Sometimes the most captivating television comes from surprising places. Like, forget putting the twins in a room and forcing them to be funny, just take a camera man along with Caps color guy Craig Laughlin as he goes anywhere. To the grocery store. To the bathroom. Doesn’t really matter where.
That’s what CSN did on Saturday. During the first intermission of the Caps-Flames game, CSN aired a two-minute segment of Locker traveling up to a Calgary mountain top. Sounds simple, but it was a laugh riot.
On Friday, the Washington Capitals got back to business, holding a practice at Calgary’s old Olympic stomping grounds. After the hour-long session was concluded, Nicklas Backstrom spoke to the media and was asked about Caps rookie Andre Burakovsky.
Through six games this season, the Burracuda is a point-per-game player, tallying six points and scoring two big goals. When Backstrom first began his North American career with the Caps, he tallied four points – all assists – in six games as a 19-year-old.
Nicky was asked about how he would compare himself to Andre at that age and it’s great stuff.
For three seasons, Matt Hendricks gave his heart and soul to the Washington Capitals. There were big hits, paralyzing shootout goals, and fights. Lots and lots of fights. When Hendricks’ contract ran out in 2013, he signed a new one, a large one, with Nashville– then bounced around until he found a home in Edmonton.
On Wednesday, in what was the weirdest moment of the night so far, Hendricks checked two (2!) guys at the same time, Michael Latta and an Edmonton teammate. Hendricks was then forced to drop the gloves with first-year Caps forward Liam O’Brien.
On Sunday afternoon, Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack 1-0 on a goal scored by Casey Wellman with just 1.5 seconds remaining in overtime. Wolf Pack goalie Jason Missiaen made 36 saves on 37 shots over 67 minutes of play, while Caps prospect Pheonix Copley held down the fort for the Bears, recording his first shutout as a pro.
Last season, Adam Oates tried to reinvent Eric Fehr. Instead of being an auxiliary winger, Oates turned Fehr into a checking line center. Actual hockey isn’t NHL 15, so the role was uneasy for Fehr. Center is a greater responsibility than being a scoring winger, offensively and defensively. Pivots are, perhaps, a little smarter than the rest of us. Fehr never quite settled into the position and bounced around the lineup and the press box under Oates. He did, however, find success with Joel Ward and Jason Chimera, inspiring a cult following for the line.
This season, it looked like Barry Trotz put an end to the Eric Fehr 3C experiment, placing the Manitoban on the top trio with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. After Tuesday’s histrionic 6-5 loss to San Jose, Trotz’s shifted his lineup. Fehr was back with Ward and Chimera. On Thursday, the line was Washington’s best. While they only registered one of Washington’s five goals — and it was barely even a goal — the trio shut down the opposition and earned praise from Trotz. Against the Panthers, the third line was again inspired. Chimera had a myriad of chances while scoring Washington’s lone goal of the night. It was set up by a brilliant pass from the corner from Fehr.
“With that line, I think that Fehrsie’s got really good hockey IQ,” Trotz said. “He can read off those two guys.”
“That whole line’s been really good the last couple games,” he added.
This season, new bench boss Barry Trotz has utilized Ovechkin in the clean-up spot, having him shoot only if a shootout is tied after three rounds. On Saturday, to change the bad juju after two straight shootout losses, Trotz let assistant coach and always-dour-human-being Blaine Forsythe pick the third shooter.
At times on Thursday night, it looked like someone put a hex on the New Jersey Devils. The defense-first team surrendered six goals to the Capitals, took a bunch of undisciplined penalties, and didn’t seem like themselves. Then there’s this strange play.
As 23-year-old defenseman Eric Gelinas takes a shot from the point, his attempt is blocked by his own teammate. As the puck dribbles back to him, Gelinas tries dishing it to his defensive partner. He falls over too.
Don’t look now, but Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has goals in three straight. Just 34 seconds into the first period, Barry Trotz’s newly configured top line paid dividends. After Troy Brouwer ripped a shot on Cory Schneider, Ovechkin snatched the tasty rebound, skated to the right circle, and wristed the shot stick-side.
Washington Capitals fifth-round pick Shane Gersich is off to a terrific start and has dominated the USHL so far this season. The speedy forward, who is expected to attend University of North Dakota beginning next fall, scored four goals in his last two games and now has five goals in six games overall.