Caps Host Annual Dads Trip (Photos)

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Braden Holtby poses with his dad Greg. (Photo credit: @CapitalsPR)

In the middle of a six game losing streak, the Caps are in a tough stretch, playing their next five games on the road. Being away from home, though, has it upsides. This weekend, Washington is hosting their annual mentors trip, with players allowed to bring one guest to New Jersey and Montreal. The group is made up mostly of dads, who will get to see what it’s like to be an NHL player for a few days.  Continue Reading

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Not Again: Rangers Slam Caps 4-1

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Photo: Scott Levy

Coming into Friday night, the Caps had been playing well. On Tuesday and Wednesday, they nearly beat two of the league’s best teams. But then they played Columbus. It was a disaster, and a moment of reckoning.

After the game, the fan base — and the team — seemed to hit the panic button. People on Twitter smashed their keyboards, pointing out Washington’s glaring defensive holes and overreliance on the power play. None of that, however, is anything new. It’s not likely to change before playoff time either.

On Saturday, Adam Oates came up with wacky line combinations in hopes of righting Washington’s four game skid. It didn’t work.

The game got off to an awful start when Rick Nash picked off a silly defensive zone pass from Dmitry Orlov to put New York up just 70 seconds in. Fifteen minutes later, Nash was at it again. A lack of spatial awareness led to two hooking penalties on the Caps. On the ensuing 5-on-3, the former Blue Jacket floated a weak wrister through Phillip Grubauer’s legs. About a minute and a half later, Derek Stepan put the nail in Washington’s coffin with a shot though traffic. Braden Holtby came in, but the game was already over.

Ovechkin tried to give the Caps life with a 5-on-3 bullet early in the second, but Ryan Callahan put Washington back in their place just 86 seconds later. This was never a game anyway. Rangers slam Caps 4-1.

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backstrom-videobomb

I’m not sure when Washington Capitals players became all about video bombing each other during interviews, but I’m grateful. In fact, we’ve seen so many funny faces during interviews this season, you have to assume the players are keeping a leader board inside the locker room and whoever has the most at the end of the year gets a paid vacation to Vancouver to perfect the art with Ryan Kesler.

We’ve seen Joel Ward video-bomb Karl Alzner and Pierre McGuire, Ovechkin troll Tom Wilson, and Troy Brouwer brouwerbomb half the team.

On Friday, the most polite dude on the team even got in the action.

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Let’s be honest, in a 2-1 shootout loss to the league’s worst team there are few good moments to focus on. But as the Washington Capitals came out for the third period tied with the Buffalo Sabres 1-1, CSN accidentally caught the most fun-loving of fun-lovingest moments on the Caps bench.

As Joe B. discussed responses to CSN’s #CapitalsTalk question of the night, jokester Jason Chimera shoved Joel Ward and then whacked him in the face.

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holtby-on-bench

With Washington Capitals management coaches someone deciding that it’s still a good idea to carry three goaltenders and ride a prospect’s hot hand, normal starter Braden Holtby rode the pine again. In fact, The Holtbeast has been benched for four of the Capitals’ last six games. Instead of sick split saves and fist pumps, we’ve been treated to images of Holtby sitting awkwardly in steel chairs and playing defense during practice.

Tonight, however, Holtby still managed to make an appearance during the game – though it was brief. And you had to really be looking for it.

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During the (really fun) first period of Monday’s Caps-Ducks game, Jason Chimera hit Corey Perry so hard he changed teams.

Near the end of the first twenty minutes, Chimera caught Perry with the puck along the Capitals bench, shoving the 6’3″, 212-pound winger over the wall. Perry took an inverted spot on top of Martin Erat and next to Tom Wilson.

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Skinned: Canes Thump Caps 4-1

Canes

Photo credit: Rob Carr

The Capitals’ power play, the main factor behind Washington’s early wins, has dropped off. So, too, has their penalty kill. Still, the team is finding ways to win — barely. Though they got four points over the weekend, both games took extra time. Nevertheless, the team’s five-on-five play has been improving. Would it be enough to defeat the new old division rival Canes?

The Caps played well in the first, with Jason Chimera nearly converting early on a scrum in front to give Washington the lead. Carolina, though, struck first. After Eric Staal fed him the puck from behind the net, Hockey Bieber — that would be Jeff Skinner — took a shot from the goal line. Braden Holtby couldn’t make to the near post in time as the puck deflected in off his nether regions.

In the second, things got out of hand. Midway through the frame, lil’ Skinner was at it again with fly ball from the near circle. Less than three minutes later, the Hurricanes pushed the lead to three as Andre Sekera unleashed a blast from the point on the power play that Holtby never saw. Point number three for Skinner. Fifty-three seconds later, it got even uglier when Jiri Tlusty put a nasty backhand top shelf. Ugh.

For the final frame, enter Philip Grubauer. The Caps didn’t show much life in the third, but at least Mike Green got on board for the first time since the Obama administration with a power play marker. Nothing more. Canes thump Caps, 4-1.

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Joel Ward Scores Lucky Goal, Doesn’t Believe in Luck

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“Woooo!” (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)

Joel Ward has had a couple of hot streaks in his career. In fact, he’s making $3 million a year partially because of one (13 points in 12 games) during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Nashville Predators. Despite his playoff success, Ward’s recent regular season results have been unimpressive. In his first year with the Caps, we scored just six goals in 73 games. Last year, in a lockout shortened season, he had eight. Eighteen games into the 2013-14 campaign, he’s matched that total.

“When he came here obviously he had a great playoff for Nashville,” head coach Adam Oates said after the game. “When we’ve talked, him and I, I expect him to play now like he does in the playoffs, every night. Now, that’s a playoff game. We need these points.”

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Washington Capitals forward Jason Chimera has signed a two-year extension, keeping him in D.C. through 2015-16. Chimera will make $2 million per season beginning next year– a $275k raise over his current contract.

The Ice Cheetah has had a strong start to the season, scoring 11 points in 16 games after managing just 14 points in 47 games in 2013. Chimera had a four-game goal streak last week while playing with Joel Ward and Mikhail Grabovski on the third line.

This is a classic George McPhee move: a two-year deal for a guy he likes and a term he likes. But Chimera will turn 35 in May, so will this deal be worth it in the end? Let us know in the comments below.

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Photo credit: Len Redkoles

Photo credit: Len Redkoles

Designed by Ian Oland.

Alex Ovechkin is the Washington Capitals. He is the face of the team, and he’s the biggest piece of their offense. Coming into Friday game against Philadelphia, Ovechkin accounted for almost a third of the team’s goals (10 of 32). So when news broke that he would miss the Flyers game with a veiled upper-body injury, we wondered where the offense would come from. Friday it came from, well, everywhere as the Capitals dominated the Flyers 7-0.

Chiefly, it was Washington’s third line of Joel Ward, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jason Chimera providing the firepower, scoring four of the game’s seven goals. Ward, in his first career hat trick, notched three. All in all, members of the line registered an amazing 10 points in 60 minutes. Since being placed together on October 18th, the trio has been masterful, registering nine of the team’s 18 even-strength goals since Adam Oates’s line shuffling. That’s, like, half of them. Not bad for bottom-six guys.

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