On November 12, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Check out Alex Ovechkin’s buzzcut (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
The Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets are division rivals now. Seeing as the last fifteen years of Caps rivalries in Southeast were pretty mild, that doesn’t mean much. Lumbus at Washington got off to a sleepy start, and by the time the pace picked up the Caps were already behind on the scoreboard. Some late-game dramatics from the summertime surprise we call Grabo got the Caps into overtime, where the Captain did his thing. You know how it is.
The first period happened and then it was over. I don’t remember much about it frankly.
The Capitals surrendered a shorty goal in the second as Troy Brouwer coughed up the puck to Brandon Dubinsky, who eluded Holtby’s poke check. Then Martin Erat fenced off the Lumbus D to set up John Carlson for a layup: tie game.
The Caps got their own shorty in the third when Joel Ward snatched up a hardaround and beat Bob. Lumbus locked it up at two as Jared Boll tapped in a long bomb. Mike Green and the top line gave Cam Atkinson a breakaway to take the lead, but Mikhail Grabovski tied it up using the mystical art of awesomesauce.
And then Ovi won it in overtime by crashing the goddamn net. Because he’s Ovi.
On October 19, 2013, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
Happy times! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Finishing up their longest home stand of the season, the Washington Capitals took on new look (!) Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday. Facing a bunch of weak teams, the Caps didn’t do well in their last four games of their five game set at Verizon Center, posting a record of 1-3 and falling to 2-5 overall. Yesterday, Adam Oates had enough and went all “Screw everything! YOLO!” on the lines. Erat to the second! Fehr on the fourth! Grabo on the third! Other things! Par-ty!
No offense in the first frame. In the second, though, power play powerhouse Joel Ward rifled one top shelf on Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Caps the lead. Washington added to it about six minutes later when Brooks Laich popped in the rebound after Steve Oleksy’s inexplicably fancy stick work. The Caps took it home in the third with tallies from Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin. Garbage goal for Artem Anisimov late. Wee! Caps top Jackets 4-1.
We hear LA is looking for shots. Too bad they didn’t specify which kind!
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie , Jeff Carter has been traded to the LA Kings for Jack Johnson and a first-round pick. Puzzlingly, stellar backup Jonathan Bernier was not a part of this deal, even though he was reportedly offered, and Columbus’s goalie situation remains in question.
LA will be taking on Carter’s $5,272,727 cap hit approximately until the sun burns out, and will be looking for Carter to jumpstart their struggling offense. CBJ will be getting folk rock singer defenseman Jack Johnson in return at a cap hit of $4,357,143, which presumably is the kind of young D they were looking for to rebuild their blueline for the future.
This trade will also reunite the walking Axe Body Spray commercial that is Jeff Carter and his longtime teammate Mike Richards, which apparently seemed like a good idea to someone today. Look for widespread shortages in Ed Hardy products to sweep through the LA area.
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the Columbus Blue Jackets have traded center Antoine Vermette to the Phoenix Coyotes for goalie Curtis McElhinney, a 2012 second-round and a 2013 fifth-round draft pick.
Vermette has a cap hit of $3,750,000 and had been projected as a possible option for the Caps themselves, likely because he has a pulse and the letter “C” in his player bio, but we’d remind you that there is certainly another center on the Blue Jackets that seems to be very much up for grabs. Vermette will instead now be providing center depth to a team filling holes for the postseason, while Columbus will presumably gain some breathing room in net from the acquisition of McBackup McElhinney.
We don’t want to jump to conclusions, but this may be an indication that the Blue Jackets aren’t going to try to make a run for the playoffs this year.
On December 31, 2011, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Jamie Sabau
Everyone always has such lofty expectations for New Years Eve. It’s supposed to be a climax, the culmination of the year,whatever. But it’s usually such a letdown, like most of tonight’s battle between the Washington Capitals and league-worst Columbus Blue Jackets. The Caps were disinterested and the Jackets were frustrating until the third act, when Washington injected some drama into the proceedings.
Despite a late flurry from Columbus, the Caps ended the first period unscathed. They weren’t so lucky in the second, as John Moore and Sammy Pahlsson both struck for goals. Alex Ovechkin got one back in the third, finishing off a long sequence in the Columbus zone. Alex Semin tied it up with a lovely lob under the bar. Dennis Wideman got the go-ahead just a few seconds later. Ovechkin converted on a power play.
Risking dropping their second straight game to a sub-par team, the Washington Capitals were rescued by none other than Jason Chimera, a healthy scratch just a game ago.
For Chimera it was sweet redemption and “especially nice” that it came against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Despite the win, victory wasn’t easy for Washington with sloppy play plaguing the Caps throughout the night.
“We did not do a very good job tonight,” veteran center Jason Arnott said. “There were a lot of bouncing pucks, a lot of nonchalant plays that we don’t normally make … We have to clean up our own zone, it starts tomorrow with the video, and try to correct it and come up with a better effort to back our goaltender up.”
Head Coach Bruce Boudreau seemed to agree Arnott’s view that the Capitals must play better in front of young netminder Michal Neuvirth.
We’ve dwindled down to the final five games of the season, but despite the doldrums, the Capitals showed up to play tonight. Even if most of the viewing audience was busied with the NCAA basketball tournament, this rare meeting of the Washington Capitals and the Columbus Blue Jackets was solid hockey. Columbus came out extremely hard, seemingly ignorant of the fact that the team was gutted at the trade deadline, their head coach has been fired, key players are hurt and the team is 12 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot.
The “Blazers” as Joe Beninatii constantly referred to them as, had odd man rushes all night long, but failed to convert almost every time because of solid goaltending from Jose Theodore or generally poor execution. Columbus’ wealth of penalties seemed to doom any chance for them to reach a crucial early lead. And despite the Capitals giving up a third period tally – which forced Bruce Boudreau to call a timeout and have an expletive-filled dress down of the team – the Blue Jackets could not force Overtime. Thus leading to the Capitals making history.
Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina in a Blue Jackets Uniform. Weird.
The Washington Capitals made a trade this week, picking up Jason Chimera from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Chris Clark and Milan Jurcina. Given that I spent all weekend putting together a spreadsheet trying to approximate the Goals Versus Threshold that Puck Prospectus uses to give an idea of a player’s contributions, I thought it would be a good time to put it to use. I wasn’t able to match their GVT exactly, but I got close enough to make the thing potentially viable.
First, on what GVT is:
“To explain in terms already familiar to sports statisticians, GVT is very similar to VORP in baseball: it is the value of a player, in goals, above what a replacement player would have contributed. The fact that GVT is measured in goals is crucial: statistics that divide up “Win Shares”, so that the ratings of a team’s players sum to that team’s number of wins, are very erratic and non-linear, since wins don’t increase or decrease linearly with team caliber. While hockey is ultimately about winning or losing, players’ contributions always come down to scoring goals and preventing them. A player cannot “win” a game, even though he may be put in a situation where scoring a goal or making a key save would create or conserve a win. Each player’s role, no matter his position, is to try and increase the goal differential in favor of his team. An offensive player who scores a hat trick only to see his teammates allow 4 goals against has nevertheless done his job; a goaltender who stops 39 of 40 shots only to lose 1-0 has likewise performed well. Using this standard, all players can be compared by the same yardstick: how much did they help (or harm) their team’s goal differential?…
GVT is measured in goals. This makes it a convenient unit that hockey fans are already comfortable with.
GVT compares hockey players of all positions and over any period of time.
GVT only uses statistics that lead directly to goals. You cannot incorporate goaltender wins into GVT, because they are not a measurement of goals prevented. However, if you can rationally explain what are the odds of a faceoff win (or loss) leading to a goal or goal against, it would be possible to incorporate faceoff wins and losses into GVT, though I have not done so.
GVT has built-in accounting. The sum of player GVTs on a team equals that team’s GVT plus the replacement level. This is essential, as player statistics often come with caveats. “Kovalchuk scored 43 goals, but he doesn’t play defense and his team isn’t good”. This makes it much easier to measure “how good would this team be replacing player A with player B?” It is also essential in that player success is correlated with team success, which after all is the entire point of the sport.
GVT automatically normalizes for the strength of the league…
GVT does not measure a player’s talent. The statistic measures a player’s contribution to his team’s goal differential. A goaltender that faces zero shots will have a value of zero, regardless of whether he is Patrick Roy or Andrew Raycroft. Likewise, a player that is injured or gets little ice time will see his GVT reduced accordingly. It also does not take into account environment: a player will score more with better linemates, and I make no attempt to adjust for that…
GVT does not measure intangibles. Things like leadership do exist in hockey, and they do help to make your teammates better. However, there is no way to measure this through statistics, and any attempt to quantify it is futile. In effect, we are not trying to see what information is “hidden” in the statistics; we are simply trying to better characterize the information that is at hand”