You may have noticed the look around here is changed - I tried to use the new Design features on blogger to freshen things up and experiment with a three column design and well ... I really couldn't get back to where I started so now for the next week or so I will be stuck fixing things until I get to something I like. So if you don't like it, well don't worry too much as right now it's like the weather in Central Florida on a summer afternoon - likely to change frequently and start doing so soon....
So it seems I was wrong - according to the post over at Scotty Hockey, I'll infer that Christobel Huet isn't planning on having his Stanley Cup Ring auctioned for charity any time soon.
Well rumours and discussion are starting about which pieces of the Chicago Blackhawks, management won't be able to get under the Salary Cap and who of the Stanley Cup winning team won't be back next year. Over at "From The Rink: - Mike Chen asks: "Does a Stanley Cup Excuse Bad Contracts?" My short answer would be sure - for the year the Cup was won in, however, just like in our stock markets - where as investors, we North Americans over-value near term, quarterly performance, in sports we over value a current year's results but very quickly ask the following season - "what have they done for us lately?" Such will be the case in Chicago, next year and/or the year after, if management and the parts of the team they can hold together don't find a way to keep winning. Of course in spite of the "bad" contracts, Chicago still will have a lot of solid, young pieces in place for the next couple of years.
Of note to me as a Capitals fan is the fact that Patrick Sharp, in addition to UFA John Madden might be available. While neither Sharp nor Madden are likely available for a price that the Capitals can afford under the Salary Cap without other moves, but who knows. Either would be a great addition and a super fill for the second line center here in DC. Sharp would be, IMO awesome. Of course, bringing in Sharp would likely mean that after next season that Young Gun Alexander Semin won't be affordable so in the planning perspective that might not make sense to GMGM. Here's my thinking - to afford Sharp - remember a trade would be necessary - I'd trade the rights to Tomas Fleischmann and another piece or two of young talent down in Hershey that Chicago might be interested in - they likely need some rookie contracts to compensate for the large contracts they won't be able to shed on Campbell and Huet and the one they want to keep for Hossa. Sharp's contract has a $4M salary and a $3.9M Cap hit for each of the next two years. This year, to afford Sharp's contract under the salary cap you you go with the Young Goaltenders we have in lieu of the $4.5M paid Jose Theodore last season. The following year, if you want to keep Sharp you move somebody else or you don't resign Mike Knuble who at the end of this upcoming season may well be considering retirement as he will be almost 38 at the conclusion of the 2011 playoffs. (Knuble's $2.8M + the $1.5-$2M the Capitals will pay either Brendan Morrison or Eric Belanger to resign would be the $4M needed to afford Sharp under the Cap). Also interestingly and for discussion if somehow picking up Sharp who has two years left on his current contract at a $3.9M salary cap hit, doesn't make more sense than trying to resign Eric Belanger for $1.75 - $2M/year, assuming that as implied in recent reports Belanger is looking for a longer term (3 years) and unwilling to give any sort of discount to the Capitals. Right now for my two cents, if a deal could be worked with the Hawks to pick up sharp without costing too much more than "Flash" and a couple of decent, guys down in Hershey, I'd personally rather have Sharp at $3.9M for the next two seasons. For that matter, if a reasonable deal can't be reached for Belanger or Brendan Morrison, a one year deal to 37 year old UFA John Madden at a number less than $3M looks preferable to me than "Belly" at $2M for 3 years. By going the "Madden" route, there would be more likelihood/room for a fair extension to Semin when he is a UFA after next season and "keeping the Capitals' core" together than if Belanger is making $2M and turns out to be a third line, vice second line center for the Capitals. Well so much for today's musings about prospective second line Centers for the Capitals.
Elsewhere in the "news": earlier this week, Tarik El-Bashir of the WaPo reported on his blog that the Caps had initiated discussions with UFA Eric Belanger, as noted above, and RFA Eric Fehr about resigning/extensions. I have become a believer on Fehr and hope a reasonable deal gets done on his contract soon. I now see Fehr as the Capitals reasonably/fairly priced number 6/7 forward with the others being: a) Ovechkin, b) Backstrom, c) Semin, d) Laich, e) Knuble, and f) - an acknowledged second line center or Fehr. I still haven't forgotten about the idea of Brooks Laich as the possible "right guy" to be the second line center - either way he belongs in the group of top six forwards in Washington - no doubt. Fehr also has the talent, and in my book a clear path to solidifying his place in that group next season. I hope the Caps sign him to at least a two, if not a three year deal now - they may need the discount such a deal would give them if he turns out to be the player I now think he'll be in the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, if the Caps doesn't rise much between now and then.
Is it September yet? I know elsewhere they are talking about October but, I enjoy Camp and the Pre-Season....
LETS GO CAPS!!!