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Capitals Assign Michael Nylander to Grand Rapids

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photo by Mark Newman via Grand Rapids Griffins
photo by Mark Newman via Grand Rapids Griffins

Per the team, "The Washington Capitals have assigned center Michael Nylander to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today."

And like that, he - and more importantly his $4.875 million cap hit - is gone for the rest of the season.

It's hard to overstate how important this move is to the team. Want to call up Karl Alzner now? No problem. Need an enforcer? Sure, there's room. And so on. A handcuffed George McPhee is now unshackled and free to wheel and deal as he sees fit (though, to be sure, there's no rush to make a major splash), essentially getting the mulligan of the year as Christmas has come early to hockey D.C.

One would think this is but the first domino to fall, albeit the biggest, and can only make the team sitting atop the NHL's standings better. Grand Rapids indeed.