Photo credit: Marianne Helm
Bruce Boudreau became head coach of the Washington Capitals around Thanksgiving 2007. He turned around a losing season, made the playoffs, and sported a winning record ever since. From then on, the Capitals have consistently won the Southeast Division– if not the Eastern Conference or Presidents’ Trophy.
But the Capitals have not lasted long in the playoffs, and their last two seasons have been plagued by dramatic losing streaks. After last night’s rout at the petioles of the Maple Leafs, General Manager George McPhee declined to comment when asked for a vote of confidence for his head coach. And now, on Sunday afternoon– when we’re all surely glued to the Redskins game– the Internet is atwitter with talk of Bruce Boudreau’s future.
Photo credit: Orange County Register
Teemu Selanne is one of the greatest hockey players ever to lace up skates. His 642 career goals rank him in 12th place of all time. He’s led the league in goal-scoring three times during his career, and he won the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
Put simply, the man knows how to score goals and win games. So when Teemu started talking about Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin with Alisa Volbidaht of Sovetsky Sport, we paid attention.
During the long Q/A, the Finnish Flash gives his opinion on Ovi’s recent “benching,” what the Great Eight needs to do to regain his scoring touch of years’ past, and who he thinks will win the Rocket Richard trophy.
The interview, published in Wednesday’s issue of the Sovetsky Sport newspaper, is translated below by RMNB’s Fedor Fedin.
NOT PICTURED: Officials Stephane Auger and Dan O’Halloran acknowledge the crowd after being named the first stars of the night. (Photo credit: Andy Devlin)
It was a ridiculous night in sports: Winnipeg beat the Flyers 9-8, P.K. Subban dropped the gloves (and almost kayoes himself), and David Freese of the St. Louis Cardinals hit a walk-off homer to force a Game 7 in the World Series.
So when the Capitals were whistled for NINE penalties in two periods of play (four in the first, five in the second), it kinda went with the theme of the evening. One of those penalties, a Troy Brouwer hook, led to Edmonton’s game-winning goal. Goodbye, 82-0 season. Haha.
“You have to adjust when you’re out there,” a remarkably calm Bruce Boudreau explained after the game. “You have to know who the ref is. If they’re calling it loose… okay. But if they’re calling every little thing, it’s up to the players to be able to adjust to it. In the rulebook, they’re penalties. Some people call it. Some people don’t. You get to know pretty early if they’re calling it and who’s going to call what.”
Sure, I guess. Well, with the power of photo and video, let’s take a closer look at some of Auger and O’Halloran’s — um, brilliant — work from last night.
Alex Ovechkin stands next to 12-year-old cancer survivor Anthony Holley during the national anthem. (Photo credit: Ned Dishman)
Cancer affects millions of people every year and is truly an awful disease. So on Saturday night, while the boys in red battled the Detroit Red Wings, the Caps held Hockey Fights Cancer Night, joining in a league-wide program to raise money for cancer research and treatment. During warm-ups, the team wore special jerseys with Hockey Fights Cancer patches and lavender outlining around the names and numbers, representing the official color of the initiative. The sweaters, which were signed by their respective player, were then auctioned off to fans at the community relations booth.
Vokoun shuts the door in the shootout. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)
This certainly wasn’t what Tomas Vokoun had in mind for his first game as a Washington Capital. Five goals. Bronx cheers. And, surprisingly, a win.
“It just shows how strong this team is,” Vokoun told reporters after Monday’s 6-5 shootout victory. “They literally won today without goaltending. So what can I say? … It was just ugly, ugly, ugly game for me.”
“It’s the first game, obviously you want to leave a good impression for the fans and everything,” he continued. “Couldn’t tell you the last time I remember having as bad a game as I did tonight. But we won the game, certainly not thanks to me. The team play great. I think it shows a lot of character, guys battle, came back four times. I’m going to make a promise I’m going to get them back sometime when they’re going to need me.”
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.
Photo credit: Toni L. Sandys of the Washington Post
Editor’s note: To get you properly revved up for the season, each member of the RMNB crew will take a longing look back at some of our favorite goals from days gone by. You can call it nostalgia or cheap summer content, but it’s really a reminder: WINTER IS COMING.
Seeing a Steve Konowalchuk hat trick live with my dad and brother made me fall in love with hockey. Joe Juneau’s jamshot past Dominik Hasek made me wildly jump up and down as a teenager. But Alex Ovechkin’s first career playoff tally is my all-time favorite NHL goal.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
Over the summer, General Manager George McPhee started snatching players like a rabid mom snatching groceries on Supermarket Sweeps. In are gritty NHL veterans like Joel Ward, Roman Hamrlik, and Jeff Halpern. Out are fan-favorites like Matt Bradley and Boyd Gordon.
Beyond the discounted signing of Tomas Vokoun, there may have been no better addition to the line-up than the Draft-night trade McPhee swung with the Chicago Blackhawks in which he landed Troy Brouwer for a first-round pick. Brouwer, who signed an affordable two-year deal worth $2,350,000 per year on July 6, was part of the Blackhawks’ 2010 Stanley Cup Champion squad and is known in part for his physical, hard-hitting game. The 26-year-old right wing has also been a proven scorer at every level he’s played, tallying 20 goals in the NHL, 40-plus goals in the AHL, and 100-plus points in Juniors.
So with Opening Night only a few days away, what can Caps fans reasonably expect offensively from Brouwer? Also, how about some bizarre facts about Troy that only RMNB can dig up? Follow me past the jump to find out.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon
On Saturday, the Washington Capitals hosted their third annual Capitals Convention. A sold-out crowd of over 6,000 fans descended on the spacious confines of the Walter E. Washington Convention Center to get autographs, pose for photos, and have questions answered by their favorite players.
Ted Leonsis, a mastermind behind the yearly event, was ecstatic for the turn-out. “That we’re able to sell out everything we touch really shows how wonderful the fan support is and my goal is to build a team as good as our fan base,” he said.
And really. What’s not to love? There were so many great moments. A few of our favorites: the Knuble’s Knights got knighted by GM George McPhee, Brooks Laich’s mom Jane participated in “The Support it Takes to Make it to the NHL” panel, and Braden Holtby and Jay Beagle played floor hockey with some kids. And oh yeah, this too.
“Hockey players are so approachable,” Bruce Boudreau said. “They could be walking amongst [the crowd] and they’ll sit down and talk to you. I think it means a lot to [the fans] that they are so human.”
Below are my pictures of from the day including Alex Ovechkin giving out some free hugs, Mike Green signing a baby, and a lot of smiling players — and when I mean a lot, I’m talking some sort of world record.
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