8 Questions That Will Determine the Capitals’ Fate

It has been 19 days since a Caps game! Nineteen days! My memory is faltering. The names and faces are starting to blend together. Brooks Brouwer and Jason Johansson, right? No? Okay, maybe a refresher course is needed.

With 23 games left in the rego (yes, that word is sticking around) season, the Capitals sit precariously on the playoff bubble. Alex Ovechkin is blowing up nets, but the team as a whole is struggling. General manager George McPhee, rumored to be in the final year of his contract, has less than a week to improve his team before the trade deadline. Head coach Adam Oates has a wealth of information about his players that seems to be– at least partially– in conflict with how he has marshaled them thus far. And somewhere over the ocean, there’s a youngster with a visa and some unknown date circled on his calendar.

We’re going to get a lot of answers over the next few weeks. Those answers will tell us who this team truly is, so now seems like the right time to remind ourselves what the questions are.

Are the Capitals a good team?

2013-14 puck possession chart by ExtraSkater.com

2013-14 puck possession chart by ExtraSkater.com

The best predictor we’ve got for the Caps’ future success– in the regular season or beyond– is their shot-attempt differential. After a troubling start controlling around 43-47% of shot attempts, the Capitals have been bounding upwards since Christmas. Can they sustain outplaying their opponents? If so, this team may actually be as good as we hoped they’d be back in the summer.

Some of that answer will come down to individual achievement. The rest depends on chemistry and systems– how the coaches decree play should be run and how the players actually execute it. So far we’ve seen mixed results: solid output by the Ovechkin line and wherever Grabovski, Fehr, and Erat are, less so with everyone else– particularly the fourth line and the dreaded Black Hole pairing of Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer.

We’ll be tracking that on a game-by-game basis and in the weekly snapshot. You can also keep tabs using Extra Skater’s performance charts.

The Caps could get lucky and start scoring on every fifth shot and shutting out their opponents throughout March, but without fundamentally having the puck more than the other team, they won’t get where they want to go.

Is Alex Ovechkin the G.O.A.T.?

Ovechkin, after scoring goal number four on December 10th

Barring injury, Alex Ovechkin has a real good shot at winning his fourth “Rocket” Richard Trophy for most goals. He’s on target to hit 55 goals or more this season, which would be his highest total since the peak years of his early 20s. That’s already an impressive reversal of the historical trends for aging forwards and reason enough to call him one of the greats. Plus, if we adjust Ovi’s output for the reduced goal scoring of this era, he becomes one of the most prolific scorers of all time. That’s awesome.

Except he’ll need to be that good to help his team make the playoffs. Yes, Ovechkin has bucked trends of aging (or at least delayed it), Washington’s overall decline, and improved defensive coverage as part of his renaissance, but despite his individual achievements and the adversity he’s faced, most observers will consider Ovechkin among the all-time greats only if he leads his team to postseason success. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s the dumb, dumb world we live in.

Based on his shot volume, we can expect Ovi to keep his torrid scoring pace up, but that won’t be enough. He’ll need his teammates to find the net soon. They’ve still scored just 9 goals on 259 shots during 5v5– a 3.47 shooting percentage. The Caps’ postseason and Ovi’s legacy depend on that improving. And so does the topic of our next question…

Is George McPhee going “playoffs or bust” again?

From Monumental Video

Rumor has it George McPhee is in the final year of his contract. General Manager since 1997, McPhee is one of the longest tenured managers in the league. After an early rough patch and a fire sale, his team has made the playoffs every year since 2007-08. That said, the team has been unable to advance past the second round of the playoffs and has been in decline since around 2010 depending on how you squint your eyes. Now, thanks to the fierce competition of the new Metropolitan division, the Capitals are not guaranteed a playoff spot. Right now, it’s worse than a 1-in-5 chance.

We’ll be seeing tons of discussion over the next two weeks about whether or not the Capitals should be buyers at the trade deadline. Given McPhee’s contract situation, his perpetually sunny views of his team’s chances, and his six-year playoff streak, it’s obvious the Capitals won’t be selling. Whether you think that’s wise is a topic for the comments. McPhee is going to make moves; we just don’t know how drastic they’ll be. My guess: pretty drastic. If he stands pat, he’ll  have a lot to lose and little to gain.

And what will happen to McPhee once the season is over? Is a contract extension in the works? What is the ownership’s taken on the team’s performance and prospects? Can the Caps be considered a successful team if they make the postseason but are no longer true Cup contenders? Also, who is Ernie Grunfeld and why does that matter? Let me know your thoughts below.

How will Adam Oates manage his goalies?

Holtby and Boston goalie Tuukka Rask

You’re not supposed to play goalies in back-to-back situations. The effect isn’t drastic, but the data are telling: goalies don’t save as many shots if they played the night before. This should just be standard operation procedure in the NHL.

And yet Adam Oates has been playing favorites all season: first with Braden Holtby, then with Philipp Grubauer. For a few years the Caps have had an economic and effective defensive tandem in net that they’ve rotated between to modest success. Under Adam Oates, rotation has all but ceased. It’s lead to dissension in the ranks, anxiety among fans, and a trade request via Michal Neuvirth’s agent.

In the final 23 games, will Adam Oates continue to ride the hot hand? And will he ride that hot hand into the postseason or into the ground?

What kind of player is Tom Wilson anyway?

Wilson and Connor Carrick (Photo: Chris Gordon)

Tom Wilson leads the Capitals in penalty minutes with 110, mostly thanks to his busy fight ticket. He’s also dead last in time on ice per game with just over 7 minutes. That is not a good thing for a rookie player.

We’ve been watching this since the middle of October, when I asked is Tom Wilson a power forward or a sideshow? That question has always had less to do with how Tom plays and more to do with how Adam Oates deploys him (i.e. not a lot and with Aaron Volpatti). So unfortunately, the answer has been the latter. So far.

In the final stretch, Oates will either give Wilson an opportunity or not. If we go by his quote in Barry Svrluga’s terrific feature for the Post, Oates wants Wilson to spread his wings and fly. “We have to find him more ice time,” Oates said.

Finding time is really easy actually. Adam Oates can snap his fingers in Florida today and magically Tom Wilson will be in the top six– at least for a few shifts. We shall see, but it’s up to him and no one else.

Is Brooks Laich on the rebound?

Photo: Chris Gordon

Measuring by the cap hit of injured players, the Caps have been the fifth luckiest team in the league this season, but that might be masking some bigger trouble. Important role players like Mike Green and Brooks Laich have struggled with injury. Neither has missed long stretches of play, but both have been afflicted to some extent.

With Laich in particular, the issue is extra sensitive. Laich carries a large salary to which he has so far not played equal: $4.5M AAV until 2017. His injury, sustained during the lockout while playing with the Kloten Flyers, almost wiped out his entire 2012-13 season. Since he’s returned, Laich has been one of the Capitals’ weakest possession players.

But he’s been ticking up in the stats a bit since the new year. If Laich can stay healthy and establish himself as a defensively minded third-line forward and special teams player, he could do terrific things for this team. If not, a contract buyout during the offseason is not out of the question.

That would be devastating.

Who’s the defense and are they good enough?

Photo: Chris, again

The Capitals have a solid top defensive pairing in Karl Alzner and John Carlson. After that it gets sketchy.

Mike Green has missed games to injury. Jack Hillen has been injured since the first week of the season. John Erskine is ranked 179th out of 230 D-men in puck possession and dropping. Dmitry Orlov had not been welcome in a Caps jersey until his contract nearly turned into a pumpkin. Nate Schmidt did good work in Washington but was sent down to Hershey for some reason.

The Caps have suited up 13 defencemen this season, but only two have stuck: Carlson and Alzner. If Green can get healthy and we can trust Orlov will be kept around, that’s an interesting second pairing with some offensive oomph. But the fifth and six spots are still a who’s who of overpaid veterans and unproven young bucks from Hershey. That isn’t gonna win a championship, and it just might cost the Capitals a shot at the postseason.

George McPhee has one week to make adjustments to his roster. If he makes any moves, I’d expect them here. After that, it’s all on the players and Adam Oates to get the absolute best out of whatever they’ve got. Can they do it?

Is Evgeny Kuznetsov a Washington Capital?

Kuznetsov in 2010 (Photo: Addison Huber)

Ahh, yes. Evgeny Kuznetsov (aka Kuzya, aka Zhenya) is a promising young player currently with Traktor Chelyabinsk in Russia’s KHL. I’ll try to keep this next part short.

He was drafted by the Caps in the first round of 2010. He came to dev camp. He stayed in Russia. He got hurt. He stayed in Russia. He did not attend dev camp. He stayed in Russia. He got hurt again. He hoped to make the Russian Olympic team. He stayed in Russia. He got hurt. He did not make the Russian Olympic team. He stayed in Russia.

Okay, here’s where we’re at now: Kuznetsov’s team is also on the playoff bubble, but their season is over way before the NHL’s is. If Traktor doesn’t make the postseason, it’s totally possible that Traktor and the KHL would let him join the Capitals as soon as next month.  If Traktor does make the playoffs, Kuznetsov might have to wait until summer to make the jump to North America.

Now, let’s get real. Kuznetsov is not going to fix the Caps. I’ll repeat that one: this guy is not made of magic. But he is a talented player who, if healthy, could be a shot in the arm for Washington’s top-six forwards.

So is he coming? I’ve got no gosh darn idea. Let’s just all stay mellow as we wait to see what happens next.


That’s everything I’ve got.

Your turn: What question did I miss? What do you think of the team’s chances for the playoffs? Of GMGM’s future with the organization? Of Ovi and Laich and Kuzya and everything else? We’ve got a couple months left to figure this thing out; let’s do it together.

Go Caps.

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  • MSF

    Can the Capitals get off to a hot start, and take 4 points from the Flyers? I truly feel like those two games will make or break us. If we don’t split or gain points in those two games, our motivation is going to get crushed.

  • JenCo

    My question, is more to you guys. What are the 3 changes you would like to see on this team, that would make the biggest impact on the teams playoff chances?

  • JenCo

    You have to think all the players are hungry. And like Brouwer said, he’s never NOT made the playoffs. I’m worried about Nicky the most. He hasn’t had to deal with the media like this ever. I hope it doesn’t get in his head. One thing is for sure, the sports teams in the area sure know how to make you clutch your chest.

  • Smed Baildog

    As if it wasn’t already apparent, I think the Olympics made it crystal clear that the Hockey Gods are extremely displeased with the Washington club for some reason.
    I fear that at this point some sort of bloody human sacrifice is required to save this team’s fate.

  • MSF

    Nicky is fine. He has support. It is an honor for his country to be so sad he could not play. Tough pill to swallow, but motivating none the less. Ovie is the one that may feel dejected and doubting his ability to win. We need him to show the passion…and we need him to lead.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    1. optimize lines: put best puck carriers with Ovi, separate Laich-Brouwer, scratch Volpatti and Erskine, call up Schmidt. Put out 4th line in defensive role exclusively.
    2. trade for defense. Dealing away bigger contracts if possible.
    3. adjust systems: abandon dump and chase, simplify neutral-zone play, empower defense to check farther away from their own net, handle breakouts more

  • MSF

    1) Stay out of the box 2) 1st line scoring not named Ovie 3) Play better with the lead

  • Jeremy in Bethesda

    Might wanna fix the typo in the title of this section Peter.

  • Jeremy in Bethesda

    That website may say we have an 18% chance for the playoffs, but the East is so close from 6-13 seeds (6 points separating 8 teams) that its impossible to tell. 3 days from now its possible the Caps are a point out of the 5th seed, and while that is unlikely, its very plausible that they are at least tied for 7 or 8. We are going to make the playoffs, but the question is can we compete with Pitt, Boston, TB. Ill be honest, im scared of Tampa. Really scared. And its not just that 2011 2nd round pain hasnt word off, i think with the way they match up vs the Caps that could happen again.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    How do you know I wasn’t writing that section heading in caveman voice?

    (…fixed, thanks)

  • Rob W.

    This trade deadline is going to be terrifying, I am praying McPhee doesnt damage our already shallow prospect pool.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I only have 1 change and it’s the same as last year: the team needs to be honest with itself and commit to a partial re-build so they can become a Stanley Cup winning team very soon in the future.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Thing about Nicky and the Olympics is that it can be read any way you want.

    If he struggles down the stretch: Nick Backstrom can’t shake Olympic hangover, withers in the light of media scrutiny

    If he excels: Backstrom invigorated by criticism, controversy

    Personally, I think there’s other stuff that’ll matter a lot more than whether or not he’s cranky about Sochi. His health, his linemates, etc. are gonna be a lot more impactful.

  • JenCo

    Do you think Ryan Callahan would be a fit? Or would he cost too much?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yeah, very good point about those %s. They are very volatile. Caps could b be up to 50% in a week. Anything can happen.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I don’t think he’s a good fit; no. Nice player, but if he wants $5M next season, he’s gonna have to look for it elsewhere.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    Will Brouwer score 20 goals this season, forcing Ian Oland to wear spandex to a game?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Looks like he’s on track to hit 19 goals. Whoops.

  • JenCo

    I’m so tired of waiting for next season!!! (just needed to scream that out loud for a moment)

  • ErskSMASH

    Dumping Laich and his contract would not be devastating, what would we lose? a couple handful of goals/assits…loosing Laich would be the BEST thing for this club imho

  • GregV

    Great analysis, and I think these Qs are right on. I would add one question, but it’s more a strategy one. What’s worse: playing like their asses are on fire and making playoffs, only to fall in the early stages, OR not making the playoffs at all? I’d say the answer depends on who gets asked. Fans, coach, manager, players, owner all have different perspectives on this, for different reasons. Personally, I think nothing is going to change with this team until we miss the playoffs. I’m not an advocate for blowing up and starting fresh like a lot of other folks are, but I think too many decision-makers (and maybe a few players) use *making* the playoffs as a measuring stick and won’t undertake any serious change in strategy until we fail on that measure.

  • Brackaphobia

    I’m calling the Ryan Miller trade going down somehow. #reversejinx

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    By the way – the Caps defense, while horrid, does have some good mid-level defense prospects now, beyond Dmitry Orlov. One or two of them need to develop into good players. That’s essential. Here’s a not-at-all arbitrary list of how I’d rank their long-term potential.

    Patrick Wey – Though he’s older than the other guys because of four years of college, he will continue to fill out and rapidly improve. He’s one of the smartest players in the organization (think Knuble, that’s who he reminds me of), and really knows how to play the game the right way. He plays a lot like Alzner and is a great puck mover. He just needs more confidence and get used to playing professional hockey. All the tools though for a shutdown guy are there for him.

    Nate Schmidt – Nate had great possession stats during his long stint in DC, but defensively he is prone sometimes to having big mistakes in the defensive zone. He needs to continue to get stronger, but he is the best puck mover out of the bunch. His size is a concern.

    Connor Carrick – Size is also a concern for Carrick, but he’s been proving his doubters wrong for the last 3 or 4 years. During his time in Washington, he’s already shown much better positioning in front of the net. While he still gets pushed around, the better positioning and boxing out has helped him eons already. He’s a great puck mover, but also has tons of skill on offense. Will Carrick turn into Brian Rafalski or be a total wash-out? Next year should tell us a lot more.

    Madison Bowey – Bowey is rapidly developing in the WHL. Another great second round pick for the Caps.

    Cam Schilling – He sure can skate,skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, skate, but I think he is a career minor leaguer.

    Tomas Kundratek – He’s pretty old as prospects go, but here’s hoping for a full recovery from him soon.

    In conclusion, the Caps could have one or two of these guys develop in the next few years into full time players, but they still need another shutdown guy IMO (and need to get arid of Erskine as soon as humanly possible).

    Also in conclusion, the Caps cannot trade Wey or Schmidt at the deadline. Can not.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    We should probably like — buy the spandex suit now. Just in case.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Yeah also that “media crush” was a 4 minute press conference in DC with mostly softball questions. It’s already blown over IMO.

  • Brackaphobia
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    I hope the ladies of RMNB don’t see this.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    We may need to revise the terms a bit, as it looks like we’ll miss the last game as we usually do (plus technically the last game counts as the regular season so he could hypothetically score #20 then). We’ll figure something out though.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Buying him out would be devastating for Brooks and his fans.

  • JenCo

    I think it helps that everyone agrees he was shafted by this rule technicality.

  • ErskSMASH

    true, i say get rid of laich and use that money to get a legit top 4 dman so that ersk wont get villified anymore for being put in situations out of his talent level… let him be hardnosed 3rd/4th line Dman and do what he does best, make other ppl bleed their own blood

  • katzistan

    Tom Wilson good. Fire bad!

  • Matt Lauer

    THAT LAST SENTENCE.

  • Matt Lauer

    It’s true, although I think it’s probably one of the smarter hockey moves the team could make at this point.

  • bggb

    These are exactly the problems I see as well.

  • swhirly

    When we buy, which we will, who goes? Ward? Chimmer? For who? Andrew MacDonald – who has glaring weaknesses? Looks like we are set to give more than we get to bolster our D. Nerve-wracking.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    Okay deal.

  • DJ Jones

    Agreed on alot of what you say. Weys play has improved since coming back from DC. Kundratek is coming off injury so hopefully he has a good recovery. Carrick is about as big as Martin St.Louis, not ideal in a D-Man we’ll see how he does. What do you think they do with Hillen after this season? Can’t judge the guy because he’s been hurt more than half of both seasons

  • yv

    Good questions no answers yet. it looks like we will see most of answers within 1 week.
    As in the past with SE division, I think Caps chances to make playoffs lays squarely whether they will grab second or third places in the Metro. And their chances to do this much higher than to catch last 8th WC seat for which to many teams (6) competing and Caps don’t have tiebreaker against any of them. Just beat twice Flyers within next week and Caps would be in control of their destiny.
    It seems that chances that Traktor will make playoffs becoming 50/50 after today. They need to win all remaining 3 games to grab 8th place and that would be a daunting task. So, Kuzya might become Caps earlier than I thought before, with the last game March 4th.
    Quite an interesting week to expect.

  • Josh Carey

    I don’t think that they will buy out Laich. He’s proved very valuable when healthy, and the fact is he just hasn’t been healthy in over a year. If anyone gets bought out, my money is on Erat/Erskine. They’ll give Laich a chance to prove his worth when he’s healthy next year.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com Ian Oland

    He’s signed through next year.

    http://www.capgeek.com/player/1095

    Beyond that, I’m skeptical he stays beyond that, but we’ll see.

    He’s a good, veteran player (when he’s healthy) and makes smart decisions. He’s one of those unsung player types that you don’t even realize is on the ice when he has a good game. His size is his liability, but he could really help stabilize things when he gets back and is feeling good again.

    I had completely written him off for this season. Huge props to him for working hard and getting himself back so quick.

  • riggorules

    You know, I’ve always scoffed at the Fire GMGM! crowd, but I’m beginning to see their side. He’s hit some high pick draft home runs (Ovi, Nicky), but also has big strike outs (Pokulok, Eminger, Gustafsson). Teams like Chicago and Boston that have surpassed the Caps have done very well in finding good players in later rounds. Holtby (and Perreault) are the only late picks McPhee has hit on.

    I found the Erat trade and Wilson/Perreault move confusing (both at the time and in hindsight), and his public assessments of the team are disturbing.

    That said, if he brings in Alex Edler or Dan Girardi, maybe my faith can be restored.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Normally GMGM waits until the last nano-second to pull the trigger on trades. This leaves me watching John Walton’s draft show with Alan May and perplexing questions to these gentlemen. But we do have a chance for greatness….like 1 in 10,000 :)

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Edler I can see but at a heavy asking price…but Dan Girardi theres a name. Maybe he can shake off the hideousness and bain of the caps playoffs hopes known as the New York Rangers…

  • ErskSMASH

    i can see buying out erat considering hes got a hefty contract (4.5 mil) but his contract is up next summer, ersk makes a measly 2 mil this year and 2 next year before becoming a free agent, so why waste the one buyout you have on either…laich is a 4.5 mil per year weight on this organization until 2017…gambling 4.5 mil a year over the next few years that laich is gonna perform at his pre 2011 level is not a smart move imo, this seems like a no brainer considering how much cap space we have (or dont have rather)

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    I have actually concocted a scenario in which this trade is good. Maybe I’ll write it up this weekend.

  • Diller M

    I agree but would like to add a caveat, we need to choose an identity before we rebuild. High scoring puck possesion? Low scoring grinders? Dump and Chase? Please make a decision and build around that, with a clear picture of what we want. PROACTIVE not REACTIVE!

  • riggorules

    Thinking about it more, a mini-rebuild is my vote. Re-sign Grabovski, see if there are any youthful return for Erat, Laich, Brouwer, Ward, Chimera. Maybe.

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    I saw that the Vancouver Canucks have the “green-men,” another spandex clad pairing going to all of their home games heckling penalty box minions. Will the brouwer-rangers ever come down from the clouds of the 400′s and plant yourself up on the glass?

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Yeah I see this happening eventually. I think it is hard for capitals fans and loyalty measures when concerning older players. You have to value them based on usage not on popularity. We have an issue with that :)

  • Brouwer Rangers

    If this is you offering to pay for tickets for us to sit next to the penalty box or behind the visitor’s bench, this is us accepting.

  • DJ Jones

    I never realized until I just looked at Hillens size. Him and Erskine both got 2yr deals last season, Hillen missed half the season and Erskine played in 10 games before getting the deal, quick trigger GMGM. Both lefties as well. In an ideal world, what is the defensive pairings you’d project as being good? Current Caps and prospects playing in Hershey

  • JoeA

    I heard somewhere (i.e. every home Caps game for the last 5 years) that life is a game of inches.

    So is hockey.

    Because in either game, life or hockey, the margin for error is so small.

    I mean one half step too late or too early you don’t quite make it.

    One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it.

    The inches we need are everywhere around us.

    They are in ever break of the game, every minute, every second.

    On this team, they need to fight for that inch.

    On this team, they need to tear themselves, and everyone around them to pieces for that inch.

    They need CLAW with their finger nails for that inch.

    Cause we know when we add up all those inches, that’s going to make the difference between WINNING and LOSING, between LIVING and DYING.

    Now Oats can’t make them do it.

    They gotta look at the guy next to them.

    Look into his eyes.

    Now I think they are going to see a guy who will go that inch with them.

    They are going to see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, he is gonna do the same thing for him.

    Now, whatta they gonna do?

  • Barrett

    I’ve been hoping for Dan Girardi for months.

  • Barrett

    True, but the buyouts stimulate that he still gets paid by the organization. The question is will Ted Leonsis want to fork out a good chunk of cash to pay for a player for three years who isn’t even here?

  • Patrick Neimeyer

    Only in dream. I will attempt to coerce Ian and Peter to give a portion of their 1.5 Billion Dollar net-worth to the brouwer-rangers “i want to sit on the glass,” fund :)

  • Jaime

    Some of us can watch male dominated sports without being crippled by silly crushes. ; )

  • Thomas Conner

    Yes please. Definitely would be interested in seeing that because I don’t understand how that’s possible.

  • Barrett

    Looks like Martin Erat still wants to be traded, per Katie Carrera of the Washington Post, and it sounds like McPhee is open to the idea.

    Would anyone think trading a 1st round pick to the NY Islanders for left handed defenseman Andrew MacDonald is a bad idea?

    What would you offer the NY Rangers for Dan Girardi and would you pay him the 6yr $5.5mil contract he wants?

    Any thoughts on Dmitry Kulikov of the Panthers?

    I don’t know if George McPhee is going to be around next year, but if he isn’t Ted Leonsis could go after Bernard King to pair with the Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld. Bring back the late ’70s!

  • ErskSMASH

    true, but its either pay him not to be here or pay him to be here and take up cap space while contributing a negligible amount to the team, both compared to what hes done recently and to what another player could do if we used his cap space on.. i guess a lot of it boils down to how much of a J R Moneybags ted is

  • Rhino40

    nnnnn…..NNNNNNNNN…..NNNNNNNN!!

  • Andrew Walker

    Oh how I love this blog.

  • Dan

    Just one spandex suit? Are you going to share it betwixt the two of you?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    hahahahaha

  • X

    How much would Alexander Edler cost?

  • Lawrence

    Someone please tell me what g.o.a.t stands for? I feel so ashamed for not knowing this…

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Greatest
    Of
    All
    Time

    (tongue in cheek)

  • Shaun Phillips

    RIP Phil.

  • Roy Schue

    Yes, please do. That would make for a great read.

  • Matthew Kory

    “Caps trade Martin Erat, Aaron Volpatti, and John Erskine for Ryan Miller”

  • Brackaphobia

    Write away, we will read it!

  • JenCo

    Feeling super better about this now, at least. LOL

  • JenniferH

    My sister (who got me into the Caps) ADORES Girardi and would be beyond thrilled if he joined the Caps. That’s all I know about him.

  • JenniferH

    I’m biased obviously, but it would break my heart. I’ll never see Holts play but for once in a full moon. And it will continue to be frustrating because his play was screwed over and this goalie situation was mucked up by the very people who are in charge of keeping things on keel. Grr.

  • Brouwer Rangers

    What’s his pace now!? Spoiler alert: 21(.87)!!! Hahaha @ianoland:disqus