justin-peters-signs-with-caps

Photo: Grant Halverson

Around 12:30 PM, the Washington Capitals made their first splash into free agency, signing a minor yet potentially important player. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters has signed a two-year, $1.9 million deal, worth an annual average salary of $950K.

Peters, drafted 34th overall by the Hurricanes in 2004, will likely be the back-up for Braden Holtby. Peters played in the AHL before earning a call-up. He proved himself a solid goaltender as Cam Ward struggled with injury.

Peters is a notorious Caps-killer, posting a 4-3 record with a 1.67 GAA, .938 SV%, and two shutouts in seven career games against his new team.

Simply put: Peters is a solid goalie who can handle a potentially larger role if necessary. And he comes at a good price.

This move also signifies that Capitals prospect goalie, Philipp Grubauer will now be relegated to AHL Hershey and have to play out of his mind to force his way to the NHL.

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Trotz MacLellan (11 of 13)

Photos by Chris Gordon

Early Monday, the Washington Capitals announced that they had promoted Ross Mahoney, who has been the Caps’ director of amateur scouting for the past 16 seasons, to the vacant assistant general manager position.

At 1pm, Caps GM Brian MacLellan held a conference call with reporters to talk about Mahoney’s promotion, but the discussion quickly turned to everything else.

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braden-holtby-washingtonian

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby made a cameo in the latest issue of Washingtonian Magazine. In it, The Holtbeast explains where he feeds and where he, his wife, and fellow Holtbabies reside. I always assumed it was a cave-like dwelling, covered by brush and leaves, but apparently it is not.

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braden-holtby

On Wednesday night, Braden Holtby‘s father Greg announced awesome news on Twitter: Braden and his wife Brandi welcomed their second child into the world, a girl named Belle Scarlett Holtby. The B names continue!

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Should the Washington Capitals Sign Ryan Miller?

After extending Brian Elliott on Monday, the St. Louis Blues appear unlikely to sign UFA goalie Ryan Miller. Miller, you recall, spent his entire career with Buffalo up until the 2014 trade deadline, when he jumped to St. Louis. Miller put up a .903 save percentage with the Blues over 19 games. I guess that was all Doug Armstrong needed to see.

Now, once again, we face an interesting question: should the Capitals sign Miller? Do they need stability in net before they can jumpstart their offense? Would an injection of experience even out a weary defense? Can he make the big saves in big games, which are definitely more important than the small saves in minuscule games.

Let’s weigh the matter carefully.

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Braden Holtby: 2013-14 Season Review

The once and future franchise goalie, Braden Holtby might’ve suffered the Oates Effect worse than anyone else. But doesn’t that mean he’ll rebound higher than anyone else next season? Yes. Yes, it does. I think.

By the Numbers

48 Games played
93.0% 5v5 save percentage
1107 5v5 shots faced
2.8 Goal support per sixty minutes
86.8% Shorthanded save percentage
235 Shots faced while shorthanded

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The Micromanager: Adam Oates’s Downfall

Breakdown Day (12 of 12)

Gone. (Photo: Chris Gordon)

Adam Oates is a smart man. After going undrafted out of college, he turned into a Hall of Fame player. It wasn’t his skill that made him an NHL success, but his elite ability to notice things other people didn’t. Oates had a coaching mind in a player’s body.

“If Adam notices something in a game, he adjusts right away,” Ron Wilson, then the Caps coach, told SI in 2001. “Even if it’s only how somebody is holding his stick. He takes the information, processes it, and puts it to use. The thing about Adam is that he assimilates a lot of stuff at once. Most guys might see one or two things, and the rest is a blur.”

However, years later, when Oates became head coach of the Capitals, that obsession with improving individual players would undermine the team as a whole.

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backstrom_nicklas

Despite not making the playoffs, a lot of Washington Capitals players still have some hockey left to play. Last week, Caps captain Alex Ovechkin announced that Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, and he will be representing Team Russia in the 2014 World Championships happening in Minsk, Belarus.

But what of the Caps’ Swedes? After winning a silver medal in Sochi, Marcus Johansson will likely not represent his home country due to a broken arm. On Thursday, Pär Mårts, Sweden’s national team coach, told Svenska Dagbladet that Nicklas Backstrom has turned down an invitation to play in the tournament this year.

When asked why, Mårts said Backstrom won’t be playing “for family reasons.”

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obi-speaks

Photo: Chris Gordon

On Monday, the Washington Capitals held Breakdown Day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. For two hours, Caps players filed out of the locker room and conducted exit interviews with the media. Because of the whole no playoffs thing, there were a lot of long faces.

There’s about three hours of interview video to surf though on Monumental Network. Because I hate myself and care only about you, dear reader, I’ve transcribed all the key quotes. And because this is RMNB, I also pointed out the fashion choices. Sadly, there was no crazy hair this year.

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Off to the Golf Course: Caps Breakdown Day in Photos

Breakdown Day (6 of 12)

NHL plus-minus spokesman and hair model Alex Ovechkin speaks for the final time this year. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Monday was an odd day at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. We entered the day expecting to Adam Oates and George McPhee shed some light of their respective fates — or at least try to defend their time here.

Instead, we got an awkward stand-off with reporters. Within minutes of a spokesman announcing that McPhee would not be meeting the media, the general manager walked out to an area clearly visible to reporters. He chose to hold court with Connor Carrick in front of the entire Capitals press corps before reiterating that he would not speak today.

McPhee’s job — if he doesn’t leave of his own volition — is now in the hands Caps owner Ted Leonsis, who has never fired a general manager.

There were, however, other things that happened at Kettler on Monday: Jay Beagle got asked what he thought of Jay Beagle centering Alex Ovechkin, Dustin Penner ignored reporters to play with his phone, and Brooks Laich said that he really, really, really believes he’s healthy again.

Below, take a look at some of my photos from the day.

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