Let’s say that like me you approached this offseason as an occasion to distance yourself from hockey a bit, to treat our sport’s summer developments with comparative indifference relative to recent years. First-round flameouts by Cup heavies can breed that. And enduring an all-time hot summer here made thoughts puck tougher to come by.
No worries; I’ve boned up a bit of late, and I’ve got your end-of-summer debriefing right here, to catch you up on all of ice note that transpired.
In no particular hierarchy:
- Hello Toughness, my old friend.
- Ted takes over Washington’s winter sports, as well as their home in D.C. Soon all his teams will wear our nation’s colors. The acquisition led to Leonsis’ forming Monumental Sports & Entertainment as the reorganized umbrella for all of the Leonsis sports properties. Hopefully, sooner rather than later, one will be renamed in accordance with its winning legacy.
- The Caps will wear a classic look at Heinz Field for the Winter Classic on New Years Day. The team will host its second annual fan convention on Saturday, October 2, at the D.C. Convention Center, and the Winter Classic threads will be unveiled there.
- Coming soon to a beer league perhaps near you: Jose Theodore.
- The Caps’ beat, on television, de-beautified.
- Russian Machine Never Breaks: A certain general manager went missing while Eastern conference powers reloaded beginning in early July.
- Despite their springtime shortcomings, the Caps remain the hot ticket in town. During the playoffs in April the Caps sold standing room only tickets for the first time. Beginning with 2010-11, Verizon Center will be home to standing-room-only accommodation during hockey’s regular season.
- Having already added D. J. King to the roster, the Capitals set enforcement hearts aflutter by slow dancing with
Willie Mitchell, inviting the Canucks’ rugged UFA rearguard to Kettler for an August audition. Earlier this summer Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal ID’ed Mitchell as the guy to get for Capitals’ General Manager George McPhee: “[The Capitals] badly need a heart-and-soul guy back there who can match up against Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin.” Ultimately and unfortunately Mitchell signed with L.A., but the interest by Caps’ management offered further evidence that an important organizational reconsideration of a soft roster was in a to-be-continued mode.
- The Capitals’ beat in print also received a jolt, with WaPost’s Tarik El Bashir forsaking Cup-contending puck for the limited travel comforts of Georgetown hoops and that long-standing Washington sports passion of . . . NASCAR.
- Speaking of media and the beat, OFB was pleased as peaches to partner with upstart media initiative TBD this summer. Albritton Communications is bankrolling the venture, and the premise is intriguing: marshal committed D.C. blogs into a digital family of vibrant coverage, one not exclusive to sports and one that will be supplemented by Albritton-owned WJLA and News Channel 8 TV. The ethos and joie de vie of our coverage won’t change a lick, but its dissemination and immersion into larger digital D.C. is likely to.
- According to this August 12 report by the Toronto Globe and Mail’s James Mirtle, featuring “multiple sources,” not only was Tomas Fleischmann on his way out of D.C. in a trade but Eric Belanger was coming back for 2010-11. Nearly a month later, we have no clarity with either player, except that Flash is in town and apparently kicking soccer balls around.
- Local MSM remains in dire need of a 24-step remediation program for their Burgundy and Gold addiction.
- I’ve had my fill of first-round flameouts and soft, finesse, easy-to-defend hockey, and to cope with all of them I immersed myself this summer in . . . rejuvinative endeavors. I’m departing summer thoroughly recharged. You can expect big things here commencing with training camp. Let’s get to it.