Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Since the Caps last played hockey– sometime during the Medieval Warm Period, they’ve lost a few guys. Alex Semin left via free agency for Carolina, Mike Knuble returned to the exotic beauty of Michigan, Tomas Vokoun made a pit stop in Breezewood before heading up to Pittsburgh, and Dennis Wideman got such a ludicrous and undeserved payday in Calgary that you’d think he had left congress to start lobbying for the MPAA.
You’re gonna see some new faces on Saturday night, so here’s a quick refresher on the additions the Capitals made just before the lockout sucked the last ounce of joy out of the universe.
Mike Ribeiro, #9, Center
The fabled second-line center. Ribeiro comes to the Caps from Dallas, where he was a star in both name and deed. We can expect the man whom Oates mistook for a rapper (is it the chain?) to anchor a line in the top six, where he will be expected to reinvigorate the Caps offense. I’m really worried I’m gonna spell his name wrong (e before i, e before i).
Wotjek Wolski #17, Left Wing
Let’s start with this: pronounce the Ws like Vs. Wolski did some cool stuff in Colorado, but he kinda washed out in New York and Florida. He’s had some abdominal or groin injury that cost him a chance at a big contract, allowing George McPhee so snatch him up cheap. Wolski is playing on a one-year, $600k– making him a low-risk/decent-reward gamble. I think we will see Wolski do some great things — but only if he’s getting a chance in the top six.
Joey Crabb #15, Right Wing
I think I’m in the minority here, but I like the Joey Crabb signing. Crabb is a grinder, a responsible shutdown forward who could free up guys like Joel Ward to do more offensive production. But it’s not all smiles and sunshine; I think I speak for all of us in expressing my existential dread at the forthcoming puns coming out of Adam Vingan’s twitter feed.
Jack Hillen #38, Defense
Hillen did not get a qualifying offer from Nashville, and so George McPhee plucked the defender from the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka. A few weeks ago, Hillen seemed like a crucial addition to the Caps’ defensive depth, but if Tom “Iron Groin” Poti is truly in good health, Hillen could be riding the pine for a bit. That’s a good thing.
What are your expectations for these guys? And what kind of awful puns will Adam drop on us this year?