Friday, June 29, 2007

Salary Cap Expands

Now that you can spend a little more, the Caps have a new cap of $50.3 million for next season, will GMGM be able to land some names in those new spiffy jerseys? Due to lack of coverage or lack of movement by Caps management, the Capitals have been pretty quiet this off season so far.

It's an increase of $6.3 million from last season, which bodes well for the Sabres, they may be able to save both Drury and Briere. The increase of course is a blessing and a curse for the Caps, they have enough to land some free agents, but other teams have enough to keep them too.

Or as reports, Briere may not stick around to get an offer from Buffalo.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Caps Pick D-Man

With their 5 overall pick the Washington Caps pick a defenseman from the Calgary Hitman Karl Alzner. A gritty and tough d-man, it looks like he could be a Bredan Witt type with a tad more speed. Here is what says about the 5th pick in the 2007 NHL Draft:

A skilled stay-at-home defenseman with good skating ability. Is calm under pressure and composed with the puck. Has good positioning and reads the play well. Has a strong shot from the point. Wins battles along the boards and in his own zone. Needs to improve his acceleration and his ability to change tempo throughout the game.

Quick stats:
Pos: Defense
Shoots: L
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 206 lbs.
Born: 9/24/1988
From: Burnaby, BC
Team: Calgary (WHL)
2006-2007 Calgary (WHL) 63 Games Played, 8 goals, 39 assists, 32 penalties in minutes

Wash Post has the details.

Order Your Jerseys Now

P.S. the website has now changed to suit the new colors... very nice!

She Doesn't Like Them

"I like the logo enough, but the color scheme is not good," So said my stylist and my wife. She would prefer a blue home jersey with white lettering.

"Like Team USA?" I asked.

"Hey, the USA jerseys are cool."

She had a point there. The Caps couldn't hold the secret 'til today, they were going to reveal at their Draft day party at the Kettler practice facility. But the Boston Bruins revealed their jerseys yesterday at a party for their season ticket holders, beating the Caps to the punch.

The full uniform will be modeled today at the party. As well fans and mostly season ticket holders will get a skate party and meet some Caps alum like Mike Gartner, who I heard will his first appearance at a Capital event since his retirement. He mostly shows up at Rangers' events.

What may be the biggest news out of today maybe more about a possible trade rather than a draft pick by the Capitals. Some have Rumored that the Caps have been shopping their first round picks for players. But unwilling to take players on their last year of contracts becoming unrestricted free agents, the Caps may force to take their picks rather than land some much needed "now" players.

Either way, my wife just doesn't like the red, guess we will just be watching the away games.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What do the Caps really need?

The Washington Capitals will once again stand to gain big in this years NHL Draft which kicks off tomorrow with a party at Kettler, and a reveal of the new jerseys for the next season. But while most Caps fans will be entertained by former Caps (Mike Gartner will make an appearance) and flashy new threads, the fact remains, this is a team that needs a lot of help.

Some have said that the Caps need some d-men, others said they need a playmaker center. But what the Caps may need most is goaltending. Nicklas Backstrom will definitely improve the offense (which the Caps are pretty loaded up on right now), and there is still talk of landing a big name free agent (but McPhee won't be using draft picks for any trades as he told reporters on XM Radio that it's not smart to do so after the Philly/Nash trade). What the Caps may draft is a solid Goaltender, and that would make the most sense.

The Caps are loaded on prospective D-men, adding another that may waste away in the minors will be a ... er, well, a waste. Prospect forwards are starting to cram the starting lineup in Hershey and in DC. What's left? A veteran goaltender whose clock is running out and a back up goaltender that has not had a winning record since leaving St. Louis for Phoenix. The Caps are hurting in the goaltending column.

If Olaf Kolzig gets hurt again, it could be a career ending injury. That is scarier than finishing another season with 70 points. It's likely that Brent Johnson will take over the starting reigns, but his record is not a shining one: 16 wins, 33 losses over three seasons. Not a something to write home about. Johnson is a capable back up, not a starting goaltender in the NHL. The Caps have really no one in the tube after Johnson.

Fredric Cassivi's contract is not with the Capitals, it's with the Hershey Bears. And at 32 years old, he is not the future. Another prospect looks like he will be staying in the Russian league and the rest are as obscure as the Democratic presidential hopefuls after Obama, Clinton and Edwards. Picking a goaltender may not be a bad idea for the Capitals.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Long Time Gone

Wow, don't post for a while and so much happens.

First let me tackle Gary Bettman's expansion proposal. The NHL is thinking of expanding to Kansas City and Las Vegas. This is absolutely absurd thing for this league to do right now. Bettman needs to work on the teams it has now. Instead of making the sport better, Bettman wants to dilute it even more.

Bettman is trying too hard to stuff the sport down the throats of U.S. audiences. It is not working. Instead of trying to do more grassroots campaigns, the league is wasting money on poor marketing and crossed fingers. The league must do a better job at helping the teams it has now. Markets where hockey is dying like Chicago and yes even Washington.

The league too much is trying to mirror the NBA, but they are not as popular as the NBA and never will be if the league continues to screw up. The league is clearly unaware of the danger they are in, if expansion is the right route to go. If the league was so hopped up about getting teams in KC or LV, it should have moved the teams that are struggling to make any cash off ticket sales.

The league needs fixing, not adding-on-to. I agree with Dan Wetzel's column.

Second, the Nashville Predators are going to move. I absolutely believe that. Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie bought the team and even though claimed that the team wouldn't move, you can see clearly that he is ready to make that a broken promise. Rumors are Hamilton will have a NHL team instead of an AHL one. Even if they did win the Calder Cup.

Finally, Josef Boumedienne is making a comeback in a Capitals sweater, probably to help make Backstrom more at home with another Swede on the team. That means there is no room for Bryan Muir who will be looking for work elsewhere. Wash Post has the details among other news.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Duck Is Mightier Than The Sens

It was over when Chris Phillips mishandled the puck in Ray Emery's legs and the puck trickled through. That was the moment. The Senators demeanor had changed, they were unsure and couldn't muster any shots. It shouldn't have been that way. That isn't how a series is suppose to end. But Anaheim will take it.

The Ducks burned the Senators in a 6 - 2 win. They win their first Stanley Cup. It was a series cut way too short. Ottawa's hot offense just didn't carry. Anaheim is a big physical fast team, and they used it to demoralize the Senators.

Scott Niedermayer is your Conn Smythe winner as most valuable player. If Niedermayer didn't get it, Daniel Alfredsson should have. J.S. Gigere was also in the running as Most Valueable Player in the Finals.

Gary Bettman is a horrible public speaker. And I am only writing that because I am listening to it right now. No mention on how good the series was, or how great Ottawa battled. And why should he, he is playing to the home crowd. Anaheim is the first west coast team to win the Cup, again information related by our fearless leader, Bettman.

So I totally missed this one in terms of predicting a winner. I said that Ottawa would win one for a Canadien city. But that wasn't meant to be. Good thing I don't get paid for things like that.

Guys I am happy to see lifting the Cup right now:
Teemu Selanne
Dustin Penner
Rob and Scott Niedermayer
J.S. Giguere
Brad May
Brian Burke

Guys I hated seeing lifting it:
Chris Pronger
Corey Perry

That is it. Anaheim gets it. It somehow seems weird and uncomfortable, but you can't deny how this team battled. It's a team you love to hate but respect. You know every fan wants a team like this one.

On The Brink Of Being Ducked

Senators need a win on the road tonight, or that is it. The Stanley Cup is in Anaheim, and may be awarded to the once Mighty, but now mightier Ducks. NBC will carry the coverage in the States where Don Cherry made an appearance in the last game. I love Cherry's bluntness.

The Capitals farm club, Hershey Bears are also facing an important game 4 in Hamilton. They are down two games to one needing a big win now to even up the series. Mike Green answered some fans questions on AHL's site. Not only is his playoff beard growing in nicely, his play has picked up as well which can only help him in the big leagues.

There are some tough questions asked by fans like this one:
On it lists you as Mike D. Green. What does the D stand for? -- Jen from Hershey. Pa.

MG - Yup, that's my middle name, after my fathers' name - David.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

American Newspapers Pass On Cup Finals

I am not breaking any news here by saying that many Newspapers in U.S. cities will not be sending any reporters to any of the Stanley Cup Finals games. In response the NHL as fought back with making the press conferences available over the phone for those who want to cover it. Key phrase, "who want to."

But I am not mad about the lack of coverage of newspapers who seem content with plastering the AP story of the Finals action on page 6 of the sports section. I am not mad that American cities could care less if Ottawa or Anaheim win. So what if the press conference after a Stanley Cup game looks as empty as the press conference for a Washington Mystics game.

I could care less that instead of putting together a good hockey section in the Washington Post, they would rather talk about Shawn Springs mood today, or that their hockey writer is more jazzed about NASCAR than the Capitals. It's not their fault.

NHL Fans aren't complaining about the coverage, they are not fighting for their papers to cover it. They would rather get their news elsewhere (, blogs, other papers). While hockey is king in Canada, it's just not here in the States. That is just a reality. It's not going to change soon.

While everyone that loves hockey claims the sky is falling, I am going to sit back and enjoy watching the Cup finals on my Hi-Def TV, and read the news on Yahoo Sports and and of course my fellow bloggers. I don't care about the local paper 'cause I don't subscribe.