Friday, January 04, 2008

Is D.C. Home To The Most Hardcore Hockey Fans?

Maybe. After all, we know the answer to Pierre LeBrun's rhetorical question:
Washington Capitals defenceman Mike Green went into the weekend tied for the league lead at his position with 10 goals.

Would even the most hardcore hockey fan know that?
OK, so the answer to the question is actually "yes - even the most hardcore hockey fan would know that," but you get the point. And while we may not be the most hardcore hockey fans, we certainly do know what we have in Mike Green. In fact, it's signing Green - and not Alex Ovechkin - that Tarik correctly points out should be the bigger concern regarding D.C.'s pending free agents:
Tarik El-Bashir: If I'm the Caps, Ovechkin isn't the player I'm worried about signing an offer sheet. Everyone in the league knows the Caps will be forced to match.

If I'm the GM, I'm worried about someone like Lowe making a crazy offer to snag Mike Green. Something like five years, $25 million. It could happen.
It could. But it won't. And even if it did, Green is a pillar of this team's rebuild, and while a team can let a guy like Dustin Penner - or even a Thomas Vanek - walk, you simply cannot let go of a two-way, puck-moving defenseman like Green. Five million dollars per year? If it came to that, you'd pay the man and not think twice. After all, if you've already declared Alex Semin worth $4.6m per year, you couldn't very well turn around and say Mike Green isn't worth $5m, could you?


Hooks Orpik said...

The one thing the Caps might have going for them is that it's (as of the moment anyways) a pretty deep field of defensive free agents--both restricted and unrestricted, that are set to hit the market July 1 with about the same skill set.

RFA: Dion Phaneuf, Brent Seabrook, Shea Weber
UFA: Dan Boyle, Wade Redden, Brian Campbell

I think Green could certainly be a target, but at least he would not be sticking out like a our thumb like Ovechkin would be if AO has not signed an extention by that point.

And, all that said, fans don't make the decisions for a team. I'm sure "hockey people" (as in front office guys) are well aware of Mike Green's talents.

Focality said...

No argument from me.

I hate the Lowe Factor. You'd think Edmonton was the richest franchise in the league.

JP said...

And fans are becoming more aware almost daily.

Tyler said...

The Caps started playing better when Mike Green started pushing the puck up the ice, when he started playing confidently.

NS said...

no way they let him go. I bet he gets ~2.5-3mil/year.

those end to end rushes are great, but i think Ovie needs to takes him aside and show him how to finish.

DMG said...

I'd forgotten about Phaneuf. If he doesn't resign before July 1 there should be some very lucrative contracts thrown his way.

Green's shooting 10.53%, that's pretty good for a defenseman. Phaneuf had 37 goals his first two years and shot about 8%

JMF said...

Love Mike Green - but not for 5 mil/season - gotta cut him loose if it comes to that. Excellent point about this being a bigger priority for McPhee - Caps will match OV's offers.

What exactly is McPhee doing these days? Just can't comprehend why he can't sign these guys and avoid allowing other teams to set their salaries.

JP - give me your opinion - Caps getting into the playoffs?

JP said...

@ JMF: Simply, no. There are too many teams between the Caps and the eighth spot, and with injuries piling up and Kolzig being less than at his best, it's just a bit too much.

Put it this way - the Caps are exactly half way through their schedule. Most people consider 92 or 93 points to be what it will take to make the top 8. For the Caps to get to 92, they'd need 55 points in the second half. Here's a complete list of teams that garnered 55 points over the first half of the season:


Now you tell me - is a 55-point second half for the Caps very likely? If they have as good as second half as the first half of the second-best team in either Conference, they'd end up with 86 or 87 points and likely miss the postseason by a decent margin.

The coaching change certainly wasn't too little, but it was probably too late.

But at this point I'd be happy with a good second half (somewhere in the 45 point range) that shows a ton of promise for next year. You?

JP said...

Upon further review, with the standings in the East (and Southeast) so bunched, and Ovechkin, Backstrom and Green leading the way, there's no reason this team can't make the playoffs.

Ah, the post-win high!

The Peerless said...

I would think it likely that only one team from the Southeast is going to make it. The teams are rather close, and the intradivisional records are very similar -- no team has more than nine or fewer than eight wins.

Carolina is on a pace for 88 points, but they aren't the best team in the division at the moment, based on their last ten games. Atlanta is. I think Florida is the best of the lot at the moment, which only suggests that this division is up for grabs.

All the teams have similar problems -- goaltending (except Florida). Tampa, Atlanta, and Washington have top-end scoring talent.

If the Caps continue at the pace they've set under Bruce Boudreau, they would finish with 89 points. Winning the division is not out of the question, but they're just about at the end of their rope in terms of being able to sustain the injuries they've had.