“Killer” Turnovers Cost Caps Victory Over Red Wings

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

For the last few games, Washington’s offense has been lacking. Alex Ovechkin has struggled to score — going five games without a goal — while the rest of the lines have struggled to click as Barry Trotz’s looks for line combinations that will gel. On Wednesday, they got the offense. Washington clearly outclassed the Red Wings but made a few inexplicable mistakes. They hurt.

“They’re not playing overly poor,” Trotz said after the game. “You’ve just got to put your nose to the grindstone and plow through it.”

“Every turnover we did have ended up in the back of the net a little bit,” he added.

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Tonight, the Washington Capitals are on national TV and you know what that means: everybody’s favorite bald commentator is inside the glass! At the beginning of the telecast, Pierre McGuire, the Emmy award winning analyst, talked about the Caps new defensive additions during the offseason: Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

Except, that’s not exactly what he said.

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Photo: @RegressedPDO

Over the offeseason, the Washington Capitals backed up a Brinks truck to Brooks Oprik’s driveway because of his physical game. So far this season, Orpik has delivered. On opening night, CSN Washington called the former Penguin the player of the game for all his big body checks. And Saturday night in Calgary, Orpik went on a hitting bonanza.

Orpik led all skaters with 10 hits. Late in the second period, the Caps defenseman made professional hockey player Josh Jooris wish he were a Mexico City sewer diver instead.

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I’m always looking for reasons to fall in love with this team. One email in particular gave me fuzzy feelings this week.

Marissa R. took her son and his friend to Kettler Capitals Iceplex to watch a morning skate. Afterwards, they ran into new Caps Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.

It was a notable experience for a few reasons, but look at what Orpik is wearing. Someone’s been shopping.

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Photo: @trilljester

San Jose Sharks enforcer John Scott is probably one of the worst hockey players in the league. The 6’8″ left wing plays in the NHL only because of the traits he shares with a grizzly bear, except on the ice. Remember that one time Phil Kessel wielded his stick like a three musketeer? It was because Scott — who was playing for the Sabres at the time — was trying to send the Maple Leafs a message by trying to fight their best player.

San Jose Sharks coach Todd McLellan gave that his first sweater of the season on Tuesday. And he scored. On Brooks Orpik. Easily.

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Photo: Geoff Burke

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.

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Six Capitals Predictions to Warm Your Heart

The Caps last played meaningful hockey on April 13th. Here’s what I wrote in that game recap:

…this is the end of this. Whatever’s next, it won’t ever feel like this again. The roster, the coaches, the front office– the sword of Damocles looms above them all. A shining new era is tip-toeing nearer.

And then everything changed. New coach, new system, new GM, new defense, new forwards, and I think I saw a few new gray hairs on Ovi’s head. The tumult of the last six months has been discomforting for some, but I’m excited.

I bet I can get you excited too. Lemme try.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

With the final preseason game in the books for the Capitals, the team’s opening night line-up is shaping up: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Eric Fehr will be on the top line. Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer will man the second. Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, and Joel Ward will be on the third. The fourth line looks set, though scrappy free-agree invitee Liam O’Brien looks to have earned his way into a contract with Hershey or a two-way deal. Michael Latta, though, appears ready to play alongside Evgeny Kuznetsov and Chris Brown on the fourth line. That might change when Jay Beagle comes back from injury.

“That would be a question for Mac[Lellan],” Trotz said of O’Brien. “He’s been as good as anybody especially in that role.”

“He’s a player that demanded to be noticed,” the coach added.

19-year-old rookie Andre Burakovsky appears to have also made the team, beating top prospect Kuznetsov to center the team’s second line. At least initially.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

I doubt I’ll ever understand the Brooks Orpik contract, but I promise you I’m going to go into the season looking for any reason to fall in love with him, Pittsburgh shirts or no. He’s our guy now.

But I just read a profile on the new Caps defenseman, and I am in that unhappy place again.

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Photo: @Crosby2787

On Sunday night, the Pensblog published a post titled ORPIK WEARING 412 T-SHIRT IN WASHINGTONI didn’t know what 412 was, so I hit up the googles.

Fouronetwo, named for the Pittsburgh area code, is an activewear brand from Pittsburgh. It’s all about Pittsburgh sports pride.

For a player making his first impression to Washington sports fans, Brooks Orpik wearing a shirt specifically touting Pittsburgh sports was a curious choice.

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