Sunday, September 18, 2005

First Cuts, Last Cuts

This weekend saw the Caps pare back their training camp roster by 20 players who were sent to Hershey. Some were expected – goaltenders Frederic Cassivi and Kirk Daubenspeck, forwards Owen Fussey and Graham Mink, for example. A couple make sense – Tomas Fleischmann and Jonas Johansson, who have not been pros for very long and can benefit from the greater ice time they’ll see in Hershey. But one seems to stand out – Jean-Francois Fortin. In the view of some (including none other than head coach Glen Hanlon), J.F. has been at times the best defenseman on the ice. But, Fortin has had a reputation for a lack of consistency and focus, of disappearing in games and failing to give an honest effort.

Why, then, the demotion? Is he really behind on the depth chart such others as Bryan Muir, or Lawrence Nycholat, or Jamie Heward, who are still on the camp roster?

I wonder if something else isn’t taking place. I wonder if this isn’t an effort on the part of the Caps brain trust to find out one last time just what Fortin’s level of dedication is – whether he will work hard in Hershey to make his way back to the big club, or whether he will now go through the motions and make good on his statement that if he didn’t make the big club, he’d be in Europe next year. It’ll be one of the many subplots to the Caps season.


So, Alexander Ovechkin is making his debut as a Cap in Washington on Wednesday. Hmm . . . the Caps will be competing against the Nats, who will host the Giants and Barry Bonds at RFK (hopefully, the Nats still will be in the wild card chase). Wonder what the attendance will be at MCI . . . I’ll guess 6,500.


And, the Caps already lead the NHL in one category . . . most Jakub’s (2 – Cutta and Klepis). We take it where we can get it this year.

– The Peerless