All photos via Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth.
Centers, centers, centers, everyone knows what the Capitals need right now, and Keith Aucoin is the latest attempt to fix the problem, or at least to temporarily plug the hole. Most of you should know a little more about Aucoin than most call-ups – he’s a lifetime AHLer, a future AHL Hall of Famer, and from what we’ve heard an all-around great guy. We haven’t seen him much in the big leagues, but he’s been part of the organization for awhile now. He’s not going to look nearly as flashy in the NHL as he does in the AHL, but you can bet that he will do his job.
Name: Keith Aucoin
How to Pronounce That: AH-COYN. Like a coin you put in a pinball machine.
Hair: Dad hair.
In a Nutshell: At 5’8, Keith Aucoin is small for the NHL, but the other skills have always been there. He’s a sturdy playmaker who passes extremely well and can put it in the back of the net, though it’s doubtful that will be his role here.
Not His First Rodeo: Aucoin is pretty used to being an emergency fill-in. He’s even got 3 goals and 11 points in his 21 overall games with the Capitals, as well as five goals with the Carolina Hurricanes before us.
Why He’s Getting a Shot: Since the Capitals are have been struggling offensively, maybe the the AHL’s leading scorer and former MVP can lend a hand. Keith Aucoin leads the NHL’s development league with 70 points – his line mate, Chris Bourque, has 69, and the next closest player is Peoria’s T.J. Hensick with 53. Unfortunately, much like former teammate Alexandre Giroux, Aucoin is a tweener who’s size and lack of consistency will forever keep him from cracking an NHL roster full-time. That said, Aucoin will bring energy, skill, and a savvy that is sorely missing at center with Nicklas Backstrom out.
Unexpected: He’s not afraid to drop the gloves, even though he’s teeny. We are sensing a theme here.
Maybe Don’t Worry About: His size–at least not for this game. For the same reason that less developed players like Perreault and Eakin weren’t hassled too much when we last played Montreal, this is not a team that’s going to press the issue. The Habs’ lineup has gotten bigger overall but they still don’t play a terribly physical game, so Aucoin should do all right. With Perreault, Johansson, and Aucoin down the middle, though, the Caps now may have the shortest center corps in the league–stack them up, and they make one Nicklas Backstrom.
Awww: Aucoin’s wife is having a baby.
He’s On Twitter: Follow him, or just go say congratulations!
Question of the Day: Upgrade, or downgrade?