The Washington Capitals held an optional practice in front of a full house, Saturday. Half the team, including Head Coach Barry Trotz, was not on the ice. Everyone was energized and in high spirits from the 6-0 shutout against the Chicago Blackhawks the night before.
Instead of a puck, Daniel Winnik started the warm-up with a perforated practice golf ball. Later Braden Holtby and Nate Schmidt shared a silly moment after Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov put a shot past the netminder. Holtbeast playfully slashed Schmidt’s legs, whose dramatics ensued for a fun set of images. Holtby’s face after his payback was priceless.
Post-practice Matt Niskanen even tried to hide from the camera and we shared a laugh. It was a great welcome back to the hockey grind. Enjoy these snaps from the morning practice.
Friday night, the Washington Capitals held another team-building event. This time the Caps threw some rocks and curled north of the border in Ottawa. According to the Capitals, Jay Beagle, Nate Schmidt, Brett Leonhardt, and Tim Ohashi won the match.
But I want to point you to what happened afterwards. The Caps’ three Russians, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov, explored a nearby hockey store in the capital city. Outside the building, there was a giant advertisement of Alex Ovechkin. So naturally the trio had to take a video in front of it.
Tuesday night at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals hosted regular-season game number 37 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The stakes were low, but by the end of the night, it felt like the Caps had won a playoff series.
Between the Russian hat trick of goals (Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov all scored) to the team’s multiple improbable comebacks, the Caps really wanted to win and their celebrations reflected that.
For instance, when John Carlson scored to tie the game 5-5 late in the third period, the Caps started to punch each other.
Dmitry Orlov may be the player on the Washington Capitals roster that fans and analysts alike are most divided on. Known for his high-risk, high-reward style, Orlov is a dynamic player, but his style of play can lead to very noticeable mistakes when opponents are able to make him pay for his risky and sometimes ill-advised maneuvers. To his detractors credit, the chances that the Caps allow when Orlov is on the ice are often quality chances.
However, the point of many of his defenders is that despite his very noticeable gaffes, Orlov is a net-positive for his team. Since 2014, the Caps have scored 57.5 percent of the total goals when Orlov is on the ice, second only to Mike Green during the span.
Both sides of the Orlov debate have valid points. But on Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, there were many examples of why Orlov’s supporters are willing to excuse so many mistakes. Without his high-risk, high-reward style, the dynamic plays he made last night to help the Caps to victory wouldn’t be possible.
The Washington Capitals and the Toronto Maple Leafs just engaged in an instant classic.
After taking an initial 1-0 lead, the Capitals would comeback three separate times (2-1, 4-2, and 5-4) before winning in overtime. The Caps’ 6-5 OT victory would end the Leafs’ winning-streak at five games.
Let’s celebrate by re-watching all the of the goals.
It’s 2017, you guys!
All night, Capitals players have been sharing their photos, celebrating the new year. As Washington is the only team in the NHL to play both on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, many of the players stayed in with their families.
Here’s what they posted and the translations.
Dmitry Orlov has caught a lot of heat for his defensive lapses. At the beginning of December, we detailed a game lost solely, perhaps, by Orlov’s missteps. And yet Orlov still enjoys a strong following, based partially on his talent for driving play.
That seeming contradiction — Orlov as a possession powerhouse who can’t be trusted in his own end — raised a curious thought: is Orlov a corsi-gamer? Is he what Barry Trotz would call a “businessman”?
When they’re in town together, the Caps Russians always celebrate their birthdays by going out for a big, fancy dinner. Friday night after the Caps 4-0 shutout victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, birthday boy TJ Oshie became an honorary Russian.
Wearing matching grey-colored TJ Oshie 30th birthday shirts, Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov took Osh Babe to the Russian restaurant Mari Vanna in Washington DC.
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