When Connor Carrick flew in from Michigan last night, he probably wasn’t expecting this. After an on-ice session Wednesday, Washington Capitals prospects did yoga. Namaste, boys.
On Tuesday morning CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley and NBC Washington’s Adam Vingan reported something right up our alley. Michael Fleetwood, a hardcore Washington Capitals fan, arrived to Development Camp wearing a red Caps home jersey customized with Joe Beninati‘s name on the back.
— Chuck Gormley (@ChuckGormleyCSN) July 8, 2014
Fleetwood had the number 1 stitched below Beninati’s name, just to make sure it was crystal clear who the best play-by-play man in the business is. Emmys are great, but customized jerseys are forever. And cozy.
I had to ask Joe B himself about it.
A few weeks ago, schools let out in Sweden. But before the kids were freed for the summer, a special scholarship was awarded to two special 16-year-old student athletes, Sebastian Mattson and Julia Holmstrom.
According to gd.se, the students received the Nicklas Backstrom scholarship, which they got straight from the Capitals superstar himself. They traveled to Backstrom’s hometown of Valbo to receive the prize.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
A lot has happened over the last two weeks. Alex Ovechkin received his Rocket Richard Trophy in Las Vegas for scoring the most goals in 2013-14, and new Capitals GM Brian MacLellan started making his mark on the 2014-15 team. GMBM was aggressive in free agency, signing three players: Brooks Orpik, Matt Niskanen, and Justin Peters.
A few days ago, the Capitals captain did an interview with Konstantin Nuzhdenov of ITAR-TASS. Ovechkin said he was upset Mikhail Grabovski was not returning. He also spoke for the first time about the team’s defensive additions.
Igor Kleyner has your translation.
On Thursday night, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin returned to the spotlight for the first time since he accepted his fourth Rocket Richard Trophy in Las Vegas. The re-emergence was for good reason.
Ovechkin was the head judge of Miss Moscow 2014. (Hall of famer Pavel Bure was on the panel too.)
“In my opinion everything went very well, very lovely,” Ovechkin said to TV reporter Ivan Obydenkov. “For us, the judges on the panel, it was one hundred percent clear who the winner was.”
Ian Oland, age 17.
A lot of people hate RMNB right now, and I don’t blame you one bit. I’m stupid, we’re all unprofessional, and our opinions are nerdy and statistical. So how about we stop talking about free agency for a minute and concentrate on something that’s actually important: getting Olie Kolzig 10,000 followers on Twitter.
— OlieKolzig (@OlieKolzig37) June 29, 2014
Last week, Kolzig logged into to the social media site for the first time in two years to promote his new Instagram account and his new website. And early returns indicate that he is a huuuuuuuuuuge fan of hashtags now.
Photo: Chris Gordon
I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. Mikhail Grabovski is now a former Capital. Wednesday afternoon, Grabo signed a four-year, $20 million deal with the Metropolitan rival New York Islanders. The talented center will be on Long Island until he’s 34.
Grabo’s deal is one year shorter and worth $7.5 million less than the contract Brooks Orpik signed with the Caps. I can’t wait to see how well that works out.
On Wednesday afternoon Mike Vogel of the Washington Capitals announced that second-year forward Tom Wilson suffered an ankle injury in Ontario. Wilson may miss training camp and the beginning of the regular season, which would be a huge loss on top of Dmitry Orlov’s broken wrist.
The Washington Capitals were aggressive on the first day of free agency, adding three players to their roster: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, and Justin Peters. Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that the Caps “added offense, versatility, and experience in Niskanen and signed a shutdown D-man in Orpik.”
He also added, “priority No. 1 was to upgrade our defense, and we made significant strides today.”
I agree. The Capitals will dress better defenders next season. The team’s defense in 2013-14 lacked a true top pairing and the third pairing hemorrhaged shots on net all year, no matter who was put on the ice. The Caps were either going to have to be aggressive via trades or free agency, or they’d have to wait a few seasons for prospects to mature (Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey, and Connor Carrick).
Caps GM Brian MacLellan decided to go the UFA route. Despite spending a ton of cash (nearly $70 million) and landing perhaps the best defenseman on the market, the mainstream hockey media filleted MacLellan for his moves.
New Washington Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan has made some polarizing moves on Tuesday. First, he signed Justin Peters to a reasonable deal to serve as Braden Holtby’s back-up. Then, GMBM unloaded a boatload of cash to Brooks Orpik’s door, which he has been roundly criticized because Orpik is old and bad.
Mixed in with those signings, the Caps announced that they have re-upped restricted free agent Michael Latta to a two-year, $1.15 deal. That’s worth celebrating.
Latta, the only remaining gem of the Filip Forsberg trade, is a straight-up good hockey player. Playing mostly with Tom Wilson and possession anchor Aaron Volpatti, Latta managed a better-than-it-seems 48.6 percent possession score. He also tallied four points — including the GWG against Detroit — and drew a ridiculous amount of penalties. The dude can penalty kill. He can also fight (poor Rinaldo). And he is a pest– a good one at that.