Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Russian Machine Never Breaks,
Friday, during a fan forum, Dynamo Moscow general director Andrey Safronov said that he’d talk to Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin about coming back to Russia. Ovechkin, a Dynamo alum who played for the club until 2005 as well as during the 2012 lockout, is under contract with the Capitals until 2021. The reigning Hart trophy winner is slated to receive $79 million over the next eight seasons.
Here is Safronov, as quoted by the Russian ITAR-TASS news agency:
Ovechkin has a current contract with the Capitals. Can we try to pull him out? We’ll talk, we’ll look at each other and will have some result. Right now all Russian national team players want to come back to their homeland. KHL shows its force and credibility. And finances are important too. Taking taxes in account, playing in Russia has become way more attractive for players.
from Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington,
Another week is about to slip away without the 22-year-old Swede under contract.
Johansson is coming off a three-year entry level contract that paid him $900,000. He is believed to be seeking an extension in excess of the two-year, $4.5 million contract Carl Hagelin signed this summer with the Rangers.
After signing Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year, $3 million contract on Friday, the Caps now have 21 players under contract and sit just $2.665 million below the NHL salary cap.
Which means …
Johansson will either settle for a contract in the $2.5 million range or the Caps will need to move either him or someone else’s salary to make room for him....
Johansson is coming off a productive – albeit brief – season last year, benefitting from top linemates Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom to record six goals and 16 assists in 34 games.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider at the Washington Post,
As part of his background research into Mikhail Grabovski, who the Capitals signed to a one-year $3 million contract last week, General Manager George McPhee reached out to one of his mentors for an honest opinion on the 29-year-old center.
“We exchanged emails and I told him what I thought,” former Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke said Monday at KCI, where he is attending the U.S. Olympic orientation camp as USA Hockey’s director of player personnel. “I think Mikhail Grabovski is just a class act, he’s a warrior on the ice, he’s a gym rat off the ice. His preparation is unbelievable, he’s very serious about being a good hockey player and he was a joy while I had him in Toronto. He was a joy to have on the team.”
It was during Burke’s tenure as general manager in Toronto that Grabovski had his best career statistical seasons, and it was Burke who signed Grabovski to the five-year, $27.5 million contract that the Maple Leafs opted to buy out this summer.
from Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal,
If it’s true as a radio report in Belarus says that the much-maligned ex Maple Leafs’ centre Mikail Grabovski is signing a one-year $3 million deal with the Washington Capitals, two things come to mind: (1) what took the Caps so long to jump on this guy after losing Mike Ribeiro to Dallas as a free-agent with Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle as the No. 2 and No. 3 centres behind Nicklas Backstrom and (b) Grabovski is still going to get about what he was making in Toronto ($1.8 mil from the Leafs as part of his buyout, plus the $3 mil from Washington.
Grabovski is not as good as Ribeiro as a point-producer or set-up man for his wingers but he is a better two-way player. He was used in a checking role in Toronto last year by Randy Carlyle. He is a 50-point NHL centre with more bite to his game than Ribeiro; Ribeiro is a surefire 70-point guy; he will be the first-line centre in Phoenix this season.
continue for more on the possible signing and also for Matheson's take on the Douglas Murray signing...
via Mike Ozanian of Forbes,
After winning the Southeast Division in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals were upset in the first round of the NHL playoffs this past season by the New York Rangers in seven games. But the Capitals have scored big on Wall Street.
Sources have told me that Ted Leonsis refinanced the debt on his hockey team last month with a $100 million package led by Citigroup. The loan was oversubscribed, meaning more people wanted to buy the debt than was available. And the refinancing was bigger than the previous loan, thereby increasing the amount of debt on the hockey team.
Leonsis owns the Capitals, Washington Wizards of the NBA, and the arena the two teams call home, the Verizon Center, through his holding company,Monumental Sports and Entertainment. Leonsis bought the Capitals for $85 million in 1999 and we valued the team at $250 million last November.
The NHL in general seems to be taking on more debt. The league increased its credit facility to $600 million from $400 million last month, also through Citigroup. The new deal is priced at the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, plus 250 basis points. The previous facility was $400 million, at Libor plus 300 basis points.
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
It’s nearly August, for hockey gods’ sake. Does anyone want to tell Sabres GM Darcy Regier and his Capitals counterpart George McPhee? Both are doing their best statue impersonations at a time in each team’s history that cries out for at least a modicum of change. Yet with their near-total absence of action, both are making the case that the rosters that failed so spectacularly somehow deserve another chance.
Sorry, but I’m not buying, leasing, renting or timesharing that argument, not for a single second. It’s one thing to dance with them what brung you; it’s something else entirely when them what brung you are insisting on dancing like nobody’s watching and/or paying them to dance. Loyalty is admirable to a degree, but eventually that attitude turns into organizational inertia and that’s what puts teams in a competitive death spiral.
I’m not advocating for a massive turnover of talent in Buffalo and Washington. There are players in the Caps and Sabres’ systems worth hanging onto. But even teams that suffered significant disappointment in previous years knew the status quo wasn’t an option:
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Karl Alzner to a four-year contract extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Alzner will earn $2.8 million per year from 2013-14 through the 2016-17 season
“We are very pleased to sign Karl Alzner to a contract extension,” said McPhee. “Karl is just entering his prime and has been a model of consistency for our organization since he entered the League. He plays tough and valuable minutes against some of the NHL’s top players every game.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Has the time come for the NHL to change the way it defines the Hart Trophy? Currently, the award – voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association – goes to the player adjudged “to be the most valuable to his team.”
This, annually, trips up voters, and it did again this year, when Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals won his second MVP award over Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Presumably, Crosby lost out to Ovechkin for two reasons. First, he missed the final month of the season because of a broken jaw and thus played just 36 games; and two, his team didn’t collapse under the weight of his absence and still managed to finish first overall in the Eastern Conference.
How else to explain why the vote went the way it did? Ovechkin had the same number of points as Crosby – 56 – but had 12 extra games to get to that number. In fact, despite his lengthy absence, Crosby held the scoring lead until five days remained in the regular season when the eventual scoring champion, Martin St. Louis of the Tampa Bay Lightning, passed him. Crosby finished in a tie for third with Ovechkin, one point behind Tampa’s Steve Stamkos. Neither Stamkos nor St. Louis were factors in the Hart balloting because their team wasn’t a playoff contender and both were roughly equal in terms of their contributions to the team’s success, what little there was of it.
from Neil Greenberg of Capitals Insider,
In fact, it is because this team wins so much that it has fostered what I like to call a Culture of Perennial Disappointment: failing to advance past the second round since its dark-horse run in the 1998 Stanley Cup playoffs.
So, we should be able to agree this organization is made up of winners. However, is it also made up of chokers?
You know, calling the Caps “Choking Dogs” used to be funny. But it isn’t any more. Because it has been happening for 12 years. In nine of their past 12 playoffs the Capitals have either frittered away a substantial playoff lead or lost to a team they finished above in the regular season.
That was Tony Kornheiser’s Washington Post column from 1996, after Washington won the first two games against Pittsburgh before dropping the next four, leading to a first-round exit — a trend that plagues this organization with the term “chokers.” But it is a moniker that, sadly, has been earned.
The Capitals have the worst postseason record in games in which the team can win the series with a victory (minimum 10 games played in those situations):
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.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com