The Capitals are Basically on Furlough


Photo: Frederick Breedon

After Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, I figured their four days off this week would be a good thing. The team would get a chance to work on its 5v5 play, and the distance of time would give us a bit more clarity on a chaotic, young season.

Nope. I was wrong.

The Capitals don’t intend to tinker with their lines just yet, while the rest of the league seems dedicated to making Caps fans miserable. It’s been a four-day break in which players are still getting paid, but everyone still seems as grumpy as a non-essential government worker.

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WOOOOO! (Photo credit: John Russell)

The Filip Forsberg/Martin Erat trade still elicits strong reactions from Caps fans. (Like I’m warning you now, you’re going to want to bring a hatchet into the comments below because this one’s gonna get gory.)

Adam Oates has put Erat — George McPhee’s 32-year-old, $4.5 million toy — on the fourth line where he averages under 8 minutes a game. For Caps fans already unhappy with the trade, Erat’s modest utilization had them grinding their teeth.

After Tuesday night, those fans are gonna need a mouthguard. Maybe dentures. Forsberg scored the first goal of his NHL career, a snap shot on the power play, during Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Congrats, kid.

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Gets ya right in teh feels.

All you Matt Hendricks superfans out there, I ask that you please turn away, X out your browser, and retreat to your doomsday bunkers because this is the extinction-level event you’ve been prepping for. Former Washington Capitals grinder Matt Hendricks did an interview with the Nashville Predators in his new mustard yellow jersey. All of a sudden, it’s real.

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Filip Forsberg spoke to Swedish paper Expressen in the wake of his trade from the Capitals to the Nashville Predators. In an article by Gunnar Nordström and Adam Eriksson, Forsberg describes his reaction:

“It happened suddenly, I didn’t know anything about it until I read it. I spoke to my agent just now and he said it really went quickly, but that’s what happens in this world. All I can do is accept it.”

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Photo via @SteeChain

When I got home from work tonight, I ate my feelings in homemade Hawaiian pizza (thanks, Ashley). I’m bummed about the Erat/Forsberg trade. As much as I love this team, I worry they are just not that great, getting older, and not actually improving along with their win-loss record. I hoped the Caps would flip some guys in the final years of their contracts for picks and prospects, but instead George McPhee did the opposite: trading part of the Caps’ future, Filip Forsberg, for Martin Erat, a 31-year-old left wing who is 249th in goal scoring and has a cap hit of $4.5 million. The team is better now, but I don’t know about their future.

It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who is ambivalent. A few minutes after the trade was announced, Forsberg’s Wikipedia page was defaced. Like five times.

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Photo credit: Hannah Foslien

A little before 5pm, the Washington Capitals traded their future in the hopes of winning a Stanley Cup now: Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat and Michael Latta.

Many people, including us, think that is a bad idea. Erat, while a top-six forward, is aging and well compensated. The Caps are now on the hook for his $4.5 million yearly salary for the next two seasons, with a salary cap that is going down by six million next year. He’s scored just four goals this year.

Washington, it seems, wants to win now. If they don’t — and remember it’s a toss-up and whether they’ll even make the playoffs — this trade will have been a bad idea. George McPhee, therefore, has some explaining to do. He did that Wednesday evening.

“I wasn’t going to sell,” McPhee told Monumental Network. “I wasn’t going to attempt to sell anything. We would add if we could and I think we added a real good piece.”

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Caps Trade Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat

Jeff Gross

Photo credit: Jeff Gross

Wednesday’s trade deadline was pretty tame for the Washington Capitals until a few minutes after 3 PM, when we heard Mike Vogel that the team had “something brewing.”

Then… about two hours of speculating and waiting. The Capitals were “incredibly mum” according to Bob McKenzie. The Caps Report video special with Alan May, Mike Vogel, and John Walton went into extra innings– vamping to fill time until the news broke. George McPhee declined to name the trade until all involved players were named.

Those players  turned out to be Martin Erat, a 31-year old RW lefty from Nashville, and Caps prospect Filip Forsberg. Nashville threw in Michael Latta as well.

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Forsberg (center) celebrates Leksand’s promotion to the Elitserien with his teammates. (Photo credit: Aftonbladet)

Last Friday afternoon, Capitals General Manager George McPhee discussed the organization’s top prospects, including 2012 first-round pick Filip Forsberg. McPhee made it clear that he’d like the 18-year-old Swede to join the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears after his season is finished with Leksand on April 5th.

But if Leksand General Manager Tommy Salo has his way, Forsberg will stay in Sweden for one more season.

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Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee spoke with Mike Vogel on Thursday to discuss a variety of issues. He covered his plans for the upcoming trade deadline (more on that later) and his vision for the club in the future. That vision certainly includes first-round pick Filip Forsberg, a talented winger who was recently named the HockeyAllsvenskan’s best under-20 player and was a World Junior Championships All-Star. McPhee announced today that he’d like Filip Forsberg to join the Hershey Bears when his season concludes on April 5th.

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Filip Forsberg was impressive in Leksands IF’s first game of the Kvalserien, scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over Michael Nylander’s Sodertalje SK. On Thursday, the 2012 first-round pick was at it again, this time tallying two more goals in a 8-3 blowout win over Timra IK.

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