Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is certain, though, for every feel-good story that grabs headlines, even if only for a short while, there is another team that believed it, too, and had the Cinderella goods, only to find it still wore the garments of the scullery maid.
For teams like the Washington Capitals, that feeling of disappointment, even disbelief, is hard to fend off.
The Caps were one of those teams that began the season with that kind of iron-clad belief they were ready, even if the rest of the league didn’t believe it.
Owner Ted Leonsis told fans emphatically, “The rebuild is over!”
from the Christian Science Monitor,
Many sports fans have long believed that anyone could be a sportswriter – that anyone could sit up on press row, forgo cheering, and type up a few deep thoughts and pithy observations about the games professional athletes play.
These days in Washington, D.C., that widespread belief is being put to a test. To many sportswriters, it’s a scandal. To the owner of the Washington Capitals, it’s the future….
“Because of the way blogs are produced they can provide instant information and reactions that papers won’t publish until the following day,” Henschel says. “People want their information fast and, until recently, the bloggers were the only ones providing that service. I think it’s extremely telling that the Caps’ beat writers for the two major papers in D.C. have recently created their own blogs that can be updated as needed.”
from the Washington Post,
“There’s no question: There’s desperation now, even though it’s not even 20 games yet,” Kolzig said after yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “Any time you go on a winless streak that we’ve been on, you’ve got to turn the tables and do the exact opposite to get back into it. For the good teams, the losing streaks never outlast the winning streaks.
“The bottom line is we have to put a streak together.”
Of the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs last season, only Ottawa had as few as 13 points after as many games. But the talented and deep Senators won nine of their next 11 games and earned a spot in the Stanley Cup finals.
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from Tarik El-Bashir at Capitals Insider on AO contract talks…
Nothing has changed, he said, since the last time I asked him about this on Oct. 29 in Toronto, adding that serious talks still have not started and that he’s not sure when they might.
I asked him if that lack of an offer is bothering him. At first he said, “No.” Then he paused for a moment before saying, “Of course I think about my contract. It would be stupid to answer that I don’t think about my contract. Of course I think about it. But we don’t start talking. We just wait. We still have time.”
This earlier today from Marty York at Metro News,
Two young NHL stars, defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forward Alexander Ovechkin, have rejected contract-extension proposals from the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals, respectively.
The Caps offered Ovechkin a five-year pact similar to the deal the Pittsburgh Penguins gave Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million a season), but the sniper is demanding more — between $9- and $10-million a year.
from the Washington Post,
After dropping five of the past six games and dropping into last place, there are lots of frustrated players in the Washington Capitals’ locker room. No one, though, is more unhappy than defenseman Steve Eminger, who isn’t playing and isn’t sure why.
“It’s past frustrating,” he said following yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “It’s just a matter of them putting me in the lineup, and putting me in there for more than one game, or moving me to somewhere I’m going to play. Because clearly I’m not in their plans.”
from Stan Fischler at MSG Network,
The ever-rumor-seeking Toronto reporters pressed Alex about the possibility of his leaving Washington next summer. Ovechkin is in the final year of a three-year pact. As yet, the Caps have not made an offer but he loves the D.C. area.
“We have lots of time,” Alex says. “It will happen, I want to be here. I don’t like a change of pace. I like the team and the organization and the fans.”
from in the room at the Washington Times,
The moral of this story is, while the Caps might be deeper than last year, they just aren’t deep enough to overcome injuries to three impact players at the same time. The additions of Backstrom and Steckel and the improvement of Green (and Ovechkin on defense) has gone a long way to turn 7-1 and 5-2 losses from the end of last season into 4-3 and 2-1 defeats. But the Caps have to get healthy if they’re going to win consistently enough to get back in the playoff picture.
from Capitals Insider,
Before last night’s loss, I spoke to GM George McPhee about a lot of things, including whether he’s considered making a trade to improve his struggling and injury-plagued team, or just to shake things up.
Here’s what he had to say on the subject:
“You would like to help your team, but has there been a trade in this league since opening night? We call other GMs every week to see what’s going on. And there’s not a lot going on in this league. I don’t know if it’s turned into the NFL, but it’s really hard to make a trade right now.”
from the Washington Post,
“The overriding theme for us is [a] lack of scoring,” Hanlon said. “That’s the main thing. Defensively we’ve made as big an improvement as any team. We don’t have those chaotic games where we’re running around. But there’s a price for scoring goals and, at times, we’re not doing that.”
Added veteran goaltender Olie Kolzig: “You have to first get ugly goals to get things going. You have to get people in front and throw pucks at the net….”
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From Mark Zwolinski at the Toronto Star,
Alex Ovechkin has become many things in Washington: a celebrity, a millionaire and a hero. Now he’s a mentor and role model.
The 22-year-old has opened up his home to newcomer Nicklas Backstrom, and is helping the Swedish rookie adapt to hockey and life in the U.S. capital.
“I remember being a rookie and Dainius Zubrus, he helped me, so I wanted to give back the way Dainius did for me,” said Ovechkin, whose two goals lifted the Capitals to a 7-1 win over the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
“OV (Ovechkin) has been very good for Nicklas, he takes him all over and kind of shows him around,” Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. “Dainius was great with him, and now it hasn’t taken him long to reciprocate.”
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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