Happy Valentine’s Day to all you stupid lovebirds out there in Caps land. I hope you have a lovely day that’s not at all a compulsory and hollow gesture of affection for your significant other. If you don’t have a significant other, well that’s why Steve Jobs invented Netflix.
Me personally, I will use the occasion to share my wishes of good fortune to all our favorite Capitals players. Won’t you join me?
On February 12, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
For years, the Caps and the Sharks played a similar style of hockey that is exhausting but entertaining: fast end-to-end hockey with lots of goals in both directions. Some people hate that (e.g. coaches), but I love it. We got more of that on late Wednesday/early Thursday as Washington and San Jose played hot potato with the lead for three periods and then some.
Jay Beagle scored first, of course he did, by sweeping in a rebound from Brooks Orpik, who in turn was set up by Michael Latta’s strong play behind the net. Brent Burns returned fire in the second period with two goals inside half a minute. Alex Ovechkin served up Troy Brouwer to tie it in the second, but Logan Couture’s wraparound gave San Jose the lead headed into the third.
Jay Beagle got his second goal of the game after an official set a pick for him, and then John Carlson established the lead with six and a half minutes left. Joe Thornton knotted it up just a bit later, beating Holtby on the short side. That pushed us to overtime, where Joel Ward crashed the net for the win!
On February 11, 2015, In Pregame, By Peter Hassett
Brown vs Volpatti, last season (Photo: Geoff Burke)
The Capitals have had two full days and then some to recover from that lowly effort against the Philadelphia Flyers. That loss capped off a successful but busy week for Washington, and now they start another busy week– this time in California, going up against some of the best teams in the league.
For starters: the San Jose Sharks, who the Capitals last year defeated on the road for the first time. Maybe they could do that again?
It’s a late game, so get all your homework done before you tune in. 10:30 PM on NBC Sports.
On February 8, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Monumental Network
The imposters dressed as the Washington Capitals did not play up to their kidnapping victims’ standards on Sunday afternoon. Hosting the vastly inferior Philadelphia Flyers (at least, inferior when compared to the real Capitals), the fake Capitals seemed stuck in the mud. Even with a ton of power-play opportunities, the Copita1s couldn’t win this one.
Mark Streit beat Braden Holtby with a deflection late in the first period to put the Flyers up. That lead held for most of the second period, until Alex Ovechkin scored a power-play goal with an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot.
Wayne Simmonds scored the game-winner for the Flyers with a great release (and bad coverage by Alzner) just four minutes into the third. Then Jakub Voracek got an empty netter. The Caps played like a butt.
I could use this space to talk about how Caps-Flyers games tend to devolve into nastiness and how Washington hasn’t really beaten Philadelphia yet as soundly as they should.
Instead, I want to talk about Al Koken, whose 30 years covering the Caps for CSN (and HTS) will be celebrated today. Is there anyone outside the team who knows them better than Al? He’s an institution; his voice has been a part of my experience with the Caps since the beginning. Before that even: Koken covered the Caps in their inaugural eight-win season.
A lot has changed, including the name of the network he works for. Also we eradicated smallpox somewhere in there.
Sunday’s broadcast will find Al in all sorts of roles: he’ll do play-by-play for one period, analysis for another, and ice-level reporting for the third. Game starts at 3 PM on the station formerly known as Home Team Sports.
My educational background is in literature and my day job is in information architecture. In both pursuits I spend much of my time thinking about how people think. Understanding how they learn, what their different perspectives are, and what unconscious biases they may hold made me a better writer and a better software engineer.
Now that I’m doing the hockey thing, I see those same biases in play– especially concerning younger players. Most of the furor about the Erat-Forsberg trade was rooted in a (now verified) belief that Forsberg had the potential to be a star.
Were those angry people right or did they get lucky? When do our aspirations for a player hinder our ability to discuss him accurately? And what kind of new information is most likely to make us revisit an opinion of a player?
In this week’s snapshot, let’s talk about Evgeny Kuznetsov.
On February 6, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Just got paid, Friday night Party hoppin’, feelin right Booties shakin’, all around Pump that jam, while I’m gettin’ down
The Caps played host to the Ducks and played their second tight game in as many nights. I wanted a 7-5 mess with like 35 minutes in penalties and multiple pulled goalies, but instead I got this. I should start covering lacrosse.
We nearly went twenty minutes without a goal, but Ryan KESLER converted a power play while Alex Ovechkin was in the box. The Caps equalized in the second period after Troy Brouwer’s hero move. John Carlson shocked Bryzgalov to put the Caps ahead in the third. Corey Perry beat Hershey’s Philipp Grubauer at the post to even the score in the final ten minutes and force overtime. Overtime was useless, so let’s do the biscuits.
Kuznetsov put the biscuit in the basket. Five hole baby.
The Ducks are the most interesting team in the league. Using the validated, near-consensus measurement for small-sample 5v5 success– i.e. puck possession– the Ducks are nothing special. Their perch atop the league is perhaps due to their record in one-goal games, which all you thousands of Orioles fans know isn’t something you can sustain forever.
But there’s also this widespread belief that Bruce Boudreau is somehow making his team better at scoring without making them better at having the puck. I’m skeptical, but it’s undeniable that they’re a fun team to watch.
That’s exactly what we’ll do at 7 PM tonight on CSN. Go Caps.
On February 5, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
The anteater summons the Beagle (Photo: Andre Ringuette)
The clash of the capitals cities got off to a slow start. Twenty minutes in Ottawa came and went before either the Washington Capitals or Ottawa Senators got on the scoreboard, and then in the span of two minutes and two seconds, the game was all but decided.
Holtby earned his 10th and final perfect consecutive regulation period in the first before surrendering one to Kyle Turris in the second– though I’d blame some weak defense for that one. The Caps were unfazed and struck back for two goals– first from Evgeny Kuznetsov and then a wild home-run shot from Alex Ovechkin to put the Caps in the lead and tie Rick Nash for the league’s scoring lead.
The Caps fought off every penalty kill possible in the third and finally got one of their own late to no result. Laich shanked the empty-net chance and it was over.
Bobby Ryan, Erik Karlsson, and some other guys! The Ottawa Senators are competing hard for the team-I-care-about-least award, pulling way ahead of the Stars since the summer and going neck and neck with the Canucks right now.
Tonight at 7:30, on CSN Plus, the Caps will try to extend their amazing one-game winning streak.