Monday, July 23, 2012

Tim Hunter Joins Coaching Staff

An assistant coach for the Caps only Cup Final, the long time Ron Wilson assistant Tim Hunter will return to DC to right hand Adam Oates' staff.

Per Caps PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Tim Hunter the team’s assistant coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Hunter, 51, has coached 1,041 games in an assistant role during his 13-season NHL coaching career. The former Stanley Cup winner was an assistant coach under Ron Wilson in all 13 previous seasons, including five years behind the Washington bench (1997-2002). Hunter helped the Capitals reach the Stanley Cup final in 1998 and the team reached the postseason in three of his five seasons with Washington, compiling a record of 192-159-51-8 (.540 percentage). Hunter coached current Capitals head coach Adam Oates, associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig and assistant coach Calle Johansson during his tenure in Washington.

The Calgary, Alberta, native has a career coaching record of 499-394-70-84 with Washington, San Jose (2002-2008) and Toronto (2008-2011).

As a player Hunter played 16 seasons (1981-1997) in the NHL for Calgary, Quebec, Vancouver and San Jose. He won a Stanley Cup in 1989 when he was a member of the Calgary Flames. In 815 career NHL games the 6’2”, 200-pound right wing tallied 138 points (62 goals, 76 assists) along with 3,146 penalty minutes. He ranks eighth in all-time career NHL penalty minutes and still holds the Flames’ all-time franchise record with 2,405 minutes in penalties. He was originally selected by the Atlanta Flames in the third round (54th overall) of the 1979 NHL Entry Draft.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Calle Johansson Tapped As Assistant Coach

The Capitals announced today that former Cap Calle Johansson as assistant coach. It's the first personnel change made by new head coach Adam Oates. There was speculation that Scott Stevens would return to DC to aid Oates, but with his presence at New Jersey Devil's camp that rumor was disbanded. Per Caps' PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Calle Johansson the team’s assistant coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Johansson, 45, holds the record for the most games played as a Washington Capital, appearing in 983 games with Washington from 1989-2003. Johansson holds Washington records for points (474) and assists (361) by a defenseman and ranks third in goals (113) all-time. He was an alternate captain with Washington during the 1998-99, 1999-00 and 2002-03 seasons. Johansson along with current Capitals head coach Adam Oates and associate goaltending coach Olie Kolzig, played for the Capitals team that reached the 1998 Stanley Cup finals. He helped the Capitals reach the playoffs in 11 of his 15 seasons with Washington and holds franchise playoff records for games played (95) and points (54) by a defenseman.

The Goteberg, Sweden, native played in 1,109 career NHL games, collecting 535 points (119 goals, 416 assists) and 519 penalty minutes. Johansson was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the first round (14th overall) of the 1985 NHL Entry Draft and was traded to Washington on March 7, 1989, with a second-round pick (Byron Dafoe) in the 1989 draft for Clint Malarchuk, Grant Ledyard and Washington’s sixth choice in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. The 5’11”, 203-pound blueliner played for Buffalo and Washington before retiring on August 7, 2003. Johansson worked briefly as a scout for the Capitals before coming out of retirement to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs at the end of the 2003-04 season. He appeared in eight regular-season games (collecting six assists) and four playoff games before retiring at the end of the season.

Johansson represented Sweden at numerous international tournaments, including the 1983 and 1984 (gold medal) European Junior Championships, the 1986 and 1987 (bronze medal) World Junior Championships, the 1991 Canada Cup, the 1991 (gold medal) and 1992 (gold medal) World Championships, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

Following his playing career, Johansson became a color commentator and provided analysis for Swedish television for both the Swedish Elite League (SEL) and the NHL. He was an assistant coach for Frolunda of the SEL during the 2006-07 season before returning to broadcasting.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Green In

As predicted, the Caps were able to come to an agreement with UFA Mike Green. Per Caps' PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Mike Green to a three-year, $18.25 million contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Green will earn $6 million in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and $6.25 million in 2014-15.

“We are pleased to re-sign Mike Green to a new contract,” said McPhee. “Mike is one of the best young defensemen in the National Hockey League and is just entering his prime. He will continue to be a key part of our team moving forward.”

Green, 26, recorded seven points (three goals, four assists) and was a plus-five in 32 games with the Capitals last season. He finished the regular season ranked third on Washington in time on ice per game, skating an average of 21:02 per contest. Green missed 47 games due to injury in 2011-12. The blueliner added two goals and two assists as well as a plus-five rating in 14 postseason games with the Capitals, ranking second in points among Washington defensemen and tied for second on the team in playoff plus/minus.

The Calgary, Alberta, native has collected 251 points (82 goals, 169 assists) and a plus-62 rating in 398 career NHL games, all with Washington. He is one of just two active defensemen (Erik Karlsson) in the league to have registered a 70-point season and is the only active defenseman to have recorded two seasons of 70 points or more. Since the 2007-08 season, Green ranks fourth among NHL blueliners in points (236), second in goals (79) and his 0.77 points per game lead the league. The 6’1”, 207-pound defenseman is a two-time member of the NHL First All-Star Team and is a two-time Norris Trophy runner up. He was named to his first NHL All-Star Game in 2010-11 and was a finalist in back-to-back years (2010 and 2011) for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which is given to the player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community.

Green currently ranks seventh all-time in points by a Capitals defenseman and sixth in goals. His six overtime goals rank second all-time in Capitals history behind only Alex Ovechkin (12) and his plus-62 rating ranks tied for 12th. He is one of only three Capitals blueliners to have recorded 70 or more points in a single season (Larry Murphy, Kevin Hatcher and Scott Stevens) and one of just two defensemen to have scored 30 or more goals in a single campaign (Hatcher).

Green was originally drafted by Washington in the first round (29th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. He won a Calder Cup championship with Hershey of the American Hockey League in 2006 and helped the team reach the finals the following year (2007). Green won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2008 World Championships, recording the most points by a defenseman (12) while being named to the tournament all-star team. Green was named to the NHL Young Stars roster in 2006-07 after being named to the AHL All-Rookie Team in 2005-06 while with Hershey. Green spent a little more than four seasons with the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and helped Canada win a gold medal at the 2003 U-18 World Junior Championships.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Green Out?

The Washington Post's Capitals Insider reporter Katie Carrera reported that Capitals' defenseman Mike Green declined the qualifying offer at the 5pm deadline Sunday. Per WaPo CI's:
Defenseman Mike Green declined the Capitals’ qualifying offer of a one-year contract worth $5 million. He had until 5 p.m. Sunday to accept the deal, as was the case with all restricted free agents considering qualifying offers.
Both sides can continue to negotiate and from the sound of it, George McPhee seems positive that Green will be a Cap next season. Both Green and Carlson were offered one year deals. The Capitals also have the right to retain the player by matching any contract given to them by any other team.

It is clear that Green is looking for a more long term contract, be it with the Capitals or else where. McPhee's offer is just a first step in the process, sort of a ante in poker. Now both sides can sit at the table and negotiate more time or more money or both.

While Green is probably worth the $5 million or so a year, his production has tailed off some in recent seasons due to mostly injuries. He had a career year in '08-'09 where he scored a jaw dropping 31 goals and had 73 points that season. That playoff year was the year of "they don't make my stick anymore" and he only contributed for 9 points (1g, 8a) and was a -5 in seven game series with the Rangers and the Penguins.

From that point on, the numbers drop. Just 19 goals with 75 games played in '09-'10 (but had 76 points, 3 better than the previous season),  8 goals with 49 games played in '10-'11, and just 3 goals and 7 points total in 32 games last season.

When the Capitals needed him the most, Green's performance in the playoffs was less then stellar after the '08-'09 post season. The first two years of his NHL playoff career, he amassed 16 points through 3 series with all of them going to a game seven (he was a combined -7). After that, he has only mustered 13 points in the last three post seasons, 5 series in total including scoring only 3 assists, zero goals against Montreal in '09-'10 and only registering one assist and was a -3 in three games against the Tampa Bay Lightning who swept the Capitals in '10-'11.

Whether it ranges from excuses on poor performance or fighting the injury bug, Green still banks on the magical season where he put up 31 goals and led all defensemen that season. But he has done little since to warrant a contract more than what he is making now.

What Mike Green brings to the Capitals (or has brought) is a genuine threat on the power play. A defenseman that is not afraid to pinch in from the blue line to get that killer shot. Great hands, and offensive minded, Green added a layer to a defensive squad that propelled the Capitals into the playoff picture in the first place. But with injuries mounting, and the lack of production in the post season, is he more a liability? Can the Capitals live with out Green?

There is no reason to panic that Green is gone for good. With time left to negotiate, McPhee has in many ways helped to build a team around him in many ways. If Green can stay in a good mental place, and stay healthy, there is no reason he can't make a run at 30 goals again. With a power play specialist as a head coach in Adam Oates, there is no need for Green to head to the door just yet.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Caps Sign First Rounder

Filip Forsberg made a good impression. So good in fact the Capitals have signed him to an entry level contract. GM George McPhee had said that the talented forward would spend another year in Sweden, but this contract may make his appearance in a Caps sweater a sooner rather than later. Per Caps PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed forward Filip Forsberg to a three-year, entry-level contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Forsberg will earn $832,500 at the NHL level and $70,000 at the AHL level.

Forsberg, 17, was drafted by Washington in the first round (11th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft last month in Pittsburgh. He was listed as the top-ranked European skater heading into the draft according to NHL Central Scouting. Forsberg was the youngest player on Team Sweden at the 2012 World Junior Championships, helping his team capture their first World Junior gold medal since 1981 by recording one assist in six tournament games. The Ostervala, Sweden, native collected 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in 43 games with Leksand in the second division of Sweden’s senior league in 2011-12. Forsberg also captained Sweden to a silver medal in the 2012 World Under-18 Junior Championships, registering five goals and two assists in six games while being named the tournament’s best forward.

The 6’2”, 181-pound center won a silver medal at the 2011 World Under-18 Championships, recording six points (four goals, two assists) in six games, and at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial collecting five points (four goals, one assist) in six games.

He is currently participating in his first Capitals Development Camp and is expected to be assigned to Leksand for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wolski In

Caps sign Wojtek Wolski today. The deal is one year worth $600 K. Per Caps PR:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed left wing Wojtek Wolski to a one-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Wolski, 26, recorded 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 31 games with the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers in 2011-12. He was acquired by Florida on Feb. 25, 2012, from New York in exchange for defenseman Mike Vernace and a third-round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft. In addition Wolski appeared in six games with Connecticut of the American Hockey League (AHL), tallying three goals and two assists.

The 6’3”, 215-pound forward has collected 258 points (95 goals, 163 assists) and is a plus-16 in 424 career NHL games with Colorado, Phoenix, the New York Rangers and Florida. Wolski was originally drafted by Colorado in the first round (21st overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft. Four current Capitals were drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft (Alex Ovechkin, Wolski, Jeff Schultz and Mike Green) and Wolski ranks tied for sixth in scoring among his 2004 draft class. He registered career highs in goals (23), assists (42) points (65) and games played (80) and tallied four goals and one assist in seven playoff games during the 2009-10 season with Colorado and Phoenix. In 29 career playoff games Wolski has recorded eight goals and nine assists.

The Zabrze, Poland, native participated in the 2007 NHL YoungStars game with fellow Capitals Mike Green. He was named to the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) First All-Star Team in 2004 and in 2006 won the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding player, as well as the William Hanley Trophy as the OHL’s most sportsmanlike player. He was also named to the OHL’s Second All-Star Team in