Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post,
After one month of tedious preparation had resulted in $68.9 million of NHL contracts signed within a few hours, Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan walked downstairs at the team’s practice facility and into the locker room, where reporters awaited. “Be nice,” he jokingly said as he approached the podium. “Be nice.”
A seven-year deal worth $40.25 million to Matt Niskanen and a five-year deal worth $27.5 million to Brooks Orpik had left plenty of questions for MacLellan, and he answered all under the umbrella of addressing needs. In his first free agency atop the front office, the calculus was simple: To shore up the defense, add leadership and improve five-on-five play, Washington needed to open its checkbook.
“We had cap room,” MacLellan said. “Ownership gave the green light to get to the cap, and we spent the money where we felt we needed to spend it the most.
“It’s a big commitment by our organization and hopefully the players see the commitment by both ownership and management to address perceived needs that we do have. I’m excited about it and hopefully they are too.”
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
It’s no secret the Capitals are looking to add two defensemen to their blue line and landing Niskanen and Orpik would be a grand slam for general manager Brian MacLellan. The Caps might also have interest in 32-year-old defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, who was bought out by the Buffalo Sabres over the weekend.
“I think the first phase of making our team better is getting a staff in place right before the draft,” Trotz said. “Now, when you talk to a free agent he knows what the staff is. I think that’s really important.
“We’ve got the staff, we’ve got the facilities, we’ve got a lot of good pieces on our hockey team, so we have a lot of good selling points.”
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
“I think we want some veteran guys back there to stabilize things and allow some of the younger guys to develop so you put them in the right hole,” Trotz said. “I think a right- and left-handed shot, if you know of anybody. There’s a couple D-men that we’re actually targeting that probably so are 20 other teams. Teams are smart. They lock up their core for a long period of time. The windows of those guys have changed.”
One month into the Washington gig, Trotz has finished reviewing film of the roster and seemed bullish on the young Capitals defensemen rising through the organization, such as Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey and Connor Carrick. He also talked about being stronger around the net, leveraging position to “tie up people” when pucks are batted about. But those are matters best handled during the preseason, and Trotz knows the Capitals need to act now.
“The great thing about Washington is they have lots of assets in terms of forwards, some teams might be looking for scoring, we can do something there,” he said. “That’s really up to Mac. I think the first phase of making our team better is, I thought Mac did a good job of getting the staff in place right before the draft here. That free agency period to getting to talk to people and what have you, you’re going to talk to a free agent, he knows what the staff is. I think that’s really important.”
from Brad Walter of the Sydney Morning Herald,
Nathan Walker and his parents Wayne and Ceri were doing ''jumping jacks'' around their Grays Point home at 1.30am on Sunday after the 20-year-old became the first Australian selected in the NHL draft.
Walker and his parents were watching the NHL draft online from Philadelphia when the Washington Capitals chose him at No.89 after trading their two fourth-round choices with the New York Rangers for the penultimate pick in the third round. After attending development and training camps with the Capitals during the past two northern summers, Walker was well known to Washington officials and they were concerned he had attracted the interest of other franchises while playing last season for Hershey Bears in the American Hockey League.
''I am just speechless,'' Walker said. ''I was watching a feed with my parents and a cousin, and they just announced my name at about 1.30am. It was unbelievable. We were doing jumping jacks around the lounge room. The Capitals called me last night and just said they wanted to congratulate me.''
Once the announcement was made, the phone didn't stop ringing as friends and family called to congratulate Walker on the fulfilment of a dream that began when he watched the film The Mighty Ducks and involved him moving to the Czech Republic at 13 years of age to play ice hockey.
from Jason Brough of ProHockeyTalk,
... Trotz believes Ovechkin has to “grow his game if we’re going to win a championship.” And while that goes for everyone on the team — he was by no means trying to single out his captain — he did share one specific critique with reporters.
“Alex has got a bit too much glide in his game,” said Trotz. “When you’re standing still you’re really easy to cover.”
added 3:48pm, Watch Trotz speaking about the Capitals in this E.J. Hradek interview below...
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have named Mitch Korn the team’s goaltending coach, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.
Following the season Olie Kolzig expressed his desire to not continue as a full-time goaltending coach due to family reasons. Korn and Kolzig are currently discussing Kolzig’s level of time commitment and involvement with the organization.
The Washington Capitals will be hosting the 2015 Winter Classic next season against the Chicago Blackhawks, according to TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie.
McKenzie adds that while the venue for the Winter Classic in D.C. hasn't been finalized yet, the leading candidate is believed to be Nationals Park.
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
Let’s assume that Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan is earnest in his pursuit of a left-handed defenseman who can play alongside the right-handed shooting Mike Green on the Caps’ blue line....
At 29, Phaneuf is in the prime of his NHL career but comes with a killer contract -- seven years, $49 million beginning next season. Phaneuf was beaten up by the Toronto media last season and is in desperate need of a change of scenery. His no-movement clause kicks in on July 1, so the clock is ticking for the Leafs to move him now.
Phaneuf is big (6-foot-3, 214 pounds), productive (eight goals, 23 assists) and can eat up big minutes (23:33), but unless the Leafs agree to pay a large portion of his salary, Phaneuf could be a financial albatross to any NHL suitor.
The Caps also would need to consider the price it would take to get Phaneuf. The Hurricanes reportedly are dangling Eric Staal, while the Oilers reportedly would part with Sam Gagner or Nail Yakupov. Would the Caps be willing to move their 13th pick overall and Marcus Johansson and/or Dmitry Orlov in exchange for Phaneuf?
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
Former Nashville coach Barry Trotz might want to call Scotty Bowman and ask how the greatest coach of them all, can change the spots on a scoring leopard.
In the early 90s, Bowman went about convincing his Detroit captain Steve Yzerman to park his run of 100-point seasons to become what we used to call a “two-way player” and now we refer to as playing “a 200-foot game.” Stevie Y had been around for about 10 years, had one 155-point season, but for all his points, he hadn’t won any team prize...
Trotz has the same task with Alex Ovechkin in Washington. Everybody knows he’s the elephant in the room there. Two Hart trophies, four 50-goal seasons, one of 65. No Cups, nary a playoff game past the second round since he was drafted first in 2004. Ovie isn’t selfish. He’s stubborn. He longs to carry the Cup around the ice just like his Russian countrymen Evgeni Malkin in Pittsburgh and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit.
But he’ll need a coach to tell him how, without neutering him.
Trotz, who agreed that Ovechkin gets too much credit when the Caps win and too much blame when they lose.
“Like a coach,” joked Trotz, speaking on his cell while riding in a cab to the airport in Washington Friday.
It’s finding the balance with Ovechkin. He knows the talented ones often “want to do it my way.”
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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