Saturday, June 14, 2014

The WCMNT (Washington Capitals Men's National Team)

With the FIFA World Cup getting under way earlier this week, I began thinking: who would be on the Washington Capitals soccer team, regardless of what country they are actually from?

Here is my Starting XI, using a common 4-4-2 formation.

Goalkeeper: Braden Holtby. I'm not taking any creative liberties here. I don't know anyone on the team with better reflexes than Holtby, and he is easily the best choice for keeper.
Reserve: Phillip Grubauer

Left/Right Defensemen: Dmitri Orlov and John Carlson. All defensemen have to play defense, but wing defensemen also have the added element of helping out offensively once in a while. Orlov and Carlson would fit in well.
Reserve: Connor Carrick

Center Defensemen: Karl Alzner and Madison Bowey. Although Bowey hasn't played in the bigs yet, he gets the nod over the next best prospect Jack Hillen because of the injury concern. Center D-men have to be tough enough to outmuscle forwards and gel with their keeper, and I think Alzner and Bowey would do that job just fine.
Reserve: Jack Hillen

Left/Right Midfielders: Mike Green and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Both of these guys are fantastic passers and can also shoot if need be. They get beat out for the center midfield, however, because of the comparative lack in defensive prowess.
Reserve: Jason Chimera

Center Midfielders: Nicklas Backstrom and Mikhail Grabovski. Probably the best passers on the team, both will be instrumental in getting the ball to the strikers. They can also finish a shot if they need to, as well as help out on defense when necessary.
Reserve: Marcus Johansson

Strikers: Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin. The best pure finishers on the team. Can you imagine the beauty of Kuznetsov passing the ball to Ovechkin who smashes it right in the net? Both Brouwer and Ovechkin are pure goal scorers who will be more than capable of stealing some wins for this team.
Reserve: Joel Ward

One more time, visualized:

Orlov - Alzner - Bowey - Carlson

Kuznetsov - Backstrom - Grabovski - Green

Ovechkin - Brouwer

What do you think? Who would you put in your XI? Let me know and enjoy the World Cup taking your mind off of hockey (it's all over...)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

CYOA Caps Edition: Scenario 1.1, 1.2

Welcome back to the Choose Your Own Adventure series, where I continue your saga as one of the top executives in the 2014 Caps organization. Today, I'll recap what happens in the scenario you chose for GMBM and propose some new ones for you to mull over.

And without further ado, here are the scenarios.

Scenario 1.1: You have decided to use the compliance buyout on Brooks Laich, thus saving 3 million dollars in cap space for the 2014 season (per CapGeek), and now have about 7.5 million dollars left after resigning some key prospects. You have many options to pursue, most importantly a second line center, a shutdown defenseman, and maybe an extra left wing. Your preferred targets are Mikhail Grabovski and Matt Niskanen, keeping your second line center and strengthening up the defense. However, they may be expensive, considering you have quite a few holes to fill.
Scenario 1.1.1 To aggressively pursue Grabovski and Niskanen, worth between 7-9 million combined, strengthening the team at the cost of blowing the salary cap, see scenario 1.1.1 in 2 posts.
Scenario 1.1.2 To let Grabovski and Niskanen walk and look to cheaper alternatives that will still help the team but will also save money, see scenario 1.1.2 in 2 posts.  

Scenario 1.2: You have decided to keep Brooks Laich, and have only 4.5 million dollars left to improve the team. Right now, the most pressing issue is the D corps, and you have decided to go all or nothing on some top D-men. The preferred targets are Matt Niskanen or Brooks Orpik, both of whom would cost you less than the 4.5 million dollars. However, you would also like to keep Mikhail Grabovski, who was fantastic on the second line, but will cost every penny of your 4.5 mil.
Scenario 1.2.1 To let Grabovski walk and pursue Niskanen or Orpik for about 3-3.5 million dollars, thereby saving some cap space for the season and shoring up the D, see scenario 1.2.1 in 2 posts.
Scenario 1.2.2 To go all in on Grabovski to keep your second-line center, which will blow your cap space but keep your offense strong, see scenario 1.2.2 in 2 posts.

Some notes on this: currently the Caps have 16 million dollars cap space. The 4.5-7.5 million dollar estimates were based on re-signings the Caps haven't done yet but I predict they will. Also, for simplicity's sake, I kept the options down to just two for each, the two I saw as most plausible.

Again, please leave the path you choose based on what you've chosen earlier in the comments, and stay tuned for more from Choose Your Own Adventure: Caps Edition. 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Choose Your Own Adventure: Caps Edition

It's been a while since I posted anything, so to get right back in the swing of things, I'd like to start a new series for the next week or so.

Do you remember those Choose Your Own Adventure when you were a kid? The ones that you would read the scenario then decide what to do and go to that page and see the ending you're destined for? That's what I'm going for here.

The rules are simple: for every step you take, there will be two or three options (I'll try to limit it to 2) with instructions on where to go next, aka what day your scenario will be posted. Starting today, just to get the ball rolling, I'll have the first choice and first set of scenarios.

Background: The year is 2014, and you have been chosen as a part of the new Washington Capitals staff. Would you like to be:
1: GMBM (General Manager Brian MacLellan)
2: Head Coach Barry Trotz

Here are the scenarios:

You have spent many years with the Capitals organization, and were assistant GM to George McPhee before getting the big job. You have many decisions to make, starting with compliance buyouts to save money. You have one buyout to use, and the likely candidate (for simplicity's sake there will just be one) is Brooks Laich who has not been productive in a few injury-plagued seasons.
1.1 To use the compliance buyout on Brooks Laich, see scenario 1.1 in the next post
1.2 To not use the compliance buyout this year, see scenario 1.2 in the next post

2. Barry Trotz
After many years with the Nashville Predators, you are excited to return to the team where it all began for you: the Washington Capitals. You want to start off on a good foot with the team, but you also don't want to let the team members get too close to you. You're not sure whether to be their friend or their coach.
2.1 To be a Bob Johnson type of coach, who is everybody's friend and has success, see scenario 2.1 in 2 posts
2.2 To be a Herb Brooks type of coach, who is distant and strict but also successful, see scenario 2.2 in 2 posts

I realize there are other options many people would like, but for simplicity's sake I'm keeping it to just two each to start. I hope you guys enjoy this series, and stay tuned as the scenarios continue.

P.S. Please write down your path in the comments so that I can see what the most popular one is.