On November 14, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
I don’t know what we were expecting from the Caps’ home game against the New Jersey Devils. The Devils are notorious for stifling fun, and the Capitals had Jay Beagle on their top line. Frankly, I blame the NHL.
Nothing happened for nearly fifty minutes, then Braden Holtby made an unwise board-and-out that found Mike Cammaleri. It was barely a hockey game.
George McPhee let Mike Ribeiro walk after a one season with the Capitals. Based mostly on his power-play work, Ribeiro signed a lucrative deal with the Coyotes. He was promptly bought out for poor on-ice performance and poorer off-ice behavior.
There’s really no need to read this piece. Your life will be no better for having read what’s below. Your life might actually get worse. You should probably stop right now.
So the Caps have freed some players over the last few years, and it feels like all of them have turned into beautiful hockey butterflies. The team had good reasons to trade or release some guys; others… not so much. In this still very young season, those hockey butterflies are playing so good it’s like they’re trying to make you jealous. Well, it’s not going to work, hockey butterflies.
Okay, yeah, it is.
I’m gonna take a peek around the league, in a totally non-Facebook-stalker-y way, just to see how certain ex-Caps forwards are doing in their new homes. Pretty freaking well, it turns out. Starting with prospect-bust-turned-Calder-standout Filip Forsberg, lemme run down who has moved on and how they’re doing.
Like the changing of the seasons and the turning of the tide, you can depend on rumors of Alex Ovechkin returning to the KHL to pop upon a regular basis. You can set your watch to it, if you want your watch to be really unreliable.
On Thursday afternoon, we got our latest dose of Ovi-back-home panic, as quoted by Slava Malamud.
Dynamo Moscow boss Arkady Rotenberg has told Sportbox.ru "there is desire on (Ovechkin's) part" to return to the KHL. #Caps
But a successful Capitals season depends on Alex Ovechkin spending almost 60 percent of his time on attack. Last night he spent just 30 percent of his time on attack. Top-line Beagle isn’t awesome in the long term, which is one of the principal lessons we should have learned from the last guy to stand behind the Caps bench, whose name I don’t want to mention in the Awesome Index, lest it be sullied.
But there’s plenty of other awesome stuff. The Caps have won three in a row, which is absolutely awesome. And while the ways in which they’ve won those games haven’t been particularly awesome, what with the noted lack of SCOAR MOAR GOALS once they get a lead, maybe I’m just thinking about it wrong.
Ian and I convened on Sunday night to reflect on a successful weekend of Capitals hockey, answer your questions, and share some completely indefensible opinions about the team and sport we love so much.
Plus we answered your questions from the #HeyRMNB hashtag. Thanks to everyone who wrote to us! There are long discourses about emo, poms, pink eye, Frederick High School basketball, and user-experience engineering for the web.
Oh, and there’s a portion about Ovechkin and Hitler that might be unfollow-worthy. Lemme know.
Since 2009 and excluding the short season, the top five teams in the league based in the standings control an average of 53.1 percent of unblocked shot attempts. Below them, the solid playoff teams (ranked 6 through 10) get about 51.5 percent of the shot attempts.
Teams 11 through 15 get 50.5 percent and teams 16 through 20 get 49.2.
The not-so-good teams own just 48.3 percent of shot attempts. The bottom-5 teams, who are basically your draft lottery teams, get 47.2 percent.
Last season the Caps most closely represented a draft lottery team. This year, with 54.25 percent possession according to fenwick-stats.com, the Caps look more like a Stanley Cup contender.
That doesn’t mean they are one; the season is still way too young. In the coming weeks we will learn for sure. In the meantime, next time save percentages throw the Caps into a five-game slump, look back at that chart and remind yourself that the Caps climbed from the far right to the far left in just five months.
A full sixty minutes of good hockey still eludes the Washington Capitals. Saturday’s bout with the Carolina Hurricanes almost shaped up that way, but the Caps let the Canes shamble away after the second intermission. And just like Tyreese on the Walking Dead with that creepy guy in the baseball cap, the Caps would regret not killing the bastards when they had the chance.
But they still squeaked out the W, and that’s what matters. Two in a row!
Eric Fehr drew a penalty in the first period, resulting in a hardworking power-play goal by Troy Brouwer set up by Marcus Johansson’s drive to the net. Jay Beagle made it 2-0 by scoring from an angle where it’s supposed to be impossible to score. The Canes got on the board late in the period with a nice goal by Riley Nash.
Eric Fehr scored a thrilling goal late in the second period, converting a turnover he forced, and then reaching wide to beat Anton Khudobin.
The Canes closed the gap int the third period. Jeff Skinner ripped off Eric Fehr in the D zone and set up Eric Staal for a one-timer, and then Justin Faulk got a shot off the faceoff through a bunch of traffic to tie it (Update: Lindholm tipped it, which explains why Peters couldn’t stop it).
With just seconds left in overtime, Nick Backstrom put Alex Ovechkin’s rebound in the back of the net like a flappy salmon.