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Who's your choice as next Cap in Hall of Fame?


Who's your choice as next Cap in Hall of Fame?

Now that the 2012 Hockey Hall of Fame festivities are behind us and the selection committee finally righted a wrong by inducting Adam Oates, who is the next former Capital to be inducted?

Olie Kolzig? Dale Hunter? Peter Bondra?

All three were on this year’s ballot, with Kolzig being a first-time candidate.

“I’d love to see it happen,” Kolzig said with a chuckle, “but I’m a realist. I don’t think it’s going to happen and I’m OK with it. I don’t foresee myself being inducted.”

To his credit, Kolzig is by far the winningest goalie in Caps history with 301 victories. He also led them to their only Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1998, when they were swept by the Red Wings, and won the 2000 Vezina Trophy.

To get on a Hall of Fame ballot a goalie must have played a minimum of 500 NHL regular season games.

Forwards and defensemen must have played a minimum of 700 games or recorded a minimum of 300 goals, 700 assists or 1,000 points.

That explains why former Caps defenseman Ken Klee, who meets one criteria with 934 games, is on the same ballot as Hunter [323 goals and 1,020 points in 1,407 games] and Bondra, a five-time All-Star with a franchise-high of 503 goals and 19 hat tricks.

You can make a strong case for and against Hunter. He was the first NHL player to score two series-clinching overtime playoff goals and retired having played more playoff games without winning a Stanley Cup [186] than anyone in NHL history.

He also ranks second in all-time penalty minutes in the NHL and received a 21-game suspension for drilling Pierre Turgeon from behind in the 1993 playoffs, still considered one of the worst cheap shots in league history.

Bondra ranks 40th on the NHL’s all-time goals list with 503 but there are a handful of players who have scored more and are not in the Hall, including Brendan Shanahan [650], Dave Andreychuk [640] and Pat Verbeek [522].  

And with each year comes a new crop of can’t-miss candidates.

The 2013 list will include four-time Stanley Cup winner Scott Niedermayer, three-time Stanley Cup and Norris Trophy winner Chris Chelios. Both are first-ballot shoo-ins.

Since the Hall of Fame has a limit of four player inductees each year, who will round out next year’s class?

Brendan Shanahan, who won three Stanley Cups and scored more than 600 goals and 1,300 points over his 21-year career, seems to be a lock. After him the list includes Rob Blake, Theo Fleury, Jeremy Roenick, Eric Lindros, Paul Kariya, Sergei Makarov, Rod Brind’Amour and Dave Andreychuk.

Therein lies the problem with getting someone like Hunter or Bondra into the hallowed halls of Toronto.

Now it’s your turn to state your case. Who is the next former Capital to get inducted? Join the conversation below.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: Suddenly the Caps are in need of a head coach

Less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup, the Caps are in need of a new head coach.

Barry Trotz resigned as the Caps coach on Monday after he and the team failed to reach an agreement on a new contract. How did we get here and where do both parties go from here? JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break it all down.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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7 things to know about Capitals head coaching candidate Todd Reirden


7 things to know about Capitals head coaching candidate Todd Reirden

For now, Todd Reirden appears to be the frontrunner to be the new head coach of the Washington Capitals.

But who is he? 

Here are some things to know about the Capitals head coaching candidate:

1. Reirden spent the last four seasons with Washington on Barry Trotz's staff

Should Reirden be hired, he would bring a measure of familiarity with him few teams get after a coaching change. Reirden was hired by Trotz in 2014 when Trotz was putting together his staff. He was brought in to coach the team's defense and immediately improved the blue line.

In the year prior to Reirden's hiring, the Caps allowed 2.74 goals per game, good for only 21st in the NHL.

Here is what the defense has done in Reirden's four years in charge of the defense:

2014-15: 2.43 goals against per game, 7th in the NHL
2015-16: 2.33 goals against per game, 2nd in the NHL
2016-17: 2.16 goals against per game, 1st in the NHL
2017-18: 2.90 goals against per game, 16th in the NHL

In those four seasons combined, Washington allowed 2.45 goals per game, lower than every team in the NHL but one. He was also in charge of the team's lethal power play.

2. Reirden has been a head coach before

While he may never have been a head coach in the NHL, Reirden does have some head coaching experience.

Reirden was promoted to head coach of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in 2009 when Dan Bylsma was promoted to head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins. While head coach, Reirden led the team to a 55-43-8 record.

3. Reirden came to Washington from the Penguins

Reirden joined the Penguins organization in 2008 as an assistant coach with their AHL affiliate and took over as head coach later that season. He joined the Penguins' playoff staff during the 2009 Cup run. He was promoted to a full-time assistant coach under with the NHL team under Bylsma in 2010 and was there for four years until Byslma was fired. Reirden was not initially fired, but was allowed to seek other opportunities. When he was officially fired, the Capitals hired him the same day.

4. Reirden had a lot to do with Matt Niskanen signing with the Caps

Reirden was hired by the Caps on June 25, 2014. On July 1, Matt Niskanen signed with Washington.

Reirden and Niskanen developed a strong relationship while in Pittsburgh. Niskanen dealt with confidence issues after getting traded from Dallas to Pittsburgh in 2011. Under Reirden's tutelage, Niskanen developed into a top-pair defenseman. Niskanen's agent said at the time it was "no secret" that Reirden and Niskanen had bonded while both were in Pittsburgh.

Brooks Orpik also signed with the Caps as a free agent that year, the second defenseman from Pittsburgh to sign in Washington showing the level of respect they felt for Reirden.

5. Reirden nearly became the head coach of Calgary

Reirden interviewed for the head coaching job in Calgary in 2016 and was considered a finalist for the position before eventually losing out Glen Gulutzan.

Gulutzan was fired by Calgary after the 2017-18 season and is now an assistant coach in Edmonton while Reirden is the frontrunner to become the head coach for the defending Stanley Cup champions. Sounds like things worked out for Reirden.

6. The Caps have been grooming Reirden to be a head coach

Reirden was promoted to associate coach in August 2016 after Calgary had passed on him. Since then, the Caps have not allowed him to interview with other teams for head coaching positions. The implication was clear, this was someone the team wanted to keep.

"You know I think we’ve been grooming him to be a head coach whether for us or someone else," Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan Monday.

7. Reiden played in 183 career NHL games

Reirden was a defenseman drafted in the 12th round by the New Jersey Devils in 1990. After playing four years at Bowling Green, Reirden went pro with several seasons in the ECHL, IHL and AHL. He made his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1998-99 season. Reirden would also play with the St. Louis Blues, Atlanta Thrashers and Phoenix Coyotes. 

For his NHL career, Reirden scored 11 goals and 46 points in 183 games.