It’s official: Alex Ovechkin has won the 2013 Rocket Richard Trophy. Back in February, Ovechkin was getting trashed as struggled through his third consecutive subpar year. Now he’s the NHL’s scoring leader for the third time in his eight year career.
ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have re-signed left wing Aaron Volpatti to a two-year contract, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. Volpatti will earn $550,000 in 2013-14 and $600,000 in 2014-15.
Volpatti, 28, has recorded one goal, one assist and 33 penalty minutes in 31 games with Washington and Vancouver this season. The native of Revelstoke, British Columbia, has collected three goals, two assists and 86 penalty minutes in 69 career NHL games with the Capitals and Canucks.
The 6’0”, 215-pound forward tallied 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) and 91 penalty minutes in 61 career AHL games with Manitoba. He spent four seasons playing for Brown University in the NCAA and was named to the ECAC All-Academic team his first three seasons before being named team captain for his senior season.
Volpatti was claimed off of waivers by Washington on Feb. 28. He was originally signed as an un-drafted free agent by Vancouver on March 22, 2010.
Eric Fehr has been the Washington Capitals’ big comeback story. Fehr left Washington for Winnipeg in 2011 after a few injury-riddled seasons, but returned to DC this offseason and has since become one of the team’s most reliable forwards. Fehr drives play more decisively than any other forward and has put up 8 goals and 8 assists in a shortened season against tough competition.
Fehr’s new contract will keep him in Caps red through 2015 and will earn him an average of $1.5 million a year.
Alex Ovechkin is playing very well. He leads the league in goals, has tallied 18 times in his last 16 games, and is the single biggest reason the Washington Capitals are headed to the playoffs. We think he should win the Hart Trophy, awarded to the NHL’s most valuable player. Adam Oates, we now learn, agrees.
“I’m obviously very biased about that,” he told reporters after Washington’s 5-1 win on Tuesday, a game in which Ovechkin scored. “My answer would be yeah, absolutely. Obviously Sidney Crosby is another candidate for sure. He had such a scoring lead. But I think you’ve gotta factor in the fact that he’s missed a lot of games.”
“Everyone keeps asking us if we’re back to the old days, but I think we just matured and evolved,” Green told me. “We’ve had to kind of change our game and evolve as players. The other teams had figured out our little schemes before and we had to adapt to it — it just took time.”
We already knew Jane Laich was totally awesome, but today came another wrinkle. Brooks Laich, her handsome hockey playing son, revealed today that mom and dad named him after Baltimore legend Brooks Robinson. “Special honor for me to meet the man I was named after,” Laich said after taking a picture with The Human Vacuum Cleaner on Wednesday. “Absolute class act.”
Alex Ovechkin continued his meteoric rise last week with seven goals, two assists, a shootout game-winner, and his second FirstStar of the Week honor this season. His reunion with Nick Backstrom, his comfort at right wing, and playing on an electric power play have certainly contributed to Ovi’s recent success, which has seen the Capitals jump from a 10% chance of making the playoffs on March 14 to an 80% chance as of Monday morning. During that time span, Ovechkin has had a point in about half of Capitals’ goals since then and he has scored 16 of them personally.
He’s been on the ice for less than 20 minutes in a Washington sweater, but the Capitals are once again without Martin Erat. In the latter half of an otherwise boring first period in Sunrise, the Panthers’ Erik Gudbranson decided to liven things up with a dirty hit on Washington’s new forward.