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Willie Mitchell visits with Caps

Free agent defenseman Willie Mitchell met with the Capitals at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday, his agent Mike Liut said, adding that there isn't an established timetable for when the 33-year-old will make a decision on what team to join. CSN's Corey Masisak first reported, via Twitter that Mitchell was at KCI.

The Capitals are one of four teams Mitchell has visited with, Liut said. According to a Sportsnet report, the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks and Vancouver Canucks are the others.

"It's been a summer that's gone according to plan for Willie," Liut said. "This has been the schedule he set out with to give himself the best chance with his rehabilitation, and all of the teams that have shown interest, some of which he's met with, have been very supportive."

Mitchell, a gritty, shutdown-type defenseman, suffered a concussion last year that ended his 2009-10 season in January. Liut said Mitchell has remained symptom free through his workouts with the teams.

"Willie's very confident that he'll be able to reach the level he's accustomed to physically," Liut said. "From a conditioning standpoint he's behind where he'd usually be because of the time he had to take off with the injury, but in five to six weeks, he should be back there."

By Katie Carrera  |  August 17, 2010; 3:29 PM ET
 
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Comments

I like this...

Posted by: allCAPS | August 17, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

hmmmmm - would be nice

Posted by: jeets | August 17, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the update Katie. Hopefully he signs soon and even more hopefully with us.

Posted by: ThePat | August 17, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Since he's a UFA, he's obviously not the object of the trade rumors involving the Caps. So, who else might they be looking at?

The RMNB blog has a good article concerning the Caps taking on Mitchell: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2010/08/04/would-willie-mitchell-be-an-upgrade-on-the-caps-blueline/

The biggest concern I have is that this is Mitchell's third concussion and he was out for six months. As I understand it, the risk of incurring another more severe, potentially career-ending, concussion would be much higher for him, considering his history and his style of play. I've seen many NHL players come back from severe concussions and they weren't the same. I guess the Caps should know the consequences, though, considering their experience with Brian Pothier.

Posted by: braunt | August 17, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

the kings have offered him a 2 year deal, something I doubt GMGM will do

Posted by: _stevo | August 17, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@steve0

GMGM could definitely offer him a 2 year deal. Poti off the books next year they will still need a veteran presence so a 2 year deal does make the most sense, especially if it can be incentive laden due to the injury and that loophole in the CBA.

Posted by: ThePat | August 17, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Tough one - he may want to stay out West.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | August 17, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

With the rumors going around that they wanna deal Fleischmann and are interested in getting Niemi, I think the Caps could make some good moves. Forget about signing Mitchell, he is too much of a liability, although he would help, I think they can do better. Sign Niemi, then pair Fleischmann and either Varly or Neuvirth and deal for Bieska, who is much better and healthier. Since our two young goalies and flash have a good amount of trade value, they should be able to get a very good d and maybe even a grinding forward who can chip in a goal or two. The major concerns for the caps in order are 1. A stay at home, big, mean defensemen 2. A guy to step into that 2nd line role. 3. Goaltending, and you would be crazy not to want to go after a cup winning goalie like Niemi, given the trade value our two young guys have.

Posted by: Bowlesy21 | August 17, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Maybe with the caps he will repay who gave him the concussion.

Posted by: caps512 | August 17, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

@bowlesy21

Bieksa is more of an offensive minded defenseman. He was paired with Mitchell, the stay at home shutdown D-men. Bieksa is hurt more often than Mitchell.

And Flash and a goalie for Bieksa, thats overboard. Vancouver wants to cut salary and doesnt need a goalie. All it would take is Flash to get him. You could package a goalie and Chimera, Steckel or Erskine for the 2C and sign Niemi. But the salary cap would get in the way of doing all of that.

Posted by: ThePat | August 17, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Bowlesy21

canucks are trying to dump salary. they would not want flash and a goalie. that is why stecklel was mentioned. would not make sense it is a wash. bieksa is a strong player and does tend to play out of position at times. but when you get willie for free it is a better move.

Posted by: samb99 | August 17, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Ok so I'm stressed! I mean stressed out big time. First there's news that Belanger signed with us. Then there's news that he has signed with us but he can't tell anybody yet b/c we're going to announce a trade. Then W Mitchell is skating at KCI so we're considering him. I think all this stress has raised my blood pressure to dangerously high numbers. So I have a question, if I die of a heart attack due to all this stress, can my family go after Ted & GMGM for a "wrongful death" law suit? LMFAO!

For those of you who don't get it, I'm kidding! My BP is up tho d@mn it!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

What I really wanted was something like Flash + young goaltender to Chicago for Sharp as our 2C. If Belanger "hadn't" been resigned then we'd still have about $4m left under the cap and could be looking at Mitchell for a few years and then digging a 3C from the system. That would have been sweet.

Posted by: saintex | August 17, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat,

Under the CBA, incentivized contracts for players like Mitchell (at least 400 games pension credit and 100+days on IR) can only be for one year. If LA is offering him a two-year deal, it's for a guaranteed salary without performance bonuses. I couldn't see GMGM risking more than a one-year deal with performance bonuses to offset the risk. If that means losing him to LA, then so be it, imho.

Posted by: braunt | August 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

...can my family go after Ted & GMGM for a "wrongful death" law suit? LMFAO!
======================================
If law suits were so simple (And it might be for all I know!) I would have already sued the Capitals for "wrongful waste of time rooting for them in the early rounds of the playoffs" by now.

Posted by: JohnWWW | August 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Or, bring in Niemi, save some dough and go with our D as is...

Posted by: saintex | August 17, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Where's cstanton when you need him? (SARCASM!!)

Posted by: jwash4472 | August 17, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Niemi played behind an elite defense and the best puck possession team in the NHL.

I'm not saying that he isn't good but a think it's inconclusive at this point.

He's played one full season in the NHL.

Maybe we find out that he's nothing special when playing in our run and gun system.

Upgrade the defense (forwards and defensemen) before worrying about the goalie situation.

Ramp up the commitment to playing in our own zone before worrying about the goalie situation.

Adjust the coaching philosophy and hold players more accountable for things not related to scoring before worrying about the goaltending.

Any or all of those things will do a lot more to keep the goals against down than putting even the best goalie in the world in net.

Fix some of those things then talk about signing 1-year NHL vets who may be overhyped due to playing behind the best team in the league.

Posted by: tmac2yao | August 17, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

@braunt

Ok I didnt know that it only applies for 1 year. Well if Im GMGM I say here you go, you sign here for 1 year, incentive laden. Our roster is better than LA's right now, provides you a better chance to win the Cup. Then if everything goes well this year, why wouldnt he sign another 1 year deal or a 2 year deal after that. Thats how it should go. The only question for him will be does he want to play on the East or West coast.

Posted by: ThePat | August 17, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but what is all this talk about brining in Niemi? Niemi was only as good as the Hawks defense. In fact, goaltending was thought to be Chicago's one Achille's heel. Yes, his numbers were good, but only because the d-men in front of him were that good. In front of a lesser defense (ahem, like the Caps'), he may not shine so brightly.

I dunno, if you're going to roll the dice, why not do so with the two young'uns the team has invested so much into already -- Varlamov and Neuvirth? If one or both don't pan out, then you can go onto the market to bring in a better goalie (and one better than Niemi).

Posted by: braunt | August 17, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I just don't see Mitchell leaving the West Coast...hope he does, but....

I also don't see the Caps trading for Niemi. Up until last Jan. or so, very few of us had heard of him. I just don't think the track record is there to give up on V or N - and I know he's won a SC. just my opinion.

Posted by: jeets | August 17, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

whassup mike liut!

Posted by: beaupre33 | August 17, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@beaupre33

i'm glad somebody caught onto that. perhaps Liut will give us an inside chance on signing Mitchell

Posted by: mcintire_will | August 17, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

braun -

EXCELLENT Points!!
Thanks for posting.

Posted by: j3rockstar | August 17, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

The Caps need either Mitchell or Bieska, With Poti coming off the books, I really dont think there is anybody down in Hershey that can come up like Carlson or Alzner, We need that veteran back on the blueline.

I say offer Mitchell 2 yrs and throw in incentives, If he stays healthy then you wont need to worry once Poti is gone and hopefully somebody in Hershey will be ready.

If not then we could re-sign him if need be. I think its a win-win situation.

Posted by: darrylrbaker | August 17, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Liut hasn't played for us in years, I don't think he'd have an inside...

Posted by: beaupre33 | August 17, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The net of this willie mitchell to me is that if he was not a bit interested in the caps why make the trip out here. If he had already decided that it was LA. So lets see what happens next. Vancouver does not have cap space/unless we create cap for them by taking bieksa.

Posted by: samb99 | August 17, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

samb99,

I'm not saying it's true but he could be trying to drive up the demand from whatever team(s) he is interested in by feigning interest in other teams.

Posted by: tmac2yao | August 17, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

So, the others courting Mitchell include: Duck, Sharks and Kings. Sounds like the Canucks are staying in contact. Aside from staying on the west coast just to be staying there; if I am a 33 year old and looking to join a team that has potential now to be a Cup contender, why not consider the Caps?

Posted by: doughless | August 17, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

tmac2yao

could be but that is already in place with san jose/kings/vancouver/mtl all in discussions with him.

Posted by: samb99 | August 17, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Forget Mitchell...sign LIUT!!! Back in the dizzayyy!!

Posted by: SkinsDiesel | August 17, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the sentiment that Niemi is a waste of cap space. His numbers were good because of Keith and Seabrook.

I like the Mitchell came to work out and see the facilities. Means he is at least interested in what we have to offer. Also, Kettler is good bargaining chip for us. I hope he signs here.

Bieksa is a rightie which would give us 3 and 3. He is also a puck-mover which Gabby really likes. Those are the reasons I think they might actually go after him. But that being said, he would not be my first choice.


I've got it. GMGM packages Flash, Chewy, Stecks and a goalie for Shea Weber. And before you guys say that won't happen, I know it won't but was just thinking of who I would want most of anyone out there.

Posted by: pkendrick | August 17, 2010 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The only thing I like about Dan Snyder is when he wants a FA, they don't leave town w/o being signed. I wish that would happen here. Then maybe we could find out about this whole trade business!

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

If law suits were so simple (And it might be for all I know!) I would have already sued the Capitals for "wrongful waste of time rooting for them in the early rounds of the playoffs" by now.

Posted by: JohnWWW | August 17, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse
****************************************

Oh brother another one is here fellas. Just when I thought we were getting rid of some others come up. They're like weeds.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

It is believed Mitchell will make up his mind on his future by the end of the week.
------------------------------------------

Well we can only hope this won't drag on as well. Did somebody say a trade and a signing were imminent?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

My: $0.02

Mitchell or Bieksa ("BXA") = good

Mitchell and BXA = better

Posted by: Rhino40 | August 17, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll bet $1 billion the caps don't trade for Niemi. Hard to trade for a guy who's not under contract.

Don't want Niemi anyway. Trading either Neuvy or Varly would be nuts at this point.

Haven't seen much of Mitchell but I think he'd be a good upgrade.

Posted by: psujohn | August 17, 2010 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Hello Katie, what did the Caps have to say today after the Mitchell visit? What were Willie's impressions of Kettler? Thanks.

Posted by: MReilly9 | August 17, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I thought this was just a "we're fielding calls" kinda deal. Guess not!

Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillis has been working the phones and is feverishly trying to trade veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa, the Ottawa Sun reports.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Hello Katie, what did the Caps have to say today after the Mitchell visit? What were Willie's impressions of Kettler? Thanks.

Posted by: MReilly9 | August 17, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

Sure would be nice to get an update huh? I bet Katie wasn't even there. I know we're mired in the death of hot August days but there's finally some activity at KCI & we can't get an update.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 17, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Some people here were suggesting that Volchenkov would be a high risk acquisition, given his injury history. But three concussions, with the last one taking 6 months before the player was back on the ice? Now that would be risky. It seems to me that the 2C situation is the more urgent need, since the Caps don't really have anyone suitable for that. I would like to see them get a d-man, but I don't see much benefit unless they are willing to bite the bullet and bring in an elite player who can be a real leader. I don't see bargain-hunting for marginal talents (Bieksa) or high risk acquisitions (Mitchell) as the way to win a Cup with this team.

Posted by: zmega | August 17, 2010 8:11 PM | Report abuse

If law suits were so simple (And it might be for all I know!) I would have already sued the Capitals for "wrongful waste of time rooting for them in the early rounds of the playoffs" by now.
Posted by: JohnWWW | August 17, 2010 4:13 PM |

Was that be4 or after the 3 non playoff years in the mid 21st century followed by 3 straight playoff appearance?

Posted by: Rocc00 | August 17, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

If Mitchell is signed to an incentive ladened 1-year deal there is basically no risk in that except for the guaranteed money, which is not likely to be much.

AV was signed to a 6 year deal which is why that was considered risky given his style of play.

Siging Mitchell to anything more than a 1-year deal would be risky. The longer the deal the greater the risk.

Posted by: sgm3 | August 17, 2010 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Pass on Mitchell. He is a concussion away from being done.

Trade Flash for Bieksa. Bieksa will drop the gloves as well. He is more what we need.

8/19/22
28/85or90/21
25/18/16
10/39/King

52/55
3/74
Bieksa/27

Could live with that, but a 2c still needed. We absolutely CANNOT have either Sloan or Erskine starting.

Posted by: underpants2 | August 17, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

The estimates that I have seen for a Mitchell contract have been around $3 million per year. That would eat up cap room that could be used for a center or other needs that might emerge over the course of the season.

Posted by: zmega | August 17, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Right now, counting Alzner's bonus, Caps have either $1.9M in space with full roster of 23 or $2.6M in space with MP in minors. Now assume that, one way or the other, Flash and Erskine move off since you are (hopefully) bringing in a center and a defenseman. That gives you then about $6.4M for your #2C and d-man.

If you trade Chimera and Steckel in favor of Beagle and AGordon, your cap space increases to $8.3M.

I know we've talked AGordon to some extent, but he excelled at Hershey with 37 goals in a third line kinda role. Based on stats, two Hershey players who have definitely "outgrown" the league are Neuvy and AG. Carlson has outgrown too based on what we saw of him last year. Alzner I'm not sold on, we'll see.

And before anyone jumps on AG due to comparisons of like how Giroux and Aucoin put up big numbers also in AHL, they were scoring line guys but AG can do, apparently, the defensive role. To use my analogy from last night, with AG we'd be promoting a plumber to do the work of a plumber.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 17, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

This is a recent article by a Canucks centered webpage asking the question to Canucks fans "Who would you rather have: Kevin Bieksa or Willie Mitchell?"

http://www.nucksmisconduct.com/2010/8/16/1625579/who-would-you-rather-have-kevin

77% said Mitchell
6% said Bieksa

The other two answers were both or neither which filled in the missing percentage points.

It is only the readers who are voting but that is a big disparity.

Then if you add in that Mitchell is likely cheaper(we will see once a contract is signed) and also the writer considers Mitchell the more defensive defenseman and would also not cost the Caps any assets(leaving them as assets for future trades) it would seem that Mitchell is the option.

The concussion situation is obviously a serious issue, but if the doctors clear him and consider him healthy and fully recovered then, IMO, it's worth the risk.

Posted by: sgm3 | August 17, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

@pokerfac from last thread.

The two you mentioned both have been liked to that Caps at some point. I don't think either wanted to play here and that is not something GMGM can control. Modano only signed with Detroit because it is where he is from and he fit in well with their team given his age. Madden has played his whole career with defensive minded teams and now signed with the Wild. Something tells me he wanted to keep playing that style and would not come to the Caps given how we play.

Now as for the concern about a number 2 center, we had one last year that no one seemed to think was very good at all. Yet we still were the best team in the regular season and had a vdry strong team eventhough we had a poor three games and lost in the first round. There is no reason to think that with one of the two young guys, given a full NHL season to get used to the league, could not do at least as well as out #2 of the night we had last year. We were the highest scoring team by far last year and our biggest concern is a scoring forward? We are letting three games dictate what we feel like we need.

Posted by: icehammer97 | August 17, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

While we snooze. Stevie Y. is up to no good in Tampa, and after losing out on Kaberle he is going to go hard after Bieksa in a trade (since he is not on Mitchell's short list).

So Canucks need to off $2.65MM off the books. Bieksa counts for $3.75MM so the magic number is $1.1MM -- thats ezactly what a certain ex-Hab and current Lightning costs against the cap: DOMINIC MOORE.

There is no way I take Steckel over Moore. One (Steckel) costs $1.1MM and playing out of the league. The other (Moore) costs $1.1MM with a lot of upside. Better goal scorer, better playmaker. We lose this one.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | August 17, 2010 11:11 PM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

You're right we need to play better team defense in front of Varly. Varly can win a Cup. He is not the problem. Even everyone's favorite two players on this site (Ovi and Backy) got caught not playing defense in game 5. That's where we lost the series. Until there is a mind set change by all we exit early even with Mitchell and Niemi. Keith and Seabrook were busting heads in the playoffs. We never play that way.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | August 17, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse

@ icehammer

3 games? We've stunk for three years in the playoffs. We had the Pens down 2-0. We went up there not spitting fire, and let them back into the series. It seemed easy for the Pens, because we got out hustled. (Just like we got out hustled by the Habs.) We needed to go up to Pitts and win one game at all costs. We would have destroyed the Canes, and would have been in the finals. So we're into year four of "Is this team ever going to play playoff hockey ?" No, there are guys like Flush who don't have it in their DNA. The Flyers and Hawks were really playing some smash mouth hockey. They ended up in the finals. We have the goalie and the scoring. We need some real hockey players in here, a team defense attitude, and a coach who has had success in the play offs. End of story.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | August 17, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: Having just watched John Wayne in "Rio Grande," I'm in fine spirits. So I'm feeling obliged to respond to your post.

Now look here, mister, hockey's no sports for the faint of heart. You sign up for this life, you sign up for a life of suffering and hardship. You talk about going into battle with kids trying to fill a man's role. Yes we were the #1 offensive team in hockey last year, but not when it counted. BMo when they signed him, July 8, 2009, you can check the posts from then, I said, "He's no better than Nylander." And he wasn't. And neither are MP or MaJo. Not yet anyway. We might be fine for 115 pts and a playoff berth. And that's great. But when it really counts, playing the same team seven times in a row, you need two lines that can score and one line that can shut down the other team. The Caps, as constructed, don't have that. We need some reinforcements. That's the opinion of this officer, anyway.

Carry on, mister. That is all.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 12:27 AM | Report abuse

@Political_Strategist

I'm not positive but I'm pretty sure there is a rule that a team cannot trade a newly signed UFA until a certain amount of games into the season.

If that is the rule then Dominic Moore would not be tradeable.

Posted by: sgm3 | August 18, 2010 1:00 AM | Report abuse

@tmac2yao

You're right we need to play better team defense in front of Varly. Varly can win a Cup. He is not the problem. Even everyone's favorite two players on this site (Ovi and Backy) got caught not playing defense in game 5. That's where we lost the series. Until there is a mind set change by all we exit early even with Mitchell and Niemi. Keith and Seabrook were busting heads in the playoffs. We never play that way.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | August 17, 2010 11:34 PM | Report abuse
-------------------------------------------

You couldn't be more wrong...... respectfully! LOL. Defense and goaltending were anything but the reason for us losing the series. We lost for 1 reason and 1 reason only and that was our offense. Last I checked you can't win many games when you only score once. I also don't think you'll win many with a PP this is 1 for 34.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 18, 2010 1:24 AM | Report abuse

Yes the past has an effect on the future but that said look at a team like Detroit after they beat the Canes. 2002-2003 they were second in the West and were swept by the Ducks (riding a red hot JS- Giguere). 2003-2004 won the Presidents' Trophy but lost in the second round to the Flames. 2005-2006 after the lockout they win the Presidents' Trophy again but lose in the first round to the Oilers. Then in 2006-2007 they were tops in the West again and made it to the conference finals before losing to the Ducks. Finally as we all know they won the Cup the next year. They also had a similar period between beating us in 1998 and beating the Canes. They finished 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the West in those years yet lost in the first round one time and the second round twice.

My point is this, even the great teams go through years where they have one thing or another not go their way and they have an early exit. Yes in this case the team had recently won a Cup which calmed their fans but the point is one playoff is not the same as the other and just because someone did good or bad in one playoff series or year does not mean they will be the same this coming season. Semin had 8 points in 7 games three years ago and 5 goals and 8 points in the 7 game Ranger series. There is no reason why he could not get back to that kind of a pace this coming playoffs. Last year was not so much as him not getting chances it was just missing the net or hitting iron.

Posted by: icehammer97 | August 18, 2010 1:43 AM | Report abuse

Tominsocal wrote: "If you trade Chimera and Steckel in favor of Beagle and AGordon, your cap space increases to $8.3M."

Tom, you explained your thinking behind A Gordon, but would you mind talking about Beagle? I don't know enough about him, just some vaguely negative memories of when he played up. Are the pair a suitable replacement for Chimera and Steckel in terms of toughness (Chimera) and face-off wins (Steckel)?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 18, 2010 2:48 AM | Report abuse

dcccitizen: Obviously I never get to watch Hershey. Those who do tout AG, Beagle and Pinner as all being Cap ready. I'm giving cap savings if they are.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

I am going to say the best trade made this off season was Ted for Abe owning the building. If Ted goes ahead and spends the money for the dehumidifiers, to clean up the ice surface so the Caps can play on a good sheet of ice, I think some of the offense woes in the playoffs when the weather is warmer outside and the ice sucks may help this team more than we have estimated. This is an offensive team and the bad ice only helped the Habs last year. Just a thought

Posted by: RichC3 | August 18, 2010 6:26 AM | Report abuse

You couldn't be more wrong...... respectfully! LOL. Defense and goaltending were anything but the reason for us losing the series. We lost for 1 reason and 1 reason only and that was our offense. Last I checked you can't win many games when you only score once. I also don't think you'll win many with a PP this is 1 for 34.


Posted by: pokerfaceI208


And I am going to respectfully disagree with you on this one! The reason they lost that series is BB refused to change his philosophy and change "the system" to match what the Habs were throwing at him.

AND, there were not enough players willing to pay the price needed to get the puck on net and create the dirty goals. Those are the players that need to be pursued, we may have them within the organization in AG and Pinner but more vet grit is needed as well.....on the front end as well as the blueline.

Posted by: PhilR | August 18, 2010 7:27 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response, Tominsocal. Anyone have good information on Beagle and Pinner?

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 18, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen1,

Both are extremely hard forecheckers who are also good on the PK from what I have seen (about 15-20 games last year). Beagle does not have the same faceoff skills as Steckle at this point in his career but he is young and could acquire such skills in the future. The way I look at it you either get rid of Steckle or Gordon along with Chimera and fill in with AG, Pinner, and Beagle and we really lose nothing and gain youthful heart that will play their a$$ off every shift.

That is how I see it, would love to hear others opinions of these guys that have seen them more than I have though!

Posted by: PhilR | August 18, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Thanks PhilR. I'd really miss Steckel more than Gordon (back problems lose out there---otherwise a valuable PK guy.) Would absolutely welcome the hard forechecking that you mentioned, plus the heart and cap space.

I can't wait to have the season start!

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 18, 2010 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Chimera does have superior speed though. You cannot never discount the importance of speed in any sport.

Posted by: sgm3 | August 18, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Thoughts:
1. The only problem with this post on Mitchell at KCI is we probably won't get another post for 5 days...
2. Hate to see Chimera traded. He at least adds some "grit" that this team desperately needs.
3. Get the biggest, toughest defenseman you can find signed, and let's move forward.
4. As far as last season's playoff debacle, you have to realize that the coaching staff made no major adjustments in the last 3 games (other than inserting Walker) to combat a Canadien team that was rapidly gaining confidence and momentum and outplaying a "better" opponent.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | August 18, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

You couldn't be more wrong...... respectfully! LOL. Defense and goaltending were anything but the reason for us losing the series. We lost for 1 reason and 1 reason only and that was our offense. Last I checked you can't win many games when you only score once. I also don't think you'll win many with a PP this is 1 for 34.


@pokerfacel208

I disagree here. I'll have to go with what other teams did defensively, than what the caps didn't do offensively. Montreal's defense was what shut down the Caps offensively. Agree that you won't win many with a PP that is 1 for 34. Another result of the agressive defense of the opposition during the PP. When your defensively shut down having a man advantage, big problem.

Posted by: sports13 | August 18, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

dccitizen: Here's the deal with Caps in 2011-12. If you want to keep Laich (3.5) and Semin (6.0), along with Green, Ovi and Backie they get 31. With avg of 2.6 allowed per player (23 players at $59.4M), this means you need 12 guys at $1M each to avg with above five to 2.6. The last six players can then avg 2.6.

Who are the 12 avg $1M each and the six at $2.6M each?

The six: Schultz, Fehr, Varly (let's say), Knuble (or replacement), a #2C and a #1D.

The 12 at $1M: Bradley, Steckel, Carlsson, Alzner, Orlov, Sloan, Chimera, AGordon, Beagle (or Perreault), Pinner, MaJo and Neuvy.

(I realize Chimera makes a little over but most in that group are under.)

So, if you don't keep rotating EL guys in, you can never keep the vets.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Bieska to Caps, Flash & prospect to VAN.

Then, Mitchell signs with VAN

Posted by: puckman | August 18, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@puckman

I think that is a very plausible scenario as well.

Posted by: ThePat | August 18, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Willie Mitchell will change anything here.

It will be impossible to tell which D-men need to be let go and which D-Men from Hershey or Outside should be brought in until the top 2 forward lines start playing a 2-way game.

Posted by: LesGrossman | August 18, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

why not sign mitchell and trade flash and picks to columbus for a playoff machine rj umberger.

Posted by: samb99 | August 18, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

I would take Umberger any day.He is a stud.

Posted by: bigD6 | August 18, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@RichC3

The playoff monkey is going to weigh a ton next year...he gets bigger and fatter with every year's choke - it is always this or that, and the list of playoff hero goalies against the Caps is a sickeningly long one. What makes for an otherwise above average goalie to play like a Vezina goalie agains us?? The answer for that lies with us, not anywhere else. From Mike Gartner to Alex Ovechkin, the stick starts to weigh more, the skates feel like they are going through a sludge...it is all between the ears.

We need a psychologst to work with these guys to forget what the occassion is, so they just play like it was a pick-up game and not Stanley Cup playoffs. Thats where Ted should spend his money...team hynotist...good ice would be nice, but lets focus on the real issue. A lot of our stars do not have the psychological makeup to win a Game 7 at home OR close out a series. It is all in the head.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | August 18, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I have suggested numerous times to try for Umberger. However many here point out he is a bad fit due to last spring he criticized the Caps style of play.

Mitchell and Umberger don't fit under the cap (counting bonuses this year) unless you move Flash, Ersk and probably Chimera. Also, Columbus would never give him up for Flash. I would say it would take Flash and MaJo at least.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

It appears as if Boyd Gordon's back problems are a thing of the past and he is healthier than ever.

Not to be negative but I always love it when athletes state in the offseason that they're healthier than ever. You're not getting drilled so I would hope you're healthy while sitting on the couch eating Doritos. LOL

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 18, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

the caps don't need a psychologist to get them motivated. they need to get some fire and determination and play like they want to win. Ovie said it all after losing to the Habs when he said the Habs would "just give up." And that from our Captain. A big problem is that the Caps have a bunch of young superstars that have been coddled and told that all the chips are coming their way. i think they don't think their poop stinks.

Posted by: doughless | August 18, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

No way Umberger laces them up for the Caps as long as BB and GMGM are there.....he insulted the "system" which will not be tolerated!

Posted by: PhilR | August 18, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

doughless...I think you hit the nail on the head. When the young guys learn otherwise the league better watch out.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | August 18, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

More benefits of acquiring both Bieksa and Mitchell:

--It would seem easier for both to remain healthy through the regular season without the punishing Western schedule.
--Both Beiksa and Mitchell could eat up a lot of minutes, which leaves Green et al. with more left in the tank come playoff time.
--Poti/Schultz/Alzner can rotate as 7th defender.

Posted by: Rhino40 | August 18, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Heard yesterday somewhere that Mitchell is supposed to make his decision by weeks end.....the way all this has drug out I will believe it when I see the press release.

Posted by: PhilR | August 18, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@Rhino40

If somehow we did obtain both of them. Then I'd look to move Poti. A $3.5 cap hit with one year left on it would look nice for a lot of teams. I'd also send Erskine to Hershey if he cant be moved.

Green-Schultz
Mitchell-Carlson
Bieksa-Alzner

Sloan

Posted by: ThePat | August 18, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

I think Mitchell is a big risk it will take him at least half the season maybe more to get his mental game back if he ever does. At his age it is hard not to think about the future esp. if he has a wife and kids (not sure either way on his family situation) but anybody would have real concerns about future head injuries.

That said I would Love to B. Witt as a camp invitee. He would be a great addition if he still has some wheels (not that they were that fast before) pair him with Poti. Not fast but huge net presence. I am sure some other possibilities will shake loose esp. now that the leafs have a crowded blue line.

flash for Komisarek (his cap is 4.5 for 4 more years but his is 28yrs old) he would be a great fit with Green.

Posted by: t-bone67 | August 18, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

NO NO NO to B WITT!!

Posted by: PhilR | August 18, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

I echo your statement but multiply it by about a million.

Posted by: ThePat | August 18, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

For everyone that's been anxiously waiting for news on this impending trade since it was first leaked with the Belanger signing, you can probably thank the leak for the delay. If the team wanted to keep Belanger's re-signing under wraps until a pending deal was concluded then the leak may have screwed up the deal that they were working on.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

As far as Witt- loved him in his early years, but by the time he left the Caps he sucked. I don't know how many of you remember when the Caps decided to clean house with the impending lockout, Dallas turned down a trade, Witt for Erskine. With all of the hate on these boards for Erskine it's funny that even at that time Dallas knew Witt was done.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

As much "Poile love" and "McPhee hate" you sometimes read on here, it was David Poile who gave McPhee Nashville's #1 in 2006 to the Caps in a deadline deal for one month of "renting" Brendan Witt.

That picked turned out to be Varlamov. So, let's be thankful Dallas turned down that trade for Erskine.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Great point Tom. I'm just always seeing so much negative stuff on here about Erskine that I thought it interesting to hear some people talking about re-acquiring Witt. And FTR, I have more of a "Poile hate" and "McPhee love", although I'll admit Poile's hands were tied by the ownership he had to deal with.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

You couldn't be more wrong...... respectfully! LOL. Defense and goaltending were anything but the reason for us losing the series.
-------

he's not wrong. Just because we didn't score enough timely goals against Montreal doesn't mean our defense is in fine shape. We could've played a better forechecking team and then it would be much easier to sit here and poke holes at our defense. Don't let the fact we played a weaker forechecking team mask our problems on defense.

count me in the "lukewarm" camp for David Poile. He made some great trades for sure (getting Barrett/Smith, the big Langway deal, Dino, Rouse, signing up Courtnall, getting Hunter, May, Kypreous, Tinordi etc). He also made some outright bad moves. I'm not one who wishes Poile was still here, despite how I feel about GM.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

haha, who doesn't have love for the sexy lumberjack?

Posted by: _stevo | August 18, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

As far as Witt- loved him in his early years, but by the time he left the Caps he sucked.

-----

he played for Schoenfeld in the early yrs and Ron Wilson in his later yrs. One coach loved the way he played, the other didn't appreciate what he was bringin to the ice and would rather Witt turn the other cheek and get us a PP instead of standing up for himself the way he did in his early yrs. Ron Wilson was one of the chief reasons Witt changed his style. He became a "goader" instead of just playing a hardnosed honest physical style.

When Wilson and later Cassidy left, Witt again went back to his ornery self under Hanlon. If anyone remembers how Witt changed his style under Hanlon, it was immediate. He instantly ramped up his hitting, started going after other team's stars, played much meaner around his own net. His skills had diminished to a point so he wasn't the player he once was, but you could chart his progress based on which coach he played under. Schoeny and Hanlon liked tough defensive play (Schoeny himself was a real tough dman when he played for Buffalo). And RWilson and Cassidy didn't appreciate that type of style so they basically discouraged it and preached turning the other cheek and getting PPs out of it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the response, Tominsocal. Anyone have good information on Beagle and Pinner?
------

Pinner is your basic younger version of Matt Bradley with better hands. He's a very aggressive hitter, he plays it chippy, he's mouthy, gets under the other team's skin. Not a good fighter but can hold his own against weak middleweights. He's a good forechecker and strong PKer and he does have good hands. Led the AHL in shorties this yr I think.

Beagle can play wing or center, offers better size and grit than a Boyd Gordon. That's why I'd take him on the team. He showed a glimpse of the style of play he's capable of in a preseason game v the Flyers when the rest of our team was totally flat and then Beagle came out on the ice and started flattening some players. Ended up fighting Steve Downie in the Flyers goal crease. Beagle skates well for a bigger guy and I think he got time on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines in Hershey this past yr.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

oh yeah and beagle also plays the PK.

And both were undrafted free agent signees. Pinizotto really developed under Mark French last yr. I give French a lot of credit for the work he did with some of the younger players. He doesn't freak out when a player gets an aggressive penalty. Something that BB could learn from.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
I think if Poile had the funds to purchase goal scorers, he would have won the Cup. Our defense was that good. We all new this while we sat and watched those games. Tugnut and Hrudy were piss poor goal tenders that a guy like Ovi would have destroyed.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | August 18, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

cstanton- true about Witt's play although I personally thought it was more to do with the guys he was playing with. Tinordi and Simon brought out the toughness in Witt, I always felt like it wasn't as natural for Witt but he wanted to impress those guys. One things for sure, we haven't been anywhere near that level of team toughness since those days.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Wow people are way off target what I said

B.Witt as camp invitee lets see what he has left if he has some wheels left I think having his type of nasty on the roster as a part time player there are games..ie NY, Phi, Tor and some Pitt for good measure, that are suited for exactly for what we need he is still a feared HW and he would be on the cheap, and would give us some depth in that area. It is worth a look it would be free to invite him to camp.

Posted by: t-bone67 | August 18, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The story back in the day (early 90s) was that Poile had a deal worked out for Temu Selanne - but it got nixed by the previous owner. Can you imagine how great the Caps could have been with Scott Stevens, Temu Selanne and all the rest?

Posted by: MReilly9 | August 18, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer
@ doughless

These Wings comparisons are silly. Can you imagine one of our forwards winning the Selke. Semin needs to watch how Datsuk plays defense. No lazy stick fouls in the offensive zone {NHL record low 22 penalty minutes, while playing great defense] The wings play team defense. We never do.

Also, "The Mule" refuses to be moved when the wings are on the PP. After watching the replays of the Habs disaster, Laich wasn't in front of Halak enough. The Flyers were in the guy's underwear. The tire change story loses its coolness after you watch the game replays.

@doughless
You are right. When is Green gonna' stop clubing and show up. The guy looks like he spent the night in his car. I'm tired of hearing about Green's car.(Which I helped pay for !) Green needs to get into the best shape of his life, and more shots on net. The guys too talented to be playing like that in the playoffs. He needs a real NHL coach like Laviolette to both kick his butt and mentor him. BB needs to get Green out of this funk if BB wants to coach in this league. This isn't Hershey. Win the Cup, then talk about the car.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | August 18, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

t-bone67 - No offense, I was just saying that I thought Witt had peaked about a year to a year and a half before he left the Caps. At his best he was great to watch but by the end of his time with us he was usually the guy you'd see on the replay of the opposition team scoring a goal.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Backstrom finished 10th in the Selke voting this past year receiving 1 first place vote, 3 second place votes and 1 third place vote.

He is considered a strong contender for the Selke next year as his defensive game has improved every year and his is starting to get noticied for it too.

Posted by: sgm3 | August 18, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo

I thought Erskine was one of the caps top 2 defensemen in the 2008-9 playoffs. I think one reason people don't like him is because he is not skilled enough to make a tough break out pass and slams it around the wall. This works on a lot of teams but not on the Caps because the wings on the team never seem to cover the half wall or the point man. So his clearing attempts turn into turn overs too often, eventhough they would normally be considered the safest play.
So one could argue he does not fit into BB's system.
In my opinion, however, going for the good crisp break out pass as a default does not work in the playoffs (sure it'll work but it'll cost you at least just as often) which can mean you lose 1-0 or 2-1. I'd prefer the wings play more D and help the dmen get the puck out (by playing their position, not running after the puck) instead of waiting for the pass to come to them or running around like they seemed to be doing to me.

Posted by: BorntoHula | August 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

One things for sure, we haven't been anywhere near that level of team toughness since those days.
-

he's just old and banged up. He's also had knee and elbow issues. I have no expectations of Witt anymore besides his willingness to get under a star player's skin. He does that well. His ability to play the type of overall game he needs to play is long gone. The game has passed him by. But in his heyday, he was a real solid performer for us. Esp under Schoenfeld. He had a battle along the boards with Darren Langdon once that brought everyone to their feet in the arena. It lasted the entire shift and no one got a penalty. Just some extremely physical work along the boards. He also had a devastating hit on Tampa #1 pick Jason Wiemer. Wiemer had picked up the puck and was skating with his head down. Witt had just gone in deep on the forecheck and creamed a Tampa player on the end boards, then was skating back to his own end when he saw Wiemer lugging the puck out of the Tampa end. Witt about killed him with the hit, lifted Wiemer right off the ice. And Wiemer was a big strong kid. That brought Enrico Ciccone after Witt and he mugged Witt pretty good. That was probably the hit of the yr imo.

Witt was a good soldier for a long time and I hate to see him get disparaged. He wasn't effective under Ron Wilson at all and by the time Hanlon got here Witt was looking worn down but he did raise his game under Hanlon.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Source: Mitchell to sign with Caps. Willie Mitchell is set to sign with the Washington Capitals. He has been asked however to delay the announcement until the Caps work out a trade.

Willie may never be a Cap.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | August 18, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

he is still a feared HW
--------

not even. He'd get killed by half the middleweights in the nhl. The Mike Browns and Konopkas.

Last great fight Witt had was yrs ago against Dan Kordic. Whoever said that guys like Simon brought out Witt's nastier side is true also. Witt was always a physical player but he sure came alive when the Caps had not only Simon, but also Rick Tocchet for a brief period. The game where the CAps went into Philly and bulled the bullies was awesome. Tocchet mugged Scott Daniels, Simon harassed Joel Otto, and when the Flyers sent out their big tough guy Kordic who jumped Witt off the faceoff, Witt cleaned him out. Cut him open and then high-fived Simon who was waiting for him in the pen box. Not often the Caps have outright bullied the Flyers so that was nice to see.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@BorntoHula

very true with regards to big john. I'd still like another dman and have big john as a 7th man. How quickly people forget about the rangers series

Posted by: _stevo | August 18, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo

I thought Erskine was one of the caps top 2 defensemen in the 2008-9 playoffs
------------

he sure was. Folks around here have an extremely short memory. Ersk looked like a stud against the Rags. He got banged up and like the rest of our D looked outclassed v the Penguins. But a lot of that had to also do with how little our top 2 lines forechecked the Pens D that series. Without a forecheck, the other team breaks out cleanly and then your own D is on its heels.

But Erskine is also like our other physical players. He's toned his act down to match the personality of the team and its coach. On a different team he'd probably fight 15x a yr easy.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

@_stevo

Agreed I would like another (better) tough dman and think Erksine is a good option for the #7 slot. I think he could be 5th or 6th but maybe not the way this team plays.

Posted by: BorntoHula | August 18, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Green needs to get into the best shape of his life, and more shots on net. The guys too talented to be playing like that in the playoffs. BB needs to get Green out of this funk if BB wants to coach in this league. This isn't Hershey.
----------

Terrific points, @Hunter - I couldn't agree more, and your points about Datsyuk and The Mule were spot-on as well.

I don't mind seeing mistakes, they're a part of life and we all make 'em - but when you see the same lackadaisical, lazy mistakes from a guy like MG - costly ones at that - made in your own zone, along with terrible PP decision-making in playoff game after playoff game, it can start to try a guy's patience, I tell you. And when there are seemingly zero repercussions from the coach...

Posted by: Timbo_1 | August 18, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

can we at least admit that a lot of the Green bashing is based on his recent past as opposed to how he played in the 2nd half of the season? Didn't you guys notice a marked improvement in his attention to his own end? He was much more diligent and much more physical after his olympic snub. He even talked about that publicly, how he realized he had to be better defensively and was willing to forego some of the offense to achieve that goal. Lets face it, any improvement from Green in his defensive zone will have to come from Green himself. His coach and GM just want the points.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

anaheim has sheldon brookbank who plays a similar type of game that Erskine plays. But he plays it better at both ends. You can find guys like that in the AHL, you just have to know where to look. And be willing to look. The Caps don't make it a habit of finding nhl-ready young role players.

Posted by: cstanton1 | August 18, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Yes, I would agree that he he played much better in the 2nd-half, that is a fair point - but only if you omit the playoff performance. I did not think that pairing - of MG/JS - was particularly effective, to say the least - and the competition was only going to get stiffer had the Caps advanced.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | August 18, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Green and Schultz were actually very effective throughout the second half of last season.

Let's not forget who led the league in +/-.

And it sure wasn't Brendan Witt.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | August 18, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

I stated on a recent thread that it will be interesting to see how having Carlson as a regular for a full season will affect Green's performance, particularly in the playoffs. I think it will take a lot of the pressure off him. He definitely made strides on his defensive game last year, maybe at the expense of his O. I feel like Green reacts to the public's criticism of him too much. People cry about him being too offensive so he tries to play better D and then they cry about his offense disappearing. Another elite offensive talent, Carlson (yes he's an elite talent even though he's still young),should help Green not put so much pressure on himself.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | August 18, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Tom and Cstanton. I will need to print out some of this info. How in the world do you store so much data in your minds? I am NOT being sarcastic. So many bloggers here know so much. I like the tone on the blog today. thanks everyone

Posted by: dccitizen1 | August 18, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

@Tom - yeah, I know who led the league in +/- - the same guy who simply can not handle the pace of play in the playoffs, as has been demonstrably proven two straight postseasons and counting - which is what I was talking about. The guy gets worked by average forwards - that is simply not a recipe for playoff success - not for a guy on your supposed #1 pairing, anyway.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | August 19, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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