Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Welcome to the Big Dance

With all the teams in the NHL these days and players constantly being shuttled back and forth between each other and their minor league affiliates, it's easy to get the idea that getting a call-up to the NHL isn't that big a deal.

It is, and it's time we recognized Frederic Cassivi for his achievement.

Cassivi has played professional hockey for over 10 years, but has been in only 9 games at the highest professional level. He figures to improve on that total while he backs up Brent Johnson over the next few weeks while Olie is out with a tear of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee. And while Cassivi's exploits at the NHL level are nothing to write home about, his minor league play is. During the regular season last year, he won an AHL best 34 victories. He also backstopped an inexperienced Hershey team to the Calder Cup Championship (the minor league equivalent to winning Lord Stanley's Cup), and was a rock for the team in the playoffs.

Having a goaltender with as much experience as Cassivi in Hershey is one of the major reasons the team has been on a tear again this season. And while some might argue that his call-up damages the Bears' chances of taking over first place in the AHL, Cassivi has earned his time with the big club.

We here at 3 Grumpy Caps fans couldn't be happier for him. And even if he's not rushing to get his mask redone in anticipation of being with the team long term, he deserves this moment in the spotlight. He's earned it with his dedication and perseverance. Best of luck with the big club, Fred.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. Frederic Cassivi is one of those unsung heroes of professional sport and hockey in particular. He has come so close so many times to breaking into the "Bigs" that is almost heartbreaking. If it weren't for an untimely injury, it would have been him in Denver backing up Patrick Roy and eventually taking over, yet it was Aebischer (his back-up in Hershey). The same could be said with Brent Johnson who was his back-up in the minors previously. Timing is everything in sports and though Freddie has not been a master of being in the right place at the right time, he certainly has thrilled us with his great play and genuine enthusiasm for the game.

He is one of those sports figures we can hold up high and promote as a role model - not something we can say for a lot of the better payed and more often played players around the league.

Three cheers for Fred and lets hope he gets a chance to prove himself.

Anonymous said...

Glen Hanlon blew it!

He had a chance to play Fred Cassivi in his hometown when the Caps visited the "New Forum" in Montreal. What an opportunity lost for Fred and the Caps.

Cassivi, with his exceptional play for the farm team in Hershey over the past few years and his marquee performance in last year's Calder Cup, has earned him a chance to play during this call-up. This would have been a perfect chance to pay him back for the often thankless task he has played in training the Caps' goaltending prospects.

What did Hanlon have to lose? It's not like the Capitals are in the hunt for the playoffs. Its also not the case that Brent Johnson has been on a tear. It would have been a tremendous gift to give Cassivi on Hanlon's 50th birthday. Cassivi, just might have won it for them. It would have meant a lot to a great Quebecois goalie who has given so much to the game in relative anonymity.

Glen - you let an easy one get by you. Here's hoping that you shake this one off and do the right thing in the games to come.

Put him in coach! He's ready to play!