Well first off, Hockey Season 2009 - 2010 is one game closer o being totally over and the Hershey Bears returned to Central PA with a 3-2 lead in the AHL's Calder Cup Championship. So far in the Calder Cup Finals, the home team has lost every game played - how's that for "History Will Be Made". The Bears now return to Hershey and in order to win their second Calder Cup in as many recent seasons, they need to end that trend as the last two games are on their home ice. For what it's worth Hershey certainly looked like they deserved to win game five most of the time. Though fans of "Da Bears" would have all probably felt less worried at times, if there wasn't the occasional need for goaltender Michal Neuvirth to come up with an amazing, herculean save on the odd man rushes that Texas seems so adept at springing at least two or three times in a period. Game 6 in Hershey's Giant Center is tonight and it will be broadcast on CSN for those of us in the DC area to watch.
Gonchar to the Capitals as a result of this off-season's UFA moves is apparently a rumour that is starting. [Warning this is a link to an article by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun and for three years I've wondered what is this guy smoking and do I want some. However, it shows how different thoughts are about what the Capitals need to do or are thinking about doing when you get outside our home market.] My reaction is - get serious. The last thing the Capitals need to spend ~$5M of salary cap space on is another puck moving, offensively gifted defenseman. I have nothing against GOnchar, and I can understand the challenges re: "The Cap" with the Penguins resigning the 36 year old, the simple fact is that when he wasn't in the lineup, the Penguin's powerplay wasn't nearly as "scary" or good as it was with him in it. If the Penguins don't resign him what will they do for a "go to" blueliner on their powerplay. Don't get me wrong, any lineup that can put Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby on the ice together when they are on the man advantage is going to score a fair amount of PP goals, but ignoring Gonchar's impact in this special team situation when thinking just how much you can afford for him would, IMO be a mistake, if Ray Shero were to do so. So far from what I've seen Shero's quite savy so I don't think he'll make that mistake. Does that mean Pittsburgh resigns Gonchar, that I don't know.
Scott Niedermayer to the Capitals for one final season is another possibility Garrioch brings up. I haven't seen this one anywhere else, and though I'm not against the idea as a smart way for the Capital's to expend some salary cap space for a year, I don't take serious any discussions of new additions to the Blueline presently, and won't do so until after I see the Caps having settled on the "second line center - #6/#7 forward. I think the idea of Niedermayer makes a lot more sense for the Capitals then any sort of longer term deal for a guy like Volchenkov who the rumours are, the Capitals are not interested in anyway, but who the "blogsphere" had a lot of chatter about previously. Interestingly, watching Karl Alzner the other night in the Caplder Cup game 5, got me thinking he might indeed be the guy who can come up and be that stay at home guy, and I still have hopes and dreams on that note re: Milan Jurcina. I also don't know if Niedermeyer would come to the Capitals for a year, though it's not like he's spent his who career on the West Coast. Personally, I think a year of mentoring by Niedermayer would be great for ALL of the following: Mike Green, Jeff Schultz, Milan Jurcina, John Carlson, and Karl Alzner. To make room for him on the roster, if I were GMGM I'd move John Erskine and Shoane Morrison, though I'll miss him. A seven person regular blue line corps of: Mike Green, Tom Poti, Scott Niedermeyer, Milan Jurcina, John Carlson and Karl Alzner would IMO be a solid upgrade from the Blueline corps the Capitals started the 2009-2010 season with. As far as who then comes in after the 2010-2011 season assuming Niedermeyer retires - my pick and hope would be Patrick McNeill. So I'm saying from a Capitals roster management perspective - signing Scott Niedermayer works, does it from a salary cap management perspective though - I haven't thought that one all through. I also haven't seen any clear indications Niedermeyer is interested in playing another season and b) that he's even thought about the idea of finishing his career in DC.
So much for Monday Morning coffee musings, it's time to get to work.
Is it September yet?