Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Trade Deadline Blog

A run down of deadline day:

8:45 AM - Arrive from breakfast, seems that nothing has happened as of yet that is earth shattering.

8:51 AM - Filip Kuba re-signs with Ottawa 3 years 11.9 million.

8:56 AM - Columbus trades goaltender Pascal Leclaire and 2nd round 2009 draft pick to Ottawa for center Antoine Vermette. First trade of the day. Better than Cam Jansen for Bryce Salvador. I guess you can scratch Columbus off the list of potential destinations for Nylander.

9:06 AM - Offer made to Tim Connnolly 2 years 4 million dollars by Buffalo. Connolly has left HSBC Arena early, raising questions of his trade eligibility..

9:08 AM - Cory Woron reports that contract negociations between Toronto and Dominic Moore have broken down. Look for him to be traded.

9:14 AM - Scratch the Connolly rumor, TSN has confirmed that his 2 year contract offer is still on the table.

9:21 AM - Andy Strickland reports that Keith Tkachuk is likely to stay in St. Louis, as he is receiving minimal interest around the league. Boston was the front runner for Tkachuk, but it appears both teams cannot agree to a deal.

9:30 AM - The Fourth Period reports that Washington is looking for a second tier player, either forward or defenseman.

9:36 AM - Brian Burke talks with TSN. It appears that both Dominic Moore and Nik Antropov are likely to be shipped out today, although there is no indication where either may land.

9:44 AM - Tim Connolly has re-signed with Buffalo for 2 years 9 million.

10:04 AM - Absolutely nothing going on right now, I have been reading Jay Onrait's blog to get me through this slow patch.

10:07 AM - Sean O'Donnell has re-signed 1 year 1.25 million in Los Angeles. Scratch another player off the Capitals wish list.

10:15 AM - Computer hijacked.

10:20 AM - Jokinen rumored in deal with Flames.

10:37 AM - HockeyBuzz rumors that Nylander could be on the move to Vancouver in a multi-player deal (e2).

10:38 AM - Biggest trade of the day: Lawrence Nycholat, prospect Ryan Wilson, and a 2nd round draft pick in 2010 were traded to Colorado for Jordan Leopold.

10:38 AM - Andy Wozniewski traded from St. Louis to Pittsburgh for Danny Richmond.

10:54 AM - Lots of action on the phones right now, all that can be said is that Toronto is finalizing their first deal of the day. New York, Tampa Bay and Calgary are all very active in talks right now.

11:00 AM - Eklund reports that Montreal is making a last ditch effort on Olli Jokinen. It appears that Vincent Lecavalier will stay in Tampa Bay.

11:02 AM - Phoenix has traded Michael Tellqvist to Buffalo for a 4th rounder.

11:04 AM - Toronto claims Martin Gerber off waivers. Brendan Morrison was claimed by Dallas. Things maybe looking up for Washington to unload Nylander.

11:05 AM - Tim Brent has been put on waivers by Chicago. Pittsburgh claimed Craig Adams and Toronto claimed Eric Reitz.

11:11 AM - TSN's James Cybulski is in Washington to cover the Capitals. He has spoken to Michael Nylander who said he cannot comment on whether or not he has been asked to waive his NMC.

11:20 AM - Looks like another lull, back to Onrait's blog.

11:22 AM - Small stuff, Erik Ersberg re-signs in Los Angeles Erik Ersberg to a 2 year.

11:34 AM - Looks like Calgary is getting Olli Jokinen now, there are some salary cap constraints involved, but it looks like Matt Lombardi and a 1st round pick are going back to Phoenix.

11:38 AM - Boston has traded Petteri Nokalainen traded to Anaheim for Steve Montador.

11:39 AM - Lombardi, Prust and a 1st to Phoenix for Olli Jokinen, confirmed as per TSN.

11:45 AM - Philadelphia is pressing hard for the services of Derek Morris.

11:50 AM - Beer run.

12:23 PM - Boston has acquired wily veteran Mark Recchi from Tampa Bay to Boston. Still unsure of what's going back to Tampa Bay, probably a low end draft pick.

12:32 PM - Wow, I was wrong, Recchi and a 2010 draft pick to Boston for defenseman Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums.

12:38 PM - Internet failing me, trying to provide updates. Switching solely to TSN.

1:00 PM - Last hour of the trade deadline, Washington has yet to make any moves.

1:06 PM - Bill Guerin to Pittsburgh for a Conditional Draft Pick.

1:10 PM - It looks less and less likely that Washington is going to be able to make a deal. Too much salary locked up at the moment. Pothier could be the Capitals deadline acquisition.

1:10 PM - Eklund reports Nylander to Chicago (e4). Things brewing in Caps land. Pierre McGuire reports that Vancouver is still heavy on Jay Bouwmeester.

1:31 PM - Starting to drink more, I think May got re-signed by Toronto, apparently Edmonton is working hard on Jay-Bo.

1:51 PM - Nik Antropov traded to New York Rangers for a 2nd round pick and a conditional draft pick.

1:59 PM - Derek Morris has been traded to the New York Rangers for Nigel Dawes, Dimitri Kalinin and Petr Prucha.

1:59 PM - Forgot to report that Scottie Upshall is off to Phoenix for Daniel Carcillo and a pick.

2:04 PM - Cory Woron is reporting that Dominic Moore has been traded to Buffalo for Carolina's 2009 2nd round draft pick.

2:06 PM - Jay Bouwmeester is officially staying in Florida. Despite good offers from Vancouver, Philadelphia and Edmonton, Florida has decided to keep Jay-Bo.

2:08 PM - Atlanta traded Eric Christiensen to Anaheim for a prospect.

2:15 PM - Tampa Bay trades Steve Eminger to Florida for Noah Welch and a 3rd round pick.

2:23 PM - Edmonton has apparently made a trade, as well as Carolina. They could have possibly been trade partners.

2:43 PM - San Jose has acquired Kent Huskins and Travis Moen for goaltending prospect Tim Philmeyere and forward prospect Nick Boniono.

2:44 PM - Tarik El-Bashir has confirmed that Washington has stood pat today. Washington had been looking to add a player on the blue line, but the combination of Michael Nylander's contract as well as the inflated value of players like Derek Morris caused Washington to walk away from possible trade talks.

2:49 PM - Three way deal with Los Angeles, Carolina and Edmonton. Justin Williams will end up in L.A., Edmonton will receive Patrick O'Sullivan and Carolina will receive a player to be named. It is speculated to be Erik Cole.

2:59 PM - It is confirmed that Erik Cole is on his way to Carolina.

4:15 PM - A little late, but former Capitals Olaf Kolzig and Jamie Heward are on their way to Toronto, along with prospect Andy Rogers and a draft pick for prospect Richard Petiot.

I may follow up on further information as it comes in, if anything big goes down I will report it.

So it looks as though the Capital's deadline acquisition will lie in the health of Brian Pothier, who has been cleared to resume playing by team doctors.

Although I'm not entirely sure this will be enough to make the Stanley Cup Finals, his addition is welcomed.

Only 11 trades have been made today (so far) which marks the lowest total in quite some time, certainly post lock out.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Cherry bashes Ovechkin.

Don Cherry openly rips AO tonight on CBC. As a Canadian, I typically don't mind Cherry. But in his weekly segment, it almost sounds as if he champions the thought of someone laying out Ovechkin for how he celebrates goals.

The thing is, Ovechkin and Cherry aren't that different. While AO may be "excessive" in his on ice celebrations, Cherry is much the same in how he handles himself on the Coaches Corner.

Mr. Pot, please meet Mr. Kettle.

Don, your shtick is growing old.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Capitals PP: So hot right now!

The Capitals power play has been completely on fire, scoring in 14 out of 43 (32.1%) attempts over the past 12 games.

Washington leads tonight's game versus the Thrashers 2-0 at the moment, on the strength of two power play goals (Semin, Laich). Go figure.

Also, please stay tuned for our trade deadline feature where we will run down minute by minute updates in our morning and afternoon recaps of the Trade Deadline on Wednesday, March 4th, 2009.

Check in over the weekend for our thoughts on the movers and shakers come Wednesday!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Then versus Now; You decide.

Here are clips from Alexander Ovechkin's highlight reel goal against the Coyotes as well as last night's beauty at home versus the Canadiens.

Which do you prefer?

AT Phoenix 05-06

VS Montreal 08-09

Caps high on Carlson

After a season in which he only played 20 regular season games, 25 year old Steve Eminger was shipped to the Phialdelphia Flyers along with the 84th overall pick of the 2008 draft, for the 27th overall.

Eminger - a first rounder in his own right - never quite developed into the all around defenseman he was projected to be after winning a Memorial Cup with the OHL's Kitchner Rangers (until becoming a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning).

Since young blue liner was never able to find his grove as a Cap, he was moved so that GM George McPhee could select a new defensive project, in 18 year old John Carlson.

Carlson was pegged as a late first round pick with the potential to go as high as the late teens. After selecting Anton Gustafsson 23rd overall and seeing that Carlson was still available, McPhee did all within his power to get another pick to use on Carlson.

So far it appears that the draft day move is paying off in spades.

After being selected in last year's draft, Carlson committed to the London Knight's of the OHL who selected him 33rd overall in the 2007 OHL Draft.

This year he has been able to play with the likes of fellow Capitals prospect Justin Taylor, Michael Del Zotto, and future NHL draft pick John Tavares; just to name a few.

It is there that he has flourished into a versatile defenseman who can take care of himself in both ends of the rink.

Through 49 games, Carlson has registered a whopping 61 points (13G, 48), which ranks second in the league in both points by a defenseman and points by a rookie.

Not only that, but he is asked to play big minutes on the Knight's penalty kill as he is one of their most sound defenders, all while logging upwards of 30 minutes a night.

The Midwest Division leading Knight's are looking to make their way to winning their second Memorial Cup in 4 years, and will rely heavily on Carlson to get the job done in all facets of the game.

His success in all areas of his game has Assistant coach Pat Curcio gushing over his NHL Potential.
"That's why he's a No. 1 NHL pick," Curcio said. "The only thing you can say is elite, he's elite as well."
It isn't too much to fathom that Carlson could be NHL ready as soon as next year. He showed great promise in preseason camp this past fall with the Capitals, and one could believe that if he can continue to impress, he could go professional next season.

Time will ultimately tell, and Carlson still has time left to develop his game in London. But right now, George McPhee is sitting in his office...


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

FEAR THE WEAGLE temporarily down.

Just a quick note to the followers that FEAR THE WEAGLE has been down the past few days due to a bout of the flu. I'm hoping to get things back up and running at some point tomorrow, depending on my health.

We're working on some articles at the moment, with our main feature on the play of London Knights defenseman John Carlson.

Stay tuned for more!

note: For information on tonight's game, check out what The Peerless Prognosticator has to say.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Record setting night in Sunshine state.

It took Mike Green just under 35 minutes to re-write the record books. The Caps defenseman has been red hot lately, leading all NHL players in goals over the past few weeks. Last night, he put himself in a position no other rearguard has ever been.

Eight straight games with a goal. A new NHL record, which will likely stand for awhile. As previously noted by FEAR THE WEAGLE, Mike O'Connell set the record at seven games in the 83-84 season with the Boston Bruins. Other notable defensemen on the list were Ray Bourque (7) and Bobby Orr (6).

A throng of Capitals came off the bench to celebrate the monumental achievement set by the 23 year old blue liner, and his father David was also in attendance. Green had a chance for back-to-back multi-goal games, but rang one off the post in the third.

However, Green was not the only one setting records last night.

Michael Neuvirth - a Caps rookie - probably never thought he'd get a sniff of NHL action this season. An ECHL All-Star with the Capitals affiliate South Carolina Stingrays, Neuvirth was recalled by the Hershey Bears when both Darren Machesney and Simeon Varlamov were unable to suit up due to injury. While in Chocotown, Michael posted a modest 4-3-2 record with a 3.03 GAA and .890 SV%.

When it became clear that Brent Johnson was hampered by a season ending hip injury, Washington was forced to turn to their young net minders to play in spot duty down the stretch. Varlamov would have most likely gotten the call for last night as he already has two NHL games under his belt this year with a 2-0-0 record. Varlamov however, is still ailing from a knee ligament injury, which he hopes to return from this week. The Capitals took a chance with Neuvirth hoping for the best.

Last night, Neuvirth looked calm, cool and collected, stopping 23 shots en route to a 5-1 Washington victory. The win marks Neuvirth's first of his NHL career, and hopefully one of many in his young career.

It seems as though the Capitals future in goal looks bright with both Varlamov and Neuvirth showing the ability to play at the NHL level at a young age. The test will be if they can carry a heavier load in the years to come, with successful results.

GM George McPhee has been unclear about any plans in goal past this season, saying only he plans to spell now starter Jose Theodore with Neuvirth and Varlamov. It is unclear whether or not they will re-sign Brent Johnson through next season, or give his job to one (or both) of these young net minders.

But the main story of last night's action was the play of Mike Green. We at FEAR THE WEAGLE would like to extend our congratulations to Mike on a milestone that may never be eclipsed again. He is definitely now looking as a legitimate Norris Winner, and we wish him the best.

Green will try to extend his record to nine games as the Caps take on the Panthers tonight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Neuvirth and Kronwall to make Capitals debuts.

Just a quick note on tonight's game in Tampa Bay:

Michael Neuvirth will start in goal against the Lightning, making his NHL debut. Neuvirth will look to follow in the steps of fellow rookie goaltender Simeon Varlamov, attempting to win his first game of his young NHL career.

Also making his first start as a Capital will be Staffan Kronwall. Kronwall was claimed 8 days ago by the Capitals and finally has a grip on the system as well as his immigration status cleared.

Both Karl Alzner and Milan Jurcina will not play in tonight's game on the Capitals blue line.

Other additions to the line-up are Alexander Semin returing from injury as well as John Erskine getting back on the ice and out of the press box, as he has been a healthy scratch the past two games.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mike Green ties NHL record in shootout loss to Rangers.

Mike Green led the charge for the Capitals while vaulting himself into the NHL record books.

The offensively gifted defenseman tallied twice in the second period, tying the record for consecutive games with a goal by a blue liner, set by Mike O'Connell in 1983-84.

However, it was not enough, as the Capitals came up on the short end of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Rangers.

Green, along with Fehr and Fleischmann all notched two point performances for the Capitals, while Ryan Callahan and Lauri Korpikoski each scored once for the Rangers, who were in need of a win.

Alexander Ovechkin managed only an assist in the loss, but also registered a whopping 13 hits - his highest single game total this season.

Viktor Kozlov and Alexander Semin both did not dress tonight as they are nursing minor injures. Defensemen John Erskine and Staffan Kronwall were healthy scratches for the Caps. It has been hinted that Kronwall could play in this weekends Florida road swing, as the Capitals coaching staff is confident that he is learning the teams system to their liking.

Jay Beagle was called up for tonight's game, making his NHL debut for Washington. He logged 7:41 in minutes and was an even plus minus on the game.

For the Rangers, they are now 4-5-1 in their last 10 games, trying to secure a playoff spot down the stretch. They were 0-5 on their power play, (the second straight game in which the Caps have managed to ice a spotless PK) and most notably were 0-4 in the third period, including a brief 5 on 3 as well as a four minute double minor to defenseman Shaone Morrisonn.

Washington on the other hand were awarded only one power play throughout the game, and also did not capitalize on their man advantage.

The Capitals will now head to Florida for a weekend back-to-back with the Lightning and Panthers, trying to distance themselves from their Southeast opponents.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Race for "The Rocket" heats up.

Last year, the likes of Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla, Evgeny Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg all challenged for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy, which is awarded to the player who finishes the regular season with the most goals. However, in spite of gallant efforts by all those forenamed, it was all for not, as the stupefying campaign of Alexander Ovechkin left all his opponents in the dust.

By the end of the season "Ovie" had opened a 13 goal lead on fellow countryman Ilya Kovalchuk, while setting an NHL record for most goals by a left wing (65) previously set by Luc Robitaille in the 1992-93 season.

Notwithstanding, this years race is shaping up much differently, and features some fresh new faces - and of course that of Alexander Ovechkin's still sits as the front runner.

So far, Alex has his work cut out for him, slugging it out with other members of the NHL's youth movement in his bid to take The Rocket in back-to-back seasons. While registering 6 goals in his past 4 games, Ovechkin has moved atop the scoring leaders with 37 on the year.

But not so fast. With plenty of games to go, Ovechkin is anything but a slam dunk to take top prize. Here three reasons why.

Jeff Carter notched his 100th career goal Sunday in Atlanta, and added his 101st for good measure. Carter is on pace to break 100 points for the first time in his career as he has carried the load in goal scoring for the Philadelphia Flyers. He currently sits behind Ovechkin with 34 goals through 52 games.

Since entering the NHL, all Thomas Vanek has done is score goals. Now in his fourth NHL season, Vanek has never finished with less than 20 goals in a year. He was on pace to challenge for a 50 goal season before breaking his jaw against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday night. The Austrian born winger will be out of the Sabres line-up for 3 to 4 weeks, which will most likely take him out of the running. With 32 goals, Vanek sits third overall in scoring.

Former Washington Capital Bobby Carpenter became the first American-born player to reach 50 goals when he scored 53 for the Capitals in 1984-85. This season, Zach Parise hopes to duplicate that feat for the New Jersey Devils. The son of former Minnesota North Star J.P. Parise, Zach is starting to make his name as a legitimate scoring threat in the NHL. Parise netted two more goals tonight in a 3-0 shutout win over the New York Rangers and is now tied with Vanek for third in scoring (32). Parise is coming off two 30+ goal campaigns and hopes to add his name to the 50+ club come April.

What's astounding about this group of players is that none of them are over the age of 25. Suffice to say that these names could appear atop the leader boards for few years to come, something which is great news for NHL fans and GM's alike.