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The Washington Capitals, You Have Made A Powerful Enemy Today

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA - DECEMBER 13: Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis (R) arrives for the announcement of a new sports arena for the Washington Wizards NBA basketball team and Washington Capitals NHL hockey team, December 13, 2023 in Alexandria, Virginia. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a tentative agreement with Monumental Sports & Entertainment that would move the Wizards and the Capitals from Washington, DC to what Youngkin called a new "visionary sports and entertainment venue" in northern Virginia. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Win McNamee/Getty Images

The Washington Capitals have a reached an agreement to purchase CapFriendly.com and take it private in order to stop people from remembering they're paying Tom Wilson $6.5 million a year through 2031.

I'm inferring that last part. The first part is real, and was reported Sunday by Elliotte Friedman, and makes me real honkin' mad. CapFriendly is the most useful site there is for the financial side of the sport, and is relied upon by fans, journalists, and even NHL front offices for accurate and up-to-date information. The Capitals don't want us to have all that, though. They're buying the site, and its staff and infrastructure, to deny it to other teams. More like Caps Unfriendly!

If you're enough of a hockey fan to be reading this blog, I don't even need to summarize for you what made CapFriendly so indispensable. It's more than just contract information, though it is the best-designed and -organized site there is for that. It's the trade machine, and draft and roster simulators, and scouting reports, and buyout and offer sheet calculators, CBA information, and historical data. Any fan wondering if their team can afford that big free agent signing goes to CapFriendly first; so does anyone wondering if it's feasible to shed a roster albatross. Whether you're a casual fan or a true pervert, CapFriendly has it.

Which is why the Capitals wanted it. It's not so much the data, much of which is publicly available, though not so conveniently packaged. It's the underlying infrastructure of the thing, the tools and the calculators and the APIs. It's also the people: CapFriendly co-owner Dominik Zrim, who previously worked for NHL teams, is a salary cap and CBA specialist. The Capitals lag behind much of the league in analytics and business-side operations, and buying CapFriendly is like buying a turnkey front office.

So, because Ted Leonsis's crappy little franchise couldn't build out its own department, it's spending money to deny the rest of us a valuable resource. What a year for Leonsis already! He tried and failed to move to Virginia, inflicted upon us an unwatchable first-round series, and now this. I hope Ovechkin gets stuck on 893 and you have to re-sign him and he won't accept anything fewer than three years.

CapFriendly will stay up at least through the draft and the first week of free agency, Friedman reports. And after that? We'll move on to something else, just like we moved on from CapGeek and General Fanager. See you guys over at PuckPedia.

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