Friday, July 16, 2010

Recap of What All In All Was A Slower Week Than Expected For Capitals Fans

In a week when the Caps had "Development Camp" in session and we heard whether most of the RFAs accepted their qualifying offers, it's actually been a slower hockey news week than I expected. Of course it could also just be that it's been a pretty hectic week for me at work and I haven't been all that engaged or on the edge of my seat about hockey this past week and I'm missing a lot of the more subtle aspects of the summer. However, I don't think so when there are stories about why the off-season UFA market has been slow all around the "blogsphere" and there's as much human interest/background stuff being written as there is "news."

To me the biggest news here in the Land of Washington Capitals fandom was the announcement yesterday that Chris Bourque was NOT signing his Qualifying Offer and would play next season in Russia in the KHL. Interesting choice by C-Bo, though not altogether something that is hard to understand. after the season he had last year, how he finished it off, and taking into account the realities of the world that apply: a) this season would probably start for him here in Hershey/DC in the same manner it did last year; b) he can probably make a lot more in Russia, even if he repatriates the money to the States; and c) after last season he really has nothing left to prove at the AHL level - both the Capitals and other teams all know he can play well and excel in the AHL. To me the interesting thing will be seeing how he does in the KHL - watching C-Bo, as much as or more than any other North American player, will provide the hockey world a good idea how fast the KHL is progressing and if it will ever reach a consistent level of play and competition that is above the AHL's. The whole experience should also give people watching a good idea as to the maturity level the 24 year old has these days both on and off the ice, something I've always wondered about after he left college early. While I'm sure this decision has financial benefits for Bourque, it also has some interesting upsides for the Capitals -a) the Caps retain his NHL rights; b) he isn't under contract so it frees up on of the allotted 50 contracts the Capitals can hold; and c) of course he doesn't count at all against the salary cap.

In other news, yesterday the Capitals announced that five other RFAs accepted their qualifying offers and signed contracts with the organization: Andrew Gordon, Andrew Jourdrey, Patrick McNeill, and Zach Miscovic all signed one year deals, while Jay Beagle was given a two year contact as part of his qualifying offer that he signed yesterday as well. All are good guys to keep around, and I expect all will get a look this summer, though Miscovic left a scrimmage at development camp this past week with a knee injury. I am most pleased we'll get to take another one year look at Patrick McNeill and another two year look at Jay Beagle, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see these two guys end up with a regular lineup spot in the NHL, if not the Capitals than elsewhere in the league. Perhaps GMGM used the contract slot that C-Bo vacated to put Jourdrey, the 249th pick in the 2003 draft under a Washington Capitals contract - last year he played under a contract from Hershey.

In other Hockey "News" in no particular order:

- Ilya Kovalchuck remains an unsigned UFA.
- Alex Ovechkin has a new girlfriend, depending on your taste she's either very hot, looks too young to be considered or is somewhere in between. Oh surprise, she's Russian, and blonde.
- The LA Kings are NOT in the race to sign Kovalchuck.
- The NJ Devils are in the race to sign Kovalchuk.
- Alex Ovechkin and his friends who are Muscovite soccer players know how to have a good time in Ibiza but somehow don't care if they end up in pictures with hot women around them. I mean, come on guys, grow up and be discrete, you are role models, you should be like monks when on holiday in one of Europe's party capitals. After all, you are young, single, professional athletes - what would the Pope think and do - that's what you should ask yourselves when you are out on the town for the evening.
- Ilya Kovalchuck remains an unsigned UFA.
- Evgeni Nabokov, took his game and went to play in Russia in the KHL next season because he _________ (you fill in the blank).
- The LA Kings ARE in the race to sign Kovalchuck.
- Joe Finley is blogging AND getting feisty while at the Capitals Development Camp but this year nobody is talking about trying to make him into a forward, at least not yet.
- The NJ Devils are still in the race to sign Kovalchuck and wouldn't mind being the second choice he settles for.
- The Minnesota Wild signed their captain, Mikko Koivu, to a seven (7) year, $47.25M contract extension - too much or a good deal - you decide. However, all I have to say is once the Devils finish sorting out whether or not Kovalchuk signs with them and for how much and how long, don't you think the Koivu contract will come up in talks with Zach Parisie about an extension other than his basic qualifying offer, especially in what by then will possibly be a post Patrik Elias era for the Devils?
- The Carolina Hurricanes will retire Rod Brind'Amor's number 17 this upcoming season prior to the start of their game against the Philadelphia Flyers at RBC Center on February 18, 2011. During Rod "The Bod's" 20 year NHL career he played for Philadelphia for 8+ seasons - including the only year he was selected to the All-Star Team (1991-1992) and he played for Carolina for the last 10 seasons of his career including the 2005-2006 season when as their Captain he got to lift the Stanley Cup, and the two seasons he was awarded the Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL (2005-2006 and 2006-2007.) The 39 year old Brind'Amor announced his retirement on June 30th.
- Ottawa Senator Mike Fisher got married to some singer Carrie somebody, what was her name Undertree, no that's not it, Underwear, nope wrong again, Underwood that's it the one from American Idol....and so now the Nashville Predators were able to capitalize on the event and they sold like 250 more season tickets or something like that, but anyways it passed for "Hockey News" this past week or so, so I figured I'd mention it here.
- Ilya Kovalchuck remains an unsigned UFA.

Notice any sot of repeating theme here? Why on earth would I say it's been a slow week for Hockey "News?"

Maybe I wouldn't feel this way if I had been able to make it over to KCI and see one of the Development Cap Scrimmages, but, is it September yet?


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