The Washington Capitals are out in Phoenix ahead of their game with the Coyotes on Tuesday. And our mustachioed heroes have made the most of their off day. Alex Ovechkin put on his favorite Vladimir Putin t-shirt and took a selfie with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov. I’m pretty sure that shirt is honoring Putin and making him look like a action movie star, which, uh, yeah.
Other Caps players actually made it out of the hotel rooms.
Against the Devils Friday night, Braden Holtbygave up the game’s only goal on a bad giveaway. Holtby went behind the net, held onto the puck too long, then got stick checked and passed the puck right to a Devils player. Boom. Game-winning goal.
Saturday night, Justin Peters had his own Braden Holtby moment and it was equally as painful.
On Friday, the Washington Capitals held a photoshoot for their annual dog calendar, benefitting Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. While we posted everything that was put up on social media that day by the Caps, we didn’t tell you that our very own Amanda Bowen went to the event and got her own photos.
Recently, a lot of Washington Capitals masks designed by Swedish airbrush artist Dave Gunnarsson havelookedsimilar (which is kind of hard to avoid when you do a million of these). Justin Peters‘ new mask is, um, not one of those.
“In junior [hockey], my nickname was Pete-Dawg,” Peters began as he showed off his new bucket to RMNB Saturday. “That’s the whole theme behind my mask. It’s a dog, obviously. It’s got the mean teeth and stuff.”
The mask, which features a dog’s mouth wide open with yellowed, bloody canine teeth surrounding the opening of the mask, includes subtle details like the Caps weagle and stars. On the bottom of the mask, Peters’ nickname is found in a script font with a weathered look.
One hundred sixty days after the Washington Capitals missed the playoffs for the first time since 2007, 66 players took to the ice in Arlington, Virginia looking to atone for a lost season. New head coach Barry Trotz put his players through a 45-minute practice and then a rigorous skate test, which left many exhausted, including Alex Ovechkin. This year’s training camp is supposed to be a hard one, part of Trotz’s plan to transform this team from an also-ran into a real success. The Caps have just two days of training camp to get their legs under them before the preseason opens on Sunday.
Below the jump are photos from the day via RMNB’s newest contributor, Amanda Bowen.
The Washington Capitals were aggressive on the first day of free agency, adding three players to their roster: Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, and Justin Peters. Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog that the Caps “added offense, versatility, and experience in Niskanen and signed a shutdown D-man in Orpik.”
He also added, “priority No. 1 was to upgrade our defense, and we made significant strides today.”
I agree. The Capitals will dress better defenders next season. The team’s defense in 2013-14 lacked a true top pairing and the third pairing hemorrhaged shots on net all year, no matter who was put on the ice. The Caps were either going to have to be aggressive via trades or free agency, or they’d have to wait a few seasons for prospects to mature (Nate Schmidt, Patrick Wey, and Connor Carrick).
Caps GM Brian MacLellan decided to go the UFA route. Despite spending a ton of cash (nearly $70 million) and landing perhaps the best defenseman on the market, the mainstream hockey media filleted MacLellan for his moves.
Around 12:30 PM, the Washington Capitals made their first splash into free agency, signing a minor yet potentially important player. Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters has signed a two-year, $1.9 million deal, worth an annual average salary of $950K.
Peters, drafted 34th overall by the Hurricanes in 2004, will likely be the back-up for Braden Holtby. Peters played in the AHL before earning a call-up. He proved himself a solid goaltender as Cam Ward struggled with injury.
Peters is a notorious Caps-killer, posting a 4-3 record with a 1.67 GAA, .938 SV%, and two shutouts in seven career games against his new team.
Simply put: Peters is a solid goalie who can handle a potentially larger role if necessary. And he comes at a good price.
This move also signifies that Capitals prospect goalie, Philipp Grubauer will now be relegated to AHL Hershey and have to play out of his mind to force his way to the NHL.
The Caps also came into tonight’s game a bit bruised up. They would be forced to pick themselves off the mat without early-season standouts Michal Neuvirth and Mike Green, who were nursing lower-body and upper-body injuries respectively.
So in came the recently-rehabbin’ Semyon Varlamov, Tom Poti, and a reinvigorated Russian Machine.
Nicklas Backstrom then decided to celebrate his birthday in fashion – albeit a day late – scoring in both the first and second periods. Semyon Varlamov made all the big stops when needed and our heroes dug deep and prevailed despite third period momentum-changing tallies by Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal. Thanks to Brooks Laich, the Caps beat Carolina 3-2.LOSING STREAK OVAHHH!