a coach on the ice and a good influence in the locker room. Is there one available is the pertinent question? Olie had a fairly good win-lose and a healthy .913 save percentage, so if the dee is solid, the Caps win enough to make the back three or even maybe the third seed if they can leapfrog Atlanta and Tampa Bay. If Olie goes down, the Caps are really thin at goal with as poor as Johnson played last year and as green as the recruits are. Cassivi can fill in in a pinch, but not too long. He is great in the AHL, but mediocre in the NHL. The RW seems solid with Kovlov and Clark on either of the top two lines. The other two lines can be developmental -- somebody has to step up from Hershey to make the third line a good checking line and be able to chip in a few goals.

Posted by: Jim | August 6, 2007 6:38 PM | Report abuse

WE'RE GOING TO THE PLAYOFFS!! We won't take the cup, but at least we're goin'!!

Posted by: Boo | August 6, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

GMGM did a good job in the off season. Still, want to watch them play because
they aren't going anywhere on paper.

Posted by: caphcky | August 6, 2007 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Cautiously optimistic...I like the moves thus far, I like how our AHL/NCAA/Jr.s are stacked up for the future.

Posted by: Caps Fan | August 6, 2007 9:00 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see a veteran stay at home D-man, but then we run the risk of not getting our defencive prospects eanough ice time to develope (I think it's worth it). I would most like to see Bondra returning to the line-up. Not because he would fill the score board, but because he would fill the seats. I want to be excited and proud to be a caps fan again and Bondra coming back would do that.

Posted by: dcfury | August 6, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Absolutely, GMGM has done a good job during the off season to make us a "Hey, take a look at the Caps" comment of a team.

I for one have purchased a partial plan simply because of the chemistry in the past and optimistic future for 07-08.

Bring on the Verizon Center, can't wait!

Posted by: TodderCap | August 6, 2007 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Southeast Division Champs, round one bust. My prediction.

Posted by: Dan Nelson | August 6, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ohh man! We winning the southeast...as bugel says, "guaranteeeeeeed." we sweeping pitt in the 1st round of the playoffs-while simultaneously abusing canada's darling-cindy. then we dismantle the blue-shirts in 6. ultimately, we win cup over edmonton with nylander scoring game 7, triple overtime goal. HA!!

Posted by: hitchingcartobandwagon | August 6, 2007 10:19 PM | Report abuse

There's a lot of suspect hockey analysis here, but also a lot of over-analysis. Who can predict these things?

Carolina goes from 04 out of the playoffs to 06 Stanley Cup champs to 07 out of the playoffs. Each of those finishes can be easily explained - poor goaltending, Brind'Amour leading, inconsistent defense, whatever.

Caps are in a decent position now, GMGM did well this offseason.

Eminger, Green and Schultz *could* all step up and prove themselves to be legitimate, consistent, reliable NHL defensemen. Poti and Pothier *could* shine on the new PP, quarterbacking the Caps' potent front 3. Kolzig *could* stay steady in goal, stealing some games. Semin, Backstrom and Ovechkin *could* fix the Caps' shootout woes of last year and rack up a few points in the extra session.

All of those outcomes are just as easily plausible as their opposites.

It could also be a total trainwreck. Nylander *could* get injured in the season's first week, and when he returns, never gel with the Caps' forwards. Johnson *could* step in weekly for Olie, allow a couple of softies in each and lose otherwise winnable games (his re-signing last year is utterly inexplicable). Poti *could* get lazy, miss a few key checks, and incur the "wuss" chant by December.

Everything could go right, and everything could go wrong. These Caps are not dynasty material, but neither are they foregone lottery material.

Main thing is, as ridiculously long as the NHL season is, I am antsy already, and can't wait for this dang season to start.

Posted by: katzistan | August 7, 2007 12:26 AM | Report abuse

I doubt anyone is reading this comment considering it's the 52nd one. Hence, I stand mute (well, sit mute).

Posted by: 52nd Comment Guy | August 7, 2007 3:55 AM | Report abuse

I just hope we don't play the Bruins in the playoffs, now that they have Kevin Garnett! :)

Posted by: fan | August 7, 2007 7:21 AM | Report abuse

im buying tickets this year no matter what happens. management made a good effort this year to put some quality on the ice and spend a little money so i will too. if we fill the seats they will spend more. cant blame GMGM this year. not a cup team but getting better.

Posted by: david | August 7, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

We were a playoff team last year until injuries and inconsistent play destroyed our defense and killed our power play. Did we add enough offense to correct our D? Is Poti going to make that much of a difference? Time will tell, but I am waiting to hear if we get Erskine because I think he is more important as a physical presence than people think.

Posted by: Billy | August 7, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I see us 7th or 8th in the conference this year. I'm less optimistic about the 2nd round, but if the 2nd line gels, it could happen. I don't see another banner in the rafters (of any kind) until '08-09. -JW

Posted by: JWJr | August 7, 2007 9:28 AM | Report abuse

These days fans for every NHL team have to be cautiously optimistic.

There is no clear juggernauts and not many real doo-doo's.

Neither us nor Philly will be in the basement.

I'll go out on a limb and say no team that's city/state name starts with a 'C' will win the cup next season (Columbus, Carolina, Colorado, Calgary, Chicago).

Posted by: slappy | August 7, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

The Cap's defense was the problem last year and it still has not been properly addressed. Poti will help offensively and on the powerplay but defensively he's very average. Hannan would have been a great addition but he went to avs. because of the defense I think the caps will finish 9-12 in the East.

Posted by: caphcky | August 7, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

The Caps have positioned themselves to make the playoffs. If the team is healthy, Kolzig gets hot and they get a few breaks, who knows what can happen?

As a rule, younger teams tend to hold up over the long haul better than some of the aging older teams with "better" or at least more established players

If the chemistry is right, the injury gods are happy and lady luck smiles... I definitely think they have a chance to contend, but they are not deep enough to stand much adversity.

Posted by: Muddapucker | August 7, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

hannan would be nice but we dont need that type of player now(maybe at the deadline). morrisonn, shultz, and jurcina( and alzner soon hopefully) are all solid defensively and one or two of them at least could mature into a true #1 shut down defenseman in the near future. signing or trading for another d right now pushes the development of all the young guys in the system and on the team back a year (unless a trade involves some of those youngsters, but im not a fan of that route, not to mention that another big salary makes it even harder to sign our young studs in the next couple of years)

Posted by: capman jones | August 7, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

90 points this season. Enough to make the playoffs? We'll see. But they have made positive steps to get us there. Now as long as everyone stays healthy......

Posted by: kenhockey | August 7, 2007 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the major issue is that the younger caps need to get to the puck first, fight (stick not fists) for the puck along the boards, etc. Feet shold not be like cement when trying to kill the power play.

The younger players should be working on getting NHL muscles & stamina. For a team that was supposedly "hard working" or "hard to play against" they got beat a lot in those areas last year.

This doesn't require a defensive superstar. It requires a lot more effort in exercise, practice, and games.

The above improvement allows the team to tweak rather than gut to make changes. For example, making the above improvement and getting a player who puts up a few more goals and has a better +/- than last year's group turns many of last year's Ls to Ws.

Will that be enough? Leading the SE is easier than breaking through the 2nd round.


No Heward- unreasonable penalties exceed value of play

Posted by: Jim | August 7, 2007 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps should trade eminger, beech, morrisonn, and semin to the penguins for crosby. Crosby and Ovechkin in the same line up. That'll sell some tickets. Oh yeah through in a 7th round pick in 08 for fun

Posted by: Dave | August 7, 2007 2:03 PM | Report abuse

A lot of teams in the East improved. But so did the Caps. We should definitely be in contention for a playoff spot.

Posted by: Charlie | August 7, 2007 2:16 PM | Report abuse

beech isnt on the team smarty, and that trade is almost as idiotic as it is impossible

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I've decided to take a cautiously optimistic path with this year's team. I tried to figure out lines and defensive pairings, and there still seems to be a couple holes that could be filled. Too many 3rd and 4th year players that don't seem like they'll ever become legitimate NHLers. Gordon, Beech, Bradley, Laich. Where are my Haworths, Duschene's, Gould, Laughlin, Pivos?? These guys are all Reggie Savage, Robin Bawa and Jeff Nelson (whom I saw playing LOW minor league hockey last year.)

Posted by: JR | August 7, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I've decided to take a cautiously optimistic path with this year's team. I tried to figure out lines and defensive pairings, and there still seems to be a couple holes that could be filled. Too many 3rd and 4th year players that don't seem like they'll ever become legitimate NHLers. Gordon, Beech, Bradley, Laich. Where are my Haworths, Duschene's, Gould, Laughlin, Pivos?? These guys are all Reggie Savage, Robin Bawa and Jeff Nelson (whom I saw playing LOW minor league hockey last year.)

Posted by: JR, Richmond | August 7, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

KRIS F-ING BEECH IS NOT ON THE CAPS. JESUS.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

ha see, now hes on the blue jackets. maaaan

Posted by: Anonymous | August 7, 2007 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Why do I see such negative comments about the possibility of bringing back Jamie Heward? He played very respectably for the Caps last year and continued to do so for the Kings. And remember that he gave the Caps their only real strong shot from the point for much of the season. And he advances the puck out of his zone with crisp, accurate passes. On this much-improved 2007-08 team, he could play a significant role on the second power play unit, and he would also provide depth on the blue line. Don't rule Jamie out!

Posted by: George H. | August 7, 2007 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I like the free agent moves, but it feels like they haven't done enough. Sure they'll compete for a lower seed, but I was hoping for a bigger splash this off season. I wanted to see Zubrus come back as well as signing Bondra, if only for his saavy and leadership. He's not scoring 40 goals, but I think he's someone who could come through with a couple of clucth goals that might make the difference between 4th and 8th place in the standings. Go Caps!!

Posted by: RedskinD | August 7, 2007 8:47 PM | Report abuse

I like the new additions, but it feels like they haven't done enough. Sure they'll compete for a lower seed, but I was hoping for a bigger splash this off season. I wanted to see them make a run at Zubrus, get another solid defenseman, and bring back my man Peter Bondra, if only for his saavy and leadership. He's not scoring 40 goals, but I think he's someone who could come through with a couple of clucth goals that might make the difference between 4th and 8th place in the standings. Hopefully they're not done...Go Caps!!

Posted by: RedskinD | August 7, 2007 8:52 PM | Report abuse

First, I want to set the record straight - I'm not a fan of George McPhee and I don't believe he should be employed in the NHL based on his tenure at Vancouver and Washington.

Regarding the signings this year - I think they were a step forward for sure. Nylander is talented w/ the puck, and if he clicks with Ovechkin or Semin, look out. In fact, I think he's going to click more w/ Semin simply b/c of their playing styles are similar vs. Ovechkin.

I'm not a Poti fan, and I think the Caps overpayed for him, but considering the exisiting roster of defensemen, it's a step forward.

Kozlov - not sure- in some ways, maybe he's insurance w/ Backstrom, and Ovechkin asked for him, so again - it's positive.

My two if's are:
1. Backstrom - if he can contribute this season - that's a huge factor for the team winning more games this season.
2. Kolzig - if he's as strong as ever - look out - the Caps will win a lot more of those 3-1 and 3-2 type games they've lost in the past two years.

Overall - they should make the play-offs this season, and depending on the two factors I've highighted, we could see another SE Division Champion Banner hanging in the rafters again. :)_

Posted by: Running Man | August 7, 2007 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree w/ RedskinD about Bondra or similar player making that difference that would bump the team up in the rankings. I think that would be worth giving younger player less time in NHL this year. Even after the injury, he made smart plays that stood out from the Hawks (e.g. knowing when to get off the ice). That stuff makes a difference to a developing team. It's stuff they might not have thought of and it adds to the coach's voice (there are only so many things the coach can lecture about in one year).


Posted by: Jim | August 7, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

GMGM has added some punch to the lineup no doubt. It won't matter what he has done if some of the younger players do not improve. Last year, the club appeared obviously improved, but several players failed to improve and a couple regressed. If that happens this year, the stagnation will continue.

Posted by: Old Bob | August 8, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

pick up one more defenseman and we can do some damage. i'll be happy just to make the playoffs.

Posted by: fansince75 | August 8, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

If their record within the division improves significantly and the powerplay improves significantly, they will make the playoffs.

Posted by: aybee | August 9, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Just having Kozlov will put the Caps in the playoffs based on the number of additional games we will win from overtime shootouts.

Poti helps the blue line enough to make a difference.

Nylander will make the first line excel.

Backstrom will make rapid strides, assuming he stays healthy for the whole season.

It's time for Boyd Gordon, Brian Sutherby, Brooks Laich, Matt Pettinger, Matt Bradley, and Eric Fehr to step up their games. They cannot get away with saying they are young, inexperienced, etc. anymore.

Posted by: rb | August 9, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

luv the caps, like the off-season moves, but still dont have enough offense or defense to make the playoffs.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2007 9:46 PM | Report abuse

I want the season to begin...

Posted by: Muddapucker | August 10, 2007 4:28 PM | Report abuse

I'm not caphky!

Posted by: roundthedasher | August 11, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Playoffs? Not likely! We have one goalie. Two, maybe, D-men. I think we will improve from last year's results, but no playoffs this year. Goalies take a long time to develop and Johnson had a mediocre season last year. That has to change. The baby goalie is only 18 and has probably a good 5 to 7 years to develop. With Olie at, what 35 or 36, he may have only 3 or 4 more years. Johnson nees to step it up big time.

The D is weak. GMGM signed Poti will help. But the current D have to start playing. And Poti needs to, too. He's got some issues, too.

Offense looks fair. The Alexes will kick, and they got some good help in UFA signings; but you can score 3 or 4 goals in a game and still lose. D can either lose or save a game.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 11, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

GMGM's purchases over the summer:

CBC Analysis:

Poti:
ASSETS: Presents a tremendous physical package with a very heavy shot, great size and mobility. Has outstanding offensive upside.
FLAWS: Has a tendency to complicate matters in the defensive zone. Must work on his play without the puck and use his size more to keep forwards honest.

Nylander:
ASSETS: Has terrific playmaking ability and excellent vision. When hot, he's an offensive machine. Is improving his defensive game.
FLAWS: Plays a passive game. Isn't always ready to play every night. Does not possess a knack for scoring goals.

Kozlov:
ASSETS: Has great vision on the ice, imposing size and impressive imagination. Loves to handle the puck and does so with skill and finesse. Is very good when he lines up on either wing.
FLAWS: Must improve his ability to score goals in order to keep defenders honest. Is still looking for a level of consistency in the NHL. Does not look good when playing the pivot.

Posted by: Greg S. | August 12, 2007 10:10 PM | Report abuse

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