CapsCasinoNight2015 (16 of 24)

Photo: Chris Gordon

On October 12, 2013, Nate Schmidt made his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche. A little more than two years later, Schmidt has played 83 NHL games. His journey to the NHL has been unsteady with his coaches trying to figure out whether he’s an AHL prospect, a healthy scratch candidate, or typical third pairing defensemen. But Schmidt is none of those. In fact, he may be one of the better defensemen in the NHL. And with a lower body injury sidelining top pairing defenseman Brooks Orpik, Schmidt finally has a chance to prove it.

“I don’t think we’re seeing anything different,” head coach Barry Trotz told me of Schmidt’s play. “Nate, we felt, we had the most trust in at this point that we moved him up, gave him the opportunity. The things that he does well is skate. He’s skating and getting up ice, getting back on the breakouts, hard on the forecheck, and he defends well because of his mobility and stick. He’s a very effective player for us.”

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Alex Ovechkin Needs to Learn to Live with 483 Goals

Alex Ovechkin has not scored a goal in the last four games. Sure, he’s put a puck in the net twice in that span [one, two], but neither counted. For twelve days he’s been stuck at 483 career goals, tied with Sergei Fedorov for the most scored by a Russian.

Since November 7, Ovechkin has stubbornly tried to score number 484. Instead of trying, he should just accept his fate as a 483-goal scorer. Forever.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Nick Backstrom Making His Best Case Yet for Selke

CapsCanineCalendar_13

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Barry Trotz has been singing Nick Backstrom‘s praises since he took over as coach of the Caps. He’s basically called shenanigans on Backstrom never receiving the Selke (awarded the the league’s best defensive forward) and also called him the best two-way forward he’s ever coached.

Last season, Backstrom finished 11th in Selke voting. If voters are paying attention in 2015-16, they may notice Backstrom’s making his best case for Selke yet.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

andrew-gordon-linkoping

Photo: Peter Holgersson

Success can be defined in a million different ways. It’s something we all desire, but there is no one way to measure it. To me, it’s all a feeling of satisfaction in what you are doing. Plain and simple. Are you happy doing what you are doing? If yes, welcome to success.

Shortly after Ian asked me to put together a few words on my move overseas, I stumbled upon an article written by former New Jersey Devils forward and long time AHLer Brad Mills. The article is called “The Bubble,” and it really got me thinking about the various directions we all end up taking to get to our final destinations as hockey players. I call it “the other side.”

Although I hate to think about the R-word, retirement is always just an eye injury away. The threat of being forced into the real world is at the tip of an opponent’s errant stick. In the article, Mills talks about his life on the proverbial NHL “bubble” where players take up residence when they are on the cusp of making it to the NHL full- time, or being a career minor leaguer. The term “yo-yo” is often used for players who spend year after year going up, then coming down, then going up, then coming down…get it? It’s often viewed as a negative thing, the bubble, but I happily lived there for the majority of my first 6-7 years as a pro. To me the bubble was a privileged place where somebody in a front office somewhere thought I was good enough to play in the NHL. And better yet, they felt that way frequently enough to call be back again and again and again. Sure, there were some tough days when I got sent down, and as a competitor you always want more, but I truly believed every time that I would go back up to the NHL one day. That made all my send downs a little easier. Looking back on those days now, do my mere 55 games played make my NHL career a failure?

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Better Know a Detroit Red Wing: Michael “Mike” Green

On Tuesday night the Washington Capitals pro hockey club will play against the Red Wings of Detroit hockey team in a match of hockey. To get you ready for the hockey match, we at R.M.N.B. have randomly selected a hockey player to introduce to you. The player we have selected is Mike Green, a defenseman hockey player for the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. This article post will answer all the questions you were too afraid to ask about Mike Green.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Photo: Geoff Burke

Tom Wilson is now in his third full NHL season. He was supposed to be bruising power forward and a complement to top-six playmakers. Instead, the 16th overall pick in 2012 has been a fourth line agitator almost his entire career, fighting and hitting to try to get himself noticed in limited ice time.

On Saturday night, that almost cost the Capitals the game as Wilson, recently demoted back down to the bottom trio, took a double minor for roughing that put his team a man down late in the game. The Maple Leafs scored on the power play that followed, giving themselves a 2-1 lead that would gotten them the victory if not for a stunning goal by Nicklas Backstrom with less than a second left.

“When emotions get tied into close games, that’s how you don’t play,” Barry Trotz said of Wilson’s tomfoolery. “That’s why Tom never saw the ice again. He knows that and hopefully he learns from that.”

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Strike While the Capitals Are Hot

laich

At 9-3-0, the Washington Capitals are off to their hottest start in franchise history. They’ve got their most complete lineup since the 90s, they’ve got Alex Ovechkin, they’ve got the new young guns, and they’ve got a Holtbeast. They look positively stellar.

Glancing at Washington’s schedule through Thanksgiving, it becomes clear that now is the time for the Caps to dominate.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

Seven Great Hockey Writers You Gotta Read

bloggers-be-gettin-paid

Steve Dangle’s “Bloggers Be Gettin’ Paid” t-shirt is appropriate here

There’s a lot of bad hockey writing in the world, and we probably spend too much time and energy anguishing over it. Today we fix that. Pat Holden and I want to share with you some of our favorite hockey writers and why we love them. Accentuate the positive, ya know?

We heartily recommend that you follow these folks, and in general we promise to tout the good stuff more.

Continue Reading

 

ovechkin-crosby

Ever since Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby entered the league in 2005-06, they have been saddled with comparisons. The Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry is somewhat an NHL invention, eagerly marketed though the players have been friendly off the ice. It seems every few months, one player is asked about the other.

On Wednesday, CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley had a simple question for Ovechkin: who’s better right now? Ovechkin’s answer is literal fire.

Continue Reading

Tagged with:
 

CapsBruinsPreseason_08

Photo: Amanda Bowen

Brooks Laich, a man always capable of dropping a noteworthy quotes, dropped this one today:

This is correct.

Continue Reading

Tagged with: