Per The Washington Post, Tarik El Bashir is reporting that Michael Nylander and his $4.875 Million Annual Cap Hit has finally been removed from the Caps roster. He was assigned on a standard loan to the Detroit Red Wings AHL Affiliate Grand Rapid Griffins where he can still finish the year with over 230 Assists if he tries. Can I have a Hallelujah?

Though the Russian Machine firmly believes that George McPhee and Bruce Boudreau are mostly to blame for this bad relationship – meaning they bought expensive goods they never really needed in the first place and then played “hardball” when it officially backfired – we’re happy to see the hard-headed Nyles still has some pride left in himself and wants to continue playing hockey while collecting a weekly paycheck most of us don’t make in a year.

Look we get it. The Caps proved they could play without Nylander in 2007-08 when he was out almost the entire season with a rotator cuff injury. And we also get that when Nylander was healthy, he had one of the worst plus minuses on the team. But George, why did you give him a no-trade clause? Can you or someone in the organization please explain that?

Now some of you may say, “Hey, we had to get arid of Nyles because he basically ignored what Bruce coached him to do.” Okay, maybe that’s fair. If you don’t get what I mean, check out the dry-erase board graphics below the jump:

Boudreau’s philosophy

Notice Bruce wants his players to attack.

Notice Bruce wants his players to attack.

Nyles’s philosophy

And Notice Nylander likes spinning in circles

And Notice Nylander likes spinning in circles

Moving forward, you might be wondering what the Russian Machine is excited about now? Well, what we’re really looking forward to is the soap-opera-like press conference tomorrow with Capitals GM George McPhee in which he tries to completely throw the player he begged to sign here under the bus with a statement he already memorized 3 months ago. Oh man, can’t wait. Then it’ll be Nyles turn to rip the organization, and potentially air dirty laundry about Bruce Boudreau and how he mishandled him. Awesome.

Then the Capitals PR Staff can twitter about how unfair Nylander is being and defend Bruce Boudreau by saying “I wouldn’t question a former Jack Adams Winner,” which might I add is never really a good defense of anything. Yes, he’s a good coach, but even good coaches can make mistakes – like putting a rusty Mike Knuble on the first line after a three week layoff and irritating our second best player. (Yes, we saw Sasha cursing at Brooks Laich after Laich threw a play offsides by maybe 35 ft)

Then maybe – if we’re lucky – we’ll get a Ted’s Take post where Ted Leonsis tries to be fair to both sides and says “as an organization this is something we just had to do.” True, but it still doesn’t explain the no-trade clause.

So what does this all mean? Absolutely nothing for this year. The Capitals lost Chris Bourque because of the Nylander contract situation which I noted previously on another wonderful website, and then got him back from the Penguins earlier this week in a waiver claim. The real gain is next year and beyond where they need to resign restricted free agents Alex Semin and Niklas Backstrom. Both players are due hefty pay raises and will be a huge part of a potential Capitals Dynasty – well, if it ever happens.

So to recap, the fan in me is really excited about this like everybody else. Why? Because the stakes were very high. Realize the mortal people in our organization made a mighty big mistake, realized it, and fixed it. And it might have bought us enough Cap Space to win a Stanley Cup in the not so distant future. Давайте Праздновать!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • IRockTheRed

    Actually, m’dear, Boudreau was not the coach when Nylander was signed, and signing him -at that time- was hailed as a very good move.

    We couldn’t know he’d have a season-ending rotator cuff tear, or that Hanlon would be sacked the following season… It wasn’t a mistake when we signed him; it turned into one when even after an 8-game benching, Nylander either couldn’t, or wouldn’t, adapt his playing style to what a Boudreau-coached team needed.

    I’m very glad this was all handled professionally and mostly behind-the-scenes without dragging dirty laundry in front of the fans. Good on both side for that.