Here are the latest rumors, scuttlebut and news bits for the Washington Capitals, for the week ending Friday, September 14.
Brooks Orpik – According to Elliotte Friedman, the NHL was not amused by the “wheeling and dealing” the Capitals orchestrated in trading and retrieving defenseman Brooks Orpik. “You’ll remember that Washington traded defenceman Brooks Orpik to Colorado at the draft. The Avalanche bought out Orpik from the one season remaining on his contract, and he went back to the Capitals one month later. Savings for Washington: $4 million in cap space. A couple of weeks ago, the league notified the individual clubs that it reviewed the situation, and explained its concerns. Teams viewed the memo as a warning, that if the NHL could make an example of someone, it would.”
Brian MacLellan told The Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno that the team actually underwent a thorough investigation from the NHL. The league questioned Washington executives about the team’s trade and later signing of Orpik to a lesser salary than the one bought out. It is illegal for a team to re-sign any player they themselves initially bought out, but Orpik was bought out by Colorado. As such, the investigation did not uncover any conspiracy; the league found that the Capitals conducted themselves “above board”, as MacLellan put it. Whyno reached out to NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, who confirmed that the Capitals were cleared of any alleged wrongdoing
Expect the league to close this loophole in the next collective bargaining agreement (CBA), possibly adding a minimum separation clause, such as forbidding a player to return to the team that traded him for a minimum of one year.
Evgeny Kuznetsov – Capitals GM Brian MacLellan stated during his meeting with the media on Friday that new responsibilities could be on the way for Kuznetsov, including time on the penalty kill. MacLellan said there’s still another level in his game. Mac suggested PK time and defensive responsibilities (playing more vs other teams top scoring lines, taking more d-zone draws) could be on way for Kuznetsov.
Nic Dowd – According to The Athletic, Dowd, who signed a one-year, $600,000 free-agent contract this summer, would appear to be the front-runner to replace Jay Beagle on the fourth line. The veteran is adept in the faceoff circle, is a right-handed shot and has the most experience.
Sergei Shumakov – Newly signed Russian forward Sergei Shumakov was a “no show” for the first day of training camp on Friday. According to NBC Sports Washington, Shumakov is still in Moscow dealing with visa issues. According to one report, Shumakov is expected to make it to the States this weekend, possibly as early as Saturday.
First Preseason Game – The Caps preseason opener in Boston is less than 48 hours away. Normally, a road team must dress eight *veteran* players for exhibition games. According to Mike Vogel, Because the Bruins have half of their squad in China for exhibition games vs Flames, the rule has been relaxed, and the Caps will only be required to bring six vets on Sunday.
Capitals Roster – According to Chris Kuc of the Athletic, the Capitals will not be extending any professional tryout (PTO) offers. ““As of right now, we’re going to go with what we have and let it play itself out unless something comes to us here at the last-minute,” new head coach Todd Reirden said.”
There has been a lot of discussion about the Capitals possibly extending a PTO offer to a veteran goaltender, to possibly battle for the backup spot to Braden Holtby.
The Stanley Cup Celebrations – According to an interview by the Athletic, T.J. Oshie was the mastermind of the now patented Stanley Cup Stand. “I remember we were sitting there, we were at a place called Nick’s. It was where we went in the fountain. And it was right before we went in the fountain actually and there’s fans just everywhere crowded around us,” Oshie recalled. “And it was fine. They weren’t allowed to actually come into our booth but they were just crowded around with their phones. … And we were sitting there like ‘well, what do we do now?’ And I was like, I just got this idea. I was talking to Tom Wilson, I was like, ‘Hey, let’s do like a keg stand.’ And he was like, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’” “I was like, ‘We have to let Ovi go first’ and so we grabbed Ovi,” Oshie said. “I think Tom and me held everyone.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov on the Stanley Cup Celebrations – “I feel little bad for our wives,” center Evgeny Kuznetsov says. “They was home, waiting for us, but we still celebrating together, you know? My parents, everyone. Every morning, cup of coffee, ‘Hey I’ve got to go with the team’ … Finally, after like 10 days, okay, I’m out of here.”
From Ovechkin media session Friday,afternoon: Last year, Ovechkin said on media day, “We’re not going to be f—— suck this year.” 2018’s message? “No suck, back to back.”
AROUND THE LEAGUE
Seattle Expansion – Per TSN, The Seattle City Council committee created to review plans for the renovation of KeyArena has unanimously approved the final transaction documents, setting the stage for full council approval of the arena plan later this month. The approval is one of the last major hurdles to Seattle’s hopes of landing an NHL expansion franchise. Seattle Hockey Partners, the group looking to land the franchise, will present before the NHL Board of Governors Executive Committee on Oct. 2 in New York, and the full Board of Governors could take action on Seattle’s expansion bid before the end of the year.
By Jon Sorensen