Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Exorcising a Demon & Searching for Perspective

Just how awful of a coach was Adam Oates?  The thorn in the side of the Washington Capitals for...way too long for such a short period of time... re-emerged by way of an interview head coach Barry Trotz gave to Sportsnet yesterday. I highly recommend you check the interview out, but in a nutshell Trotz insinuated that some of the Capitals' past coaches had given Alexander Ovechkin "some bad advice" as to how to play the game. Now that Trotz has had the opportunity to work with Ovechkin, he has arguably embarked on the most complete season in his storied career.

Trotz's interview had me thinking about a personal experience. Last season, my wife and I attended the Washington Capitals Casino Night as an anniversary gift to each other. Sara was nearly 6 months pregnant at the time so we took it pretty easy, but it was a great time meeting the players, coaches, and other personalities and we will likely participate in it again one day if they ever bring it back. An unremarkable occurrence at the event, which led to a comment from Capitals forward Jay Beagle, has stuck with me ever since.

Having just passed by and said hello to then head coach Adam Oates, he kind of seemed to look right through me, as if I wasn't even there. Now, I was just one of a couple hundred fans on site, and he couldn't very well focus in on every single person, I get that. But one might imagine that he would show a much greater level of attention to his players, right? If you glean what I did from Beagle's comment, perhaps that wasn't the case.

Upon meeting Beagle, I told the hard-working grinder, and controversially occasional 1st liner, that I admired how hard he worked and that as a fan, it's inspiring to see a player approach the game with the zeal and blue-collar ethos that Beagle perpetuates. After he gave me a couple of rehearsed lines about how he "goes out there and leaves it all on the ice" he asked how I was enjoying the event.  I told him it was awesome and that I'd just met Adam Oates and how big of a fan I was of him as a player (kindly omitting how I felt about him as a coach). "Oh yeah?", said Beagle. "And what'd he say?".  Having had a few that night, I laughed and said, "You know, he kinda just looked right through me". Beagle lost it, punching me on the shoulder and doubling over, looking toward the Monumental Entertainment handler accompanying him who also laughed heartily. "You know what, he probably didn't even see you. You're probably right, he looked right through you."

When I saw Trotz's comments on Sportsnet yesterday, I couldn't help but think back to my brief discussion with Beagle.  Sure, I'm just some nobody fan that Oates doesn't have much time for, but I can't help but think that judging by Beagle's reaction, Oates even treated his players that way. What sort of message would that send to a superstar athlete like Ovechkin? What sort of message would it send to the rest of the players?  All in all, I'm just glad Oates is gone, co-coaching with Scott Stevens in New Jersey now, where his lack of coaching skill and perhaps even tact are only marginally destructive in an already fading organization on the eve of a rebuild. 

A lot of discussion this season has centered around the culture in Washington, some of the new contracts they've brought in versus what has been expected of players.  This has often been used as an excuse for why the advanced stats aren't always so great, why Brooks Orpik's impact is more than just how much he possesses the puck, why sometimes putting guys like Beagle on the top line with Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom is a necessary evil.  A lot of the stats folks take great offense to this, they think it's all noise, and that there is nothing to the idea of culture that can't be somehow otherwise accounted for on the stats sheet. But to be sure, the voices in the locker room are much clearer now, much easier to digest and understand, and this is manifesting itself on the ice.  The team seems much more cohesive, they are grasping a system that works and, for lack of a better term, buying-in to it. When they speak, Trotz hears them.  When he looks into their eyes, he sees them, and best I can tell, he's that way with everyone outside of the organization, too.

Ultimately, the culture change isn't just impacting the organization and the team, it is impacting the fans as well. We are proud to be Capitals fans again, for the most part, and we ourselves are buying-in to Trotz and his system along with the players and the organization. As the team approaches the playoffs, it's easy to forget where this team was just one short year ago.  Well out of a playoff position, a top prospect traded for a dud, a giant question mark in the net, Ovechkin the scorn of the hockey mainstream media. Yes, the future was bleak.  So, the next time Jay Beagle mans the first line or Andre Burakovsky sees a scratch, perhaps we should find some perspective outside of our angst, no matter how justifiable it is.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Trade Deadline Fun: Who the Capitals Absolutely Shouldn't Trade For

It's the most wonderful time of the year! The trade deadline approaches, what joy, what fun! With all of the talk about who the Capitals should trade for, where is all of the postulation about who the team absolutely shouldn't trade for? I won't do any zany gifs here. I won't cite too many overly complex statistics or quote an expert on the finances of professional hockey clubs to prove a point about cap space. This probably isn't going to be a very informative piece, nor will you leave it feeling as if your hockey knowledge has been enriched. Nope, no one is home here, move along to the next house if that's what you're looking for.

For this most cynical task, I asked my friend Ben Eisenberg from Stars and Sticks to join my panel of two. I'll be the pre-death, smart-assed Joan Rivers to his not-quite-as-goth-anymore Kelly Osborne on some frivolously nasty fashion show or whatever. Without any further ado, here's a small list of four fellas we hope don't find a home in Northern Virginia or DC (because no one in their right mind actually chooses to live in Maryland, right?) any time soon:

Dubinsky,, 2014.

 4. Brandon Dubinsky--Columbus Blue Jackets

Charles:  "Doobs" isn't necessarily a bad player, nor is he even truly a trade target this season.  In fact, his CF% has been north of 50%  on an average or worse Blue Jackets team. No, it's not necessarily the numbers he's put up that make him an undesirable, though he's never once been a 20+ goal scorer or even come close to 50 points in a season.  Dubinsky is also just really, really annoying when he's on the ice.  And I hate him.  This isn't to say he's a Brad Marchand-type, a somewhat skillful pest that gets under guys' skin so much that it sometimes creates an opportunity, but more so that he skirts around "playing heavy" and narrowly avoiding real trouble while not really contributing a whole lot outside of that realm.  Frankly, all said and done, I'd hate seeing this guy in a red sweater.  No Doobs. Not now.  Not ever.

Ben:  See, I'm torn about "Duber" because I actually like his playing style ("One of those guys you hate to play aGAINst but love to have as a teammate DOC!!") and he actually has some puck skills and does good puck possession things. He's actually a legit 2nd line center in my opinion. The thing is, he's going to cost almost $6 million against the cap for the next few years. Is that worth it for the Caps? After all, that would probably mean getting rid of a TEAM GUY like Brooks Laich and perhaps would mean losing Mike Green in the offseason without upgrading elsewhere on defense. Depending on the return I honestly might be on board with a Duber signing cause I don't hate him as a person the way Charles does. Would Columbus really trade him to a division rival, though?

Vermette, USA TODAY Sports Images, 2015.

3. Antoine Vermette--Arizona Coyotes

Charles:  Is the trade market really so desperate for centers that everyone can't stop talking about this guy?  Treat Antoine Vermette like a well-worn anti-drug campaign and JUST SAY NO. This is a bad deal in a saturated market and it's an even worse deal in an unsaturated one. His mediocre skill level on a...and let's be frank here...awful, awful team in Arizona is telling.  In fact it's telling me that he should stay in the desert and that everyone should shut the hell up about him because he's not very good on a not very good team and I don't want to experiment with how he'll be on a decent one. If the Capitals do trade for him, I hope it's for not much more than a 3rd rounder, 1 uncomfortably vengeful Capitals blog writer, and the Washington Post's Fancy Stats column. I can get behind that deal.

Ben:  Agreed, I really don't get the fascination with Vermette. We're talking about a 32-year old center who has topped 50 points just once in his career. His possession numbers are nothing special either, so what am I missing exactly? Kuznetsov is probably just as good of an option this year and almost certainly a better one in future years. I really hope that in the Caps' supposedly strong pursuit of Shane Doan they aren't also asking about Vermette. He's like Eric Fehr or something, except probably worse and would cost assets. Nope.


2. Lars Eller--Montreal Canadiens

Charles:  Lars is often considered a "Caps Killer" by many Capitals fans, as in he plays pretty well against the Capitals.  He's also considered a sniveling little scumbag.  By me.  He's just one of those guys that seems to always be just over the red line when he receives a pass, yet somehow never gets whistled for offside. Nearly every game he seems to forget that scouring the goalie with ice and snow is generally considered a douchey offense, because he does it at every opportunity.  In short, I'm not convinced he's a major upgrade from anything the Capitals would give up for him.  Oh yeah, and I hate him.

Ben:  My stance has always been: anytime a team in firm playoff position is trying to unload one of its own players, you gotta pull the trigger no questions asked! I mean, what does it say that a team in need of good forwards is trying to trade one of its starting forwards? That's a huge red flag. (Then again, they probably want him out of there because he doesn't have a french-sounding last name for all we know). The fact is, guys with decent possession stats but no hands are a dime a dozen at the deadline, and most of them won't leave you on the hook for their multi-million dollar contracts through 2018. Pass.

Bozak, Toronto Sun Files, 2013.

1.  Tyler Bozak

Charles:  If ever there were a name that creates darkness in the hearts and souls of Capitals fans, it is Tyler Bozak.  Bozak, simply put, is pretty good at the game of hockey.  He is not, however, $3.7 million good.  He's not even $1.7 million good.  He may not even be $.7 million good. After all of the lies and stupid proclamations Toronto's idiot coach and GM have made about Bozak being a 1st line center, to include giving him 1st line minutes consistently even though he didn't even come close to deserving them, one must conclude that not a single GM in the league would pay much for young Tyler.  One must not have been paying attention to the Washington Capitals for the past couple of years.  Almost more important to establishing GM Brian MacLellan as "Not George McPhee" than what moves he makes at this trade deadline is NOT making this move.  Leafs fans have been throwing jerseys onto the ice as of late.  If Bozak is signed for more than 2 Japers
 Rink commenters and a Capitals Social Media analyst, I'll BURN a jersey for every minute he plays (editors note: not really).

 Ben:  It's not so much that Bozak is a horrible hockey player - he's not. Actually, I think the media-frenzied market in Toronto is so ferocious in recent years that it's hard to separate noise from signal over Bozak, because the mainstream media guys seem to support him while the bloggers don't (shocking that they'd disagree on something, I know). Bozak, though, is neither great nor terrible. He can put up 50 points or so, which is nice. What he can't do is play defense, which is kind of important for a top-six center if he's going to matchup against the powers of the NHL. Both on video and in corsi-against, he's atrocious in his own end. And for $4.2 million per year through 2018, I want no part of it, let alone giving up significant assets to make it happen. We know how Trotz feels about offense-only guys anyway, and it's probably the same way he feels about wearing bright-colored clothing - "not for me I'll take good ole' plain blue and white thanks!" I'd be shocked if Bozak came anywhere near the Caps.

What are some of your thoughts and ideas regarding definite no-trades? I bet some of you hate Jagr, right?  Tell me about it on Twitter @cpinto001 or leave a comment below.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Barry Trotz's Youth of Nashville: Mattias Ekholm & Craig Smith Edition

There has been much made about Capitals coach Barry Trotz's inability to foster young players.  Seeing a one time Capitals prospect whose name rhymes with Billups Boresberg thrive the very season a new coach was instilled in Nashville only raises eyebrows even further.  Surely the argument could be made that Trotz has only been the product of his environment in Nashville, however, Ian Oland's recent piece on Russian Machine Never Breaks was adequate in addressing Trotz's misuse of Washington's young forwards this season, as well. Today, I'd like to take a look at a couple of other young players that came up with Trotz in Nashville, Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm.

Craig Smith, c/o Leanne Charles

Craig Smith had a pretty good collegiate career at Wisconsin that culminated in a strong performance in the 2011 World Championships, registering three goals and three assists in seven games. As a Junior, he had the choice of staying one more year at Wisconsin or joining the team that had drafted him, the Nashville Predators. With a bit of persuasion in the way of a "commitment" to Smith from head coach Barry Trotz, the young centerman joined the Predators for the 2011-2012 season.

Smith contributed almost immediately, carrying a 72 game workload as second line center in his rookie season of 2011-2012. But, typical of his skill level and perhaps due to his stunted development, Smith's production dropped the following season, prompting Trotz to send him to AHL Milwaukee for 4 games mid season, as well as call out the still young player by name in April 2013 during the season wrap. Much like most of the team, Smith's Corsi is massively improved in the current campaign, now north of 55%.  The now 25 year old's production has increased as well, having posted 9 goals and 11 assists in 54 games, now serving as third line center with new acquisition, and former Capital, Mike Ribeiro taking over at 2C.

Mattias Ekholm, c/o Frederick Breedon, Getty Images

In October of 2011, the Nashville Predators had a wake up call early in the season in the form of a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. In his post game comments, Trotz was especially brutal about the play of then rookie Mattias Ekholm. “I thought he was horrible, just horrible," Trotz said. Regarding Ekholm and his other young players, he added, "You’re going to have to line up against the best in the league, if you’re scared of that, get a dog."

Ekholm was sent to Sweden shortly thereafter, and Joe Yerdon's speculative quote from the time perfectly exemplifies the message Trotz sent to the rest of the team: “The last guy that played horrible here I sent him off the continent. Now get out there and play better… Or else!” (Note to Andre seem to be a lucky exception to this rule).

This season, prior to being injured a few games ago, Ekholm, 24, is playing well enough to boast the team's 5th highest CF% at 55.8.  Last year in 62 games played, Ekholm only scored 1 goal and 8 assists (9 points). This season, he has already posted 5 goals and 8 assists (13 points). His CF% was just above 50.  He has improved without Trotz.  He, like Filip Forsberg before him, must've found a really good dog.

Friday, February 6, 2015

They Called Him Mr Glass: The Mike Green Injury Conundrum

In last night's win over the Ottawa Senators, Mike Green took a scary knee on knee hit from home team Ottawa's Chris Phillips (take a look at the hit here), renewing fans' fears of a repeat in his oft injured status the past few seasons. Green took a trip to the locker room, but thankfully found himself back on the ice a few short shifts later. (No penalty, by the way, because Canada).

Washington fans have good reason to hold their breath when Green takes hits like the one he endured last night. The 2011-2012 campaign was discouraging for Green, having suffered a groin injury and missing nearly the entire season resulting in sports hernia surgery at the conclusion of the season. In fact, Green had only participated in 81 regular season games through 2012. From the 2013-2014 season on, Green has suffered five additional injuries ranging from lower to upper body (including at least one confirmed concussion). These injuries have been harrowing for the former two-time Norris trophy finalist, and they haunted him earlier this season as well after enduring yet another huge hit whilst facing the Buffalo Sabres in November that sidelined him for 7 games.

Green vs Boston Bruins, 2014 c/o Sticks and Stars.

The effect of Green's injury history on his value has been of some debate lately, as hockey internet has provided many a "hot take" regarding trade speculation over the offensive-minded defenseman. It is conventional wisdom that a player with a history of injury, coupled with hundreds of man-hours missed, can likely fetch much less in the market, but what the Capitals have done with Green to potentially mitigate loss of value is interesting.

Instead of throwing him right back into a top 2 role this season, thus forcing big minutes on him, they have successfully maximized his efforts by keeping him in limited minutes on the third pairing with Jack Hillen (the top 4 being John Carlson-Brooks Orpik and Karl Alzner- Matt Niskanen, respectively). Green still serves as the point man on the team's first power play unit, showing off his skill by setting up Alex Ovechkin's wheel house with great ease, and faking shots to move players out of position. His much more limited role has easily increased his value, as it shows that he can still perform, but just how much remains to be seen.

But the questions still linger as to how long his health will hold up. If last night's scare is a testament to anything, it's that his murky injury history still lurks in the minds of Capitals fans. And if it resides there, it surely does in the minds of General Managers and talent scouts NHL-wide. If and when Green is moved will continue to be fodder for prognosticators up to the March 2nd trade deadline.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Scoreboard Watch; 2-4-2015

Coming off a great win at home against an always tough Los Angeles Kings team seems the perfect time to do a little bit of scoreboard watching. Through 51 games, the Washington Capitals boast a 25-15-10 record for a respectable 62 points, good for 4th in the Metropolitan divison but tied in points with the New York Rangers, who have a couple games in hand on Washington, and a solid 8 points ahead of the Florida Panthers.  Per, the Capitals have a 95.7% chance of making the playoffs.  Take a look at Japers' Rink for a recap of last night's win.

First, a look at the Eastern Conference standings (courtesy of

In my last Scoreboard report on January 13th, I took note that the Capitals had a tough road ahead of them, and one that posed quite a few challenges. Let's revisit the results from the 13th to today (courtesy of

As you can see, the Capitals have posted a 3-4-2 record since my last update, nearly good enough for .500 hockey, which is all they'd really need to play to make the playoffs at this juncture. It would have been nice if the team had picked up a couple more games, especially Nashville and Edmonton in which they lost a solid two goal lead in both outings, but the effect of their record on the standings seems fairly minimized. Let's look at the rest of February (which, coincidentally, will bring us right up to the March 2nd trade deadline, AKA "I Might As Well Not Be At Work" Day):

In the next 12 games, the Capitals have some "should-haves" and some challenges. Of note, the California trip is looming and always provides a challenge to any team trying to maintain momentum. The Capitals California war actually starts at home against Bruce Boudreau's highly skilled Anaheim Ducks team. Mid February sees them on the road in Cali, facing off against San Jose, Los Angeles, and Anaheim again, all respectably solid teams. They cap off that road trip in Pittsburgh, who they have outscored 7-0 in the two previous outings. If you're going to pencil in a game to definitely not miss, I'd suggest making it this one or the next one against the Penguins at Verizon Center, which happens to be in the same month.

In summary, we will want to closely watch how the Capitals fare in the California trip, the two Pittsburgh games, and the Islanders game on the 21st to get a good idea of whether they will be buyers, sellers, or remain in tact come trade deadline. Some very exciting games in the month of February, as the push to the Stanley Cup playoffs begins shortly.  Get stoked!

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Case for Phillip Grubauer

Fair warning: I'm going to do a little more editorializing on this post than I maybe have in the past. dealwithit.jpg.

We're back from the All Star break and the Washington Capitals are going to have a pretty tough schedule for the foreseeable future:

  • at CBJ
  • vs PIT
  • at MON
  • vs STL
  • vs LAK
  • at OTT
  • vs ANH
  • vs PHI
  • at SJS
  • at LAK
  • at ANH
  • at PIT
  • vs WPG
  • vs NYI
Of the next 14 opponents, the Capitals will face 11 playoff contenders (and some very strong ones, to boot).  They also play 3 back to backs in that time, which seems to have become a trend for the team (they have played 5 back to backs to date). With such a grueling schedule and 6 games being played as part of a back to back, secondary goal tending is going to be crucial in maintaining momentum as the latter half of the season progresses. As I've written before, Justin Peters is...just not cutting it right now.  It may be time to bring the Caps' AHL affiliate Hershey Bears goal tender Phillip Grubauer up to the bigs.

Phillip Grubauer, image courtesy of Circling the Wagon, 1/2013.
Grubauer has had a pretty strong season in the AHL thus far, though he faced an injury just a few short weeks ago. In his stead, 23 year old Pheonix Copley has played strongly, showing that he is indeed able to handle starts on the AHL level if and when needed. The 23 year old Grubauer has played 27 games and boasts a record of 14-9-4.  His GAA of 2.15 is good for 11th in the AHL. Hershey is also currently in a playoff position as they lead their division, and their season ends on April 18th, 2015.

That being said, it seems high time to bring Phillip Grubauer back to the Capitals as a back up.  His development will certainly not be stunted, as many have argued, for there are plenty of opportunities for Grubauer to get some more action on the NHL level.  Combine the Caps upcoming schedule, his AHL success, and Grubauer's limited but eye-opening success on the NHL level (6-5-5 last season behind a not-so-great Washington Capitals defense, boasting a GAA of 2.38 in 17 games), and I think you have all the reasons you need to bring him up in exchange for an obviously struggling Justin Peters.

Besides, letting Peters play in Hershey has some advantages for him, as well.  He can gain a little more confidence as well as find a bit more comfort while Grubauer handles limited engagements with the Caps (back to backs, etc.).  Near the end of the season, if Peters has accrued a healthy dose of confidence courtesy of some wins and a decent GAA, he would feasibly come back to Washington to serve as back up for Holtby going into the playoffs, assuming the team qualifies.  This could prove advantageous to Grubauer as well, enabling him to gain valuable play time in the AHL playoffs, assuming Hershey qualifies as well.

This is a win-win situation for the Capitals, and one that may prove necessary going forward if the team is to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Getting Holtby some rest is critical in designing a deep run, and it's hard to imagine the team doing so if the current trend of consecutive starts continues. Couple that with risk of injury and it seems obvious that Phillip Grubauer's time in Washington is near.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stopping the Bleeding After the All Star Break

The Washington Capitals had been playing so strongly that it's easy for one to have been lulled into a sense of comfort, that the team as constructed didn't need many major changes,  that this team was a veritable threat come playoffs.  Defense had been solid enough to hold one goal leads, offense clicking enough to obtain one goal leads, Alex Ovechkin firing on all cylinders both in 5v5 and on the power play, and Braden Holtby was in full on beast mode, saving the team on more than a few occasions, and posting a save percentage in the last two months that was good enough to bolster him to 7th in the NHL. Yes, the Caps were flying along without a worry in the world.

But underneath the wins, there are some festering issues.  That same defense that was holding one goal leads was losing a bit of depth in the form of an injury coming from a consistently strong performer in Nate Schmidt. While Jack Hillen is certainly proving to be a strong, calming presence on the blue line, he is also seemingly weighing down Mike Green, who has seen a bit of  regression from his time partnered with Schmidt despite being an "assist demon", to use the words of Craig Laughlin. Matt Niskanen looks tired and is making the types of mistakes a tired player makes, including taking a ton of terrible penalties, many leading to opponent's game winning or go-head goals.  His puck control is lacking, his passes are awful, and he is hardly a presence once the puck crosses the blue line and into the Caps' own end.

That same offense that was obtaining one goal leads, playing a much stronger two-way game, and finding some chemistry in late December and early January is now starting to expose some glaring weaknesses.  The 2nd line of Marcus Johansson, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Troy Brouwer isn't working, the first line doesn't have a legitimate wing-mate for Alex Ovechkin, and when you're getting more shots on net from a 4th liner (Jay Beagle) than you are your 2nd liners like the team did in Nashville, you have an obvious problem.

Let's talk about goal tending.  Since, as discussed in a prior post in which my conclusion was arguably (and apparently?) faulty, the Caps have purportedly been riding an unsustainable amount of luck (PDO) and some extremely hot goal tending from Braden Holtby, and it was obvious to many that the team would regress in net and thus pay the consequences.  But how poorly Justin Peters has played thus far was not expected.  As of last night, Peters posts a save percentage of .864, good for 73rd (!!!!) in the league, and a Quality Start % of .143*, good for 68th (!!!) in the league with only two players having played more games than him behind him in that rating.

Yesterday, both Barry Trotz and General Manager Brian MacClellan stressed the need to find a couple of missing pieces.  Many a good article has and will be written addressing what moves can be made, and I plan to address this myself after the break, but here's something I particularly liked from my friends at Stars and Sticks about what may happen with the current crop of young forwards as we approach the trade deadline in early March.

In sum, if the team's mission is to stop the bleeding after the All Star break, there are a few obvious ways they can do so:

  • Get Nate Schmidt and/or Dmitry Orlov healthy enough to get back into the game. Schmidt particularly has been a major asset this season, but Orlov's future is hazy at this point. The Caps need to maintain defensive depth, and I don't like the answers outside of these two (an unproven Connor Carrick, an unproven Patrick Wey, or a 'know what you're getting' Steven Oleksy to name a few).
  • Send Justin Peters to Hershey and replace him with Philip Grubauer.  Grubauer played well in the majors last year and deserves a shot as a back up.  His work load will decrease (which some may argue will affect his development) but giving him some quality starts and Holtby some rest for the remainder of the schedule might be a critical piece in managing a playoff birth, let alone what happens beyond.
  •  Make some acquisitions that will beef up your offense.  Much has been made of finding a second line center, which is an obvious need, but if you have to choose between allowing Kuznetsov to continue developing in that role or picking up a top 6 forward to play along side Ovechkin and Backstrom, what do you choose? Upcoming unrestricted free agent Mike Green would prove a tantalizing trade piece in obtaining either, but a package deal is likely imminent.
  • Much has been made of the "culture change" Barry Trotz has ushered in Washington, but one thing he has not been able to wrap his arms around is protecting a lead and playing a good 60 minute game in order to do so.  Maybe some personnel changes are needed but I think some strategy changes are, as well. Let's hope that's being addressed during the break.

Did I miss anything? What are your thoughts on how the team is playing and what you think they can do to become a veritable threat after the break?  Email me at or tell me on Twitter @c_pinto001 and I'll include them in a future post. 

*Quality Starts are a concoction of Rob Vollman. Click to find out more.