trotz-bleeds

Just put some toilet paper on it like you cut yourself shaving.

Hockey injuries are common. Cuts, scratches, lost teeth, and even arterial sprays are rather commonplace for pro players. Less so for coaches, but poor Barry Trotz bled for his team on Thursday.

Marcus Johansson bopped Trotz in the noggin following a hit with Luke Schenn in front of the Caps bench.

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kuznetsov-gardiner

The first half of the season was a struggle for Evgeny Kuznetsov. Lately though, we’ve been seeing some more confidence from Kuzy during even strength. Playing Toronto on Wednesday night, Kuznetsov skated nearly the length of the ice on a 2-on-4 attack before dishing to Marcus Johansson for a beautiful, one-timer goal.

It was a delicious apple– of the Russian variety!

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Eric Fehr is God: Caps Blank Pens 3-0

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Yep.

I spent my Saturday at Nationals Park — well, until NHL PR literally chased me out. The stadium is nearly in its full party dress with fake domes, banners, and a sheet of ice with logos on.

But alas, there were still more games on the calendar before New Year’s Day. Tonight the Caps visited Pittsburgh. A bunch of the Penguins have mumps. Crosby had mumps. Mumps makes your face big. Okay, we got that out of the way.

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Marcus Johansson’s Snapper Ends Caps’ 5v5 Goal Drought

According to your boy Adam Vingan, the Caps had gone nearly 150 minutes without a goal during 5v5. Marcus Johansson ended that with the kind of goal that gets adjectives like “disgusting” and “gorgeous” in equal amounts.

On the rush, Johansson faced NYI’s Brian Strait as he entered the zone. Johansson did a slight toe pick move before he shot just wide of Strait. The puck found the top corner behind Chad Johnson, putting the Caps up 2-0.

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Alex Ovechkin Almost Scores From His Knees (GIF)

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Some of the greatest plays of Alex Ovechkin‘s career have come when he’s not even on his skates. There was The Goal, when he scored on the Coyotes while doing a barrel roll in the slot. Then there was that one time he almost scored against the Rangers while sitting on his bum.

Against the Lightning on Saturday, Ovechkin passed the puck to himself and got a semi-breakaway. He fell over, but that’s no reason not to get a shot on goal.

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“Killer” Turnovers Cost Caps Victory Over Red Wings

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

For the last few games, Washington’s offense has been lacking. Alex Ovechkin has struggled to score — going five games without a goal — while the rest of the lines have struggled to click as Barry Trotz’s looks for line combinations that will gel. On Wednesday, they got the offense. Washington clearly outclassed the Red Wings but made a few inexplicable mistakes. They hurt.

“They’re not playing overly poor,” Trotz said after the game. “You’ve just got to put your nose to the grindstone and plow through it.”

“Every turnover we did have ended up in the back of the net a little bit,” he added.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

This morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, Barry Trotz took a hammer to the lines that have been so successful in the early part of the season. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom have been split up. The team’s second line, consisting of Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Troy Brouwer, has been blown to smithereens as well.

The Capitals also made a roster move this morning, recalling Tom Wilson from AHL Hershey and demoting Chris Brown. Brooks Laich, who suffered what appeared to be a shoulder injury last week, did not skate with the team and will not play Wednesday. Trotz believes Laich may practice later in the week. Come on, baked goods, I thought you had magical healing powers!

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Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin

Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson has found a home on the team’s second line. Skating with fellow Swede Andre Burakovsky and not-a-Swede Troy Brouwer, Johansson has doubled his shot output from last season.

Johansson has been more productive with his goal output as well. Last year, Johansson was a passenger on the team’s first line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, scoring only two goals at even strength through 80 games– and none of them when skating with Ovechkin.

This year is totally different. Johansson has already matched last season’s total– and he’s done it in 72 fewer games.

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All Three Caps Swedes Scored Tonight (GIF)

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The Washington Capitals destroyed the New Jersey Devils 6-2 on Thursday, and they owe half of those goals to a country “where the moose is king, Pippi Longstocking is a hero and innovation rules.” ALL THREE SWEDES SCOARED. That’s worth a fancy photoshop and some fancy GIFs, amirite?

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Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

Two summers ago, Andre Burakovsky came to Capitals Development Camp as a skinny but skilled winger a few years away from the NHL. He made friends with Tom Wilson, about 11 months his senior, and the Canadian introduced him to life in North American and the “cinnamon rollers” that come with it.

Wilson made the Caps roster as a 19-year-old three months later, playing in every one of the team’s 82 games but barely getting on the ice. He registered 15 times more penalty minutes than points. Connor Carrick, another 19-year-old, also made the team out of camp. Though Carrick impressed early with manifest skill, he struggled as the season went on. Thanks to the Caps barren defense, Carrick was playing minutes he wasn’t ready for. Like Wilson, Carrick was ill-served by his rookie experience.

“It’s tough for a young kid,” new Caps GM Brian MacLellan said in his introductory press conference, admitting the team should have handled the players differently.

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