Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Seabrook Headed to Calgary

According to the Denver Post, Capitals prospect Keith Seabrook is headed to the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL. Seabrook was taken in the second round of the 2006 Entry Draft and spent the past season at Denver University. He played in 37 games and scored 13 points for Denver. By going to Calgary he forfeits the final 3 years of his college hockey eligibility.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jurcina Resigned

This past Friday the Washington Capitals agreed to a two year contract with D Milan Jucina. According to Capitals Insider, Milan will earn $850,000 the first year and $912,500 during the second year. The deal averted an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for this Monday. Jurcina played 30 games for the Caps last season after being acquired from the Boston Bruins. He exceeded all expectation last year and is expected to continue improving and become a vital piece of the team going forward.

Friday, July 27, 2007

This Weeks Former Cap Signings

Its a slow day today but I wanted to note the signing of two former Capitals earlier this week. The first is D Jean-Luc Grand-Pierre by the New Jersey Devils. I guess Lou is really struggling find defensemen these days. After not being qualified by the Caps back in 2005, Jean-Luc has been playing over in Europe. The other signing was G Maxime Ouellette by the New York Islanders. Just 3 days into the 2005-06 season the Caps sent Ouellette to Hershey and later traded him to the Vancouver Canucks for a 5th round draft choice. He moved around the minors for a year and a half and finally ended up in Germany to finish last season. Each player got a 1 year deal and most likely will be members of the parent club's AHL affiliate. You gotta think its slim pickins out there in the affordable free agent market when you're filling your roster out with these Capital cast offs.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Scandal!


The NHL has followed the lead of the other major sports leagues and gotten in trouble with the law. Eric and Jordan Staal were arrested this past weekend for events following Eric's bachelor party. So once again the NHL can't keep pace with the other leagues and goes with a second rate scandal. Disorderly conduct and underage drinking is no comparison to dog fighting, steroids, blood doping, and betting on fixed games. However, in this case its nice to be able to laugh because, once again, it shows that NHL'ers seem more like ordinary people than other pro athletes. I sure most people can understand or even been to a party that got a little out of control. Other news yesterday included the leader of the Tour De France being suspended by his team after not having a reasonable explanation as to why he missed two random drug tests earlier this summer. If you have watched this sport at all, it's absolutely embarrassing. After last years winner tested positive for an extremely high level of testosterone the sport supposedly cleaned up. This year's Tour, which promoters had been touting as a totally clean tour, has been racked with riders and teams leaving because of positive tests and overall sense of cheating. With that being said, I'm glad this is the worst the NHL can provide.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Will he Laich the Decision?


Brooks Laich and the Washington Capitals should hear the findings of the arbitration case sometime today. Over at Dump and Chase, Mike Vogal has a great write up detailing the case. On the Caps Message Board there is a lot of talk questioning why Brooks would take his case before the arbiter. In my opinion, its a why not type of situation. First off, you don't get what you don't ask for. Secondly, he is still playing off of the entry level deal he got as a 6th round draft pick. After coming here from the Ottawa Senators, he has worked his tail off and would like to see some reward for his efforts. Who am I to argue against that? The Capitals now seem to have a lot of players at Brook's position. I, for one, still think he will make this years squad. He is versatile enough to play many positions in a variety of situations. We will see what the arbiter decides, but for Brooks, I think it shows a lot of character to stand up and say this is what I'm worth and I'm willing to fight for it.

Update: The arbitration ruling was a 1 year for $725,000. The Caps accepted the ruling and resigned Laich to a contract.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Why Is He Not Signed?


Here is an interesting interview with Alex Ovechkin posted at Kuklas Korner. From the interview it sounds like Alex is training hard and is poised to have another break-out season. I think he was a little disappointed with the way he played last year. The league should be scared, it seems Alex has something to prove to himself and I, for one, would hate to be in his way. This coupled with the fact that he has a new center and an overall increase in talent on the Capitals should allow him to show what he can really do. On the contract front, he didn't seemed bothered at all. So Caps fans, do not fear, Alex isn't going anywhere. But don't expect anything to happen until he returns stateside because you can't have the big signing press conference without your star player being there.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Osala Goes to Finland


According to European Hockey Net, Caps prospect Oscar Osala is going to play for Blues Espoo in the Finish Elite League this coming year. Oscar played for the Mississauga Ice Dogs in the Ontario Hockey League the past two seasons and recently participated in the Caps development camp. He was originally drafted by the Capitals in the 4th round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

Update: From the commentary over at Jaspers' Rink the Capitals offered Osala a contract but it wasn't enough to entice him to stay. He wants to finish high school and will also be able to serve his Finnish military obligation. Since he was drafted in 2006, the Capitals have until June of 2008 to sign him. Hopefully he will continue to develop and be back next year because, by all reports, he played very well at the recent development camp held by the Caps.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Power Play Tunes

In my opinion, the Caps need new music leading into the power play. I was thinking Sandstorm by Darude. It should be techno enough to get the crowd and AO fired up. Have a listen:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Caps Resign Steckel and Hunt

Per Washingtoncaps.com, the Capitals have resigned C David Steckel and D Jamie Hunt.

Update: Per www.sportsnet.ca, Steckel for 2 years & Hunt for 1 year.

Update: The Washington Post Reports:
Steckel - 1st year, 2-way contract, $525,000 - 2nd year, 1-way contract, $500,000
Hunt - 1 year, 2-way contract, no financial figures given

Update: Hunt - $605,000

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Irish Ice is Smiling


From iiha.org

"Republic of Ireland is ready to launch its own hockey league: 5 teams, a brand-new arena and much enthusiasm

Following on from the huge success of the Div.3 Ice Hockey World Championship held in Dundalk during April, which was recognized by most independent observers as setting new standards, the Irish Ice Hockey Association is delighted to announce the formation of an Irish Ice Hockey League.

To date those seeking to play the sport at a competitive level have had to travel abroad and while relations with Ice Hockey UK have never been more cordial, it is time that this island had a league of it's own !
The new league will consist of 5 teams.
Dublin Flyers
Dublin Rams
Dundalk Bulls
Latvian Hawks
Belfast Bruins

Dundalk Bulls is a team that has grown out of the huge swell of interest following the building of Ireland's first rink The Ice Dome - in Dundalk. The final founding club is the Latvian Hawks which represents the ex-pat Latvian community here in Ireland. The League will be an all island one, indeed the "New Irish" are particularly welcome as many will bring a lifetime of experience to a sport that is still establishing itself here.

While many details remain to be ironed out, it is envisaged that , each team will face the others on four occasions, all games to be played at the Dundalk Ice Dome where supporters will be entertained each Saturday Sept.15th 2007 to April 2008.

Many will have had their first experience of the "Coolest Game on Earth" recently with Setanta T.V.'s coverage of two World Championship games but you must see the real thing live to experience the speed, power, and passion of the sport."


Can you imagine if this sport takes off in Ireland? I'd hate to play one of their teams. They would have at least 15 Marty McSorley types on each side. Put it this way, my wife is Irish and I have yet to attend a family event where there hasn't been a fight. This may be where the next generation of NHL enforcers are born.

Clark Extends Deal for 3 Years


Chris Clark has signed a 3 year extension with the Caps. See WashingtonCaps.com for the official press release. Chris was most deservingly given the captain's "C" last year. He had a career year and really showed strong leadership for the team. I'm glad to see he was rewarded for his effort. This past season, he had his mouth absolutely destroyed by a deflected puck and dislocated his shoulder but only missed 8 games. Stat wise he scored 30 goals, assisted on 24, for a total of 52 points. He also led the team with 4 shorthanded goals and an 18.3% shooting percentage. Cap fan should be excited that management has shown support for Clark because his production and intangibles are as good as any captain in the league.

Update: According to Tarik, Clark's deal will pay $2.75, $2.65, & $2.5 Million.

Shots on Goal


-450

This is difference in shots on goal the Caps faced last year. That's almost 5.5 shots per game. This stat is important for a couple of different reasons. First, it shows the how much pressure the opposition was putting on our goaltenders and young defense. Secondly, it shows that our offense was not able to keep the pressure on the other teams defense. The good news was that the Caps shooting percentage was slightly above the opposition. The off-season moves the Caps made this summer seem to address the need to change this trend. The acquisition of puck possession forwards and an offensive defensemen, in theory, will help to reduce this deficit. The more time the Caps can spend in the offensive zone means less shots on Olie and less pressure on the defense to make stops. It also forces the opposition to expend more energy and gives us more opportunity to put points on the board. There has been a lot of noise made that the Caps did not sign a stud stopping defensemen, but the Caps seem to be going with the philosophy that more offense is good defense. Doing this also allows the younger defensemen to develop without being under siege all the time giving them time they need to develop some confidence. I don't know how many times I watched games last year where I saw our offensive weakness turned into defensive struggles. It seemed like we were always running around in our own zone. Will this pay off? I hope so because I am a believer that putting more pressure on the other team and forcing them to stop you is a much better strategy than merely trying to match the opposition. Its also a lot more fun to watch when you believe your team is going to try and score every time they get the puck because we definitely have some finishers on our team.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Caps Sign Center


The Caps have signed C Jason Morgan. See Washingtoncaps.com for more.
photo from sportsnet.ca

Eminger and Sutherby Signed

Per Washingtoncaps.com, the Caps have resigned D Steve Eminger and C Brian Sutherby to 1 year deals. Both had an up and down season last year and will be looking to improve. If they don't, they may be looking for a job somewhere else. The Caps have a lot of talent coming up behind these two at their respective positions so it's time to put up the numbers. The two are among the longest tenured Caps with 192 NHL games played by Eminger and 254 by Sutherby. That's good enough to rank 69th and 56th on the Caps All-Time games played list. Olie Kolzig and Matt Pettinger are the only members of the team that have played more games as a Cap. The fans already seem to have sacrificed Eminger (who is only 23) because of a lack of development, and there seems to be murmurings about Sutherby whose number were down sharply last year. Will they last the season? Its too soon to tell.

My First Blog

I have decided to become a member of the blogging community. I really have no reason other than I enjoy reading and commenting on the some of the hockey blogs out there and want to throw my bit of knowledge out there for those who might be interested. I have been a fan of the Washington Capitals since I can remember. In the first hockey game I ever saw live, (date unknown), the Caps played the Detroit Redwings. I watched Dennis Maruk score a goal, get in a fight, and have another goal (game tying, of course) washed out. I do not even remember how old I was, but since then I have been hooked. I have no contacts or sources or inside info. I am fan of the game and the Caps, so please take this for what it is.

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