On Tuesday, Alex Ovechkin missed the morning skate and the game against the Sharks later that day. The team said it was for “personal reasons.” Now we know what those reasons were: he overslept practice and was benched by head coach Barry Trotz.
Former Capitals and Hershey Bears goaltender Michal Neuvirth made his first start for rival Philadelphia last night against the Florida Panthers, two nights after playing in relief of Steve Mason who let in four goals in 6:46 against Florida (which was a Panthers record for fastest four goals scored at the start of a game). Neuvirth, who still has “feelings” for the Caps, just set his own record last night.
Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom shed his baby blue non-contact practice jersey Monday morning. The Swede took rushes with the team’s second line, alternating in drills with Justin Williams, Andre Burakovsky, and Marcus Johansson. While the non-contact jersey is gone, Backstrom is still limited on the ice until he is cleared by doctors.
Backstrom will meet with the surgeon who operated on his hip this week, which will give the team a more accurate timeline on when he can return.
Which is what pretty much everyone guessed they would be.
I got the chance to sit down with Ryan (né Ranger Ryan) and Nathan (né Ranger Nathan) to talk about the transition and give us a sneak peek of their new getups. A lightly (and skillfully) edited version of our conversation is below.
During the penultimate game of the Capitals preseason, the team unveiled an elaborate new skycam suspended from the rafters. The fan reaction was swift and mostly negative, largely from fans in the upper deck whose views were impacted by the moving camera and its cables. On Sunday night, Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsisacknowledged the criticism in a blog post.
The Washington Capitals did a lot of good things this summer, building off a roster that was one game away from making the Eastern Conference Finals. Brian MacLellan traded for TJ Oshie, signed Justin Williams, and re-upped Braden Holtby. These moves, on top of another year of Barry Trotz, has three NHL.com writers— John Kreiser, Mike Morreale, and Matt Cubeta–seeing red.
The Capitals announced their final roster cuts Monday morning. The most surprising dismissal was veteran center Derek Roy, who played well during training camp. With Jay Beagle announced as the team’s third-line center and Nicklas Backstrom potentially missing only four games, the Caps must have seen little upside keeping Roy around as a fourth-line center.
The Caps also cut forwards Liam O’Brien and Chandler Stephenson, defensemen Aaron Ness and Ryan Stanton, and goalie Justin Peters, who struggled mightily last year, from training camp. That means Philipp Grubauer will be Braden Holtby’s back-up this year.
As the Capitals PR team noted, Ness, Peters, and Stanton will all have to pass through waivers before joining the Hershey Bears in the AHL.
For those of you keeping track at home, that means forwards Chris Brown (who is injured), surprise-of-camp Sean Collins, and oft-criticzed Stan Galiev all remain on the roster, at least for now.
Not visible: the player with the puck. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
On Friday night, Verizon Center debuted its new “skycam,” the first such camera permanently installed at an NHL and NBA building. Now it appears the expensive device may not be so permanent. A CSN Washington spokesman told RMNB the camera will not be in place for the next Capitals home game. It received a deluge of criticism from fans.
“The product was being tested last night and is not scheduled to be used Sunday,” Brian Potter, the director of communications for the channel, said in an email. “It hasn’t yet been determined if it will be used further. Many factors will be considered, including feedback from fans.”
Ever since the Washington Capitals bowed out to the New York Rangers in May, we’ve all been asking, Is it October yet? Well today it is, and here’s another reminder hockey’s coming soon: Hurricane Joaquin. I’ll let our bros at NOAA explain.