Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bye Bye, Bonzai

With word coming today that Peter Bondra's days in Atlanta are almost certainly done and his days in the NHL likely are over as well, a few thoughts have crossed my mind, most of which I posted in the comments to a post over at Jes Golbez's site in which he suggested that Bondra - currently sitting on 498 career goals - could help the Caps this year. And I'm sure he could, both on the ice and in filling seats.

But it's not going to happen. As I wrote over there:
[Before last season, t]he Caps offered [Bondra] more guaranteed money than Atlanta did AND a sweet post-retirement position in the club's front office. Bondra declined. The trade to Ottawa [which apparently was somewhat of a surprise to Bondra] ruined the relationship from his perspective, the rejection of a more-than-fair deal ruined it from the team's point of view.

It's a shame that the bridge has been burned, but it certainly has been and I would be fall-off-my-chair shocked if the team re-signed him for 2006-07. I'm just hoping the sides can reconcile enough to appropriately honor him after he hangs up the skates. With what's-his-name lighting the lamp now, it's easy to forget everything #12 did for the team and the community, but he was a great, great Capital for many years when there weren't many great Caps. He'll be missed.
The bottom line today is the same as it was nearly ten months ago: any deal to bring Bonzai back to D.C. would have to be good for the Washington Capitals first and foremost, and with the chemistry the team is developing and the roles players are filling, I'm not sure that it would be.


billydaking said...

About that trade being a "surprise" with Bondra...not exactly. A week or so after he was traded, the Ottawa paper interviewed him, and Bondra told a different story. He said that when the rumors started about the Capitals shopping around their players, Bondra went and sat down with McPhee to discuss where he might be traded (and Bondra said Ottawa was one of the places he told McPhee he was interested in). He said he was upset that the trade was announced before he was told--which was kinda unavoidable, since the Ottawa media broke the story before the Caps could announce the trade. But as far as Bondra not expecting a trade or not being consulted about where he would end up (which is what he told the Washington media)--Bondra's changed his story.

JP said...

Thanks for the clarification. Whether the trade was a surprise (as he told the DC media) or the announcement, it's pretty clear that he was bitter enough towards the team as a result of the whole experience to leave the town where his kids were in school (well, Annapolis, but close enough), the fans worshipped him, the team treated him like royalty and the most exciting player in the world was about to start his career.
Truly his loss.

Anonymous said...

I spent too much time looking for Bondra info. You had the 411 I was looking for. Nice site!

P.S. Buffalo's new logo...yikes!