Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Bleacher Report has Lost All Respectability

First off, to you guys who are fans of the sports rankings/news website Bleacher Report, I don't hate the entire website; just one specific writer. I'll not name him here, but if you go to the article I'm talking about, you will see who it is.

This writer, "John," made what is basically a list of the Top 10 players in the league. Here they are:
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, John Tavares, Steven Stamkos, Erik Karlsson, Zdeno Chara, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Claude Giroux, Henrik Sedin.

Noticeably missing? Need I say it?

I don't think ANYBODY, even those who hate Alex Ovechkin, can make a credible case that Claude Giroux and Henrik Sedin are better than the Great 8. I also think most logical hockey fans would agree that OV is better than Stamkos, Tavares, Karlsson, Chara, and probably Malkin, Datsyuk, and Toews as well. I would say that only Crosby is possibly better than OV.

'John' has always dissed Ovechkin and the Caps, in most of his articles, so we shouldn't take this seriously. But if you guys would go on this website and tell this guy just how stupid he is, it would be totally worth it.

Here's the link to the article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1719371-the-signature-highlight-from-the-nhls-top-10-stars

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The All-Time Washington Capitals Roster

It's the dog days of summer, but hockey never rests. OK, maybe it does, and I'm struggling to find things to write about.

But I think I'm onto something here.

Coming up: If the Washington Capitals could have an all-time team, this is what I think it would be.

Disclaimer: This is not a ranking of the best Capitals of all time. Some of these lines were made more for how each member's assets would help the other members.

Alex Ovechkin-Adam Oates-Peter Bondra
Dennis Maruk-Nicklas Backstrom-Mike Gartner
Bengt Gustafsson-Mike Ridley-Dave Christian
Dale Hunter-Michal Pivonka-Kelly Miller

The Capitals have had some VERY good talent on center, but other than OV, Bondra, and Gartner have been sort of soft on the wings. I had a tough time deciding whether to put Oates, Backstrom, or somebody else completely on the top line, but decided on Oates for his accomplishments as a player as well as for jumpstarting OV as a coach, making me think he would be fantastic on Ovechkin's line. Add Bondra to that, and we have three of the deadliest players in team history. The second line is also solid, with Maruk taking the wing in order to once again have two deadly scorers centered by an extremely capable center. The third line also has three of the best scorers in franchise history (yes, even Dave Christian; he is 12th all time on the Caps in points). Now for the fourth line. Don't get me wrong, Dale Hunter was (and is) awesome. But considering that he is the toughest player in Caps history (by far), I decided to put him on a 4th line which still has two fantastic scorers.

Other Possible Forwards: Joe Juneau, Alexander Semin, Dino Cicarelli

Calle Johansson-Rod Langway
Scott Stevens-Kevin Hatcher
Larry Murphy-Sergei Gonchar

You don't know how hard it was for me to decide between Gonchar and Mike Green. In the end, I chose Gonchar for his durability; Green's injury problems steered me to choose Gonchar. Other than that, everybody here is a Caps legend. Johansson, the highest scoring Caps D-man of all time, and Langway, perhaps our best defensive defenseman ever, would make a solid, balanced blue line. Stevens, the New Jersey Devils legend, was equally good for the Caps until he was send to The Garden State. Kevin Hatcher and Larry Murphy are two of the most overlooked defensemen in team history.

Other Possible Defensemen: Mike Green, Yvon Labre, Sylvain Cote, Al Iafrate

Olaf Kolzig
Don Beaupre

No surprises here; the two best goaltenders, stat-wise, in Caps history. However, Jim Carey may have been here, had he stayed with the team; I deeply considered including him. In the end, though, these Caps legends would be fantastic starting goalies for any team, especially the Capitals all-time team.

Other Possible Goaltenders: Jim Carey, Braden Holtby

What do you think? Who would you add/take out? Put your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned for more fun stuff during these lazy summer days.

Friday, July 19, 2013

In the Days Since...

It's been two weeks since my last post, and a lot has changed since:

  • Ilya Kovalchuck, one of those players I didn't exactly hate but didn't love either, retired from the NHL to play in the KHL. Good luck to him, and to New Jersey too.
  • The Caps re-signed Karl Alzner, one of the key cogs of our defense. Thank god.
  • The Caps have not signed Mikhail Grabovski, and it looks like the Caps are going to go with Brooks Laich as the 2nd-line-center. Not a bad idea at all...
  • The NHL has allowed the players to play in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Good decision. 
  • Along with that, the NHL has released the schedules for every team. The Caps have a tough but winnable schedule. Too bad there are still only four games against Pittsburgh...
  • Along with that, the NHL released the division names for realignment. Whereas everybody assumed that we would be in the Atlantic Division, Jagr Division, Lemieux Division, etc. the NHL has put the Caps in the all new Metropolitan Division (talk about the worst name ever).
So, in the past two weeks there has been a lot, and in the next, there will be a lot more. Hopefully, analysis will come...

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Free Agency Tracker- Who the Caps can Still Target: Day 2

Day 2 did not have as many big-name signings, but once again GMGM was soft. Heck, he was silent, the only signing coming on the minor-league level.

That being said, here is who is still possible for the Caps' biggest voids at center and defenseman.

Mikhail Grabovsky
Nik Antropov
Nazem Kadri

Ron Hainsey
Douglas Murray
Marek Zidlicky

Not much changed on the defensivs front, but some big-name centers are gone. GMGM will have to hurry, or this will be a long season.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Free Agency Tracker- Who the Caps can Still Target

After one day of free agency, a lot of the high-profile players are gone (goodbye Ribeiro; good luck Matt Hendricks) and the Caps have not done anything. This may not be that bad a decision, but the Caps still need some help.

So here are the people the Caps still need to fill voids, mainly at center and D:

Mikhail Grabovsky (Toronto)
Derek Roy (Vancouver)
Saku Koivu (Anaheim)
Nik Antropov (Winnipeg)

Ron Hainsey (Winnipeg)
Douglas Murray (Pittsburgh)
Marek Zidlicky (New Jersey)

So obviously, a lot of the people the Caps would have liked to target are gone, but they're gone for WAY more than the Caps would have payed for them. There's still plenty of time to get people.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Matchup 4: #2 Loss to Pittsburgh vs. #3 Sweep by Tampa Bay

We've reached the last first-round match in the WMICPH contest. Today, the 2009 7-game loss to Pittsburgh takes on the stunning sweep by the 5th-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning in 2011.

Without further ado, let's get started.

The Caps-Pens series was a classic from the start. This classic battle between two classic rivals with a classic Game 7 and (unfortunately) the classic finish of the Caps losing. After winning the series, the Pens went on to win the Stanley Cup. The upsetting thing is, the Caps could have taken the Pens. They were up 2-0. The ECF against Carolina would have been pretty easy, and then it would have come down to Detroit. There is no guarantee that the Caps would have won the SCF, but at least the Pens wouldn't have.
The 2011 Caps was one of the most balanced in recent memory. It was a good team (the Eastern Conference 1st-seed) and they had steamrolled the Rangers in 5 games in the first round. If this team had won, they would be playing the not-as-tough team in Boston, and would have gone on to a good matchup against Vancouver. Again, there is no guarantee the Caps would be Cup champs, but they almost certainly would have been finalists.
Advantage: Push

Impact is pretty tough to measure, given that these are pretty recent, but the TBL loss has had a greater impact. The franchise facelift continued, as the Caps completed a change to an ultra-defensive style when Dale Hunter took over as head coach. The Pens series just gave more incentive to win, but obviously that hasn't happened.
Advantage: Sweep

Shock Factor:
The Caps could have been out in Game 6 against the Pens, and the two teams were considered evenly matched, so there was not a lot of shock when the Pens won.
The TBL loss was shocking because minus Stamkos, the Bolts were an aging team which was not supposed to challenge the Eastern Conference favorites. Instead, the Bolts destroyed the Caps.
Advantage: Sweep

Grudge/Hate Factor:
This is sort of hard, but not really.
Advantage: Loss to Pittsburgh

In the end, I'll choose the first upset of this draw, and I'm gonna go with the Sweep by Tampa Bay. The impact and shock factor caused by this loss will send it to the second round, where it will take on the loss to Montreal. See you then!

A Red, White, and Blue Day for Red, White, and Blue Day

On this Independence Day, I take you back in time to see the most patriotic part of Caps history; their logos/jerseys.

The Caps logos and jerseys have almost always showcased red, white, and/or blue as their main colors. Here is how the logos/jerseys have changed throughout the years.


The Caps started out with this logo, which is obviously very similar to the current one. This logo (and jersey) was used from 1974, when the club began as an expansion team, until 1995. It is the longest used logo in team history.

After 1995, the history gets a little weirder.

This was the Caps logo until 2002.

And this was their logo until 2007, when the Caps adopted their current logo and uniform. All this is fine, but the weird part comes with the uniforms.

From 1995 to 2003, the Caps home uniform looked like this or really close to this:

This was their road uniform from 1995 to 2000:

And this was their road uniform from 2000 to 2003:

From 2003 to 2007, the home and road uniforms were switched, because of the new rule that white jerseys had to be road.

And in 2007, we got today's jerseys, those red, white, and blue beauties, reminding us why, once and for all, Washington DC (and it's sports) is the most patriotic place in the USA.

Happy Independence Day to all!

All jerseys/logos except for the first courtesy of sportslogos.net.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Alex Ovechkin Makes the First All-Star Team and the Second All-Star Team; Wait, What?

The NHL released the first and second all-star teams this afternoon. For those of you who don't know, this is not the All-Star Game teams, which are voted on by the fans. These are voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association (PHWA), so its' legit; well, at least more legit.

Here is the First Team:
G- Sergei Bobrovsky
D- PK Subban
D- Ryan Suter
LW- Chris Kunitz
C- Sidney Crosby
RW- Alex Ovechkin

Not really many surprises here, although in my opinion Kunitz does not deserve to be in the First Team, but considering who was in the second team at LW, well...

Second Team:
G- Henrik Lundqvist
D- Kris Letang
D- Francois Beauchemin
LW- Alex Ovechkin
C- Jonathan Toews
RW- Martin St. Louis

Wait, what? Most of this list is OK, although a part of me feels that Mike Green should have been in here rather than Beauchemin. If he hadn't been injured, he may have been able to make this team.

But why is Ovechkin on both teams? The NHL world erupted, wondering why this happened. Finally, Katie Carrera of the Washington Post broke what happened:

All the voters received a memo saying that if they voted for Ovechkin, to vote for him as a Right Wing. Of course, there are always those few people who vote for OV as a Left Wing, except there were 45. Yup. 45 out of 178 people voted for OV as a LW despite the fact that they were told not to. The correct 2nd team LW should have been Taylor Hall of Edmonton, not OV.

That being said, congrats OV, and congrats everyone who made either of these teams (you too, Taylor). If you want to read Carrera's full story, here's the link:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Matchup 3: #1 Loss to Montreal vs. #4 Game 5 Loss to NYR (2012)

The contest return after the brief hiatus for the draft, with the first OV-Era match; the incredibly stunning (and deeply upsetting) 7-game loss to Montreal against the shocking Game 5 loss to the Rangers last year.

As always, I'll compare them under different criteria, and come up with a winner which will advance to the semis. So let's start!

The Caps were President's Trophy winners, so beating the 8th-seed Canadiens was supposed to be a give-in. If the Caps win, they continue on in the playoffs with a lot of momentum. Plus, they had three shots at winning the series, and winning any of them would have been great.
Still, I think the Game 5 loss was more important. The Caps won Game 6, so had they won Game 5, they would have upset the Rangers and advanced to a ECF against the Devils which they could have won.
Advantage: Game 5 Loss

The impact is a completely different matter. Because of the loss to Montreal, the Caps realized all it took to beat their team was a red-hot goalie. So they changed their style of play to an extremely defensive game (which did not suit their strengths) and this continued when Dale Hunter was the coach. Alex Ovechkin's struggles could be traced to that series loss.
The Game 5 loss would have had a bigger impact had the Caps lost Game 6. But they won, and had a chance in Game 7, so the impact is not as big.
Advantage: Loss to Montreal

Shock Factor:
It's hard to decide which was more shocking. The Montreal loss is obvious, because the Caps were favorites to win the Stanley Cup and lost to a team with 33 points less than them.
However, the Caps were beating the Rangers with 6 seconds left in the game when Brad Richards scored on the PP to tie it, and Marc Staal scored early in OT to stun the Caps.
Still, because the Caps were favorites against Montreal, that gets the nod.
Advantage: Loss to Montreal

Grudge/Hate Factor:
Canadiens vs. Rangers? Easy.
Advantage: Game 5 Loss

In the end, this is a close call, but because of the sheer shock it caused, the Loss to Montreal wins here. The Game 5 Loss was stunning as well, but in the grand scheme of things, the loss to Montreal was more shocking and had a much bigger impact than the loss to New York.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Goodbye Ribeiro; Now Who's Next?

GMGM announced that he's going to to let free agent Mike Ribeiro walk on July 5, rather than pay him millions to try to re-sign him.

Bye Mike; you did great last year, and you showed us what a good 2nd-line center can do. Good luck wherever you go next year.

That being said, who should the Caps try to target? Here are some options

1. Stephen Weiss ($3.1M cap hit)
Pros: He is a solid scorer who can do it all, and is fantastic at taking face-offs (which Ribeiro struggled with). Plus, he is less expensive than Ribeiro.
Cons: He is not as old as Ribeiro, but is still 30. He could also be looking for a more costly, longer deal.

2. Nazem Kadri (810K)
Pros: He had a breakout year last year and is only 22. He will be super inexpensive.
Cons: He was atrocious at face-offs, and it's unlikely Toronto will let him walk.

3. Alexander Burmistrov (1.5M)
Pros: He is a young, inexpensive, solid point-producer.
Cons: He may not be good enough to step in as a top-6 forward.

4. Vincent Lecavalier (7.7M)
Pros: He is a smart, high-scoring forward who still has a lot of hockey in him.
Cons: He is not as young as he used to be, and is extremely costly.

5. Derek Roy (4M)
Pros: He is a proven leader with lots of experience, and can put up good numbers as well.
Cons: Like Weiss and Ribeiro, he could be looking for a long-term deal as well.

Who should the Caps target? One of the above, or someone else entirely? Put your thoughts in the comments, and stay tuned for when I (finally) start the OV Era in the WMICPH contest.