Verizon Center is quiet tonight, spared from hockey games and gun fights alike. Despite that, this is in no way a quiet day for the Washington Capitals.
- As we reported regurgitated last night, David Steckel has signed a three-year extension with the Caps. We like to see Steck happy, but we are curious of this deal’s provenance. The left winger is a serious grinder, tallying only 5 points all season, and he’s the only regular player in rotation on the wrong side of the plus/minus ratio (-1). As always, we defer to the infinite wisdom of GMGM, who will forget more about hockey than we’ll ever learn.
- Everything I said nice about George McPhee just now? Forget it. Tyler Sloan has also signed a contract extension. Sloan is a swingman, which we think means he is good at neither offense nor defense. When the Caps had a blueliner meltdown last week (Jurcina traded, Pothier injured, Erskine erskined), Sloan still didn’t play. Sloan is -2 this season, but that number means very little from such a small sample size. You gotta think Bruce Boudreau and the Caps management know something about these guys we don’t know.
- Karl Alzner has been sent back to Hershey. Does this mean that Sloan will be on a D-pairing on Thursday?
- Caps prospect John Carlson is the talk of the town today after his OT win against Team America’s Hat in the World Junior Championship. He showed impressive composure and patience in that breakaway goal, opting to shoot instead of risking a pass (a lesson his future teammates might want to learn!). Carlson’s play deserves to be on every sports show’s highlight reel this week.
- Not-captain Brooks Laich was on the Elliot in the Morning radio show on Wednesday morning. He assures us that everyone still loves Theodore. We are assured of this.
- Tarik El-Bashir reports that Jose Theodore will start in goal against the Ottowa Senators tomorrow night (WaPo). After having warmed the bench for what seems like weeks, Bruce Boudreau says, “We’re going to need Theo to play and we’re going to need Theo to play good. We’re going to need Theo to get his confidence.” I love BB and his garden-salad-y wisdom, but this is crazy talk. Sitting the guy in favor of Neuvy the newbie does nothing but rob Jose of confidence. Although I’m alone on this among the RMNB staff, I think Theodore is a terrific netminder, and he possesses one of the best glove hands in the NHL. If he’s having a crisis of confidence, the team should show him support. That means giving him ice time, and — once he’s out there– not feed him to the wolves. Bottom line: if Tom Poti learns how to clear the puck in the next 20-odd hours, all should be fine.
That’s all the news that fits for tonight. We’ll be back tomorrow night to chronicle the Caps’ thunderous 6-1 defeat of the Senators, and what we predict will be the team’s first hat trick of the season (by Matt Bradley). Stay tuned to see if we’re right!