We feel pretty good about Evgeny Kuznetsov, the Capitals’ first-round draft pick. Why?
Sure, maybe it was stating the obvious when we said the second-line center the Caps should target is Matthew Lombardi, but it’s more than that. If we look at the numbers, I think he is the ONLY viable option in free agency.
Luckily our first line center is set in stone for the next decade. You may have heard of him; he’s kind of a big deal. But then there is quite a drop off:
First, the Montreal Canadiens signed leading scorer Tomas Plekanec to a six-year, $30 million contract on Tuesday. Then, the San Jose Sharks sign Patrick Marleau to a four-year contract a week before he would have become a free agent. This eliminated the two best (albeit pricey) options the Caps had to fulfill a glaring need: second-line center.
So we panic right? I mean, it’s over, Johnny, right?
Is this Washingtonian photo contest (where my picture “ Taking in the Sights” is in second place and could use some votes) over? Nope. (Mostly because voting ends June 30th. Seriously go vote for me.)
Bet you’re asking, “Then who, hot shot?”
We’ll tell you who.
Jay Mohr, star of something, hosted the NHL Awards in Las Vegas tonight. We watched with bated breath as three beloved players vied for recognition from the league’s notables. Alex Ovechkin was up for the Lindsay (née Pearson) and the Hart, Mike Green for the Norris, and Jose Theodore for the Masterton. Beyond the winners and loser, there’s some mighty important breaking news announced tonight, and we’ll tackle it all past the jump.
Readers, we politely remind you of our policy regarding hockey rumors from Russia: Lie down until it goes away.
The news out of Russia today has been dissonant. The KHL club Atlant, based in the Moscow region, updated its roster with one noteworthy addition. According to atlant-mo.ru, Atlant has signed three-time Calder Cup Champion Hershey Bear Chris Bourque to a two-year deal.
From the press release:
American forward Chris Bourque agreed on our offer and signed a contract with our club today. Terms of this agreement are intended for two years.
Later, in an interview with Tim Leone of The Patriot-News, the playoffs MVP said he hasn’t signed a contract yet: “It’s not official. . . I’m talking to them. But nothing official, that’s for sure.”
Has Atlant jumped the gun? Is Chris entertaining other offers? Or is he just waiting for the right time to let us down easy. If the news is true, we’ll be very bummed that Chris is leaving Hershey. On the other hand, that KHL contract probably comes with a car, a condo, and a handle of excellent vodka.
What do you make of the news?
The NHL has announced the regular season schedule, and we’re not exactly happy about it.
Follow us past the jump. We’ve got the whole schedule, our complaints, and then the first EFF YEAH moment of the ’10-’11 season waiting for you.
It was only one week ago that the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup in a 4-0 rout. It was their second championship in as many years, their third in five years, and the eleventh in franchise history. Andrew Gordon writes to share his thoughts on the championship, the celebration, and what happens now.
Life has a million ways to make you feel good, and a million ways to make you feel miserable. In my 24 years, I have found only one way to feel like a champion (make that two ways now). It’s a feeling that all players at all levels try to put into words but can’t ever find the exact way to express it.
It’s a combination of happiness, excitement, relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and complete bliss all mixed together and topped with a touch of “thank God it’s over.”
A championship win is so much different than a regular-season win because there is nothing left to accomplish after it’s over. There is no refocusing for your next opponent. No pasta meal waiting for you before tomorrow’s game. No more playing through injury or sickness. It’s all over, and you have nothing else to think about. It’s as if half of your brain suddenly has nothing to do, so it just shuts down and lets the 8-year-old in you run wild.
In the championship moment, nothing matters except the guys around you. I know there was some intense crowd noise as the buzzer sounded in Hershey, especially compared winning on the road in Manitoba, but I don’t remember hearing a sound. It is like I blocked out everything else in the building except the pile of players huddled around the crease. As you fly over the bench, all you want is to be there with the boys, celebrating what you have just accomplished.
When my career is over, I might not remember the score of the game, but I’ll always remember the feeling of jumping that bench (and falling on my face, if you watch the tape) and sprinting towards the rest of the guys.
Mike Green needs help (Rick Stewart/Getty Images).
This week, the Caps free agent picture became clearer as the organization announced they will not be renewing the contracts of defenseman Joe Corvo and forwards Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker, and Tarik El-Bashir reported that José Theodore‘s tenure with the Washington Capitals may be over.
All this leads to more speculation as to what the roster will look like next year. ESPN and the writers of Puck Prospectus have addressed the offseason needs for all 30 NHL teams and surprised no one by stating that the Caps need a shutdown guy on defense.
The Bruins signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year contract extension, taking off a likely target unrestricted free agent acquisition during the offseason and leaving only a few top four shutdown defensemen left in the UFA pool.
The Caps need as close to a sure thing as you can get. They can’t afford to let age (Sergei Gonchar) or injuries (Paul Martin, Willie Mitchell, and Mark Eaton) detract from the production of their top four defensemen during next year’s inevitable Cup run.
With Tarik El-Bashir reporting “the team does not, in fact, plan to pursue the Ottawa blue liner [Volchenkov],” that leaves just two defensemen that can fill a Top 4 spot. And more specifically, the top pairing with Mike Green:
Last night was the Hershey Bears Calder Cup party at Giant Center. RMNB could not attend, but our spies are everywhere. From the aperture of Kyle Mace comes a parade of Bears images. Let’s take a second to appreciate Alexandre Giroux‘s aviator sunglasses, maniacal beard, and spraying bottles akimbo. The man is one bass solo away from joining Motorhead.
Here is Kyle’s video:
Glorious stills after the jump!