I was fortunate enough to catch most of Lunch with a Legend today on ESPN 980′s the Sports Fix featuring Ted Leonsis. The host, Kevin Sheehan, boldly came right at Mr. Leonsis and asked the important question ”Will the Capitals win the Stanley Cup this year?” Mr. Leonsis responded with the politically correct answer “I hope”. He continued to say that he respects the process of the season and Stanley Cup playoffs and believes that he and GMGM have put together a team that can compete now and for years to come. Later in the interview he showed a little more fire in stating “We want to win NOW!” and referenced the trade deadline additions as proof of that.
Also mentioned during the trade deadline additions was the Capitals plan. That plan being; to keep the core of young players on the team while continuing to develop prospects in Hershey and making key additions of role players in the offseason and throughout the season. The deadline proved this by obtaining what was needed for the stretch run while only giving up Brian Pothier from the roster, prospect Oskar Osala and a few minor draft picks. Mr. Leonsis also spoke about John Carlson, a topic Nasty Nate covered on March 8th. He seemed real pleased, as I think many are, with Carlson’s play and would’nt be surprised to see him have significant ice time in the playoffs.
The 2010 Olympics were discussed as well as the controversy over the 2014 Olympics in Russia. FYI Ted’s rooting order was for the US to win Gold and if they could’nt then for Russia to take it. Mr. Leonsis greatest pleasure seemed to be that all of his players made it home without any injuries. The negative aspect he spoke of was the total amount of time players were “absent” from the team. He estimated the absence totaling a month; whether it was the mental break players took prior to the Olympics, the 16 days they were gone, or the rust once they came back.
As for 2014, Mr. Leonsis seemed hesitant as to whether NHL players would be going back. He spoke of the above mentioned month affect it has on the NHL season and the amount of guranteed contract money (estimated $150 million for the Capitals) being sent to Vancouver this year. As we all know, the Olympics in Russia mean a lot to Ovechkin and he has stated that no one will keep him from playing in them. Ted Leonsis has spoken with Ovie about this and quoted Ovie as saying “They would stop wars for these games, I think we can take off 15 days.” He continued to say that he has Ovechkin’s back and that the NHL is a players league and if they want to go, we will do it. I could’nt agree more with this and I hope NHL players are allowed to go and provide us with the best hockey out there.
Another thing discussed was Ted Leonsis’ book The Business of Happiness, which is currently the number 4 bestseller according to the Washington Post. I was in and out during this discussion but basically the theme seemed to be that you should be happy and success will follow rather than being successful, making a ton of money, and then expecting happiness. Sounds like a logical concept to me. Overall it was a great 2 hour interview and I wish I could have heard the entire thing without constant interruption from co-workers.