The EA Sports NHL video game series that has cost me countless dollars in college dorm room bets has slowly been releasing their 2017 player ratings for the past few weeks. The Capitals have made out pretty well after their 2015-16 President’s Trophy-winning season as they are tied with the Chicago Blackhawks with the most players rated in the top 50 with five.
It appears the the NHL Network is at the point in the offseason where they are doing positional rankings. I didn’t catch the segment, but they recently ranked the top-20 defensemen around the league. As you can see in the screen grab below by Evgeni Malkin’s Ego, the Caps’ John Carlson is ranked 19th by the NHL Network.
NHL Network's Top 20 Defensemen right now pic.twitter.com/4iXvlWndgf
— Evgeni Malkin's Ego (@EvgeniMaIkinEgo) August 14, 2016
Is Carlson a top-20 defenseman in the NHL? Let’s take a glance at some numbers.
In a social media campaign debuted on Friday, the NHL made their Adidas-designed World Cup of Hockey jerseys available for purchase in their online store and they’re lit, fam.
Capitals skaters Evgeny Kuznetsov (Russia) and John Carlson (USA) act as models for their respective countries along with fellow superstars Sidney Crosby, Connor McDavid, Daniel Sedin, and several others.
John Carlson’s adorable son Lucca unwittingly committed a hockey no-no by crawling on the Washington Capitals’ logo in their weight room at the Kettler Capitals Iceplex Tuesday. “Trying to be a goalie????” wrote Papa Carlson in an Instagram post.
Like most teams, the Capitals have an unwritten rule forbidding anyone from stepping on their logo. The logo is roped off in the locker room throughout the season, but the same respect must be given during the summer – even on this slide board thing.
John Carlson had a very bumpy 2015-16 season as he struggled with injury for the first time in his career as an NHL defenseman. Almost anyone at the start of last October would have told you that Carlson was the Capitals number one defenseman, but is that still the case now?
How exactly did this great American hockey preacher of all things good and free do this year?
Photo: Drew Hallowell
On Thursday, the Capitals gathered at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to discuss another season that ended prematurely. The players were more visibly emotional than in years past at the annual end-of-season confab with reporters, promising Stanley Cups to the fans and articulating their frustrations with plenty of “failures” and “sucks.”
The news, however, came in the form of injuries revealed publicly for the first time. Karl Alzner’s ailment was at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Referred to by Braden Holtby as the team’s most important player, Alzner missed most of the final game with a torn groin. He played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from the game.
“I know that the first four games of the series, I was just out there filling a spot, Alzner said. “I was out there and I was not hurting the team I don’t think, but I also wasn’t helping in winning in the game. That’s when you know you can still do things, but once I’m getting beat up the ice trying to chase a guy and not able to at least stay in battles, that’s when you know it’s time.”
He watched the Capitals penalty kill, a unit he normally plays big minutes on, give up two power play goals in 33 seconds after Brooks Orpik took a double minor for high-sticking. Later, Alzner sat helpless on the bench as the Penguins won it in overtime.
Photo: Rob Carr
The Washington Capitals’ power play has operated in the same way for years under a myriad of coaches. It features a 1-3-1 setup. The main weapon is Alex Ovechkin, who scored 19 of his 50 goals on the man-advantage in the regular season. Since 2011, it’s been one of the league’s top five units. Everyone knows what’s coming; they just can’t stop it.
In their first round series against the Philadelphia Flyers, the Capitals power play was key as the team jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, converting on eight of 17 man-advantage opportunities, despite the Capitals often getting outplayed at even strength.
“Our power play is successful because everybody is on the same page, everybody knows what they have to do,” Ovechkin said after Saturday’s morning skate. “If they take me away, Carly’s open or Osh or Willy or Kuzy or Backy. It’s hard to stop. If I have a chance to shoot the puck I will, but I’ll take a guy with me to go to the goal line or something.”
Lovejoy celebrates his goal (Photo: Rob Carr)
Capitals defensemen Dmitry Orlov went for the big hit, hoping to take Penguins center Nick Bonino out at the blue line. Instead, Orlov missed, colliding with Nate Schmidt. Bonino was left with an unfettered path to the net. He shot the puck on Braden Holtby before Ben Lovejoy cleaned up the rebound at the midway point of Game One on Thursday, tying the score at one.
Orlov, who, like Schmidt, is playing in his first postseason in the NHL, didn’t see the ice for the rest of the game, save for a brief 25-second shift early in the third period. He finished with less than six minutes of time on ice.
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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