The readers responded to Ted Leonsis's plan to rebuild his Washington Capitals, replacing a number of high-paid veterans for a younger, faster and less expensive squad. The opinions were mixed, with many believing Leonsis is on the right track and others thinking too many good players were discarded.
Ted Leonsis willingly spent more than $50 million each in 2002 and 2003 to pay huge salaries to Jaromir Jagr and other prominent free agents, as well as veterans such as Olie Kolzig, Peter Bondra and Sergei Gonchar, in an effort to bring the Stanley Cup to D.C. He did this knowing that he would lose millions of dollars, because, unfortunately, this market just isn't as strong for hockey as many other NHL cities. It didn't work, but I give him all the credit in the world for trying. This is one Caps fan who is more than willing to be patient.
Joe Daly, Arlington
I think that Leonsis should have kept Bondra and Jagr, the latter especially, after Glen Hanlon became coach. Can you imagine the plays that Jagr and Alex Ovechkin could have made? I also think that ticket prices are too high, and I don't want to hear about the $10 Eagle's Nest seats. From my view, those seats might as well be in Annapolis.
Daryl Hollis, Annandale
I'm a die-hard Caps fan (although not a season ticket holder) and I have followed this rebuilding process closely. At first I was very unhappy with the unloading of Peter Bondra, Steve Konowalchuk and Mike Grier. But watching the team so far this year, the trades (for younger players) have paid dividends. I think the pieces are in place for this to be a real competitive team for years to come, although a couple experienced defensemen wouldn't hurt. But I like our chances in years to come with guys like Alex Ovechkin.
I believe the problems surrounding the Capitals' attendance go far deeper than last year's lockout or the getting rid of expensive deadbeats. I am amazed that NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has failed to recognize, and Leonsis has failed to cite, the league's realignment as a major failure in key markets. Unlike the NFL, where realignment stayed along rivalry lines, the NHL broke up some of the most heated rivalries. The hated Flyers, Islanders, Rangers, Devils and Penguins were replaced with teams in Georgia, Florida and Carolina.
Andy Hare, Waldorf