Lars Eller finally put on a Washington Capitals jersey and met with DC press for the first time Tuesday morning — eleven days after Caps GM Brian MacLellan dealt two second-round picks to acquire him. The Caps plan to use the former Canadiens forward exclusively as the team’s third-line center, replacing Jay Beagle and Marcus Johansson who both played the position at different points last season. Eller was excited about his new opportunity.
“Honestly, it’s been nothing but positive since we got here,” Eller said, after putting his new number 20 jersey on. “I’m sure it’s going to be a great fit for me and my family.”
Eller revealed that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was the first player to reach out via text, despite being on vacation in Europe. “I don’t think there were any smiley faces,” Eller said with a laugh, when asked if Ovi included any of his trademark smilies.
The 27-year-old Dane is under contract for the next two seasons and plans to move his wife and young daughter to Washington before the season starts. Eller’s three-year-old daughter Sophia had a special request. “She asked for a pink room so I’m going to try and get her that at least.”
Photo: Harry How
Heading into the offseason, Brian MacLellan said he was going to upgrade the Caps’ third line over the summer. Per usual, MacLellan did exactly what he said he was going to do by acquiring Lars Eller from the Montreal Canadiens for two draft picks.
MacLellan said that Eller had been on his radar since last season and that he thinks the acquisition fills the Caps third line center spot. MacLellan touted Eller’s skating ability and two-way play as the reasons that he thought the newly-acquired center is a good fit in DC.
Here’s a closer look at what Eller brings to the table.
Orlov and Max Pacioretty fight for the puck. (Photo credit: Richard Wolowicz)
Way back on November 23rd, Dmitry Orlov registered his first NHL point in his second NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets. That night he also made his presence felt physically with two monster hits. On one, he hit Evander Kane so hard into the boards that his stick flew into the crowd. On the other, he laid out an unsuspecting Blake Wheeler with an open-ice hip check.
“I really like the physical element of the game,” Orlov told RMNB’s Igor Kleyner a few days later. “Always have, since I was a kid. One of the reasons I came to play here – there is more hitting. I like that.”
Well, here’s a hit you may not have even known happened. On January 13th against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Orlov caught Steve Downie with a hip check after the pest rifled a shot on goal. The hit flipped Downie end-over-end to the ice in
hilarious spectacular fashion. Video is below the jump.
[Ed. note: for coverage of Rene Bourque, uhhh… check out RMNB on Wednesday morning.]
The Pregame: Fun game! Everyone from a malfunctioning family, raise your hand. Or, if you’re in a public place, just give a little squee inside. Yeah, we thought so. Show me the person who says their family is perfectly normal and I’ll show you a glue-sniffing, trick-turning, psychopathic cat hoarder. You know: like [fill in hated politician here] Oh, biting wit!
And speaking of glue-sniffing (bet you thought it’d be sociopathy), we come to Wednesday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens. Les Habitants. You know: the Baldwin family of contemporary hockey. Or should that be the Donner Party? Either way, they eat their own to the amusement of all.
Oh you bet, we’ve all had a hearty laugh – a long, hard laugh – at the goonish antics of our Quebecois neighbors of late. Like watching the Spuckler family argument spill out onto the un-mowed back lawn, hurling rotting plastic chairs at one another as they jockey for “superiority” amid the weeds and used Timmy Hos coffee cups. Too much back bacon, eh?
Brooks Laich gives Braden Holtby the ol’ congratulatory helmet tap. (Photo credit: Francois Lacasse)
Less than 24 hours after being shutout at the hands of the Ottawa Senators, the Washington Capitals turned the tables against the Montreal Canadiens on Holtby — err — Hockey Night in Canada. The 21 year-old stonewalled the Habs on the way to his tenth victory this season.
The Capitals dominated the play during the first period of play, outshooting the Canadiens 12 to three and scoring the only tally of the frame. The goal came just 84 seconds into the contest when Marco Sturm knocked in a rebound off a Nicklas Backstrom wrist shot.
Washington continued their strong play in the second stanza, outshooting the Habs once again while Braden Holtby held the fort in net.
In the third both teams managed good opportunities, but it would be the Caps who would convert. After, guess who, Marco Sturm poke-checked the puck away at center-ice, Backstrom started a three-on-one break before Alexander Semin finished the play off by flicking the Swede’s pass past Montreal goalie Carey Price. SHUTOUT FOR BRADEN! Caps stonewall Habs, 2-0.
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