Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Tuesday Roundup: Mr. Clutch and WWBD (What Would Bucci Do)?

On the off chance that you're new to The Rink and/or you've lived in a cave since October, let me bring you up to speed: Capitals rookie Alexander Ovechkin had a really good season. How good? Well, he is USAToday's Clutch Scorer of the year based on a formula which:
[R]ewards points that occur when the game is tight as opposed to ones that run up the score. Bonuses are given for clutch points scored late in the game. Ovechkin had a hand in 66 goals that put his team ahead or tied the score. The Capitals had only 126 such goals this season.
According to WashingtonCaps.com, along with this accolade:
Ovechkin claimed two of the 17 awards presented Wednesday when Home Ice on XM Radio hosted its awards show, the “Espos,” named after “In the Slot” co-host Phil Esposito. Ovechkin won the Carl Voss Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year (Voss was the first recipient of the Calder Trophy, the NHL’s official award for rookie of the year) and the Gilbert Perreault Trophy for best goal of the year (Ovechkin’s goal in Phoenix scored while sliding on his back).
In non-Ovechkin news, John Buccigross tells us what the Caps should do this offseason:
With Ovechkin in the lineup, the Capitals gained six wins and 11 more points than the 2003-04 season. The fact that he was a plus player on such an awful defensive team is only more Rookie of the Year evidence for him. His line usually had the puck.

The Capitals could go a few ways. They need defensemen and they could use a young center. If you want to improve quickly, you are always better off getting veteran defensemen via free agency and drafting skill. When you have such an immediate star like Ovechkin, it can make an organization impatient.

Free agency: They need a couple of rear guards. I said rear guards. Hal Gill on line No. 2.

Draft: I like Peter Mueller and think he fits in with the Capitals' developing style of play. He would be here at this point and would be a high-value pick. The Caps do like to think outside the box. Last year, they took 6-5 defenseman Sasha Pokulok with the 14th pick in the first round. I wouldn't be surprised if they took Nigel Williams here, a big defenseman on his way to Wisconsin in the fall. The Capitals draft off of need, more than Central Scouting ranking.
As is usually the case, I couldn't disagree with Bucci more. Oh, the Gill free agent signing is fine. And even Mueller isn't too much of a stretch. But Williams? With the fourth pick overall? The 13th-rated North American skater in the draft (though he is a "huge and rapidly improving blue-line horse") will be around long after the number four pick, and if the Caps are interested in him they have plenty to offer in order to move up and get their man in later in the first round. But with the #4 pick, the Caps need to draft one of the stud centers available and I'd be surprised if they didn't do so.

Finally, though not Caps-related, by now I'm sure you've seen the monster hit Buffalo's Brian Campbell laid on Philly's R.J. Umberger in Game 1 of their series. If not, here it is:

I guess you could say that Umberger got owned (cap tip to Allsmokenopancake for the link).

1 comment:

DCSportsChick said...

Buccigross is such an asshat. I seem to remember that Crosby was his pick for Rookie of the Year some months ago...