Before the Capitals had another one of those games against the Flyers on Wednesday night, Mike Vogel interviewed Brooks Laich following the morning skate. With the trade deadline fast approaching, things were very tense. Very serious. And then Nicklas Backstrom made a cameo.
On Saturday, it was reported (why is this reported?) that Julianne Hough had flown to Washington D.C. This is the world we live in.
Well, sure enough, Verizon Center got a bit more Hollywood on Sunday as Hough was spotted taking in the Caps game against the Flyers to root on her boyfriend Brooks Laich.
Photo: Daily Mail
Editors’ note: No, we won’t be writing endless stories about the Brooks Laich-Julianne Hough (Brough? Broolianne?) romance, but we hope you’ll agree that it’s notable how the international celebrity press has turned its gaze towards a usually shy Caps player.
When paparazzi photos first surfaced of Brooks Laich, the Caps’ resident heartthrob, with Julianne Hough, As Seen on TV, the initial reaction was something along the lines of lol how. In his weekly hit with 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies, Brooks tried to alleviate your lol hows.
“To be honest, I had never seen an episode of Dancing With The Stars,” Laich said in an somewhat awkward interview with the station, referring to Julianne’s role on the program. “But in my defense, she had never seen a Caps game either until she met Teddy.”
Moar jokes from these two!
Before the Washington Capitals left for Olympic break, I asked the non-Olympian players what their predictions were for Sochi. That was great, but I also asked them where they were going on vacation.
Some players were heading home, some were heading back to Hershey, and then others — whom I will not name — might have fibbed a bit about where they were actually going.
Check it out.
A website I never visit, Just Jared, tells me that a woman I know nothing about, Julianne Hough, is now dating Caps forward Brooks Laich. Yeah. The former cover model for Shy Magazine, which is an actual magazine, now has a famous person of some kind for a girlfriend.
They’re a ludicrously attractive couple. Looking at these pictures is gonna make you want to do some ab crunches.
Before Saturday’s game, I visited Kettler Capitals Iceplex and asked players for their Olympic picks. With the Caps sending five players to Sochi (Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Martin Erat, and John Carlson), I wondered where Washington’s non-Olympians would place their allegiances.
I figured that since the RMNB staff was able to put its own biases aside when we made our predictions, maybe the players would do the same and maybe even offer some hardcore, dispassionate hockey analysis.
Nope. Not even a little.
The hit that injuried Green. (Photo: Jamie Sabau)
Injuries could sink the Washington Capitals. Just as they started to bounce back from the seven game losing streak, three players have been forced from the lineup.
First, Mikhail Grabovski twisted his ankle when he was hauled down in the crease. There’s no timetable for his return and he isn’t traveling with the team.
Next, Mike Green got hit up high by Boone Jenner in the second period on Thursday. Green’s head was slammed violently into the end boards. He appeared shaken and didn’t return to the game. Green missed Friday’s contest in Detroit.
Finally, Brooks Laich was shut down in the third period on Friday after his groin “was getting a little tight,” according to head coach Adam Oates. That’s bad news for Brooks, who missed almost all of last season with the injury. The forward claimed they had finally found the cause, but after missed practices and now missed game time, that’s clearly not the case.
Photo: Scott Levy
Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the league’s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.
After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.
On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.
The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlov to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.
Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates has been searching for five-on-five production all season. While Alex Ovechkin has thrived, other members of top six have been less consistent. After the first period on Tuesday, Oates had a new iteration for the first two lines: Eric Fehr-Nicklas Backstrom-Troy Brouwer and Brooks Laich-Mikahil Grabovksi-Alex Ovechkin.
“We haven’t scored a lot of goals the last couple games and he’s looking for a spark,” Laich told me of Oates’s change. “Our line had a couple of good chances.”
After the Washington Capitals’ morning skate at the Xcel Energy Center, several players had a chance to meet Jack Jablonski, the now 18-year-old Minnesotan who was paralyzed after being hit from behind during a high school hockey game.
Instead of becoming a sob story, Jablonski has become an inspirational figure in hockey. Here’s his story, beautifully told by ESPN 360.