In game six on Sunday night, the Capitals did not receive a single power play despite a few egregious fouls by the New York Rangers. One of the worst missed calls came in the first period, when Mathieu Perreault was decked into the boards by Michael Del Zotto.
Steve Oleksy has never been considered a top prospect. In fact, before he made his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals in March, Oleksy played for seven different minor league teams in five years. It’s been a long and often painful road Oleksy has traveled, one that was made even longer because of Braden Holtby.
You see, earlier in the season when Holtby and Oleksy played together in AHL Hershey, the sassy goaltender from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan decided to play a prank on the new Bears defenseman.
Despite a painfully slow start, Alex Ovechkin has had one of the greatest seasons of his career. He scored more goals than any other player, earning his third Rocket Richard trophy in six seasons. He finished third in the league in points. He led his team to a division title after being mired in dead last a month into the season. Ovechkin’s play is the reason the Capitals are in the playoffs — without his success, this would have been a lost season for Washington.
Since he has been so crucial to the accomplishments of his team, he deserves consideration for the Hart Trophy, which is awarded to the guy “judged to be the most valuable to his team.” However, many of the writers who vote for the award are casting their ballots for somebody else — namely Sidney Crosby or John Tavares.
The Great One, Wayne Gretzky, disagrees with that.
Monday afternoon, Gretzky called in to Hockey Night in Canada’s afternoon radio show hosted by Rob Pizzo and Elliotte Friedman. Wayne talked about what teams he thinks will succeed in the playoffs and gave Ovechkin the ultimate endorsement, naming him and Jonathan Toews as the two people he’d like to see win the Hart trophy. He also praised the skills of first year head coach Adam Oates.
Photo credit: Brian Babineau
Saturday afternoon against the rival Boston Bruins, a chippy game stayed somewhat calm until the end of the second period. That’s when Brad Marchand goaded Mike Ribeiro into his first NHL fight and all hell broke loose. Matt Hendricks responded by dropping the mitts with Bruins first-line forward Nathan Horton, bloodying his face.
In the third period after Hendricks exited the box, Bruins heavyweight enforcer Shawn Thornton asked Hendy to drop the gloves several times. The Blaine, Minnesota native refused. That’s when, as Karl Alzner described it, “the biggest joke I’ve ever seen” occurred. Thorton shadowed Hendricks, shoving him and begging him to drop his mitts. Then Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid cornered him along the boards, forcing Hendricks to pick one of them to dose-e-doe with.
So what did Hendy think of all the drama? Below are his full remarks after the Capitals’ morning skate Sunday.
Washington Post and ESPN writer Neil Greenberg talked Caps hockey on the Tony Kornheiser Show on ESPN 980 this morning. The RMNB alum killed it. I considered putting a bombastic quote in the subject of this post like “Greenberg: This is not a good team” or “Neil Says [Ovechkin]‘s No Crosby”, but I really think you will be better served by reading or hearing the whole segment, which I freaking transcribed below instead of actually enjoying my lunch.
Tony and Neil cover a lot of topics in the 15-minute segment: Neil’s brush with the Cup in ’94, what has caused Alex Ovechkin’s decline and what we can expect from his future, Mike Milbury’s assessment of Ovi vs. reality, Adam Oates’ talent as a coach, and what the future holds for the Washington Capitals. I think this is essential reading/listening for Caps fans, so get to it.
Happy Sasha. (Photo credit: @megab23)
Ahead of tonight’s reunion game against the Caps, Alex Semin sat down with Carolina Hurricanes color guy Tripp Tracy for a two-part English interview. It’s totally awkward.
For those worrying Tripp would nail Semin with incisive, hard-hitting questions like “Are your shoes comfortable?“, you may now relax. Instead, Tracy tossed up softballs like “What do you think of your teammates?” and “Do you enjoy Carolina?”
Hey, you guys don’t think there was any collusion between Tracy and Carolina PR following Troy Brouwer’s unkind words, do you? Naw! Tracy probably came up with “your teammates are clearly the most important relationship to you” all on his own.
Maria with her Slapshot stuffed animal. Dad gives thumbs up. (GIF by welshhockeyfan)
Attending Saturday’s Washington Capitals game, Alex Ovechkin’s fiancée Maria Kirilenko got a special treat. Ovi scored a hatty for the first time in over two years.
While CSN Washington didn’t pan to Kirilenko sitting in the lower bowl, the Devils broadcast on MSG drank from the Ovi-Kirilenko well a lot. They zoomed in on her celebrating with Ovi’s father Mikhail (giving the thumbs up) after Ovechkin’s third goal. MSG’s Deb Placey interviewed Kirilenko during the second period, after Ovi scored his first goal of the night.
Last week, Ted Leonsis spread his wings by launching Monumental Network, a site to aggregate all the Caps, Wizards, Mystics, and Verizon Center coverage his company produces. They’ve got original reporting and a network of blogs to cover the living heck out of each team.
Earlier this week, Casey Phillips, Monumental’s digital correspondent crowded in on RMNB’s beat with a story that we should have had. After Cosmopolitan Magazine named Mike Green the sexiest player in the NHL, the Monumental crew asked the team who they thought was truly the most handsome guy around.
The answers will amaze you. Or maybe they won’t. I mean, you know they’re gonna say Brooks, right?
This is Bruce’s O-face.
While the lockout drags on, the Anaheim Ducks keep publishing episodes of their series, Bruce Boudreau: Uncensored (kind of). The premise is simple: sit Bruce in a chair, ask him open-ended questions about his illustrious coaching and playing career, and then wait for him to say something funny. That’s good content if you ask me, but then again I’m the guy who wrote a 1,500-word epic about the time Bruce wore John Walton’s pants during a game.
The Ducks recently published episode four, wherein Bruce goes into detail about the day he was hired as coach of the Washington Capitals. And we’re reminded once more that despite his age and experience, Boudreau is still just a big kid.
BO: Don’t forget, you promised to come to a game!
As President Barack Obama tries to gain more public support for his plan to avoid the fiscal cliff, he did an interview Thursday with Minneapolis’s Frank Vascellaro of WCCO-TV. Vascellaro, who traveled to Washington DC to meet up with POTUS, was given permission to ask five questions. So Frank asked about the fiscal cliff negotiations, spending cuts, trust on Capitol Hill, the medical devices tax (?), and… hockey!