Friday, February 29, 2008

A good cause

I dont usually ask a lot of Cap Addiction readers. Yes, yes...I ask you to be that annoying drunk guy at the wedding who got up and made toast to the bride's anatomy, or be that person who believes that you are never too old for keg stands, etc. But, I havent asked you for your money (yet).

Cap Addiction, On Frozen Blog, Japers Rink, Peerless Prognosticator, 3 Grumpy Caps Fans and Off Wing Opinion are hosting a fund raiser tonight for the Wilson High hockey team. They need our help with funding to continue being the ONLY high school in the District with a varsity hockey team. They've been through some tough times lately, and our generosity will help them continue to play hockey.

Here are the details: (and you can read more here)

Where: Clydes at Gallery Place, second floor event room
Who: Hosted by six Capitals blogs, all money raised will go the Wilson High School hockey team
When: Doors open at 6:30pm, the Capitals game will be broadcast on the TV in the room. Food will be served, and there will be a bar. Ten bucks to get in, and we'll feed you at that!
What: AUCTION. Thats right, there will be an auction to raise money. Items include an Ovechkin stick signed by him, a stick signed by all the members of the Bears, and even more. Bring your checkbooks, no credit cards will be accepted.

Cant be there? You can donate online HERE.

Tonight, please open your hockey lovin' heart and your wallet to help hockey flourish in our Capitol.

See you there!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

To ponder

GMGM on Sergei Fedorov:

"We're hoping he's got one more good fight in him," McPhee said. "He's a veteran guy who's had success in this league, who's good on faceoffs and can still make a play."
Every Caps fan tonight is hoping (this one desperately) that Fedorov does have one more good fight in him. He could have languished in Columbus and retired without any last glorious run. If there was ever a last chance to do something amazing, to prove that you alone can lift a team to another level -- and not just with goals -- Fedorov has the opportunity for it here. By providing some much needed post season experience and mentoring, Fedorov can help the Caps to the offseason.

Matt Cooke on playing for the Caps:
“I look forward to coming somewhere where you’re used in the proper way and you feel like you’re wanted; you’re supporting the rest of the cast as well. I look forward to the change and the opportunity with the Washington Capitals.”
And this is an interesting one from Pettinger, as I didnt hear a whiff of it (though, you have to imagine any player not getting ice time is not happy with the Coach).
Pettinger said he's seen his ice time drop since Bruce Boudreau took over as Washington's head coach.

"We sort of butted heads a little," said Pettinger. "Some coaches get along with certain players and some coaches don't.

"I know I haven't played unbelievable hockey this year. I know my potential is there and I have proven it in the past. I'm hoping the change of scenery will sort of ignite me."

Unbelievable hockey? I would have taken mediocre but he didnt even have that after plenty of opportunity to turn his season around. Either way, good luck to Pettinger in Vancouver.

Hot or Not: Trades

As always, my timing couldnt be better. Yes, that is indeed sarcasm. I had to go on the road before the trade deadline and at an important stretch of the season. Nice.

That said, lets look at the trades that have happened so far and rate them (based on our hot or not scale, sanctioned by the NHL. Maybe).
Note: Hockey DB is down, I am sure due to all the traffic, so be ready for some fun facts based on my googling skills.

Sergei Fedorov to the Caps for Theo Ruth: I have never heard of Theo Ruth, but on the other hand, I have barely heard anything from Federov for the past couple seasons.
Ruth stats:

played in 39 games for the Under-18 team in 2006-07 with five goals and 11 assists for 16 points ... had 64 minutes in penalties ... three of his five goals came on the power play and one was a game winner ... served as alternate captain for the U.S. Under-18 team ... was the highest ranked Notre Dame player by Central Scouting prior to the 2007 NHL Entry Draft ... was ranked 32nd among 210 North American skaters and the 11th-best North American defenseman ... was chosen in the second round, 46th overall by the Washington Capitals
Fedorov stats: 50 games with 9 goals this season. We all know that Sergei has been injured a quite a bit, but its also fair to say that he has been on the downswing for some time. Just like another (former) professional athlete he knows. That said, Fed still serves at one of the all time leaders in goals at number 51. Not too shabby.

Key question: Does Fed still have anything in the tank that makes it worth it for the Caps to trade away a solid D-prospect? I dont know. I do know that if anyone can squeeze the last drop of talent out of you, Bruce Boudreau can. Not to discount the ever stern Ken Hitchcock, who couldnt really do the same for Fed in Columbus. The Caps are hoping that Fed still has some juice left, and he will expend it working on a team with the best player (who happens to be Russian) in the NHL. Not to mention that Alex Semin fella. Fed's chance at redemption, and going out on a high note? Lets hope so.

Not to forget: Fedorov has one 3 Stanley Cups with the Wings, so his post-season experience will certainly be valuable for a relatively green Caps team. Lets also hope he is a positive force in the locker room. All in all, a hot trade if Fed capitalizes on this opportunity.

Cristobel Huet to the Caps for a second round pick in 2009: Ouch. At least, thats what Brent Johnson and Olie Kolzig are thinking. Actually, it might be more like %#$&!

Second round pick stats/advice for him: Good luck in Montreal. Really. You'll need it. Btw, make sure you flay yourself once a week to toughen up for the Montreal media. That should get you at least 50% ready.

Huet stats: I dont like Huet. Its not a virulent dislike, but I'm not a fan. He has Euro-trash hair. Again, not quite solid, hard hitting reasons. Huet has been up and down this season, and I am sure having Jesus reincarnated in the eyes of Habs organization/up yours Patrick Roy/prodigy goal tender Carey Price breathing down his neck hasnt done Huet any good. He has played well against the Caps, and there is no doubt that the is one of the better netminders in the NHL.

In 39 games this season, Huet is 21-12-6 with a 2.55 GAA. For comparison, Kolzig has a 3.03 GAA in 47 games this season. Considering that Kolzig has played more, has a younger defense, and a risky offensive style to contend with, they are about even. Kind of.

Key question: Three goal tenders, one goal. Getting awfully crowded, no? Johnson was signed to a two year extension for about 1.6 mil that will keep him in red, white and blue till 09. Kolzig is in the last year of his contract, and has been the glue for the Caps for almost two decades. Huet is a free agent at the end of this season. So, whats next for the three goalies? Unless Olie asks for a trade, sending him away would be a horrible way for the Caps to end a great relationship with an immensely popular player. Kolzig is no spring chicken at almost 38, and his game has been off for months. Johnson has played well at times, but consistency has always been his issue. What do the Caps do? Ride Huet into the playoffs, then platoon him with Olie if Kolzig is amenable (and depending on how that scenario fares, re-sign Huet and try to ride that double netminding team into next season)? They would have to dump Johnson's contract, but I dont see Johnson having much of a future with the Caps now that Huet is here...for now.

Not to forget: Kolzig is a free agent after this year and the Caps have not started new contact talks with him yet. Could be a hot trade depending on how the Kolzig/Huet dynamics work out.

PS: And Sasha number three is back!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Wilson High Hockey Fundraiser

I am still hopscotching cities, but I can tell you that a week away from the internet has been brutal. I heard something about a debate in Texas, Britney Spear's Mom, and the weather in OK City. Obviously my news sources were not the best. I'll have more on my grand trip and return to the 21st century son, but for now, OFB puts it best (ugh! I would have had something on this up earlier if I wasnt on the road. I better see you all there!)

Bloggers, Readers, and Pro Hockey Teams Banding Together for Wilson High
By The OFB Team
We hinted at wanting to do something for the District’s Wilson High School hockey team when we learned about their
extraordinary story last month. To sum up: Wilson is the District’s only public high school with a varsity hockey team. It was, until last year, guided by an impassioned trailblazer, Paul McKenzie — the type of coach who changes lives and improves his community. He succumbed to pneumonia last winter, and the program, through no fault of the tireless and committed student athletes and parents upholding it, is today stuggling for solvency.

A coalition of Caps’ bloggers — Japers’ Rink, Capital Addiction, Off Wing Opinion, The Peerless Prognosticator, Three Grumpy Caps Fans, and OFB — with the committed assistance of both the Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears, has worked in recent weeks to cobble together a Friday evening of puck watching at one of D.C.’s best hot spots — Clyde’s at Gallery Place, adjacent to the Verizon Center — and hold an auction to benefit the Wilson High hockey team.
For the price of a movie ticket — $10 — we would ask each and every reader of these six blogs living in or near D.C. to make Friday night, February 29 one for hockey history in Washington.

At 7:00 p.m. that evening at the Clyde’s of Gallery Place we’ll gather upstairs to watch the Caps take on the Devils in New Jersey, throw back a few puck sodas, and try and raise some urgently needed money for this desperate and inspiring hockey club.

Many of Wilson’s players never knew of hockey before being introduced to it by Paul McKenzie. We want to help keep these kids skating. Badly.

And Friday night, February 29, will also inaugurate a weekend designated in Paul McKenzie’s honor: the Wilson team will skate that Saturday and Sunday in the first-ever Paul McKenzie Memorial Hockey Tournament in Frederick, Md.

We’ve never before asked anything of our readers in the way of contributions for a cause, but our bloggers’ coalition and the Caps and their affiliate believe in the urgency of this one. Both pro hockey teams have donated items for the auction (including, yes, items signed by Alexander Ovechkin). The entire Bears’ team signed Daren Maschesney’s hockey stick for this event.
Officials from the Hershey Bears will travel down for the event, and Caps’ reps, too, will be on hand. We’ll have Wilson hockey parents on hand. We heard from Kathy Cox, Executive Director of the Friends of Fort Dupont Ice Arena, who told us, “Consider us a part of the team to help the Wilson hockey club.”

It promises to be a memorable evening for an eminently worthy cause. Bring some cash, bring your checkbook, bring your thirst. Even Clyde’s is getting into the giving act.

We are working still on an idea to get some technology involved that would allow folks outside of Washington and unable to make it to Clyde’s on the 29th to chip in for the team. We’ll keep you posted on that front.

In the “Without Whom” department: OFB would like to thank Clyde’s of Gallery Place for generously offering to host the event. Many thanks also go to Shmee of Capital Addiction, whose event-organizing expertise was invaluable to this endeavor. Eric McErlain of Off Wing Opinion offered valuable fundraiser guidance. Our friend Peerless spent hours gathering and editing images and artwork. All of the bloggers involved have been generous and supportive.
And certainly we could not pull off this kind of event absent the support of two very community-oriented hockey organizations, the Washington Capitals and the Hershey Bears.

Update: For those readers not in the DC area who cannot attend but still wish to help, we are working out details for how you can donate from wherever you are. We’ll post more information as it becomes available.This event is sponsored by your friendly neighborhood Capitals blogs; we’re looking forward to seeing all of you on the 29th!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

guest post

Hi kids-
belmontmedina here, guest blogging for Shmee. My usual blogging universe revolves around food, football, and Duke, but I told her I'd help her out. She's on a grand tour (well, she's in Oklahoma City right now, so I'm not so sure it's grand but whatever, she's also getting a free weekend in NOLA) around the country right now, but wanted me to let her adoring public know that she'll be posting soon. In the meantime, as a casual hockey fan, here's a link to Ovie's adventures in online dating.

And a gratuitous link to Ray Emery, because even if he's an asshole, I still think he's kinda hot.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chunk re-signs for two years


Left wing Tomas Fleischmann signed a $1.45 million, two-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old Fleischmann has six goals and 15 assists in 53 games this season. He has 10 goals and 21 assists in 96 games over three seasons with the Capitals.

Fleischmann was a second-round pick by Detroit in 2002 and was traded to the Capitals in 2004.

Oh Flash....dear dear Flash.

We had such hope for you, with your curly red hair and flashes of brilliant play. Then you squandered half a season during which you got many opportunities to play on lines featuring names like Nylander, Ovechkin, Kozlov, Backstrom, and Semin. You get the picture.

We cheered for you, and thought of you as our scrappy underdog. Kind of like our very own Chunk from the Goonies, with a dash of Inigo Montoya because you had to have your revenge by playing brilliantly and showing everyone they were wrong about you. (Note: Princess Bride, Goonies, and Wonder Years references are always welcome at Cap Addiction.)

And you did play well (sometimes) and seemed to have a fire lit under you(sometimes) but most of the time we forget you are on the ice, even with curly red hair sticking out of the side of your helmet. This is not good...not the hair (which is awesome) but the part about being invisible. We cheer for Steve Eminger, and no one cheers for Steve Eminger anymore. Its not good when even Cap Addiction starts to forget about you.

In our roundabout, was-she-drunk-when-she wrote-this kind of way, we are trying to encourage you. So maybe is the final push you need to step up to plate...we are hoping so, because we really are rooting for you. Tarik says that BB thinks you are on the verge of a breakthrough. The Caps have shown clear confidence in you with this move, and your long time Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau has your back up here. So please, find your inner "Captain Chunk" and start scoring some goals. Here is a little inspiration:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Is it wrong that we laugh?

Actually, we dont care cause its funny:

TAMPA, Fla. -- Two Montreal Canadiens players arrested Monday morning outside a Tampa nightclub will not face disciplinary action from the hockey club.

Rookie defenceman Ryan O'Byrne and veteran winger Tom Kostopoulos were arrested at about 3 a.m. outside Whiskey Park, a Tampa nightclub.

Police said that O'Byrne, 23, stole a woman's purse while Kostopoulos resisted an officer. O'Byrne told police it was his girlfriend's purse, but police said it belonged to another woman.

O'Byrne was invited to take a seat in a police cruiser. At the same time, a group of club-goers, including several hockey players, surrounded the car. On a number of occasions, police say they ordered the group to disperse.

Kostopoulos, 29, was charged with resisting an officer without violence while O'Byrne was charged with grand theft. Both players were released on bail, accompanied by teammates Christopher Higgins and Cristobal Huet. was his girlfriend's purse? Weird that his girlfriend would follow him to Tampa Bay for a game and be at the rookie dinner, which is where he got arrested.

Big hit to Dan over at Junior's Eyes, for cracking us up after a long Monday in the office.

Former Cap Zednik in stable condition

Richard Zednik was seriously injured during a game a Panthers-Sabres game on Sunday

Zednik was behind the play and skating into the right corner of the Sabres' zone, when teammate Olli Jokinen was upended by Sabres forward Clarke MacArthur. Jokinen fell head-first to the ice, and his right leg flew up and struck Zednik directly on the side of the neck.

Clutching his neck, Zednik raced to the Florida bench, leaving a long trail of blood. When he arrived, he nearly fell into the arms of a team trainer, who quickly applied a towel to the cut. Zednik was then helped off the ice by the trainer and teammate Jassen Cullimore, and escorted to the Panthers' dressing room.

The good news is that Zednik is in stable condition at a Buffalo hospital. I am sincerely hoping for a speedy recovery for him.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

No words necessary

Ok, just a few words.

1. Jaromir, you arent a young girl anymore. Stick to solids without any horizontal stripes to minimize your thighs! And I told you to listen to Scott Gomez when he said that he prefers you as a blonde.
2. 2007-08 stats so far: Ovie- 73 points, Jagr- 47 points. Now, enough has been said.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Coming full circle

It seems fitting that the Caps moved into first place tonight in the SE Division by winning a 4-3 game against the Flyers. Bruce Boudreau, who intiated the Caps resurgence after his Thanksgiving Day promotion from Hershey, led this team to a 4-3 win versus the Flyers during is first game behind the bench.

From Ovie after that first win under BB:

This win was very important for us because of the hard situation for our team."
More to come tomorrow, but for tonight, I'm just enjoying the Caps perch.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bruce Boudreau online chat/Caps biz

BB will be online Thusday at the Washingon Post to take all your pressing questions. An online chat with a man nicknamed Gabby....this has the potential to be nothing short of awesome.

The Washington Capitals have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL since Coach Bruce Boudreau took over in November. He will be online Thursday, Feb. 6 at 1:30 p.m. ET to take your questions about the team and his coaching philosophy.
You can submit your questions here. Anyone going to ask about the clothes? I thought the green shirt the other night was particularly fetching.

The Caps are continuing their ESPN Zone Q&As. Brooks Laich is up next:
Capitals center Brooks Laich will be at ESPN Zone Washington D.C. on Monday, February 11th, to talk with fans in a dinnertime question-and-answer session. It’s the perfect opportunity for fans to get personal, candid answers to all their hockey questions while getting better acquainted with Laich, now in his fifth year with the Capitals organization.

After the Q&A, which will be hosted by a Capitals broadcaster, Laich will sign autographs and help give away Caps memorabilia, including autographed sticks, pucks, and more. Fans can also enter to win an autographed Capitals DreamSeat recliner, which will be given away later in the season.
Laich is scheduled to take questions from 7-8pm.

And a final plug for a good cause:
The Washington Capitals players and their wives and girlfriends would like to invite you to the 2008 Amazing Auction, which benefits Washington Capitals Charities and Sports Plus. This year’s event will follow the Caps game against the Boston Bruins on Sunday, March 16. The auction will take place from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Acela Club located on the second floor of Verizon Center.


All funds raised from the 2008 Amazing Auction will benefit Washington Capitals Charities and Sports Plus. [...] Sports Plus is a metropolitan Washington-based nonprofit organization that offers year-round, uniquely structured co-ed sports and swimming programs for children between the ages of 5-14 with mild to moderate autistic spectrum disorders, ADD/ADHD and other developmental disabilities.
Tickets are $125 for adults and $50 for kids 3-10. My seatmates tell me that they went last year and they had a blast. They have already bought their tickets for this year's auction. Apparently, its a pretty small crowd and a great opportunity to meet your favorite Caps, get autographs, and bid on some pretty cool stuff. Buy your tix here.

Fehr: Time to put up or shut up

Tarik's article in today's WaPo focuses on the return of Eric Fehr to the Caps. Fehr, the 18th overall pick in the 2003 draft, has been a vaunted prospect in the Capitals organization for a handful of years. Fehr has only played ten games in Hershey this season, after suffering a herniated disk that kept him out of hockey for nearly a year.

With only those ten games in the AHL this season, Fehr comes to the Capitals with a lot of pressure on that recently healed back. The Capitals are in desperate need of scoring from someone not named Ovechkin, and they are hoping Fehr is that person. Fehr is ready to take up the challenge:

Fehr finally returned to Hershey's lineup on Jan. 9 against the Norfolk Admirals and recorded an assist on his first shift. He has played in 10 games for the Bears, amassing two goals and four assists.

"I've taken a few hits and I given a few hits," Fehr said. "I've rolled around on the ice battling. It's like nothing ever happened to me. . . . Now it's time to put up or shut up."

If it's Fehr's time to put up or shut up, the same goes for the Capitals. After Boudreau's Thanksgiving Day takeover the Caps have gone 18-10-4. In theory that looks okay, but in the tight SE Division (and after a slow start), the Caps need to be winning a solid 2/3 of their games to make the playoffs. And even more importantly, they need to be winning against their SE Division rivals.

Sounds like nothing the Caps and the fans dont know, right? But in the words of Eric Fehr, its time to put up or shut up. The last and toughest stretch of the season has just begun. The Caps kicked it off with a loss to the Thrashers, after Ovie's heoric performance saved them in a tight game against the Habs just a few nights earlier. But even AO cant save the team every single night, and if the Caps are going to remain in the playoff hunt, fellow first liners, along with second and third liners, need to start putting up some numbers. Enter Eric Fehr.

Its not fair to put all the burden on Fehr's shoulders, but the Caps are desperately hoping he can be an offensive spark. Chris Clark was one of the few Caps to crash the net and grind out some gritty goals. Brooks Laich has already matched his career high in goals from last season (8), but he, Boyd Gordon and Dave Steckel are going to have to work harder to step into the hole left by indefinitely injured Clark. Victor Kozlov has overcome his slow start to the season with 11 points in his last 10 games, but with Fehr's call up, he will become the second line pivot. For the Caps to be successful, Kozlov needs to continue that pace with Flash and Semin on wing. Caps fans can only hope that his switch back to the second line will set off Semin, who has been centered largely by Gordon since Michael Nylander's mid-season exit with a shoulder injury. And with the return of Shaone Morissonn, a confident Mike Green should start racking up points again.

For the Caps to extend their playoff hopes, they have the perfect opportunity to beat up on their SE rivals over the next two months. The Caps have 29 games left and nearly half are against SE Division teams. Thats a departure for the Caps, who have largely been playing outside the SE Division in December and January, when Bruce Bodreau took the reins. So for the Capitals, the next two months are their time to put up or be shut up.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Eric Fehr recalled

After the Atlanta game, this might be the Caps only option to get some secondary scoring, short of a trade:

In desperate need of some secondary scoring after being shutout in two of the past three games, the Caps have recalled prospect Eric Fehr from Hershey. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound right wing, who missed 10 months with a mysterious back-hip ailment, has been assigned to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom.
Victor Kozlov is heating up after a slow start to the season, but its pretty obvious that Alex Ovechkin is scoring the majority of goals for the Caps. A quick look at the Caps stats proves that - AO leads the Caps with 70 points, and Backstrom is in the number 2 slot with 42 points.

While there is no doubt that a star like AO will be scoring far and away more goals then any other Capital, there is also no doubt that a team cannot go very far without second and third line players chipping in. Case in point, the Saturday night loss to Atlanta.