Friday, July 11, 2008

Lest we forget

As the minutes tick away on this July 11th, let us give pause to remember what happened on this date seven years ago...

And now...Phase III: Arbitration

We had the draft, then we had the opening of the free-agent signing period. Well, today Boyd Gordon re-signed on a one-year deal at $725,000. That leaves only Shaone Morrisonn among the restricteds. His arbitration is scheduled for July 24th .

And what comes after that?...Well, Phase IV of tweaking personnel is going to be an interesting set of "ifs." If Brian Pothier and/or Chris Clark are not ready (Pothier's availability seems unlikely to the point of "will he retire?"...Clark appears iffy for the start of the year), then the Caps look to have $51.4 million in cap room tied up in 20 roster spots, not including Morrisonn. Five of those spots would be defensemen, meaning there could be room for a Karl Alzner, a Sami Lepisto (who, oddly enough, is not included among either the parent roster or prospects on the official, we do not suspect a conspiracy), or a trade.

13 spots would be occupied by forwards, which doesn't make for any sense of urgency, but could create an opportunity for someone in this week's development camp.

The Caps will continue to be an interesting team to watch as we move forward in the "off" season.

In 35 years...

...can Caps fans remember a time with as much unabashed optimism as this over the team and its direction? Could Caps fans think of these quotes as being uttered about their team?...

“Alex Ovechkin just called me to say we have a great group of guys. We like to have fun, win and work hard. When he said that, I knew I made the right choice."

-- Jose Theodore, upon being a Cap for barely an hour.

"When I saw things weren't progressing with Cristobal [Huet], I knew there was going to be an opening. So I didn't want to sign too quickly in Denver. This was my first choice."

-- Theodore

"I'm so excited to be back you don't even know. I love our team. I love where we're headed."

-- Brooks Laich, after signing his new contract

"Yeah, me and Bruce [Boudreau] have been through quite a bit in the last three years. He wins coach of the year this season and he's only there for three-quarters of the season. It goes to show how good of a coach he is. I didn't want to leave Bruce."

-- Mike Green, on returning to the Caps

"…Our fans can smell it. They suffered for several years, but they know we can be good for a long time. They know our players and have watched them grow up and play better and better. Now the rest of the hockey world knows it."

-- Ted Leonsis

“Sergei Fedorov, who was an unrestricted free agent and thus able to sell his services to the highest bidder, opted to play for the Washington Capitals next season on a comparatively modest one-year, $4-million contract rather than play for higher pay in Russia…Instead, Fedorov will stay in the NHL for at least one more year so he can play with fellow Russians Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Viktor Kozlov on a young, but emerging Capitals team.”

-- Eric Duhatschek, Globe and Mail, writing about choices Russian players are making

...thanks to TheGreatOneCSC The Official for turning the light on over my head about this.

Peace in our time...(edit: maybe) reports that the NHL and the new Continental Hockey League have reached a settlement on an agreement that will end, for the time being, players being lured away by large contract offers. As NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly put it:
"Everyone in the room agreed that for the foreseeable future everyone will respect everybody's contracts."

Parties at the meeting in which the agreement was reached included: the NHL, the NHL Players' Association and international hockey leagues in Zurich, the home of the International Ice Hockey Federation.

And then...
"The new agreement between the NHL and International Ice Hockey Federation to not poach players under contract hasn’t even been put into writing yet, but it has already received its first test with reports that Alexander Radulov has signed with Salavat Ufa of the Continental Hockey League."

Peace is elusive...