Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is a league leader in hits. He got his physical game going early on Saturday night. Eighteen seconds into the contest, he levied his first body check, but it wasn’t against a Flames player. It was on the referee.
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.
This offseason felt particularly long, so I smiled extra wide on Thursday as I watched Alex Ovechkin crush Montreal Canadiens left and right. While Ovechkin didn’t score in the shootout loss, he did finish the night with six hits, tied with Brooks Orpik for the most among all skaters.
My favorite hit was Ovechkin leveling left wing Jiri Sekac. The Czech was playing in just his second career NHL game. This had to hurt.
Over the offseason, Brooks Orpik signed what many thought to be the worst contract of free agency– a five-year, $27 million deal that ends when he’s approximately 84. After months of kind of bummer analysis (even from us), the former Penguin jumped on the ice tonight for the first time as a Capital and he was noticeable– in a lot of different ways.
First, let’s see the hits because you guys want to see the hits.
I was working on my new patio on Sunday night, so I missed the entire Washington Capitals/Buffalo Sabres preseason game. Bummer, I know. Luckily for me, Steve Wilhite of CompuServe invented GIFs in the late 80s, so I didn’t to have to miss one of the greatest hip checks ever.
And I’m saying that last part seriously, without hyperbole.
Australian Nathan Walker is teeny-tiny. He’s a baby joey hanging out in his mama’s pouch. But when Walker knocked Vaclav Karabacek heels-over-head on Sunday night, his slight 5-foot-8 frame didn’t matter.
American hero Ryan Callahan is well known by Capitals fans and not for good reasons. When he captained the New York Rangers, his Rags beat our Caps twice. Despite what the national media likes to tell us, he’s not really the most honorable player.
That’s why it felt good to see Callahan fall like a sack of bricks to the ice after he got punched in the mush by Braden Holtby.
Then there’s the whole issue of the Caps sometimes looking like a beer-league team on the ice. Over the last few weeks, Caps players have violently collided into each other three times. Three. Times. And in two straight games.
Because this seems to be more like a pattern than a series of freak events, I collected GIFs and video of all the times it’s happened during Oates’ tenure. It’s happened… a lot.
The Caps-Blues game started off nice enough. The good guys drew a penalty late in the first period when Derek Roy slashed Alex Ovechkin. The Caps power play had a couple of looks, but everything went wrong after that.
All season long, the Washington Capitals have had recurring momentary lapses in judgement in which they forget how to hockey. That’s why the Caps won’t be making the playoffs for the first time in six years, and now I’ve got a drinking problem.
On Saturday at Nassau Coliseum, Mike Green and Jason Chimera illustrated how to do the worst breakout ever. Instead of establishing possession and exiting the defensive zone, they crashed into each other full speed right in front of their own goal.