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Leonsis: Capitals have deepest defense since he became owner

Jul 12, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

Washington Capitals Introduce General Manager Brian MacLellan And Coach Barry Trotz Getty Images

Ted Leonsis has been a part of the Washington Capitals’ ownership group since 1999, and if you ask him, this is the deepest defense he’s ever seen since taking over the franchise.

He pumped up that group and also the sense of unity in the newly revamped front office in a press conference on Saturday, as the Washington Post reports.

“Right now, I think this is the deepest defensive corps that we’ve had since I’ve owned the team,” Leonsis said. “We have a lot of depth and we needed that just to settle things down in the back. We certainly needed help on our penalty kill. And I think the better, more experienced the defense is, the better the goaltending is. I think they go hand in hand. Free agency, the upside on free agency is that you get to add players to the team without giving up an asset.”

From a payroll standpoint, it’s easy to see where Leonsis is coming from. As of this writing, the Capitals employ four defensemen who carry higher combined cap hits than Braden Holtby and Justin Peters along with one (Karl Alzner) who equals their combined $2.8 million cap hit.

It’s plausible that one or more blueliner might be moved at some point, but Cap Geek estimates that a whopping $28.73 million of cap space is allocated to the Capitals’ blue line in 2014-15.

(Despite taking up a greater number of roster spots, their forward group makes less than $7 million more … and that’s with Alex Ovechkin‘s hefty $9.54 million mark.)

For all the talk about new head coach Barry Trotz’s open-mindedness toward offense, this team seems to be shaping up in his defense-first image. Actually, that segues nicely to the other element Leonsis seems to crow about: a unified vision.

” … You need to be totally in sync. With the players that we signed, the players that we draft, you have to be in total sync,” Leonsis said. “So far, so good on that. I think that’s a good move in a positive direction to have the organization all signing from the same songbook.”

For a team that seems to change its tune with dizzying frequency (Trotz is Washington’s fourth head coaching hire since 2011-12), some stability could go a long way.

  1. watermelon1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    STOP IT. all this is saying is that they finally have 2 defensemen.

    Because they’ve had ZERO the last few years.

    Still hoping they flip mike green and/or John Carson for whatever they can get.

    • capsnbohs23 - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Carlson? really?

    • capsfanone - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:44 PM

      Carlson has actually been a bright spot, I like Orlav as well.

    • blomfeld - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      Ted Leonsis = Stand Up Comic ! :)

      Next to Bush’s ‘idiotic’ statement about ‘Brownie doing a helluva job’ down there in the Big Easy, this tripe from Leonsis is probably the 2nd most ‘stupidest’ thing ever uttered in the field of human discourse !


      Washington Capitals defense = The Siegfried Line !!!

      • esracerx46 - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

        Ahh Blomfeld. I think comparing a disaster like Katrina to comments made about a hockey team is one of the more idiotic comparisons I’ve heard of. But since you brought it up, I think we need to have a discussion on the events leading up to Katrina. First, let’s let it be known that the Former Mayor of New Orleans is currently serving 10 years in federal prison for accepting bribes related to Katrina.

        Mayor Nagin failed to do his part to protect the people. His failed mandatory evacuation came far too late, leaving people stranded in the city with no way to get out. He failed to implement resources he had available to help expedite evacuation. The Coast Guard left the area a day before the city proclaimed a mandatory evacuation.

        When a state of Emergency was finally issued, FEMA was unprepared because they were going off of the states evacuation plan. Which estimated 15,000 people to be at the Superdome. Because the state failed at implementing their plan when they were supposed to, largely because the Louisiana governor failed to issue enough bus drivers to evacuate people, thousands more than the 15,000 that were supposed to be there showed up. The state dropped the ball on its people, but yet FEMA is the one that is most heavily criticized.

        Was FEMA’s response satisfactory? Probably not. But when the state fails at every level to do what they were supposed to it makes it look that much worse. Couple that with a Mayor of Nagin’s ilk, and you get Katrina. Brown and FEMA responded to what supposed to be there using numbers given to them by the State. Why Brown and FEMA get all of the blame and Nagin and Governor Blanco get off for the most part is beyond me. Perception is a funny thing

      • capsnbohs23 - Jul 13, 2014 at 10:23 AM

        Blomfeld, Kings fan since June 2012

      • patthehockeyfan - Jul 13, 2014 at 3:43 PM

        Thanks for your comment, esracerx46.

        Hurricane Katrina was an epic fail by everyone and thing: the levees, Louisiana’s and New Orleans’ governments, and by FEMA. Nagin, Blanco and Landrieu were primarily at fault at the initial stages; however, FEMA was rudderless with Michael Brown at the helm. He was more interested in how he appeared on TV than in taking command of an awful situation. In particular, FEMA had no knowledge of people stranded at the Morial Convention Center; then, once aware, said they could not get supplies to them even though reporters were able to reach them. Competent FEMA personnel were replaced early in the Bush administration with political hacks with no disaster relief experience. Michael Brown worked for nine years as a commissioner at an Arabian horse association.

        I don’t agree that Nagin and Blanco “get off” from the responsibility for what happened. That Nagin is going to jail for 10 years is a light sentence in view of his incompetence during Katrina. Blanco is out off office. How Landrieu remains in office is a mystery.

        As to your remark about Blomfeld (“idiotic”), you were being redundant.

      • blomfeld - Jul 14, 2014 at 12:20 AM

        Eraser …

        that’s fair comment friend, notwithstanding your attempt to again ‘injure’ with personal insult (ie: same thing applies to Patthehockeyfan who is also a ‘hurtful’ person which I will ‘not’ interact with) … nonetheless, I remember this event only too well, as there on that fateful Sunday evening it was being reported that a Cat 5 hurricane was heading straight for New Orleans and that the city would likely be destroyed the following day … meanwhile, good ol’ Dubya was out there stumping in SoCal (San Diego) uttering positively ‘nothing’ and doing ‘positively’ nothing about the situation … the US was about to lose an ‘entire’ major city, yet the Bush Administration didn’t have the decency to even lift a finger in response ? … I also remember three days later, when Bush and crew didn’t have the balls to touchdown there in Louisiana on their way back from California to Washington, choosing instead to just stare out the window of Air Force One at the carnage below … truly pathetic ! … nonetheless, if you want to lay blame on low-level patsies like Nagin and Blanco, then go ahead … however I will ‘forever’ counter by saying that if some simpleton like Nagin is a turd, then people like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Silverstein are ‘human’ excrement factories ! … these evil and ‘agenda-driven’ people represent the ‘dark & vile’ underside of what is otherwise a wonderful country, one which I as a Canadian of European stock love dearly to death !

        GO DECENCY !!!


  2. lowenni - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    Why would they trade Carlson? He’s a star in the making and played a solid role for the Americans at the Olympics at a very young age. He can skate, pass, shoot, works hard, and is aware and effective in both the defensive and offensive zones. I can understand wanting to trade Green, but Carlson was the Caps best defenseman last season and I expect he will be again this year. That’s foolish to trade a young stud like that.

  3. capsfanone - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:44 PM

    Carlson Niskanen, Orlov, Alzner, Greenie and Orpik. Not a bad name in there. Although Hillen and Erskine need to go. Anyone that says that Carlson needs to go is smoking something. Green might be good trade bait, he is injured often.

    • trbowman - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Alzner has been regressing

      • capsnbohs23 - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:31 PM

        I can think of 29 teams who wouldnt mind having him

  4. pitpenguinsrulez - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    Orpik & Niskanen equal solid defense? LOL

    • 19to77 - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:35 PM

      From cheering them on to burying knives in their backs in all of a month. I dig the class.

      • stixzidinia - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:47 AM

        And i’ll bet any money you were one of the guys ragging on Pittsburgh’s defense over the years.

  5. nicofthenorthstar - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    So will it be enough to cover for your star forward who only plays offense? (Perhaps something about skating coast to coast got lost in translation with Ovi.)

  6. quinner17 - Jul 12, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Gone first round IF they make the playoffs

  7. stixzidinia - Jul 13, 2014 at 12:46 AM

    The bar was set pretty low. Will be fun watching opposing forwards use Orpik as a practice cone.

  8. billiam55 - Jul 13, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    ………..and the most over paid.

  9. Hard to BeLeaf - Jul 14, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    Kind of funny watching the perceptions of Orpik and Niskanen change amongst Penguins and Capitals fans. They went from good to bad on one side and from bad to good on the other.

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