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More essential to Caps: Ovechkin or Langway?

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More essential to Caps: Ovechkin or Langway?

Last week we took a look at JP's list of Capitals Essentials over on Puck Daddy. We asked you to give us yours and the very first item on the list sparked an interesting debate between the old and the new.
According to our readers, Alex Ovechkin is theCaps most essential player. Number 8 had some stiffcompetition though from Capitals legend and Hall of Famer Rod Langway:
PhilR: "the Caps would not even behere but for the trade that brought him to the team"
Yesisaiditfirst: "...many of thesepeople never heard of 'save the Caps'"
Indeed, the "Secretary of Defense" helped put the frail expansion franchise on the map and may have played a hand in keeping the Capitals in Washington. As team reporterhistorian Mike Vogel explains, the deal that made Langway a Capital also saved the franchise."Legend has it that when Poile was negotiating his own contract with former Caps owner Abe Pollin, days earlier the young GM insisted on a three-year deal, rather than the one-year pact that was being offered. Pollin relented in the end, figuring if things did not turn around in a year the franchise and Poiles contract would someone elses problem in some other North American city."After eight straight losing seasons and dwindling attendance, the Capitals were on the verge of leaving town. A group of concerned fans had formed the 'Save the Caps' committee. More local newspaper ink was devoted to the Caps plight that summer than is used during the entire regular season these days. The Capitals teetered all summer, then Pollin brought in team president Dick Patrick, who in turn hired Poile. Fourteen consecutive playoff appearances followed."Now, it should be noted that Vogel wrote those words back in the summer of 2006, when the post-lockout Capitals found themselves once again mired in irrelevancy. The seats were empty and the media wasn't talking about the team. The Capitals, who even in their prime struggled to fill their arena (let alone enjoy a sellout season), once again ranked among the NHL's worst in home attendance.
Former Caps teammate Alan May agrees that while Langway helped save the franchise in the early '80s, Ovechkin played the same integral role two decades later."Both were needed at a key point in time," said May. "Rod saved the franchise for Abe Pollin, which gave Ted Leonsis the team to buy, but Ovi was needed to fill the Verizon Center. He attracted a new fan base and created Rock the Red. Both saved the franchise."
Ovechkin and an extremely talented group of young players around him were finally able to bring the Capitals back into Cup contention. Though winning undeniably had an impact on their rise in popularity, Ovechkin's ability to captivate a dormant fan base has led to three straight sellout seasons and counting, unprecedented attention from local and international media and a 77-percent increase in franchise value.
Once considered a niche sport, ice hockey has become a club sport in local high schools and youth participation is on the rise. Kids throughout the area and across the country tie up skates with yellow laces and fight over who gets to wear the number eight jersey. Even non-hockey fans know his name and recognize his gap-toothed smile.
Langway earned the Caps respect in the hockey world. Ovechkin put the Capitals on the map of the sports universe.Here's what you had to say:BoBTheElmaM: Has to be Ovechkin. Noother caps player can ever claim at one point they were the best in the world.And he was there, seems like forever now.TheRealVAHockeyMom: It's got to beOvi. When I see all those little kids at Kettler and the Verizon Center wearingtheir Ovi jerseys, it's clear how much he means to this franchise, and how muchhis being here has to do with this becoming a hockey town.

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10 changes that would make the NHL better

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USA TODAY Sports

10 changes that would make the NHL better

Hockey is one of the most incredible, compelling sports in the world. As fun as it is to watch on TV, it is even more compelling in person and fans in North America are treated to the best hockey in the world as played in the NHL.

But the NHL's not perfect.

SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

Just like every sports league, the NHL is always adjusting and making changes to the game in order to improve it through things like rule changes, expansion, playoff formats, etc.

No sport is perfect and hockey is not without its flaws, but there are a number of clear changes that could be made that would improve both the game and the league.

 SEE THE 10 CHANGES THAT WOULD MAKE THE NHL BETTER HERE

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Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Brian MacLellan got his day with the Stanley Cup over the weekend

Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan finally got his day. 

Over the weekend, MacLellan played host to the Stanley Cup, taking it home to his offseason house in Minnesota. 

MacLellan brought the Cup to Powderhorn Park, where a youth hockey tournament was being put on by the Herb Brooks Foundation. 

MacLellean talked with local media about the experience:

"It's a fun day, a fun day to see people react to the Cup," MacLellan told FOX 9 TV. "You know, it brings a lot of smiles to people's faces, people that sometimes don't get a chance to get close to it are getting an opportunity and it's fun to watch them enjoy it."

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