Photo: Chris Gordon

We’re 31 days out from the NHL trade deadline on Monday, March 2, 2015, which is also Method Man’s birthday.

This Washington team is pretty good, and they’re likely to secure a playoff spot, but they could always be better. Their defense corps is solid for the first time in decades, but they’re one injury away from disaster. And the high price tag on that defense has left the forward lines a bit shallow.

With just $2.5 million of cap space (according to NHL numbers), the Capitals don’t have a lot of room with which to get better. That might cause Brian MacLellan, heading into his first trade deadline as general manager, to make some deals. With seven Capitals heading into unrestricted free agency this summer and another eight looking to negotiate new deals as restricted free agents, there’s a lot of potential moves that could be made.

With all that in mind, I’ve asked Ian and Pat to join me in playing thumbs-up/thumbs-down on every Caps free agent.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

brian-maclellan-forsberg

Photo: Capitals Instagram

Yesterday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the media about the first half of the Caps’ season. A large chunk of the conversation revolved around Mike Green and his upcoming UFA status, which Adam Vingan documented on NBC Washington.

MacLellan was also briefly asked about the lopsided Filip Forsberg trade and what he thought of him as a player. He replied honestly.

“I think he’s played well,” MacLellan said. “Obviously he’s one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy.”

He continued, “If you’re asking if I would like to do a do-over [on the trade]? Yeah. Sure.” Then he nodded his head a few times and flashed a coy smile. This became a national story.

Is it even fair for MacLellan to have to answer to this deal nearly two years after it was signed off on by his then-boss George McPhee? RMNB investigates.

Continue Reading

biznasty

Photo: Kevin Hoffman

Former Coyotes enforcer Paul Bissonnette, who once looked like this, opened up to Kings blog Mayor’s Manor on Wednesday about his difficult offseason. Biznasty, who The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt reported in August was close to signing with Washington, confirms that yeah, that totally was the plan, except the Caps couldn’t find the salary space to make it happen.

Bissonnete reveals that the Caps were trying to move veteran defenseman John Erskine to make room for him.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

CapsLockerRoom (2 of 5)

Photos by Chris Gordon.

In the last couple days, we’ve made a lot of Barry Trotz’s new tough, tiring training camp. The outlook is part of a trend of forced seriousness as Trotz and Brian MacLellan look to turn the Caps from underachievers to a spring success story. Trotz’s psychological makeover manifested itself in the latest way Sunday, when the players stepped into the team’s new locker room at Verizon Center for the first time. In additional to new stalls, the room features a large version of the team’s secondary logo on the floor, which was roped off. “Don’t step on the logo,” members of the media were warned by a team spokesman upon entering the room.

“I think there’s a pride we should have in our organization,” Trotz said. “It’s about what’s on the front of the jersey, not what’s on the back of the jersey. What’s on the front of the jersey is very important and should be a little sacred. Plus it makes the room look great.”

“Few things are sacred now in sport and I want our logo to be something that we’re very proud of,” he concluded.

Here are some photos of the new room.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Trotz

Photo: Chris Gordon

As the temperatures outside reached the 90s, Caps prospects and free agent invitees gathered inside a freezing Kettler Capitals Iceplex Monday for the first day of the team’s annual Development Camp. Afterwards, head coach Barry Trotz met the media. After focusing on the young players who will be Arlington this week, the conversation turned to the recent signings of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Orpik’s 5-year, $27.5 million deal has been much maligned, as Orpik is an aging poor possession player.

Last week, new Caps GM Brian MacLellan defended Orpik’s numbers, saying he is relied upon for tough minutes and defensive zone starts. Trotz’s rationale for the signing was a little bit different than MacLellan’s, but probably just as disturbing to the Twitter intelligentsia.

“The effect is not going to be in goals and assists,” Trotz said. “It’s going to be in culture and winning and attitude.” Continue Reading

Trotz MacLellan (8 of 13)

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

On a hot late spring day a little over a month ago, Brian MacLellan met the media for the first time as general manager of the Washington Capitals. The move to hire him was surprising, with MacLellan’s only executive experience coming under his recently fired boss George McPhee. But in his first press conference, MacLellan conveyed a more analytic tone than McPhee. Capitals owner Ted Leonsis praised MacLellan as someone who would “refresh” an organization with an already strong core.

Many fans feared MacLellan would be a continuation of McPhee, accepting the status quo and perpetually insisting the Capitals could paper over their flaws. Instead, he has transformed the team in one day, spending a stunning $67.5 million.

“I think we had some needs and we addressed them,” MacLellan told reporters. “We had cap room. Ownership gave the green light to get to the cap and we spent the money where we thought we needed to spend it the most.”

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Words are Wind

“It’s going to be hard to take advantage of me.” – Brian MacLellan

Orpik. Five years. $5.5 million AAV.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Doesn’t Look Like Caps Will Re-sign Mikhail Grabovski

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the press after Friday night’s first round of the draft. He dropped this update on the pursuit to re-sign forward Mikhail Grabovski:

Thaaaaat’s not good.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Trotz MacLellan (11 of 13)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Early Monday, the Washington Capitals announced that they had promoted Ross Mahoney, who has been the Caps’ director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons, to the vacant assistant general manager position.

At 1pm, Caps GM Brian MacLellan held a conference call with reporters to talk about Mahoney’s promotion, but the discussion quickly turned to everything else.

Continue Reading

Trotz MacLellan (7 of 13)

Photo: Chris Gordon

Alex Ovechkin is the most important person under contract with the Washington Capitals, more pivotal than either the general manager or the head coach. Signed to a 13-year, $124 million dollar deal in 2008, Ovechkin has become the Caps. His jersey sales sustain the team off the ice while his goal scoring provides the plurality of their offense. The preeminent task for his coach, then, is to manage him effectively. Barry Trotz, hired Monday by Washington, will now have to do that.

“It starts with a relationship,” Trotz told reporters from the Verizon Center club level yesterday. “I know I’m going to work at that but it can’t happen until I have a relationship with him because there’s no trust. For me Alex has to trust that I’m giving him the best advice for the team, for him, to grow his game. I don’t know Alex as well. Going against him, I know what he does well, but I need to know Alex the person. Coaching’s not just about Xs and Os, it’s about people.”

Continue Reading