Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Where is the Technological Breakthrough in the NHL's Television Broadcast?

John from OnFrozenBlog asks the question after hockey fans "were promised bold new broadcast initiatives" following the lockout.

My suggestion: Look no further than the leader in professional sports broadcasting, the NFL, and their invention of the "Cablecam." If applied to the NHL this could dramatically improve their television presentation and at the same time put the league's failed "Rail Cam" out of commission.

What do you think? Is this the answer to the NHL's television problems? Or do you have a better suggestion?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Capital Fanatic.com Show: July 29th

My thanks to David Berry of "Covered in Oil" for appearing on the show today to talk about the Edmonton Oilers. We talked about the Dustin Penner offer, the Michael Nylander incident, and the bid by local billionaire Daryl Katz to purchase the team among other topics. I also took a look back at the Caps moves of the past week as they resigned Brooks Laich and Milan Jurcina. And finally a little Redskins talk to close out the show. The show is available on iTunes as well as by clicking on the link below or the media player to the right of the homepage.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

An In-Depth Look at Bednar and the Stingrays

It's often very hard to find information on minor league hockey so whenever I do I make a point of sharing it with all of you. Here's Brian Compton, an NHL.com correspondent, taking a look at the South Carolina Stingrays new head coach Jared Bednar and their upcoming season.

Click here for the article.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Look Back at Ovechkin's Highlights So Far

Since we are officially in the slowest part of the NHL calendar, it's a great time to reflect back on the highlights of Alex "The Great" in his career so far.

Update: Milan Jurcina has re-signed with the Caps today avoiding an arbitration hearing that was scheduled for Monday. According to Tarik of the Washington Post, Jurcina will make $850,000 next season and $912,500 in '08-'09. This is another great job by McPhee locking up a promising young defenseman and sidestepping the arbitration process that has lead to hard feelings in the past between players and management.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Bullet Points

In the World of Hockey:

  • Brooks Laich was awarded a $725,000 one year one-way contract through arbitration. That amounts to a 19.6% raise for a player that totaled a whopping 18 points last season while failing to secure the second line center position despite being given plenty of opportunities to do so. I guess my only response to that is what kind of season does it take for a player to actually lose an arbitration hearing?

  • Milan Jurcina's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday. He made $500,000 last season while manning the top defensive pairing with Shaone Morrisonn last season. You can forget the numbers he put up in Boston as he received limited playing time at best after falling out of favor with the team. In 30 games with the Caps, Jurcina tallied 2 goals and 7 assists for 9 points and was a +5 defensively. I wouldn't be surprised to see a ruling around $1 million for a defenseman that has a lot of potential ahead of him.

  • Goaltender Ray Emery re-signed with the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday. The three year deal will see him take home an average of $3.16 million a season after putting together a career year last season . In what is another sign of how screwed up professional athlete contracts are, Emery will make $2.75 million next year which is about $1 million less than the man he took the starting job from this past season, Martin Gerber. The Senators are desperately trying to rid themselves of Gerber but are having trouble finding another team to take on his current contract. While it was previously rumored that the team might send him to Binghamton of the AHL to free up salary cap space, general manager Bryan Murray denies that option in this article found on Canada.com.

In the World of Sports:

  • After the news of the past week, fans of the NBA have now been given justification for complaining about the league's officiating. The question now is when will be find out the details involving Tim Donaghy and what games he fixed and to what extent he decided their outcome. One thing you can guarantee is that this will only fuel the fire of enraged fans, coaches, and players when questionable calls are made in the future. David Stern has said that this is an isolated incident, while Donaghy has said that he can name other officials and players in connection with this scandal. Stern better hope that he is right or the NBA is in serious trouble.

  • Michael Vick will be in court today and ESPN will be there with five hours of coverage beginning at 1pm. I know that we need to reserve our judgment on Vick until the trial plays out, but it is hard to believe that he is anything but guilty. The guy owned the kennel called "Bad Newz" that was involved in organizing the dog fights, and approximately 60 dog remains were found on his property. Anybody that is involved in dog fighting is just plain sick. My prediction: Michael Vick has already played his last game in the NFL.

In the World Itself:

  • Lindsay Lohan was arrested early Tuesday for her second DUI in the past three months. On top of that TMZ.com reports that "Lohan was popped for possession of cocaine, transporting a narcotic into a custodial facility and driving on a suspended license." This comes after she recently spent six weeks in rehab.
Analysis: It's hard not to believe that this girl is not trying to kill herself. How can a body stand so much abuse and still keep on ticking? First, Lohan needs to go to jail for a while as any normal person would should they be arrested for the charges brought against her. Second, she needs to find some friends that care about her because no good friend would allow her to get so inebriated and behind the wheel of a car, especially given her history of drug and alcohol abuse. Lohan desperately needs to turn her life around before it's too late.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Jim Schoenfeld Named New Rangers Assistant GM

With the former Capitals coach in the news once again, I figured it was a good time to reminisce on this classic playoff encounter. Schoenfeld and Penguins coach Bryan Trottier get into a heated arguement after Tinordi leaves Stojanov a bloody mess.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Capital Fanatic.com Show: Week in Review

Thanks to Kevin from The Kevin Hatcher Fan Club and Rebecca from A View From the Cheap Seats for joining me on the show today. We talked about the Chris Clark resigning and the roles that Steve Eminger and Brian Sutherby will have in the upcoming season. Plus Michael Wilbon's comment on hockey and even an interesting reference to Harry Potter by Kevin. The show finished with some Redskins talk thanks to a longtime Skins fan and a good friend of mine Matt Garin calling into the show.

To listen to the show you can click on the media player on the right side of the homepage, click on the link at the bottom of this post, or the show is also available on iTunes for download to your iPod or MP3 Player. Don't forget to tune in next Sunday at noon for another live edition.

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Late Sunday Update: I just found this article from iGoBlogTalk.com, which provides a very well written synopsis about my show. Check it out, and as always I appreciate the nice feedback.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Michael Wilbon Continues the Media Blasphemy

Thanks to Japers' Rink for bringing this article to my attention.

The media is at it again. This time it's PTI host and Washington Post columnist Michael Wilbon who once again makes a blanket statement about the popularity of the sport in comparison to the MLS. In his Friday article about the impact that David Beckam will bring to the sport of soccer in the US, Wilbon makes this comment:

"Soccer has already surpassed hockey on the American sports landscape."

Has it really? And what proof do you have of this Mr. Wilbon. Look if you want to talk about the popularity of major sports internationally, then he is right because soccer, or football as it's called everywhere else, has always been the biggest sport. But because of the American media, most people in this country don't realize that ice hockey is the second biggest sport played internationally. Just take a minute and look at the NHL. Is there another league in the United States that can claim to have the diversity of players that we have in hockey? Absolutely not.

Statements such as this from Michael Wilbon is the reason why the media drives me crazy. They make blanket statements with no evidence to back it up and try to pass it off as a fact.

Here is a short report by Michael Hiestand of USAtoday.com:

The U.S.-hosted World Cup in 1994 seemed to make soccer, as a spectator sport in America, the sport of the future. MLS' 1996 debut season averaged 0.4% of U.S. cable TV households.

Now, soccer looks more like it might just always be the sport of the future. Last season, ESPN2's MLS games averaged 0.2% — and 0.2% so far this year. Strangely, MLS still limits team TV appearances, so only about half of ESPN2's remaining 2007 games include Beckham's Los Angeles Galaxy team.

Sunday Morning Update: Thanks to reader Dov for the comment and link to this article on nbc.com that provides even more evidence in contrary to Wilbon's statement.

The markers: attendance figures, gate receipts, television audience ratings and advertising revenue. In 2005, MLS counted 3.1 million spectators, fewer than auto racing and golf.

Major League Baseball in 2004? More than 20 times more, with 74 million. The NFL and college football: 69 million.Total 2004 soccer gate revenues – MLS plus other forms of soccer – amounted to less than $60 million.

MLB: $1.4 billion.

NFL: about $1 billion.

NHL: same.

Soccer boosters, Wilson observed, often say the NHL is the sports entity MLS is most likely to overtake. This, though, is how far soccer has to go: The NHL's gate revenue is 17 times greater than all soccer revenues combined.

Bass fishing and bowling regularly beat MLS ratings by "wide margins," according to Wilson's paper. Soccer trails baseball, football, basketball and hockey in TV advertising revenue – along with, as well, professional wrestling, bowling and rodeo.

There you go Wilbon. Next time how about acting like a professional writer and do a little research before you write one of your inflammatory articles. It's times like these that make me want to move to Canada.

On a side note, Kevin from The Kevin Hatcher Fan Club and Rebecca from A View From the Cheap Seats will join me on The Capital Fanatic.com Show tomorrow at noon. We'll talk about the latest news from the Capitals this week. I'll also have a good friend of mine and a big Redskins fan on later in the show to talk about their upcoming season as training camp begins on Friday. It should be another good show so don't miss out, and feel free to call in to the show (646) 478-5432.

Gotta Get Something Off Your Chest?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

South Carolina Stingrays Update

Check out this article on the Stingrays new head coach from the ECHL.com and The Post and Courier:

No Offseason For New Stingrays Coach
July 12, 2007
By Andrew Miller

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. - If Jared Bednar has learned anything in his brief stint as the head coach of the South Carolina Stingrays, it's that there is no offseason.

Bednar, the Stingrays' longtime assistant coach, was named the team's fourth head coach in April and has spent most of the last three months recruiting players for the upcoming ECHL season.

"This is the prime recruiting season," Bednar said. "You might get a little bit of a lull after the season is over. There are some budget things to work on and things like that, but when June and July roll around, that's when you really start to hit the recruiting trail pretty hard. There's no such thing as an offseason. This is a year-round job."
Recruiting is nothing new to Bednar, who, as an assistant under Jason Fitzsimmons for the past five years, made more than his share of phone calls to prospective players.

"I'm a little deeper into the recruiting process this summer than I have been in the past," Bednar said. "In the past I would focus on a smaller group of players. Last year, we had a lot of turnover on our team, but we also had some guys signed a little bit earlier than this summer."

Bednar begins his days early, getting to the office by 8 a.m. He figures he spends between eight and 10 hours working the phones or the Internet, exchanging calls and e-mails with prospects, agents, coaches and general managers from across the hockey community.

"I'll spend the first couple of hours looking at all the transactions from all the leagues," Bednar said. "I want to make sure I know what's going on across all the leagues. For the first month or so, I spent a lot of time gathering information on all the college kids and all the junior players. You can never gather enough information on those players.

"I'm still making calls on guys I did research on two months ago. I'm trying to get as much information on prospects as I can and that takes time."

Bednar says he's probably averaging more than 100 phone calls a week.
"It can get a little frustrating because one week I'll make 100 calls and I'll get one or two calls back," Bednar said. "I'll go a couple of days without getting anyone to return my calls and then I'll get 20 messages the next day. I've been on kind of a roller-coaster ride the last few weeks. I'll come home depressed one day because no one returned my calls or I didn't sign someone. Then the next day, I'll get a guy and then I'm pumped up again.

"It's a lot of legwork and it's not that much fun right now. But once I get a couple of players in and I see them and the team having success during the season, I'll know all the hard work was worth it."

Bednar hopes to bring in at least five or six rookies this season.

"We'll have eight to 10 guys from last year's team and five or six prospects from our affiliation," Bednar said. "Then I want to bring in five or six first-year pros. Guys who are hungry and who want to get to the next level. I want to target those guys because they have the most potential to improve."

Bednar did get some good news on the recruiting front earlier this week when veterans Cail MacLean and Matt W. Reid signed for the upcoming season.

"It's a huge step in the right direction to get these two guys," Bednar said. "Both of them bring so much to the table on and off the ice. I think they're both certainly capable of having their most productive seasons.

"They both have an extremely good work ethic, and I think that's what you need from your leaders. You want the leaders on your team to be the hardest workers, and Cail and Matt leave it all on the ice every night."

MacLean (Pictured), 30, was second on the team with 25 goals last season and ranked fourth in scoring with 58 points.

"Cail has a calming influence on the team," Bednar said. "He's a consummate professional in every sense of the word. Being without an assistant coach this season, I'm going to have to lean heavily on Cail's leadership in the locker room."

Reid, 29, is coming off the most productive goal-scoring season of his career. The former Clarkson University star led the team with 29 goals and was third in scoring with 60 points.
"Matt is a very emotional guy, he wears his heart on his sleeve," Bednar said. "I thought he had a great season last year. He's arguably been our MVP the last couple of years."

This will be MacLean's third season with South Carolina. In 106 games with the Stingrays, MacLean has 91 points on 42 goals and 49 assists.

"I know Jared and I trust him, so there was no hesitation signing with the Stingrays again," MacLean said. "I know he's going to do a great job of putting a team together. I know how hard he works. I'm really excited about coming back this season."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

What Do Eminger and Sutherby Have In Common?

Besides the fact that they were both re-signed today, defenseman Steve Eminger and forward Brian Sutherby have more in common. They are both former 1st round picks who started their professional careers with great fanfare and promise, only to struggle so far to live up to expectations.

Eminger, the 12th overall selection in the 2002 draft, began his Capitals career later that year at the tender age of 19. He showed that he was clearly overmatched at the NHL level, so after failing to secure a regular spot in the lineup, and playing in just 17 games with the big club, the Caps reassigned him back to Kitchner of the OHL.

Here we are five seasons later and the talented but inconsistent Eminger has yet to secure a regular spot in the lineup. In fact he was a healthy scratch nine times last season including six consecutive games back in February. Eminger has always been touted to be an offensive defenseman ever since he tallied 19 goals for Kitchner back in '01-'02. The problem is he has never shown that offensive ability at the professional level totaling only nine goals combined in the NHL/AHL.

Even though he is still only 23 years old, with the abundance of young defenseman at the Capitals disposal Steve Eminger is running out of time to live up to his potential.

It may be hard to believe, but Brian Sutherby was the Caps 26th overall selection all the way back in 2000. Over the years he has excited fans with his ability to agitate opponents and chip in key goals along the way. But nagging injuries and inconsistent play have prevented him from reaching his full potential.

After spending the entire lockout season with Portland of the American Hockey League, Sutherby put up career highs in '05-'06 with 14 goals and 30 points in 76 games. But this past year the checking line specialist failed to build on those numbers, slipping back to only 7 goals and 17 points in 69 games.

With Boyd Gordon emerging as the team's top checking line center, what role will Brian Sutherby have with this team in the upcoming season? While the Capitals brass love the intangibles he brings to the game, the 25 year-old Sutherby will have plenty to prove as he looks to fight off a number of the Capitals young forwards that look ready to try and break into the lineup.

Other Capitals News: The team has announced that it has come to terms with center Jason Morgan who spend the past season with the Minnesota Wild organization. Morgan appeared in four games with the Wild and 57 games with their AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, talling 12 goals and 14 assists. He should provide the Hershey Bears with some quality depth at the center position as he is described by sportsnet.ca as a player who, "Posseses sound work ethic and leadership qualities."

Monday, July 16, 2007

On Frozen Blog Chimes In On CyberRadio

Thanks to John Keeley at On Frozen Blog for his complements in his most recent article about CyberRadio:

Add to the names of the Revolutionaries Allen Popels, who a few months ago asked the question, “Is it too much to ask that we the hockey loving and Caps’ fans have a broadcast fan forum for 30 or 60 minutes a week?” The Caps of course asked a similar question a few years back and answered it with the excellent “Caps Report,” hosted by Mike Vogel and Spike Parker. Popels wanted his own show, on the weekend, a fan-driven one. He had technology at his disposal and did something about it. Beginning earlier this summer, every Sunday, he began hosting his one hour on the frontier air of cyberspace, ‘CapitalFanatic: The Fan’s Voice of the Washington Capitals.’ (A podcast is available; and Popels makes his program available via iTunes.)

Yesterday Eric McErlain and Dmitry Chesnokov and I appeared as guests on Popel’s program, where we discussed the recently completed Rookie Camp and a few other tidbits puck. Interestingly, we had no shortage of topics hockey to discuss for the full hour in the middle of summer. If we’re invited back, we’ll return. Telling, though, isn’t it, that the region’s hockey fans have their hockey audio itches scratched by the Caps themselves and their fans . . . and not say local radio?......

......The remarkable irony now abundantly broadcast and published, and filling the vast void, is that by virtue of their abdication of covering hockey professionally, as their trade has ever required, local media have unwittingly bred a cottage alternative industry of impassioned experts.

Click here for the full article.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Capital Fanatic.com Show: Development Camp Roundup

A special thanks to John Keeley of On Frozen Blog, Eric McErlain of Off Wing Opinion, and Dmitry Chesnokov of Sovetsky Sport for joining me on the show today for an in depth analysis of the development camp and the state of the Washington Capitals. You can listen to the show two ways, either by the media player on the right side of the homepage or by clicking the link below. Be sure to tune in next Sunday at noon for another live edition of the show.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Development Camp Concludes

The only lineup change for today was a switch of goaltenders as Simeon Varlamov moved to the Blue Team and Michal Neuvirth moved to the White Team. Also, defenseman Patrick McNeill was noticeably absent today.

Today's scrimmage consisted of three twenty minute quarters along with penalties being called for the first time in the camp.

Goal of the Game
Nicklas Backstrom and Francois Bouchard combined on this, in what could be a nice look at a future top line duo in the coming years. From the boards Backstrom found Bouchard all alone in front of the net as he beat goaltender Justin Mrazek to give the Blue Team a 3-2 advantage 11:03 into the 2nd period.

Physical Presence of the Game
This was provided by defenseman Viktor Dovgan who had a number of big hits during the scrimmage. Maxime Lacroix, Luke Lynes, and Justine Taylor were just a few of his victims on the night. His hit on Taylor led to a little bit of a scrum after the whistle.

Goaltender of the Game
Simeon Varlamov, who overcame some shaky outings earlier in the camp to finish it up with a strong performance. He had an outstanding sprawling save on Andrew Joudrey toward the end of the 1st period that drew oohs and awes from the crowd.

Save of the Game
That would go to Daren Machesney who robbed Crowder in front as he had a wide open net. While diving Machesney threw out his stick and blocked the shot in mid air.

Recap of the Goals on the Evening
Blue Team -Yeo, Kronick (PP), Francois Bouchard, Jamie Hunt (2), Andrew Glass
White Team - Andrew Gordon, Josh Godfrey, Jay Beagle

Don't forget to tune into The Capital Fanatic.com Show Sunday at noon for an in depth analysis of the development camp. I'll be joined by John from On Frozen Blog and Eric from Off Wing Opinion.

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Scrimmage Time Changed for Today

From Paul Rovnak, Manager of Media Relations:

Today’s scrimmage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex will now begin at 4 p.m. as opposed to the original 4:30 p.m. start time. Today’s scrimmage will also feature three full periods.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Double OT Thriller Today at Kettler

Blue Team
Forwards - Nicklas Backstrom, Francois Bouchard (Pictured), Steve Werner, Andrew Glass, Travis Morin, Pasi Salonen, Brett Bruneteau, Brett Leffler, Mathieu Perrault, Lovecchio
Defenseman - Jamie Hunt, Theo Ruth, Sami Lepisto, Viktor Dovgan, Joe Finley
Goaltenders - Michal Neuvirth, Daren Machesney
White Team
Forwards - Oskar Osala, Kyle Wilson (Pictured), Maxime Lacroix, Andrew Joudrey, Andrew Gordon, Justin Taylor, Phil DeSimone, Luke Lynes, Backman, Lerg
Defenseman - Patrick McNeill, Karl Alzner, Oscar Hedman, Sean Collins, Josh Godfrey
Goaltenders - Simeon Varlamov, Justin Mrazek, Dan Dunn

Today's scrimmage continued with the structure of two 30 minute continuously running periods. Special teams were the main focus of the day as the final 15-20 minutes of both periods were spent alternating five on fours. Despite the numerous odd man advantages though, the scrimmage was a defensive battle led by Karl Alzner of the White Team and Jeff Finley of the Blue Team. Each defender dominated in their own particular style of play.

Alzner shut down his side of the ice by always being in the right place at the right time. He doesn't stand out with big hits or a booming shot from the point. In fact the average fan probably would not even notice him on the ice because he silences his opponents so quietly. But the fact is the guy flat out does not get beat. It will be great to see how he fairs against NHL competition this fall.

Finley on the other hand makes his presence known on the ice. He punishes his opponents by lining them up and throwing his 6'7" 233 pound body at them. He had the hit of the night with two minutes left in the second session, knocking the much smaller Lerg on his backside as he tried to maneuver around him on the attack. One thing Finley needs to learn is when to be aggressive and when to lay back, as he put himself out of position one time while trying to line up a huge hit.

After 60 minutes of play the teams were stuck in a 2-2 tie. The first overtime period followed traditional NHL rules as both teams played four aside. Michal Neuvirth had the save of the night, and the camp, as he made a sprawling save on a breakaway chance by Bryan Lerg. Lerg deeked and tried to beat him on the backhand, but while lying on his chest Neuvirth snapped his glove up and snared the puck out of mid air. Truly an amazing save that makes me excited about Neuvirth's Hasek like abilities.

Still with no winner after 65 minutes, Tarik (who I had the pleasure of talking hockey with for a good long while) and I were hoping for a shootout. But instead Coach Hanlon decided to go to a second overtime period with three men aside. One minute into the session Francois Bouchard streaked up the right wing in an odd man rush and found Backstrom in front for the game winning goal and a 3-2 Blue Team victory.

Your other goals on the night were scored by:
Blue Team - Lovecchio, Travis Morin
White Team - Backman (who has shown great quickness), and Josh Godfrey (Pictured)

A couple of inside tidbits to note. Tarik confirmed to me that Francois Bouchard will definitely be signed and brought to training camp this year. He described Bouchard as the MVP of the camp so far and that he has a very good chance of making the club. Sasha Pokulok is at the camp but is not participating due to an undisclosed injury. No word on what exactly that injury is, but he did miss most of the last season with two separate concussions.

And yes Ted was in the house again today checking out the action.

Also, a shameless plug here as well. This Sunday at noon I'll have John from OFB as well as possibly some more Capitals experts on The Capital Fanatic.com Show. We'll be discussing the rookie camp and the team's off-season moves in great detail, so don't miss it.
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Thursday, July 12, 2007

More Pictures From Development Camp

I wasn't able to get out to Kettler on Thursday due to obligations at work. I will be at the scrimmage on Friday and will have an update posted by Friday night. In the meantime here are some more pictures from Wednesday night.

Dan Dunn, Goaltender
The Capitals 6th Round Choice, #154 Overall in 2007

Viktor Dovgan, Defenseman
5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points for South Carolina Last Year

Justin Mrazek, Goaltender
The Capitals 8th Round Pick in 2004

Head Coach Glen Hanlon
Behind the Bench of the Blue Team

Defenseman Karl Alzner
The Capitals 1st Round Pick, 5th Overall in 2007

Defenseman Josh Godfrey
The Capitals 2nd Round Pick, 34th Overall in 2007

Michal Neuvirth, Goaltender
The Capitals 2nd Round Pick, 34th Overall in 2006

Daren Machesney, Goaltender
5-8-2, 3.30 gaa, .888 sv % in 16 games with South Carolina
3-3-1, 3.18 gaa, .887 sv % in 10 games with Hershey

Theo Ruth, Defenseman
The Capitals 2nd Round Pick, 46th Overall in 2007

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rookie Development Camp Begins at Kettler

Capitals Also Sign Their Top Goaltending Prospect to an Entry-Level Contract

White Team

Forwards - Oskar Osala, Kyle Wilson, Maxime Lacroix, Andrew Joudrey, Andrew Gordon, Justin Taylor, Phil DeSimone(Pictured Left), Luke Lynes

Defensemen - Patrick McNeill, Karl Alzner, Oscar Hedman, Sean Collins, Josh Godfrey(Pictured Right)

Goalies - Michal Neuvirth, Simeon Varlamov, Justin Mrazek

Blue Team

Forwards - Nicklas Backstrom, Francois Bouchard, Steve Werner, Andrew Glass, Travis Morin, Pasi Salonen, Brett Bruneteau, Brett Leffler, Mathieu Perrault

Defensemen - Jaime Hunt, Theo Ruth, Sami Lepisto, Viktor Dovgan, Joe Finley

Goalies - Daren Machesney, Dan Dunn

Goals on the Night
White - Beagle (2), Lerg, Patrick McNeill, Justin Taylor
Blue - Radja, Mathieu Perrault (2),

The scrimmage consisted of two 30 minute periods with constantly running clock. A notable absence tonight was 2005 1st round pick, Sasha Pokulok. He missed a lot of time this past season with concussion problems so hopefully they are just holding him out as a precaution.

As you can tell by the goal scorers there are players taking part in the camp that are not on the official roster. I asked a Capitals spokesman if there was an updated roster, but unfortunately there isn't so I can't tell you much about them.

I can tell you that Nicklas Backstrom centered a line with Pasi Salonen on the left and Francois Bouchard on the right. Bouchard had some of the nicest moves of the night, continuously displaying his stickhandling skills that resulted in his leading the QMJHL in points last season with 125 (45 g, 80a).

Goal of the Night - Patrick McNeill pinching in, taking a nice pass from behind the net, and beating goaltender Daren Machesney. Hopefully we will see a lot more of that in the near future.

Hit of the Night - The 6'0" 180 pound Maxime Lacroix knocked the 6'7" 233 pound Joe Finlay (Pictured) directly on his backside on the forecheck. Honorable Mention goes to Oskar Osala who provided a physical presence throughout the scrimmage with big hits on Jamie Hunt and Viktor Dovgan.

Goaltender of the Night - Michal Neuvirth. He came up with some exceptional saves during the second half of the final period, helping to secure the win for the white team.

And lastly the big news of the day was the announcement that the Capitals have signed their second pick of the 2006 draft, goaltender Simeon Varlamov. He signed a three year entry-level contract after playing the past season with Yaroslavl of the Russian Super League where he posted a 15-7-6 record with a 2.12 goals against average. Varlamov's contract includes a clause during the first year where if he doesn't make the NHL team, he can be reassigned to his Russian Super League team. So unless he has an unbelievable training camp he will most likely spend one more season with Varlamov before coming to the NHL full time for the '08-'09 season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Crosby Signs Extension, Is Ovechkin Next?

Caps Announce Development Camp Schedule and Add a Stanley Cup Champion to Their Roster
The Pittsburgh Penguins made sure that this year's MVP would not hit the restricted free agent market after next season, locking up Sidney Crosby for the next six years at a total of $43.5 million. That just happens to average out to $8.7 million a season for number 87 beginning in '08-'09.

So what does this mean for Alex Ovechkin? Russian reporters caught up with Ovy and asked him what he thought about the signing. Courtesy of AOL Fanhouse:

"What can I say? Good for Crosby! It is easier for any player to come out and play when he knows that his future is secure. I think Pittsburgh wasted no time offering Crosby the deal because of what Edmonton did trying to sign a restricted free agent. Any Canadian team (and not only Canadian) could have offered great terms to Crosby in the future. And who knows if the Penguins could have matched it. But now Sindey is staying in Pittsburgh, and will stay there beyond 2013, in my opinion."

When asked about his contract, Ovechkin said:

"I will negotiate with the Capitals myself. To be precise, I will wait for their offer. If I like it, I will sign the contract. If I don't, then I will get myself an agent (I don't have one right now) to represent me in talks with the Capitals."

There is no question that this needs to get done soon, preferably before the season starts. Now that Crosby has signed the parameters are in place and should make the deal with Ovechkin easier. The quicker this gets done, the better off all parties will be.

The Caps also announced today the roster for their developmental camp this week. From their press release:

2007 Washington Capitals
Summer Development Camp July 11-14, 2007
Arlington, Va. Kettler Capitals Iceplex

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Birthdate 2006-07 Team Acquired
19 Nicklas Backstrom C 6’0” 183 11/23/87 Brynas U-18 (Sweden) Draft (1st, 2006)
29 Jamie Hunt D 6’2” 200 4/20/84 Hershey (AHL) Free Agent
30 Michal Neuvirth G 6’1” 197 3/23/88 Plymouth (OHL) Draft (2nd, 2006)
31 Daren Machesney G 6’0” 182 4/17/87 S. Carolina (ECHL)/Hershey (AHL) Draft (5th, 2005)
34 Sasha Pokulok D 6’5” 220 5/25/86 S. Carolina (ECHL)/Hershey (AHL) Draft (1st, 2005)
36 Francois Bouchard RW 6’1” 187 4/26/88 Baie-Comeau (QMJHL) Draft (2nd, 2006)
40 Simeon Varlamov G 6’1” 183 4/27/88 Yaroslavl (Russia) Draft (1st, 2006)
41 Theo Ruth D 6’1” 199 2/14/89 USA U-18 (USNTDP) Draft (2nd, 2007)
42 Sami Lepisto D 5’11” 176 10/17/84 Jokerit Helsinki (Finland) Draft (3rd, 2004)
45 Steve Werner RW 6’1” 200 8/8/84 S.Carolina (ECHL)/Hershey (AHL) Draft (3rd, 2003)
46 Patrick McNeill D 6’1” 198 3/17/87 Saginaw (OHL) Draft (4th, 2005)
47 Karl Alzner D 6’2” 206 9/24/88 Calgary (WHL) Draft (1st, 2007)
48 Oskar Osala LW 6’4” 222 12/26/87 Mississauga (OHL) Draft (4th, 2006)
49 Viktor Dovgan D 6’1” 205 2/27/87 S. Carolina (ECHL)/Hershey (AHL)
54 Oscar Hedman D 6’0” 209 4/21/86 Modo (Sweden) Draft (5th, 2004)
57 Kyle Wilson C 6’0” 200 12/5/84 Hershey (AHL)/S. Carolina (ECHL)
58 Maxime Lacroix LW 6’0” 180 6/5/87 Quebec (QMJHL) Draft (5th, 2006)
59 Joe Finley D 6’7” 233 6/29/87 North Dakota (WCHA) Draft (1st, 2005)
61 Andrew Joudrey C 5’11” 191 7/15/84 Wisconsin (WCHA)/Hershey (AHL)
62 Sean Collins D 6’1” 215 10/30/83 Ohio State (CCHA)/Hershey (AHL)
63 Andrew Gordon RW 5’11” 180 12/13/85 St. Cloud State (WCHA) Draft (7th, 2004)
65 Andrew Glass LW 5’11” 180 7/14/89 Nobles (High-Mass.) Draft (7th, 2007)
67 Justin Taylor C 5’11” 180 2/8/89 London (OHL) Draft (6th, 2007)
70 Justin Mrazek G 6’3” 185 7/21/85 Union College (ECACHL) Draft (8th, 2004)
71 Travis Morin C 6’2” 175 1/9/84 Minn. St. (WCHA)/S. Car. (ECHL)
72 Pasi Salonen LW 5’11” 187 12/18/85 HIFK Helsinki (Finland) Draft (5th, 2004)
73 Josh Godfrey D 6’0” 197 1/15/88 Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) Draft (2nd, 2007)
75 Phil DeSimone C 5’11” 193 3/19/87 Sioux City (USHL) Draft (3rd, 2007)
76 Brett Bruneteau C 5’11” 183 1/5/89 Omaha (USHL) Draft (4th, 2007)
78 Brett Leffler RW 6’0” 198 5/19/89 Regina (WHL) Draft (5th, 2007)
80 Dan Dunn G 6’4” 200 6/20/88 Wellington (OPJHL) Draft (6th, 2007)
85 Mathieu Perrault C 5’8” 151 1/5/88 Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) Draft (6th, 2006)
86 Luke Lynes C 6’0” 195 11/28/87 Brampton (OHL) Draft (4th, 2006)

Don't miss your opportunity to see some of the future Capitals in action this week at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Visit WashingtonCaps.com for the complete schedule of all the action.

And finally, General Manager George McPhee was busy again today signing right winger Joe Motzko to a two year contract. Motzko finished up this past season with the Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks after being acquired in a trade from Columbus in January. He was fortunate enough to appear in three playoff games including game 4 of the finals against Ottawa where he totaled 2 minutes and 46 seconds of ice time. There has been no official word but Motzko most likely signed a two-way deal, meaning he could be sent to the Hershey Bears without clearing having to clear waivers. While the Minnesota native has yet to make much of an impact at the NHL level, Motzko has excelled at the AHL level tallying 100 goals, 133 assists, for 233 points in 277 games over the past 4 seasons.

Joe Motzko's scouting report from sportsnet.ca:

Assets - Has been an accomplished point producer at the AHL level. Displays enough feistiness and grit to play a bottom-six forward role in the NHL.

Flaws - Is somewhat undersized for the big league and doesn't own the hands of a natural sniper. Lacks a particular niche for the NHL game.

Another depth signing, Motzko should provide competition in training camp while helping the Bears remain an elite team in the American Hockey League.