Cancelling the Apocalypse: Caps beat Blues 4-1

Brou Oshie

Brouillette rides Oshie through the defensive zone. (Photo: Tom Gannam)

Put your knives away for one more night. The Washington Capitals played a tough road game against the St Louis Blues and came out victorious. Thanks to the novel concept of top-six forwards playing in the top six, the Caps survived an elimination game against a great opponent.

Alex Ovechkin scored his 50th goal of the season in the first period, a signature Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. The Blues, who dominated even-strength play, got one of their own off Maxim LaPierre’s stick early in the second period, but Mikhail Grabovski fired a slapshot from the faceoff dot to restore the Caps lead a bit later. Ovechkin served up Nick Backstrom for a rare even-strength goal late in the second period, creating a two-goal lead going into the third period. Uh oh.

Okay, relax. Backstrom unleashed a wrister from the circles early in the third.

Caps beat Blues 4-1. Staying Alive!

  • Braden Holtby looked 100% comfortable in net. When I scheduled that Holtby stat post last night, I was like, “Ian, we gotta get this thing live before the Caps announce he isn’t starting on Tuesday.” Wah wah wahhhh. Holtby was awesome. Holtby is awesome.
  • Boom. Fifty goals for Alex Ovechkin for the fifth time in his career. No one has done that in like 13 years. I’m trying to think of a way to explain the role Alex Ovechkin occupies on this team and how wrong most people are about it, but I can’t do any better than this:

  • This is silly, but I’m actually more amped about Ovechkin’s assist on Nick Backstrom‘s first goal, which somehow occurred while there were an equal number of skaters on each team. That was just Ovi’s 8th even-strength assist of the season. It was a perfect pass– and probably what Oates was expecting all along when he put Ovi on the right wing way back when. Oh well. Parting gift.
  • Who else is great? Mikhail Grabovski is great and needs to re-sign with the Caps. His lovely slapper in the second period was his first goal since January 9– almost three months to the day. Poor dude needs a full season to exhibit his awesomeness in a Washington uni.
  • Evgeny Kuznetsov committed the first — and second– penalties of his NHL career. Number one was a hook, which is kind of a yawn. Number two was for throwing his stick to a teammate, which is so enigmatic. The Caps were in deep trouble on that four-minute penalty kill until Backstrom and Troy Brouwer combined for a shorthanded breakaway chance that led to a 4v4. Well done.
  • Hard to overstate how much the Blues owned this game during even strength. Even before the Caps got a lead, the Blues were outshooting the Caps two-to-one. Thank goodness for special teams and a little bit of puck luck.
  • The Caps bottom six in particular got outpossessed to a comedic level. I’ll update when we have the final numbers, but I haven’t seen anything like this before. Troy Brouwer hadn’t been on the ice for a Caps 5v5 shot attempt through 50 minutes. Good god, that is bad.
  • Speaking of Brouwer, check out our GIFs his disaster shift. Poor baby. He and Johansson seem alright, which is good news because one of them is decidedly fragile.
Serious Joe B in a serious suit

Serious Joe B in a serious suit

“Every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force, its will to power, and to thrust back all that resists its extension.”

– Nietzche, The Will to Power

The Caps would not go gentle into that good night, so maybe the Nietzche quote describes them. Or maybe it’s just a little epigram with which to string Jaro Halak. Given the latter is only relevant to Caps world for another few days, let’s say it’s about the rest of the Caps. They grabbed the W by the horns and hung on for sixty tough minutes. Bravo.

The Wings and the Jackets both won tonight, so Washington’s margin for error is gone. It’s win or LITERALLY DIE from here on out, but that better not be the only prism we look through for this team.

Each game has merit in and of itself. Each shift has something worth watching. Each play has the potential to be special. It just so happened that these plays and these shifts added up to victory, but should the grander context of the Caps’ season disappear before Thursday night, there’s still reason to watch. You get to decide what that reason will be for you.

I got your will to power right here, pal.

  • Jack Conness

    How about Braden Holtby? What a frickin’ game. It’s been a real rough year for everyone, but especially Braden Holtby. Good for him. The playoff picture got a lot slimmer after tonight so this win is you know, eh. Congrats to Ovi on his 50th. And his three points. He is, and always will be, the man. Just a couple more games fellas, and then the real fun (the offseason) will start.

  • Chris Cerullo

    The continuous ruining of our draft pick status makes me unhappy

  • dylan wheatley

    cool game

  • Rob W.

    Come on guys we are supposed to be sucking so we get a new GM and coach! ahhh oh well, ill take a win over Miller any day. We need to see that Nicky every night, he is fun to watch when he is scoring goals

  • Freedoooom

    Locker is going senile, doesn’t seem to understand what the Ovechkin kiss off means anymore.

  • Matt Lauer

    YES.

  • Heidi

    And to think we possibly could’ve had Miller…The only thing I’m not 100% comfortable with is the fact that the Caps can play like they did tonight, and then be a shell of a team on other nights. Even though the season is coming to an end I would enjoy to see the last 3 games be good ones.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    The object of the game is to win.

  • Red

    It’s nice to know that the Caps can still be competitive when they choose to.
    Congrats to Ovi on the big 5oh.

  • http://twitter.com/kat326 Rachel Cohen

    Ovi & Backstrom are Drift Compatible. It is known.

  • Lawrence

    OVI!!!!!!!!!

    I had to stop scoreboard watching because it was ruining the game for me. Awesome game from Holtby, I hope he starts the rest of the season. No point in starting the quitter, you can pack your bags with Oates.

  • William

    PSA:

    The caps must run the table (going 3-0) to have a chance.

    In addition:

    Columbus must go 0-3-0 or 0-2-1. Their remaining games are against Detroit, Tampa, and Florida.

    AND

    Detroit must go 0-3. Their remaining games are against Pittsburgh, Carolina, and St Louis.

    FML

  • salgotnv

    That’s the Holtby I remember! /rocks in chair, cackles

  • Myan

    What a huge game by the boys and what a response from Holts after all the Halak nonsense earlier! Good for Holtby, he played like a badass! Huge game from our top guys and I hope this shows the management that the core of this team is still good, they just need proper leadership from the coaching staff.

  • Grace

    Nietzche and Dylan Thomas and a win. <3 <3 <3

  • scrubversive

    Can’t up vote enough. We played SO well, the goals were all highlights. I kept watching Nicky’s PPG in joy over how beautiful it was for the whole team… Just to be reminded that they did NOT play that way much of the year.

    Bring this back next year, with pride.

  • Dave

    That BS crosscheck to Kuznetsov’s head with 3 seconds left is another example of why certain goonish penalty minutes should carry over to the next game.

  • Marc77

    In other words…..

    It’s over.

  • GraboviMyBozak

    I’m the only one who wants us to make the playoffs and think we actually have a chance. The Hawks are depleted and shouldn’t be so tough to beat, the Canes suck( they’re beasts against us though). We’re also 2-0 vs the lightning this year. The Wings face the Pens, Canes and Blues. The Blues will or at least should get their act together after this game and are IMO the 2nd best team in the league. The Canes I’m hoping will get a lucky regulation win. The Pens have, well you know.

  • William

    Pretty much. Both Columbus and Detroit won tonight

  • erinamanda13

    I think Holtby is showing why he should be our #1 goalie. This season he’s overcome a rough spell, a weak defense, bad coaching decisions and other issues to pull it all back together again and show he’s got what it takes. I am biased, sure, he’s one of my favorite players, but he is putting up some great games!

  • RESmith

    Yes. This was probably Holtby’s best game all year. He looked calm in there and just let his reflexes do all the rest.

  • Myan

    Yeah, I’m hoping that the league takes a look at that headshot. #Shanaban

  • Zachary Adomanis

    Wait…. What?

  • nicoley-poley

    “Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.” -Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”

    (for anyone who wants to read the rest, because I agree with Peter and think it’s appropriate for tonight: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175907)

  • Chris Cerullo

    I understand that and I hate being a debby downer but our draft pick and the potential firing of certain people will be the only good things to come out of this season.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Not a lot of appreciation for my Humanist reading of Caps hockey tonight, so thank you.

  • Ben

    Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8lT1o0sDwI

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Good win boys! Now Lets go 3-0-0 and and Columbus has to lose all 3 which I am hoping for.

  • Jack Conness

    Calm, yeah. But he seemed so much more aggressive. Looked like he was showing a lot more swagger in the crease. I loved it. He is real fun to watch when he has his confidence. Unfortunately that has been ruined by “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named”.

  • Nietzsche

    I didn’t say to flip everybody off, St. Louis. Stay classy.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • RESmith

    It is not so much that Caps will not win the next three games. It is more that the chance is quite slim that neither Detroit and Columbus will not win another game in their last three. Columbus goes into the make-up game with Dallas tomorrow already with a 1-0 lead.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    And Ovi hitting 50

    and Ovi’s four-point game
    and Grubi impressing everyone
    and Chimera and Ward getting chemistry
    and Kuznetsov coming over
    and Wilson’s regular season debut
    and Orlov-Green’s puck dominance
    and
    and
    and

  • GraboviMyBozak

    Dallas will be desperate to take advantage of the Yotes’ loss today.

  • Skyler Gilbert

    Lots of score effect there, especially in the third, obviously.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Yeah but it was still 65/35 when the score was close.

  • Josh Carey

    We were never going to get a top 5 pick and it was very unlikely for us to get a top 10 pick. In years past the only guys to make an impact the season after they got drafted have been the top 10 picks with the occasional outcast here or there. IMO the draft after the 5th pick is complete luck. It’s not football, a lot of first rounders don’t last a year in the league.

  • Steve

    So when do I get to buy a Kuzya koozie for my beer?

  • Stardawg

    Maybe Adam Oates genius is so far beyond what a mortal can grasp that it appears as if he has no idea what he is doing. He knew all along that if he put all of his top 6 together that the bottom 6 would get annihilated. It just got to the point where he had no choice but to hope 2 lines could win a game.

  • Bugs Fire

    And yet again NBC’s Liam and Keith concluded in the first intermission that Ovechkin had an “uneven year”. This was next sentence after reluctantly admitting that #8 did score 50 goals after all.

    Out of current NHL players the number of 50+ goal seasons:

    Ovie – 5 (would be 6 if full season last year)
    Jagr – 3
    Stamkos – 2
    Crosby – 1

    Am I missing someone?

    Maybe it’s not 8, maybe it’s infinity…

    So selfish of him to make that playmaker’s pass to Backstrom. Plus-minus, anyone?

  • RESmith

    Yes. The best part of it was that Holts stayed aggressively on top of the crease, which was departure (according to Engblom during the NBC broadcast) from what our coaching staff has been asking him to do this year. He made the save look simple which is what you ask your goaltender to do. He has had some issues with the rebound control over his past few starts but it wasn’t there tonight. He was definitely in full control of his game.

  • Chris Cerullo

    What I was trying to get at is that the negatives outweigh the positives for me this year. Probably the case for everyone. Oates kinda burned me out early.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    stay tuned

  • Bugs Fire

    Didn’t it look very similar when Caps beat Blues first time this year? So was the score. Does not change the fact that Caps had no business winning this game.

    Imagine if they actually showed up against Sabres, Predators and Stars. Oh the possibilities to watch them exit gracefully in the first round.

  • nicoley-poley

    Yo, I’m an English major, so I’m all about Humanist readings of things.

  • Pat Magee

    What a phenomenal game…. Too little too late, but it showed these guys still have it! Hopefully this doesn’t dissuade management from firing the GM and coach.

    Great game for Bray Bray.

  • RESmith

    Yes. That was the best part of it. He was aggressive on top of his crease and looked the better for it. The irony is that is contrary to the way the coaching staff has asked him to play this year. (http://www.japersrink.com/2014/1/8/5287812/olie-kolzig-may-have-broken-braden-holtby-can-he-fix-him) He was square to the shooter all night and made his saves look simple. I felt he has been giving up some bad rebounds over the past few games but none of that was there tonight.

  • Alex Shrader

    The sound track got me so pumped

  • dylan wheatley

    who ever won at hockey by shooting anyway

  • RESmith

    Awesome. I was thinking the same thing!

  • Michael Reschly
  • Alex Hughes

    Oh what could have been if Grabo played the whole season. This man is a beast, and should be to top priority for the Caps in the offseason. Also oh what could have been if Ovi and Backy were together for the whole season. Too little too late, Oates and GMGM still gonna get fired

  • themav80

    It really makes me so angry that the “Ovi is so selfish.” BS continues to exist with pundits and fans around the league.

  • Mark E. Haase

    Actually I think we win the tie breaker with Detroit, so they could go 0-2-1 and still leave room for the Caps to run the table.

    We have 2 weak opponents left, and a Blackhawks team that’s banged up and already clinched a playoff spot. Can’t say I like our chances, but stranger things have happened.

  • yv

    Caps can win all 3 remaining games but Detroit just needs 1 point and easily will get it, Cbus needs 2 points in 3 games and probably will get it during last game in Florida against Panthers. Dallas and Tampa can beat Cbus at home despite Dallas will start the game one goal down. Giving last minutes points to Flyers, Kings and Devils during post-Olympics break really killing Caps.

  • Graham Dumas

    Is that dude’s middle finger oddly short?

  • Eric Schulz

    I was at the game; we outplayed them.

  • Dave

    Pretty sure we don’t have the tie breaker with anyone, since it is regulation wins, and we have like 2 of those.

  • Eric Schulz

    For a while, Penner – Johansson – Brouwer was a line; I liked it.

  • El Niño

    We have to win out and Columbus has to loose at least 2 games (Dallas, Tampa, or Florida… Fla is an easy win so hopefully the stars can stay strong and Tampa needs to just get Stamkos the puck.)

  • yv

    Grabo showed Ovi-style shot when he scored the goal. Don’t know whether GMGM has permission of closing deals right now but according Grabo’s father talks about extension on closing stages. He hinted when asked that rumors of 3 years for 5M$ not so far off.
    See also
    Mikhail Grabovski’s father Yuri says contract extension negotiations are ‘at the final stage’ #CapsIgor Eronko @IgorEronko 4 days ago

  • Eric Schulz

    3 years is right. $5′s a bit much… $4.6-$4.7 is about right, but you’d be okay with overpaying a slight bit.

  • yv

    Caps have to win all 3 games while Cbus need to lose all 3 games, 2 in regulation and one in OT/SO. They probably will get a win vs FLA on last day.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    you gonna trust me or your lying eyes?

  • Matt Root

    how informative!

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Goal locations tonight

  • Catherine__M

    I will begin this by saying: I love my mother and I love that she’s recognized a pattern in my behavior and supports it and that’s what moms do. She’s the best. And she’s where my redheadedness comes from so basically don’t disagree with me Or Else.

    So, the pattern is that for the last few years, when asked what I want for my birthday (early May), I responded “Caps tickets”. Because playoffs and all. Well this year she was apparently thinking ahead. Because now I have two tickets to the last game of the season that (seriously) are worth half a month’s rent. “I couldn’t find any for May, honey” she says “Maybe they’re all sold out already”. Yep, must be it. Thanks and love ya mom!

    So, uh, who’s going to the funeral, and shall we have a wake beforehand ( and only say yes if you approve of drinking at wakes).

  • Myan

    Isn’t it better to have this team go into the summer break with confidence that the core of the team is good rather than bank on a high draft pick and hoping that this 18 year old kid magically turns this franchise around next season?

  • Myan

    Is this fenwick through all scenarios or just even strength?

  • Matt Root

    One could argue wouldn’t it be better to have tangible proof that this team is not in serious Cup contention at present and perhaps making the playoffs has been the saving grace for some management, staff and/or players that have been in said positions for too long? Pretty sure Chris isn’t trying to say a top 10 pick will be the saving grace but, rather, a fringe playoff team (a present value) with little to no chance of a legitimate Cup run isn’t any better than a more appealing draft position. Which can not only be used on a young prospect, but in packages for trades that could benefit the team immediately next season. But hey, Peter doesn’t agree so white knights should assemble and not look objectively.

  • gustafsson16

    I will gladly trade 5 50-goal seasons for 1 Cup. The shared tweet is so typical of this franchise – glossing over a complete fail of a season (based on expectations) with homerism. How can the Captain of your team go completely MIA for a month when we needed wins the most, yet go back to “well, its the team’s fault – Ovi cant do it by himself.” I get it, he was with Beagle. Clearly that stopped every aspect of his game. Goals, assists, big hits, zone time. Just being on the ice at the same time as 83 made him just sorta skate around without a care or interest in the game I suppose.
    Nice outing by Holtby anyways. Now if we could get him to be decent for long stretches…lets say, a whole season, and not just a game or 2, or a playoff series here and there, we’d have something.

  • Myan

    No, I understand what you’re both saying but I think it’s safe to say that there will be a management change in the organization regardless. It’s obvious that we aren’t a cup contender but let’s enjoy this win against a very good team.

  • Matt Root

    Agreed Myan. I enjoyed seeing them win and admittedly would have been fine with whatever outcome as long as Ovi hit the 50 goal mark.

  • Myan

    I’m with you on that! Have a great night :)

  • Owen Johnson

    Just finished watching on DVR. Where was this team all season? You can throw up all these #fancystats, it still doesn’t take away that the Caps (and especially HoltBeast)had that swagger like Jagger tonight.
    Will be rocking my Dallas Stars shirt tomorrow for the first time ever. Yes I actually do own one. I got it for free in Dallas.

  • Owen Johnson

    The fact that he has 2 more than a guy who has been playing hockey since the Late Cretaceous Period is impressive.

  • Owen Johnson

    On Holtby: If you take away that part of the season where the coaches told him to COMPLETELY alter his game, he’s been pretty solid.

  • Owen Johnson

    Since when is the offseason the real fun? This isn’t the Redskins we’re talking about here.

  • Chris Cerullo

    This and it’s not like I don’t want the team to win. It’s just incredibly futile at this point, this year. I understand the team isn’t going to lose games on purpose.

  • Chris Cerullo

    Where did I say that this draft pick would do anything for next years team?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    And the Capitals live to fight another day!

  • Whitey Wheeler

    Correction: “Postponing” the apocalypse.

  • JenniferH

    What a great game! Ovi’s 5th 50th! Holtby in full Holtbeast mode! Grabo showing what a stud he is! Backsie bringing down the house! We may be going down, but we’re finally going down in high style. As long as we show Oates the door as we exit this season, I’m happy as a clam!

  • VeggieTart

    Let Holtby play his game, and he’s a total badass in net.

  • Shaun Phillips

    And let’s be fair, Teemu’s rookie season should almost count double.

  • Shaun Phillips

    Yeah Wings and Lumbus have the tie breaker.

  • Shaun Phillips

    St Louis outplayed the Caps (see Peter’s chart farther down), so I wouldn’t look at this as a good example of play by the Caps. Holtby stood tall and the guys took advantage when they had the chances.

  • Cthulu’s Alarm Clock

    +1 this. hahahahahahaha

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Correction of your correction: you have missed the point.

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Haha. Yeah, I’m with you on that.

  • Rhino40

    “Late Cretaceous” LMAO

  • Rhino40

    clever secondary reference (“Cancel the Apocalypse”).
    Das Rhino

  • hockey mom

    Maybe one of our points of confusion is that we don’t realize that we are an Eastern Conference team, and thus, we REALLY needed to win THOSE games…Somehow, we saved up our greatness for Western Conference teams…too late to deploy reverse psychology?

    Great game, though, I will take it! If we gotta go down, at least let’s go down proud and fighting! Tomorrow is not guaranteed, even for these young guys, so you have to give it your all every day!

  • Nickki

    I’m with most people on this, this article definitely needed some more Holt-beast! I was rather nervous hearing that he would be starting since, let’s face it, he hasn’t had the best of seasons but I’m happy to say he completely proved me wrong. The Holtby that played last night is the Holtby that I fell in love with. We may not make it to the playoffs this season but I think if our boys can stay healthy, we keep Grabo, and Holtby plays the way he did last night, this next season is our season for sure!

  • Eric Schulz

    I’m gonna trust what I saw: we were constantly in the passing lanes, and frequently took away the shooting lanes, forcing them to rethink shots, reload, and pass the puck. We were active with our sticks all night, and more often than not, we had stick-on-stick or stick-on-puck when they were shooting.
    The point of Fenwick and Corsi is NOT that there is no difference in shot quality. A one-timer from Ovie from the Ovie-spot is more dangerous than 2 shots from Barrett Jackman from the point, for instance. The point is that, OVER A LARGE SAMPLE SIZE (like a season) that will even out, and no team will allow only high quality or only low quality chances. One game is not a large sample size.

  • Eric Schulz

    You’re correct; 50 goals isn’t enough from your captain. If only he wouldn’t have those pathetic no-goal games we’d be in the playoffs. If you look around the league, there isn’t a single team with a captain who scored 70-goals that is going to miss the playoffs; the failure of this season rests firmly on the shoulders of Ovechkin, the man who couldn’t score “when it mattered.”

  • Diller M

    I totally agree! The Ovi is selfish mantra got to him in ’10 and was the reason he wasn’t shooting the last few seasons. If you watch the tape you can see him looking to pass first instead of shoot. The it was, get rid of the bum, he can’t score. Now it’s back to, he’s selfish and doesnt play D. I guess people need a villain…..

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    Ovechkin scored 7 goals in the month you said he went MIA.

    Cups are a TEAM achievement. Sucking at even strength is a TEAM failure.

  • Clint Petty
  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett

    “there isn’t a single team with a captain who scored 70-goals that is going to miss the playoffs”

  • Heidi

    The may not have statistically played better but they did seem to have a fire in them that they have been lacking more often than not recently.

  • bulk

    Having Grabo back is huge for this team. The guy is a skilled playmaker and he is surprisingly strong for his size on the boards and with the puck. That line of Grabo-Backstrom-Ovie is great but I would like to see Grabo back centering the second line. I think our center position looks good on all lines with Grabo at 2C. I’d like to hear thoughts on wing pairings as it seems tricky. I don’t like Johannson on the top lines and let’s assume the 3rd line is untouchable with Chimera-Fehr-Ward. You can play Penner or Kuzy on the top or second line at left wing with Johansson on the 4th line with Beagle and Wilson. The problem is Wilson. He is mired on the 4th line at right wing behind Ovie, Brouwer and Ward. You are wasting his skill and size here and I’m not sure what the answer is. If Penner isn’t a top 6 guy, then you can move Ovie back to left wing and bring up Wilson to be right wing on the top line. The thought of Backstrom bringing up the puck, Ovie shooting and Wilson in front of the net sounds good. Wilson and Ovie blowing guys up is also an awesome thought. Penner goes back to the 4th line at left and you ship out Johansson and maybe get a 4th line right wing and a pick of some sort.

  • Owen Johnson

    Teemu was a rookie once?

  • Eddie
  • Langway

    “Each game has merit in and of itself. Each shift has something worth watching. Each play has the potential to be special… there’s still reason to watch.” This is why I’ve been a Caps fan since the 70′s. Cup or no Cup, Playoff wins or losses, thick and thin. I look forward to every minute of every game. Thanks Peter, well said.

  • Barrett

    Carlo Colaiacovo isn’t a goon.

  • hockey mom

    My ode to the playoffs and Steve Olesky, too!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6fVDAjs9f0

  • Barrett

    As much as I like Marcus Johansson, if he cannot center a line, he needs to be traded for something – even if its a low draft pick. The farm system is loaded with wingers and it would benefit the team to go after a solid 3rd and 4th line gritty center like Steve Ott and Manny Malhotra. Obviously the final cap number is going to determine how many FA’s we can chase and the casualty of that is probably Ott.
    The 4th line IMO should be just as Dale Hunter deployed them: hard working, gritty, good defensively to kill penalties and win faceoffs at key junctures in the game. You have the potential (shown below) to have three guys capable of winning a faceoff on that 4th line. I’m in the same situation as you – where do you put Wilson? Do you even keep Penner?
    I used CapGeek to create the following lines:
    Kuznetsov – Backstrom – Ovechkin
    Fehr – Grabovksi – Brouwer
    Chimera – Ott – Ward
    Liach – Malhotra – Wilson/Beagle
    Alzner – Carlson
    Greene – Green
    Orlov – Oleksy
    Holtby – Giguere

  • Barrett

    didn’t Jonathan Cheechoo hit 50 goals??

  • Shaun Phillips

    I think I read it in a history book.

  • Clint Petty

    Wow, how have I never heard that before. That was pretty awesome.

  • Owen Johnson

    Hey. HEY! We have more ROWs than the Islanders, Florida, Edmonton, and Buffalo. And… actually that’s it.

  • themav80

    God…the number of times Ovi would put a sweet pass right across the goal mouth…only to have MoJo miss it.

    I’d rather Ovechkin just shot the puck,

  • Owen Johnson
  • Bilal

    he who must not be named? that could be anyone….
    Oates, Kolzig, Calle, GMGM, Voldemort

  • JenniferH

    This is so weird. But oddly works together. But it takes away the dreaminess of The Wall. I don’t know.. I’m perplexed.

  • Bugs Fire

    Thanks! I knew I missed a few. Still needs to be noticed that the only two guys with 3 50+ seasons (Jagr and Selanne) are 40+ years old.

  • gustafsson16

    Im not saying it rests completely on Ovechkin. Its a team sport with failures from the GM down to the towel guy. But how can so many people watch him play this season and not see his diminished skills on anything outside of power play one-timers? It works, great, always nice to have a reliable power play. Bad news, the good teams dont take stupid penalties, much less in the playoffs. Watch him on any break into the offensive zone – defensemen around the league have him figured out. Best player on the team this year? Joel Ward. Those are the sort of players we need to win a Cup.

  • Eric Schulz

    See, if you want to be taken seriously, you can’t say “Joel Ward.” His numbers are driven by good luck; yes, he’s a solid player, but we know what he is: a 3rd line winger who will put up 25-30 points, grind, and be physical. That’s fine, but we have enough of those guys. The best player on the team this year? If you mean impact, it’s obviously Ovie. If you want to talk about defense: Alzner. Two-way play: Carlson or Backstrom. Kuznetsov has been very impressive, although he hasn’t been with us long. Grabovski has done more to help the team than Ward does when he’s playing. We don’t compete for the playoffs this year without Ovie. With a better coach next year, we don’t contend for the Cup without Ovie. Is he a perfect player? Of course not. But instead of focusing on what he doesn’t do well, we should be able to focus on what he DOES do well: scoring goals. Pretty damn important, that (and he’s almost as good setting them up, as he’s shown when he had players to set up: he averaged 52 assists through his first 6 years in the league). Ovechkin is a winger, his defensive responsibilities are not nearly what people seem to think they are. How often are goals scored by the opposing blueliner that are directly Ovie’s fault? The reason we focus on his defensive lapses is because we don’t have defenders who are good enough. Alzner and Carlson is a legit top pairing… after that… Green is a great offensive 2nd pair guy, Orlov is a great 3rd pair guy, but neither can cover up for defensive mistakes, and that’s kind of the 1st thing a defender should be able to do. If we had two guys to pair with Green and Orlov, we’d be in the playoffs, and nobody would be ripping Ovie; that’s GMGM’s fault.
    If Ovie’s linemates were shooting league average, or near it, and the goalie was near what he NORMALLY is when Ovie’s on the ice (2 years ago: .922, 1 year ago: .918), then Ovie’s -6 or thereabouts, and nobody cares that he’s the same guy he’s always been.

    If you want to argue that moving Ward on defense and pairing him with Green would make the team better… okay. We have enough wingers like Ward (Brouwer, Penner, Wilson, Fehr, Chimera, Brown… the first 4 are better, Chimera probably is too), but yes, sure, we could use defensemen who play like he does (rather than play like Green: Orlov, Carrick, Schmidt) for the 2nd and 3rd pairing.

  • Roman Z.

    I come from the future: the Caps miss the playoffs! Worship me!!!

  • Roman Z.

    I come from the future and I can tell you that the Caps did not make the Payoffs that year! Now worship meh!!!