Sasha Fierce (Photo: Greg Fiume)
Shut up with your 1-4 record. When the Washington Capitals suited up to face the Edmonton Oilers on Monday night, their sole purpose was to rid themselves of the abysmal record they shared with a certain other Washington team. An explosive second period helped them do just that.
Edmonton’s Boyd Gordon scored first, seizing on a bad breakout by the Caps. After some feisty forechecking by the second line and Steve Oleksy on the blue, Brooks Laich scored his first of the year– a point-blank wrister.
The second period was a flurry of PPGs as Joel Ward knocked on the back door and Troy Brouwer got a one-timer from the slot. In the middle of that tasty man-advantage sandwich was a mean-ass slot goal from Alex Ovechkin.
Tough-acting Will Acton got a late one from the crease.
Caps beat Oilers 4-2.
After a disastrous road trip, the Washington Capitals hoped to snap their four-game losing streak by walloping the Phoenix Coyotes. It wasn’t a wallop truly, but let’s just be thankful for the win.
John Carlson’s turnover on the power play set up Radim Vrbata for a shorthanded breakaway and the game’s first goal. Lauri Korpikoski converted the penalty shot he earned from another shorthanded breakaway. John Carlson deflected off a Coyote to get the Caps on the board.
Then a red balloon floated eerily above the ice like an angel of mercy.
Cody Eakin scored the second goal of his career with another flukey deflection, and we were tied. Early in the third, Nick Backstrom scored the kind of greasy goal you could lubricate an engine with– 3-2. On a 5-on-3, Brooks Laich scored, screened by Troy Brouwer, to snap the Capitals’ power play drought. Korpokoski got an ugly rebound to keep it interesting. Caps beat Coyotes 4-3.
I feel like I’ve seen this person before… (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
One hundred fifty-seven days. That’s a long summer for Caps fans. And Saturday night at 7:09 P.M. Eastern Time when six ounces of vulcanized rubber tumbled toward the ice sheet it was finally over.
“The atmosphere was great,” Alex Ovechkin told reporters after the game. “The fans push us forward all the time. It’s nice to play at home, especially the first game. I know everybody was missing hockey here so it’s nice to come back.”
The trademarks of Caps hockey were all there last night: Sam Wolk pursed his lips to his horn and let lout three loud blasts at the drop of the puck; Wes Johnson bellowed out the name of Alexander Semin (heavy on the “r”) after Washington lit the lamp for the first time this season on Sasha’s tally; William Stilwell, better known as the Goat, let out a thunderous roar of “Let’s Go Caps!” as he stomped the metal beneath his feet when shown on the big screen in the second period.
If you took a break from hockey after May 4th, when the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Washington Capitals out of the playoffs, we completely understand. It was rough. But the new season is here, along with reasons for renewed hope. So in case you’ve been avoiding hockey in general and this blog in particular, we’ve prepared a primer to catch you up.
Here is everything you need to know about the Washington Capitals but were afraid to ask (2011-2012 edition).
Here’s where all the action happens. Lots of things cooking today.
Japers’ has a great primer on who in the Caps system is up for grabs: Arnott, Sturm, Hannan, Gordon, Brouwer, Bradley, Alzner, Varlamov.
We’ll update this post with each development relevant to the Caps, and you can share your panic-struck ravings in the comments.
It looks like six more years of high-fives and tire changes are on tap. (Photo credit: Chris Gordon)
As all of you Brooks Laich fans kept hitting refresh instead of working Tuesday morning, the Capitals announced that the soon to be unrestricted free agent had re-signed with the team to the tune of six years and $27 million.
“There was never a serious consideration to go anywhere else,” Laich said. “The main core of this team is very young and if you can keep that together, you’re looking at a chance to win a championship for potently the next 10 years, rather than just a window of two to three years. That was a great motivator to get me re-signed.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov poses with George McPhee and Ross Mahoney (Photo: Bruce Bennett)
Each off-season I catch up on my reading. I alternate between a Bill James’ Abstract (I have 1984-1989 to get through); something music related (currently Straight Edge: Clean-Living Youth, Hardcore Punk, And Social Change and Precious Metal: Decibel Presents the Stories Behind 25 Extreme Metal Masterpieces); and one or two hockey books– including the new one called The Art of Scouting, which “delves into the secretive world of hockey prospecting.”
After only eleven pages, I got struck by what the authors claim is the consensus of a successful draft, summarized by Mike Futa, co-director of amateur scouting for the Los Angeles Kings:
“It’s the only job where you can be right 15 percent of the time and be ruled a Hall of Famer for success, You are going to be wrong 85 or 80 percent of the time, and if you hit on 2.5 home runs every Draft, you are par with some of the best scouts ever.”
Two NHLers out of seven players drafted, assuming no trades are made, seems like a low bar, so I decided to see how the George McPhee era has done in regards to scouting.
McPhee joined the Capitals in 1997, so the first draft we can attribute to him is in 1998. Since it takes about five years for a prospect to develop, we will look at his draft record from 1998-2006. Let’s consider a prospect a success if he has played in at least 200 games at the NHL level. That gives him five years of 40 games played to qualify.
Spoiler: The results are not great.
A happier time. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)
Less than a day after the Caps dropped their second game of the series to Tampa Bay, Bruce Boudreau was asked to assess the state of his club:
Mike Green: picking the right time to play the best hockey of his life.
Shut the book on the quarterfinal series between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals. In just five (not that short) games, the Caps sent the Rangers to an early vacation and a hot shave. This is the first Caps playoff series since the lockout (and the first of Bruce Boudreau’s career) that has not gone to a full seven games.
For the first time in the series, a goal was scored in the first period. While on the powerplay, Mike Green caught his own rebound and used Dan Girardi as a backboard for the game’s first score. Scott Hannan stretched a pass to Alex Ovechkin in the second, who then beat Henrik Lundqvist on the backhand. Alex Semin’s one-timer off Marcus Johansson made the score 3-0, which should have been the final. But then this happened:
About a minute later, Wojtek Wolski finally got one past Michal Neuvirth. Oh well. Caps beat Rangers 3-1. Series score: 4-1. The Capitals advance to the next round, but first comes a few days of well deserved rest.
Ovechpunch! Ovechpunch! (Photo credit: Jim McIsaac)
On Wednesday, the Washington Capitals will take on the New York Rangers in Game One of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. The Caps haven’t faired well against New York this season, losing three out of four regular season games including 6-0 and 7-0 shutouts. In fact, the 7-0 shutout was so bad, Alex Ovechkin found it necessary to fight. However, that was then. This is now. Let’s take a look at the numbers to preview what should be an interesting matchup.
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