the-guys-Christian-Petersen

Photo: Christian Petersen

There are lots of different ways to look at hockey information. The Sunday snapshot is just one of those ways, and it’s far from being comprehensive or fully circumspect. Sometimes the numbers sort of lose their meaning– as if in a vacuum.

Is a 2.14 CorsiRel good or bad? How good or how bad? Is it a percentage or a rate? How does it compare to the rest of the league? What is a CorsiRel anyway?

As a community, we need more and different ways of presenting and intuiting data that can sometimes be untidy and inscrutable.

Here’s one idea. Now that the Capitals have twenty games under their belt, let’s look at Cap forwards in the context of the whole league. No hard numbers here, just big-picture, stack-ranking stuff– a new way of looking at familiar stuff, but with pretty colors this time.

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Twenty Games In: What is the Barry Trotz Breakout?

Trotz

Photo: Amanda Bowen, RRBG Photography

We are a quarter of the way through the first season of the Barry Trotz era. The process has been solid, the results have been decent, and the lineup decisions have, at times, been confusing.

Trotz is the Caps’ fourth coach since 2011, so fans are well aware that a change in coach means a change in tactics. With that in mind, I’m going to take a look at the Caps’ breakout under Trotz.

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Jakub Vrana Records Another Two-Point Night

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Photo: Peter Holgersson / Bildbyran

Capitals prospect Jakub Vrana scored a goal and an assist as his Linkoping defeated Lulea 3-1 in an SHL game. Vrana, who scored the game-winning goal on Saturday, now has five goals and five assists. That was his fourth two-point game of his SHL season.

The 18-year-old forward also had two two-point nights in the Champions Hockey League. This year, he has had six two-point nights in 21 outings.

Videos of Vrana’s highlights from Saturday are under the jump.

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Twenty Games In: Where We Stand

Rob Carr

Photo: Rob Carr

With about a quarter of the 2014-15 season gone, we’re running a series on RMNB about where the Caps stand and where they’re heading. I’ve already gone into some detail, and I’ll have more analysis and opinion coming in the next few days, but for now let’s take a bird’s eye view.

Forgive me, I’m about to draw some pretty broad conclusions.

The Capitals are mediocre, but keep reading.

At scoring, they’re neither good or bad; they’re just about even. They’ve got a coin flip’s chance at making the playoffs.

But the Caps’ goaltending and shooting are both below average and are both likely to get better. The Caps are outshooting their opponents convincingly, suggesting that they’ll start outscoring their opponents in the future, although the team will continue to get into trouble when protecting a lead.

Special teams look stable. Washington’s power play is second best in the league and looks to remain that way. The penalty kill is in the middle of the league, and projects to stay there as well.

In short, the Capitals’ record is unremarkable, but there are encouraging signs below the surface– and the team has opportunity and motive to get even better.

Lemme break it down.

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Alex Ovechkin’s Tribute to Dynamo Moscow

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Photo: @a0gr8

Early Sunday morning DC time (2 AM), Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin instagrammed a photo. The Russian machine stood in front of some sort of Dynamo Moscow shrine (I assume in his mansion), smiled, and held up his finger. He wrote:

с Днем рожДения, роДное Динамо!!!я очень горД что я Динамовец!….Люблю..Горжусь…я очень горжусь что вся моя семья Динамовцы!!!!

I had no idea what that said, so I asked Igor and Fedor. This is how it translates.

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RMNBParty_01

On Friday night, we hosted a private party at a bowling alley in Frederick, Maryland, to say thank you to all the readers who donated to help make RMNB last. We raised nearly $26,000, which is going to go a long way towards helping us do some special projects and improve in general.

But let’s talk about the party. It was a frigging blast and that’s not just because I got gifts for my 30th birthday (thanks, Sarah!). Around 80 of you drove up to our hood and bowled while the Terrace Lanes’ crew blasted unspeakably bad 90s music over the loud speakers. There was lots of drinking (a tenet of a good party), a lot of bad dancing (another tenet of a good party), and some unintentionally synchronized outfits.

We originally planned to end the party at 11:30 PM, but reader Charles just was like eff that, and extended everyone’s lanes until 12:30 AM.

That’s just the type of readers we have.

Amanda Bowen did us a solid and photographed the first hour of the party. Check those out, and please if you have any photos of your own, share them in the comments below.

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Christian Petersen

Photo: Christian Petersen

Editor’s note: The snapshot should be up first thing on Monday morning. Instead, now that the Capitals are twenty games into the season, we’ll be running a series on how they look so far.

Barry Trotz is a huge improvement over Adam Oates. It’s not even close.

But as the season goes on, it’s becoming apparent that Trotz has chosen his favorite players and will place them wherever he wishes in the lineup despite evidence that it’s hurting the team. For all his many, many successes, Trotz is not exercising good evidence-based decision making in his distributing ice time.

Now that we’re twenty games in, this is a good opportunity to understand how Trotz is apportioning time, and how it’s working (or not working). To do that, I’m gonna use a visualization introduced by Tyler Dellow about one year ago that was later adopted a lot of places, including here, back with the top-Heavy Oates!Caps.

It’s not going to be pretty.

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mike-green-injury

Over his illustrious career, Washington Capitals defenseman Mike Green has often put himself in a vulnerable position on the ice; hence his history of injury. On Saturday night, Green left the game in the third period after suffering what the Caps PR called an upper-body injury.

Green likely got injured in the first period, after putting his head down in neutral and absorbing a hip check by 6’4″ defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen.

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Sabres beat Caps 2-1: Mike Green Hurt, We Are Butthurt

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The Sabres aren’t good by any stretch, but the Washington Capitals just couldn’t beat Jhonas Enroth during evens. A little luck and a one weak Caps shift were all the Sabres needed to take the lead in Saturday’s dismal low-scoring affair. Boo.

The Capitals dominated possession in the first period but couldn’t put the biscuit in the basket. They backed off the aggression in the second period, allowing the Sabres to close the gap and even score a weird one off Matt Mouls0n’s stick.

Marcus Johansson drew a penalty on a breakaway in the third. Matt Niskanen scored his first goal in a Caps uniform on the ensuring power play, bouncing off the stick of a Sabres defenseman. Torrey Mitchell, inexplicably, put the Sabres back in the lead with a scrap in the crease with less than 8 minutes left in the game. That was it. Wow.

Sabres beat Caps 2-1.

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ovechkin-flips-boards-woah

Early in the first period, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin loaded-up for a gigantic hit on Tyler Ennis at center ice. Unfortunately for the Russian machine, center Nicklas Backstrom was defending Ennis too, which allowed Ovechkin to merely deliver a glancing blow to the Sabres forward.

With all that momentum, something had to absorb the Russianness. That something ended up being the side boards. Without any glass, Ovechkin flipped heels-over-head. He was lucky to grab ahold of the dasher boards before doing a complete 360.

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