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James Dean day dream. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

When Barry Trotz took over, some fans were afraid the Capitals would switch to a tight checking, boring style of play, wringing the joy out of watching players like Alex Ovechkin. Far from it. Tonight, Ovechkin was nominated for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the league’s Most Valuable Player award, for the fifth time, having won the award three times before. Though at the tail end of his 20s, Ovechkin has continued to be league’s premier sniper. He ran away with NHL’s goal scoring race by over 10 goals, netting 53 tallies on his way to his third consecutive Rocket Richard Trophy. Ovechkin also finished fourth in the league in points while his 25 power play goals provided the cornerstone for the NHL’s best man advantage unit.

The Hart Trophy is voted on at the end of the regular season by members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, with the winners to be announced at the Las Vegas Awards ceremony after the season. The other Hart nominees were Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens and John Tavares of the New York Islanders.

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Alex Ovechkin Scores on Carey Price Again (GIF)

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Photo: Francois Lacasse

If there ever was any doubt on who should win the MVP this year, that discussion is now closed. Alex Ovechkin scored a second goal on Carey Price. (See his first here.) This time it came on a perfectly placed rebound, low to the ice.

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Photo: @WashCaps

Alex Ovechkin is the Washington Capitals’ all-time goal-scoring leader.

With a power-play snipe to beat Carey Price in the second period of Thursday’s Canadiens game, Alex Ovechkin scored his 473rd goal as a Capital, finally passing the great Peter Bondra.

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By the end of Saturday’s game against the Caps, Canadiens goaltender Carey Price hadn’t let in a goal since Tuesday, a shutout streak of 153:03. While Price was unbelievable against Washington, he proved the old adage that you have to be good to be lucky and lucky to be good.

During the second period, the Caps rang the pipe three times, including twice in a span of 16 seconds. Joel Ward hit it first just 56 seconds into the period. Then, during a power play, Evgeny Kuznetsov sent a cross-crease pass to Alex Ovechkin who clanged a one-timer off the right post. Immediately after that, John Carlson would ring a shot off the left post.

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Not Alex Ovechkin. (Pic via capitals.com)

For those of you who like the All-Star Game, good news: this game was just as loose and ridiculous as you could have possibly dreamed. For those of you who dislike the All-Star Game, good news: it’s over.

We return to real hockey on Tuesday and thank goodness for that, but it was a nice weekend of rest for most of our team, and a nice weekend of dumb, mindless spectacle for hockey fans. I expect to see the rest of the Caps come back with suntans, and Dennis Wideman to come back with a smile on his face. As silly as most of the actual events of the weekend are, recognition is and always will be one of the best feelings in the world, especially for a guy like Wideman that rarely gets what he deserves.

It’s still official Dennis Wideman Day for the rest of Sunday, and then after that you can go back to your regularly scheduled Caps fandom.

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Montreal Canadiens Pregame: Habs Farce?

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys offers this game preview. @PuckBuddys.

[Ed. note: for coverage of Rene Bourque, uhhh… check out RMNB on Wednesday morning.]

The Pregame: Fun game! Everyone from a malfunctioning family, raise your hand. Or, if you’re in a public place, just give a little squee inside. Yeah, we thought so. Show me the person who says their family is perfectly normal and I’ll show you a glue-sniffing, trick-turning, psychopathic cat hoarder. You know: like [fill in hated politician here] Oh, biting wit!

And speaking of glue-sniffing (bet you thought it’d be sociopathy), we come to Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Les Habitants. You know: the Baldwin family of contemporary hockey. Or should that be the Donner Party? Either way, they eat their own to the amusement of all.

Oh you bet, we’ve all had a hearty laugh – a long, hard laugh – at the goonish antics of our Quebecois neighbors of late. Like watching the Spuckler family argument spill out onto the un-mowed back lawn, hurling rotting plastic chairs at one another as they jockey for “superiority” amid the weeds and used Timmy Hos coffee cups. Too much back bacon, eh?

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Brooks Laich congratulates Braden Holtby on his shutout

Brooks Laich gives Braden Holtby the ol’ congratulatory helmet tap. (Photo credit: Francois Lacasse)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Marco Sturm seems, let's just say, pleased with his goal. (Photo credit: Graham Hughes)

Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.

The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.

Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.

In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.

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Wednesday Webhits: The Frost King’s Links Of The Week

This week we’ve got a great example of goalie analysis, the difference in salary a player can expect depending on whether he is a restricted or unrestricted free agent, what might explain the difference in predictability and parity between the NHL and other sports (namely, the NBA), and a nice profile of the Capitals.

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