Way back on November 26, 2008, Karl Alzner made his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals against the Atlanta Thrashers. Since then he’s played 198 career games in the NHL. Until this season, he’s had one coach, one defensive partner, and a virtual lock on the playoffs.
This season has been different. Bruce Boudreau was fired and Capitals legend Dale Hunter was brought in to lead the team. Hunter has installed a new system and switched up the defensive pairings — removing Alzner away from one of his best friends on the team, John Carlson. The playoffs are no longer a certainty. With fifteen games to go, the Capitals are three points out of the 8th and final playoff spot and may miss the post-season for the first time in five years.
On Saturday, I caught up with Alzner and we spoke about the new system, the switching of partners, and what Dale Hunter’s really like behind closed doors.
This week, the Caps went 0-2-0 against the New York Rangers and the San Jose Sharks. They were outscored 7-6 and used two different goalies while Tomas Vokoun was sick with the flu, recalling Braden Holtby on Monday for his first NHL appearance this season. Sadly, that was all the hockey for the week, and the Caps had three days off so that they could talk about their feelings, bowl with season ticket holders, and get into the “Zaching” trend. Unfortunately, the week ended with Alex Ovechkin and Dennis Wideman getting into it at practice, but nothing heals like winning, so it’s time for the Caps to start doing some of that.
In the latest edition of Capitals During Wartime, I mused about how and why we discuss the negative stuff going on with Capitals right now. Concluding, in short, that our foremost responsibility is to the Truth, and not just Good Feelings, I promised not to shy away from D.C.’s ongoing hockey bummers– but also not to drench that analysis in hyperbole.
This article is a statistical rundown of the Washington Capitals through 54 games for the purpose comparing the tenures of Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter head to head. But I will not be offering any commentary. My voice is limited to the selection of statistics below. Any conclusions you make or narratives you perceive are your own. I have included traditional stats, some advanced stats, and some individual curiosities that we’ve discussed recently on the site.
On February 1, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Alan Diaz
The Washington Capitals have three dates with the Florida Panthers in February, and these games will determine their chances for a postseason. This one was a so-called “four-point game”, and the Capitals came up tragically short.
After a scoreless first period, Mikael Samuelsson faked a hardaround and then fired a shot to Neuvirth’s far side– hitting the post then net. It was a fluke-y, no-look shot from almost 90 feet out, but it caught Neuvirth being lazy, and that’s what matters. Brooks Laich tied it up with a feisty top-shelfer from the crease during 4-on-4 play. Samuelsson got his second of the night with the go-ahead goal on a third period power play. After a long adjudication, Stephen Weiss was awarded a goal that had been washed out at first.
John Carlson made it a one-goal game with a leisurely slapper from the high slot, but Shawn Matthias grabbed an empty netter a few moments later. Panthers beat Caps 4-2.
So much almost. (Photo credit: Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Whew, what a relief that the All-Star Weekend is over! We’re all so sick of watching haphazard, sloppy, firewagon hockey that turns over pucks and gives up chances every few seconds, it’s such a relief to get back to the responsible, disciplined team we all missed so much.
Hahaha! Let’s all have a good laugh at that one for a minute, and then to the recap. I am pleased to inform you that the curse of my recaps was broken tonight. Actual goals were scored.
Matt Hendricks opened the scoring with the ol’ Brooks-Laich-diving-poke-check-pass, fan-on-the-initial-and-then-wildly-backhand-it move. Classic. Teddy Purcell scored two shifts later on a feed from Steve Downie, who mysteriously hadn’t had his face punched in yet at this point. All Martin St. Louis had to do was skate past Hamrlik lying face-down on the ice to make it 2-1. Nate Thompson banged one in on a good cycle from Tampa in front of the net. Mathieu Perreault was in the right place at the right time to take credit for a hilarious own goal off Thompson’s stick. Good pressure from Laich forced a puck loose for Troy Brouwer, who put it in the back of the net. The game went to overtime, and Steven Stamkos scored on a defensive breakdown from John Carlson. Caps lose, 4-3.
On January 24, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Mitchell Layton
The Washington Capitals were at the lowest of lows before the defending champion Boston Bruins came to town. This being the last game before the All-Star break and the first game of Alex Ovechkin’s suspension, expectations were barometrically low.
Rich Peverly tried to go around Karl Alzner, who knocked in the goal from his belly.
It was a 5-goal second period! Joel Ward set up Cody Eakin, whose shot trickled past Tukka Rask. 41 seconds later, Mathieu Perreault executed a give-and-go with Alex Semin to score. John Carlson surrendered a pathetic giveaway, and Tyler Seguin roofed it. Mathieu Perreault scored his second of the night on a blistering breakaway. That “little ball of hate”, Brad Marchand, caught a lucky bounce in the crease and tied it back up.
Mathieu Perreault recorded his hat-trick goal in the third period while fighting off a dozen men in the paint who were armed with flaming swords and guns that fire sharks. It was the game-winner. Dennis Wideman got the empty netter. Caps beat Bruins 5-3.
Falling down in the same general area as someone is almost the same as hitting. (Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck)
The Caps have not scored a single goal yet in a game that I have recapped. I am placing a phone call to the Capitals organization tomorrow to ask why they hate me personally.
I’m sorry you had to watch that game. I’m sorry I had to watch that game. Here’s how it happened.
Eric Staal stripped a puck from Carlson and sent it to Jussi Jokinen for an easy shorthanded goal. In the second period, Jokinen made it 2-0 on a rebound and officially became our least favorite Cane of the night. Jiri Tlusty scored an absolutely ridiculous falling-down goal that we are all so excited to see on every highlight reel for the next week. Caps lose, 3-0.
Stop showing off, Nabokov. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)
Ed. Note: In our continuing quest to bring you the least crappy product possible, we’d like to welcome Ana Hansen of the blog Hockey Yelling to the RMNB team. Ana, a 22-year-old English major at William & Mary, is witty, creative, and mentally unstable. So uhh you better give her a warm welcome in the comments below or else. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Hello Caps world! In the place of your regularly scheduled coverage you’ve got me tonight. My condolences, but not too many of them, because a hockey game happened, and that’s more important than anything else.
We lost this game, which I hope does not mean that I’m bad luck. I will be carefully monitoring this issue from here on out.
To the game, somewhat reluctantly I guess. We were supposed to win this one. The Islanders are not a particularly lethal team, but when they’re given this much space, even they can stumble into a few goals.
Tavares opened the scoring with a redirection on the PP, and the first person to mention his scoring streak gets a punch in the kisser. Parenteau made it 2-0 on a joint effort from Carlzner, Alzner with the giveaway and Carlson screening his own goalie. You’re welcome, Pareteau. Parenteau converted on the PP for his second of the night but luckily by that point, you were probably too numb to feel it. Caps lose, 3-0. Gross.
On January 10, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Chris Carlson
Washington Capitals at Los Angeles Kings. Here’s Jonathan Coulton’s recap of the Caps road trip in California:
Marcus Johansson scored the night’s first goal, a 2-on-1 set up by Mike Knuble. Kyle Clifford got one past Tomas Vokoun on a rebound to tie it up. Anze Kopitar added to that late in the first period after Brooks Laich was pilfered. Jack freaking Johnson converted a 3-on-1 and then did the freaking Tebow move as if the world didn’t already suck. Then Stoll scored and our eyes started glazing over. Something else happened, but our eyelids were heavy. Johansson looked bored somehow scoring his second of the night. Kings beat Caps 5-2.