Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If There's A Parade To Be Had, Rest Assured That Dave Fay Will Rain On It

Dave Fay - who had famously claimed that Nicklas Backstrom would not be coming to North America for the 2007-08 season - can't let a positive moment slip by without getting in a shot or two.

In his latest article, entitled "Capitals' Rebuilding Begins" (hey, Dave, that started three-plus years ago, no?), Fay offers his thoughts on the Caps' newest player:

Backstrom, rookie of the year a season ago for Brynas in the adult Swedish Elite League, is said to be a smart, highly skilled playmaker with exceptional hockey sense and an excellent skater who is adept defensively.

He lacks only one thing the Caps were looking for in their search for a quality center: He is not right-handed. The club wants a pivot who can maximize the potential of left wings Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, and a right-hander might be better suited.

Note that Backstrom is not a smart, highly-skilled player, he's merely "said to be" that. But rather than dwell on unsubstantiated positives, Fay points out what Backstrom lacks (and, for the record, rightwing Brett Hull did fine taking feeds from right-handed Adam Oates, to name just one example of a duo who managed to succeed despite the awful handicap of having the scorer on the passer's backhand side).

Sure it's a little thing, but enough already, Dave. Backstrom's not going to walk on water, turn water into wine or pop every kernel in a bag of microwave popcorn without burning any of it either, but that doesn't mean he won't be a top flight second- (potentially first-) line center. Even with that crippling negative you noted, I'll take the positives that Nick is "said to" possess - you can have the right-handed Jiri Novotny.


Anonymous said...

Does this guy live in a bubble? His article says this is the first time he's ever heard the Caps might be trading players this off season. Too bad they won't let you post on the articles like WP does. I did hear that Fay's long time idle is Stan "The Maven" Fischler.

JP said...

That's another good point. And he references how GMGM is reluctant to trade, having been burned before.

Like when he traded UFA-to-be Gonchar for Morrisonn and the pick that turned into Jeff Schultz?

Or when he traded a 6th and a 7th round pick for Chris Clark?

Or when he traded UFA-to-be Lang for Fleischmann, the pick that turned into Mike Green and another pick?

Or when he traded UFA-to-be Witt for the pick that turned into Varlamov?

Of course there are some burns along the way, but on the whole, GMGM's trading has been overwhelmingly successful.


1) Wonder just how many right handed centers there are in the entire NHL?
2) Its amazing how rare it is for players to be righties. Just a guess, but it may be 75-25% leftie

JP said...

You're not far off - LCS Hockey says it's 62/38 amongst forwards, 65/35 overall. Check out their piece on it - an interesting read (focused mostly on defensemen).

JP said...

FWIW, Scott Gomez is a lefty, Drury and Briere are both righties.

Shmee said...

JP: Have you interacted with Dave at all in the press box at VC? From his articles, you get the feeling that he is one of those reporters who doesnt feel the need to watch the game, take notes, etc.

JP said...

Fay missed a bunch of time last season with personal concerns and I didn't attend all that many games as a member of the media, so I didn't didn't see him too often in the press box. Sorry.

He has been a respected hockey scribe in this town for a long time, and I don't want to imply that his work is always sub-par - he obviously writes plenty of articles that I don't comment on. It's just this stuff that I can't let slip by.

Dan said...

Nylander shoots left too.

JP, what would you think of Nyles coming back? From the recent interviews seems like Backstrom would benefit from a fellow Swede mentor to get used to the US.

Marky Narc said...

And really, GMGM's biggest error didn't even involve a player - it was putting Cassidy behind the bench for a season and a half.

Rage said...

Dan, JP commented on that very question. I'd love to see Nylander back, personally.