Friday, July 02, 2010

Caps Inactivity on Day 1

So I haven't been here for a while. I've been working quite a bit, as I am on a mission. But I have a day off today so I thought I'd take advantage.

Yesterday was the much anticipated first day of NHL free agency. All the hockey fans who have gotten over the NHL and AHL playoffs and the Draft have been looking forward to this day. I personally was even more excited for free agency than the Draft.

Noon came around and I'm hearing a few deals of defensemen signing with various teams. Many who expected the Capitals to sign a defenseman yesterday were quite disappointed, and actually rather pissed off. The heavily desired defenseman Anton Volchenkov from the Ottawa Senators ended up signing with the New Jersey Devils (something NJ hardly ever lacks anyway). Former Capital Sergei Gonchar can finally dodge the hate from Caps fans as he left the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Senators, who let go of Volchenkov.

Other defenseman signings included Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin who went to Pittsburgh, Dan Hamhuis, who left for the Vancouver Canucks, Jordan Leopold who is now a Buffalo Sabre and Toni Lydman now on the Anaheim Ducks.

I, along with a few others, believe Washington could really use a quality defenseman; one who could preferably stay at home and truly play defense. I am one who advocates signing a free agent, because considering the Caps' window for being a top Stanley Cup contender, I would hope they are trying to win it all this year. After next year, I believe that window starts closing, especially after the shortcomings of the previous two seasons.

An aggressive approach to signing this free agency period would be important. The best would be gone after Day 1, and most likely none would be left after Day 2. If you know what you need and want, I say go after it.

However, I also understand the delay. Most of the defenseman signings yesterday, regardless of how quality these guys were, were in price ranges that I don't think the Capitals want to deal with right now. I am a proponent of being smart at least when being aggressive.

Nonetheless, the sitting-down-doing-nothing approach does slightly annoy me, and annoys many other true Caps fans as well (trust me, it's not just those who don't understand hockey who are frustrated). The only move Washington has made today in Day 2 of free agency was sign goalie Dan Sabourin (name sounds familiar I know). This was clearly a move to replace Michael Neuvirth, who the Caps are ready to bring up permanently to the big team along with Semyon Varlamov re: the unsigning of Jose Theodore.

Another free agency concern for the Capitals includes a strong center. I was a huge Eric Belanger fan during the season; it's always great to have another great faceoff guy on the team. There seem to be players on the AHL Champion Hershey Bears that could potentially fill that spot i.e. Mathieu Perreault, etc. I'm not opposed at all. But I would assume the window argument as well. Regardless my main signing concern is defense.

It's only 10 a.m. though on Day 2. I'll be patient and see what happens.

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