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About TheOctopusKid

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  1. Does not look promising - "Babcock just announced Rafalski needs knee scope today"
  2. To quote the illustrious Bruce Boudreau "Coach Bruce Boudreau has gone over the tapes again and again. He is confident it wasn't a flaw in the system, but a simple lack of finish that led to the Caps' 1-for-33 power-play effort that was a killer in the loss to the Canadiens." Or it was his arrogance or inept management of their lines, matchups, and strategy that prevented the Capitals from seperating their top offensive threats from the Canadiens best defensive players. Or it was the players overcommitment and defensive "floating" in hopes of an oddman rush to generate quick an easy goals that led to their downfall. Or it was their star players refusal to play with any level of urgency till the last 10 minutes as they realized that they couldn't score with the same aplomb as they did in the regular season. Yeah, this seems like a team that took away the right lessons from last year's upset and is ready to make their push to the Finals. Good luck getting past the first round. Again.
  3. I caution against placing too much value into these rankings. It is too easy to lose yourself in what is little more than arbitrary forecasts over the potential career path of these players. There have been plenty of incredibly touted prospects who have failed to translate into the professional game for whatever reason(please see Alex Daigle, Pat Stefan, Pat Faloon). The ISS Rankings, Hockeys Future, McKeen's, etc all attempt to bring some type of clarity and science to this whole process but as with any prospect scouting - a lot is missed and it is far from perfect. And for fun - the 2005 ISS rankings 1. Sidney Crosby, Center - Rimouski (QMJHL) 2. Jack Johnson, Defenseman - USNTDP U-18 3. Gilbert Brule, Center - Vancouver (WHL) 4. Marek Zagrapan, Center - Chicoutimi (QMJHL) 5. Ryan O'Marra, Center - Erie (OHL) 6. Guillame Latendresse, Left Wing - Drummondville (QMJHL) 7. Nicklas Bergfors, Right Wing - Sodertalje (Sweden) 8. Jakub Kindl, Defenseman - Kitchener (OHL) 9. Benoit Pouliot, Left Wing - Sudbury (OHL) 10. Alex Bourret, Center - Lewiston (QMJHL) I would rather look at the organizational system in place and the their ability to produce contributing players than the prospects themselves. Does Detroit have faith in their scouting, drafting, development, and pace in which they acquire players? Do they feel comfortable with the personnel that they have in place and their potential going forward? Are they pleased with the development of key prospects as they begin to identify their needs that they will need to address (i.e Abdelkader as a physical, defensive minded, checker). It is apparent the Wings are looking for future snipers on the Wing, and puck moving defensemen given their current personnel. I trust the Wings and believe in their development program - how could I not when they've taken non-ISS loved players like Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Holmstrom, etc.
  4. From all the offseason reports and speculation the lines should be as following: Datsyuk - Zetterberg - Holmstrom Franzen - Filppula - Bertuzzi Hudler - Modano - Cleary Miller - Helm - Abdelkader Lidstrom - Kronwall Stuart - Rafalski Ericsson - Salei Howard Osgood
  5. As with any personnel forecast, there are three viable avenues in which to acquire a player: Prospect, Trade, and Acquisition. Assuming that any team with a legitimate star defenseman would be unwilling to trade that player unless under considerable financial strain or front office regime change, it is doubtful the Red Wings could pursue this avenue. Additionally, even if a player were to be available, the price required would be massive (refer to the cost of Pronger, Phaneuf, and Kessel). Given the precedence of the Red Wings, that leaves to far more possible scenarios: development of a prospect and/or the acquisition of a free agent. Prospect: As we pour through major junior, European Elite leagues and college level statistics, the lure of premature excitement is undeniable. When you read promising reports from our scouting staff and see the score sheets chalk full of blistering numbers, expectations and the promise of future championships seems all but guaranteed. I am as guilty of this as anyone. However, I try very hard to temper my emotions after so many disappointments of unfulfilled expectations. Certainly there are players who surprise and develop at an unexpected pace (Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Lidstrom, etc) and evolve as a premier player. However there is no definitive way to predict or anticipate greatness. At best, and I will preface this that Detroit does this as well as anyone, you cultivate particular characteristics (hockey sense, skating, passing) and hope that whatever deficiencies the prospect will be addressed or at the very least minimized through a structure and methodical development program. In the case of our defensemen, Brendan Smith, Jakub Kindl and Adam Almqyist seem to carry the burden of seamlessly replacing Lidstrom and Rafalski and herald a new decade of Red Wings dominance. However there are concerns regarding all three of these players and their potential “upside” is directly proportional to their ability to accept criticism, adhere and engage to their development, and catch a couple of lucky breaks. To be honest, to become a superstar player at any professional level – luck is always in the equation on some level: a chance opportunity, a fortunate relationship with a mentor/coach/teammate, a positive situation that utilizes and maximizes your strengths and potential. Hopefully one of these three prospects will develop into a fully fledged star. All three seems to possess the skill. And with the exception of Almqvist, the physical tools of a superb player. However, that does not mean that they will replace a generational talent like Lidstrom. Their projected growth is uncertain however, if two of the three were to develop into Top 4 defensemen – the Wings would have a very strong core for the foreseeable future. Given the Wings historical nature to bring the development of prospects at a very slow and controlled pace, Kindl will most likely not be a full time part of the Top 6 for two more seasons, and Smith will be at least a year in the AHL and if he proves ready, will move to the top 7 next season, and at best is a member of the Top 6 by his third professional year. This leaves a very open hole in their top defensive pairing. Which brings us to the final option for the Red Wings: Free Agency. In the summer of 2011, the Detroit Red Wings first option to fill their top defense spot will be to resign Lidstrom. The Wings have shown incredible loyalty to long serving members of their team and that will go double for the Captain and face of their organization. Lidstrom provides Detroit the best possible option due to his overall importance to the organization, familiarity with the team, leadership and talent. However, if he decides to retire, that leaves them with a very large gap to fill with roughly $6-8M to replace him. I am doubtful that the Red Wings would chase Shea Weber and Drew Doughty for a number of reasons. 1) Age – The Wings covet experience in their top defensive pairings. 2) Free Agent Status – Both Doughty and Weber are Restricted Free Agents which carry a different type of negotiation, and reward of compensatory draft picks. I am skeptical that the Kings would allow Doughty to sign an offer sheet without matching (except in the case of a ridiculous contract which the Wings would be unlikely to offer). Additionally, I doubt that Weber will stay with the Predators given their historical record of fiscal frugalness but would imagine he will receive and very large offer from another franchise. Again this seems unlikely from Detroit who seems to cap their offers $7M (the Lidstrom rule). Given the required skill set that the Wings would need to replace (potential PP1 or PP2 quarterback, offensive contributor, quick outlet pass for transition game, and top line shutdown player) – it seems that the most likely candidate would be Andrei Markov. Although not a marquee name like Lidstrom, Markov is a solid point producer from the blueline, efficient offensive player with a European sensibility in his style of play. He brings experience (which Ken Holland covets) and can effectively make all passes and shoot from the point. Additionally, he could bring a sound, all-round game to help alleviate the loss of Lidstrom. Still in his prime at 31, he could be obtained at less cost than Lidstrom current cap hit which would allow the Red Wings additional cap space to move prospects up into the roster and to negotiate future contracts. There would be an outside chance that the Wings could pursue Jack Johnson of the Kings. The Kings would be a tough financial position to match a strong $4M a year offer from the Red Wings given their needs to resign key personnel (a la Doughty) and stay effectively under the cap. This seems improbable. But the potential of a Jack Johnson/Brian Rafalski combination might be intriguing. A lot of this would depend upon the development of Johnson over the course of the 2010 season and proving his is capable of top defensive assignments. Possible Pairings Markov/Rafalski Kronwall/Stuart Kindl/Ericsson/Smith Following the 2011 season, Brian Rafalski’s contract of $6M will expire alongside Kronwall at $3M and Stuart at $3.75M. Again, I believe that the Wings first choice would be to resign all three for additional years. Kronwall becomes the highest priority of the three, and Rafalski would most likely receive a shortened contract length due to age. Stuart remains an interesting choice as he is again in the prime of his career (31) and would allow the Wings to maintain continuity for the next few seasons if he were to resign for similar numbers. I believe that this would be the Wings first choice. If Kindl, Smith or Ericsson has not yet emerged as a consensus Top 4 pairing, look for the Wings to once again reach out for a veteran free agent to carry the position while the front office continues to groom a potential replacement. I believe that the Wings priorities would be first and foremost to resign Stuart or effectively promote a proven prospect to the 2nd pairing – otherwise they will turn to free agency. A potential fit could be Barrett Jackman due to the directional change to youth in St Louis, overall skill set (physical shutdown defenseman) could replace Stuarts physical nature. Assuming that the Wings resign Rafalski to a two to three year contract around his current numbers, this would boast the following lines: Markov/Rafalski Kronwall/Jackman Smith/Kindl/Ericsson
  6. Oh I don't think it's that stupid of an analogy - how many people have the skill set of a generational, future hall of fame, hockey player? If you're making 50,000 a year - you're a recent graduate with a BA in Business handling some type of logistic supply chain or low end analytics and can be replaced by the other 200,000 recent graduates that year with a similar skill set. Or your a mid-level manager who worked themselves up in a manufacturing job from the floor. Also, a very replacable skill set. The difference being your skills as a hockey player have a shelf life of about 20 years with the final eight being a slow degradation making you less valuable. The work life of a 50k mid-level business analyst? 50 years. And additionally - the longer you work, the more valuable you become - not the opposite. Lidstrom's source of income is non-existent other than interest. He's done working after hockey. So asking him to take a pay cut at this junction is cutting his earning potential drastically going forward. Like I said earlier - all it takes is a recession or poor business decision and he's no longer a multi-millionaire. Please don't make me cite the long list of backrupt ex star athletes who have suffered this exact fate.
  7. I think NeverForgetMac has brought a lot of proper perspective to this duscussion. Allow me to expanded upon his original retorts. What is honestly fueling this argument? The fans that are upset regarding the terms of Lidstrom's contract prescribe primarily into 1 of 3 possible ideologies - or some combination thereof. 1) "He should have taken less for the betterment of the team" - The Hometown Discount Clause Okay, certainly there has been some precedence of this. However, lets shape this argument in a more appropriate context. Lets say you are a factory line worker for General Motors. You've worked and dedicated the prime years of your life to the betterment of the company at the sacrifice of your physical health and meaningful time with your family. You are the most senior member of your assembly team and have the added responsibility of leadership which is rightfully deserved and are considered one of the finest, if not the very best at what you do. You are the receipient of countless company commendations and your pension is securly set for retirement. At this point in your career, you have nothing left to prove and look forward to a life of leisure that is well deserved. Now, you have worked yourself to the point where you gross $70,000.00 a year. You plan to retire but the company and management at General Motors has asked you to return because they respect you and the quality of the work that you produce. And ask you to come back for another year at $60,0000 - or roughly a 14% pay cut. A person of your quality is not easily replaced, and you are rewarded for you years of dedicated, unfallable service by taking a reduced salary to do everything that you were asked to do for the last 40 years. Basic Labor Economics states - The Marginal Utility of Free Time Expontentially Increases the Less You Have Time you Have. That is, as each additional hour you work - your free time becomes more valuable because you have less of it - and thus more money is needed to incentivize you to sacrifice your free time. Hence, the concept of Overtime. If you only have 10 hours of free time a week - you protect those hours pretty fiercly and it would take an increase in rate to convince you to work. So, if you were this Assembly line worker - would you take a 14% pay cut when the value of your free time (your retirement) dictates that an increase in salary is needed for you to sacrifice an additional year? The obvious response is "Well, it's different for the every day worker because he's a Millionaire! He doesn't need the money!" Yes, it's true - he is not hurting financially. But he also doesn't have any additional skills besides hockey. He had no trade or schooling to speak of - so what we does now is the money that he receives for the rest of his life unless he takes some type of organizational position in hockey. Assuming he lives to the mid 80's - that means he must live for the next 45 years off the money that he has accumulated - that is a massively long retirement horizon. As your retirement horizon increases - so does uncertainty. Take for instance the crisis of 2007 - Sergei Federov lost over $43M to fraudlent investment and market fluctuations. Or the average American who had their savings and pensions crushed by overextending debt by the financials or the liquidity crunch that followed? What's Lidstrom going to do? Car commercials? Puck Signings? Lidstrom's decision to take a couple of million more may seem "greedy" to someone who doesn't have a net worth of $10M - but he is also doing his best to secure his and his family's financial future for the next four decades and every cent counts. Like NeverForgetMac says - It's easy to tell someone else to take less money when it's not you. Lidstrom's decision - and I don't believe it was monetarily motivated (even though he would be very justified in doing so) - is because he loves Detroit and respects the organization. Concurrently, the Detroit Red Wings value his contribution and all that he had done for them and rewarded him with his salary request - because of all that he has done for them and not insult him with petty contract negotiations. What is tragic, is that despite all this man has done for this organization and how much he has contributed to the joy for being a Red Wing fans - there are those who question his motivations and unfairly accuse him of being selfish for not "sacrficing" more. To be continued...
  8. HAHAHA! Sweet Jesus that was Amazing! And.......I'm spent.
  9. Overlooking the Actual Role of Ownership of Bettman - Federal Charge of Conspiracy. If the NHL honestly manipulated the officiating of this game - it would most likely result in the following types of federal convictions: Gambling, Obstruction of Justice, Fraud - which in an extreme federal case could fall under the jurisdiction of RICO. Even in the most simple cause of Conspiracy (which is what Tim Donaghy was charge with two counts of), the referee in question would be imprisioned and sentenced to a minimum three years in a federal prision. That's if it's an isolated incident of just a referee. Do you honestly believe that an official would attempt to manipulate the outcome of a game, even if ordered by Bettman or Campbell to do so? Lets say that they do, under the direction of Bettman to Campbell to the Director of Officiating (Not sure who that is right now), now we have consent across multiple levels of the NHL League office - that is now a RICO charge. Which means any and all parties associated with the organization (the NHL) can be held liable. The team in question, The Phoenix Coyotes is actually owned by the League and subsequently owned by the other 29 teams of the league. If the league were to affect the outcome of the game, every single owner could be charge with conspiracy under RICO statute - that's hard Mafia-esque federal prision time. So, in complete honesty, do you think any single one of those individuals in question would risk any of that to "win" some playoff games? The obvious response would be "Well, I'm not talking about fraud only a couple of calls here and there and that wouldn't be detected." True, perhaps the scale of the manipulation wouldn't warrent any suspicion. Unless, there is a dedicated FBI division dedicated to that type of investigation and would be suspisious of a league owned conflict of interest and watch it closely. Oh wait! There is! "What if the refs were just trying to make Bettman happy and unconciously make a call in favor of the Coyotes?" Referees, like any position are subject to performance review. In fact quantifiably more than most as a review committee is assigned to gauge the accuracy of a call. The more calls missed or incorrect, the lower the score. A minimum score must be maintained to be a member of the league's officiating. This is how they are promoted, demoted, and selected. So, if a referee were to "miss" calls consistently or at big junctions - a review board specifically created by the owners to evaluate that performance would certainly catch it and release that official. This is not subject to change. It is written in the officials charter and the minimum level of accuracy they must maintain. If Bettman were to step in a ensure that referee were to keep his job - I imagine the owners board would have some serious concerns and require an explanation - specifically to Illitch a company and I imagine quite a few other owners who would be curious to why he violated the league mandated performance standards of officiating. So, in terms of natural human response to protect their job, the surest way for them to lose their job is to fail to meet league mandated minimum standard. Additionally, the FBI will once again be watching this situation closely as it affects the outcome of the game and this is an unusual situation that raises red flags - enough to where fans of the Detroit Red Wings think it suspicious. Additionally, the role of the NHL intervention in ownership was purely business related. The "stewardship" of the other 29 owners (Bettman does not own the team, the other owners do) - was to ward off unwanted bids on ownership and to select a financially beneficial transition to an approved owner. That's it. They wanted to find a buyer for next season. Given that motivation, now that they've already found new ownership - what possible benefit would Bettman or the NHL to continue to win? To recoup the financial loss? Even if they win the Cup, they wont do that. And why would they want to? They have a new owner to eat the sunk variable costs. To win a Stanley Cup? Really? How would that benefit the other 29 owners to see Phoenix win a Stanley Cup? I'm fairly confident that the other 15 playoff teams would take serious objection to that. Influence Calls - Potential Legal Repercussions, Loss of Jobs, Financial Loss to Other Owners, No Impact of Sale of Team So what is possible benefit would fixing or influencing the outcome of these games on the official, owner, league level?
  10. For the third segment, I had originally intended to script a handful of interactions that I've had with Capitals Fans and some actually with the players but I believe that the majority of the DC Metro residents on this board have accurately portrayed what we endure on a nigh-daily basis. Instead I'll respond to smattering of the posts that have been appears throughout the coversation thus far - hooon: The cries to ignore them or to avoid it - yes, that would be the most logical option however not really a possibility. Living directly in the heart of the city, it makes it almost impossible to not encounter a car covered in stickers and blasts the quinessential *BEEP* BEEP *BEEEEEEP* which is promptly followed by a "Let's Go Caps!" from everyone in earshot. When you turn on the morning news to see constant updates on the Capitals practice or last night's highlights. To open a newspaper and see the Flaming Bird logo on the front page. When Washington says "Caps Fever", it is quite literal. This town (which is certainly a positive) is in the throes of mania. Any sports bar within two miles of this city is chalk full of Capitals jerseys, chanting fans, and the inevitable insanity of conversations like "Ovechkin is better than Gretzky" (Sigh), "Mike Green is the Best Defenseman in the League" (who doesn't play defense), "This team could score 5 goals a game if they wanted to" (then why are they losing), and my personal favorite, "How many goals the Capitals would win by against Team Canada if they played each other"(The answer was 2 if you're curious). All topics from last night when the played the Senators. I went to dinner with my girlfriend and overheard the first two topics and then preceeded to the bar to meet some friends to watch the end of the Red Wings game and heard the last two conversations and without trying to hear anything but the Red Wings game. The only viable option to avoid Capitals is to sequester yourself in your own home. I would imagine that any person in the Baltimore, Virginia, or DC areas would most likely be able to add to this. kook_10: I agree with this statement completely and fully. It is actually the same justification that I use to defend players like Crosby. They improve the overall visibility of the league and the sport and encourage participation and interest of new fans. Ovechkin is a galvanizing star and his freakish talents, flair for theatrics, and what appears to be an honest yearning to improve his play and become a champion is admirable. More so, my colleague whom I work with (and is a Capitals fan from the 80's) has a 6 year old son who plays hockey solely because he wants to be Mike Green. Not exactly the guy I would've chosen to emulate but Hey! The Capitals helped a kid find a great sport and hopefully lead to a long and rewarding relationship with the sport we all love. That can never be bad. But like you qualified, during this rapid expansion of interest it has a way of producing a lot of unfortunate and poorly intended "fans" - which appear to be the rule, not the exception. Washington DC is a unique place, socially and culturally. This is a direct result of the amalgamation of so many unique backgrounds from all over the country. People move in and move out as quickly as anywhere. As a direct result, the fan base is also incredibly transcient. Fans come and they go in the city proper. You will find more consistency in the suburbs of Virginia and Maryland but the city is where much of the fan base resides - particularly 22-40 year old, urban professionals who can afford the games and have reasonable access. Since the period in which the crowds are here, the grab on to a hot franchise and move with it. The better the team, the more random fans it will collect and so forth. Actually not much different than what I did when I adopted the Caps a few years ago. So any level of consistency becomes difficult because they is absoluetly no loyalty to these franchises as there is very little loyalty to Washington DC. The Capitals fans of 1998 are several iterations of fan groups till they turned around in 2006. And when the Caps become "bad", the fans will leave and it will start all over again. Expansion of DC Sports is difficult because your fan base is always changing. It doesn't have the retention of a Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Detroit till recently. The fan base becomes a product of desperate sports fans looking for some outlet for the next 2-3 years that they live here and take it to an unnecessary extreme. The possibility that this could grow into a long standing fan base? Doubtful Nightfall: Exactly the sentiment I shared two seasons ago. I am more than happy to give the benefit of the doubt. We were all new to this game at some point and it was attending a handful of games, watching them on TV, reading what we could that we began to familarize ourselves and really foster a true love for the sport. However, in all my years I don't remember ever going out of my way before I even knew the playoff format or the names on an opposing team and proclaim to all the world my never ending love for the Red Wings and how stupid and terrible every other franchise was. In fact, since you seem to be a magnanimous and reasonable fellow, that in 1995 you didn't randomly call out a Canadians fan as "f*gs" and rally a group around him chanting "Let's Go Caps" (poor kid). A Canadians fan? Really? I forgot who said it earlier, but the Verizon center (and by proxy the related sports bar...Green Turtle I'm looking you general direction) are no longer hospitable places to be. Be cognizant on who votes for the Norris Trophy before you tell me Lidstrom is a joke and "Green was robbed by the other GMs because they are jealous they don't have him," or that "Yzerman doesn't know anything about hockey otherwise he would've picked Green for Team Canada," because he's "twice the player Yzerman ever was". Like I said earlier - zeal, or passion not tempered by knowledge or respect leads down an ugly path. This has unfortunately gotten worse over time, not better. The fan base seems louder and more ignorant than they did only two seasons ago. The genuine air of excitment and eagerness to learn the game has been replaced with whining, entitlement, and arrogance and that is very unfortunate. Yes, I suspect that you're right when this all ebbs and the bandwagon is empty - new and knowledgable fans will remain and ready to support their team regardless. That sounds like a fan base and team that I would be happy to be a part of. However, it by no means makes it easier for those of us here now who want to enjoy hockey as the bandwagon appears to be fully stocked like a clown car on its way to a three week bender in Tijuana. Look, I know that my repsonses have been a tad extreme, but purposefully so to clarify an overarching point: my personal capitals experience in Washington DC has been dissappointing. I say "experience" because you are absolutely correct: the fan base and the team itself are exclusive to one another. It's not Mike Green's responsibility to ensure that no insults are spoken in his defense nor is it the fan who directs Green's approach to how he runs the powerplay. I chose to evaluate the fans from the organization. The organization moved towards a style of play that I am not particular interested in or actually convinced that it can result in a championship, and the fans are...well, the fans. The Capitals experience is not "malicious" or purposefully evil - it is an experience that I felt was special and exciting and has devolved to something ugly and unfortunate.
  11. I find that the actually physical CBA agreement - despite all the legalese - is still by far the best way to understand the cap structure and it's corresponding rules. The incentive/extension/bonus do apply to the Chicago Blackhawks but not in the case of the Penguins. According to Hockeybuzz - it looks as if the actual salary of Pittsburgh exceeds the $56,800,000 active cap limit by $2,334,444. In this particular case, the website did not take into account the actual cap hit of Alexei Ponikarvosky, and Jordan Leopold. From the Collective Bargaining Agreement: In order for a Club to acquire a one-year SPC after the commencement of a season (i.e., that is expiring at the conclusion of the then-current League Year), the Club must have Payroll Room equal to or in excess of the remaining Player Salary and Bonuses to be earned by the Player under the SPC. In this case, the remaining value of the contract for the year for the two tradeline acquisitions is - $447,000 and $381,000 which would be their effective cap hit for the team - which equates to a total team salary of - $57,040,000. If you want to see the CBA document, below is the attached link: I hope this helps
  12. Sweet Beans! How is the world did this become a Crosby thread? You stop checking the forums for half a day and your thread goes straight to hell! It was surprising that what was originally intended as cathartic venting turned towards a photoshopped picture of Crosby. Before I continue I think I need to clarify a couple of points that seem to have driven some discontent: I am by no means an overty aggressive and angry person. Far from it. The hyberbole of "rage" is more of general dissappointment and I suppose anger to some extent over my personal Capitals experience. What was once an incredibly fun and entertaining event has devolved into nonsense gibberish and force fed exclamation of supposed greatness. I love hockey. I believe it to be the greatest sport to watch and beyond just being a life long fan of the Red Wings for over 25 years, I can honestly say I enjoying watching the game. Period. Where a lot of my resentment over this whole experience is the fact that those new to the game here in the Metro DC area are not there because of hockey, but there for the winning. I know that seems like a very subtle distinction but it is incredibly different. The more fans that I interact (I use it in the plural), the more arrogant and ignorant they appear to be. There is nothing wrong with Pride in your team - it's what drives us and distinguishes as fans (again in the plural). However zeal that is not tempered by knowledge leads down an ugly path. As for "stop going or watching the games" - yes, I suppose that is an option. The Capitals coverage here is pretty substantail but I could avoid it to some extent. But what's frustrating is the fact that I have to avoid at all. Even Colorado, The Chris Pronger St Louis Blues, and the old Chelios/Roenick Era of the Hawks - I had less issue with these teams than I do with the Washington DC experience. What was once something I was genuinely excited about has grown incredibly distasteful. Additionally, there are some games that I cannot avoid - when I said I cherry picked some of the games of teams I wanted to see - I mean, collectively my managing director has season tickets for us to use to soft sell clients - as the Capitals are a very hot commodity and afterwards, I or a colleague will often take them to dinner and the Capitals game. Hence why I have to stay generally buttoned up over the whole experience and was forced to vent here on the forum. Certainly I can ask someone else to do it - but if it's my client, it's my responsibility. The reason I know the intent of a lot of the "fans" in my section is that many of the season ticket holders are corporate wholesalers, government consultants, politicals, and lobbyists. This was not the case three years ago when the section was relatively empty and full of Petr Bonda and Adam Oates jerseys. I have been to many other arenas throughout the league and a handful of colleges. I was fortunate in my job required me to travel a great deal and lead me to games in: New York, New Jersey, Calgary, LA, Dallas, Florida (that was weird), Chicago, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, and of course Washington DC. Actually, I can say that I've seen as many away games for the Red Wings that I've seen at home. I was a partial season ticket holder for the Bruins when I lived in Boston for 6 months. And of course (Chicago poster) the crowds said a lot of things that could not be seen as favorable to the Wings. But almost in every case (Florida is still iffy, this was during the whole Rubber Rat fiasco), the fans were genuinely fans of their respective teams and had some grounding in the game, it's tradition, the rules, rosters, history, strategy, etc. So when a Chicago fan told me to "Eat s*** and Die" - I was far more comfortable with that: 1) Chicago and Detroit have a long standing rivalry and that level of familiarity breeds contempt. 2) After he told me how much he hated the Wings, he yelled and screamed at Shawn Thornton to stop forechecking like a girl (Not exactly in those words) 3) The Fan made no pretense that his team was anything but what it was - a rebuilding franchise with a smattering of old veterans and draft picks and carried no sense of entitlement - his insults were driven soley for his love of his team and his hatred of the Red Wings because you sure as hell couldn't accuse him of being there for all of his team's success (circa early 2000's - maybe 2002?). The collective fan bases of the more established teams, albeit hostile, are knowledgable and generally passionate about their team. In my opinion, and perhaps I wasn't explicit enough - The Capitals fan base is "hockey dumb", arrogant with no justification, and more passionate about the sense of winning than the overall Capitals team as a whole. This, combined with offensive focus, defensive lazy hockey has exacerbated the situation. Christ, it's like watching a team full of Jagr's flanked by Leino's. Sigh. I hope that clarified my intent whether you agree with it or not. To those that doubt what I am saying - I know that it resonantes wtih some of the prior posters who do live in the DC Metro area who have parrotted almost exactly what I've said so far. Take it from the Wings fans down here, it's not pretty and I know I'm not alone on this. I don't really see the point to continue this as I feel better. I apologize that I just took an emotional dump on the forums but I feared my head would pop off. I will say that I will be watching the Capitals closely come playoff time when they square off against Boston and hope Shawn Thornton stops forechecking like a girl (not exactly in those words).
  13. Heading back to the Verizon center for the dozen or so games this season, the Capitals are now at the height of their power. No longer can you just walk up and grab some tickets because the Caps were now the most popular Washington DC event. If case you are unfamiliar with the Washington DC sports scene, much like LA, DC is a transient town full of displaced fans from other cities. You have a smattering of New York, Boston, Dallas, etc. fans from all over the country so it takes quite a bit of franchise success to really create a dedicated fan base. And with that being said, the Capitals are clearly the only viable sports team to follow. DC has been sports starved for years (keep up the good work Dan Snyder, the `Skins are bound to win the Super Bowl next year) and now they truly have a team to call their own. The obvious result of this is Caps Fever. Or – to coin their marketing campaign – Washington DC is “Rockin’ the Red”, or “Painting the Capital Red”, Or “Lighting up the Red”. Okay, you’re Red and that is your color. Or it’s the Red Wings color…Because it’s in their name….since their inception…when you were Blue….*sigh* You can hardly walk down the street without seeing at least some Capitals hats or shirt, jersey, or baby stroller. To be completely honest, it is thrilling to see the sport take such a rabid hold on this town – if I didn’t think it wasn’t just bandwagon fans – as I fail to remember any of this happening when the Caps weren’t in first place in the illustrious Southeast Division. I digress. So I cherry picked a dozen or so games to attend from teams I liked to watch or certain players I respected (or hated): Boston, New Jersey, New York, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Detroit, etc. And long gone were the crowds that were there when I first started going to the Verizon center when it was half full. Faded were the honest and friendly crowds that were either true hockey fans or newcomers who wanted to learn about the sport. Instead I found myself crammed to the tilt by face painted band wagon jumpers and political staffers playing on their BlackBerrys hoping to be seen. The demand of the tickets has resulted in to the alienation of the hockey fans to corporate and political sponsors and the “crazies”. The old fans that I used to spend time chatting with casually have quickly grown rabid and hostile. The fan base has put their own particular spins on new “traditions” – screaming “RED” during the national anthem, “Unleash The Fury”, the ever hilarious Burrito Toss, Cowbells but there seems to be a horrible level of ignorance and arrogance. After the first few isolated incidences, I thought that was anomalies, but as I attended more and more games I quickly learned that was the norm and no the exception. Generally the Caps fan base is loud, drunk, and raucous. Everything you would want in a hockey arena. They scream, yell, and above all else defend their team to the death; even when they are wrong. Any self respecting fan would do the same. But it carries a rich undertone of entitlement (based on what I have no idea) and the pang of whining. The last 6 games or so I’ve noticed the hysterical outcries over any call – whether good or bad, that somehow adversely affects the Caps. And even every non-call that somehow doesn’t benefit the Caps. Again, this is not all that unusual. But I began to closely follow the flow of the crowd; Caps player loses an edge with no contact from any opposing player, screams of rage for a call echo throughout the building – no reaction from the Caps bench or the player who lost the edge. A high stick from Caps Player draws blood – 4:00m double minor, as usual – the Caps fans go nuts and a chant of diving ensues. Diving. From a bloodied player. Regardless of the quality of the penalty, call or no call, the group is near hysterics. I can understand on some level, but it leaves me to believe one of two things: 1) The Fans have no idea what the rules actually are or 2) They don’t care. Neither or which are all that great of an option. All of this collective moaning and outrage has a way of wearing on you, especially when the players and the coaches don’t offer any objection. The most coming chant I’ve heard so far this season on an average of 3.33 times a game (yes, I counted and averaged) – “Ref, You Suck!” Ironically, the Washington Capitals are currently 21st in the league in PIM. Well below the average penalty minutes of the league. Additionally, the Capitals lead the league in Power Play Opportunities (145) at home. So, 3x times a game the crowd demands justice – yet the Capitals get more Power Play opportunities than any team in the NHL at home. Wait for the final installment as I cover such varied topics as: How Lucky the Red Wings Are, Whose Nick Lidstrom?, How the Capitals are going to Beat the Red Wings Before the Stanley Cup Final, and Konstantinov (Angry just typing that one)
  14. My hatred towards the Washington Capitals organization and its ensuing fan base has reached a level of hysterical, blinding rage and I have nowhere else to turn. I apologize for the length of this post and its general topic but I needed some type of outlet to vent my frustration and I thought who better than the LGW community? I need to be talked down before I have a brain aneurysm or I tackle the Caps fan and choke them with my throwback inspired hooded Red Wings sweatshirt. For those who have read my posts in the past, I have always made an effort to maintain some level of objectivity and positivity as forums have a tendency to skew towards the fantastical and infighting. I desperately tried to grant the benefit of the doubt, justified behavior, and continually made excuses however, at three years of a constant barrage of inanity, I must admit that I can no longer stand idly by and hold my tongue I, the Octopus Kid am a Caps Hater. I moved to Washington DC over three years ago and immediately starved by the absence of my Red Wings turned towards the Washington Capitals as a way to satiate my need for hockey. The Capitals had just come off an disappointing last place finish from the 2007 season but there was a glimmer of hope as they had a young and promising core of players: Alexander Semin, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom, and of course Alex Ovechkin. Also, Sergei Federov it felt like seeing an old friend from high school and being pleasantly surprised that they had matured, grown and developed into a reasonably interesting person. I was immediately drawn to this team. They were young, exciting, and bursting potential with a wide eyed earnest of rookies with no direction, learning the difficult lessons from an unforgiving league. The Verizon was also an incredible experience. Small and intimate by modern arena standards, it sits in the middle of Chinatown and gives a very tall experience as the building is steep since the city was constrained by a city block in width. Ted Leonsis, the owner, was in attendance of every game and gave off a jovial and excited presence in his sport coats and red sweater vest; much like a Corporate Santa Claus. He placed an incredible emphasis on the fan experience as his team struggle to be competitive the previous season and tried to produce fan friendly environment: games, impressive introductions, over the top production, lights, sounds, marketing, and giveaways. The crowd was relatively sparse but as the Capitals continued to climb the standings, so did the attendance. More and more fans piled into the arena with families and friends, and were like the players new to the league, the rules, the traditions, the opposing players, and I found them to be earnest and sincere in their questions: Why is that a penalty?, Who is that goaltender?, What teams are in the Southeast division?. Pretty basic, but it seemed as if hockey fever was growing in Washington and I was excited to bear witness to it. I thought myself to be lucky but things turned ugly rather quickly. The Capitals made their first recent day playoff appearance that year and quickly fell into a large deficit to the much more experienced and aggressive Flyers that year. The team looked completely unprepared for the drastic increase in physical play and amped intensity. Suddenly the picture perfect shooting opportunities disappeared and everyone seems to be finishing their checks. Every inch of the ice was earned and the Capitals were punched in the mouth. By the time they figured it out, it was too late and they were sent home in a first round upset. I chuckled to myself reminded of the early playoff appearances of the Red Wings and how they were forced to adjust their style of play, to stop trading chances and learn to commit to two-way hockey. Offense becomes a luxury but effort and defense still reigned supreme. This was a great season and the Capitals learned a valuable lesson Offense wins game, but Defense wins championships. I was excited to see them take what they learned and really learn the finer subtleties. The Capitals response was to add goalie Jose Theodore to their roster which goaltender was a concern last season however it was still the overall teams refusal or denial to play defensive minded hockey. Ill be the first to admit that a young team which offensive talent takes time to learn the necessity of defensive hockey and at times it takes an experienced voice of a proven veteran or coach (Scotty Bowman to Steve Yzerman) to catalyze the change. I thought Boudreau was a players coach and would not instill the discipline to the squad that they required and was nothing more than a stopgap for them to find a more experienced hand to shape the young team. Instead they ownership awarded Boudreau full control of the team and an extension. The team responded in kind and stressed offense above all else. Still there were no signs of defensive commitment and they persisted to trade chances. Shaking my head, I knew the evitable result. Once the playoffs began, the Capitals found themselves on their back heels once again and failed to increase their focus and efforts to respond to the intensity of the playoffs. The Capitals were saved by the discovery of a Varlomov. And I know this will resonant with many of you, but is there anything more frightening than a first year goaltender who suddenly finds his confidence in the playoffs? There might be nothing more devastating to a team than a complete unknown who is playing better than anyone thought possible to wreck the confidence of their opponent the more you shot, the more he grows in confidence the more saves he makes the more the opponent tries to do more with the puck to beat him the more they miss the better he gets. I felt for the Flyers and the Pens are they struggled to find a way to break this unknown and remembered all of the great unknown goaltenders that the Wings encountered only to have that goaltender slump back to mediocrity the next year. At the end of the day, the Capitals sat a watched their opponents shot at their goaltender with no attempt to pressure the shooter, play defensive hockey, and learn from their past mistakes. They took all the wrong lessons. I thought that they would be the Detroit Red Wings of old. High flying offensive players learn the value of defense and hard work: only through sweat and dedication can you win a cup, not through flashing offense that dominated the early years of Yzermans career. Instead they went backwards. You could see the confidence in their offensive abilities began to digress into arrogance. They were above playing defense because they could score more goals than the other team. All of this would be fine let bygones be bygones as I found myself no longer cheering for what appeared to be a disinterested, defensively lazy, and arrogant team. These were the exact opposite of the Red Wings. The hardworking, gritty mindset that would become the trademark of past Cup Champions: Devils, Colorado, Detroit was lost on this young Capitals team and instead they took the easy, flashy path of the 2005 Ottawa Senators, the 2006 Buffalo Sabres, the late 90s Rangers offense over all other things. The Capitals were no longer a team I wished really to follow other than tangentially. I would go to their games to see other visiting squads and players that I liked to see or root against. And this is where my true hatred for the Capitals was discovered. More to follow:
  15. One additional Note - This is the same GM who was so desperate to get younger and more financially stable, he traded away Dion Phaneuf and a young D prospect in Aulie for...Hagman, Stajan, and the expiring contracts of Ian White and Jamal Mayers. At this point, I wouldn't put anything past this man to get younger and cheaper - including trading away 31 year old, Jarome Iginla's $7M contract for a top flight prospect and a young cheap center. Hell, I bet this board could get the rights to Langkow if we promised to say nice things about Sutter, the Rights to Carman, and a Turkey Sandwich.