Beninati: Perreault Scores 1st Goal

Beninati: Perreault Scores 1st Goal

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A five goal explosion in one period is enough to cure what ails you as the Caps showed a ravenous appetite for goals in the last frame tonight for a sweep of the Panthers. This game was extremely physical from the outset with both teams getting involved as opposed to last night when the Caps did most of the hitting.

The Florida fore-check was filled with hustle for the first two periods and that was one of the reasons why the visitors had the lead after 40 minutes. The third period began with a bang for the home team. Mathieu Perreault's work ethic is contagious and the club was thrilled to see the young pup to score his first ever, to ignite a rally. The more we see of Perreault, the more we like, he was chosen as the Caps "Hard Hat" award winner tonight and the rest of the team took his lead once he scored.

The Mike Knuble, Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich line, continues to demonstrate wonderful chemistry. So many of the goals this evening were of the scrambly variety; sharp angle shots, rebounds and tip-ins and this line excels in those situations. Florida goalie, Scott Clemmensen had an off night, again, against Washington. He did not fare well against the Caps last year while with the Devils and he didn't manage to give the Panthers the big stop they needed in the third when the Capitals were pouring on the pressure.

Jose Theodore gets the win in net for the Caps. I know that he would have liked to have been sharper with some of the rebounds that he allowed, that led to Florida tallies. Whenever Washington gives up four goals they are never pleased, even when they bag seven. Up next three well deserved days of rest for the boys. That can only help the likes of Ovechkin, Green, Schultz, and Gordon, all of whom are nursing various aliments but for now, the Southeast division lead is significant.

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Does Chris Paul's trade to Rockets set the price for Pacers and Paul George?

Does Chris Paul's trade to Rockets set the price for Pacers and Paul George?

An NBA superstar named Paul was traded on Wednesday, but not the one who has been linked over and over in the last few weeks to the Wizards. No, it was Chris Paul who got dealt from the Clippers to the Rockets in a deal reported by Yahoo! Sports and not Paul George of the Pacers.

Paul's trade, however, could apply to George and by relation to the Wizards. That's because Paul is also a superstar and also has just one year left on his contract now that he agreed to opt in and head to Houston. George can opt out of his contract following the 2017-18 season and has made his intentions clear to the Pacers that he plans to leave.

Now, George has an extra wrinkle involved that Paul did not. He has indicated he not only wants to leave the Pacers next summer but specifically to join his hometown L.A. Lakers. Though Paul could leave the Rockets after one year, George seems almost certain to leave whichever city he plays in next year.

[RELATED: Wall is lobbying George to come to Wizards]

Still, set that aside and there may be something to learn from what the Rockets gave up for Paul if you are a team trying to land George from Indiana. First, let's look at what Houston gave up:

Rockets receive: PG Chris Paul

Clippers receive: PG Patrick Beverley, SG Lou Williams, SF Sam Dekker, 2018 first round pick

The Wizards already have a point guard, so they weren't interested in Paul. But could they offer something comparable for George? The Rockets' first round pick is likely to be in the late 20s, so that is doable. But in Beverley, Williams and Dekker the Clippers get two proven players who can help them win now and a high-ceiling former first round pick.

Whether the Pacers would accept NBA players like that, or if they seek more picks for the future, is unclear. The Wizards could not compete with teams like the Celtics and Lakers when it comes to picks, given the ones they hold will likely land in the lottery.

If the Wizards offer something similar to what the Rockets gave up, that hypothetical would likely include some combination of Otto Porter, who would have to do a sign-and-trade, Kelly Oubre, Jr., Marcin Gortat or Ian Mahinmi. Markieff Morris has such a team-friendly contract and gets along so well with John Wall and Bradley Beal that it's tough to see them give him up.

The Wizards may still not have the pieces to outbid others for George, but the Paul deal certainly appears to be a good starting point.

[RELATED: Sources: Wizards still in pursuit of trade for Paul George]

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With Copley re-signed, does that mean the Caps are ready to part with Grubauer?

With Copley re-signed, does that mean the Caps are ready to part with Grubauer?

The Capitals are a team in need of a top-four defenseman after the departure of Nate Schmidt to Vegas. One option to address that need is a trade, a trade that may have gotten that much easier for Washington to make with the re-signing of goalie Pheonix Copley on Wednesday.

Philipp Grubauer, the current backup to Braden Holtby, appears to be the team’s biggest trade asset. Holtby is a Vezina caliber goalie signed through the 2019-20 season. The team also boasts one of the top goalie prospects in the world in Ilya Samsonov who is expected to be Washington’s future starter. That means Grubauer, who looks ready to start now, is expendable.

RELATED: Gersich has eye on NHL after breakout season

Or at least, he would be if the team had another viable option at backup.

The Pittsburgh Penguins showed how important having a dependable backup can be as they had to call upon Marc-Andre Fleury for 15 games in the playoffs when starter Matt Murray suffered an injury. For a Capitals team still hoping their championship window has not officially closed, they cannot go into next season without a plan for who their No. 2 may be.

Enter Copley, who signed a two-year contract extension with Washington on Wednesday.

The Capitals thought enough of Copley that after trading him to the St. Louis Blues in 2015 in the T.J. Oshie deal, they reacquired him this season in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade. He enjoyed a dominant stint in his return Hershey and is someone assistant general Ross Mahoney believes is ready to “take a shot” at filling the backup role behind Holtby.

But when will he get that opportunity? Grubauer, a current restricted free agent, will likely either return on a bridge contract or be traded. The problem for Washington is that the current market for goalies in the NHL is a buyers market. There are very few teams who actually need a goalie and there are plenty of options to fill that need. The Caps have a budding starter in Grubauer who they are not going to give away free so they may just bide their time until a trade partner emerges rather than rush a trade to address their need for a defenseman.

Copley's contract seems to account for that possibility as it is a two-way deal the first year and one-way the second, meaning in the second year of his contract he will be earning an NHL salary regardless of whether he is in the AHL or NHL.

Re-signing Copley does not mean a Grubauer trade is imminent, but it does answer the question of who the Caps could potentially replace him with behind Holtby if a trade does happen.

MORE CAPITALS: Nathan Walker is 'as close as anybody' to being NHL ready