Thursday, July 06, 2006

Don't Shed A Tear For Halpern

Local hero Jeff Halpern finally comes to his senses and moves on singing a $2 million, 4 year contract with the Dallas Stars. While Halpern was the Capitals captain and grew up in Potomac Maryland making him a local favorite, his days were numbered with the Caps.

Faster, bigger, stronger centermen are what the new NHL craves. That leaves little room for a player like Halpern on a team that is gaining in all 3. Halpern who instead of playing in Europe during the lockout (mostly because of a family tragedy), spent the year in the US. When the NHL finally returned, Halpern did not look sharp.

Some theories on why Halpern decided on Dallas. But in the end it may be one last chance to make the USA team by getting close to Mike Modano. But, at 30 years of age, Halpern may have his best years behind him.

As much as the local Caps fans will miss Halpern, the more I look forward to what the Caps are building. Along with Halpern leaving the team, Brian Willsie (a player I thought the Caps would fight for) signed with the LA Kings.

But while they lose talent, the Caps have roped in some key defense. Brian Potheir who partnered with Zdeno Chara (who the Capitals had made offers for but failed to sign after the price exceeded $5 million) had a career year with the Ottawa Senators. The Caps also resigned Brent Johnson, the young goaltender that will again back up Olaf Kolzig.

It is still to be seen if the Caps will go after another defenseman, or continue to beef up the forward column. My hope is that the Caps don’t stop with Potheir. The Caps still need a solid stay at home defenseman.

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