Caps Just Freaking Destroy Panthers 7-1

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The Washington Capitals just freaking obliterated the Florida Panthers. I don’t know how else to say it. Any flowery language would make the point less elegant: this was a thrashing. One of these teams is the bottom of the Eastern Conference, the other one is the Washington Capitals.

We learned that early, as John Erskine’s muffinly dump-in baffled Jacob Markstrom. We were reminded soon after– when Wojtek Wolski caught a Steve Oleksy pass and made it 2-0 on the Caps’ second shot. That was enough for Markstrom, who got the hook in favor of Scott Clemmensen, who promptly gave up two more goals on the Caps’ next four shots– one from Carlson, one from Ribeiro.

That was all in the game’s first 10 minutes. I could go on, but you get the idea. This was all Caps. Even when the shooting slowed, Braden Holtby was so on top of his game that this was never really a contest.

Caps beat Panthers 7-1.

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John Erskine Signs Two-Year, $3.9M Contract Extension

Okay, this one makes somewhat less sense. (Photo credit: Rob Carr)

Busy day! The Capitals have announced they have re-signed tough guy D-man John Erskine to a two-year contract extension worth just south of $4 million. Erskine is the team’s lowest-ranked defenseman when it comes to possession, although he’s not getting tagged for that yet in the goals-against department. He’s currently eating up career-high minutes– 19:30 per game.

Here’s Sky’s tweet, also timestamped weirdly:

So… thoughts? Press release below.

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Ovechkin palmed a plasma globe during intermission. (Photo credit: @HockeyBroph)

The Capitals have been undefeated, 3-0-0, ever since fans sacrified a rubber cow and goat at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. That doesn’t mean the games have been pretty. Or graceful.

For example, take a look at Thursday’s game against division rival Tampa. The Capitals gained a 4-1 lead, only to surrender two third period goals and barely escape with a win. There were missed poke checks, goals scored from a seated position, and lots of enthusiastic coaching. You know: Caps hockey.

Presenting… the best pics from Caps at Lightning!

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The Greatest GIF: John Erskine’s 360-Degree Face Plant

John Erskine faceplant

GIF by welshhockeyfan

Lil’ Muffin John Erskine has been awesome this year. He beat up George Parros, he scored a clutch goal, and he’s been quietly playing 18 quality minutes per night (when he’s not suspended).

Unfortunately for John, this is not going to be a fun story. Towards the end of the third period, with the Capitals down 5-4, Big John jumped off the bench as the Florida Panthers came down the ice for a 4-on-2 break. Instead of actually contributing to the play, Erskine falls onto his back and does a 360-degree tumble onto his face. Or in Fedor’s words, he “Colaiacovo’d.”

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John Erskine suspended 3 games

Saturday night, John Erskine was suspended for three games and fined $24,324.33 for his elbow to the head of Philadelphia Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds. Erskine, whose play has earned him a sweater in five consecutive games, will sit out Sunday’s game at home against the Penguins, Tuesday’s game against Toronto, and Thursday’s game in Pittsburgh.

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Caps beat Flyers 3-2: Have They Turned a Corner?

patrick mcdermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

DFL. The Washington Capitals came into Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in dead last place. Not in the southeast, not in the east. In the whole damn league.

Here’s the part where they turn it around.

Halfway into the game, Bruno Gervais sent a loose puck deep into Holtby’s net. Nick Backstrom tied it up with his first goal of the year, a patient deke to beat Ilya Bryzgalov one-on-one late in the second. Troy Brouwer took the lead with a brilliant near-side roofer. Wojtek Wolksi robbed Baby Schenn and put a one-touch goal on Bryz to make it 3-1. The Flyers got one back with a Brayden Schenn rocket right as the power play expired.

Caps beat Flyers 3-2.

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John Erskine elbows Wayne Simmonds in the head

GIF via welshhockeyfan

Late in the first period of Friday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Big John Erskine got himself into some trouble. Skating up the ice, Erskine connected with Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds, drawing blood but no penalty.

As you can see, Erskine’s elbow makes contact with Simmonds’ face. The question Brendan Shanahan will be asking is whether or not Erskine was putting himself in a defensive posture– or whether there was a suspendable intent to injure.

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Typical Ottawa: Sens beat Caps 3-2

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Photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick

The Washington Capitals started something with their first win on Sunday and sought to keep that going against the Ottawa Senators. The Caps brought a sense of coherence and confidence to their game that we haven’t seen in a long time, but the game’s back half started sagging and one bad penalty cost them everything.

The Capitals gave Troy Brouwer his second goal of the year, a net-crashing backhand set up by some hardworking hockey from Wojtek Wolksi and the Caps D-corps. Matt Hendricks deflected Jay Beagle’s wide-angle shot into the net to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. The Senators got on the board with a Condra shot deflected off of Jim O’Brien. Milan Michalek tied it up with a tricky backhand off the faceoff that eluded Neuvirth. Former Cap Sergei Gonchar got the game-winning goal on an undeserved power play in the games final minutes.

Sens beat Caps 3-2.

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Michal Neuvirth, Alex Ovechkin, John Erskine

Erskine (right) celebrates his goal.

Erskine (right) celebrates his goal. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Photo credit: Nick Wass

The Washington Capitals have won a hockey game. For the first time since April 9, 2012, the Caps defeated their opponent when they beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 at Verizon Center. It had been over eight months since the team’s last victory, a May 9 win over the New York Rangers in the second round of the playoffs. After the summer and the lockout, the boys got off to an awful start in 2013. They were blown out in their first three games and dropped Friday’s in overtime.

Another thing that hasn’t happen in just about forever also occurred on Sunday. John Erskine, known for his rough hits and bruising fights, scored. A goal. In a hockey game.

It was Erskine’s first tally since the team’s final game of the 2010-11 season, a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. That’s 634 days for those who like a precise count.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised,” Erskine, a defenseman, told reporters afterwards. “I just threw it at the net, and you never know what can happen. It can go off people and in the net. That’s the way goals are going in these days.”

“Whenever I score any goals, the boys get up and have a good little cheer,” he added with a wry smile.

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Ovechkin speaks to the media

Miss the media? “Not really,” says Ovechkin. (Photo credit: @SWhyno)

This morning, a bunch of Washington Capitals players jumped back on the ice for an informal practice. Those who skated include Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Mike Green, Mike Ribeiro, John Carlson, Michal Neuvirth, Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle, Jack Hillen, and John Erskine.

At 11am, Caps general manager George McPhee then spoke to the press for the first time since dinosaurs roamed the earth. GMGM revealed that injured defenseman Dmitry Orlov is “improving” but questionable for opening night (but you already knew that), and side-stepped questions on Nicklas Backstrom’s health, acknowledging that the team can’t examine him until a new CBA is ratified. Hershey Bears defense prospect Cameron Schilling will also be given a shot to make the team out of training camp. McPhee’s full comments are below.

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