Through the first nine games of the season, defensemen for the Capitals have accrued 15 assists. That comes to 38 percent of the total number of assists for the entire team. All six d-men who have suited up for the Caps have gotten at least two assists; only six forwards can say that. Even Karl Alzner has gotten on the scoreboard, recording the only two goals scored by Capitals defensemen this season.
This has all been by design (minus Alzner scoring). Washington’s defensemen have been more active in the Capitals offensive game on the rush and in the zone. Barry Trotz has been stressing the need to work the puck from high-to-low in the offensive zone for his entire tenure in Washington, and he — along with assistant coach Todd Rierden — doubled down on that point in training camp.
Here are the three things I’ve noticed that have made the Caps defensemen more productive this season.
Sunday night, Capitals players held their annual Halloween Party at the Mari Vanna restaurant in Washington DC. The costumes were fantastic.
Superstar Alex Ovechkin slicked back his hair and put on a prisoner costume. His wife Nastya, who I’m guessing was his captor, dressed up as a police officer, potentially giving us an inside look into who truly wears the pants in that relationship. Meanwhile #CapsNeighbors Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky dressed up as stepbrothers and TJ Oshie and his wife Lauren were Mr. and Mrs Smith… with a twist.
Check out all the costumes below.
After beginning the year zero for eight on the power play, the Capitals burst out of their goalless drought Tuesday night with two goals in five opportunities. Nicklas Backstrom may be the most important player on the Capitals’ power play, according to the CSN poll between periods last game, but some love needs to be given to the point men. When John Carlson and now, Dmitry Orlov get shots through and feed pucks accurately to Alex Ovechkin, the Capitals power play is virtually unstoppable.
Tuesday night, Dmitry Orlov delivered a perfect hip check to Matt Duchene. The hit lit up both Duchene and social media, garnering nearly 4,000 retweets on the NHL’s Twitter account in 24 hours.
On Wednesday, Orlov spoke about his highlight-reel play with local media. The Russian defenseman was quick to show concern for the Avalanche forward, saying “I think it’s good that [Duchene] didn’t get hurt and was still in the game… and that we win that game.”
Orlov’s full comments on the hit are below.
As you may have heard, Dmitry Orlov laid a massive hip check on the Avalanche’s Matt Duchene Tuesday night, sending the center flying through the air. In fact, Duchene completed a full flip.
The entire hockey community was excited by Orlov’s clean hit except for one person: Matt Duchene.
Dmitry Orlov delivered what will likely be the biggest check of the season on Matt Duchene in the first period. As Duchene cut to the middle of the ice, Orlov stepped up and knocked the Avs forward head over heels. CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Craig Laughlin called the crunching bodyblow the “best hit I have seen in the booth in 25 years.
A photo sequence of the bodycheck just hit NHL.com and you have to see this.
In the first period, Dmitry Orlov had the hit of the year, sending Matt Duchene head over heels. But he wasn’t done yet.
Later in the period, the Russian dynamo fixed all of the Caps’ power play woes, authoring a brilliant slap pass to Alex Ovechkin. The Russian machine one-timed the puck past Semyon Varlamov, scoring his first goal of the season.
Over the past four seasons, the power play has been the lifeblood of the Washington Capitals.
Since 2013, nearly one-fourth of the team’s goals have been scored on the man-advantage. Impressive regular season numbers and Alex Ovechkin’s resurgence, led by his one-timers from the Ovi Spot, have all benefited greatly from Washington’s power play firepower. This year, however, one of league’s perennial top units is off to a slow start. Through two games and eight opportunities, the normally deadly Washington PP has come up with nothing.
“We’re leaving a lot on the ice,” John Carlson, who anchors the point on the first power play unit said after Saturday’s win over the Islanders. “For our skill level, our talent, we should have more goals than we do.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.