Big Contract Player
It's old news, but Nick Backstrom was signed to a 10 year, $67 million dollar contract. Backstrom's new deal escalates from $6 million to $8 million and breaks down each year like this: 6, 6, 6, 6, 6.5, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 7.5 and 8 according to Tarik on his blog.
It gives the Caps the room they need early, but it's a tougher contract to trade later in his career (if the Capitals are inclined to do so). That pretty much means Backstrom is a main figure in DC for the next ten years. It's a great signing for the Caps, who made a similar 10 year deal with Alex Ovechkin although that was up in the $9 million range. Per Wash Post:
"I wanted 10 years, I wanted the long term and finally got it. I think it is good that we're together." -Nick BackstromThe Caps also had a minor signing of prospect and 2009 first round draft pick Marcus Johansson to a entry level contract.
"We went back and forth. Different trends were discussed. But players want different things sometimes. Nicky was ready to do 10 years, he was interested in doing 10 years. We discussed it and felt that that would work for us if we could get the right number." -GM George McPhee
Stay At Home
TSN.ca is reporting that Anton Volchenkov will be changing the license plates on his beamer to Washington DC Plates (does he drive a beamer?). While the stay-at-home defenseman Volchenkov would be a great addition, the contract TSN.ca puts him in is a $5 million with bonuses. That would squeeze the Caps to the limit salary cap-wise.
The Caps (as of today) are sitting pretty tight to the $56.8 million ceiling (somewhere around the $55 million range including Backstrom's new deal). Of course things can and will change over the summer.
Former Capitals' prospect Jakub Klepis scored on a pass from Jaromir Jagr as the Czech Republic stall Russia's bid for a second straight gold medal at the IIHF World Championships. Russia's roster featured a beefed up NHL line up that included Alex Oveckin, Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Datsyuk and Sergei Gonchar, but were not able to solve Tomas Vokoun as the CR's win gold with a 2-1 win.
Klepis was released by the team to play in the KHL amid some trade rumors concerning him in '08.
Always A Bridesmaid...
Phrases like "Shaking loose the playoff monkey on their backs" have been suddenly recanted concerning the San Jose Sharks. The veteran squad of Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Dan Boyle were swept away by youngsters Johnathan Towes, Patrick Kane and Anntii Niemi of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Sharks playoff woes continue, apparently getting out of the second round is a bar raiser for them. Maybe their fans need to boo the Canadian Anthem again.
Always the Bride...
Hershey Bears advance to the Calder Cup finals for the fourth time in the past five years. Sigh.
That is all I got for now. I hope to come back with some original content, and a college radio station is begging for an interview with me (talk about desperate).
Until then, enjoy the playoffs.