Photo credit: Hannah Foslien

When George McPhee traded 19-year-old Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat last year, the Washington Capitals acquired a 32-year-old veteran who should have fit in nicely with their top-six. This season however, Erat — who has a $4.5 million cap hit — plays under ten minutes a night on the team’s fourth line. With the surprise signing of Mikhail Grabovski during the offseason and Tom Wilson’s great play during the preseason, the Caps had to shed salary ahead of their season opener to make room for The Ten Train. So they dumped Mathieu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth round pick and an AHL player.

As I said that day, moving Perreault was curious considering the team’s lack of depth at center and his success over the last three seasons. And through two games this season, he has been — gulp — Anaheim’s best player.

Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild, Perreault scored his first point (an assist) and first goal as a Duck. His goal was the overtime game-winner.

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Photo credit: Oksana Zolotar

When the Washington Capitals traded Mathieu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday, we felt like a chapter in the Book of the Caps had come to a close: ridiculous, post-game celebrations.

We were wrong.

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Photo credit: David Zalubowski

Three days after he was traded by the Washington Capitals, Mathieu Perreault made his debut for the Anaheim Ducks. He centered Anaheim’s second line and skated with young stud Jakob Silfverberg and future hall-of-famer Teemu Selanne, so maybe no more feeling sorry for him.

Perreault’s performance was about as good as it could be in a lopsided 6-1 loss in which your papa bear head coach got assaulted by a pane of glass.

In 15:14 of ice time, the tiny French-Canadian won 13 of 16 face-offs (81%), had one hit, and created a bunch of chances. He wore #22 (looks so weird) and got a hair cut.

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In Memoriam: Bringing #PerryCelly to Life

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Mike and Owen show off their creation during warmups.

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.”

“He gets an A for effort,” Owen added.

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Questioning the Logic of the Mathieu Perreault Trade


Never forget. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Tonight I was naughty and ordered pizza. A food coma knocked me out for two and a half hours on our living room couch. When I woke up, walked downstairs, and refreshed the website I helped create, I learned that the Washington Capitals traded everybody’s favorite French Canadian bro, Mathieu Perreault, for a fourth round pick and a minor league dude from Anaheim that George McPhee will probably say “can play.”

As an avowed fan who gets emotionally connected to some of the players, it’s — ya know — kinda upsetting. From a blogger’s point of view, Perreault was one of the most interesting players on the team. He had personality. He delivered many, many pageviews.

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.

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Mathieu Perreault Traded to Anaheim Ducks


Mike Vogel has reported that Mathieu Perreault has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks. The Caps will receive Anaheim’s fourth-round pick in 2014 and minor-league LW John Mitchell.

Perreault was consistently among the Washington Capitals’ best possession players. He was an excellent passer. He was the team’s best celebrator. He didn’t know he was tiny. One time– in a big game against the Bruins– and without Ovechkin in the lineup— Perreault scored a hat trick. WITH HIS FACE.

Matty Perreault is a plucky little French Canadian sumbitch, and Bruce Boudreau’s Anaheim Ducks will be better for having him.

(Note: Perreault and his celebrations were going to be today’s countdown post. I guess we’ll just skip that now.)

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While Alex Ovechkin is easily the most celebrated player on the Washington Capitals, someone else was the star of Caps Con.

Everyone say hi to Ovie the Bulldog.

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.

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Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

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.

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee went 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.

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Photo: Chris Gordon

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.

Looking at his options on Friday’s free agency frenzy, general manager George McPhee saw nothing to fill that hole. “We didn’t think it was a great class of players,” McPhee told the press after development camp practice on Monday afternoon. McPhee admitted he had a few discussions, but said that contract term was a frequent deal-breaker. “Salary you can compete with,” McPhee said, “but when people get into term that’s too long, you can ultimately hurt your competitiveness down the road.” That’s certainly in line with owner Ted Leonsis’ edict regarding signing veterans.

And so the club looked inward to fill its abscess at 2C. A nation’s capital turns its lonely eyes to Brooks Laich.

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