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The Boys are Back in Town

Well, many of them anyway.

According to a team official, Donald Brashear, John Erskine, Brent Johnson, Olie Kolzig, Boyd Gordon, Nicklas Backstrom, Michael Nylander, Chris Clark, Shaone Morrisonn and Brian Sutherby are among the guys who are on the ice this morning at KCI for an informal skate.

Former Cap Peter Bondra is also out there. (Bondra has done this the past few Septembers to stay in shape.)

I'm also told that Comcast SportsNet color analyst Craig Laughlin is leading them in drills.

As for me, I'm writing a Redskins story at the moment. I've got 'Skins duty today and tomorrow and then will be in Richmond for NASCAR through the weekend. But I'll still have an eye on the Caps as guys start to trickle into town ahead of training camp, which starts Sept. 14.

I hope to get out there one of these mornings, schedule permitting.

By Tarik El-Bashir  |  September 4, 2007; 11:30 AM ET
 
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Next: Caps Announce Training Camp Roster

Comments

Thx for the update. Glad to hear Backstrom/Nylander are already in town.

Posted by: usiel | September 4, 2007 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Tarik

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I heard AO isn't coming to skate until it is mandatory. He is too busy beating up people in bar fights. :) :) :) :)

Better hope Backstrom can adjust to the ice size if we want to make the playoffs. Good to see him here skating.

Posted by: "Ted's Take" Hero | September 4, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Any chance you will do a guest-blog for JLC's Redskins Insider?

Posted by: zednik27 | September 4, 2007 1:00 PM | Report abuse

AO has been skating for weeks! What are you talking about?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Any chance you'll be permanently assigned to the Redskins beat?

Posted by: Hopefull | September 4, 2007 1:04 PM | Report abuse

AO has been skating for weeks! What are you talking about?
.
.
.
.
.
I'm talking about skating in DC. He won't come over until it is mandatory because he doesn't like it here as much as he likes Russia.

Posted by: "Ted's Take" hero | September 4, 2007 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Why are we talking about the Redskins??!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

"doesn't like it here as much as he likes Russia"

It is true

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I know it's a long shot, but I would love to see Peter Bondra in the NEW Red, White and Blue uniforms this season to finish out his career.

Posted by: Mitch | September 4, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Great idea to have Locker leading them and putting them through the paces early on. Everyone ought to be able to stay up with him, for sure. Nice leisurely work out with Laughlin and then get down to business at the real camp. Wouldn't want to overdo the workouts. Locker is perfect.

Posted by: Muddapucker | September 4, 2007 1:25 PM | Report abuse

AO will be on a flight to the States on Sept 7th.

Posted by: Sept 7th | September 4, 2007 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if Bonzai would take a deal like Roenick just signed with SJ?

Posted by: jak | September 4, 2007 2:11 PM | Report abuse

please dont start this again people. WE DONT CARE IF BONDRA WOULD TAKE A DEAL LIKE ROENICK BECAUSE WE DONT WANT TO OFFER HIM ONE, NOT FOR 500,000 DOLLARS, NOT EVEN FOR 50 DOLLARS. M O V E O N !

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I just don't get why everyone is so enamored with a way past his prime 40 year old who put up 14 points (or close to that) last season.

Bondra is done, he burned his bridge with the organization when he went to Atlanta. The organization took the media heat for that. Why would they bring him back.

Besides, all those Bondra boosters, where does he fit in in the roster? Remember he is 40 years old and not putting up numbers like he did when he was 30.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 4, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Laugher leading workout drills? He used to avoid them as a player, and now he is leading them? Tell me this is temporary, as in today only! Where is the team's Strength/Conditioning coach? Is this going to be another long year, or short a employment term for this staff? What is GMGM doing? Unbelievable

Posted by: yougottabekiddingme | September 4, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Rookie camp starts when? This Friday?

Posted by: just me | September 4, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Don't be so hard on the 'Locker". While he may be a gregarious and sometimes goofy color commentator (which I really enjoy), he really knows the mechanics of the game as is evidenced by his hockey camps. Let's also not forgot the contributions he made as a Cap on the gritty "Plumbers" line.

At any rate, these are voluntary workout sessions. I am sure most, if not all, the players Tarik mentioned have already gone through strenuous strength and conditioning programs on their own and are now working on their skating.

Posted by: mrsmitty91 | September 4, 2007 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Mrs. Laughlin,
It's one thing to work w/ area kids, it's another thing to be involved in NHL pre-camp skates. Yes they are voluntary, but Laugher has been around for years and hasn't been involved w/ workouts. Why the change? If you want Bondra back, he's more qualified to teach skating strides. Alan Haworth and Greg Adams were on that line as well, and I remember they did the work (in the corners) Laugher road in the van (open slot).

Posted by: yougottabekiddingme | September 4, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

yougottabekiddingme:

If he's apparently good enough for the like of Nylander, Clark, Kolzig, et al, he's good enough period.

By the way it's Mister to you, pal.

Posted by: mrsmitty91 | September 4, 2007 3:37 PM | Report abuse

And here I thought people would be more psised off that the Caps beat writer is doing Deadskins stuff over Caps stuff. Enjoy the race this weekend Tarik.

Hopefully the paper will see fit to start ramping up Caps coverage soon to include maybe a weekly collum until camp starts.

Posted by: EricS | September 4, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Bondra was a great Cap and I think it'd be awesome to see him finish his career back here. As for the person that said he burned his bridges with the Caps, let's not forget that the Caps traded him away before the lockout. If the people say it's a business decision, then let's not forget that works both ways.

Posted by: Rob | September 4, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Ther's probably some CBA rules that come in effect if a coach is leading the drills. Like it counts as an official training camp or something. Article 15.10 actually prohibits non-rookie conditioning camps. I'm guessing Locker doesn't count as an official team coaching assistant.

Posted by: tallbear | September 4, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

"AO will be on a flight to the States on Sept 7th."

Let us hope Semin will also be on this flight. ;-D

Posted by: ihatethepens | September 4, 2007 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Okay Bondra is my favorite player of all time but i'm just gonna say it. i do not want to see bondra on the fourth line, or a scratch every game. he should just sign a one day contract retire as a cap and have his jersey retired.

Posted by: dcfury | September 4, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

tarik-what would be a good time to go see said players?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Rob, fine the Caps traded Bondra and he cried. He jerked the organization around with his little Atlanta deal. I have no problem saying it is a business decision on his part. However, where does that leave us today and the idea of re-signing Bondra? It won't happen and the people pushing for it are remembering a Bondra from 5 or 6 years ago, not the one with 5 goals (I believe) in 37 games with the Blackhawks lst season.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 4, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Bondra could fill in mid-season when the injuries start killing us again. Might even help them on the power play.

He only scored 14 points last season, but don't forget that he did not play a full season and that he played for one of the few teams worse than the Caps.

Posted by: jak | September 4, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

blackhawks finished ahead of the caps jak, they just won the lottery

Posted by: Anonymous | September 4, 2007 7:07 PM | Report abuse

That's right, but I think that on paper the Caps were a better team last year.

Posted by: jak | September 5, 2007 4:06 AM | Report abuse

The Caps traded Bondra away to give him a shot at a Cup...on top of the fire sale-he took less money to s ign w/ ATL, while his agent was busy trying to negotiate a contract through the media. Bridges not only burned, but doused with gasoline first. Bondra is never coming back here-CAN WE PLEASE MOVE ON?!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

He scored 14 points in 37 games, double that and it is still only 28 points in 74 games, including 10 goals.

You honestly think a 40 year old Bondra who put up 10 goals is a better mid-season injury replacement than any of the number of kids we have that need to get experience? Besides, in your theory, where does Bondra spend his time until he is ready for the injury fill in? Hershey?

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 5, 2007 11:13 AM | Report abuse

terrible guys... you dont know he was injured and played with injury taht 37 games... in the 15th game....?... he had 10 points in 15 games... he was playing very good... but he was trying to play on the young players making a passer from him trying to inpress very much but the young guys didnt score from his plays and then bostons Stuart killed him on the board....

he was producing at that little time.. and remember also he didnt have the training camp so he wasnt in game condition... getting to it....

he can be productive but 1 and 2 line..and pp... you know that...

he is a good person he just tried to win the cup only thing from that part of trade....

WANT TO SEE BONDRA 12 JERSEY BACKKKKKKKK!!!

WE WILL NEVER FORGET PETER... he can put numbers and in WSH he will be very good and feeling better

Posted by: bonzai | September 5, 2007 12:13 PM | Report abuse

and what it was when he ended the season with atlanta...

he wanted to be a cap but somebody...(gues who) didnt have the taste....

We were waiting to hear from the Caps, and last week I got an answer" from General Manager George McPhee , said Bondra, who still has a home in Annapolis. "He said he wasn't interested. So now I have to look at some other options.

"The Caps were my first option," he added. "But unfortunately that isn't going to work out."


source wshpost!

Posted by: bonzai | September 5, 2007 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I think it's terrible that the Washington Post can't have you working on the Capitals full time -- they have you on NASCAR? Unreal. I mean, the Canadian newspapers have been churning out articles throughout the month of August -- there has to be something to report on the Caps before training camp.

Posted by: Bret | September 5, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

thank god for that bonzai

Posted by: Anonymous | September 5, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Not only working nascar, but redskins, too

are the skins not already over-covered here?

perhaps tarik needs to complain to the editors more or perhaps he would rather write about something other than hockey

Posted by: worse than nascar | September 5, 2007 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree about wanting Bondra back. That would make a difference in my ticket purchase. I mean if the team is going to not make the playoffs or make the playoffs and get eliminated in the 1st round, I'd at least like to see some people I care about. That means a mix of young and old.

Posted by: Jim | September 5, 2007 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Honesttly? Whether you buy a ticket to a Caps game depends on whether Bondra is on the team? He hasn't been on the team since before the lockout, have you gone to games since then?

I guess I lost that innocence about sports the day Abe Pollin sent Scott Stevens away.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 6, 2007 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Yes I have. The difference would be whether I would buy a plan or something like that. When Bondra left, I couldn't afford a lot of tickets. Since then, I've been to some games but not maxed out my expense. I just recentlty started to be in a place where I could afford to go to the number of games that (if I went) would suggest buying season tickets or something. I would not make that investment, though with Kolzig being the only face I recognize from the many years
I was on the edge of my seat watching caps games.

Winning and losing is less exciting with players who have only been around for a few years. I mean come on, if you've watched a player (who has consistent ice time) for years, you don't need the number on his back or a close in shot to tell who he is. You can tell by the way he plays. That kind of connection and excitement is available with Bondra. Seeing Semin and Ovechkin is amazing from a skill level. That goal when he was lieing on the ice would excite non-fans. However, sitting on the edge of the seat the whole game to see what he outcome of a game will be is different from sitting on the edge of your seat for a few 20 second plays each game.

Sitting on the edge of the seat to see what he outcome of a game will be comes from connection to and investment in the players. I mean, how many times were you on the edge of your seat to see whether the team would win a game in the last few years? I don't mean occasionally feeling suspense for a few great plays?

For me, that's part of what I miss about Bondra and why I wouldn't buy a plan next year without him. Maybe in a couple years I'll feel some similiar connection to other players and buy a plan then.

Posted by: JIm | September 6, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Jim, thats the most ridiculous thing I have read on these boards all summer, congratulations.

Posted by: huh? | September 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

It amazes me that when given any sort of forum to discuss the caps, there are caps fans there complaining about something/everything. The message boards, evevy blog coment section on the net, and post game call in shows. Next to the Philadelphia Eagles, this has got to be the most negivite fan base in all of sports. It's an embarrassment. BTW, it does not escape me that this is a negitive post, I just need to vent.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

I am not boycotting the caps. I will buy tickets and watch games. I would but more tickets now if Bondra was around. I will buy more tickets in the future if the Caps develop a group of players with connection to the community (e.g. Bondra & Halpern) beyond Kolzig. The charity work that the Caps players do helps. I will buy more tickets when there is stability in the line up to make for consistent, good play.

I will not spend a lot of money to see people day in and day out who I don't know and who are not, on the whole, performing very well. In fact, I would not pay a lot of money to see people day in and day out who are performing well and who I don't know.

Hockey is a local sport. What are the national ratings for a Sharks vs Predators game (probably one of the most exciting matchups on paper from last year)? I watch other teams play but would anyone buy season tickets to a random NHL team (Detroit, Minn)?

People want to see a team they can connect to. That's why fans were upset with the loss of Bondra, Zubrus, Halpern, etc. If winning were enough to get people to buy tickets than why did Nashville have money trouble?

Posted by: Jim | September 6, 2007 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Character players like Clark also help.

Posted by: Jim | September 6, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Jim,
I agree w/ most of your points, and Clark is a character player. Unfortunately to attract character players you must have a front office w/ character. Washington doesn't. Anaheim has a front office w/ class and look what they accomplished last year. Colorado, Dallas also had success why? Class! Hopefully Ted will turn the lights on, then we will see the cockroaches scatter.

Posted by: someone else who knows | September 6, 2007 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Jim, the problem I see with what you said, which sounds very reasonable, is that your theory makes the Caps a continuously losing team. The guys you are so attached to are old and were the best players on one of the worst teams in the league. I don't want to be a fan of one of the worst teams in the leage.

If they keep Bondra (who at best is a 20 goal scorer...and that is questionable for a 40 year old guy), Halpern and Zubrus where does that leave the roster today.

They certainly don't have Nylander and they don't have Kozlov.

Jeff Halpern in my opinion was overrated by Washington fans because of his local boy makes good storyline. He has scored 20 goals once in his career and in the last two seasons combined he has played 146 games and gotten 19 goals and 50 assists and is a -15. If Jeff Halpern is on this team, Boyd Gordon isn't getting an opportunity to shine in that third line center position and he is a guy who has Selke potential in the future. Besides his numbers last season...his first full season in the NHL. 71 games, 7 goals, 22 assists and a +10 on one of the worst teams in the league! Sorry, but I'll take Gordon over Halpern every day of the week.

What it ultimately means is that
Nylander > Zubrus
Kozlov > Bondra at 40
Gordon > Halpern

Posted by: frreakinandpeakin | September 7, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I would just like to add that Halpern is 31 and Gordon is 23.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 7, 2007 10:18 AM | Report abuse

well said freakin, and you forgot one,
ovechkin>jagr

Posted by: Anonymous | September 7, 2007 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I would take Nylander's play over Zubrus'. However, to me, this means keep Nylander a few years ago so that the fans can connect to him.

There seems to be a glut at center with a number of players not differentiating themselves (I don't know Gordon well enough to say whether he is superior) so I can see why Halpern was moveable. Kozlov & Bondra are not in competition for the same slot.

I don't have >3 kids. However, I imagine that people who do have a lot of kids would be more likely to spend money on family going if they could remember a time when some hockey player took 10 minutes to sign all the kids' equipment, shirts, whatever and afterwards, took another 10 minutes to ask about the kids' teams or what they want to do when they grow up, etc. With so many new faces, the team hasn't built up those experiences. If the players are successful, warrant keeping around, and the team doesn't trade them away, they'll develop those experience and broaden the fan base. While that is happening, it makes sense to have some people (plural- so not just Kolzig) around who have that draw. I don't think that means losing since those players may have different roles on the team. I mean, they tried to switch Cal Ripkin's position but they kept him because he was Cal Ripkin and for a lot of people he was the face of the Os.

Posted by: Jim | September 7, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Jim,

Cal Ripken?!?! Please, he shouldn't be brought into the conversation. He was an all-time great and no one on the Caps roster before the lock-out could be considered that. (please no jagr comments).

How are Kozlov and Bondra not up for the same slot? They are both RWs. Where do you envision Bondra playing on the Caps roster? You can't just say you want him on the team, he has to fit into the roster?
And who doesn't make the roster because Bondra is on it?

This ignores the fact that GMGM and Bondra have both acknowledged that the Caps are not interested in having him on the team.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | September 7, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

yea jim really, its getting to the point where im just going to have to ask you to get over it and open your eyes to the new and improved, washington capitals.

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