Tag Archive | "Washington Capitals"

Washington Capitals Take Big Risk With Big Investment in Mike Green

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Washington Capitals Take Big Risk With Big Investment in Mike Green

Posted on 16 July 2012 by andrewtomlinson

The Washington Capitals are taking a big risk by signing Mike Green to a reported three-year $18.25-million dollar contract, as the defenseman has yet to show he can play at a high level for multiple seasons.

It is no secret Mike Green was at one time a face of the Capitals’ franchise. A founding member of the “Young Guns” quartet — a Capitals marketing campaign, not a new boy band — Green has broken the NHL record for consecutive games with a goal by a defenseman, earned the nickname “Game Over Mike Green” and been a Norris Trophy candidate. Several injuries and largely inconsistent play have made him anything but a lock to be a productive defenseman for the rest of his career though.

Green declined to sign is qualifying offer of five-million dollars from the Caps, but him walking away was something everyone knew would not happen. With the Caps letting Dennis Wideman walk to the Calgary Flames and an already thin defensive core, they couldn’t let him walk away or they would risk failing to field a competitive team. It is not as if they were out of options though and the one they chose, they may regret going forward.

Saddled with a concussion, ankle and wrist injuries the last few years, Green is becoming nothing but a question mark for this team. After starting out white-hot to start the season, Green went down after taking a puck to the face and never regained his form. He started out with three goals and three assists before the injury and after, he had just one assist in February, March and the handful of games in April. He may have contributed two goals to go with two helpers in the playoffs, but altogether his totals from last year do not justify the size of the contract he got.

Using CapGeek.com to look at Green’s cap-hit, quickly you find out he is being payed a similar amount of money as players head and shoulders better than him. Comparable hits include Brett Burns from the San Jose Sharks, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith from the Chicago Blackhawks, Dion Phaneuf of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins. During his three year stint as an offensive powerhouse from the blue line, Green might have deserved the same money as the players previously named, but not after the last two he has had.

When you talk about Green being overpaid, it isn’t an indictment on his ability or skill set, but instead on his ability to stay on the ice to use it consistently. Between 2006 and the end of the 2009-2010 season, Green was one of the top defenseman in the league. His stats have to come with a sort of asterisk though, as the team he played on was the definition of fire-wagon hockey. In the last two season, with a return to a defensive system, not only has Green only put up 31-points, but he also a paltry plus-11.

Perhaps most concerning about all of those stats, is it has come in only 81 games over two years. Considering an NHL season is 82 games long, it is not a good sign Green hasn’t even played the equivalent of one season over his last two. Recurring nagging injures and a few discipline problems have kept him in and out of the lineup. A guy cannot be defined by just two years of his career, but Green has only played a full season once in his seven years an NHLer, which is not good.

It is his consistent inability to stay on the ice that really makes this deal a head-scratcher. If you are the Caps why not head to arbitration, the worst case scenario is he earns more money for one year and you make him earn the long term contract next season. Now though, the team is linked to him for at least three years when they had other options.

Perhaps most puzzling about the extension is the Caps have a player in John Carlson ready to step in to the role currently occupied by Green shortly. Even though Carlson regressed a bit last year, the young hard shooting d-man plays the exact same game as Green and in at least a year should be ready to take over for Green. It seems feasible then, that Washington could have signed him to a shorter deal, especially since Green only wanted a two year deal originally.

Moving forward Washington has to live up to the decision it has made and while they may have a lot of cap space now, as they start to retool the roster, the space occupied by Green might be something they wish they could use. If he stays on the ice and comes back to form, Green’s deal is a steal and gives Washington flexibility, but if his career is any indication of his future, it looks like he might not be a risk worth taking.

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The Washington Capitals Must Keep Eye on the Fiscal Future as Free Agency Opens Tomorrow

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The Washington Capitals Must Keep Eye on the Fiscal Future as Free Agency Opens Tomorrow

Posted on 30 June 2012 by andrewtomlinson

Tomorrow marks the opening day of NHL free agency and the Washington Capitals look to be at least mildly active with holes to fill, but General Manager George McPhee and the organization needs to pinch their pennies and save for the future in their moves.

The team made a big splash in free agency last year signing free agents like Joel Ward and Roman Hamrlik to contracts not exactly team friendly. Both players’ contract lengths and cap hits were not supposed to matter though, as they were supposed to help Washington bring the Stanley Cup home for the first time. Looking back now, Washington wasn’t as successful as they should have been, failed to improve on their previous playoff best and ultimately fell short of their goal, with Ward and Hamrlik providing little in the way of support. Now the team is saddled with two bad deals, two players who do not fit what they are looking for and cap hits they can not do anything about.

Perhaps the best news for GMGM is the fact this year is a new year. Part of the beauty of sports is the fact every year is a fresh start for a team. Owners and general managers can find new pieces and spare parts to combine and start another run at the elusive Cup. Despite being able to forget some of the mistakes of the past, the Caps need to remember how painful those big contracts will be heading forward and find solid players at the right price.

There are a lot of big name free agents out there for the Caps’ taking, guys like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Despite the two of them being tremendous talents, Washington should not even consider adding them. Yes they would be top players, but the risk of adding another bad contract to the books prevents the team from potentially locking up its star players like John Carlson and Karl Alzner in the future and also rebuilding if needed. Instead, the organization needs to add productive players who have short term deals.

Guys like Jiri Hudler, Niklas Hagman and Carlo Colaiacovo are players who are above average, but more importantly wont demand long contracts or high salaries to fill a need. Washington has holes on their top two lines and on their top defensive pairing and need to think smarter, not harder, when it comes to filling those holes. Look at an organization like the Detroit Red Wings, who have continued to fill their roster holes with lower priced castaways and aging veterans to the tune of two Stanley Cups and three finals trips in just over 10 years.

Fans may clamor for the big names in free agency, but the organization needs to resist the temptation, since this team could either be on the brink of long term success or catastrophic failure. Even if it may be a negative outlook to take, thinking the team in its current construction might not fair well, it is one the Caps need to keep in the back of their mind. Whoever they sign, they need to be able to jettison quickly, just in case they do have to reshape the team. Nothing can hinder a rebuilding or reloading plan more than a bad contract, just look at the Montreal Canadiens with Scott Gomez, so the Caps must make sure they do not give a player too much money or too many years.

There are a plethora of options out there for McPhee to peruse and ultimately offer deals to, he just has to make sure they are the right player at the right price. He has made mistakes in signings before — see Jagr, Jaromir — but has also shown a smart frugal sensibility by signing highly productive players like Mike Knuble and Matt Hendricks. Good players at better prices are available this year, it is just up to McPhee to make sure he finds them to ensure this team can succeed for years to come.

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A New Trend for Caps Coaching: Former Players and Captains

Posted on 26 June 2012 by scottzolotorow

There is a new trend in town down in DC and Ted Leonsis is confident that it will bring the first ever Lord Stanley Trophy to our nation’s capitol. Adam Oates, former Center and Captain for our beloved Washington Capitals, has been named the new play-caller. Ironically he took over the Captain position from the same guy he takes over the coaching position, Dale Hunter. If this trend continues I can correctly predict the next coach of the Washington Capitals to be shared by Steve Konowalchuk and Brendan Witt who were Co-Captains after Oates was holding it from 1999 to 2001. Oates played five seasons and change with the Capitals, almost half of the 12 that Hunter played for the boys who now “rock the red.” He scored 73 regular season goals and six goals during the Capitals run towards the Stanley Cup Finals before getting swept by Detroit. He played with seven different NHL organizations with the Caps and Bruins tied for his longest stint with one professional organization.

Oates played with some great players during his time in Washington: Peter Bondra, Olaf Kölzig, Sergei Gonchar, and Dale Hunter headlining the squad. Now he will get the opportunity to coach one of the greatest players in the NHL over the last decade, Alexander Ovechkin. He was a captain on the ice and he’ll have to be a captain on the bench to get our boys a chance to hold Lord Stanley’s trophy. Hunter did an outstanding job after coming into a pretty horrible season’s start replacing Gabby, and turning the Caps into competitors. That is something that us Caps fans have grown to expect over the last few years since the change from Blue sweaters to Red. With expectations high, Oates has a lot of pressure. But owner Ted Leonsis has all the confidence in the world in #77 to come through for the city. After all, he was just an assistant for Stanley Cup runner up’s New Jersey. After watching the Kings hoist the trophy in the air, DC should hope and assume Oates is ready and hungry for a Stanley Cup of his own, since he is 0-3 in chances (the third was with the Mighty Ducks, yes the old Mighty Ducks in 2003 who lost to the Devils).

After staying up in London until 5 a.m. the day before a final several times to watch Dale Hunter’s boys give their best fight on the rink that we’ve seen in a few seasons in the playoffs for the Caps, it was sad to see Dale Hunter head back to ironically the city I was in, London, to coach the London Knights…only difference is, this is London, Ontario and not London, England.

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When the Flyers win, a little piece of the earth breaks off and floats into space

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When the Flyers win, a little piece of the earth breaks off and floats into space

Posted on 23 April 2012 by Drew Forrester

So, as it turns out, the worst franchise in the history of professional sports figured out a way to not collapse and choke away a 3-0 series lead.

Damn.

After the Flyers lost Games 4 and 5 to the Penguins, I was holding out hope that somehow they’d drop the next two and go home losers, shamed and embarrassed at having failed to capitalize on a once seemingly-insurmountable series lead.

They got lucky on Sunday and won Game 6, in Philly no less, where the home fans got to usher Crosby and Company out of the building with a serenade of “You can’t beat us”.

Where’s Patrick Kane when you need him to shut those goofs up?

While the Capitals play for their lives on Wednesday night in Boston (and let’s face it, we know how that’s going to end), the Flyers are at home, waiting to see if they play the Caps or some other Eastern Conference foe in the next round of the playoffs.

I’ll be honest, like I always am:  I do NOT want to see the Caps face the Flyers in the next round if Washington somehow gets past the Bruins on Wednesday night.

I don’t like the Flyers.

There’s nothing at all redeeming about them.

They’ve been punks since the days of Clarke, Linseman, Leach and Hextall.

But I know hockey and I know they can create offense and I know they have some speed…and all of that would create major problems for the Capitals if, in fact, they were fortunate enough to face the Flyers in the next round.

Losing to the Flyers in the playoffs would be like having Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam off the Orioles in the top of the 9th in a September game in Baltimore that gives the Yankees the pennant.

Actually, it would be much worse than that.

In fact, if I could somehow sign a document right now that guarantees the Flyers go 0-82 next season IF Teixeira – in exchange – could hit a grand slam in Baltimore to put the Yankees in the playoffs in 2012, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Flyers…0-82?  Lord, wouldn’t that be something to behold?

I’d sell my soul to Mark Teixeira, even, to have the Flyers go winless over a whole season.

(Please see next page) 

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If you’re a Caps fan and you thought they were winning on Sunday, you’re crazy…

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If you’re a Caps fan and you thought they were winning on Sunday, you’re crazy…

Posted on 22 April 2012 by Drew Forrester

Except for one wild spring in 1998, it’s always been the same for the Washington Capitals.

The NHL playoffs come around — and the Caps always seem to find a way to lose.

Sunday at the Verizon Center, they did it again, this time coughing up a golden opportunity to eliminate the Boston Bruins, who staved off elimination with a 4-3 overtime win over the Caps that sends the series back to Beantown for a 7th and deciding game this Wednesday night.

I don’t have to tell you how that one is likely to end.

A month ago, it looked all but hopeless for the Caps, who meandered through a regular season with little enthusiasm and needed a final week surge and a late collapse by the Buffalo Sabres to even qualify for post-season play.  But after Saturday’s 4-3 victory at Boston in Game 5, Ovie and Company returned to the friendly confines of their own building in Chinatown with a chance to be the unlikely victor in a playoff series pitting the #2 seed vs. the #7 seed.

They couldn’t get the job done on Sunday, unfortunately.

I called it before the game even started, much to my own chagrin.  Prior to the face-off, I submitted a 3-2 OT loss for the Caps on our @WNST Twitter account.  It felt almost mean to make that call, but I’ve seen too many Caps playoff games over the years to do anything except predict a loss.

These are the Washington Capitals.

I’ve been following them since 1974.

When the playoffs come around, they just always seem to do something wrong at the worst time to lose a game they either shouldn’t lose or couldn’t afford to lose.

Last year’s 4-0 sweep in the second round at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning was actually an anomaly for the Caps.  They rarely get bounced out of the post-season that easily.  No, no, these Caps always seem to find a way to defeat in the most unimaginable of ways.

As I wrote on Twitter yesterday, when you cut the Caps open, heartache leaks out.

It’s just not in their DNA to win a big playoff game.

Sure, they’ve won some in their lifetime.  The Hunter overtime goal on Ron Hextall and the Flyers easily comes to mind.  Sergei Federov’s late goal vs. the Rangers a few years ago that gave Washington a Game 7 home win and a series triumph over the Rangers is another.  Chimera’s game-winner in overtime last April at the Garden in New York.  And back in 1998, the Caps beat everyone put in front of them until the Stanley Cup Finals when the Red Wings pasted them in four straight.

But make no mistake about it, the playoff heartbreak and the post-season losing far, far outweighs the winning.

I don’t know what it is that keeps the Caps from winning in the post-season.

Somehow, someway, they just always fail when the games matter the most.  It’s always something.  A great scoring chance squandered, a bad defensive decision, a soft goal on the goaltender or, as we saw on Sunday vs. the Bruins, a turnover near their own blue line and a quick transition that led to the game-winning tally.

I’ll watch it on Wednesday night, of course, because it’s Game 7 and it’s for all the marbles and they’re my favorite hockey team.

But I’m nearly certain of what’s going to happen.

It’ll be close and a nailbiter and all that jazz, but when the horn sounds after 60 minutes, the Bruins will somehow squeeze out a narrow win to move on to the next round.

I’ve been watching these guys play since 1974.

They’ll figure out a way to lose on Wednesday night.

 

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A 4-part interview — “Life at WNST” (part 2)

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A 4-part interview — “Life at WNST” (part 2)

Posted on 10 January 2012 by Drew Forrester

This is part 2 of the 4-part interview that I did with Robert Limgallon about three weeks ago.  Most of today’s content centered on WNST Radio and the industry in general.  Wednesday will feature questions about the Ravens, Orioles and the local sports scene. On Thursday, the interview wraps up with questions and answers about the lawsuit that was filed against WNST in the spring of 2011.

I hope you enjoy Part 2.

DF

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RL — Thankfully I’m not up early enough to hear the start of your show each morning but I know from the replays at night that you start every show by playing “Raised on the radio”.  How did that start?

DF — You know, I’m not exactly sure when I started playing it.  It was sometime shortly after I started doing the show on my own in November of 2006.

RL — You like the song that much or is it symbolic for something?

DF — I really was “raised on the radio”.  First, though, it’s a great song.  I feel like it’s a good way to start the show…it has some bounce and energy to it.  And I was definitely raised on the radio by my mom and dad.  They both loved music.  My mom and I used to listen to Casey Kasem’s Top 40 on WCAO and we debated which songs finished where.  The radio was always on in my house growing up.  Over the last few years I’ve had Rob Fahey in studio to play some music and do the live version of the song and that’s been a lot of fun.

RL — What about sports radio growing up?  Did you listen?

DF — Oh, man, the radio was almost all we had in the 1970′s.  When a game was on TV, it was a special occasion.  I got the radio bug mostly by listening to the Orioles in the summer and the Capitals in the winter.  I was absolutely hooked on listening to Capitals hockey on WTOP.  I fell asleep to Ron Weber’s voice in my ear many a night.  In fact, the reason why I’m sitting here doing this interview with you today is all because of Ron Weber.  You have him to thank.

RL — How so?

DF — In 1978, I was playing youth hockey for the Benfield Flames.  We were playing a game at the Bowie Ice Rink and someone mentioned that Ron Weber’s son was playing in the age group below mine.  I didn’t see him that day, but I sent a letter to him at the Capitals office asking him for an interview for school and he agreed.  I met him at Bowie a couple of weeks later and he was gracious enough to give me an hour.  I asked a bunch of completely dumb questions and I’m sure I was nervous as hell, but he was such a gentleman about it.  So when you reached out to me and asked if you could do this, I thought back to that day with Ron Weber at Bowie.  He did it for me, I’m doing it for you.  Although this took almost a year for us to put this together.

RL — I assume you grew up a Chuck Thompson fan?

DF — Of course, didn’t everybody?  I remember going over to a neighbor’s house, the Ravadge family, and the mom, Libby, had the Orioles on every single night.  We’d sit in her kitchen and play cards and I’d bum iced tea off of her and listen to the baseball game on the radio.

RL — Is that when you thought about a career in radio, listening to Chuck Thompson and Ron Weber?

DF — I never thought about being a talk show host, if that’s what you mean.  Actually, I used to listen to Larry King a lot, which is weird for a 14 year old, I suppose, but I kept my radio on all night and he came on overnights on WTOP.  I grew up wanting to be Ron Weber, frankly.  My goal when I was a teenager was to be the play-by-play voice of the Capitals.  That was my dream gig.

RL — What happened to that?

DF — The Blast happened to that, basically.  I got a job.  I started working in the soccer business.  And I was working with the radio team of Art Sinclair and Charley Eckman, so while I wasn’t actually doing the commentating, I was part of the show, which was enough for me at age 19. (Please see next page)

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Dale Hunter

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Capitals Add Fire in Belly With Hunter

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Marty Mossa


Dale Hunter was probably the best two way player in NHL history. He was one of the dirtiest players round, yet he could score a goal when you needed it. He played 19 NHL seasons, 1407 games, scored 323 goals with 697 assists for 1020 points. Hunter also spent 3565 minutes in the penalty box. That’s 59 hours and 25 minutes (almost 2 ½ days) in the “sin” bin. (Wikipedia) And now Dale Hunter is the new coach of the Washington Capitals. Hunter becomes the 15th coach in Washington Capital’s history. He takes over for Bruce Boudreau whose 7-0 start to the season ended his tenure with the team going 3-7-1 in their last eleven games.

Hunter replaces Bruce Boudreau as Cap’s coach. Boudreau was with the Caps for 4 ½ seasons. He compiled a 201-88-40 (442 points) record. In the four complete seasons he guided D.C., the team won four straight South Eastern Division Titles. The Capitals were the Atlantic Conference’s number one seed in the 2009-2010 & 2010-2011 NHL seasons. They won their only “Presidents” Cup for the league’s best record during the 2009-2010 season. (Wikipedia)

The problem for Boudreau and his predecessors is the fact that the Capitals have a knack for choking in the playoffs. The Caps lost to the Flyers in seven during the first round in 2008. They made it to the second round only to blow a 2-0 lead and lose in seven to Pittsburgh in the second round in 2009. They became the first team in NHL history to win the President’s Cup and lose in the first round (blowing a 3-1 lead to Montreal). And last year after finishing off the Rangers in five, the lost 0-4 to Tamp Bay in the second round. Boudreau’s playoff coaching record with the Caps was 17-20.

In the clubs’37 year history, the Caps have made the playoffs 22 times. They however have a propensity for falling apart when spring rolls around. The Caps have only made it past the second round of the playoffs twice. They lost in the ocnference finals in 1990 to Boston 4-0. In 1998 they lost to the Detroit Redwings 4-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals.

I wish Dale Hunter all the best. I won’t be impressed with another South Eastern Division Title, or number one seed in the conference. I won’t even be impressed with another President’s Cup. If they are still playing hockey when Jim Nabors is singing ‘Back Home Again’ at the Indy 500 on May 25, 2012, then I’ll be impressed. Other than that, it’s a waste of time

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Can Dale Hunter make Alex Ovechkin a winner?

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Can Dale Hunter make Alex Ovechkin a winner?

Posted on 28 November 2011 by Drew Forrester

I fired a coach once.

And I fired him for almost the exact same reason the Capitals dismissed Bruce Boudreau on Monday.

The star player wasn’t getting the job done.  And without him leading the team – both performance-wise and spiritually – there was little hope for success.

My in-season firing came in late January of 1996 when I parted company with Dave MacWilliams.  He was only a season-and-a-half into his tenure as coach of the Baltimore Spirit (nee Blast) indoor soccer team when I relieved him of his duties — even though we were 13-11 at the time.

I made the move for a variety of reasons, but the biggest issue confronting me was this: the team had stopped playing for him because the best player at the time (Franklin McIntosh) had also stopped playing for him.  My first reaction was to part company with McIntosh, but I knew the truth.  First, no one would take him…too much baggage and too much trouble.  Second, we were barely a good offensive team WITH him…we would have stunk to high heavens without him.

So as I contemplated a possible coaching move, I did so with this big thought in mind.  ”Who can I bring in that will get the best out of McIntosh?”  I figured if I could find a magician to come in and do that, I’d have a chance to get the rest of the team to follow suit.

It worked, fortunately.  McIntosh initially connected with the new coach, former Blast great Mike Stankovic, and the team went 12-4 to finish up the regular season at 25-15.  There’s more to the story, actually, because Stankovic wound up suspending McIntosh for the post-season, but the decision I made in January to remove MacWilliams and insert Stankovic was the catalyst for the team’s second half resurgence.

The Washington Capitals are in the exact same situation.

Is Dale Hunter the man who can get Alex Ovechkin back on track?

If he is, the Caps can be Stanley Cup contenders.

If he isn’t, the Caps won’t contend for anything except a first-round playoff ouster…again.

Ovechkin remains a question mark because, despite his enormous wealth of talent, he’s never been able to guide his team to the Stanley Cup finals.  In fact, they haven’t even come close.

And when you make the most money and you’re the high profile player, that burden is on your shoulders, unfair or not.

At some point over the last year or so, a disconnect developed between Bruce Boudreau and Ovechkin.  Insiders say Ovechkin’s well-documented fondness for the DC nightlife was never really addressed by Boudreau, who operated on the “as long as you’re performing on the ice, what you do off of it isn’t my concern” theory.  So given his kid gloves treatment of Ovie, where did Boudreau go wrong?  Did the rest of the team take exception (see next page please)

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Capital Pitch

Posted on 15 September 2011 by Chad Lamasa

Alex Ovechkin is throwing out the first pitch at tomorrow night’s Orioles game. What does it say about me for having a modicum of interest in going to a  game for the first time all season? More importantly what does it say about the state of the Orioles franchise?

For those that don’t know, the Washington Capitals will be playing the Nashville Predators, in what is being called the Baltimore Classic, next Tuesday at the First Mariner Arena.

Ovechkin is by far the most popular player on the Caps so, it makes sense to use him to promote that game. Those of you that have read my blogs know I’m a season ticket holder for the Caps. You probably also know my distaste for what the Orioles have become.

To get me to have any interest in wanting to go to a game, they had to bring in a player from another sport, in  another city. Honestly, any of the Caps would have sparked my interest. Does this make me a bad fan? Maybe it does.

I’m sure some people will say it does. Unfortunately, I just found out about his appearance early this morning and I already have plans for tomorrow night.

If I did go, I would definitely wear something emblazoned with a Capitals logo on it. I would be going just to see the Great 8 throw the ceremonial pitch and I couldn’t guarantee that I would stay beyond the 3rd inning.

Caps owner, Ted Leonsis, has said that he modeled the way he runs the team by how the Orioles were run in the 70’s and 80’s –  With a great farm system that uses the same terminology and does things the same way from the Caps down to their lowest minor league affiliate. That way, it’s a smoother transition from one level to the next. They promote coaches from within the organization,  have great scouting, and are willing to spend money to bring in a piece where necessary in addition to using the draft to get better.

He also realizes that the fans are what he owes his success too. Fans are treated extremely well by the Capitals. Among other things,  there is no extra charge for purchasing day of game tickets; nor, are they forced to pay for a TV channel they don’t want.

Leonsis understands the importance of social media. He’s on Facebook and has reached the max number of “friends”.  He writes a great blog. He also takes into account any suggestion(s) that fans make saying, if one person is thinking something and takes the time to write him about it,  there are probably many others thinking the same thing but not voicing it.

For example, there are now shelves over the urinals in the mens’ rooms of the Verizon Center for people to put their drinks on because people suggested that.  I know that he takes the time to answer emails from personal experience.

How ironic is it that the Orioles are having someone from an organization that’s modeled on their former greatness to throw out the opening pitch and they are now the laughing stock of the league, if not all of baseball.

GO CAPS!

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An Open Letter To Ted Leonsis

Posted on 27 May 2011 by Chad Lamasa

Now that I’ve had a bit of time, to recover from the disheartening sweep, I looked back at the season and realized that Alex Ovechkin reached two significant career milestones this season, 600 points and 300 goals, placing him third all time on the Capitals list for goals and points, and fourth in assists, it got me to thinking about the people above him.

 

Next in line is Mike Gartner with 789 points (397 G 402 A). His number is hanging in the rafters at Verizon Center, as it clearly should be.

 

With 825 points (472 G 353 A), Peter Bondra tops the franchise records for both goals and points and sits third in assists.

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My question is, why is his number 12 not in the rafters, alongside two of his teammates (Mike Gartner, the most recent player to have his number raised, and Dale Hunter)?

 

Another player on that 1998 Stanley Cup Finals team, that also is clearly deserving of having his number retired, is Olaf Kolzig. He holds virtually all of the goaltending records for the franchise. His records will probably stand longer than Bondra’s since all the goalies on our team are just beginning their careers. However, that doesn’t mean we should wait to raise his number 37 to the rafters.

 

I’m not sure what the criteria, to have a number retired is. Does the player have to make the Hall of Fame? Bondra and Kolzig are probably both borderline Hall of Famers. Bondra already missed on his first ballot. But even if they never make it to Toronto, that doesn’t change their accomplishments for the franchise.

 

Both are still extremely popular among the fans. I know Bondra is still around the area, or at least will make himself available, having seen him at the Convention and public signings as well as playing in the alumni game at the Winter Classic.

 

I’m guessing that since no one wears either 12 or 37 they are unofficially retired but it’s time to make it official.

 

I just renewed my season tickets for next season, my 3rd as an STH. I would love to have one or two of those nights devoted to these players. To see them on the ice one last time at Verizon Center would be fantastic.

 

The nights could be tied into their jersey numbers. Depending on the schedule, they could be the 12th and 37th games of the season. Or if they are road games then the 12th and 37th home games of the season.

 

It doesn’t really matter when it happens just that it does, but as far as I’m concerned the sooner the better.

 

I was in attendance for the Mike Gartner ceremony and that was a great night. Bondra and Kolzig deserve their turn.

 

With the short history of the Caps, at least in hockey terms, there is still plenty of room in the rafters of the Verizon Center. It’s not as though we are running out of numbers, they would be just the fifth and sixth out of the possible 98 available.

 

I’m sure I’m not the only fan that feels this way.

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