Throwback Thursday: the 2003-04 Washington Capitals

Let’s remember a few names. In honour of the Capitals finally making the Stanley Cup final, I thought I would look back at the roster that netted them the first overall pick in the 2004 draft and the right to draft Ovie. This team of studs went 23-46-10-3 (59 points) and set the foundation for one of the best regular season teams of the past decade.

Steve Konowalchuk

Konowalchuk was captain of this juggernaut Capitals squad… for 6 games. He was traded to the Colorado Avalanche with Washington’s third round pick in the 2004 draft (Casey Borer) to Colorado Avalanche for Bates Battaglia and Jonas Johansson. Since retiring in 2006 Konowalchuk became an assistant coach from 2009-2011 and served as the head coach for the WHL’s Seattle Thunderbirds from 2011-2017. The grit grinder is now an assistant coach for the Anaheim Ducks.

Robert Lang

Image result for robert lang washington capitals

The leading scorer for the Caps in 2003-04 with 74 points in 63 games. He was dealt to the Detroit Red Wings at the trade deadline for Tomas Fleischmann, a first round pick in the 2004 draft (Mike Green) and a round 4 pick in the 2006 draft. At the end of his career Lang tallied 989 regular season games and 91 playoff games from 1992 to 2010 with the Kings, Bruins, Penguins, Capitals, Red Wings, Blackhawks, Canadiens and Coyotes.

Jaromir Jagr

Image result for jaromir jagr washington capitals

In 2001 the Capitals signed Jagr to the largest contract ever in NHL history at $77 million over seven years, an average annual value of $11 million. Jagr was seen as a bit of a bust in Washington with only 201 points in 190 games with the Capitals. Now remember 100+ points was routine for him before being traded to the Capitals, he was making a boatload of money and couldn’t seem to top 79 points in Washington. He was traded midseason in 2003-04 to the New York Rangers straight up for Anson Carter. Yikes.

Darcy Verot

2003-04 Verot had 135 PIMs in 37 games. What a time to be alive.

Peter Bondra

Yet another one of Washington’s horses moved midseason. The Capitals ended up shipping Bondra to Ottawa for Brooks Laich, future considerations and a second round pick in the 2005 draft. Bondra’s 825 points in 961 career games in Washington definitely makes him one of the franchise greats.

Brendan Whitt

Another heavyweight left behind in a simpler time. 890 games, 1424 PIMS across 14 seasons. The guy liked to chuck knucks with the best of them.

Sergei Gonchar

Image result for sergei gonchar washington capitals

The Capitals ended up going full tank mode and traded Gonchar to the Bruins for Shaone Morrisonn, the first pick in the 2004 draft (Jeff Schultz) and round 2 pick in the 2004 draft (Michail Yunkov). Gonchar ripped 416 points in 654 games in 10 seasons with the Capitals.

Olaf Kolzig

Before there was Braden Holtby, the Capitals had Olie the Goalie AKA Godzilla. Here’s some of Kolzig’s Capitals franchise records:

Career

  • Most career games played (711)
  • Most career wins (301)
  • Most career losses (293)
  • Most career ties (86)
  • Most career minutes played (41,261)
  • Most goals allowed (1,860)
  • Most career shutouts (35)
  • Most career points scored (17)

Season

  • Most games played in a season (73 in 2000) (Tied with Braden Holtby)
  • Most minutes played in a season (4,371 in 2000)
  • Most ties in a season (11 in 2000)

George McPhee

The only thing standing in the way between Ovie and the Cup is GM that drafted him and his band of Expansion misfits from Vegas. Here are some of the hits from McPhee’s 17 years as Washington’s GM:

-won the Southeast Division seven times
-eight 40-plus win seasons
-set a franchise record for most points in a season (121) in 2009-10
-2000 Draft: Brian Sutherby and Matt Pettinger
-2002 Draft: Alexander Semin, Boyd Gordon and Steve Eminger
-2004 Draft: Alexander Ovechkin, Jeff Schultz and Mike Green

Not so hot: trading prospect Filip Forsberg to Nashville for Martin Erat. Ew

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