On Saturday, former Caps in-game host and CRL contributor Guerin Austin got caught up in a bit of history during her new job as a sideline reporter for NESN. Forty-year-old designated hitter David Ortiz, who is in his final major league season, hit a walk-off double, giving the Red Sox a 6-5 11th inning win over the Astros.
Monday, Washington Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan held his end of the season press conference with the media. MacLellan touched on his plans for the offseason, his thoughts on top-rated prospect Jakub Vrana, and what he thought was missing from this year’s team.
After finishing the regular season as the NHL’s best team, the Washington Capitals fell short of their ultimate goal, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games during the semi-finals. Captain Alex Ovechkin hasn’t made it past the second round of the playoffs during his entire 11-season career, but despite some national media reports, this season’s early exit was not Ovechkin’s fault.
“It was my back, lower back,” Ovechkin said. “Right now it’s gone. The trainers did a great job to keep me safe and healthy.”
This weekend, we also learned of something else Ovechkin was dealing with privately. According to a Russian TV program, two days before the playoffs began Alex Ovechkin’s father Mikhail suffered a heart attack, which caused the family to call for an ambulance.
Capitals forward and certified cinnamon roll Andre Burakovsky will face off against teammates Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov in the 2016 IIHF World Championship, held in Russia this month.
Burakovsky scored five points (four goals, one assist) in five games with Sweden in the 2013 Under-18 World Junior Championships. Burakovsky won a silver medal with Sweden at the 2014 event (3 goals, 4 assists). This will be his first World Championship appearance. He’s expected to make his debut in Sunday’s game against Switzerland.
During Thursday night’s taping of Jeopardy!, @jp_daddi0 alerted us to some important news: there were two Capitals fans in the audience. After a contestant answered a Daily Double correctly, a Jeopardy! camera shot to the crowd, revealing a male and female fan wearing the Caps’ third jerseys. That is awesome.
On Thursday, the Capitals gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to discuss another season that ended prematurely. The players were more visibly emotional than in years past at the annual end-of-season confab with reporters, promising Stanley Cups to the fans and articulating their frustrations with plenty of “failures” and “sucks.”
The news, however, came in the form of injuries revealed publicly for the first time. Karl Alzner’s ailment was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Referred to by Braden Holtby as the team’s most important player, Alzner missed most of the final game with a torn groin. He played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from the game.
“I know that the first four games of the series, I was just out there filling a spot, Alzner said. “I was out there and I was not hurting the team I don’t think, but I also wasn’t helping in winning in the game. That’s when you know you can still do things, but once I’m getting beat up the ice trying to chase a guy and not able to at least stay in battles, that’s when you know it’s time.”
Nate Schmidt was a healthy scratch in the Capitals’ season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Well here’s something that might bring back his smile. Wednesday night, Schmidt was honored on The Tonight Show during Jimmy Fallon‘s NHL Superlatives bit. Schmidt was voted “most likely to puke rainbows when he opens his mouth.”
There’s still more hockey to be played for Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov. This morning, less than 12 hours after the Capitals’ season-ending loss to the Penguins, Russia announced that they were calling up the three Caps to their World Championship team.
The 2016 World Championship is being held in Saint Petersburg and Ovechkin’s hometown of Moscow.
The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins are currently engaged in a brutal playoff series, which has featured multiple head shots and two suspensions. Meanwhile, in the American Hockey League, the two organizations’ farm teams are playing each other and things have gotten feisty as well.