Tyson Strachan didn’t make the team; will Tom Wilson? (Photo credit: Geoff Burke/USA Today Sports)
With the deadline to submit opening-day rosters approaching at 5:00 PM Tuesday, the Washington Capitals moved towards finalizing their 23-player roster with a flurry of moves on Sunday.
The Caps assigned defensemen Michal Cajkovsky, Dmitry Orlov, and Tyson Strachan (who cleared waivers at noon) and forward Dane Byers to the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. They have also placed forward Joel Rechlicz on waivers. Today was the final day players could be put on waivers before rosters must be set, meaning the Caps won’t be able to demote any more players who have those rights.
That leaves Washington with 21 players on the roster (13 forwards, six defensemen and two goaltenders) and three prospects trying to crack the lineup: Connor Carrick, Tom Wilson, and Michael Latta.
Click to embiggen. (Photo by hendyface)
Last night, as I furiously GIFed and brightened some gloomy Joel Rechlicz screenshots, two Washington Capitals decided that the start of the third period would be a great time to settle all family business. Michal Cajkovsky beat the tar out of the Bruins’ Nick Johnson, and Dane Byers went toe-to-toe with tough guy Adam McQuaid in the second-most brutal fight of the night.
Joel Rechlicz is a heavyweight fighter. He has held his own in fights with Donald Brashear, Matt Clackson, and Jay Rosehill. Every bout Recker’s had follows the same script: he either knocks you out or it’s a marathon that will make you wish you hadn’t dropped the gloves in the first place.
In Monday’s Washington Capitals’ preseason game against the Boston Bruins, Rechlicz reminded us that there’s more to his game than just shootout winners. Recker fought one of the toughest players in the NHL, Milan Lucic. ‘Twas epic.
Lasting nearly 50 seconds, Rechlicz and Lucic exchanged a flurry of lefts and rights, which left Recker bleeding and Looch gasping. By my count, Lucic landed more blows (9) than Rechlicz (8), but Recker got the upper hand in intense facial expressions.
Jack Edwards, the Boston Bruins’ homerlicious play-by-play guy, apparently did not see the same fight I watched.
“Lucic connects and connects and connects,” Edwards screamed midway through the bout. “Rechlicz’s being reckless with his face. He’s assaulting Lucic’s knuckles… with his nose.” Cute.
Because I love you, precious RMNB reader, here’s video, GIFs, and screenshots of the fight. Hockey best!)))))
At first, we didn’t have video of Joel Rechlicz’s decisive shootout goal to defeat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-3 on Monday night, so we had to use our imaginations. Now, thanks to the magic of the Internet, the Capitals have graciously provided us evidence that this thing actually happened.
Rechlicz, the Caps’ fourth and final shooter, delivers the puck to crease before yanking it aside and backhanding it in– quite casually– to finalize the fight-filled fiasco of a game against the Flyers. Michael Latta and Garrett Mitchell fought earlier in the game, and we’ve got video below. We’ve also got another angle on Wrecker’s goal from RMNB reader Salvatore P., who was in Philly and was kind enough to share his view on our Facebook page.
Artists’ rendition by Peter H. Age 29. (Click to embiggen)
Joel Rechlicz has played 26 games at the NHL level and come away with a career total of one point: an assist. He’s not now nor has he ever been a goal scorer. Which explains the reaction of Caps radio man John Walton when Rechlicz was tapped to take the fourth shootout attempt of Monday’s exhibition game against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace
The Capitals announced Tuesday that they have traded Hershey’s Matt Clackson to the Coyotes organization in return for Joel Rechlicz. “Wrecker” played a handful of games under the Hunter Caps last year, where he was known mostly for his wood stick, fighting talent, and cheerful attitude rather than anything strictly related to playing hockey.
Rechlicz is expected to play in Hershey.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth
There are some players who didn’t get a chance to make an impact on the ice with the Caps this year, whether through limited opportunity, injury, or otherwise. That isn’t going to stop us from giving them a disproportionate amount of words, though, because we do what we want.
Joel Rechlicz only played three games with the Capitals this year, but he brought his larger-than-life presence with him, got us talking about his wooden sticks and his ambidextrous punching, and about the changing role of the pure enforcer in the NHL. We are a bit disappointed that we never got to see him fight, but it’s good to know that he is there should the need for violence ever arise.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace
Known fighter Joel Rechlicz has played 5 minutes and 25 seconds of Capitals hockey this year. In his six shifts, he saw one shot go on his net and zero at the other. He has amassed no penalties and recorded no turnovers. He did ice the puck once though. That was fun.
Rechlicz’s one-year contract is for $525,000– which will count towards the Capitals’ already stressed salary cap. Rechlicz is a pure fighter, a dying breed in pro hockey. Adding him to the roster of the Washington Capitals (whose woes include a lacking offense, malformed defense, and poor road performances– but not fighting) seemed like an arbitrary acquisition– one that does not improve their prospects for winning and fritters away precious salary cap space just before the trade deadline.
But for all his detractors, Wrecker also has some defenders. On Wednesday’s edition of the Capitals Report podcast, Mike Vogel of WashingtonCaps.com and radio play-by-play guy John Walton discussed and defended the value of Rechlicz.
(All pics by Kyle Mace at Sweetest Hockey on Earth)
Welcome to the Washington Capitals, Fists of Fury edition. A few key pieces are essentially dead right now, and some others are playing like they are, so these holes will be filled by kids from Hershey, which is what they are there for.
I know you are all smart and cool people who keep up to date on our minor leaguers, but if you are at all behind in this I do not blame you, as there are like a million of them. In case you are wondering who in the world this is on your ice, here is a quick rundown!
Friend of the blog Holly F. and King mug for the camera at a Movember event last year.
Vice President and General Manager George McPhee announced today that the Washington Capitals have sent forward D.J. King to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League. The 6’3”, 231-pound horse-lover played in a total of 18 games in Washington over the past two seasons, watching another 85 from the press box. King collected $660,823 during those 85 games he did not play, which should totally bum you out.
Last week King was made available on waivers, signaling his desire to see actual playing time. The move to Hershey may be a continuation of that.
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