D.J. King: Did the Caps Need a Regulator?

Since Donald Brashear parted company with the team in 2009, we’ve been hearing that the Caps need an enforcer. Apparently to sate these voices, GMGM picked up Dwayne “D.J.” King during the offseason.  Before Tuesday, all we really knew of the guy is that he does not provide a blockbuster interview. But during  Tuesday’s game with the Bruins, we saw D.J.’s expertise in action.  Without any clear provocation, King and Shawn Thornton sparred at center ice.

Washington Post’s Katie Carrera observed,

After his first fight in Washington, it’s hard to imagine many teams will want to take many liberties against the Capitals this season when King has dressed for a game.

This is the good-as-gospel rationale about enforcers we keep hearing: by virtue of having one on the roster, our guys won’t get smacked around quite so much. At the risk of echoing  a lovely piece by Stephen Pepper on Japers’ Rink last year, I just don’t see it.

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We Got it Made: 5 Keys to Caps vs. Habs

Alex Semin Goes Strong to the Net Against the Montreal Canadiens.

Thursday will mark the fifth time the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals face off this season.  The Internets are awash with intelligent analyses and strong opinions, and we were feeling left out.  So we got the RMNB team together and pounded a bunch of latte macchiatos with guarana infusions.

All we could come up with is five smart points that will characterize the series and then a handful of jokes.  Pity us and read on.

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USA Network Pilot Season Will Include NHL-based Hourlong

Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood provides this summary:

Chris “Stick” Blake is a player in the NHL prominently featured in the majority of the top 10 hockey fights on YouTube. He just got suspended from his team, and now has to attend court ordered anger management classes. He’s not a bad guy… he just loses it when people are bullied. After an old friend shows up with a life-threatening problem, Stick focuses his considerable energies on solving it and discovers a new line of work—helping people that the law can’t. From writers Mark Altman & Steve Kriozere (“Castle”) and Executive Producers Steve Stark (“Medium,” “Girlfriends”) and Russ Buchholz (FACING KATE). From Universal Cable Productions.

This raises many questions:

  • Will the NHL license/endorse a show whose main character is a shamed ex-player famous for fighting?
  • Will that player have been suspended under the new headshot rule?
  • Can the player be a Capital? (Please!) Will the show be set in D.C. (or Vancouver passing for D.C.)?
  • Can Chris Simon act?  Is Donald Brashear available for cameos? (Answer: yes)
  • If picked up, how many episodes in before an ice skate is used as a murder weapon? If it happens, even odds that the victim is an official.

Just because a show is picked up in pilot season does not guarantee it ever gets produced or makes it to air.  In fact, most shows that we hear about are so apocalyptically awful, we never here from them again.  We’ll keep you posted on STICK.

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Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Best Links Of The Week

This week there’s one link in particular that should lead to some debate; whether the Capitals would be better off signing Nicklas Backstrom to a long term contract instead of Alex Semin.

There’s also a bit on one Cap’s under-appreciated skill, which Olympic team has the highest paid players, how to go about building a team, and who the top fighters since the lockout are.

I should note that I don’t think fighting is a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but I do find it entertaining (when it’s done well).

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Do The Caps Need An Enforcer? Russian Machine Says Sorta

It’s a question that was posed on Capitals Insider last week and last time I checked 60% were against and 40% for it. Well call me Don Cherry but I happen to be part of the 40% who are still fans of “olde time” hockey.

To me, fighting is as much a part of the game as still calling jerseys “sweaters”. Fighting serves its purpose as a deterrent from dirty play as well as physical play against a team’s superstars.

The Washington Capitals have no deterrent right now. None. You can argue that their offensive prowess and efficiency on the Powerplay is the deterrent, and I would agree…but really for contending teams only. My worry is that later in the season, teams out of the hunt that may have a score to settle with the Caps, aren’t going to care too much about giving up a couple of meaningless goals in a game that they’re already completely out of. There will be quite a few more Mike Duco’s in the league at that point looking to make a name for themselves with their teams. I’m not in any way advocating taking an enforcer on the playoff roster, this is strictly a regular season move.

The enforcer is no different to me then a defensive specialist in basketball, they are quintessential role players. It’s because of this that we expect them to win every fight, its what they do…I’m still struggling with what Wade Belek did to Donald last year.

I guess part of me is also tired of losing as well, I respect Brads and Erskine for standing up when it’s needed, but it’s not really fair to them. Why should they have to consistently go against guys out of their weight class? I’m tired of seeing my team pushed around (and or terribly bloodied); I’d like to see Sugden get a shot.

Let’s take a look at some real world enforcer analogies.

  • Are you more inclined to push your luck at the bar if one of your friends used to be a college offensive lineman? Of course.
  • Do you know anyone who was beat up as a kid when everyone knew their older brother often times got suspended for fighting? Probably not.
  • Would you wear a Michael Crabtree jersey to an Eagles game in Philly with a stadium full of snow, if you were sitting next to Mr. T? Well, even if Mr. T was there, you still probably wouldn’t do something that stupid. But you get my point.

By Mark Randle