The Washington Capitals plans today involved a 2:30 PM EST practice at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, VA. However, there was a slew of events today that made it anything but business as usual for Capitals fans. The following is a time capsule on the days comings and goings.
12:32 PM EST - An article published by Sportsnet.ca is brought up by Caps' fans regarding the possibility of Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin heading to Russia to play in the KHL. Terms are being arranged where as a KHL club would pay the final year on Khabibulin's contract, worth US$6.75 million, which would be cleared off Chicago's salary cap. It is a widespread rumor that the Blackhawks have been inquiring on the services of center Michael Nylander, whom the Caps would possibly deal to make room under the cap.
12:40 PM EST - A rumor breaks on HFBoards.com that there could be a deal in the works between Washington, Chicago and Boston. The deal would send Nylander to Chicago, defenseman Brent Seabrook to Boston, while Washington would end up receiving Marc Savard.
1:04 PM EST - An article out of the Boston Herald notes that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli denies the notion that Savard will be moving, but doesn't rule out the possibility of another trade happening. “We’re not looking to trade Marc Savard. There’s a chance [that another deal could be made]. I’m looking to improve the team. I’ve had a couple of discussions, more than a couple.”
1:48 PM EST - The Capitals make four more roster cuts, the most notable being defenseman Sami Lepisto. Lepisto had suited up in two preseason games and received praise from coach Boudreau regarding his performance. The move was intriguing considering John Erskine and Milan Jurcina still hold roster spots given their poor performances to date. Granted, Lepisto was most likely sent to Hershey due to his waiver status, but it would appear a spot still remains open for a defenseman outside of the organization.
2:24 PM EST - Practice beings with very peculiar line ups. Eric Fehr was put on a line with Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Fehr has been slumping lately and this could be an attempt to get him producing.
Sergei Fedorov dawned a black jersey today, which means he was playing with the defensemen. Fedorov was paired up with Jeff Schultz on the back end, while rookie Karl Alzner remained in camp and practiced with veteran Tom Poti. It is unclear whether or not Alzner will crack the opening day line up, but if in fact he does, it could spell trouble for one of Erskine or Jurcina.
The decision to put Fedorov on the blue line could mean that they will try to squeeze under the salary cap by keeping a 22 man roster with 6 defensemen, while having Fedorov as a fall back in case of injury
Update - Capitals blogger Tarik El-Bashir caught up with Sami Lepisto after practice, who left the complex seemingly upset. "Obviously, it was not thing I wanted to happen. But now it has. I'm just going to work hard to get back here. I'm a little bit upset, but who wouldn't be?"
There was clearly plenty of action for the Caps' today who were supposed to be gearing up for a dress rehearsal of opening night through their final two preseason matches. If anything, today's events leave fans sitting on their hands wondering what kind of team we will see come October 10.
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