After the Caps’ latest, Stanley Cup Playoffs embarrassment at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning, I wasn’t really into covering the team or hockey in general for a while. Obviously, it shows by the lack of updates to the site in recent weeks. I am starting to feel better about the club and a very exciting Stanley Cup Final between the Canucks and Bruins sort of jump started my NHL interest again. So, I decided it was probably time to get a couple of thoughts, observations, and some site news out there.
- First, thanks to all those that participated in our informal Stanley Cup Playoffs pick ‘ems. While I ended up squeaking by Wes by one point to take the 2011 title, it was not by some profound prediction for the Cup Final result. In fact, none of us got it right.
- The NHL Draft was boring or so I heard. I didn’t watch it. Mostly because the last thing the Washington Capitals need are more, over-hyped, underdeveloped young players. It seems like the club agrees as George McPhee and the brain trust traded away their first round pick to Chicago for Troy Brouwer.
- Troy Brouwer. By all accounts, a big, workhorse type winger. Brouwer is a physical guy who uses his size to out muscle opponents to create room for himself and his teammates. He has the potential to be a 20 goal scorer, having posted 22 markers in 2009-2010. However, in a contract year (ding ding ding) last season, Troy Brouwer only scored 17 goals. Towards the end of the 2010-2011 campaign, Brouwer went on a 22 game goal less streak. Heading into restricted free agency at the end of this week, Troy Brouwer is also coming off of shoulder surgery. So, where’s the real up side? Some folks in Chicago feel like Brouwer was not given the opportunity by the Blackhawks coaching staff to capitalize off of his 22 goal performance the season prior (see, Madhouse Season Review: Troy Brouwer by Sam Fels). Pending his recovery from the shoulder surgery, there is a chance Brouwer could be much like Mike Knuble, the 2009-2010 version. On a Caps roster that still boasts some of the more talented offensive players in the league, Brouwer could post 20-30 goals, all within 3 feet of the net.
- Today the Caps made qualifying offers to restricted free agents, Karl Alzner, Francois Bouchard, Troy Brouwer, Mathieu Perreault, and Semyon Varlamov. They left Zach Miskovic, Joe Finley, and Josh Godfrey looking at unrestricted status on July 1st. The organization is maturing a bit here.
- Aside from the draft and free agency, things get a bit boring. However, there will be an epic hockey weekend in July. At the end of the Capitals’ Development Camp on July 16th, the Fan Fest at Kettler Capitals Iceplex will be held. Just like last year, the annual equipment sale will be held during the Fan Fest. This just so happens to coincide with the 2011 Old Fat Bald Guys tournament and silent auction to benefit Special Olympics Maryland, at Skate Frederick. My pre-game writing partner, Jon Walker, and I will be participating in the OFBG tourney the weekend of July 15th-17th and making a trip to the equipment sale to pickup some much-needed, pro stock gear. There has been some discussion on possibly creating some sort of written or video record of the weekend’s events. More details on the tournament and our plans for Fan Fest will be posted as they become available.