Mike and Owen show off their creation during warmups.
Horn Guy, Owen, and Matty P.
Ed. Note: Well, this stinks. Remember last year when Mathieu Perreault did all those celebrations? A couple fans came up with some super cool cutouts to partake in Perry Celly festivities. I wrote about it during the playoffs when the Caps were up 3-1 3-2 in the first round, but before we could post, Washington collapsed. A long summer ensued. We intended to finally publish this as the 2013-2014 season got started, but, guess what, Perreault got traded. Oops. Here it is anyway.
Mathieu Perreault is wild.
So are Caps fans.
In honor of Perreault’s crazy post-game celebrations, Kat and her boyfriend Owen could often be spotted during last year’s playoffs watching warmups from the front row, holding up a giant Matty P cardboard head, and waving around two gloves attached to popsicle sticks. Even for players accustomed to seeing things like the Brouwer Rangers (and their fanny packs) this provoked a second look for some Caps.
“Chimera was skating by, looked up, and he just broke out laughing,” Owen told me outside Verizon Center in May.
“It’s made Oleksy do a double take,” Kat continued. “Matty P smirked and he actually tried to throw a puck at us. He didn’t quite get it over.”
But when I check my emotion and look at the facts, this move is curious on a few levels. Mathieu Perreault was an underrated player who brought the team a lot of value. Since the 2010-11 season, the Capitals have been a much better team with Perreault on the ice than off. Despite his tiny size, Perreault is a talented puck-chaser and forechecker who drives play.
On the top floor of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Ovie’s human parents, Mike and Kim Robertson, set up shop with their leashed and well-behaved pup, greeting Caps fans on their way down to the convention. He made lots of friends.
There were some wild panels at this year’s Capitals Convention. My friend Kate cooked with Mike Green, George McPhee talked about getting verbal abuse about trades from teenage girls, and Ted Leonsis… well, I guess that one wasn’t so weird. The best one of all, though, was the ping pong tournament between pairs of Caps players. Taking part: Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom (aka Team Swede), and Mathieu Perreault and Troy Brouwer (Team Sexy Legs). Team Sexy Legs you ask? Well, just take a look at Troy’s outfit. I will never look at my thighs the same.
In the end, Team Swede won all their games, taking the tournament crown. Below, take a look at my photos.
Washington Capitals general manager George McPheewent on ESPN980 Wednesday afternoon to talk hockey, and boy did he hit some interesting topics. McPhee explained what characteristics the Caps need to have to become a Stanley Cup winner in the future, and he defended his decision to anoint Brooks Laich the second-line center for next season. “There are a handful of teams that maybe have a better second-line center than Brooks,” he said. “It’s [an idea] we’ve been talking about for a few years, and the time has come to do it.”
The most interesting part of the discussion, however, was McPhee’s remarks on Capitals prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov, who is due in North America sometime next year. McPhee admits some frustration about the two-year contract Kuznetsov signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk last spring to stay in the KHL, saying that Kuznetsov went against a verbal promise he made after the 2010 NHL Draft. He also talks about how hard of a contract it was for Kuznetsov to turn down. “He’s 20-years-old, they gave him ten million dollars to play for two more seasons,” McPhee said. “It’s a 13% tax rate over there and even with that, most of the money is under the table. It’s probably no tax.”
The KHL never made Kuzya’s contract public, but it is believed his average annual salary from Traktor is in the two-million range. That would mean that the KHL gave Kuznetsov a bonus around $5 million to stay. And, as we learned from an Igor Kleyner post last year, the KHL’s Legal Regulations handbook has a open-ended rule that allows the league to do exactly just that.
[Traktor] may also apply to the KHL for a special stipend to supplement the young star’s salary. There are no specific limits on the amount of such a stipend, or any clear criteria defining eligibility.
Below, check out McPhee’s entire interview with ESPN980.
Sergei Fedorov left the Capitals in 2009, leaving a hole in the middle of the second line that the team hasn’t been able to keep filled since. There’s been Brendan Morrison and Eric Belanger and Jason Arnott and Mike Ribeiro, but no player has stuck at 2C for any length of time.
It was mid-March and Karl Alzner was on the Internet. Like most twentysomethings, he looked up silly videos on YouTube to kill time. He stumbled across one from early last year — it was of Peter Dill, a basketball player for Seton Hall. Dill scored a single basket in his two years playing for the school, but he did get very excited when his team scored. Alzner played the clip for Mathieu Perreault.
“The guy would just go crazy, pretend he had Thor’s Hammer and he’d be smashing the ground,” Alzner told me Saturday afternoon. “Perry, I could just see his eyes, like ‘this is awesome!’”
“We should do that after we win games,” Perreault responded.