Earlier I wrote about how the Hart Trophy was a poorly defined award of limited value. Now I’ll share why I think Alex Ovechkinabsolutely must have it. I’m going to share some stats and rebut some excuses, but the whole thing boils down to this: the Capitals needed the best from Ovechkin, and he delivered it.
But first, I’m going to repeat what we talked about before. This is the most valuable player to his team, not just the best all-around player. If we’re talking best player? I’d say it’s Sidney Crosby. Hands down. But most valuable? And to his team? That’s a more interesting conversation. And now, baby, you’ve got a stew going.
With five minutes to go in regulation and the game tied 2-2, Brooks Laich‘s cross-ice dump-in was swatted down by John Tavares. Tavares sent the puck into the Caps’ zone, which is where all the crazy happened. Laich sent a weak pass behind the net to Mike Green. The puck bounced off both boards and the back of the net, finally coming to rest dangerously near the crease. With Matt Moulson pressuring, Green tried to put the puck through his legs. Instead, the puck hit his skates and stopped. Moulson picked it up and fed Tavares for an easy game-winner.
On March 13, 2012, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
The Washington Capitals began their epic road trip with a stop on the Long Island and its New York Islanders. The game saw the worst and best of the Caps, but it ended the right way.
Matt Moulson scored the game’s first goal, a fluke so dumbfounding I feel drunk trying to explain it. Matt Moulson scored a power play goal off of John Carlson. John Tavares notched another power play goal at the halfway point, but Dennis Wideman returned fire a few seconds later. Before a comeback could gain momentum, Tavares found the back of the net again. Before the end of the second, Alex Ovechkin caught a rebound and turned it into goal.
Alex Ovechkin took three stabs at a puck from descending distances before beating Nabokov and tying the game. Overtime was not OV time, so we needed a shootout to make a decision. Matt Hendricks is your shootout hero! Caps beat Isles 5-4 (SO).
Editor’s note: Neil Greenberg is not currently affiliated with RMNB and was not consulted for this article.
During Saturday’s game between the New York Islanders and the Carolina Hurricanes, play-by-play announcer Howie Rose criticized Neil Greenberg’s list of the top 25 players under 25 for ESPN.com (paywall, but it’s worth it). That list does not include NYI’s John Tavares, who has a team-best 46 points in his third year in the NHL.
During the discussion, Rose calls Neil a “housebound agraphobe.” We can assume he means agoraphobe, since agraphobe is a made-up word that would mean “fear of farmland” or something. Rose runs standard operating procedure for character assassination of a blogger. Four-time Stanley Cup winner Butch Goring joins the routine and accuses Neil of being a provocateur. It’s a comprehensive ad hominem screed, except that they do not mention Neil by name at any point during the two-minute, telecast-padding exercise:
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.
The Pre Game: So my doctor says I need to relax more. He suggests writing: it’s solitary, quiet, and engages the “more refined aspects” of our minds, he says. Which is funny, considering that the more I think about Long Island, the harder I find it is to type with clenched fists.
The Puck Drop: It’s difficult to know what to say about the 516 that is refined. Or funny. A better word is sad. It’s a place where ‘ugg’ boots aren’t a brand so much as a reaction to the Designer Shoe Outlet knock-off sleds that women strap on to their feet. A place where professional people dress like it’s Halloween every day. Like I said, sad, really. That such an idyllic spot could be inhabited by so many groaners perhaps argues that God indeed really did die, or at least go on extended vacation, thus leaving Creation in the hands of people who consider Billy Joel relevant. But enough theology.
As far as the Islanders, they haven’t been a role model for decades. Save, maybe, for people who suffer from Imposter Syndrome for good reason. Heck, just insert any “X” into the X > Tebow meme, and replace Tebow with the Islanders, and you get the idea. “Godfathers Pizza > Islanders.” Gold.
Participants included, in original order, Craig Custance, Tristan Cockcroft, Tim Kavanagh, John Buccigross, Pierre Becquey, Michael Hume, Victoria Matiash, Neil Greenberg, Sean Allen and Scott Cullen. Categories include goals, assists, power-play points, plus/minus, penalty minutes, shots on goal and average time on ice for skaters and wins, save percentage and goals-against average for goaltenders. Slots to fill include nine forwards, five defensemen, one “utility” skater, two goaltenders and a five-man bench.
My philosophy was simple: grab young, healthy, talented players with upside. Let others worry if Patrick Kane would be healthy or if Sergei Kostitsyn can once again score 20 goals on less than 100 shots.
I had the eight pick. With my editor Mike Hume drafting before me (he knows which players I fancy) and Cullen having back-to-back picks behind me I knew I had to make strategic decisions.
On January 11, 2010, In Daniel Moroz, By Russian Machine Never Breaks
Semyon Varlamov is going to have to stop being injured, to actually contend for the Calder Trophy.
The Capitals’ Semyon Varlamov has been one of the better rookies in the NHL this season, and he’s certainly in the running to maybe take home the Calder Trophy. Several of the more highly touted rookies haven’t quite lived up to expectations, which leaves the field still wide open. By the nature of these kinds of awards, the winner tends to be the guy who played over his head the most and the longest. That means that the player who is on top now can easily regress and possibly even finish out of the top 10 at the en. Also, since it’s hard to compare players at different positions, the Goals Versus Threshold numbers that Behind The Net recently added are useful to put everyone on the same playing field. A little more than half-way through the season, here are some of the top contenders.