Saturday at Harry Grove Stadium was Hockey Day. The Frederick Keys staff wore hockey gear (I’m wagging my finger at you, girl in Malkin shirsey), and two former Washington Capitals, Craig Laughlin and Alan May, threw out the ceremonial first pitches and signed autographs for fans on the concourse.
Before the first pitches were thrown, however, there was some intrigue.
The night before, during the Caps telecast, Laughlin promised to CSN Washington’s Joe Beninati that he would zing the ball into home plate going “105.”
Ian and I were doing some blog biznass this morning when I learned something stunning. Ian actually believes Adam Oates will be back as head coach of the Capitals next season. This is astonishing, so we made a bet.
The Bet: Ian bets Peter that Adam Oates will be head coach of the Washington Capitals in 2014-15.
The Stakes: 77 cents, in pennies, and a $10 gift card to the burrito restaurant of the winner’s choice.
With 42 seconds left in the Capitals’ 4-0 win over Chicago, Jay Beagle skated to the bench looking for a change. He had been on the ice for three shifts in the last four minutes. His teammates, however, were adamant that he stay on the ice. But finally, after Beagle crawled over the bench wall, Eric Fehr stepped on for the final shift.
“I felt bad for him because I knew how tired he was,” Fehr told me. “I could see it in his eyes. He doesn’t get that look very often. He was begging to come off. I took a second and evaluated it and figured I better go.”
Said Beagle of his reaction: “I said “’I’m not! I’m not staying on. I can’t even move my legs anymore!”
The Washington Capitals have been eliminated from playoff contention, and, sure, Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks — the 81st game of the season — was literally meaningless. But dammit, don’t tell that to Nicklas Backstrom.
Backstrom had a goal, an assist, and set his focus on recording his first career Gordie Howe hat trick. Angry Swede is angry.
On April 11, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Patrick McDermott
The vibe was weird in Friday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Caps were playing for nothing but honor, but the Hawks were jockeying for playoff position. You couldn’t tell by the tilt of the ice. The Caps played a sloppy– but productive– game led by the team’s 1C, Jay Bodenheimer Beagle.
Alex Ovechkin scored his 51st goal of the year on the power play from the remotest bastion of the Ovi Spot. Jay Beagle took two swipes to make it 2-0. Nick Backstrom eliminated the two-goal lead with a no-angle bank shot off Antti Raanta’s buttocks. Beagle struck again before the second period was done because nothing makes sense in an absurd universe upon which all meaning is a deliberate projection.
This is the most mustiest must-read on the Washington Capitals this year. Superlative work by Carrera, it hits every topic: management, coaching, Ovechkin, and goaltending. I particularly like this Ovechkin quote:
“My job to score goals; that’s why I get paid,” Ovechkin said this week. “I didn’t get paid to put puck deep and create some other opportunities. As soon as I’m going to do that, you guys going to ask why I don’t score. It’s always going to be questions; there’s going to be remarks where I have to play better.”
Read the whole thing and let us know what you think.
The 2013-14 season was a breakout year for Capitals prospect Christian Djoos. His ice time with Brynas of SHL went up from 15:35 in the previous regular season to 17:16 this year. He scored more too, getting 13 points (a goal and 12 assists) in 47 games after just eight a year ago. Also importantly, Djoos cut down on time spent in the penalty box– four minutes as opposed to 48 last season.
Djoos took over the leading role on his team’s blue line in the postseason, logging 23:26 in the playoffs as a teenager in one of the best leagues in the world. He also had a notable performance at home World Juniors, scoring a goal and getting an assist in Sweden’s disappointing goal medal game loss.
Djoos’ increased role in the postseason could be attributed to an injury to Ryan Gunderson, a University of Vermont graduate and a Brynas’ leader on the blueline for the last three seasons. Next season, Gunderson won’t be with Brynas as he’s signed with KHL newcomer Jokerit Helsinki. That gives Djoos a chance to establish himself as an elite SHL defenseman.
The Washington Capitals have until June 1st to sign Djoos, whom they selected in the seventh round of 2012 Draft. There’s been little information on whether the Caps are interested in bringing him into the organization. It’s clear that he’s not leaving Brynas, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be on loan from a NHL club or unattached.
If — for some crazy reason– the Capitals choose not to retain the services of Adam Oates after this season, they’re going to have to find a replacement.
That has got me worried. I don’t want the organization to have to go through a lengthy and expensive search for The Right Guy For The Job. I don’t want them to waste precious days and weeks hunting down an experienced coach who knows the value of puck possession and how to optimize high-end scoring talent.
So, to save time, RMNB has compiled this list of former Capitals players who already have a bunch of red clothes and stuff and they probably already have directions to Kettler programmed into their GPS.
You’re welcome, guys. Don’t overthink it. Just grab one of these dudes and watch the Cups pour in.
On April 10, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Gregg Forwerck
One year ago, an April game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Washington Capitals would be a huge deal. The main reason the Caps made the 2013 playoffs was Carolina’s swoon. Now, the picture couldn’t be more different. This game didn’t matter to either team– and it showed.
And I get to recap it! Lucky me. I’m sure you guys are just lining up to read this.
Joel Ward scored from Fehr and Chimera early on. Then Chimera scored from Fehr and Ward. Jiri Tlusty notched a shorthanded goal against the suckasoft Caps PP defense, but Troy Brouwer restored the two-goal lead with a one-timer off Marcus’ great cross-slot pass. Eric Fehr scored from Chimera and Ward. Brouwer notched another goal in the third. Radek Dvorak rearranged your keyboard with a late goal for the Canes, but it was already over– on multiple levels.