Monday, July 14, 2008

Don't like the ice girls?

Maybe you'd prefer the Ice Slobs? (pictured)

Seriously, I'm not the happiest about having ice girls but so long as they do not get in the way of the game, and help the fans "rock the red," even more, whatever.

It's been a few days since the announcement, It's not the end of the world, and it certainly isn't the worst thing that could happen to the Caps.

Stay out of the way, keep it respectable, keep it fun and keep the focus on the fans and I will have no problem if a few girls want to cheer ra-ra-ra while shooting t-shirts out of cannons with Slapshot.

Get over it.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Capitals re-sign Gordon

Totally nullifying my last post...Here's the press release.

"ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed center/right wing Boyd Gordon to a one-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Gordon, 24, completed his fifth professional season with the Capitals in 2007-08, matching his career high with seven goals and adding nine assists in 67 games. Gordon won 55.8% of his faceoffs, good for second on the team and ninth in the NHL, and averaged 4:00 of penalty killing ice time per game, which was third among NHL forwards. His +5 rating was tied for seventh on the team. Washington was 7-0-0 when he scored a goal and 10-2-1 when he had a point.The Unity, Saskatchewan, native was the Capitals’ first-round choice, 17th overall, in the 2002 Entry Draft. He has played in 204 career games for Washington, recording 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) and just 38 penalty minutes. He was an integral member of the 2006 Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League, playing in all 21 playoff games. The former Red Deer Rebel won the Memorial Cup in 2000-01."

Well, now all eyes on ShaMo's arbitration.

Who should stay and who should go? (if necessary)

If you've been following the Capitals free agency at all, your more than likely aware of the coming salary cap crunch.

Basically, as many other blogs have pointed out, the Capitals have somewhere in the region of $2.98 million of free cap space BARRING that Brian Pothier does not play this season. (All signs point to no)

While Laich and Fehr's contracts are arguably just, it pretty much is Fedorov's colossus $4 million-one-year deal that placed the crunch on the Caps.

As of today, a main cog is the Capitals defensive scheme still remains unsigned, and pending arbitration, Shaone Morrisonn. On top of that, another key player, and penalty killer, Boyd Gordon remains unsigned.

So with under $3 million to work with, and an arbitration hearing pending, who is the odd man out? Or better yet, which currently signed player should be packing his bags for another club?

Both players have equal reason to be resigned, and equal reason we do not want to see them on another club. Morrisonn is the safe-man to Green's wild offensive style, while JP (Japer's Rink) does a better job than I could ever do detailing Gordon's importance.

It's obvious that Morrisonn will likley win his arbitration, and earn a $2 million plus contract, but keeping Gordon will be tricky as the Cap space will quickly dissapate.

So to my readers (if there are any) who do you keep? Who from the main roster should pack thier bags? Or do you really think we can keep both with just $3 million?

Seems like many Caps fans are willing to depart with Fleischmann easily. I wouldn't mind seeing Brashear sent away (like he fights anymore anyway...) I could live without Gordon being signed, but like Laich, he is not easily replaced.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Laich and Fedorov re-sign

Details concerning Fedorov. 1 year at $4 million.

Details concerning Laich per Tarik. "Forward Brooks Laich has avoided arbitration and re-signed with the Caps for three seasons. Laich will earn $1.7 million, $2.1 million and $2.4 million."

Great news for fans, but horrible news if your a Center. Good luck breaking into the NHL club with the likes of Backstrom, Nylander, Steckel and now Fedorov holding the top slots.

While Fedorov is certaintely taking more money than the Capitals had hoped for, it's probably for the best. Fedorov brings his veteran leadership to an entire season, not just a month in 08-09. Fedorov also had a tremendous effect on Semin's game, who seemingly matured overnight when Fedorov was brought in to Washington. Fedorov is a costly signing, but if his value to the Capitals from last March and April is to be repeated, the price is more than worth it.

Laich's contract comes after a career season. (21 goals, 16 assists) Laich's signing comes days before the Capitals "fan-fest," at development camp, ensuring there will be no ackward moments during the Q and A with Ted Leonsis and Laich. Laich's contract also secures that this famous Capitals Message Board thread will remain in the Capitals system until 2011.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pray for Olie......

I know its not Capitals news, but the Kolzig fan in me feels this needs to be addressed.

The Tampa Bay Lightning as of now are setting up Olie and youngster Mike Smith for GAA hell.

A look at the Lightning's recent Free Agent signing shows a serious commitment to offense, and why not? Lecavalier, St. Louis, Prospal, Stamkos and newly acquired Mark Recchi, Tampa is going to be one scary team offensively.

But for Kolzig, it may be all to similar to the post lock-out Capitals.

A team that had offensive firepower, but left him out to dry when the puck crossed their blue line. When the Capitals finally got half-way capable defensemen in front of him, Kolzig just wasn't "Godzilla," anymore.

So how will Kolzig fair with yet another rebuilding team, with another set of "meh" to "okay," defensemen?

Let me list off a few names and see how you react, thinking if this was the Capitals defensive unit for the 08-09 season....Paul Ranger.....Filip Kuba.....Mike Lundin.....ok you get the picture. Aside from Kuba and Ranger (whom are best offensively) it's slim pickings.

While I love Olie and want to see him succeed, I fear that the Tampa Bay Lightning will become the NHL's target practice.

Sure Tampa may have the offense to put up three to four goals a night, but with no defense, the celebrations will be short lived.

Good luck Tampa, I hope your new owner's realize that without a defense, it is likely to be a long and frustrating rebuild, and if your so upset about your rebuild, Capitals fans are here to mediate, we've been there.

Dear God, please don't end Olie's career with a 3.5 GAA for 08-09.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Arbitration, Cooke and Jag-off

Back from a vacation at Virginia Beach, and ready to report on some old news....

Well at least one thing is certain. Those rumors of Brooks Laich mulling over offer sheets from other NHL clubs are debunked.

But how much the Capitals will pay him in 08-09 remains to be revealed.

The good is Laich and Morrissonn will likely be wearing red sweaters again next season, but the bad is the two players have elected to go through arbitration.

Since I won't bother to explain it, here's what it is.

"NHL salary arbitration is a tool available to settle some contract disputes. The player and team each propose a salary for the coming season, and argue their cases at a hearing. The arbitrator, a neutral third party, then sets the player's salary."

This will be Laich's second time he has entered this process, the first being last year.

It's no wonder that Laich and Morrissonn have chosen this route. Laich is coming off his best season ever, and Morrission is the stay-at-home watch-dog, cleaning up after Mike Green's botched coverage at times. Laich also benefitted from Chris Clark's injury, allowing Laich to spend time on the PP in the slot, while Morrissonn and Green were let loose when Boudreau took over on Thanksgiving Day.

If both players really wanted as much money as they could get, they probably would have taken the rumored offer sheets back on July 1. By entering arbitration, at least we know the two players want to stay with the Caps, even if it means entering the potentially messy proceedings to come.

Fehr is expected to accept his qualifying offer, while Gordon has not made a decision yet.

As expected Matt Cooke will be donning a new sweater in 08-09. Cooke signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins for two years, at $1.2 million per season.

GMGM believes that Cooke would have been "redundant," on the Capitals roster. Current agitator Matt Bradley will reprise his role.

"You can't keep everybody," GMGM said in an interview with the Washington Post.

While the statement is true, and Bradley is a capable agitator, it is a shame to see Cooke go. If there was one player during the first round playoff bout with the Flyers who actually stood up for his teammates, Cooke was one of them. Cooke is a physical presence who will be missed, but hopefully can be replaced.

Cooke is expected to replace former Penguins agitator Jarko Ruutu, who left to join the Ottawa Senators.

If you haven't already heard, Jaromir Jagr is heading to Russia to play for Avangard Omsk, the Russian club he joined during the lock-out.

Jagr leaves a mixed legacy with the NHL.

In his prime, he led the Penguins to two Stanley Cups, earned the Hart trophy in 99, and held the scoring title for five seasons.

In his decline, he crippled the Washington Capitals, broke up with his girlfriend (Miss Slovakia), was pursued for unpaid taxes by the IRS, and never created the team chemistry with Scott Gomez, and Chris Drury that the Rangers hoped for.

In his farewell address to New York Post reporter Larry Brooks, Jagr had choice words for the likes of Mike Milbury. But in an interview with a Russian magazine, Jagr claims he "wants to say sorry to Leonsis."

Jagr leaves the NHL with 1,599 points. Kind of symbolic for a player who is highly respected for skill, but loathed for his personality.

Good riddance and see you in international play.

Have fun getting cross-checked by Chris Simon in your new league.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Capitals sign Keith Aucoin

Not the signing everyone wants, but the Capitals opened day 3 of free agency signing Aucoin to a 2 year deal. Details about the contract are sure to come, but this looks like another "minor," signing.

The contract comes at $475,000 for year one if he played every game with the Caps, and then $500,000 for the years after that, same circumstance.

Also, the first year of the contract is 2-way, meaning he's going to be a staple in Hersey. The remaining years are 1-way, assuming he reaches a level to warrant a slot on the NHL club, but that's easier said that done.

The Center position is already full, and possibly getting even more crowded. (should Fedorov and Laich resign) Being a young center on the Hershey Bears means your either getting traded, will need a hot streak for a call up, need a swath of injuries to plague the NHL club, or your going to have to wait to prove yourself in the NHL.

Aucoin could work his way to the Capitals, but any time soon is doubtful. He's more or less a supplement for the Bears.

Best of luck to Aucoin and here's to hoping Aucoin will treat Bears fans to some goals and another Calder Cup.

And as usual, here's what a quick google search brings us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hip Hip Jose?

It's been almost two days since the "controversial," signing of G Jose Theodore.
While the first reaction was the typical " knee jerk, mass hysteria, we're all going to die," fever that sweeps Capitals fans when things go awry.
It also seems to be leveling into a "oh that makes a lot of sense, not a bad move!" sort of situation.
It's hard to justify a four year, 5.6 million a year contract for Huet.
In 13 games for the Caps, Huet won 11, lost twice, and had a 1.63 GAA.
It's impressive but when the Capitals entered the playoffs versus the Flyers, the "Cristowall," began to crumble.
Huet managed a .909 save percentage, but fans were not pleased, even at times clamoring for Olie Kolzig to return to net.
Over his total career, Huet has yet to win a playoff series, going 5-8, with a .918 save percentage and 2.65 GAA.
For a goaltender who just now reached a 50+ game load (across two teams), nor won a playoff series, a 4.5 million dollar contract over three years seems fine.
But change that to what Huet is getting from Chicago and suddenly it's not such a good deal.
Here's why Theodore seems like the better deal.
While Theodore's career stats have been tarnished by two sub-par seasons after the lockout, his playoff career is full of experience. He has progressed past the first round. (something Ted Leonsis and Huet have not done)
In 45 playoff games, Theodore carries a record of 19 and 24. He owns a 2.44 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Theodore has obviously progressed deeper in the playoffs, and against much tougher competition.
Honestly, who wants a date with the Red Wings in the secound round? Do you think Huet would have done any better? Are the Flyers even comparable to the Red Wings?
While both goaltenders are on the losing end with their playoff records, a younger goalie with more playoff experience is by all means better than an older goalie with less. Especially when the gap between the two is a million dollars.
Let's also factor that one goalie is re-energized, ready to play, excited about his new opportunity, while the other dragged negotiations out to the last minute, only to turn his nose and go elsewhere.
I'd rather take Theodore, who is every bit as good as Huet, for less money, and know that he put our club at the top of his "want to play for," list.
Last time we signed a player who was doing it for the money, we chased him out of town, and boo the very mention of his name. (cough Jagr) I'd rather a player who wants to be here, even if he's had a few rough seasons, than what could be a one month wonder, who ends up over paid and phoning it in.
Huet left the negotiation table, not GMGM. We gave him what he wanted, and he walked.
I hope he enjoys fighting for a #1 spot again, because I find it hard to believe that Nikolai Khabibulin (who had a comparable season to Huet, while playing on non playoff team!) will just be forgotten, especially with his large contract.
At this point, despite Huet making more money it's his loss. He could have been the guaranteed #1 goalie, but now all bets are off in Chicago.
It's Huet's loss and the Caps one million dollar gain.
Now let's use that money to sign Fedorov, Laich, Fehr and change the Verizon Center's concession signs so they now offer "Freedom Fries."

- CapsKremlin


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