Still Waiting for News on Caps Signings Though
It's been a good but busy week for those of us at ICx Technologies these past 5 days. The team I'm part of and the teams we work with have spent the past week "moving the ball forward" on four large new business projects we've been working on. Yesterday, we submitted our team's proposal for an operations & maintenance contract of advanced CBRNE sensors at the Pentagon. It's a competitive proposal and several other companies are also bidding on it,so now it's wait and see on that one. It's always a hectic time right before you submit a proposal and Friday was certainly no different. On Wednesday Afternoon and Thursday, I was in New Jersey at one of our operating units where a large proposal which we are a key subcontractor was audited by the Government accounting folks as part of the normal proposal review and selection process they go through. On Monday and Tuesday I worked on getting ready for those two items and on two other new business capture/start up efforts we have in process one smaller effort working with the Department of Defense to do a "Joint Concept Technology Demonstration" for the next generation of integrated force protection technologies and the second was preparing answers to questions on a very large proposal we have in process for an integrated, modular CBRN sensor "kit" for military reconnaissance units. It's all good, all the time and I enjoy being busy, time flies and it's very easy to stay totally, mentally engaged. Of course, we didn't start all these things at the same time and had believed they would finish in sequential or at least somewhat staggered fashion so we could more easily "focus & finish". However, that doesn't necessarily appear to be the case so a burst of frenetic activity in the early summer is called for - something in common between our management team at ICx Technologies and the management team over at Kettler Center and the Capitals.
While we at ICx have been busy and have driven a few things to conclusion this past week, unfortunately the Caps management didn't manage to sign any of their Restricted or Unrestricted Free Agents this past week. While the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals and it Hockey World Championships were exciting; and the 2007-2008 NHL Awards were fun to watch, so far the roster maintenance and enhancement efforts by the Caps have been, thankfully, moving at a deliberate uneventful pace with no surprises. I had hoped a few things would break this past week but since there's been no bad news about any key players they need to re-sign, I've taken a "no news is good news attitude.". I have found the current speculation as to whether the Pittsburgh Penguins will be able to hold together their tremendous, youthful team core is interesting as well. Surprised about the speculation are you? Perhaps its that after this season, the Penguins have 15 players who will be Unrestricted Free Agents and 10 who will be restricted free agents in their system per NHLSCAP.com and now, not next year might be their time since they already had a 2007 - 2008 payroll of ~$44.5M. The other thing that's exciting and interesting to me as a Caps fan is the speculation on what Tampa Bay's new ownership will do to improve the team, other than resign Vincent Lecavalier, to bolster the lineup around he and Martin St.Louis. The rumors are running wild.
While the machinations of the Pens roster and the rumours in Tampa are of interest,even greater interest to Washington Capitals' fans was a story posted on the Washington Capitals website earlier this month where there was a discussion of the 3 unrestricted free agents the Caps picked up at the trade deadline. It seems like all three might not mind wearing Caps red, white and blue again next year. That also seems very unlikely, particularly Matt Cooke due to the salary cap challenges the Caps will also likely find themselves dealing with. The salary cap and salary budget issues, along with Washington's return to the playoffs this past season are two more real signs that, "the rebuild is over." Of course, Alex Ovechkin and Bruce Boudreau's hardware from this past season are a few other visible, undeniable signs of the same thing.
Looking at the actions the Caps have taken relative to issuance of qualifying offers to their five (5) Restricted Free Agents, it sure appears they intend for all of them to start next home season "Rocking the Red." Of course, as Washington Times writer Corey Masisik points out, if another team offers one of them a stupid offer then the Caps will need to rethink things. It also seems like Caps star Alexander Ovechkin would really like to see the dean of Russian NHL'ers, Sergei Federov, come back and finish his NHL career in DC. What this all means no one knows. The salary cap next year will be $56.6M, the Caps currently appear to be using just under $39M of that. They have 8 RFAs and 8 UFAs (including Olaf Kolzig) to either resign or replace on the roster. There has been a lot of banter in the main stream media as well as on blogs and bulletin boards about what should and shouldn't be done by the Caps with minimal consensus on anything other than they need to manage the current situation smartly and if they do they will be a force to be reckoned with the next couple of seasons.
Like any other rabid fan, I want the Caps to somehow figure out how to do it all - resign Huet (I prefer Huet over Theodore and think the Caps have a far better chance of signing the native of St-martin-d'hères, FR then Jose), resign Cooke and Federov, even though I know Cooke is almost certainly a luxury we can't afford, lock Green up to a nice contract for five years, ditto for Brooks Laich (I don't think Laich's performance last year was an exception and believe it will be the rule going forward) .... and my wish list just goes on and on. The reality is that my wish list and Mr. Leonis as well as "GMGM's" wish list are all probably a lot alike and all equally implausible. The most sentimental and also I think one of the more questionable ones is the return of Sergei Federov. Last year, Federov made over $6, 500,000; it's very unlikely the Caps will be able to offer him more than two years at anything over $2,500,000 - my guess is Federov finishes his career over in Russia for a lot more money. If he decides, he'd rather finish his career in the NHL though I'd put his chances at being a Cap and "Rockin' the Red" at 65% for/35% against, and thank the presence of both Ovechkin and Semin on the roster for that. Personally it's something I'd love to see but the presence of Nylander and the terms of Nylander's contract make the Capitals being able to offer Federov a salary that is overly appealing to a guy who made over $6M last year exceedingly difficult. Michael Nylander will make $5.5M and his current contract has a No Movement Clause (NMC) through 2011; even though I think Federov's style fits Boudreau's system better, under these conditions Nyls has to be either the first or second line center whenever he is healthy.
In any case, both for us at ICx Technologies and for the Washington Capitals, these are the kind of problems and issues you like to have to grapple with - it's all good and what's not to like? Still can't wait for next season - LETS GO CAPS!!!!!