Special teams was key to the Washington Capitals’ success last season. The team has long been known for its vaunted power play, but the Caps captured the Presidents’ Trophy in large part due to their brilliant penalty kill, which stopped their opponents 85.2 percent of the time, second only to the Anaheim Ducks.
This year, however, the Caps PK is faltering. They are the fourth-worst unit in the NHL, allowing goals 28.6 percent of the time that their enemy has the man-advantage. Washington has allowed power play goals in four of the five games they’ve played, including a Jimmy Vesey tally Saturday night against the New York Rangers.
“I think it’s just little things here and there we need to work on and continue to get better on,” center Jay Beagle said. “We’re obviously not happy. That’s not good enough.”
For those of you that haven’t stepped outside the last couple days, the weather has been absolutely glorious. TJ Oshie and Karl Alzner took advantage of the beautiful weather by having a park playdate with their daughters, Lyla Oshie and Stella Alzner.
Opening night is fast approaching and the Washington Capitals’ roster is taking shape, especially on the defensive end where there were no personnel changes during the offseason. However, it appears that a fairly significant change is coming to the back-end pairings. Dmitry Orlov will begin the season paired with John Carlson on the second unit while Nate Schmidt will start the season with Brooks Orpik. Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzer will remain together as the team’s shtudown pair.
Moving Orlov up in the pecking order to play with Carlson suggests that the the Caps are comfortable placing a greater deal of trust in him. Trust in a defenseman means putting him on the ice for big minutes and game-breaking situations, and believing that the good will outweigh the bad in both zones.
Let’s take a look at which of last year’s defensive pairs were the most utilized and trusted in terms of deployments, and how much that might have to change with Orlov no longer on the third pair.
On Wednesday, CSN released a snippet of their upcoming Capitals Central show (Sunday, 8:30 pm) and they just posted some of its high-brow, all-access content.
Let me set the scene. Karl Alzner’s daughter Stella is seen standing by a towel rack and holds up a dachshund-patterned towel. The Alzner family has two (destructive) wiener dogs so clearly that got her excited. So excited in fact, that Stella went into a trance and may have soiled her self.
On Sunday, Anson met another Caps baby born this summer, Leni Rose Oshie. Leni is TJ and Lauren Oshie’s second child born in late June.
During rush hour Wednesday afternoon, the Capitals announced that defenseman Karl Alzner underwent successful surgery to repair a sports hernia. Alzner suffered a torn groin injury in the playoffs, which kept him on the bench for most of the Caps’ season-ending loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alzner played just two shifts early in the second period before being pulled from Game Six.
The initial injury seemed to have occurred during the first round series against the Flyers but progressively grew worse.
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