If the Washington Capitals were uptight before their game against hated rival Pittsburgh tonight, you wouldn’t know it watching NBCSN’s pre-game show. As everyone’s favorite sideline reporter Pierre McGuire interviews Karl Alzner, forward Joel Ward finds the camera and stares. And then stares some more.
Braden Holtby and Alzner celebrate a shootout victory. (Photo credit: Jonathan Kozub)
When Mathieu Perreault was traded to the Anaheim Ducks, the Caps lost more than a talented forward. Perreault was the terrier puppy of the Washington Capitals: small, frantic, usually bouncing with joy. His post-game celebrations became A Thing. But Perreault wasn’t the one who came up with the idea. It was his buddy Karl Alzner, who was inspired by YouTube videos of Seton Hall basketball player Peter Dill. Though they both made up elaborate rituals, it was Perreault who got all the attention. So, after a while, Karl stopped trying.
“I was like ‘Man, that’d be awesome if we did that!’” the mustachioed defenseman told me Wednesday. “I said, ‘Perry, you gotta watch this! It’d be awesome if we did this after a win’” Next game, it went to a shootout. He did it, I did it, and his got a ton of attention.”
This year, though, Perreault is gone and the Capitals have won a spade of games in the shootout. Therefore, it’s been up Alzner to carry the torch. His repertoire is more advanced than Perreault’s, with Alzner featuring distinct celebrations this year: Bow and Arrow, Thor’s Hammer, and the Hulk Hogan.
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.”
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.
Back in ye olde days of 1997, the Edmonton Oilers drafted a hometown boy named Jason Chimera with their fifth-round pick. The Medicine Hat Tiger (taken ahead of ya boy Matt Cooke in case you were wondering) was known then, as he is now, for his speed. Tonight, Chimmer visited his old ‘hood and went about creating a great narrative with his second period goal. Or so we thought.
With five minutes left in the middle frame, John Carlson lobbed the puck to the front of the net, deflecting off someone in front. Chimera, playing for a myriad of friends and family, acted like he got the tally and the Rexall Place scorekeepers followed suit. The Chim Dog, though, gave Craig Laughlin the real story. (Chimmer was money in his two appearances on CSN by the way. After the game, he used a naughty word — or said something about a duck — when talking about the Caps cycle game. Don’t you know little kids are watching post game shows at 12:30 in the morning, Jason?)
The Washington Capitals released a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesday that gives us a peak behind the curtain of the upcoming Caps Dog calendar, which benefits the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Every dollar from the sale of these keepsakes will go to making a pet’s life better, which is why on December 3rd, you will buy one when they go on sale. They’ve be available through the Capitals’ team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler, as well as online.
Because I love you guys, I have collected some of my favorite stills from the new video. If you ask me, the best pic is the one where Grabovski stares deep into that dog’s soul. Or Hula Holtby.
The Caps’ James Heuser caught up with sudden powerplay contributor Joel Ward before tonight’s game in the Dirty Peg to talk about, ya know, whatever.
Seems there’s a lot on Wardo’s mind right now. Not sleep, no. He always gets a good night’s rest. But he seemed perturbed by how chatty his dining buddy Jason Chimera was last night. And man, he is into the Canadian corporations sponsoring the boards at MTS Centre. If Ward has some contractual obligation to name every company as if he were a NASCAR racer in victory lane, I’m unaware. He was downright effusive with thanks to TSN, Tim Horton’s, Bud Light, Pizza Pizza, and more.
Picking up the puck from Martin Erat, Oleksy charged towards the faceoff dot. Blue Jackets winger Cam Atkinson attempted the poke check, but Steve O went all sick nasty, blowing past him. Oleksy then dished the puck to the front of the net and Laich finished the play. Beautiful.
On October 19, 2013, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
Happy times! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Finishing up their longest home stand of the season, the Washington Capitals took on new look (!) Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday. Facing a bunch of weak teams, the Caps didn’t do well in their last four games of their five game set at Verizon Center, posting a record of 1-3 and falling to 2-5 overall. Yesterday, Adam Oates had enough and went all “Screw everything! YOLO!” on the lines. Erat to the second! Fehr on the fourth! Grabo on the third! Other things! Par-ty!
No offense in the first frame. In the second, though, power play powerhouse Joel Ward rifled one top shelf on Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Caps the lead. Washington added to it about six minutes later when Brooks Laich popped in the rebound after Steve Oleksy’s inexplicably fancy stick work. The Caps took it home in the third with tallies from Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin. Garbage goal for Artem Anisimov late. Wee! Caps top Jackets 4-1.
On October 16, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Greg Fiume
Wednesday night’s bout between the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers was billed as “Rivalry Night.” I’m not so sure. While the recent Rags and Caps teams have certainly made like Crystal Lake camp counselors– hooking up every May– the games have been as trite as an overcooked slasher flick. Both teams grew more neanderthal and conservative in the last few years, making for some really stifled hockey. Under Adam Oates’ increasingly offensive system and Alain Vigneault’s canuckley deployment, I hold out hope this will change, but nothing about Caps-Rangers gets me excited.
Those feelings, it turns out, were justified. The Capitals put up maybe their worst game of the year.
Scoreless through the midway mark, the Rangers broke through with a sneaky far-off wrister by John Moore and then a close-up skill move by Ryan Callahan.