21 April, 2014


A Mountain of Honor

Never short on creativity, Yahoo’s Greg Wyshynski has greatly helped alleviate the doldrums of August with his Faces of Mt. Puckmore series on the Puck Daddy blog. Each NHL organization has four seminal faces represented, as chosen by bloggers for the team. My only raised eyebrow with the exercise is including all 30 NHL clubs in it, but of course Puck Daddy is an NHL site. But really, a Mt. Puckmore for the Columbus Bluejackets? How about a sand dune and a couple of primitive etchings instead?

Anyway, today JP delivered four Capitals’ faces every Caps’ fan ought to salute: the Secretary of Defense, Captain Dale, Olie the goalie, and Ovi. Quibbling with that list is non-nonsensical; who wouldn’t want to go into battle with that quartet? The whole Mt. Puckmore project has occasioned a robust dialogue among many Caps’ bloggers and hockey enthusiasts in Twitter this week, with a number of eminently worthy Capitals nominated. And that’s good fun in August.

Again, no quibble whatsoever with JP’s choices, but I think I would have had to include owner Leonsis on our mountain of honor. Hockey, I think you’d have to say, was entirely an afterthought/niche (almost lacrosse-esque) sport here pre-Ted. He didn’t just bring an unprecedented and unbridled enthusiasm for hockey that the organization had never before known, he actually transformed media coverage of the team. He made bold (if ultimately erroneous) player personnel moves to try and get hockey on the front pages here. I’ll never fault an owner for errors of passion and aggression. Better, he learned the errors of his ways and turned over the stewardship of the franchise to his hockey pros. And on the front of accessibility, it doesn’t get any better than Ted. Lastly, let’s not overlook his investment in the community-galvanizing Kettler practice facility and the rightful, if belated, return to the capital’s natural colors. Ask yourself this question: where today would the organization be sans Leonsis? Would there even be hockey in D.C.?

Anyway, who would sit atop your Mt. Puckmore of Capitals’ legends?

* * * * *

Bit of a wild August day today as word whipped all about Twitter early this afternoon, led by the Toronto Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, that the Caps were close to trading Tomas Fleischmann and resigning center Eric Belanger to a one-year deal. Additionally, Mirtle suggested that the Caps would be acquiring a defenseman as part of the shakeup. And then there was the really weird part: Belanger, Mirtle reported, relayed to a French-Canadian newspaper word of his signing with an unidentified club, being instructed by that club not to mention it to the press, as that club was attempting to complete a trade. Mirtle, citing “numerous sources,” and putting two and two together, ID’d the Caps as the club keeping Belanger in waiting. Well, the afternoon passed and no formal trade news broke. As best as we can tell, Tomas Fleischmann is still a Cap.

And so question #2: is moving Flash, who probably hasn’t reached his scoring ceiling, a good move for the club? His AWOL playoff showing was a huge setback in his standing with the organization, undoubtedly. And you know my thoughts about bringing in, potentially, an established, physical defenseman. Let’s see what if anything Friday brings.



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