brian-maclellan-forsberg

Photo: Capitals Instagram

Yesterday, Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan spoke to the media about the first half of the Caps’ season. A large chunk of the conversation revolved around Mike Green and his upcoming UFA status, which Adam Vingan documented on NBC Washington.

MacLellan was also briefly asked about the lopsided Filip Forsberg trade and what he thought of him as a player. He replied honestly.

“I think he’s played well,” MacLellan said. “Obviously he’s one of the leading candidates for the Calder Trophy.”

He continued, “If you’re asking if I would like to do a do-over [on the trade]? Yeah. Sure.” Then he nodded his head a few times and flashed a coy smile. This became a national story.

Is it even fair for MacLellan to have to answer to this deal nearly two years after it was signed off on by his then-boss George McPhee? RMNB investigates.

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kuznetsov-shootout

Even though Evgeny Kuznetsov is goalless in his last 12 games and scoreless in his last seven, he’s been dangerous lately every time he’s had the puck on his stick. On Wednesday night, the Capitals’ debonair dangler deked Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth onto his rear and scored a most beautiful shootout goal.

(Someone had to do some paralyzing since Matt Hendricks didn’t get an attempt.)

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What Is Barry Trotz Talking About?

Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 10.56.57 PM

“I think we took our foot off the gas,” Jay Beagle said to the Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt after Tuesday’s loss to Edmonton. “[We] kind of let teams creep back in.”

Surrendering two two-goal leads in in the last few games invites that sort of comment, and the media pressed Trotz about the Capitals’ lack of aggression during the postgame conference.

Trotz’s response was so confusing I might have an aneurysm before I finish this.

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We Were on a Break: Oilers beat Caps 5-4 (SO)

Patrick McDermott

Can we all agree that we like the beard? (Photo: Patrick McDermott)

The Caps’ last game before the All-Star Break began crackling with excitement, but quickly settled into the quiet urgency of a bunch of guys eager to get home for a long weekend. They couldn’t even manage to do that well, as the Caps squandered an early, healthy lead and lost in the gimmick.

Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the first period, first with a slapper on a delayed penalty and then again with an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot. Edmonton’s own number eight, Derek Roy, returned fire by beating Matt Niskanen to the niskanet. Before we hit intermission, Jay Beagle scored and there was much rejoicing.

Nikita Nikitin put the Oilers within one goal late in the second period while Niskanen was in the box.

In the third, Nick Backstrom tipped in John Carlson’s long bomb to put Edmonton back in the two-goal hole where they belong, though I guess maybe we forgot to tell them that. Teddy Purcell got a quick little snapper to Holtby’s far side to make 4-3 in the final five minutes, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tied it in the final 100 seconds, forcing overtime. Overtime didn’t do nuffin, so you know what’s next.

Shootout bullets!

  • Kuznetsov put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Yakupov did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Backstrom did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Eberle did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Ovechkin did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Roy put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Fehr did NOT put the biscuit in the basket.
  • Purcell put the biscuit in the basket, of course he did.

Oilers beat Caps 5-4 in the shootout. That was dumb as hell.

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holtby-sauce-pass

When the Caps went on the power play in the second period, Braden Holtby showed off another part of his game that we adore: his offense. After an Oiler shot a puck on net, Holtby gloved the puck out of the air, threw it to the ice, and chucked a 110-foot pass to Troy Brouwer at the opposing blue line.

Dude wanted his seventh career assist.

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ovi-net-cam

That black disc-like thing is the puck.

Alex Ovechkin scored again.

Twice actually. In the first period alone. The second one destroyed the net cam.

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Goalie Controversy, Pt. 1 (Comic)

Shinny

 

We’ve got the start of a new story this week, along with the debut of a NEW CHARACTER!

It’s our pleasure to introduce to you Abigail “Abbie” Schaefer, Shinny’s best pal and starting goalie for the Hoodlums hockey team. We visit Shinny and Abbie in the Hoodlum’s locker room after practice, where they find themselves talking about a subject that Caps fans know all too well…
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Caps vs Oilers Pregame: And Then We Break

do-stuff

Image from Hallskey

The Caps lost two in a row in a rather frustrating weekend. I liked how the Caps played for the most part, but there’s some saggy-ness in the defense that the team will need to fix if they want to beat the–

Oh, nevermind. It’s just the Edmonton Oilers.

You’re all clear, Caps, now let’s blow this thing and go to the All-Star break. 7 PM on CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 24-13-8 52.3% 100.2 24.1% 79.3%
Edmonton Oilers 11-26-9 48.7% 97.3 13.9% 79.8%

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evgeny-kuznetsov-gloves

Photo: Frederick Breedon

Last night, as I wrote about Alex Ovechkin fulfilling the birthday wish of a five-year-old at practice, I noticed something in the bottom left corner of Chuck Gormley’s photo. (My crazy art school eagle eyes see all the pixels.) It was a glove, and that glove had a special inscription.

I fired up the RMNB Enhancing Machine.

Turns out it’s Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s glove and it is stitched with the name KUZY. Take a look.

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Patrick McDermott

Photo: Patrick McDermott

The Washington Capitals are a dangerous team when they’re trailing. We saw this twice last weekend as the Caps erased multi-goal leads by both the Predators and the Stars. And though they lost both those games, we learned a lot about how the Caps can perform when facing adversity.

When down a goal, the Capitals are the fourth most aggressive team in the league, possessing 59.7 percent of shot attempts. That’s a big jump from tie games, when the Caps hold a still-respectable 10th place shot-attempt percentage with 52.4 percent.

But when the Caps manage to get the lead, which they do most of the time, their possession drops to 46.9 percent, a stark drop-off, and a middling 13th in the league. That partially explains why the Caps rarely win by more than two goals.

All teams do this to some extent, but the Capitals’ meekness with the lead has been one of their noted weaknesses– even during that torrid winning streak last month.

Coaches often direct their teams to become less adventurous once they gain the lead, which is a primary factor in relatively lower possession. Barry Trotz does that to some extent (you can see it in the forecheck), but his personnel choices based on score are playing a role as well.

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