As we become firmly ensconced in the dog days of summer, here's a look at some things that have happened this week in franchise history.
Hockey doesn't take a week off, but the week of August 22-28 in Washington Capitals history comes as close to a hockey vacation as you'll likely get.
August 22, 2001. Not satisfied with one Ferraro, that being Peter, the one they signed on August 1, 2001, the Caps went out and got another. On this date they acquired Peter's twin brother, Chris Ferraro, from the New Jersey Devils for future considerations. It was fate that they be reunited, really. Both played for the New York Rangers from 1995 to 1997, then for the Penguins in 1997-98. They went their separate ways in 1998-99, Chris to the Edmonton Oilers and Peter to the Boston Bruins (after finishing the previous series on his second tour with the Rangers). Chris spent the 1999-00 season in the New York Islanders organization, then signed as a free agent with the Devils the following season.
The only game the brothers would play together as Caps would be a 3-2 overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on October 16, 2001. Chris took a leave of absence from the club to help care for his wife, Jennifer, who was diagnosed with cancer. Thirteen months later, she lost her battle. Chris returned to the sport, although it would not be with the Caps. In July 2003 he signed as a free agent with the Coyotes, but he would not play in the NHL again. He played until the end of the 2007-08 season as a member of the Las Vegas Wranglers of the ECHL.
August 23, 2013. Dance marathons used to be a big thing. The concept does not translate well to hockey, even if you have a good idea how it will end. Such was the case in the summer of 2013 Caps signed Mikhail Grabovski. The run up, or more precisely the "stroll-up" to that signing was quite the drama. Grabovski had just completed his seventh season in the NHL, his fifth with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and his first full season playing under head coach Randy Carlyle. It was also his first season playing with a brand new, five-year, $27.5 million contract.
That contract, or the talent behind it, meant next to nothing to Carlyle, who used Grabovski in a far different manner than did his predecessors. Going into that last season with the Leafs, Grabovski appeared in 292 games and went 82-110-192, plus-9. He topped the 20-goal mark in three of his four seasons in Toronto to that point. Carlyle, on the other hand, thought the best use of Grabovski's skills would be to make a defensive forward out of him. It didn't go well. Grabovski stewed, going just 9-7-16, minus-10 in 48 games of the abbreviated regular season, even as the Leafs reached the postseason. There, Grabovski did not record a goal (two points) and was a minus-10 in a seven-game opening round loss to the Boston Bruins.
When the season was over, it was clear that one or the other had to go, and the club decided to put Grabovski on waivers. He was eventually bought out, and speculation started immediately that the Caps, with their perennial hole at center on the second line, would be a good fit. Eight weeks after he was bought out by the Leafs, with a wedding intervening, the Caps finally signed him to a one-year contract.
It looked like a great move on Opening Night when he had a hat trick and four points, even though the Caps lost, 6-4, to the Chicago Blackhawks. Things did not get better, though. Between a case of the flu and ankle injuries, Grabovski was limited to just 58 games, scoring 13 goals and recording 35 points for a club that missed the playoffs. It was his only season in Washington, as it turned out. Grabovski signed as a free agent with the New York Islanders in July 2014. He has struggled with durability and productivity there, too, appearing in just 109 games over the last two seasons and posting just 18 goals and 44 points.
August 24, 2004. In hockey, players who play the role of the pest often become fan favorites, while they are despised by their opponents. The Caps signed such a player on this date in 2004 in Louis Robitaille, but it would not be for the Caps that he became something of a fan favorite. In four years with the Hershey Bears, Robitaille participated in 99 fights (and that was just in the regular season; he added another nine in the postseason).
Robitaille did manage to get into two games for the Caps, both in the 2005-06 season, and yes, he did record a fight. He did not have a point in either game and had a total of just over nine minutes of ice time. After playing in 68 regular season and five postseason games with the Bears in 2007-08, Robitaille signed with SG Cortina in Italy, but he returned to North America in mid-season to play for the Saint-Hyacinthe Chiefs in the LNAH. He returned to the NHL for two seasons before his career ended after the 2010-11 season.
August 24, 2011. It may seem like Stanislav Galiev has been with the Caps forever, but this will mark just his fifth year as an official member of the organization, as on this date in 2011 the club signed him to a three-year entry level deal. Since then, he has bounced around quite a bit. He wrapped up his junior career with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL in 2011-12, then spent the next two years shuttling back and forth between the Hershey Bears of the AHL and the Reading Royals of the ECHL. In 2014-15 he finally stuck with the Bears and even got into two games with the Caps, netting the first goal of his career against the New York Rangers on April 11, 2015. Galiev appeared in 24 games for the Caps last season, going 0-3-3, plus-2. Perhaps going forward, he will be better known for his efforts on the ice than his adventures in cuisine.
August 25, 2005. On this date in 2005, the Caps signed David Steckel as a free agent. A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he took, if not an unconventional path to the Caps, then a distinctly American one. Steckely spent two years in the U.S. National Development Team before he enrolled at Ohio State University, where he played four years for the Buckeyes and was drafted by the Kings. After graduating, he played for one season with the Kings' AHL affiliate in Manchester, New Hampshire. The year in Manchester was the last on his Kings contract, leading Steckel to the Caps. His first two seasons in the organization were spent mostly in the AHL with the Hershey Bears. Steckel appeared in just 12 games with the Caps over those two seasons.
Starting in 2007-08, Steckel took a regular turn in the lineup as primarily a defense-oriented center. Over the next four full seasons with the Caps, he appeared in 297 games and went 24-35-59, plus-1. And, he had what was one of the more consequential postseason goals in team history, his first postseason game-winning goal, in overtime of Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round of the 2009 playoffs.
The goal sent the series to a Game 7, one that had the Caps won would have made Steckel's goal the stuff of legend. Of course, less than two years later he would cement his legend status in a much different fashion after colliding with Sidney Crosby in the 2011 Winter Classic.
That 2010-11 season was Steckel's last with the Caps. He was traded to the New Jersey Devils late in the season along with a 2012 second round draft pick for Jason Arnott. Steckel's American Adventure ended just before the following season when the Devils traded him to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a 2012 fourth round draft pick. The Leafs traded Steckel to the Anaheim Ducks in March 2013 for Ryan Lasch and a 2014 seventh round draft pick. He played two years for the Ducks, his last in the NHL.
August 27, 1987. The Caps acquired forward Peter Sundstrom from the Rangers for a 1988 fifth round draft pick. Sundstrom played two seasons for the Caps, recording 12 goals and 31 points in 111 games. It was part of a long slow slide in production for Sundstrom, who started his NHL career with a 22-goal season in New York but saw his goal production drop each season over the rest of his six season career.
After his two-year stint with the Caps, Sundstrom was traded to the Devils in June 1989 for a 1991 tenth-round draft pick. After a season in which he appeared in just 21 games (and went just 1-2-3) he headed to Europe, where he played five seasons with Malmo IF in Sweden, his career coming to an end after the 1994-95 season.
August 27, 1996. On this date in 1996 the Caps signed goaltender Robb Stauber as a free agent. A veteran of 62 games over four seasons with the Los Angeles Kings and the Buffalo Sabres, he might have been more famous for what he did with the Rochester Americans in the AHL. As for his career in the Washington organization, it lasted one season without a game in a Caps sweater. He went 13-13-2, 3.06, .897 with the Portland Pirates before signing with the New York Rangers as a free agent in September 1997.
August 28, 1982. In the last day of this week in review, the Caps acquired Ted Bulley and Dave Hutchison from Chicago for a sixth-round choice in the 1983 draft and a fifth-round pick in 1984. Bulley would be the only one of the two to appear in a Washington uniform, playing in 39 games of the 1982-83 regular season and one postseason game. It was a disappointing season for the Caps and for Bulley, who came to the Caps after six years with the Blackhawks in which he scored 94 goals and recorded 196 points in 349 games.
Bulley went just 4-9-13, minus-3 in 39 games in his one year with the Caps and did not have a point in his only postseason game. The following season he signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent for what would be his last season in the NHL.
Hutchison, who to that point played in 505 regular season games over eight seasons for three teams, did not last two months with the Caps. He was placed on waivers and was claimed by the New Jersey Devils on October 4, 1982. He played one season with the Devils and one with the Toronto Maple Leafs before his NHL career ended after the 1983-84 season.
And so went the week. It might have been one that lacked for a volume of events, but it was an interesting one... in its own way.