High and Mighty, Caps beat Wings 7-1! Undefeated!

Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt

Look how happy those white people are! (Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt)

The final two undefeated teams in the NHL, the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings, met in Chinatown– each with the intention of removing that title from the other. All eyes were on this game. And it was a good one.

On the power play, Nick Backstrom found Mike Green, who scored with surgical precision from the high slot. Just 61 seconds later, Mike Knuble’s takeaway led to a short-side goal by Marcus Johansson. Back to Mike Green, who turned Ovechkin’s lateral pass into his second powerplay goal of the night. Niklas Kronwall unleashed a monster one-timer during a two-man advantage to put Detroit on the board. Mathieu Perreault ended the second period by cleaning up Matt Hendricks’ rebound. Brooks Laich stole the puck and set up Joel Ward to make it 5-1. Perreault showed up again with a clever wrister up front to make the score just plain ridiculous. The Wings didn’t even try to stop Nick Backstrom, who made it a touchdown. Caps beat Red Wings 7-1.

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First rule of hockey writing: if there’s a photo of a guy hit in the junk, USE IT. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

The Florida Panthers were still coming down off blowing out Tampa 7-4 when they showed up for their game with the Washington Capitals. That big win must have taken a lot out of them, ’cause they just didn’t show up to play on Tuesday.

Three penalty killers gravitated to Alex Ovechkin, leaving Marcus Johansson enough space to score his third of the season. Early in the third period, Alex Semin effortlessly ripped the puck far side to make it 2-0. With an empty net, Alex Semin fed goal-scoring leader Jason Chimera, who lobbed it in for the coup de graceCaps beat Cats 3-0.

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Caps beat Pens 3-2 (OT), Jay Beagle Knocked Out

Dennis Wideman goal

Dennis Wideman celebrates his OTGWG. (Photo credit: Gregory Shamus)

For the third time in three games, the Washington Capitals required extra time to make a decision, and for the third time the Capitals proved themselves the better team. The Pittsburgh Penguins did their best to play a classy game of hockey, but then they realized they’re the Penguins and punked out. Read on and you’ll find out how.

James Neal was wide open to take a wide pass and make it 1-0 on the game’s first shot. Mike Knuble worked hard to kanoob the puck to tie it back up. Alex Ovechkin deflected a Mike Green shot that required a review to be called a goal. On a late power play, Malkin found Neal with a cross-ice pass to tie it up. Into OT and on the power play, Dennis Wideman put enough stank on the puck to evade Johnson. Caps beat Pens 3-2 (OT).

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A Primer to the Washington Capitals 2011-2012 Season

Primer to the 2011-12 Capitals Season

If you took a break from hockey after May 4th, when the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Washington Capitals out of the playoffs, we completely understand. It was rough. But the new season is here, along with reasons for renewed hope. So in case you’ve been avoiding hockey in general and this blog in particular, we’ve prepared a primer to catch you up.

Here is everything you need to know about the Washington Capitals but were afraid to ask (2011-2012 edition).

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Fancystats Crash the ESPN Mock Draft

Anze Kopitar

Anze Kopitar celebrates a goal last year against the Blackhawks. (Photo credit: Harry How)

Editor’s note: You can win a 1-year subscription to ESPN Insider and a $25 gift certificate to Front Page VA by guessing Neil’s first two draft picks tonight. Check out the details on our Facebook page.

As part of ESPN.com’s NHL family, I was invited to participate in their fantasy hockey draft this past Tuesday. Just me and guys like Craig Custance, John Buccigross, and Scott Cullen.

No pressure.

Victoria Matiash has already given a bird’s eye view of the draft, but I thought I would run through my thought process on various picks and give you some ideas for your fantasy draft. Plus, you can see how I do for the season because we are making the results public.

Here were the ground rules for the draft:

Participants included, in original order, Craig Custance, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Buccigross, Pierre Becquey, Michael Hume, Victoria Matiash, Neil Greenberg, Sean Allen and Scott Cullen. Categories include goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal and average time on ice for skaters and wins, save percentage and goals-against average for goaltenders. Slots to fill include nine forwards, five defensemen, one “utility” skater, two goaltenders and a five-man bench.

My philosophy was simple: grab young, healthy, talented players with upside. Let others worry if Patrick Kane would be healthy or if Sergei Kostitsyn can once again score 20 goals on less than 100 shots.

I had the eight pick. With my editor Mike Hume drafting before me (he knows which players I fancy) and Cullen having back-to-back picks behind me I knew I had to make strategic decisions.

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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

In addition to the Kids Press Conference hosted by Karl Alzner and John Carlson, I also attended the “I Made It To The NHL” panel at the Caps Convention on Saturday.

Dennis Wideman and Mathieu Perreault sat down for an hour and answered questions about what it was like to finally see their dreams of playing in the NHL come true. There were a lot of great moments. One such example was when Perry was told by a fan at the podium that there are group of ravenous Caps supporters out there that refer to him as “Perreaultcho-Cinco,” a nickname inspired by Patriots’ Wide Receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson. Perreault, confused and honored all at the same time, responded with a huge grin and a shrug: “I don’t really follow football that much.” Sigh.

Dennis Wideman also shared many interesting stories from his career including the one day he roomed with Brooks Laich. Below the jump, check out some highlights from the panel courtesy of my flip cam.

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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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Braden Holtby

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

When George McPhee swooped in and signed free agent goalie Tomas Vokoun for a couple bucks and Alex Ovechkin’s now useless stockpile of CCM sticks, there was no doubt it was a great move for the Washington Capitals. But that doesn’t mean everyone was happy with it. 21-year-old netminder Braden Holtby, who looked assured of a roster spot just a day before when the team traded away Semyon Varlamov, was once again relegated to a job with the AHL’s Hershey Bears.

We know what Michal Neuvirth, the remaining ‘keeper in the Caps’ trio, thinks about the deal and losing his starting spot. Holtby, however, has been somewhat of a mystery, with head coach Bruce Boudreau admitting during Development Camp even he hasn’t spoken to the Saskatchewan native about the move.

Unbeknownst to us (but not Hockey Ramblings), someone has been able get Holtby’s side of the story. Several weeks ago, The Pipeline Show on Team 1260 Edmonton caught up the young goalie, with Holtby spilling the beans on the crease situation, Nicklas Backstrom’s injuries, why he didn’t think the team’s defensive system was much of a change, and more.

Below, we offer a transcription.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

You knew it was coming. It happened when the Washington Capitals lost to Pittsburgh. It happened when they were ousted in the first round to Montreal. And here we are again after being on the losing end of a playoff sweep as the number one seed, discussing the inevitable: trade Mike Green.

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Before practice today, Capitals left wing Brooks Laich conducted a 16 minute phone interview with DC101′s Elliot in the Morning show. Among the topics Elliot and Brooks discussed include Laich’s lack of a preference on which team the Capitals play in the first round of the playoffs, Dennis Wideman’s injury and what he heard on the bench when it happened, and an insightful look into the leadership Jason Arnott brings to the team. The money quote: “He’s really united the whole group.”