RobCarrMikeRichards

Photo: Rob Carr

When the Capitals signed Mike Richards to a $1 million, one-year contract on January 6, Washington head coach Barry Trotz forecasted that the former Flyers and Kings forward would make his debut against the Anaheim Ducks on January 22 at Verizon Center. Richards hadn’t played since last April after having his contract voided by the Los Angeles Kings over the summer.

“There’s no assurances in anything, in life,” Trotz said at the time.

But after seeing Richards quickly get his legs under him and adapt to the Capitals’ system, Trotz had Richards debut almost a week earlier than planned when he skated on Washington’s fourth line on Saturday night in Buffalo.

“I probably went into this weekend thinking maybe in the seven-, eight-minute range,” Trotz said Sunday night, referring to Richards’s ice time. “Seven to eight minutes in the first game and seven to eight minutes in the second. Probably 10 at the high end.”

Despite a 4-1 Capitals loss, Richards was fantastic on Saturday, skating over 13 minutes, including a stellar three minutes spent penalty killing. One day later, Richards skated nearly 12 minutes against the New York Rangers. He spent another three minutes on Washington’s shorthanded unit, which was perfect in four opportunities.

“What you see is how competitive he is,” said Trotz. “You can skate all you want in practice, but when the game is happening there’s a fire inside that young man.”

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Buffaloed: Sabres Beat Caps 4-1

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Sometimes you have one of those days. Sometimes you leave your backpack at Lindsey Graham’s office and then get the flu and have to have your mom pick it up three days later. Sometimes you get killed by the Buffalo Sabres. It happens.

Let’s go through the torture, because you know you want to.

Some lazy work in the offensive zone by the second line and the Schmidt-Orlov pair led to a wide open shot shot from the point and a rebound tally from fringe player Phil Varone. Exactly five and a half minutes later, Tim Schiller extended Buffalo’s lead after Orlov bumbled the puck like every conversation you try to have on Tinder.

In the second, Evander Kane added to Buffalo’s lead with a puck that trickled past Braden Holtby, leading to the mountain man’s premature exit. Cody Franson added a soft PPG later in the frame, but really who cares?

Marcus Johansson kept comeback hopes alive with a third period tally, but the Sabres squashed that pretty quickly. Sabres beat Caps 4-1.

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Caps at Sabres Pregame: Mike Richards Is In

Photo: Amanda Bowen

I used to like the Sabres. I thought, hey, they’re on the upswing, they’re young and resurgent, they’ve got a good coach and a good fanbase, which includes our own Amanda Bowen.

But then those last two games happened. The Caps beat the Sabres twice in back-to-back games at the end of 2015, but those were testy games with bad hits and facepunches. I did not like those games, even though the Caps won both with a combined score of 7-2.

Let’s see if Buffalo still remembers those twin embarrassments. Caps at Sabres tonight at 7 PM on CSN-Plus. Mike Richards is in the lineup. Chris Gordon has your recap.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 33-7-3 52.0% 102.3 26.1% 85.0%
Buffalo Sabres 17-23-4 46.5% 98.7 19.4% 77.5%

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Caps-Sabres

Photo: Patrick Smith

The Capitals won their ninth game in a row beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-2 at Verizon Center on Wednesday night. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals to take his career total to 495 NHL goals, as Justin Williams, Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky completed the scoring.

One last thing. One thing you guys might not know about me is that I am a Caps fan living in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales. There’s a different language some speak here, which is Welsh. So I just wanted to say:

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i chi gyd. Gan ddumuno iechyd a hapusrwydd i chi yn 2016!

:)

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How We Play Hockey in Russia: Caps Beat Sabres 5-2

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Photo: Patrick Smith

“I, for one, hope the Caps expend effort only on being the better hockey team. I don’t care about “the code” and I don’t care about sending any message other than we’re the better hockey team and we’re going to beat you.”

That was Pat’s message in the pregame, as Wednesday’s game looked poised to devolve into a fiasco after Monday’s theatrics.

But in the opening minutes, it was the Buffalo Sabres who decided that playing better hockey was the best way to win hockey game, with six unanswered shot attempts to start the game. The pressure led to the game’s opening tally, as Jack Eichel wiggled the stick on his XBOX controller before setting up Brian Gionta to beat Braden Holtby.

Soon after the Buffalo tally, the Caps put things back where they belonged, outshooting the Sabres 13-3 in the closing minutes of the frame.

In the second, the Capitals had extended zone time, a juicy power play, and plenty of great looks at the net, but Chad Johnson somehow kept them at bay. Then the Sabres netminder did something really dumb, reversing a pass to Justin Williams, who flipped the puck into the empty net. Towards the end of the frame, Braden Holtby couldn’t track the pop fly and Zemgus Girgensons whacked in the go-ahead tally.

After Nicklas Backstrom went down with an injury, Evgeny Kuznetsov returned to his old place on the TKO line. Just like that, Kuzy made magic happen from behind the net. Alex Ovechkin’s sealed the deal from in front. Tie game.

A few minutes later, Kuznetsov skated the puck in from the half way to hashmarks, allowing Marcus Johansson to deflect the game-winner. Andre Burakovsky added insurance before Ovi popped in an empty netter. This team is good. Really, really good. Caps beat Sabres 5-2!

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Caps vs Sabres Pregame: Living Well Is The Best Revenge

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The Sabres come to down on Wednesday night and the Caps only focus should be on getting two points. The Caps beat the Sabres 2-0 on Monday night. In that game, some stuff happened and some people were upset about it and some people are expecting more stuff to happen tonight. Noted face masher and sub-replacement level NHL player Zach Sill has been recalled to suit up for the guys in red.

I, for one, hope the Caps expend effort only on being the better hockey team. I don’t care about “the code” and I don’t care about sending any message other than we’re the better hockey team and we’re going to beat you.

Is this a good time to talk about how dumb fighting is? Regardless of what argument can be made for the purpose fighting serves, it doesn’t outweigh the health consequences, both short-term and long-term. You can call me anti-fighting, but I prefer to think of it as anti-brain injury or anti-CTE. My argument is that fighting in a hockey game isn’t worth dying over. I have a hard time believing there is a “yeah, but…” that can change my mind here.

Too many ex-enforcers have died prematurely or had serious health consequences as a result of fighting. The guys out on the ice, even the ones wearing the wrong colors, are fathers, brothers, husbands, sons and so on. Their families shouldn’t lose even a single day of experiences with their hockey playing loved one just because the dude bumped a goalie or whatever it is that people think we should risk brain injury to stand up against.

Play the game. Win the game. Don’t participate in activities that are likely to give you a brain injury. Puck drop’s at 7 PM. Coverage on CSN.

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GIF Recap: Caps Shut Out the Sabres For Eighth Straight Win

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Photo: Bill Wippert

The Capitals shutout the Sabres 2-0 on Monday night at First Niagara Center to record their eighth straight win. Alex Ovechkin opened the scoring with his 18th goal of the season and 493rd of his career as Jay Beagle added his 6th to complete the scoring. Braden Holtby made 31 saves including an impressive late glove save to hold on to the shutout.

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I wanted to like Monday’s opponent, the Buffalo Sabres. They’re a young team with a superstar rookie and a good coach. Amanda’s a fan and she’s got decent taste. But then a dude hurt Justin Williams and then that same dude hurt Michael Latta and then he stomped around the ice as if he needed the Hulkamaniacs to re-energize him. At that moment I decided the Capitals must crush the Sabres, which is exactly what they did.

Alex Ovechkin scored on the first shift of the second period, one-timing a pass from Nick Backstrom from below the goal-line. Jay Beagle made it 2-0 with a gift of a goal.

Caps beat Sabres 2-0! Braden Holtby is perfection!

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Caps at Sabres Pregame: Some of Y’all Might Be With This

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Photo: Maddie Meyer

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the rest of the NHL this season, the Buffalo Sabres are actually fielding a competent hockey club in 2015-16. They are a young team with some exciting players and a really good coach whom you might recognize.

The Sabres made a couple savvy trades over the Summer, picking up quality players that other teams, for one reason or another, didn’t want. They also added rookie Jack Eichel with the second overall pick. Eichel is only 19 and it’s a decent bet that he’ll be one of the top player in the league within a couple seasons.

They also have the best goal song in the NHL. More on that below. 7pm game. CSN.

Team Record Possession PDO Power Play Penalty Kill
Washington Capitals 26-6-2 51.0% 102.2 25.2% 84.5%
Buffalo Sabres 15.16.4 47.4% 98.8 20.4% 78.2%

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Uh… Caps beat Sabres Barely 4-3 (SO)

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Be honest: you saw this coming. After last night’s thrilling win over the Bruins, the Caps weren’t quite so motivated playing on the road against the league’s escape goats, the Buffalo Sabres.

Why was this even a contest? Because the Capitals are gaslighting you right now basically. They want to see you crack. Don’t let them see you crack, fan.

Jason Chimera looked particularly goat-tastic on Buffalo’s first goal, a give-and-go sequence capped off by Tyler Ennis. Curtis Glencross scored– yet again in the first period– cleaning up Matt Niskanen’s rebound during the power play. Cody Hodgson got a fluke goal off Braden Holtby’s back to give the Sabres the lead.

“…to give the Sabres the lead”

Mike Green showed tremendous patience in finding the empty 80 percent of Anders Lindback’s net in the second period, so we went into the third tied.

Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Capitals in the lead in the third period, which shouldn’t have been a big deal considering the opponent, but here we are, genuinely excited about the Caps leading the Buffalo Sabres, and even that didn’t last. Johan Larsson deflected a shot by Chad Ruhwedel, who really is an actual hockey player and not just a name you get by slamming on your keyboard like Wefwejop.

Anyway, overtime didn’t decide anything, so…

Shootout bullets!

  • Ennis did not put the biscuit in the basket
  • Kuznetsov put the biscuit in the basket with a jaunty waltz
  • Moulson did not put the biscuit in the basket
  • Backstrom did not put the biscuit in the basket
  • Whoever went last did not put the biscuit in the basket

Caps beat Sabres 4-3 in the shootout. yey they beat the sabres.

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