A Response to Peter Hassett and RMNB

25 Aug

It appears my article has gotten a lot of looks today.  A little has been discussed about the substance of my article, but mostly about a couple of small mistakes that in no way take away from the conclusion of my article.  The Russian Machine Never Breaks‘ Peter Hassett took the time to breakdown why my article is incorrect.  I feel that I should give a response to what has been the most intelligible critique of the article.

Here goes (responses in bold):

  1. “Caps Back to Early Playoff Exit Status with Grabovski Signing”
    A fine piece of trolling in the title. The Capitals surely have a reputation for getting bounced from the post-season early, and Caps fans have dealt with bombast like this ever since Tony Kornheiser coined “choking dogs” back in 1987 (or whenever). But I’m not sure that’s a) an actual meaningful status , or b) something the Caps ever lost considering they’ve lost in the first or second round every year since 2008.

Without a doubt people read articles based on the title.  Is it trolling?  You decide.  Mostly local Caps media have lauded this move.  It does make the roster better.  Does it get them to contender status?  I don’t believe so.  The title hopefully catches your eye and then you can read on whether you believe it or not.

  1. “Time to separate the facts from the hyperbole.”
    An author flatly proclaiming to be The Arbiter of Truth is never a good sign.

It does set me up for some heavy critique….though Arbiter of Truth is ironically a bit of hyperbole.  Especially after hammering my title…..

  1. “First, the Capitals cannot re-sign Mike Ribeiro at a decent price and he heads off to Nashville.”
    Ahh yes, the desert paradise of Nashville. The Jewel of Arizona. The Southwest’s own Music City. Powder City, AZ. Athens of the Southwest. America’s least sustainable city. Tennessee’s urban heart. (Ribeiro signed with Phoenix.)

Was a simple mixup with Hendricks and I glossed over it on proofread.  As I stated elsewhere, Riberio could be on the moon.  Doesn’t take away from the main point of the article?

  1. “The Capitals problem was never scoring goals.”
    The Caps were shut out eleven times in 2010-11Their goals per game fell from 3.27 in 2008-09 to 2.67 in 2010-11. I write recaps of about 75 Caps games a year; don’t tell me scoring goals was never a problem.

They were still middle of the pack, but it is difficult to say it was a “problem”.  It was not as good as other teams.  Defense has been a longer, persistent problem and Grabovski won’t help much here.  Last year, scoring was not a problem….in the context of Ribeiro vs. Grabo, which is the point here.

  1. “It is a stretch if Schultz and Hendricks roles will be adequately replaced.”
    I love Matt Hendricks, but replacing a fourth line grinder is about as tough as finding  a spare $800K in Uncle Ted’s wallet. Schultz was scratched for almost half of last season, so I’d consider him replaced since the beginning of April.

They are using farm guys as call ups to fill these spots.  Maybe they will be okay here.  Kind of a minor point…that’s why it was such a small piece of the article.  Just pointing out the Caps lost more than Ribeiro and didn’t sign anyone of equivalence.

  1. “Washington did re-sign defensemen Karl Alzner and Tomas Kundratek, which made the offseason not a complete coup for free agents.”
    And thank goodness. If the Caps not did not re-sign Karl Alzner (which they did on July 10), I’d be picketing outside the McPhee house, and I would not be alone there. Though I doubt the extent to which the market was clamoring for Kundratek.

Seems like we agree, if Azner wasn’t re-signed, it would have been a free agent exodus.

  1. “But again, the problem in Washington is defense and nothing was done to shake up the old guard.”
    I actually agree with this point. I feel dirty.
  1. “The Capitals just have a hard time with the salary cap and likely for other reasons (which could be discussed at length) attracting big time free agents.”
    The whispering campaign continues: Surely, with its comfortable suburbs, cosmopolitan city center, the team’s focus on offense, and a player-centric coach in Adam Oates, DC is a toxic anathema to free agents. No. At this point, innuendo about the Caps locker room is more damning for the speaker than the subject. When you read a line like that, you know to doubt everything surrounding it.

I don’t think the Caps locker room is cancer-ridden.  Not my insinuation.  Who are the big free agents that come to DC though?  Ribeiro and Grabovski?  DC just doesn’t have the allure, for whatever reason you want to plug in, as other NHL teams.  Players at times take less and go elsewhere.  Maybe because other teams seem a lot closer to the Cup than DC?  I don’t know, but they’re not flocking here like they do to other teams.

  1. “. . . His Corsi-in and Corsi-out and other advanced stats show that he will make his teammates better.”
    I think the writer means Corsi On and Corsi Off– measurements of how the ice “tilts” when a player is on or off the ice based on shot attempts. You’d think with eight years experience as a statistician, Mr. Bourcier would be bothered to look up the names of the stats. Or at least copy them accurately from the source articles (which include RMNB! Yay! Thanks for the link!).

It was -on and -off.  A mistake.  It was corrected earlier.  Using Corsi wasn’t to highlight any advanced stats, but to illustrate how a basic look at Grabovski’s numbers and tenure in Toronto are not a clear cut win for the Caps.  Toss in some locker room issues in Montreal and Toronto and off-ice issues elsewhere, there is a lot of prima facie evidence that more is being made of this signing than what it really will happen on ice.  Statisticians like yourself are using more exotic/advanced metrics to show how he could be a great addition.  Truth is, he is a career lower point scorer than Riberio with no proven playoff experience.  Will his efficiency shine through and he ends up a 70 point scorer as some are predicting?  Maybe.  Will he bite another player?  Maybe.  He has done one of these in his career….

  1. “Oh, and puck possession—Grabovski really can possess that puck.”
    The writer says this right after the line about Corsi, which makes me wonder if he understands that Corsi is already a measurement for possession or that we’ve been talking about shot attempts this whole time.

It was written after, because it wasn’t meant to be the same thing.  Puck possession was another thing mentioned where he was better than Ribeiro and how he would better the Caps because of this.  

  1. “Here is what we know about Grabovski in facts.”
    I like the use of italics here, as if all the shot-attempt statistics before were somehow counterfactual. As if any statistics except the ones shown on an NBC Sports chyron are myth. But that’d be a curious opinion for a fellow with an nigh-PhD in economics and nearly a decade in statistics experience.

Grabovski is a 45-50 point scorer a season.  10 to 20 points more a season because of greater puck possession, better efficiency, more faceoffs in the offensive zone?  Another .25 points per game?  Advanced stats show he is better in some areas than Ribeiro.  I agree with those measures.  But, how can you disagree that Ribeiro is a better career scorer and has a better playoff record?  It is not that the other things are mythological, but 10% more faceoffs in the offensive zone leading to one player getting that many more points a year?!?

I guess that is my problem.  I have read that Grabovski could score 10 to 20 more points a year under Oates.  Then I see these advanced stats.  But where is the tying these advanced stats to more points?  We should be able to come up with a range of points with these advanced stats.  I didn’t take the time to do it, but I would be interested in seeing it.  I also am not the one claiming a 45-50 point career scorer is going to put up 20-25 more points than usual.  I would be interested in seeing the data connecting the percentage increases to higher production for this one guy.

  1. “Could it be argued Toronto was better when Grabovski was playing less?”
    Sure, you could argue that. But you’d lose that argument. By a lot. Toronto Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets basically killed a small pixelated forest on this topic (alsoalsoalso,also).

It is maybe oversimplified, but Toronto made the playoffs for the first time since Grabovski was there when he was relegated to 15 minutes a game in a more defensive role.  Toronto obviously found it favorable to buy this guy out.  Montreal didn’t deal with him for long either.

  1. “In the last playoff year, Grabovski put up two assists in their seven game series.”
    Mike Ribeiro had just one goal and one assist in his seven-games playoff series. So what? A seven-game sample during which Grabovski was used exclusively as a defensive player is not convincing evidence of anything. As a measure of either player in the long run, it’s nearly worthless.

If he had more playoff experience, like Ribeiro, we could see what is a trend or if he is a playoff choke artist.  

  1. “They picked up a guy way down the list from who they were really going after and someone no one else really wanted.”
    Grabovski was the object of a bidding war (with 7-12 teams in the running depending on whom you ask) throughout the offseason– a war won by Washington based on the coach’s appeal. Yes, Grabovski was bought out by Toronto (“the opposite of smart” according to Steve Dangle), but he was far from unwanted.

While I think most of your arguments are sound, this is the poorest.  Grabovski was in a bidding war and got only $3m a year and a one-year contract?  People wanted his services, for sure…but they weren’t willing to pay more than $3m for it.  He sat for a long-time and no one scooped him up.  If he was so wanted, he would have gone sooner, for more money and a longer deal.  They were out of good options.  Some credit, they didn’t get desperate and overpay.

  1. “At times Grabovski has score more goals than Riberio, but he has little, unproductive playoff experience and he is now on a team that needs a lot of playoff help.”
    The best predictor of playoff success is regular-season success– John Druce in 1990 excepted. Actually, Druce is a pretty good example of how tiny samples of playoff performance don’t tell you much about the player overall.

Might be the best predictor, but doesn’t mean it is cause and effect.  Maybe Grabovski can do better, maybe he can’t.  Truth is no one knows.  For a team that can’t get over the playoff hump, a guy with no playoff experience, on a losing team his entire career and only 2 assists in limited playoff action….it is a huge question mark.  Grabovski is far from a sure thing that will get the Caps to the next round or make them a contender.  He has a lot of question marks.

  1. “Two years in a row, Laich is getting demoted for two one-year contract guys that are basically patching holes in the roster.”
    Laich played nine games last season. He was not demoted, he was injured. And further, I’d argue that getting an assignment as a defensive forward with lots of special teams work is not a demotion; it’s playing a crucial role. Laich’s boxcar stats will suffer, but he’ll be helping his team win games. Knowing Brooks’ attitude and reputation as a team player, I bet he’ll be cool with that. He’s already got that steady paycheck after all.

Many have said this and I agree he plays a crucial role.  At the end of the day, would he rather be 2C?  Does it suck to keep thinking you are the next 2C and then they replace you?  I don’t know what Laich’s goals are, but if he wants the limelight or a bigger contract near the end of his term in DC, this has to be painful.  It seems the team doesn’t have the confidence in him playing 2C…maybe a shot to the ego.  I don’t know, just food for thought.

  1. “At the end of the day, even with the Grabovski signing, the Caps offseason has been a net loss.”
    Except when measured by, ya know, measurements.

Ribeiro is a better career scorer with better career playoff numbers, who was scooped off the market quickly because there is no doubt to his talent and leadership.  Grabovski sat there until now and we need advanced stats to show how he could be better.  They also have two-way contracts and farm guys replacing guys who were role players, but with valuable NHL experience.  Easier holes to fill, but not yet proven filled.  In my mind, based on really basic measurements, Caps are still net loss for the offseason.

  1. “Defense is their main issue.”
    And the broken clock has now been correct twice today.

Looks like cute sayings, like my title, are an author’s best options ;).

P.S.  I hope the poor numeration isn’t hammered on too hard.  I realize they are all ones.  I didn’t care about this mistake.


25 Responses to “A Response to Peter Hassett and RMNB”

  1. Jason Callaway August 25, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    You’re coming off as an idiot.

  2. Alisterio August 25, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    Let’s start with:

    1. “Would [Laich] rather be a 2C?”

    Repeat after me: Brooks Laich is not a 2C. There. He could rather be the 1C or Captain of the Red Wings. Neither of those things would have any bearing on whether or not he were capable of such a role. (ps. He’s not)

    Nevertheless, you didn’t really address the original fallacy, namely that Laich was not demoted. He was not talked about as the 2C coming into last year – Ribeiro was signed in the off-season. And, of course you know now, that he was not “demoted” this time around. The honorable thing to do here would be to admit you were wrong.

    2. “It was written after, because it wasn’t meant to be the same thing.”

    So, you’re comment about possession wasn’t meant to be the same thing as a comment you made about possession stats?

    3. “I don’t know, but they’re not flocking here like they do to other teams.”

    Which team, exactly, are players flocking too? The Caps have signed a number of FAs in the past and while you may openly wonder whether or not players are not coming here for any number of reasons, you’ll not find any player active or retired who has indicated such a thing. I don’t really know the statistics, but perhaps you could back this statement up with some evidence which goes beyond the subset of N=1 or N=it just seems like it

    • bourciertm August 25, 2013 at 9:52 pm #

      1) Laich was named the 2C by GMGM less than a month ago. All signs are he will be demoted with Grabo on board.

      2) Possession and Corsi were talked about in 2 different sentences. RMNB’s critique was my mixup of Corsi as a possession stat. I was poking a bit of fun at all of those advanced stats.

      3) Look at other teams…Suter and Parise to Minnesota…Alfredsson and Weiss to Detroit…those are off the top of my head. Caps don’t get that kind of pull.

      • Alisterio August 25, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

        1) Irrelevant to YOUR comment which is “would he rather be a 2C” which is what I addressed.

        2) This “poking fun” excuse would be believable had you said that from the get go.

        3) Hockey players are flocking to Minnesota now because Parise and Suter basically conspired to play there because they both wanted to go “home.”?? Nice try. And yes, good job, hockey players like to go to Detroit. I bet baseball players get signed by the Yankees a lot too.

      • bourciertm August 25, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

        1) I don’t think it is irrelevant….it was a small point in the article, but how will Laich respond to being dumped from playing a bigger role?

        2) I could care less if you believe me or not. One sentence discussed one subject, the next discusses another and the paragraph as a whole discusses a lot of reasons why Grabovski is considered better, but the plain stats don’t show that. You can comprehend that paragraph the way it was intended or not, your choice.

        3) Suter and Parise went there, not everyone else, but those two highly coveted guys from last year. And with a salary cap, your Yankees comment is ridiculous. People go to the Yanks for $$$….others are going to the Wild and the Wings for less and to win championships, be at home, whatever the reason. Those reasons don’t exist in Washington–plain and simple.

      • Steve August 26, 2013 at 1:40 am #

        Re: #3 (“free agents not flocking to DC”): Washington not signing a bunch of free agents (even if true*) does not equate with Washington not being a desirable destination to free agents. Show me the examples of free agents being made offers by the Caps that were rejected in favor or equal of lesser offers. Only then might your conclusion on this point have any semblance of logic.

        And of course, it’s not true. The Caps have rarely gone after UFAs for several reasons, not the least of which is cap room. Even so, Vokoun took less money to play with the Caps, and Ward and Knuble were both highly sought after by other teams.

      • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 1:48 am #

        It is an impossible task. You know no one can show who the Caps have made offers to and for how much. These things are never made public until there is a signing.

        However, if you are arguing the rumors are false that they have pursued others this offseason and those people didn’t sign, I can’t deny that. We don’t know who they negotiated with either.

        At the end of the day, whether they have not participated or people aren’t signing, guys like Alfredsson and Lecavalier aren’t coming to DC at the end of their careers for less for the chance to win a championship. Ribeiro and Grabovski are coming in one-year deals to get a big pay day somewhere else.

      • Steve August 26, 2013 at 2:20 am #

        Thanks for not addressing the examples I provided that disprove your claim.

        Thanks for also not addressing the logical fallacy in your claim. You are the one who makes the giant leap from “*some* free agents haven’t signed with DC” to “DC is not desirable to free agents.” You’re missing a premise or three in there, and the lack of examples in either direction doesn’t change the flaw in your logic.

  3. Bman21212 August 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm #

    I think the biggest problem is equating points with skill as a 1 to 1 factor. You say the Capitals need better defense, but then say Ribeiro is better because he scores more points.

    Ribeiro produces more points than Grabovski, and will very likely continue to do so. Ribeiro though, does all his magic on the powerplay and at best treads water at evens. Ribs scored 21 power-play assists, which is awesome, except that made up over half of the 36 assists he made all year, and almost half of his 49 points. To be able to work a powerplay like Ribs can is impressive and helpful, but being so tied to it and so meh otherwise is dangerous.

    Lets check out Ribs possession numbers, because defense matters and most of the game isn’t played on the powerplay. I think we can all agree that 1st line players win in possession stats, they score more than they get scored on. 4th line players lose, they just try to hang on and get scored on more than they score. Everyone else is somewhere in-between.
    I’m going to be using the handy chart provided by Japers’ Rink for info.

    Pay special attention to the Possession section. In 5v5 play, Ribero was at best, the 12th best Capitals forward. Out of 16. Corsi and Fenwick stats show that he was even worse than that, ranked 14th or 15th, out of 16. Barely better than an AHL call-up. For Goals Against, he was 13th.

    These are not good stats. They are quite dreadful.

    Grabovski’s story is different. http://www.behindthenet.ca/nhl_statistics.php?ds=20&s=13&f1=2012_s&f2=5v5&f4=C+LW+RW&f5=TOR&c=0+1+3+5+4+6+7+8+13+14+29+30+32+33+34+45+46+63+67+17+18+19+20#
    He got thrown to the wolves by his coach, yet came up a positive. His Corsi Relative to his Quality of Competition (Corsi Rel QoC) was the 2nd best on the team.

    Grabovski will end up with less points than Ribeiro at the end of the year. But if you take away the powerplay, I’m not so sure that would be the case. At the very least, at the end of the year, in 5v5 play Grabovski will have better possession metrics than Ribeiro and a better goal differential. And that make Grabovski a better player than Ribeiro for the Capitals.

    • bourciertm August 25, 2013 at 11:25 pm #

      A solid reply, thank you. I think there are two things here. Can Grabovski provide scoring to the Caps himself or by helping others? Also, does Grabovski’s increased possession create less offensive chances for the opposing team (i.e. better defense).

      I don’t get the taking away the PP comment. I’ve seen this a lot. A goal is a goal and teams that have good power play (I am assuming) win more games. Grabovski may do more than score at the end of the day and be better in other ways, but he isn’t the missing piece. With bad defense, they have to outscore opponents and they won’t get that with Grabovski. Will his added possession numbers decrease opponents chances enough to offset the decreased offense? I think it is a stretch, especially come playoff time.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. I think you made some really great points and I like how you explained some of the advanced stuff. I think it provides a lot of opportunity for the Caps, but I am not sure it will play out this way on the ice. We will soon find out :).

      • Bman21212 August 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm #


        “Can Grabovski provide scoring to the Caps himself or by helping others? Also, does Grabovski’s increased possession create less offensive chances for the opposing team (i.e. better defense).”
        I don’t currently have time to respond to these besides, yes.

        For the PP though…
        The reason I take away the PP is because the PP can suddenly go cold. Or you can play an entire game and not get a power play opportunity. Happened to the Caps last year in the playoffs. Maybe I’ve just been scarred by the ghosts of playoffs past (In 09-10 the Caps decided to stop scoring on the powerplay too), but I would much rather be amazing at 5v5 and mediocre on the powerplay than amazing on PP but mediocre 5v5.

        Also, I doubt that if the season kept going the Caps would keep up their historically good pace of the PP. The Rangers figured out Ribeiro never shoots after game 3, and thus neutralized the powerplay. I expect the PP to drop from historically good (26%!) to good (20%) next year, but I would have expected the same thing if Ribeiro was back. He’s one man, having Ovi closer to the net and a not concussed Backstrom were greater of effects on the powerplay than Ribeiro alone.

      • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 12:05 am #

        Of course those things could happen with those stats, but will they. How will it translate from his role in Toronto to those with the Caps? Lot’s of moving parts.

        One example, what if Grabovski and his linemates hold the puck longer, but they received no increased offensive chances and it leads to an increase in non-offensive zone faceoffs. It kills several of the assumptions people are making. People are taking a lot of how he was used in Toronto and say if he is used the same way in DC then it is good news. But he might be used differently and he will now face some different teams in the rearranged East with different lineups. The ceterus paribus argument falls a little short with me here because there are too many other factors.

      • capsneed2points August 26, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

        Im curious which UFA out there was the “missing piece” in your opinion? I don’t think I have ever seen an article picked apart and disproved as much as yours and your comments on your own article are being picked apart also. The Caps had 2 very glaring needs this offseason, finding a 2C and a top 6 D man. Well they filled one of those needs for now. Not sure they could have even signed a top 6 D man for the money they commanded. In closing I say keep writing about European hockey please. How you became a journalist for The Hockey Writers is beyond me but I guess we all have different opinions. C-A-P-S CAPS CAPS CAPS

      • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

        With Riberio, the Caps still needed another piece. They lost him, picked up Grabo (who I don’t believe will be as good), and not that extra piece. Grabo won’t get them over the hump and a lot of people are thinking he might. I don’t believe so. The Hockey Writers are always looking for contributors. Check to see if they have an opening for you if you are interested. You can see the process for yourself :).

      • nrs056 August 26, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

        I would second Bman21212 and say that taking PP out of the picture IS a very relevant thing to do. The PP is a unique situation, and one that certainly highlights Ribs’ abilities as a set-up guy – and also highlights the abilities of the guys he was setting up to finish on their PP chances. Ribs was great on the powerplay, but he was never incredible at even strength:

        Jan: 8 points, 5 on the PP (0 EV goals)
        Feb: 14 points, 8 on the PP (1 EV goal)
        Mar: 13 points, 4 on the PP (5 EV goal)
        Apr: 14 points, 10 on the PP (1 EV goal)
        Playoffs: 2 points, 1 on the PP (1 EV goal)

        so (other than a pretty incredible March) all this talk about Ribeiro “scoring a lot” – yes and no. Obviously point totals per month is not a very in-depth look at a player, but it goes along with the intangible feeling (backed up by advanced possesion stats) that many of us had watching the latter half of the season: the second line, centered by Ribeiro, was just not that effective at even strength, and did not do much to shift the momentum of the game in the Caps’ direction. And Ribeiro himself cooled off a bit towards the end of the year, giving the people who care second thoughts about signing the 33-year old to the long term deal he wanted. 3 yrs/$4 mil per year would’ve been okay, but that was never going to happen, given the state of the market. and I would argue that Grabovski has more of the characteristics we are looking for, and we got him for a nice healthy $3 million trial period – not expensive, fits into our picture very well, frees up Laich to be as versatile as he should be (he can play lines 1-3, wing or center, and both special teams), and we are free to re-evaluate Grabo and decide whether or not we want to keep him, rather than potentially being stuck with a declining un-tradeable PIM-taking Ribeiro for another 4-5 years if it turns out this season was a fluke for him – and if our PP goes cold then a lot of his upside is gone. there is just no way to look at this deal and say it was a dumb move

      • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

        Riberio’s points since 2006: 59, 83, 78 (08), 51, 73, 63 and 49 in 48 games last year.

        Grabo’s comps from 08: 48, 35, 58, 51 and 16 in 48 games (he was a 3rd liner, etc., etc.)

        Riberio’s plain stats are a lot better. The advanced stuff shows Grabo is better (in some ways) and it could show up in the box score, IF all things remain the same. I would debate some of those items, but not important for now.

        If Grabo can’t put up this production or help other’s get here, they will have less goals and still a bad defense. Will Grabo’s increased puck possession decrease opponent chances? We will see.

        If you want to start arguing money, Grabo was better value. Value does not equal championships; moreover, it doesn’t equal getting to the playoffs or making it out of the 1st round.

  4. tomj4425 August 26, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    The choice wasn’t between Ribeiro and Grabovski, it was between Laich and Grabovski for 2C. While you can argue Grabo’s “fancy stats” don’t make him better than Ribeiro (I say they do), hard to argue he’s not an upgrade over Laich (who stays on the roster and upgrades the third line). Plus, they’re not saddled with paying Ribeiro (who came via trade, not free agency btw) $5M when he’s 38, which is the reason he’s no longer in Washington.

    Look, nobody is planning a parade because of Grabovski. But you demonstrate a clear lack of knowledge when you hit the Caps for parting with Jeff Schultz, who has been a healthy scratch for most of two seasons and couldn’t be traded for a bag of pucks. Any d-man in Hershey is an upgrade there.

    And the Caps have an organizational philosophy against sighing veteran UFAs to long-term deals. But veterans have been “lured” to DC on short-term contracts in recent years to fill holes: Federov, Vokoun, Hamirlik … One might argue that not getting into free agent bidding wars is actually a smart thing, since there’s this whole salary cap and all.

    • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

      This is a good point. Grabovski will play here better than Laich likely and it frees Laich up (if he isn’t pissy about this) to use his talents. But, I don’t think Grabovski gets the Caps to any different spot with the loss of Riberio. Same spot or worse with East realignment.

      Schultz, Hendricks, et. al., again can be replaced. But, they haven’t been yet. My point was they are still at a net loss in my opinion from last season.

      To your UFA point, it is a sound philosophy. Maybe GMGM isn’t big on FAs. Someone on my Twitter said you don’t win by signing FAs. It is a philosophy, but is hasn’t been a good playoff philosophy for the Caps.

      • nrs056 August 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

        Schultz doesn’t need to be specifically replaced. losing one player does not mean you MUST sign another in order for them to be “replaced”.

        our D: Green, Carlson, Alzner, Oleksy, Orlov, Erskine, Hillen, Kundratek.

        We let Poti and Schultz go. of the above 8 players, I would take every single one in the lineup over Schultz. that’s not even to mention Schmidt and Schilling, who are capable of stepping up to the NHL soon. All those guys above are healthy right now, and while it’d be really nice to have another big name, there is a chance that one or two of the bottom-3 could end up progressing to a top 3 (Orlov, Kundratek, Oleksy – who maybe already is our #4). Schultz was dead weight – he didn’t need replacing. Hendricks didn’t get “replaced” – but if you look at the lineup it has bottom 6 depth – the only obvious weak point is Volpatti (and at least he provides some fight). And again that’s not even to mention that Tom Wilson might make the team this year – if that is the case, we might actually need to trade a bottom 6 forward away to open up some top-4 D cap space.

        and I highly doubt Laich will be “pissy” about playing on the 3rd line – he still makes a ton of money, and has always been a team player (plus he will always get valuable special teams time).

  5. nrs056 August 26, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    “I don’t think the Caps locker room is cancer-ridden. Not my insinuation. Who are the big free agents that come to DC though? Ribeiro and Grabovski? DC just doesn’t have the allure, for whatever reason you want to plug in, as other NHL teams. Players at times take less and go elsewhere. Maybe because other teams seem a lot closer to the Cup than DC? I don’t know, but they’re not flocking here like they do to other teams.”

    The fact that you write this shows that you don’t know very much about the hockey situation in DC… other than signing Ovi and Backstom to a lot of $/term (which had to be done), it is not GMGMs style to take the bait on the big time free agent contracts. he sometimes does overpay, but he tends to overpay for grinder/character guys. Washington doesn’t get the big free agents because Washington isn’t willing to pay market price (which is almost always an overpayment) and market term (which is always the maximum, or nearly the maximum). There are pros and cons to this, but I for one am happy that GMGM tends to search for the overlooked guys and tries to make them work… it doesn’t always (Wolski, Crabb), but sometimes it’s great (Hendricks, Oleksy, etc.). You replied to someone above about Suter and Parise… well as a Caps fan, I flat out do not want those MONTERS of contracts (14 years.) on the books and I’m glad that neither does GMGM.

    the arguments that you make are so blatanly those of an outsider – to anyone who knows this team well, claiming that Hendricks and Shultz are irreplaceable off-season losses immediately completely discredits your opinion – someone who would say that just doesn’t know much about the current situation of the Caps. You have contorted yourself to make these points, and they may fly with the average hockey fan of a non-caps team who wants to buy into oversimplified narratives, but anyone who actually watches every Caps game and follows the team 365-days per year can see that you have absolutely no clue what you are talking about when it comes to the caps

    • bourciertm August 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. I have addressed most of these items in other posts.

      One thing I would like to add however, is that I am not a Caps insider. Honestly, I am not a fan and I am not a hater. I am indifferent. I follow hockey generally, and living in Baltimore recently I paid close attention to the Caps. I have an acquaintance (not to be named) the works in the media and has some good inside access).

      If you want a fan site or an insider site, there are a lot of them as I am sure you are aware. I like being able to look at things without rose-colored glasses. I will be writing for them all season. If they perform well, I’ll be the first to eat crow. Hopefully, the other articles will get some love with all of the views.

      • nrs056 August 26, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

        I like hockey too – when the Caps aren’t playing, I watch other games, and I’m a side fan of other teams that I like. But I fully recognize that I don’t REALLY know anything about any other team – the ins and outs of a hockey organization take a long time to learn. Lots of interviews must be read, lots of games watched, lots of stats and decisions disected. you are free to write whatever you want, but we are tired of supposed “experts” swooping in to tear into the Caps (or any team) without really having any clue of what they are talking about (and giving it away with completely absurd statments like you made about Schultz – it’s a small point, but it gives away how little you know about the Caps roster). the worst part is, that people outside of Caps fans continue to fall for the BS because it’s entertaining – thus perpetuating a false narrative (I’m sure this happens for other teams as well), and then claiming that Caps fans (who know by far the most about their own team, and are willing to admit it’s shortcomings – ex. the 4D need that was not addressed) are somehow “delusional” or using “rose-colored glasses”

        I’ll keep an open mind and assume that you are a savvy hockey fan, and that you are capable of producing a nice piece of journalism – when you know the topic at hand. I would just finish by pointing out that in future articles, regardless of the subject team, when you swoop in and publish articles about the broad-sweeping internal affairs of said team you will:

        1. inevitably be wrong about most things that you say, for reasons I stated above (the complexity of a team’s internal goings-ons)
        2. damage your credibility (and prevent your writing from reaching a wider audience) amongst the people who are able to tell how wrong you are (i.e., all the fans of that team)

  6. anyone is better than you August 26, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    your sour grapes response that did nothing to improve your already flawed argument pretty much cemented never returning to this hack of a site

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