Before the season began, a lot of people were looking for Brooks Laich to “turn it on” in his contract year. After three straight years of scoring 20 goals or more, many felt we would see his game taken to the next level. His season up to this point:
As we already wrote, the Caps were well represented in 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship, sporting five prospects in the tournament. Philipp Grubauer played on the weak German team and Patrick Wey had a situational role on the bronze-medal USA squad. The other three Caps prospects played in the finals and each had great success in the tournament. So what did they do in the gold medal game? Here is our look at their best moments.
Ed. note – Fedor Fedin and Roman Piontkovsky of GlobalCapsFans live to dish out salacious gossip about those players orbiting just out side the Capitals’ exosphere. Here is your sorta bi-weekly edition about kids in the Caps system (CHL, USHL, NCAA, KHL, TL;DR). It’s Prospect Watch!
Eighty-four days and thirty-eight NHL games later, that streak would finally end for Ovechkin against a team he consistently has success against: the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Tonight, the Capitals managed to get on the board first for the second consecutive game. Jeff Schultz unleashed a howitzer from the point, and a hard-charging Russian Machine tipped Sarge’s shot past Maple Leafs’ goaltender, Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Despite both teams combining for forty shots through the games first two periods, scoring would not resume until the third.
One minute into the games final’s frame, Ovechkin would strike again, as he set up shop in his new home in front of the net. Unfortunately, the two-goal lead would only last a minute and a half. Leafs’ fourth-liner Tim Brent ended Braden Holtby’s shutout bid, going five-hole after Jay Rosehill’s shot from the point was muffled. The Leafs then astutely seized the momentum and came at the Caps in waves for the next several minutes. That is until Bruce Boudreau wisely called time-out after an icing call.
One of the things we love about Russian Machine is how engaged and creative our audience (that’s you!) is. All that artwork and those guest posts are among the very best work we’ve ever published here, and we want to keep that going. So we’ve invented a new column that requires your help.
Helmed by Neil Greenberg, Feed the Machine is our version of the “Dear Abby” column, except crazier. Here’s how it works: you email us your thoughts about anything. Maybe you have a question about those impenetrable statistics (PDO, what’s that?) or an observation you’d like to share on Joe Beninati’s wardrobe. Maybe you’d like us to demystify the arcana of AHL-NHL eligibility rules. Maybe you need dating advice and it hasn’t occurred to you that we’re the worst possible people to ask. Whatever. Just drop us a line, and we’ll get back to you– by writing about it on here on the site.
On January 20, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The top line converts, but Ovechkin is pretty mellow. (Photo credit: Lou Capozzola)
I know a special place. A magical place. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where normal men are giants, and struggling hockey teams play like they’ve never been better. A place called Long Island.
The Washington Capitals spent the evening in that benign growth of land dangling unloved off the mainland. There they met the New York Islanders (29th in the league in… oh let’s just say everything). But the Caps didn’t play down to their competition. Instead they looked like the studs we know deep down they really are. But looks can be deceiving.
Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin delivered a masterful possession that Jason Chimera finished off from the goal mouth. Backstrom then broke his 21-game goalless streak by cleaning up an Ovechkin rebound. On a rail, NYI’s Michael Grabner beat John Carlson’s coverage and Braden Holtby’s read to put the Islanders on the board, but the third period was scoreless. Caps beat Isles 2-1.
Take Washington’s goalies for instance. At first, I felt Michal Neuvirth deserved the right to be the “number one,” and I wasn’t wrong. He had a wonderful November and performed admirably. Then Semyon Varlamov’s groin started to heal and showed that he was ready to reclaim the number one spot– especially in the context of how he performed in different game situations.
On January 18, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
King vs. Shelley: a portrait of pointlessness. (Photo credit: Len Redkoles)
The Washington Capitals quenched their wanderlust, beginning their 15-game voyage (only 5 stops at home!) with an evening hosted by the Philadelphia Flyers. The conference-leading home team sported their explosive offensive, keeping busy the Washington goalies all night. The Capitals, except for a 40-second spurt, had precious little presence in the offensive zone. We went to overtime, but we didn’t stay long.
91 seconds into the game, Michal Neuvirth failed to track Jeff Carter’s wraparound and allowed a goal on the night’s first shot. Claude Giroux doubled down against relief-goalie Semyon Varlamov by seizing on a second chance. In the third, Marcus Johansson and Mike Knuble stormed Sergei Bobrovsky’s crease for a goal. 40 seconds later, Alex Ovechkin fed at the trough to tie it up. But in overtime, Jason Chimera gave Andrej Meszaros more than enough room to fire one home. Game over. Flyers beat Caps 3-2 (OT).
Since we at Russian Machine are totals nerds for comics, we thought we’d play, too. Penciled by resident artist Rachel Cohen and inked & colored by Ian Oland, we have created our own version of The Capital– your lame, crass and tokenistic, D.C.-themed superhero™ guardian.