Friday, December 21, 2007

Caps Chat!

CapsChat from Friday, with Tarik from the Post.

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Interesting selections:

Fairfax, Va.: The Caps rank dead-last in attendance this season and have always been near the bottom of the rankings even when the team was decent. I'm a huge fan of all Washington teams, but in the back of my mind, I get worried that the NHL may try to move the Caps if the attendance doesn't pick up. Are the Caps safe in D.C. or are they one or two seasons away from being the KC Caps?

Tarik El-Bashir: The Caps are safe in DC. Trust me on that one. And if you are basing "last in attendance" on's numbers, those are really off.

There's announced attendance and there's real attendance. Some teams give away 3,000-4,000 tickets per night to boost their announced attendance. The Caps give away less than 1,000.

The "real" numbers are known only to the owners and the NHLPA execs.

That said, the Caps' attendance on most nights stinks. It should be much better. But a winning team would help a lot.

The Capitals are not owned by the NHL. They are owned by Ted Leonsis. Leonsis would have to want to move them, not the NHL. And given that Leonsis owns the Mystics and is in line to buy the Wizards and the Verizon Center, there's no chance he'll be moving this team anywhere.

Friendship Heights: Any frustration from Caps management/coaches about their offseason free-agent acquisitions?

Poti has yet to score, Kozlov has only three goals despite getting a lot of ice time with Ovechkin and Nylander is a minus 15 and all three seem to be MIA for long stretches of games.

Or were these just bad signings and a reflection of management not the players?

Tarik El-Bashir: I don't think anyone is overly disappointed in Poti. But he does need to start playing with more consistency. A goal (or five) would be nice, too.

Kozlov, on the other hand, has been a disappointment. I don't think anyone would argue that. Not even him.

I haven't got a good feel for how management views Nylander. He's putting up points, but he does seem to be on the ice a lot when the other team scores. As Boudreau said, some people think plus-minus is a flawed stat. But, as he said, if one player has a much higher minus than everyone else, something is wrong.

I really wish Kozlov would stop smiling when he missing his chances. Other than that I don't really have much to add. It's an excellent question.

Atlanta: I agree that Kolzig has been hung out to dry on a number of the goals against him this year, but he's also let in a lot of soft ones on wraparounds, rebounds he could have controlled better and especially through the 5-hole. Given that the team is playing pretty well right now but Kolzig is not, is there any indication the team (or coach) is losing confidence in him?

Tarik El-Bashir: I spoke to Boudreau today about Olie. He said he wants Olie to pick up his play, but that Olie is still his guy. I did find it interesting, though, that he didn't name Olie the starter for tomorrow

My question. So you know it's important.

Finn: Tarik,

What is your honest opinion of Kolzig based on his play this season? Do you think it was a mistake by the Caps not to pick up Bryzgalov? Would Bryzgalov as an UFA cost the team less than Kolzig at $5.45 million?

Thank you.

Tarik El-Bashir: I'm told the Caps didn't pick up Bryzgalov because they were concerned about upsetting the dressing room's chemistry.

But if I were running the team, I would have snagged him. Because even if you're not going to re-sign him, you could flip him at the deadline for a high-round pick.

Thank you, Finn. Thank you, Tarik. I have defended McPhee in the past, but I just don't understand this move. Bryzgalov is better than both Johnson and Kozlig, is a legitimate number one goaltender, is fairly young (27), could have been had for nothing and would serve to bridge the gap between Kolzig and Neuvirth/Varlamov very well.

McLean: Nylander is no Hart candidate, but isn't part of his role to be a mentor to the rookie Backstrom? That's worth something outside of the stats.

Tarik El-Bashir: That is very true. The two of them spend a lot of time together at practice, in the dressing room and on the road. Nyls has definitely taken Backstrom under his wing.

That cannot be underestimated.

Atlanta: Speaking of Kozlov as a disappointment -- how do Coach Boudreau and others in management feel about the fact Kozlov is frequently seen smiling/laughing after missing good scoring chances?

Tarik El-Bashir: I was just talking about this with someone. He's obviously not happy that he missed the net, or that he's struggling. It's just an unfortunate expression that he makes.

Me again! I had considered that - you know what they say: "sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying".

Frederick, Md.: I don't get putting Erskine in Pothier's place over Eminger. Eminger and Pothier play a similar style where Erskine is more compatible with Jurcina or Schultz in terms of a big body. Just me?

Tarik El-Bashir: I asked Boudreau about that today. He said that Erskine has been the No. 7 all year, so he's the first to go into the lineup when someone gets injured.

Erskine later told me that he was scheduled to play tomorrow anyway as a part of the D-man rotation.
My thoughts exactly. I still think Eminger is better than Erskine. Hopefully he gets a chance to prove it, getting in the rotation now that Pothier is hurt.

1 comment:

Jordan said...

Kozlov's smile when he misses is very irritating. Would he do that if he hit me in traffic? I bet he would.