It's a great time to be a hockey fan in Washington D.C. these days. On Friday afternoon, the NHL's most valuable player Alexander Ovechkin, was awarded the key to the city. After he was handed the award by Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty, the superstar addressed his loyal subjects with a few words of wisdom.
"Today is a big day," said Alex Ovechkin, standing on the front steps of city hall. "I have a key for the city. And I'm the president this day in the city, so everybody have fun — and no speed limit."
The Caps celebrated by throwing a couple of parties and held media events which of course included their loyal bloggers. All of this attention was very well deserved because it's not often that a single player will walk away with so many awards, won by such a large margin. (The Hart, Pearson, Rocket Richard, and Art Ross Trophies.)
The Capitals will be very strong competitors in the Southeast Division next year, and their confidence grows.
In other news.....
It seems like the cool or "in" thing to do these days is to hire minor league or juniors league coaches. The Devils kind of started the trend last year when they hired ex-Red Deer coach, Brent Sutter.
Of course the Caps followed suit when they hired Hershey coach Bruce Boudreau, who helped turn around his team's last place start into a Division crown.
The success of those coaches has perhaps been the catalyst regarding the decision making of a few other teams which have been searching for head coaches this off-season.
The Florida Panthers recently hired Peter DeBoer, who last coached the Kitchener Rangers.
The Ottawa Senators just hired Craig Hartsburg, who most recently coached the Sault Ste. Greyhounds. Hartsburg does have NHL coaching experience, but has a lifetime losing record with previous stints at Chicago and Anaheim.
He is known as a hard-ass and is already touting "accountability", so things will be interesting in Ottawa next season. Will the players revolt?
General Manager Bryan Murray told reporters this week that UFA's Cory Stillman, Mike Commodore, and Wade Redden will not be re-signed and that there will be several fresh faces in Ottawa next season.
(How is that Corvo/Eaves and Stillman/Commodore trade looking right now?)
The San Jose Sharks hired Red Wings assistant Todd McLellan, who is supposed to be a powerplay guru.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had the most traditional hiring when they grabbed ex-Sharks coach Ron Wilson. In the meantime, they also announced that interim General Manager Cliff Fletcher will stay in office for one more year.
That news won't do anything to quiet the rumors about Anaheim GM Brian Burke taking over next year, as soon as his contract expires. Of course there is no collusion because I'm sure that the Leafs and Burke have not had any communication with each other regarding any of this. (eye roll)
The Tampa Bay Lightning, Atlanta Thrashers, and Los Angeles Kings are all still looking for their next coaches. Rumors indicate that Barry Melrose already has the gig in Tampa while John Tortorella seems to be the leading candidate to move to tinsel town. Who knows about the Trash?
There are still many capable names out there with good NHL experience. Pat Burns, Pat Quinn, Paul Maurice, Bob Hartley, John Paddock, and Marc Crawford are all unemployed and looking. Will any of them be called upon or will teams continue to go with new blood?