Last week, former Capitals forward Brooks Laich congratulated Nicklas Backstrom on his 500th career assist. Wednesday night, Laich had even kinder words for his former captain, Alex Ovechkin, after the Russian machine hit 1,000 points.
One of Jimmy Fallon’s go-to bits is Superlatives, where he takes an awkward bio photo of an athlete and then gives them a funny superlative like you’d find in a high school yearbook. Last night, he did some for the NHL again (NBC channels are airing all NHL playoff games) and Fallon mentioned three Caps players: Alex Ovechkin, Curtis Glencross, and John Erskine.
On Saturday, while taking part in an autograph signing in Laurel, Troy Brouwer made some news. Talking to the DC Sports Bog’s Ben Sumner, Brouwer revealed that Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s wife Nastia is pregnant.
Photo: Greg Fiume
John Erskine suited up 37 times for the Caps last season. Rumor has it he was playing through injury for most of them. Erskine had already lost his spot in the starting six this season before suffering an upper-body injury during a recent practice.
It was a “little bit of an older injury that sort of got irritated so we left him [in DC], had it looked at right now,” Barry Trotz said to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt on Tuesday. “[It] could get aggravated more as he keeps going, if he doesn’t take care of it now. [Trainer Greg Smith] said we’ll take a look at it.”
Now, the Caps tell us Erskine underwent surgery on Wednesday to repair a disk in his neck.
Old pic, but so good. (Photo: Mitchell Layton)
If you’re looking for ransom, Big John Erskine can tell you he doesn’t have money. But what he does have is a very particular set of skills, skills he has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people like you.
|15.3||Average time on ice per game|
|45.7%||Shot attempt percentage during 5v5|
|44.7%||Goal percentage during 5v5|
|9.5%||On-ice shooting percentage during 5v5|
|90.3%||On-ice saving percentage during 5v5|
Photo: Patrick Smith
When the Washington Capitals gave up two straight breakaways to the Dallas Stars while on their own power play last night, I thought that was rock bottom.
Rock bottom was Dustin Jeffrey‘s second period goal. The tally, which came 34 seconds after Ryan Whitney’s 2-on-0 goal on a botched Capitals line change, gave the Dallas Stars a 3-0 lead. It essentially ended the game.
The defense on the goal was atrocious. I’d waste my time or yours with a description. The screenshots and video say everything.
Photo: Rob Carr
We’ve assumed for so long that the problem with the Caps is lack of defensive depth. I’d wager 90% of everything written about the Caps and Wednesday’s trade deadline states that the team lacks a solid, number-four, right-shooting defenseman. It’s been pretty obvious that filling that one spot would help fill the ranks of Washington’s defense.
That makes a lot of sense. Since October, the Caps defense had essentially been Mike Green, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, and any other three guys.
But I’m not so sure anymore. Indeed, I’m starting to wonder if the Caps wouldn’t be able to succeed merely by upgrading their bottom pairing– namely John Erskine and Connor Carrick.
Wednesday was the first day back for the Washington Capitals. Practice for all the non-Olympians went about how you expect. But after the players’ on-ice session concluded, Jay Beagle and John Erskine had some fun. The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera and CSN Washington’s The Gorm™ photographed the two driving around the zambonis.
Why? No idea, but it looks like they’re having fun.
Photo: Alex Brandon
Despite his menacing stare and his even angrier-looking fists, there may be no nicer man in the Washington Capitals locker room than John Erskine. That’s why this is hard to write.
The 33-year-old Erskine, who was given a two-year $3.9 million extension from George McPhee last February, may be in the throes of his worst season ever as a pro.
The veteran defenseman — who is supposed to be a leader out on the ice — is an anchor on the Caps. His 47.2% puck possession is 3.6% worse than the team does without him. The only defensemen on the team with a lower possession scores are rookie Connor Carrick and the recently released Alexander Urbom. Erskine ranks 173rd out of the 230 defensemen with at least 25 games played when measured by corsi percentage.
Then there’s the goals. While Erskine is on the ice at even strength, 62% of the goals scored on the ice belong to the opponent. Big John also has a penalty differential of minus-9 (he’s taken nine more penalties than he’s drawn).
Then there’s the eye test, my personal favorite, which Erskine fails regularly.
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