The Caps may have had trouble scoring lately, but on Saturday afternoon players were racking up scores by the hundreds. Then again, the game was bowling. Karl Alzner, Matt Bradley, Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Matt Hendricks, DJ King, Mike Knuble, Jeff Schultz, David Steckel, Brooks Laich–plus their wives, girlfriends, and children–took part in “Bowling with the Caps” at Lucky Strike Lanes in downtown DC. The event was all for charity, raising over $60,000 for the Chris Walsh Cancer Survivorship Fund at Virginia Hospital Center.
It was a great time,” Hendricks said. “It’s a lot of fun to get out there and mingle with the fans for a good cause.”
On February 6, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Matt Cooke and Alex Ovechkin in happier times. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
Once again the Super Bowl Sunday rendezvous between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was a rousing success. Through three periods of hockey, the Caps laid siege to the Penguins’ net and their depleted forces.
Mathieu Perreault won a battle below the goal line to feed Brooks Laich, who was waiting eagerly in Fleury’s paint. His greasy backhander put the Caps up 1-0. On the penalty kill in the second, Marcus Johansson scored perhaps his prettiest goal yet, a no-look backhander. 2-0. Desperate in the third, the Penguins’ offense relented and allowed Mike Knuble the empty netter. Shutouts don’t feel so bad from the other side. Caps beat Pens 3-0.
Caps prospect and cupake-connoisseur Evgeny Kuznetsov won this year’s KHL Breakaway Challenge by using some Ovechkin-esque moves on future NHL HOF goaltender Dominik Hasek. The video of it can be seen above. If I had to pick my own personal favorite breakaway, I’d choose Kuznetsov’s second attempt where he juggled the puck down the ice mid-air with his stick, threw it over Hasek’s head in reaction to The Dominator trying to tackle him, and then skated himself and the puck into the goal. All with only a spotlight on him! Kuzya, who also had a goal and four assists in Team Jagr’s 18-16 victory over Team Yashin, was the youngest player ever to play in the KHL All-Star Game at 18-years old. The future for this young Russian is certainly bright! The only question I have is: will Kuzya’s hot-streak ever end?
I showed the other day that all hockey players, particularly goal scorers, hit slumps, and it’s possible that the skater is not actually streaky by nature, but due to some bad bounces he appears streaky. One of the criticisms of Washington’s other Alex, Alex Semin, is his shooting game lacks consistency– but is that really true?
On February 4, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
SCOAR! (Photo credit: Chris O’Meara)
There was a zeitgeist surrounding the Washington Capitals’ visit to the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playground. The words we kept hearing were “must win,” which is great motivator even if it’s not objectively true. Still, the Caps seemed to take it to heart, bringing an effort to the game that reminds us– above all else– of the ’09-’10 version of the team. Not bad.
Red-hot Teddy Purcell scored on Tampa Bay’s first shot of the night, a 40-foot slapper to Varlamov’s weak side. On a 4v4 sequence that we’ll discuss later, Nicky Backstrom used some stick-to-it-iveness to even the score from the crease. Brooks Laich (!) piled on with a wizardly backhand top-shelfer set up by Mathieu Perreault. Alex Ovechkin put the visitors up 3-1 with his long-delayed return to the PPG stat column. Tampa’s Brett Clark kept the second period busy with a retaliatory powerplay tally. The third period found Nick Backstrom cleaning up an Ovechkin crash for his second of the night, and Jason Chimera recording an empty-netter. Caps beat Bolts 5-2. Wings, MFers.
It’s been another rip-roaring week of sifting through piles of your inane ramblings. Judging by reader letters, most of you seem to have gone off prescription medications recently. Cool. If you’ve got a question, a comment, or a paternity query, please feel free to shoot us a message!
Now follow us past the jump, where Neil does some slam poetry on the topics of faceoffs and Tyler Sloan.
Among the honorees at the event was former Capitals great Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig, in Hershey to serve as the Eastern Conference’s Honorary Captain at the All-Star Game, was recognized for his six stellar seasons in the AHL. Olie backstopped the Rochester Americans to the Calder Cup Finals in 1993 and won the championship with the Portland Pirates in 1994, where he was also named playoffs MVP.
After the induction ceremony concluded, I caught up with Kolzig downstairs at the media luncheon in the Hershey Theatre. With the rare opportunity to speak to a childhood hero, I asked Kolzig about the Capitals’ run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, the playoffs meltdown last year, and why he reunited with the team after their messy divorce three seasons ago.
Bruce Boudreau gave the keynote at the AHL Hall of Fame induction ceremony this past weekend. His speech covered the prevalent cursing in HBO’s 24/7 (both his and Sidney Crosby’s), misadventures in Christmas shopping, and his unrelenting love for Hershey. Boudreau seems to be having a lot more fun here than he has been at recent media scrums.
When it comes to Alex Semin, there are fans on both sides of the fence. Some people think the $6.7 million one year deal is a fair one, while others, like me, think it is a tad too much. Part of it boils down to whether you think Sasha Minor is able to give consistent performance night in and night out. In other words, should players be rewarded even if they can’t produce consistently?
All hockey players, particularly goal scorers, hit slumps. A skater that shoots 14.5% for the season will have some nights when a third of his shots light the lamp and others that are goose eggs– it’s all in the game of hockey. In fact, it’s possible that the skater is not actually streaky by nature, but due to some bad bounces he appears streaky.