Screengrab via @CarrottBazooka

Since Alex Ovechkin has opted out of the All-Star Weekend (and has better things to do anyway), Dennis Wideman is now Washington’s lone representative in Ottawa. While Wideman is perhaps slightly less likely to don a hat and sunglasses and do trick shots, he’s a Capital, so we love him all the same. We’ll be covering Wideman’s foray into the glamorous life of an All-Star, so check back for updates, because let’s face it, you’re already bored without hockey.

Dennis Wideman was picked in the 15th round with the second-to-last pick that could be used on a defenseman, before only Canucks defenseman Alexander Edler. This means that we can get hipster now if we want and call him underrated. We knew Dennis Wideman when he wasn’t cool. Logan Couture was picked last overall and won a brand new caaaaarrrrr! Somehow it just wasn’t the same without Ovechkin there laughing and taking pictures.

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Brouwer celebrates the hatty! (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Coming into tonight’s game, the Capitals had scored on five of their last 12 powerplays. Meanwhile, Tampa was playing their second game in two nights on the road.

Right off the hop, Alex Ovechkin took advantage of Tampa’s tired legs, scoring on the powerplay via a blast from the point. The goal, courtesy of a screen orchestrated by Troy Brouwer’s rear, was Ovi’s 18th on the year. The Hockey Gods then rewarded Troy’s hard work with a goal of his very own 1:53 later on the brouwerplay.

In the second period, Brouwer went to the second power, pushing a rebound past 42-year-old Dwayne Roloson. With 2:54 left in the second, the Lightning got their first of the night when Mike Knuble had his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis. That freakin’ gnat then dished to Tom Pyatt who one-timed home his fourth goal of the season.

Steven Stamkos gave Tampa’s comeback some steam with a powerplay goal in the third period to make it 3-2. But Troy Brouwer then responded by collecting a hat trick with an empty-netter. Still the Lightning wouldn’t die as Vincent LeCavalier deflected home a St. Louis shot with 11 seconds left. After another wild deflection in front of the net almost got past Vokoun, the buzzer finally hit zero. Caps beat the Lightning, 4-3. WHEW.

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Mike Green Finally Returns to Practice

Mike Green Washington Capitals

Mike Green looks on during Caps practice Tuesday at Kettler. (Photo credit: Margaret McGuire)

Green practicing with his teammates. (Photo credit: @melly2508)

As the Washington Capitals continue to struggle under new coach Dale HunterMike Green has become a beacon of hope for a Caps turnaround. For good reason. As you probably already know, the Capitals are 8-0 — un-frickin’-defeated — when Green has suited up this season.

On February 6, Green took a puck to the face in a game against the Penguins. 19 days later, in his first game back, the Rangers’ Derek Stepan elbowed Green in the head. This season, after notching four points against Detroit (tying his career high), Green missed the next six games due to a twisted ankle. In his first game back (detecting a pattern?), Green suffered his latest injury, a strained groin after taking a rough run from the Devils’ Ryan Carter. Since then, Green has missed 20 games and has not practiced with the team. Until now.

Tuesday, Green made his first steps towards a(nother) comeback, taking the ice for a full Caps-practice for the first time since November 11th.

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Lessons in Humility: Flyers beat Caps 5-1

Greg Fiume

Photo credit: Greg Fiume

One morning during high school, I dressed up like the Devil for Halloween and then got roughed up by a tough guy. I remember cowering on the floor of the hallway, dressed up like an idiot. With our site all decked out in Jaromir Jagr flamebait, I feel the same way.

The Philadelphia Flyers taught the Washington Capitals humility and shame in a 5-1 mauling. All that bravado and confidence from two wins in a row? Evaporated. Flyers beat Caps 5-1.

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Scoring Change Steals Dennis Wideman’s Hat Trick

Photo credit: Mitchell Layton

When we went to bed on Friday, Dennis Wideman was the possessor of a hat trick. His three-goal night versus Toronto was the first by a defenseman for the Caps in a decade, the first overall by the Caps this season, and the first of Dennis’ career. It was also the first 3 PPG game among defensemen in the NHL since 2006.

No more.

This morning, the NHL updated the game’s scoring (via WaPo’s Katie Carrera), giving that final power play goal to Brooks Laich for his 7th on the season. Nick Backstrom loses his secondary assist, knocking him down to 31 points.

Wideman still takes from the night four power play points (2G, 2A) and the first multi-goal game of his career, but all those hats you threw on the ice are now a fraud. And he’s still minus-1 on the night. Dennis admitted as much on Friday night, but you should still blame it all on stupid old Brooksy.

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Caps beat Leafs 4-2, Dennis Wideman Gets a Hat Trick!

Bruce Bennett

Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

Dale Hunter recorded the first two wins of his NHL career against Canadian teams. After tonight’s date between the Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs, you can make it three.

Dennis Wideman caught Mike Knuble’s pass and converted the PP. Dennis Wideman threaded the needle and converted the PP. (Phil Kessel scored.) Dennis Wideman fed Nick Backstrom, who converted the PP. (From the blue line, Cody Franson slipped one past a screened Vokoun.) Dennis Wideman converted the PP. Caps beat Leafs 4-2.

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Frustration, Hope as Caps Offense M.I.A Once Again

(Photo credit: Nick Wass)

The Dale Hunter era hasn’t exactly started with a bang. With Hunter looking for his first NHL win behind the bench and the Penguins’ Sidney Crosby playing Washington for the first time since his Winter Classic concussion heard ’round the world, everybody from TSN to The New York Times descended on the Verizon Center Thursday night. And for the second game in a row the Caps were easily outplayed and doubled up in shots on goal (65 to 36 over the two games) — even if they lost by just one tally.

Still, the Caps aren’t exactly playing like Bruce Boudreau remains behind the bench. The team has instituted Hunter’s new defensive system (they had the second worst goal-against average in the league under the old regime) which will take some getting used to. The players, of course, know this as they made an even more dramatic shift in their play in the midst of their eight-game losing streak less than one year ago. So far, though, it’s yet to yield a victory.

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Nadir: Sabres beat Caps 5-1

 Dave Sandford

Zack Kassian beats Tomas Vokoun. (Photo credit: Dave Sandford)

The Washington Capitals hopped on up to Buffalo, intending to shake off last night’s bad beat by whipping the Sabres. The injury-wracked Buffalo team missed a big chunk of its lineup, but they did not miss many scoring chances. And the Caps were just plain awful.

Luke Adam caught an easy bounce after Dennis Wideman’s failed clearing attempt. Jason Pominville scored his ninth of the year when Tomas Vokoun couldn’t find the puck. Jason Chimera drew a penalty shot and fired it so hard it disintegrated in the net. The very next shift– just half a minute later, toddler Zack Kassian recorded his first NHL goal– making it 3-1. Luke Adam opened the third period with a mean snapshot. Jochen Hecht beat Mathieu Perreault to record a shorthanded goal and finalize it. Sabres beat Caps 5-1.

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Devils beat Caps 3-2 (SO), And It Sucked

(Photo credit: Mitchell Layton from like 3 years ago)

Live from Verizon Center… it’s Saturday night! The Washington Capitals bested the New Jersey Devils in hostile territory on Friday, so they invited the conquered down to Chinatown for another round. Mike Green, injured in the first duel, did not dress, replaced by the Giraffe Jeff Schultz. Brooks Laich played defense, and Alex Semin returned to action, where he immediately took an offensive zone penalty.

Troy Brouwer stole the puck and beat Hedberg for the night’s first goal. Carlson did his 70-footer thing, and a screening Chimera tipped it in to make it 2-0. Petr Sykora scored on a set play off the face off to end the shutout. Ryan Carter got a deflection to tie it up. From there we entered the shoot out, where way more stuff happened than I can record here. Suffice it to say: Devils beat Caps 3-2 via shoot out.

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Caps beats Ducks 5-4 (OT), Nick Backstrom is Crazy Good

by Mitchell Layton

Pot roast. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

The Washington Capitals had only one date with the Anaheim Ducks on the calendar this year, so they played it like two totally different teams. The Caps of the first half hour were disorganized and besieged. The Caps of the second half hour were focused and buzzing. A hole was dug by the former and filled in by the latter.

Saku Koivu siezed on bad communication between Wideman and Hamrlik to score the game’s first goal. Teemu Selanne took a pass from Koivu for a lay up goal to make it 2-0. Selanne notched another one in the second period, thanks for some more bad defense and a weak-side pass. Joel Ward got the Caps on board with a close wrister that went five-hole. Dennis Wideman capitalized (puns!) on a scrambling Hiller, slapping home a goal making it 3-2. Corey Perry took a couple swats at a loose puck in the paint to make it 4-2. Troy Brouwer’s shot gave Hiller trouble and kept the game interesting.  With six attackers and less than a minute remaining, Nick Backstrom made the net quiver. Tie game. 4-on-4 overtime, where Backstrom struck again by slapping a bouncing puck into a gaping net. Game over! Caps beat Ducks 5-4 (OT).

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