Alex Ovechkin just scored his 37th goal of the season and it came against the Caps’ biggest rivals. As the Penguins went for a shift change, Mike Green sent a seeing-eye puck to Ovechkin, who was wide open at neutral ice.
The Russian machine raced in alone on Marc-Andre Fleury and backhanded the puck in and immediately out of the net.
Except it took a several minute review to figure out if Ovi actually scored.
On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin took a two-handed slash from Ryan Getzlaf. Ovechkin responded by falling to the ice like a sack of bricks. It drew the attention of the officials, who might otherwise have missed a dangerous play. The Ducks captain was whistled for slashing.
After the game, Getzlaf was irate. He called Ovechkin a diver.
The Capitals have had the Penguins number so far this season, and that number is zero. In 120 minutes of hockey, Washington has outscored Pittsburgh seven goals to none.
But the Penguins of February 17 are healthier than previous versions, and Holtby has been averaging 3 goals against over the last 10 days. It’d be a nice trick to end the road trip with another blowout over a division rival, but the Caps are gonna have to bring the ruckus to get it done.
The lineup makes me think they might pull it off. Puck drop at 7 PM on CSN.
The conversation was not limited to the donation. Olympic champion Tatyana Ovechkina revealed to Lysenkov that her son was finished a graduate program and will defend a dissertation either “this year or next.”
Um, excuse me? Ovechkin’s getting his PhD in Russia? This is news.
According to a press release from the Moscow Region’s ministry of physical culture, sports, and youth programs, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has donated 70 bags of hockey equipment to the Sergiev Posad boarding school, an orphanage operated by the Russian Orthodox Church.
There’s a great Mark Twain quote about weather in New England, but it sort of applies to how the Caps organize their forwards. If you don’t like the lines, just wait a few minutes.
Barry Trotz’s forward lines, which I’ve been tracking all season, get announced once or twice a day– at practice or morning skate and during warmups before games. And each time they’re followed by a chorus of criticism from professional and amateur hockey watchers, including me.
There’s always something to rail against: the guy on Alex Ovechkin’s opposite wing, who’s getting stuck on the fourth line, which pairings don’t work, who deserves a scratch but isn’t getting one, and who deserves a sweater but isn’t getting one. It’s instant fodder for content, fresh grist for the anguish mill, and an easy conversation starter.
But it’s also sort of cheap. Because there is no optimal line combination for Barry Trotz. If twenty of us were to make up our ideal lines, I doubt any two would match. There is no magic Rubik’s cube of forwards that make everyone love him and shut up. It just doesn’t exist. The lines are a loser every time, and Trotz, a coaching veteran with three decades of experience, knows it.
Every day he’s got to set back a rookie or piss off a forward. He’s got to give a sweater to a player he’d rather see traded, and maybe he’s thinking about how great some other player on some other team might be in that same spot. Even MacLellan has limited control over his roster considering the market forces and freak injuries that determine it.
That doesn’t mean we should hush up about the lines. I think we’ve got an exceptionally informed and passionate community here. We all know what it means for Evgeny Kuznetsov’s development when he takes shifts with Jason Chimera, and we should talk about it. (Though I bet Barry Trotz probably already knows as well.)
While it’s good for us to discuss and debate it, I’m going to always try to acknowledge that the lines will never be totally perfect and they’ll never be totally broken.
In this week’s snapshot, we explore the great space between those two extremes.
From a team perspective, the Caps obviously generate more shots on controlled zone entries than uncontrolled entries, as does just about every hockey team on the planet. Some of the Caps power play struggles in December can be attributed to them not attempting to carry the puck in as much.
Individually, that story highlighted Marcus Johansson‘s role on the power play as Plan A for zone entries. Johansson was responsible for the puck on entry 44.6 percent of the time he was on the ice in the 10-game sample, nearly 20 percentage points higher than any other player on the top unit. Johansson was very successful, entering with control 89.3 percent of the time he was responsible for the puck.
Not only is Troy Brouwer adept at scoring goals, he’s also an accomplished photo-bomber. Check out these beauties. Our latest example comes from Sunday night when a Caps fan took a picture in front of the glass during warm-ups.
Brouwer turns around and cheeses for the camera. Note the eyebrows.
To celebrate the Washington Capitals 40th anniversary on Sunday night, CSN Washington unearthed amazing footage of Olie Kolzig getting drafted 26 years ago. The video shows Caps director of player personnel Jack Button selecting the mammoth goaltender from the WHL’s Tri-City Americans on June 17, 1989.
“And you know the Washington Capitals need a goalie,” current lead play-by-play man of HNIC Jim Hughson said way back then. “Obviously, they can’t think that Olie The Goalie, as he’s called with the Tri-City Americans, will step in and lead them to a championship right away, but the first goaltender comes from the Western Hockey League. He’s the eighth Western Leaguer taken in this draft. Olaf Kolzig to the Washington Capitals.”
Wow, those comments are perfect. Also perfect: the mullets.