Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cheap Seats Award for Dumbest Idea Goes to...

In the latest chapter of insane analysts we get today's entry by THN columnist Mike Brophy. His premise? The Caps should trade Ovechkin.

Before I get into this - show of hands, how many people would cancel their season tickets right then and there should GMGM pull off such a trade?

Brophy is saying that basically the Caps are floundering. They aren't drawing crowds. They're not a contender nor is there any proof they will be in the near future. So clearly the thing to do is trade the superstar Russian for some obscene package of players, the way Quebec did back in the days of Eric Lindros.

That's his theory, based on one phenomenally lopsided trade in the annals of NHL history.

But actually it's not.

Pay close attention to the following line: "What if the young superstar tells the Caps he’d prefer to play someplace a little more cosmopolitan than Washington?"

This isn't an op-ed piece on making the Caps a better team, although it is certainly doing a great job masquerading as such. It's a deeply veiled attempt to say that Ovechkin would be better served playing in a more cosmopolitan city, a city that clearly will treat him better than DC ever could.

First of all, I've lived in and around DC all my life - it's a pretty cosmopolitan city in it's own right. So is Brophy suggesting a move to Toronto or Montreal on the basis that hockey love makes a city cosmopolitan?

No, I'm thinking he's referring to a different city, a city that they say never sleeps - a city like New York. Shocking that someone would again suggest that one of the best players in the league should go to what everyone has decided is hockey heaven. Never mind that New York is notorious for being unable to grow their own young talent, or that they are captained by someone who despite being among the greatest hockey players in the league has managed to do little more than lead them to stunning mediocrity.

But okay, we'll pretend for a minute that Brophy actually does care about the state of the Caps (and ignore the fact that in the last month the Caps have played like more of a playoff contender than a number of teams already in the top 8). We'll grant him the notion that this is actually a piece about the future of the Caps, the darlings of the NHL and all media types as we well know.

"Because it worked for Quebec/Colorado" means nothing to me. Eric Lindros in his prime was no Alex Ovechkin - character-wise, talent-wise and personality-wise. Their impact on their respective teams could not be more different. And I'm thinking the knowledge that Lindros did little to increase the number of Cups in Philadelphia probably would give some GMs pause about pulling the trigger on a lopsided trade like that anyways.

And his argument that Ovechkin being a Cap is no guarantee of success also holds little water because...well, what is the guarantee? Signing Scott Gomez to an obscene amount of money? Hiring Wayne Gretzky to coach your team? There's no such thing as a guarantee in sports and I'm betting our chances are slightly better with a talent that only comes along so often among our ranks.

But more importantly, trading Ovie would be disastrous to this team right now because the team has been built around him. Players have been drafted to complement his skills, players have been signed to create plays just for him. Trade Ovechkin now and you've got a shell of a team but no core - and in a town that has merely a passing interest in hockey as it is, trading the flamboyant superstar player would be far more catastrophic for DC hockey than even I can imagine.

5 comments:

Chris & Sarah said...

OK! If the point is to improve Washington's status as a hockey town, trading away a big name talented player like Ovie for a bunch of lesser players with little or no hope of improving the team would be my immediate thought.

Where do these idiots come up with this stuff? Looking at the list of players that went for Lindros, not exactly the cream of the crop either. Just a lot of them.

Besides, no matter what you hear or see in the media (outside Cap-land) there is no real indication that OV is unhappy here. Once the team has turned itself around and becomes the winning team that we've been promised, I think any thought of Alex leaving will die a quick death.

BUT.... If we don't, I think that it will make things harder for him to want to stay, just as it would for any other player with aspirations to raise the holy grail of hockey.

Personally I'm waiting for the fun to begin after the RFA's start getting the signing sheets. If we haven't nailed it by then, you can expect that a 1 second after midnight Kevin Lowe will send a whopper of a deal forcing GMGM to match it.

And I can't think of a more cosmopolitan city than Edmonton in the middle of February.

DMG said...

The very premise of this article is flawed: it basically says the Capitals should trade Ovechkin for a bunch of talented young players to build a solid team. Come on, how can anyone who follows hockey not know the Capitals have had so many high drafts picks and received so many prospects already that they have a bunch of young, talented players already?

Plus, the idea that the Capitals aren't a playoff contending team with Ovechkin in the lineup is stupid - if they win tonight, they're 4 points out of playoff spot.

Finny said...

why is it that everytime I read your blog, I feel like applauding after?

CapsChick said...

C&S/DMG: Glad to know I'm not the only one who found this suggestion ridiculous.

Finny: Um...because I'm awesome? :D

DMG said...

I mean, never say never...If Calgary called up and said "hey guys, give us Ovechkin and we'll give you Phaneuf, Iginla, Tanguay, Dustin Boyd, Leland Irving, and our next 5 draft picks"...maybe GMGM would be advised to consider it. Other than something nuts like that....

btw, CC, I decided to comment on this myself if you care to read. It was quite fun.