Top 5 Players The Capitals Should Have Never Let Go (pt. 3)

– Viktor Kozlov

kozlov

I understand that there’s a difference between intentionally trading a player away and the player retiring.  Nonetheless, the goal behind me writing this is to prove the point that regardless of the reason why we lost a player, the team for either physical or mental reasons, will miss the player.

So much in the same way that I saw Fedorov, I see Viktor Kozlov.  With such a young Capitals team during the 2007-2009 seasons, the veteran leadership that someone like Kozlov provided was absolutely vital to the growth of a team as a whole.

Pay close attention to what is said in this video around the 2:42 mark.

Obviously there is a joking nature in this video, but through it I feel it’s a very clear example of Ovechkin actually respecting someone.  This is one of the few occasions where I can see a group of Capitals interacting in such a close knit way, and I attribute much of this to the “father like” figure Kozlov exhibited, for not only the young Russians on the team, but for the entire team in general.

As much as I feel Viktor was a vital presence in the locker room, I feel he was just as important to the team on the ice.  His first season with the Caps he finished with 54 points, comparatively higher than the likes of Semin and Laich, and a plus minus of 28 was tied with Ovechkin for the highest on the team.

As proud as I am to say that Viktor ended his brilliant career with the Capitals, I can still say with all confidence that his presence on the team is missed.

– Mike Cramer

Top 5 Players The Capitals Should Have Never Let Go (pt 2)

In continuation of the list of Caps that left our great city too soon, I present to you…

–       Tomas Fleischmann

Hockey: First day of Capitals training camp

THE FLASH!  What else needs to be said!

Okay… maybe a little.

Tomas Fleischmann was never the “FLASHIEST” of players, and his numbers were never out of this world, however I think one thing needs to be said about said about his career with the capitals.  In the better part of 5 years that he spent in the Capitals organization (both Hershey and Washington), he was all about the team.  Toping out at 23 goals in the in the 2009-10 season, I think it’s poignant to note that he added five more to that number in assists, with 28.  If it weren’t for Nicklas Backstrom, there’s no doubt in my mind that Tomas would have been the go to play maker on the team over several seasons, up until his trade to Avalanche towards the end of the 2010-11 season.  Since his departure from the Capitals, Tomas has racked up 47 goals in three seasons, one of which he only played 48 games, and another where he only played 22 (traded mid season).  His most productive year to date, a 27 goal, 61 point season with the Florida Panthers, the season AFTER we traded him.  To put those numbers in comparison, in that season, his numbers were higher than those of Nicklas Backstrom, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson, Brooks Laich, Dennis Wideman and Alexander Semin; as well as falling only 4 short from the team leading, Alex Ovechkin.

He’s for every one of us.

Stand for everyone of us

He saves with a mighty hand.

Flash… a-ah.

– Mike Cramer

Top 5 Players the Capitals Should Have Never Let Go (pt. 1)

As a Caps fan, you’ve become as accustomed to the familiar cast of core characters, i.e. Ovechkin, Green, Backstrom, as you have to utter disappointment come playoff time.  Although many will agree that these players are the core of the team, I’d like to throw out several names of the not so distant past, the players I consider, in no particular order, THE TOP 5 CAPITALS PLAYERS LOST IN THE LAST 5 YEARS.

–       Sergei Fedorov

fedorov

Disagree if you want but Sergei on this list for one reason, and one reason only in my eyes; LEADERSHIP.

Up until the 2009-10 season when Alexander Ovechkin was named “CAPTAIN”, I wouldn’t call the alumni of the past decade a roaring success.  Let’s take a look back…

2006-09: Chris Clark- Okay, Clark was a decent captain.  He led by example… at least in terms of being devoted to the game and his team, but I have to question the chemistry he had with the younger players on the team.

2005-06: Jeff Halpern- … exactly.

2001-03: Steve Konowalchuk- Along with a lil Brendan Witt tossed in for a little less than a year, I just wasn’t sold on the idea of Konowalchuk being the leader of the team.  Aside from the fact that in the 2001-02 season, he only played 28 games, he never topped 25 goals in a season in his entire NHL career.  I know that being a captain isn’t about the numbers you put up, but again, much like Clark, I have to really wonder what his chemistry was like with the rest of the team.  The only reason I would ever put a “C” on his chest… he did play two years for the Baltimore Skipjacks.

So here we have the 2009-2010 Washington Capitals.  After the recent acquisition of Jason Chimera, we lost both our captain, Chris Clark, and that freaking Slovakian giant, Milan Jurcina.  So we’re left with a 24 year old Russian kid with the leadership skills of a potato at the helm of our beloved team.

Great.

But wait?! WHAT’S THAT?! A 39 year old Russian with bad shoulders?! SOLD!

However, this isn’t your every day 39 year old Russian with bad shoulders, this is three time Stanley Cup champion, six time all-star, Sergei Fedorov.  This man’s laundry list of awards and achievements surpasses the cumulative number of shirts, pants, socks and underwear that I have on my ACTUAL laundry list.  Sure, he only scored 11 of his career 1,179 NHL goals his first season with the team, but dammit, these guys respected him; especially the ones that needed it the most, the core of the goal scoring this season, namely, Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Viktor Kozlov.  On top of this, he carried the team to their second Southeast Division title in as many years as well as 14 games deep into the Eastern Conference playoffs.

I feel like I had to have given enough reason for a few of you in doubt to at least PRETEND I have a point.

– Mike Cramer