The Ottawa Senators are an insane 16-1-1 with the Hamburglar in net, so we knew before the game it’d take a herculean effort from the Washington Capitals to win. But instead, the Caps came out flat and made a myriad of mistakes. First, they gave up an early even-strength goal to young star Mark Stone after a bad shift change.
At this point, the Caps went HAM and took three minor penalties in 1:38.
Photo: Monumental Network
Yesterday, news broke that there might be a rule change to overtime next season. NHL general managers approved a 3-on-3 format to limit how many shootouts decided games. While the rule still needs to be green-lit by both the board of governors and the NHLPA, there is no one happier in the Caps locker room than Eric Fehr.
Fehr’s had a modicum of success in the shootout (he’s a career 6 for 18), but he was blunt about how much he hated the “skills competition.”
“Anything to get rid of the shootout, in my opinion,” Fehr said to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt, taking out his finest figurative verbal knife. “I’m all for it.”
Braden Holtby was fantastic for the Washington Capitals on Saturday, making 32 stops in the team’s 3-2 shootout victory over the New York Islanders. Unfortunately, we can’t award him with the save of the game. That honor goes to Eric Fehr‘s stick.
No, not Eric Fehr, silly. Eric Fehr’s magical hockey stick.
In the third period, as John Tavares tried to bang home the game-tying goal with 1:04 left, he clanged the puck hard off the post. The puck ricocheted high into the air where a falling Fehr lost control of his hockey stick. Instead of falling to the ice like a normal hockey stick would, Fehr’s twig decided hey, lemme just make this save for Holtby while I’m up here.
Alex Ovechkin is the captain of the Washington Capitals. His teammates follow his lead.
Example: The Russian machine laughed after repeated cross-checks to the chest from Chris Kunitz in the third period last night. This must have resonated with Eric Fehr, because when Maxim Lapierre tried to rearrange Fehr’s face a minute later, Fehr played it cool– just like the captain.
Glorious human being. (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)
On January 1, 2011, Eric Fehr blasted into the offensive zone, along with the puck. He unleashed bullet of a wrist shot off the slushy Heinz Field ice. It was his second goal of the game, the 2011 Winter Classic, cementing him in Capitals history.
On Saturday, Fehr scored twice against the Pittsburgh Penguins, a redux of sorts of his 2011 outdoor game performance. Well, according to everyone but him.
“Not really,” Fehr said when asked by Alex Prewitt if that game brought back any memories. “Different kind of goals and obviously different building.”
Today, however, his goal was close as you could get to 2011: breakaway, unassisted, outdoors, and happy times at the end. Nevertheless, Fehr stuck to his talking points, giving nearly the same answer he provided the media Saturday.
“Not really,” Fehr said when asked, once again, if it brought back any memories. “It was a little bit different.”
Still, he was happy.
“It always feels good to score goals, I won’t lie to you,” Fehr, who attributed his play to “some good fresh air,” told me. “The ones in the Winter Classic feel extra special.”
Capitals owner Ted Leonsis saw it coming.
“I walked in today and saw Eric and said ‘You’re our x-factor,” Leonsis told me.
I spent my Saturday at Nationals Park — well, until NHL PR literally chased me out. The stadium is nearly in its full party dress with fake domes, banners, and a sheet of ice with logos on.
But alas, there were still more games on the calendar before New Year’s Day. Tonight the Caps visited Pittsburgh. A bunch of the Penguins have mumps. Crosby had mumps. Mumps makes your face big. Okay, we got that out of the way.
Back in 2010, we — okay, Ian & Peter — created a campaign to get Barack Obama to a Caps game. It seemed like the type of thing a newly-elected president and rising young team would want to get in on. The White House press secretary at the time, Robert Gibbs, responded to RMNB’s pleas. But as we enter 2015, Washington’s Stanley Cup hopes and Obama approval ratings are low. So are the chances we get to see a presidential hockey game. While Obama has attended Wizards, Nationals, Mystics, and college games, he has heretofore ignored hockey in office. RMNB registered these concerns to the highest levels of government.
“I don’t know what the deal is,” Secretary of State John Kerry told RMNB earlier this year.
Fehr watches the puck go in from his knees.
Mike Green was a hockey Istari all Thursday night, but never more than he was in overtime.
In the first shift after rego, Mike Green piloted yet another controlled entry into the Columbus zone. Green’s fake shot forced Jack Johnson to revert to his initial form– the NHL’s version of Magikarp. Then Green sailed below the goal line, earning enough space to give Eric Fehr a gorgeous layup.
On Tuesday night, as EPIX’s The Road To The Winter Classic began, the Caps began what became the longest shootout in NHL history. The scheduling conflict forced fans to make a difficult decision: reality TV or live hockey. For those who stuck with the live hockey, they got a shootout that went a record twenty rounds, five more than the previous record, which also belonged to the Caps. Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin actually shot twice in the losing effort.
Karl Alzner, Michael Latta, Nate Schmidt, Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Tom Wilson all got their first career shootout attempts in the same game.
With all the wackiness on the ice and the game determined not to end, the Caps turned to a late-game baseball tradition to influence the outcome: rally helmets.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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