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Stuck in Neutral?

Back in November and December, folks wondered whether the Caps were going to make the playoffs. Today, the more appropriate question is whether the struggling club will even match last season's meager point total of 70.

It's going to be a challenge.

After Tuesday night's effort--a penalty-plagued 5-3 defeat at Bell Centre in Montreal, their fourth straight loss and seventh in a row on the road--the Caps find themselves 12 points out of the playoffs. But a more sobering fact is that they're also only 15 points out of last place in the conference.

Including tonight's game against San Jose, they've got 22 games left to earn 15 points -- just to equal last year's total. (They've earned 16 points in their last 25 games.)

Let's look at the Caps' remaining schedule, shall we?

Fourteen games are against clubs who would find themselves in the playoffs if the season ended today. Seven are against division leaders. Exactly half of them are on the road. None are against last place Philadelphia.

That brings me to today's question: Can the Caps get there?



By Tarik El-Bashir  |  February 21, 2007; 9:03 AM ET
 
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Comments

No, they can't. I guess Hanlon's and McPhee's jobs are secure. How long can the rebuilding mantra be used to make the excuses for the failures of the team?

Posted by: kenhockey | February 21, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it pathetic that a couple of weeks ago we're thinking playoffs maybe, and now we're hoping they can just get to where they were last year in points.

Posted by: kenhockey | February 21, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I would say that at this point they are as bad as they were last year.

This isnt a knock on OV, I dont expect him to carry the whole team. Zubrus has disappeared, along with a couple of other guys...Pettengier, Sutherby.

Posted by: TJ | February 21, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

This team's inability to clear the zone, complete a pass, take a slapshot from the point, or breach the offensive zone during a power play would lead me to the conclusion that there is no reason to believe they'll win more than a couple of games the rest of the season. They could end up in last place overall. This team is playing without energy or purpose. Last year I liked following the Caps because I knew they sucked, and they fought out some tough games. This year, they convinced us that they have the potential to not suck, but then have done nothing but suck. It's depressing.

Posted by: katzistan | February 21, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone to the point of turning in their season tickets for next year, or going to less games next year, until some tangible improvement is shown?

Posted by: kenhockey | February 21, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

We are the CRAPITALS!

Posted by: CP | February 21, 2007 12:01 PM | Report abuse

We are the CRAPITALS!

Posted by: CP | February 21, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"They could end up in last place overall." Calm down Caps fans. Just because the Flyers have won as many games this month as they did in December and January COMBINED, doesn't mean they're going to catch up with the Caps. Injuries, bad stretches can kill a team's momentum, which I see happening with the Caps. They're still young and could be much, much worse. Chin up.

Posted by: FlyersInDC | February 21, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Who Cares?

The season is essentially over now-- they are not making the playoffs. It doesn't really matter where they finish with respect to last year.

What does matter is whether they will show any team discipline before the end of the year. Going back to January, they have shown little discipline; often at most, they have played with discipline for one period in a game. Last night, when I could bear to watch-- they are really unwatchable now-- they were scrambling around their own end, struggling to get the puck out, even resorting to back-to back-to back icings. Montreal is not Detroit.

Again, I put this on Hanlon. He's a nice guy. He is earnest. He has a great sense of humor. But I think that the team has stopped listening to him...

Posted by: Clarendon | February 21, 2007 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Want to see a blue-print for how to screw up a phenom?

Kolzig on Ovechkin, Jan. 24:

"He's got to remind himself every game that it's defensive zone first. Because you win championships with defense."

Hanlon on Ovechkin, Feb. 19:

"Ovie has one goal in seven games. It's hard for us to win those games."

WELL- WHICH IS IT???

The kid's 21 years old -- what's he supposed to think? Think his scoring drought is some kind of fluke? Come on!

Posted by: Oneal | February 21, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

After the season is over the people calling the shots should get together and decide what to do next. They have to stop selling the "rebuilding" story. honestly, it reminds me of President Bush saying "Stay the course" when it is much too obvious for everyone that the course is the wrong one. Now, it is up to the people in charge to either be strong and admit that they did in fact make mistakes, acknowledge it and draft a new course of action, or be cowards and keep telling us the same old excuse of the team being young and rebuilding. Someone has to take the responsibility for the lack of progress. There is no shame in admitting to being wrong with the whole approach. The sooner the people in charge admit it to themselves the sooner we will se changes being made. Because right now most of us can't even see where the W's are going to come from. There is no discipline on the ice, and the penalties taken reflect that. There is no idea, no vision when going forward. Why are the Pens miles ahead of the Caps? They are a young team. Their "rebuilding" has obviouly worked. So maybe that experience should taken into the account. They are a budget team as well. But just like baseball, you can have the A's or the Devil Rays. It comes down to the selection process and management. Maybe the management should admit they are not as good as they thought they were and bring in someone who knows how to build a winner. My $0.02.

Posted by: SSport | February 21, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Who Cares?

The season is essentially over now-- they are not making the playoffs. It doesn't really matter where they finish with respect to last year.

What does matter is whether they will show any team discipline before the end of the year. Going back to January, they have shown little discipline; often at most, they have played with discipline for one period in a game. Last night, when I could bear to watch-- they are really unwatchable now-- they were scrambling around their own end, struggling to get the puck out, even resorting to back-to back-to back icings. Montreal is not Detroit.

Again, I put this on Hanlon. He's a nice guy. He is earnest. He has a great sense of humor. But I think that the team has stopped listening to him...

Posted by: Clarendon | February 21, 2007 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Tarik: Is there any further information on the Eminger/Zednik trade rumors yesterday?

Posted by: Fred | February 21, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

This team should just mail it in, meander through the rest of the season, and claim another top 5 draft pick. Then, if management has any sense, they will try to land a top center and a top 2 d-man during the offseason (something they should have done last offseason). And finally the Caps should fire Hanlon and do whatever is necessary to convince Dale Hunter to become the Caps new head coach. That is my idea for turning things around.

Posted by: Demonchants | February 21, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

i definetly wont be spending my hard earned money next year unless ownership spends some of theirs. its not fair. what do they expect. i guess they think were all stupid. never again

Posted by: sick | February 21, 2007 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The Caps are in complete disarray right now. They are playing a bizarre trap to improve the defense but they have totally stifled their two best scorers, Ovechkin and Semin. Not to mention that the GM, coach and team leader (Kolzig) saw fit to publicly rip Ovechkin's defensive play in a newspaper article. And one wonders why he's in a funk? This supposed rebuilding plan is nothing more than an excuse for Caps ownership not to spend money on players and people are getting pretty fed up.

Posted by: Joe | February 21, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I love that idea about Dale Hunter for the Caps coach! Any possibility of that happening?

Posted by: kenhockey | February 21, 2007 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Of course they can't get there. The Caps are a team of minor leaguers playing with grownups.

Their wins and all the false hope from earlier this season were only because the Caps were playing their guts out every night while the other teams were pacing themselves. News flash, it's a long season. While the Caps were fighting as hard as they could just to win games, the other teams were evaluating lines and players, buliding cohesion, and getting ready to make their runs for the playoffs. Now they're pushing hard and the Caps have nothing left to give.

We made OV leave everything he had on the ice every game for the whole first half of the season, and he's burned out. What's the response? Olie and Hanlon get on him in the media like it's his fault. When a guy is already giving 110% you don't get on him to do more. That's ridiculous.

The whole coaching and management approach to this season has been wrong. Not pacing yourself is a classic blunder, it's one of the oldest in the book. But I wouldn't put it past Ted to have done it on purpose to try to get some wins and fill the seats.

Posted by: SuperTimmy | February 21, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Should we fire Hanlon, and promote Boudreau? Boudreau coached some of them and he has an offensvie metallity. I live Hershey and have season tickets, this guy know how to coach, and maybe a change is in need.

Posted by: Pete Peeters | February 21, 2007 12:36 PM | Report abuse

*looks out the window* It's sunny outside, so it can't be raining that badly. What gives with all the lousy attitudes?

Odd, it was the veterens getitng the whistles last night. Bad night for Clark.

We're barely 2 years into completely rebuilding the team from the ground up. Almost half of the team barely has 2 years of NHL experience, and barely over 10 playing hockey at all. Of course they're goign to have their stuggles against guys who have bene in the NHL 5-10 years and have been playing hockey for 15-20 years or more overall. This is what happens when we have alot of kids in the lineup.

I don't think last night was a bad game. A bad game would have seen up get shutout or lose 4-1. The guys pulled it together and kept it close from the seccond period on. Mayeb it is just a matter of getting their heads in the game for a full 60 minutes, rather than just 40. Pitching Hanlon would probably be the worst thing they could do, and dumping GMGM wouldn't be smart either. He's pulled off some great deals the last few years given what they've had to work with.

They'll get over this hump. It's one of those things you have to learn how to do over time. The playoffs were a dream this year, we all knew that form the start. I think they're break 80 points when all is said and done. I would hope they have that much pride in themselves.

Posted by: EricS | February 21, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

NO to Dale Hunter as coach of the Caps!
I know he's the heart and soul (eye-roll) of the Caps, but what happens if he doesn't get it done? We need to move on and rid ourselves of the first 33 years.

Posted by: caphcky | February 21, 2007 12:48 PM | Report abuse

It's not the coach or GM that's the real problem, it's the owner. You know what Ted's problem is? He's insanely jealous of Dan Snyder. Ted wants to be a marketing genius too and have his team make hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The problem is that very, very few sports teams make lots of money. You don't own a sports team to make money. You own a sports team to win championships and you have to be willing to do whatever it takes. That means paying to have a major league caliber team. That means losing money. Snyder is a marketing GENIUS which is something Ted will never be. Ted needs to commit to doing what it takes to make this team a true contender, or he should sell.

Posted by: It's the owner | February 21, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, everyone just needs to relax with all these caps are bad, fire hanlon, blah blah blah.

Yeah, the Caps have been struggling now for a month. They got our hopes up when they were as high as what, a 5th seed? Itis part of the rebuilding phase. When they got to that point of being a 5 seed, it just shows that they have great potential. As a rebuilding team, they now have to learn how to finish off that great start and limit the losing streaks.

Next year, honestly, will be our year to make the playoffs. We are way ahead of the 5 year plan GMGM laid out......have patience.

I am definitely doing season tickets for next year. Now is the time to jump on. It is an investment almost like it is a stock. You put some money in and hope it grows....THIS TEAM WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR!!!!

Posted by: 8willendslump | February 21, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, everyone just needs to relax with all these caps are bad, fire hanlon, blah blah blah.

Yeah, the Caps have been struggling now for a month. They got our hopes up when they were as high as what, a 5th seed? Itis part of the rebuilding phase. When they got to that point of being a 5 seed, it just shows that they have great potential. As a rebuilding team, they now have to learn how to finish off that great start and limit the losing streaks.

Next year, honestly, will be our year to make the playoffs. We are way ahead of the 5 year plan GMGM laid out......have patience.

I am definitely doing season tickets for next year. Now is the time to jump on. It is an investment almost like it is a stock. You put some money in and hope it grows....THIS TEAM WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS NEXT YEAR!!!!

Posted by: 8willendslump | February 21, 2007 12:57 PM | Report abuse

What really blows is seeing just how far some of our pipeline talent is from being NHL caliber. At the beginning of the season, many fans were screaming about Beech being selected over Klepis. Klepis can't even get it done in Hershey. Beech has reached the level of constant scratch. Pettinger can't score to save Ovie's life (that net scrum goal the other night was a fluke at best). Sutherby is slow after the injury and just can't keep up, can hardly pass and though he has grit and heart, has no offensive upside at all. Laich should be back in the AHL because he can only score short handed when he has a huge break and no one between him and the net. Bradley is a grinder and isn't to blame for much. Fehr is just getting his start. Brash is Brash. Gordon seems overwhelmed and has no offense but hasn't lost his chance at a 4th line position. Zednick plays hard but can't score consistently yet (sigh). Clark plays well most of the time. Zubrus... Zubrus still hasn't netted 20 goals. He started hot, cooled off and has shown flashes here and there but better not be trying to get a bigger price tag than the one he wears now. Morrison: good but not 1st yet. Jurcina: still evaluating. Pothier: looked better in Ontario, doesn't play physical (that would have gotten him banished by fans at one point). Green: In the AHL now. Erskine: Has upside but ran around too much last night looking for a big hit, which I'll chalk up to being injured for months and being out of step at the moment; most of the time I think 'thank god for erskine'. Heward: Reekie. Muir: ? Eminger: Should be smacked with a rubber chicken before every game. Johnson: Quickly becoming a Capital. Kolzig: too selfish to let someone else be Captain when someone else should be Captain.

Did i miss anyone?

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 21, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

Oneal, good post.

Can the Caps make the playoffs? Of course not. Can they improve their play of late, turn it on and break 70 points? YES!

Let's try to have some more patience people. The team needs to continue to stock pile picks (the higher the better so I almost welcome a lower standings placing at this point) and work to improve the on-ice and off-ice personel during the offseason. The kids will continue to develop into better quality NHLers. And FREE OVECHKIN!! Let him play as he pleases. No one is above the team but skill needs to be allowed to showcase itself, not be muddled down in defensive details.

Posted by: E | February 21, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Ovechkin is still The Great! and for Hanlon and Kolzig to rip the guy like that... What kind of leadership are you guys showing? Ovechkin gives 200% on the ice unlike a lot of others on this team.

Posted by: Finn | February 21, 2007 1:03 PM | Report abuse

neutral? looks like reverse.

Posted by: jamebow | February 21, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

To all those people screaming "patience." What will you say when the team does NOT break the 70 point barrier at the end of the season? More patience?

Posted by: Finn | February 21, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that all of the sudden they are being forced into a system that is stifling everything that they used to do well in order to overcome the lack of sufficient talent on the blue line.

In watching the last few games I am amazed at the number of times I saw OV break hard coming out of our zone and the defenseman running the breakout did not even look up to see if he was there. When you have the best offensive player in the league you not only have to know where he is AT ALL TIMES, you actually have to get the puck to him.

The Caps play of late seems to be entirely based around compensating for their defensive shortcomings... great they are not letting the opposition score as much - that is a relatively meaningless stat when we don't score at all.

Posted by: dayoungdc | February 21, 2007 1:18 PM | Report abuse

The problem is that all of the sudden they are being forced into a system that is stifling everything that they used to do well in order to overcome the lack of sufficient talent on the blue line.

In watching the last few games I am amazed at the number of times I saw OV break hard coming out of our zone and the defenseman running the breakout did not even look up to see if he was there. When you have the best offensive player in the league you not only have to know where he is AT ALL TIMES, you actually have to get the puck to him.

The Caps play of late seems to be entirely based around compensating for their defensive shortcomings... great they are not letting the opposition score as much - that is a relatively meaningless stat when we don't score at all.

Posted by: dayoungdc | February 21, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

It's pretty bad when people start saying the owner of the Caps is worse than Dan Snyder. It seems the Caps tried the sign a high priced free agent route (anyone remember Jagr). Now they are going the rebuild route, and unlike our local NFL team, seem to be trying to build a core of young, talented players to give us playoff success for years, not just a quick run to the playoffs followed by more years of sucking. It takes time to build a team like this. You have to evaluate the talent, and they don't always pan out the way you want. As a fan, it's frustrating, but the rewards will defiantely be worth it. I can handle this season, but next season we need to see some improvement. So those of you who are calling for Hanlon or GMGM or Ted's head, be patient.

Let the bloodbath wait until next year!

Posted by: Lee | February 21, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I was watching the game last night and really, it reminded me a lot of last season (for the first time this season). The passing game was nowhere, maybe teams have the book out on us now and we dont have the veterans around to help push through. Bottom line is they can't move from their end to center ice by making a pass, much less into the offensive zone.

Posted by: clapcap | February 21, 2007 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Such negative attitudes! I think the good start had everyone drinking the Kool-Aid. At the beginning of the season, what was the goal for this team? A moderate improvement from last season. Playoffs would have been nice, but they were the "reach goal." But due to injuries (which last year's team was pretty immune from), they're stumbling a bit. So bring the kids up, see what they can do, pocket the high draft pick this year, get rid of some of the players that no longer fit into the plan and get it going for next season. When you hit complete bottom, it takes a while to get back. Remember, Pittsburgh stank out the joint for several years before rebounding, Detroit was terrible for an entire decade. And would you rather be like this team or the Rangers, which not only has a lot of high priced players, scratching for the last playoff spot, and not much in the pipeline for the future? I'm with EricS on this one.

Posted by: TG | February 21, 2007 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Dale Hunter will someday make an outstanding head coach in the NHL. I only hope it's with the Caps. He's had his London Knights of the OHL playing like gods for the last 3 seasons, and is showing he has a definite knack for the job. How could players not respect and draw inspiration from Big Game Hunter? Sorry Hanny, it's time to move your fanny.

Posted by: Demonchants | February 21, 2007 1:38 PM | Report abuse

patience remarks come from new caps fans. some of us have been tortured our whole lives by these neverending tranparent promises of a good team. gimmee a break. still a caps fan to the end and never miss a game.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

First off, to It's the Owner: How many Championships has Dan Snyder won? Zero. So to say Ted is jealous of Snyder is just stupid. If anything Snyder proved Ted's position that money can't buy championships. Ted realized that winning comes through cohesion and teamwork, growing up a team together. He's doing that.
Oh, and Ted doesn't skate on the Caps, so don't blame him for thier on ice performace. As for spending money, how would you expect the Caps to keep OV and Semin in two to three years when their contracts expire if we spend on tons of old, overpriced free agents and race up to the salary cap limit?

Ok, secondly. The Caps are still rebuilding. It's only been two years. You cannot rebuild in two years. The Caps are on pace and probably ahead of the pace they need to be at to compete day in and day out in a year or two. So to say the Caps need to admit their plan failed is wrong. It's only just begun, you can't say it's failed because the Caps are not winning.

Lastly, to everyone else that is a fair weather fan. Grow up. I've been a Caps fan for 28 years. I grew up in the DC area, loving the Caps and Capital Hockey. I still do, even when they lose, I'll stick by my Caps. I'll admit they stink up the ice some games, but I still love them. If you're on the OV bandwagon, then grow up and become a Capitals fan, not an OV fan. Just how commited to the Caps are you? For me, I live in Arizona now and still watch every Caps game, read washingtoncaps.com and come here to read Tarik's coverage of the Caps. I'm tired of reading you fair weather fans' posts. Love the Caps, hate the Caps, but don't claim to be a fan and then hate on them.

Tarik, thanks for the great coverage. As for the topic on question... I think the Caps can still get things together in the last few weeks and get to 75 points. But, maybe that's because I always think the Caps can win.

Posted by: stuffedinvader | February 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey Tarik, having a hard time coming up with things to write about? Who really cares whether they're going to each 70 points? If they hit 72 does that make it a successful season? Try telling us something we don't know. Like an analysis of why this promising season went so totally wrong so quickly? How about some historical perspective on superstars who have had sophmore slumps? Then maybe the idiots over at the Caps message boards won't be running threads asking " Should we trade Ovechkin?". Stop rehashing the obvious and start using your unique position to give us some answers as to where this team is headed.

Posted by: boor4 | February 21, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

All I know is my buddy who bought great season ticket seats for this year has been inviting me to a lot more games than in the first half of the season. The upside to the Caps sucking is that I get to go to more games (this is cold comfort for long time fans, I am sure).

It does seem as if the team put forth a lot of effort the first half of the season. On the other hand, since the start of the new year, it seems like the team hits up the bars and strip clubs every night until like 6 am and sleeps maybe 2 hours before the games. They always seem tired and out of it. Our team's got potential to be so much better, so why are they taking such a beating right now?

Posted by: Ep Sato | February 21, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone other than Leonsis have any faith in GMGM? Just look at his record. He came onboard in 1997 and has a record of 305-300 (I'm not counting ties and ot loses to make it easy). If you assume a 5 year rebuilding program is true then you have to assume that the first few years of his tenure were the product of David Poile. So if we take away the Poile built years (lets say the first 3 seasons... 97, 98, 99) and judge GMGM from the 2000 season on, GMGM's record is 190-201. Assuming the Caps don't make the playoffs this year, he will have failed to make the playoffs 4 of 6 years. The other two season the Caps didn't get past the 1st round. GMGM has been surviving off the trip to the Finals in 1997, despite the fact that that team was more a product of David Poile.
GMGM's record speaks for itself. Any faith in this "rebuilding" program is misguided and amounts to wishful thinking. If I were OV I would play out my contract and get out of DC as soon as possible. This franchise is a joke under Leonsis and Mcphee.

Posted by: WinTheCup | February 21, 2007 1:48 PM | Report abuse

On a whole, I really think we DC Sports Fans are the worst! We jump on our teams as soon as they start doing bad. Has Washington ever been a town of champions? The Redskins won 3 championships in a 10 year period, but what about the other 75 years of Redskin football? Have the Caps ever won a championship? Nope, but they are still the record breaker for the worst regular season record. The Bullets have won one championship. Look how good the Nats have been and will be this year (talk about ownership that is taking a conservative approach to rebuilding). We need a little patience, and we will be rewarded.

Posted by: Lee | February 21, 2007 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Can the Caps get there this season?

No.

Based on the 94 point total Hanlon said earlier this season they needed to be competitive for the playoffs, the Caps need 39 points in 22 games. Seven of the next eight are against teams who are, with one exception, currently within one point of the playoffs. Montreal was in more trouble than virtually all of these teams, and we couldn't stay out of the box long enough to avoid losing. Even if the Caps play .500 hockey in the next eight games, and then go on a miracle streak like the Pens and win 14 in a row, that's 36 points and they're still short. It's just not happening.

In the end, the long NHL season and -- if you're lucky enough and good enough to make them, the playoffs -- are huge tests of character. Even though I do not think the Caps have a chance of making the playoffs, I do believe they have the opportunity to show themselves as well as us, as a team and individually, the heart they will need in years to come to take it to the next level successfully. This is worth watching and respecting, however painful the process may be.

Posted by: Fred | February 21, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Mail it in, season over. Fire Hanlon and McFail. Dan Snyder spends $$$$. Ted=Abe=cheap.

Posted by: dossier | February 21, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Like I said in my previous post GMGM's record speaks for itself. At least Poile did the best he could with a cheapskate owner. GMGM has done nothing to warrant him keeping his job. Leonsis seems like a nice guy, but he has been a fool regarding the Caps.

Posted by: WinTheCup | February 21, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Like I said in my previous post GMGM's record speaks for itself. At least Poile did the best he could with a cheapskate owner. GMGM has done nothing to warrant him keeping his job. Leonsis seems like a nice guy, but he has been a fool regarding the Caps.

Posted by: WinTheCup | February 21, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Do you know what will make this a successful season? Making the playoffs next season. Despite what was said publicly, I doubt management ever thought that making the playoffs this season was reasonable. This is just a necessary step along the way, and next season is when the process begins to bear fruit. If that happens, then this season was just fine, regardless of the record. If it doesn't, then I will be just as negative as the rest of you.

Where did this whole "five year plan" idea come from? I know that Ted announced a five year plan when he first bought the team, but that was basically a marketing plan, not a team building plan. He later said that he regretted ever using that phrase, and this time around everyone has scrupulously avoided using any language at all similar to that. This time around, the "five year plan" idea seems to be a fan-generated thing. Don't try to hang that on McPhee or Leonsis -- they didn't say it.

Why are the Penguins more successful? Please. They completely sucked for twice as long as the Caps completely sucked, and got five top five draft picks in five years, each one of whom is on their roster right now and exceeding expectations. The Caps have had only two top five draft picks, and only one is on the roster at the moment. And it's quite plain that Caps fans wouldn't be even half as patient as Penguins fans were. So maybe if the Caps get a top five pick this year, then we'll be closer to catching up. ;)

Posted by: norske | February 21, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

Open note to the Capitals Mgmt.

You cannot expect to have the lowest payroll in the league, some of the highest ticket prices, a losing team that cannot even pass the puck properly, AHL lifers on an NHL team and EXPECT us to renew our season tickets.

GET IT TOGETHER. Give us a reason to come to the games.

Posted by: seasonticketholder | February 21, 2007 2:26 PM | Report abuse

When was the last time the Avs, or the Red Wings, or the Canucks or (I can go on)... got a top 5 draft pick? They seem to be in the play offs every year without draft picks. Can the Caps do the same? Or no one wants to come here?

Posted by: thought | February 21, 2007 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Ovie said "I don't know what to do when I get in the zone."

Isn't it the coach's job to tell him what to do?

Caps do not make the playoffs. The ONLY reason they are scoring goals is because of individual talent and fluky bounces. Their system isn't working at all.

Posted by: Arlington | February 21, 2007 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I haven't been looking at this year as a 'playoff year'. The playoffs would have been gravy. This year was an assessment year, to develop and take a look at the pipeline/roster in order to determine who gets in on the rebuild and who gets shipped off. That's why my points address (sometimes) what the players are accomplishing. I know that these guys are young. In the past, the Caps have shipped off young guys who had success in other places. Mostly, however, the Caps have drafted players that have gone nowhere and fill the bottom of team rosters. I think that teams like Colorado and Detroit have superior scouting, as they have turned late round acquisitions into stars.

That said, our pipeline is not as strong as we all hoped, but nor is it finished developing. The majority of players came from the firesale with few making any mark so far. The problem has been, and remains, the Caps drafting. That is one reason I think trading for players instead of picks is vital to the Caps right now, especially in a weak draft. Is it a weak draft this year? Apparently not if your Colorado or Detroit.

It will be intersting to see what happens. I know that some of the guys we have will not cut it in DC. Maybe they won't cut it in the NHL. I also think that they needed more veteran mentoring and haven't gotten the benefit of a truly fair shake. There has been no Andreychuk on the Caps. I think key elements were missing from the model. I reiterate that getting Chara should have been more of a priority and that any amount should have been spent on him since blueliners are a hot commodity ALWAYS and getting rid of him later would have yielded good trades, when the money needed to be opened up. Again, I am no GM or Billionaire, but i need to understand why that course wasn't approached. Saving money on a rebuild is understandable but only to a certain degree. Again, I think it has negatively affected player development which seems a bad choice given a rebuild with younguns.

Anyone care to comment on that, or do most see fit to ignore prudent dialogue in favor of ranting and calling for heads to roll without addressing sufficiently why they should? Sarcasm is optional.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 21, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

The Caps ticket prices aren't even close to being among the highest in the league. This season there are only 8 teams with lower average ticket prices.

Posted by: boor4 | February 21, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I love your passion for the Caps, frequent blogging, etc.

However, I think you need to give them a break.

First, I disagree with your re-occurring statements suggesting that their payroll is indicative of their talent-level, and therefore they need to raise their payroll to win. Under the NHL's CBA, payroll does not perfectly correlate with talent. Payroll correlates with the number of veterans you have. In a few years, Semin and Ovechkin (and perhaps Backstrom) will be making the league maximum. Those players, alone, will drive the payroll up to near the league maximum (see what Vinny, St. Louis, and Richards did to Tampa).

Second, the Caps ultimate point total this year is irrelevant. As you incessantly pointed out, this team was a long shot to make the playoffs from day 1. But despite their recent strugges, I think they're playing better than they were day 1. The first half of the season, they were winning games with mirrors--giving up 40 shots, but benefitting from sensational goaltending and timely goals. They aren't getting the sensational goaltending and timely goals anymore, but they're defense is much better. Focus on their improving shot differentials. In December, I had little faith in this defense. It could never hold a lead. Now, 5-on-5, they're solid, if not very good. And they aren't giving up 30+ shots per game.

I'm disappointed that this team isn't going to make the playoffs. But who cares--they'd of been swept by Buffalo anyway. I'd be disappointed if they didn't get 70 points. But again, who cares? What matters is, are they improving? If you look at the substance, I think they're a much better team than they were a year ago, and better than they were back in the fall (despite the wins/losses).

Posted by: Iowa Fan | February 21, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

By the way, Why didn't we get Brad Stuart from the Bruins, Tarik? What happened there?

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 21, 2007 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Caps' scouting is poor. It's a good point. So why draft year instead of trading? Let's give a few star examples:

Pavel Datsyuk - 6th round choice ( 171st overall)
Henrik Zetterberg - 7th round choice ( 210th overall)
Milan Hejduk - 4th round choice ( 87th overall)

Just to name a few...

Souray will not ne resigned by Montreal this year. Will the Caps pick him up? He will cost about the same as Chara. Go figure...

Posted by: Finn | February 21, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Iowa Fan -- thanks for your response.

you say the Caps are better than they were last year, but how do you measure whether a team is improving or not, if standings points aren't entered into the equation? I don't get it.

At the end of a day, a 7-1 loss is the same as a 4-3 loss. It's still a loss. Moral victories are for, well, ...

And please note, I didn't mention payroll once this entire week!

Posted by: Tarik | February 21, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Please stop comparing Ted Lameonsis with Danny Boy Snyder.

The Caps season ticket prices are low but the gate tickets are ridiculously high for what amounts to Ovechkin and the Bears!

Posted by: caphcky | February 21, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Last night was hard to watch... sometimes i feel sorry for you Tarik,, being forced to watch a game like that and then having to come up with something reletively possitive or at least intelligent to write. If it was me the caps headline for today would be:

AAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH

Anyway I would be eaiser to watch if they at least played with some passion. the first period last night was ok even with all the pp's but the rest of the game was murder......I hope OV comes around soon so we can get some enjoyment out of the games.

Here's to a top 5 draft pick :)

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 21, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

If you have a college ID, it's actually not that high. 22 for 14, 35 for 22, etc. etc. etc. I think part of the goal with the ticket prices is to get people to buy season's tickets as the saving are fairly substantial. Anyway....

Tarik, I actually want to thank you for posign the question that you have. It has certainly gotten people talking, even a few who agree with me. Talk about a rare day.

I think the team is improving alot. We're not getting blown out nearly as much as last year. The defensive numbers seem to be quiet a bit better even with tall the new kids filtering in and out and Olie being down and out. Hanlon is going to have to take that foundation and build off of it to keep improving the D.

As for our scouting, I'd like to think we've been very opportunistic of late. The trade of a 4th rough pick for Jurcina seems to have worked out, thoug hhe's got 22 more games to prove he belongs with the tea, next year. So far he seme like a steal. We'll see what they can rope in at the trade deadline for some of the guys who have been warming the bench of late and/or some of the vets who are at the end of their contracts. Gonna be a busy week.

Posted by: EricS | February 21, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Tarik,

Through 60 games:
05-06: 48 pts, went 8-8-6 to finish at 70 pts

06-07: 55 pts, having recently mailed in afew games and taken a hard punch in the form of injuries to the softest part of the team - their defense.

The difference in this season versus last is they have younger players playing in key areas.

Next stop is to upgrade some of the talent in the form of signing Backstrom, making a key trade for a scoring threat that doesn't start in "Alexander", and a key FA acquisition on the defensive end named something like "Souray" - someone who is a threat on the power play.

Posted by: dinoflint | February 21, 2007 3:54 PM | Report abuse

2EricS
Improving the defence sacrificing the offense. If you get all 5 guys behind the puck you sure will limit the number of shots your goalie will have to stop. So then you clear the zone, change and back to 5 guys being behind the puck. That is the Caps' philosophy now. Do you like watching this? Good for you!

Posted by: Finn | February 21, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Those are UPPER level ticket prices.
I wouldn't sit up there without a court order!
I might as well stay home.

Posted by: caphcky | February 21, 2007 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Umm, yeah, they are upper levels. I actually like the upper level myself. I get to see plays as they develop. Same reason I'm upstairs for baseball games.

Given that the Caps scored 3 goals last game I don't think that's the only philosphy they use, but it is somethign to keep the shot and goal total down 5 aside. It's the special teams work that has really killed us of late. We really need a reliable shooter and/or passer at the top of the umbrella when we're on a power play.

Posted by: EricS | February 21, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

The thing about rebuilding is you have to see improvement. There are so many 4th liners on this team they don't know what to do. The only way they were effective was going forward, forechecking, hitting, and fighting. I am not sure why they abandoned it. As for drafting an cultivating players. TARIK, yes you the beat writer/blogger/whatever - POINT OUT 5 TEAMS WITH A WORSE RECORD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT THAN TEH CAPS!!! You can't do it becasue they don't exist!

Posted by: Efactor | February 21, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

The thing about rebuilding is you have to see improvement. There are so many 4th liners on this team they don't know what to do. The only way they were effective was going forward, forechecking, hitting, and fighting. I am not sure why they abandoned it. As for drafting an cultivating players. TARIK, yes you the beat writer/blogger/whatever - POINT OUT 5 TEAMS WITH A WORSE RECORD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT THAN TEH CAPS!!! You can't do it becasue they don't exist!

Posted by: Efactor | February 21, 2007 4:24 PM | Report abuse

The thing about rebuilding is you have to see improvement. There are so many 4th liners on this team they don't know what to do. The only way they were effective was going forward, forechecking, hitting, and fighting. I am not sure why they abandoned it. As for drafting an cultivating players. TARIK, yes you the beat writer/blogger/whatever - POINT OUT 5 TEAMS WITH A WORSE RECORD OF PLAYER DEVELOPMENT THAN TEH CAPS!!! You can't do it becasue they don't exist!

Posted by: Efactor | February 21, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Actually, the gate prices are incredibly high. And most people dont like sitting up in the nosebleeds.

Its just how do you spend 150 dollars with tickets and food for your family to see a team that is not improving while you are giving your money to them on the regular? Thats the real question.

Posted by: Capper | February 21, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

"Umm, yeah, they are upper levels. I actually like the upper level myself. I get to see plays as they develop. Same reason I'm upstairs for baseball games."

This is where the REAL fans sit. Dont get me wrong there are a (very) FEW hockey people in the LL but not many, and its nothing like you would see in a city like Boston, toronto, or even Philly. this has always driven me crazy at caps games and acording to some long term fans I know it has gotten much worse since the move downtown

Posted by: LIVINIT | February 21, 2007 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I am NOT renewing my season tickets for next year... why should I invest in this team when the ownership isn't willing to!

Posted by: Not Paying | February 21, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

caphcky-- Try the upper level seats. They are not bad. For $20-$30 you can't argue. What arena in the league are you going to find lower level seats for ~$30? Don't knock it till you try it. I'm positive you'll be plesantly surprised.

as for everyone else - yeah we've sucked the past month. But you know what, this team is so young, we'll plug in the holes and we'll be alright. I'm not saying we're going to win the cup next year; but it takes some time. Remember TB/ATL were in a MUCH worse situation then we are in a few years ago. They were the laughing stock of the league. Look when we went out and got all these free agents, we SUCKED.

What years were more painful: this year or the jagr years? At least this team tries.

Caps will be a contender. Not now, maybe next year, maybe the year after; all i know is that I'll be there in the upperdeck.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | February 21, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Caps sucked with all those free agents. Caps still suck without them. CAPS SUCK!

Posted by: CapsSuck | February 21, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey "Go Skins Go"... you haven't been a Caps fan for that long have you? That's some serious optimism you're throwing around. BTW - Ted isn't going to invite you to his box, so settle down.

Posted by: Not Paying | February 21, 2007 5:07 PM | Report abuse

wNot Paying--
I've been a season ticket holder for the past 3.5 seasons (basically since I've graduate college). I'll be honest I wasn't going to renew after the lockout, but Ovie is the only reason why we did. Plus I just enjoy watching hockey.

As for not being a caps fan for a long time, I've been a fan for 20 years. I'm as bitter as they come. I was really pissed sunday night, and yesterday I stopped watching after the first period. Trust me the bitterness is here.

But we all know that it has to get worse (this year and last -- hopefully no more) before it gets better. One more season we should turn the corner.

Someone has to be optimistic on this board.

By the way, Tarik:
You're doing a great job, glad to know at least one person in the media cares. I'll come up and introduce myself at practice. But keep up the good work.

Posted by: Go Skins Go | February 21, 2007 5:21 PM | Report abuse

it would be nice if at least the draft were strong this year.

Posted by: ovemin | February 21, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, who cares about 70 points?!

This season has been very promising and valuable any way you look at it. Semin and Ovie together are going to be doing damage for the next decade, assuming we want to pay to keep them.

The blue line is coming along in fits, slowly.

Backstrom is coming, then we'll have a nice draft pick maybe for another playmaking Center or future blue line warrior. Lots of Centers in the system.

The team had a bad rash of injury and illness, and has not been able to recover its mojo this season. So what. It happens. Boo-hoo.

The future is bright. I think the second half of the season has raised a question about Glen Hanlon that was not there before. We're looking at his first regression.

Having watched how nifty the young Penguins looked on offense the other night, one wonders if maybe Glen is not all that sophisticated with the offensive coaching, and maybe does not have any new tricks up his sleeve to unclog the offense.

Posted by: Cap Fan in Bubba Land | February 21, 2007 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, who cares about 70 points?!

This season has been very promising and valuable any way you look at it. Semin and Ovie together are going to be doing damage for the next decade, assuming we want to pay to keep them.

The blue line is coming along in fits, slowly.

Backstrom is coming, then we'll have a nice draft pick maybe for another playmaking Center or future blue line warrior. Lots of Centers in the system.

The team had a bad rash of injury and illness, and has not been able to recover its mojo this season. So what. It happens. Boo-hoo.

The future is bright. I think the second half of the season has raised a question about Glen Hanlon that was not there before. We're looking at his first regression.

Having watched how nifty the young Penguins looked on offense the other night, one wonders if maybe Glen is not all that sophisticated with the offensive coaching, and maybe does not have any new tricks up his sleeve to unclog the offense.

Posted by: Cap Fan in Bubba Land | February 21, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, I agree with one poster above, you have unprecedented access and insight to the Caps. You should ask hard-hitting questions to the coach and GM. Ask them not to give you the obligatory "we didn't get things done, we should play harder next game...blah, blah, blah..." answer. They need to know there are passionate fans out here who demand more respect. For example, when a player gets injured, they never reveal the real injury. C'mon Tarik, youre our only access to them.

Posted by: wanggo | February 21, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

wanggo--when it comes to injuries, i have to get creative. players, the trainer, and the coach all operate under the threat of being fined by the team if they reveal what's wrong with a player. Still, I hope you have noticed that i almost always get the injury into the paper, usually sooner rather than later. it just takes a little digging.


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

An undisclosed lower body foot injury - that's creative

Posted by: Injury | February 21, 2007 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Ovie just does not look confident. He isn't fnishing huge hits like he used to and can't even seem to get quality shots off. I'm baffled.

Posted by: Mike | February 21, 2007 9:15 PM | Report abuse

Wow - No team can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like the Caps.

Posted by: Oneal | February 21, 2007 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Please Tarik, I'd still like to know why the Caps weren't active in the Brad Stuart trade. Hard hitting stay at home defenseman; exactly what we need, without breaking the bank. What gives?

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 21, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Buffalo, Nashville, Ottawa, San Jose and Pittsburgh all have younger rosters than the Caps. Look at what they're doing.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 21, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Tarik, what happened to your headline for the Canadiens game? It went from "Caps Give One Away" to "Caps Gracious Guests" -- did someone object?

I can't help but notice that Ovie is playing with no apparent enjoyment for the game right now. Hanlon ought to just turn him loose, tell him to rediscover having fun on the ice, and pair him with Semin for the rest of the season. Semin is the only guy on that team with the talent to play with him. Teams don't even have to defend Ovechkin when they can pinch his linemates to the boards and keep them from doing anything other than dumping it in the zone -- and away from Ovie. It is painful to watch right now, and it has to be incredibly frustrating for Ovie. Semin is in a similar position -- he makes a fantastic behind the back pass after a wonderful skating move only to watch Bad News Bears Beech fumble it away for the umpteenth time. Russian hockey culture is a fine thing, but right now, both Ovie and Semin's talents are being wasted, and they are both smart enough to know it, in either language. This can't be fun, and if the Caps are going to right the ship before the end of this season, both of those guys need to rediscover the joy they get from the game. The bottom line is that people pay to watch those guys deposit the puck in the net and to celebrate with them when they do. Period. If they aren't doing it, Ted is going to fire Hanlon, whether he is doing a good job or not. From that perspective, I don't really see what anyone in the organization has to lose by saying it's time to get back to having fun.

Posted by: Where did it go? | February 21, 2007 11:40 PM | Report abuse

I apologize, especially to all you younger Cap fans, if many of my posts are negative.

But let me assure you that I know someday the Caps will hoist the Cup!

However -- my concern is that a player like Ovechkin falls into your lap about once every 30 years (maybe longer! no one like him has EVER played here). And he is obviously not happy. Funny - Jagr was not happy here either.

The Caps must realize that all hockey players are not created equal. Ovechkin MUST be treated somewhat differently than other players. Is that fair to the other players? No! But who said life is fair. For talent not to be recognized, appreciated and utilized is simply un-American. I'm hoping that it will take a Russian to teach the Caps that lesson.

BUT I DIGRESS!!!

And now for some positive news. Earlier in the season I posted a link about Sasha Pokulok's long comeback from a concussion. Pokulok's important because he's the Caps first rounder from 2005, otherwise known as the Sydney Crosby draft.

He didn't seem to be doing well -- missed several months of his first pro year. But now he's down in South Carolina of the ECHL, and he already has a goal and four assists in seven games. Maybe he'll even make it back to Hershey later this season.

Later...

Oneal

Posted by: Oneal | February 21, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Tarik:
If you manage to read this, in one of your upcoming blogs, can you do a little draft talk? I've read around that this is a weak draft (well, not extremely, but certainly compared to recent years). What can we honestly expect out of this draft, especially given the fact that we'll probably end up with a top-5 again?

Also, I think that a true No. 1 center, as everyone else has been saying as well, will seriously fix some of the stagnance. Has anyone ever seen the Devils play? They play almost nothing but defense, but their EGG line manages to destroy other teams, not to mention the role-players with exceptional upsides like Madden.

But, Tarik, what's your opinion? Wait for Backstrom and stay within our own talent pool? Sign a few FAs, perhaps? WHat do you think?

Posted by: DrinkingPartner | February 22, 2007 12:30 AM | Report abuse

The Caps problems are deeper than what's on the ice. People just don't care anymore. The lockout hurt this franchise hard. Only the diehards show up now. The casual fan has been lost. I don't know how they can get it back. I know they lost me, not only because of the lockout but because of other factors as well.

V_V

Posted by: Wahoo McDaniel | February 22, 2007 6:04 AM | Report abuse

The Caps problems are deeper than what's on the ice. People just don't care anymore. The lockout hurt this franchise hard. Only the diehards show up now. The casual fan has been lost. I don't know how they can get it back. I know they lost me, not only because of the lockout but because of other factors as well.

V_V

Posted by: Wahoo McDaniel | February 22, 2007 6:05 AM | Report abuse

Go Skins Go;

No Thanks on those upper level seats. I had season tickets until the lockout and then I learned my lesson. I turned the tickets in when Ted CHANGED strategy's again and found it insulting to be paying even STH prices for an AHL team. Yes AO is exciting, but he can't play every shift. Teds not getting another DIME until he proves he wants to put these guys in a position to win.

Posted by: caphcky | February 22, 2007 6:36 AM | Report abuse

Last night was typical of the last couple of months. Started off great, and faded in the stretch. I don't think it will be any problem to get tickets next year, should one want to spend that kind of money.

Posted by: kenhockey | February 22, 2007 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Hey caphcky

I understand your frustration. You're not the only one. Believe me I'm frustrated too.

life goes on...

Posted by: Go Skins Go | February 22, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

LIVINIT wrote:
"This is where the REAL fans sit. Dont get me wrong there are a (very) FEW hockey people in the LL but not many, and its nothing like you would see in a city like Boston, toronto, or even Philly. this has always driven me crazy at caps games and acording to some long term fans I know it has gotten much worse since the move downtown"

Upper/Lower level fans are no different. YES I understand that many seats in the lower bowl are for the "corporate suits", but you aren't a "REAL" fan just because you sit upstairs. The Caps don't have enough fans to be segregating us by upper and lower levels.

You also can't compare the atmosphere at the Verizon Center with hockey towns like Philly, Toronto, Boston, or Chicago. Its not even close. I also don't buy this was caused by a move downtown. There were plenty of nights the Crap Center in Landover was empty and the "accepted" excuse was it was a week night. HUH?

Posted by: caphcky | February 22, 2007 8:42 AM | Report abuse

I sit in the lower bowl, I'm not a business suit, and I've followed this team for 34 years. What has killed the attendance and atmosphere is not just the lock out, but the moving of the Caps from the Patrick Division to the Southeast Division. The rivalries between the Caps and Flyers, Rangers, Devils, Pens, were great and always exciting. Who can pumped up about seeing Carolina, Florida, TB, etc. as much as we do. I'm sure they won't change it back, but there are always repercussions to realignments.

Posted by: kenhockey | February 22, 2007 9:02 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with kenhockey. Whenever the Flyers, the Rangers or the Pens are in town the attendance improves. Sometimes dramatically. So why don't we play the aforementioned teams 8 times a season instead of (with all due respect) Tampas, Carolinas, etc. Sunbelt states' hockey doesn't really work. The NHL doesn't need 30 teams. Give us the real rivalry and scrap the shootout already!

Posted by: Finn | February 22, 2007 9:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm more concerned about Ovechkin scoring 50 goals/100 points this season.

Posted by: Graham | February 22, 2007 9:56 AM | Report abuse

kerplunk -- Brad Stuart is a pending UFA, that's why he didn't fit here. He's a rental player and is going to command a couple of million (or more) next season.

as far as headlines, I have nothing to do with them. but we don't change headlines just because someone complains. and i doubt anyone did.

Posted by: Tarik | February 22, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I think the move downtown helped the team. The building is alot nice and the location is much more plesant than a saddleback in an empty parking lot. A big place in a parking lot work for football on a Sunday, but it's lousy for a hockey night on a tuesday.

It takes time to develop a rivalry in your division. I doubt the initial Caps-Peguins/Flyers/Devils/Rangers game were as well attended as they are now. And I do think we're starting to get a good rivalry going with Atlanta and Carolina.

Posted by: EricS | February 22, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Stuart isn't a good fit until the offseason when we would only have to give up a contract to get him, not assets

Posted by: Graham | February 22, 2007 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I'd rather see Bengt Gustafsson behind the Caps bench than Dale Hunter. That's all I'll say for now...

Posted by: katzistan | February 22, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tarik. I don't know how I had it in my head that he wasn't an UFA.

Posted by: Kerplunk | February 22, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

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