trotz

The Washington Capitals have gone to major lengths to promote Barry Trotz since hiring him this summer. And while Trotz is certainly an improvement over former coach Adam Oates, the Caps still find themselves as a middling team (after a scintillating October), with fans finding little to be excited about for the future.

Check out the conclusion of Peter’s recap last night.

Sigh. Am I all alone in thinking that Caps fans are kind of at a low right now? The team is still way better than the Oates!Caps, but this ain’t exactly working either. All the great stuff the Caps were doing in October is gone now, and all the inefficiencies in the lineup are costing goals on a nightly basis.

We’re one month out from the Winter Classic, but the community seems melancholic. I don’t blame ‘em; at some point wins are needed to justify enthusiasm. The Capitals have let you down.

Meanwhile, Trotz’s former team, the Nashville Predators are undergoing a renaissance without their former bench boss. The irony is miserable.

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To All the Caps I’ve Loved Before

goodbye

There’s really no need to read this piece. Your life will be no better for having read what’s below. Your life might actually get worse. You should probably stop right now.

(Last chance.)

So the Caps have freed some players over the last few years, and it feels like all of them have turned into beautiful hockey butterflies. The team had good reasons to trade or release some guys; others… not so much. In this still very young season, those hockey butterflies are playing so good it’s like they’re trying to make you jealous. Well, it’s not going to work, hockey butterflies.

Okay, yeah, it is.

I’m gonna take a peek around the league, in a totally non-Facebook-stalker-y way, just to see how certain ex-Caps forwards are doing in their new homes. Pretty freaking well, it turns out. Starting with prospect-bust-turned-Calder-standout Filip Forsberg, lemme run down who has moved on and how they’re doing.

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For those who cry over spilt milk (me), here’s a photo that may give you a Maalox moment. Former Capital Filip Forsberg hung out in Sweden on Friday with current Capital Andre Burakovsky. They look so happy.

The Swedish national teammates were together celebrating Midsummer in Forsberg’s hometown of Leksand.

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Photo: Brynas IF

The 2013-14 season was a breakout year for Capitals prospect Christian Djoos. His ice time with Brynas of SHL went up from 15:35 in the previous regular season to 17:16 this year. He scored more too, getting 13 points (a goal and 12 assists) in 47 games after just eight a year ago. Also importantly, Djoos cut down on time spent in the penalty box– four minutes as opposed to 48 last season.

Djoos took over the leading role on his team’s blue line in the postseason, logging 23:26 in the playoffs as a teenager in one of the best leagues in the world. He also had a notable performance at home World Juniors, scoring a goal and getting an assist in Sweden’s disappointing goal medal game loss.

Djoos’ increased role in the postseason could be attributed to an injury to Ryan Gunderson, a University of Vermont graduate and a Brynas’ leader on the blueline for the last three seasons. Next season, Gunderson won’t be with Brynas as he’s signed with KHL newcomer Jokerit Helsinki. That gives Djoos a chance to establish himself as an elite SHL defenseman.

The Washington Capitals have until June 1st to sign Djoos, whom they selected in the seventh round of 2012 Draft. There’s been little information on whether the Caps are interested in bringing him into the organization. It’s clear that he’s not leaving Brynas, but it’s unclear whether he’ll be on loan from a NHL club or unattached.

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2014 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images

Ever since Malmo, Sweden was named host of the 2014 World Junior Championship several years ago, Swedish prospects have circled this date on their calendars, hoping they could win gold in front of their countrymen. Those are huge expectations for teenagers to bear.

On Sunday, Washington Capitals prospects Andre Burakovsky and Christian Djoos felt the stinging heartbreak that comes with those expectations being crushed in front of their hometown fans, losing in overtime of the title game. Sweden, which was arguably the most talented team in the tournament, fell to Finland in sudden death after Rasmus Ristolainen took the puck hard to the net and scored.

Many players on Team Sweden openly wept after the buzzer including team captain and former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg. Forsberg, who was traded for Martin Erat and Michael Latta during last year’s trade deadline, was named MVP of the tournament and also to the tournament All-Star team. Though, judging by the photos, it did little to console him.

Sad Swedes are sad.

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Connor Carrick rushes the puck up ice (Photo credit: Francois Laplante/HHOF-IIHF Images)

World Juniors semifinalists were determined on Thursday. Washington Capitals prospects combined for three points. Riley Barber had one assist to his name, while Andre Burakovsky recorded a pair of helpers.

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Report: Martin Erat Wants Out Of Washington

Photo credit: Derek Leung/Getty Images

That didn’t take long: forward Martin Erat, acquired from Nashville at the 2013 trade deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for top Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg, now says he wants to leave Washington.

Speaking with Czech news agency iDNES.cz and translated by our friend Lindsey Novak, Erat expresses dissatisfaction with the ice time he’s getting in Washington and seems eager to move on.

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The Capitals are Basically on Furlough

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Photo: Frederick Breedon

After Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, I figured their four days off this week would be a good thing. The team would get a chance to work on its 5v5 play, and the distance of time would give us a bit more clarity on a chaotic, young season.

Nope. I was wrong.

The Capitals don’t intend to tinker with their lines just yet, while the rest of the league seems dedicated to making Caps fans miserable. It’s been a four-day break in which players are still getting paid, but everyone still seems as grumpy as a non-essential government worker.

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WOOOOO! (Photo credit: John Russell)

The Filip Forsberg/Martin Erat trade still elicits strong reactions from Caps fans. (Like I’m warning you now, you’re going to want to bring a hatchet into the comments below because this one’s gonna get gory.)

Adam Oates has put Erat — George McPhee’s 32-year-old, $4.5 million toy — on the fourth line where he averages under 8 minutes a game. For Caps fans already unhappy with the trade, Erat’s modest utilization had them grinding their teeth.

After Tuesday night, those fans are gonna need a mouthguard. Maybe dentures. Forsberg scored the first goal of his NHL career, a snap shot on the power play, during Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Congrats, kid.

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Gets ya right in teh feels.

All you Matt Hendricks superfans out there, I ask that you please turn away, X out your browser, and retreat to your doomsday bunkers because this is the extinction-level event you’ve been prepping for. Former Washington Capitals grinder Matt Hendricks did an interview with the Nashville Predators in his new mustard yellow jersey. All of a sudden, it’s real.

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