The prank was pretty basic. Host Daniel Breitholtz is supposed to conduct a serious interview with Johansson and Burakovsky. But what they don’t know is Breitholtz is getting all of the questions from Caps center Nicklas Backstrom through his earpiece. Once Marcus is let in on the prank, they team up to continue the fun against a very confused Burakovsky.
The Capitals made it nearly halfway through the 2015-16 NHL season without suffering back-to-back loses, winning nine straight games in December. But with Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Jay Beagle missing from the lineup, the Caps dropped two games in a row against two of the league’s worst teams. The games were close, with Brandon Saad scoring with just over a minute left to send Saturday’s game against Columbus to a shootout after the Capitals almost came back against Carolina on Thursday. Still, the loses are disappointing for a team that desperately wants to raise the Stanley Cup this year.
“It’s going to have to be better, it’s that simple,” goalie Braden Holtby, who took just his sixth loss of the season against Columbus, said.
As Chris wrote earlier today, Alex Ovechkin appears to be getting back on track on the power play with power-play goals in two straight games. Saturday, the Russian machine conjured some black magic to get a power-play assist.
Starting out in the league, Marcus Johansson‘s reputation was for finesse and playmaking. Last season, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz asked him to shoot more. In turn, Johansson more than doubled his goal total from the previous year, cracking 20 goals for the first time in his career. Now it seems the 25-year-old Swede might have added another element to his game: his butt. In Washington’s 4-1 win over the Hurricanes on Saturday, Johansson’s presence in front of Carolina goalie Cam Ward led to two goals, including Nicklas Backstrom’s game winner.
“It’s part of scoring goals and getting goals for the team,” Johansson said Sunday. “Someone has to screen the goalie because they’re so good nowadays. You can’t just shoot and expect it to go in. If that’s what it takes to get goals, I’m happy to go there.”
The Capitals got off to a slow start, going almost five minutes without a shot attempt early in the first period. Then Evgeny Kuznetsov hooked somebody. Uh oh. Naturally, Jason Chimera and Justin Williams immediately blew right past the Devils defense for a short-handed tick-tack-toe. Then, just two minutes and 28 seconds later, the unthinkable. Brooks Orpik, who missed all of the preseason with a wrist injury, scored. It was his first as a Capital and it came on a one-timer.
The Caps, though, like to disappear after they score. Maybe they go play with their ferrets. I don’t know. Something dumb probably. Anyway, because the Capitals played with their ferrets the Devils scored twice in under three minutes, first Adam Henrique and then Eric Gelinas. Then nothing happened for 25 minutes.
That was, until, Alex Ovechkin happened. The captain went end to end, blowing past John Moore before flipping a delicious, crisp and refreshing wrist shot top shelf on New Jersey netminder Keith Kinkaid. Marcus Johansson added another. Oh, and then Matt Niskanen got himself an empty netter. But wait, the Devils came back with one of their own. Shower of goals! Caps beat Devils 5-3!
On Tuesday afternoon, the Capitals celebrated all twelve months of the year with Homeward Trails’ Animal Rescue dogs for the 2015-16 Caps Canine Calendar. Each month had its own silly theme based on a season or holiday, with the players and dogs dressed accordingly.
Here’s a quick preview: Caps roomies Tom Wilson and Michael Latta celebrated Valentine’s Day by putting roses in their mouth for February; Braden Holtby wore a sombrero and poncho for Cinco de Mayo; and Karl Alzner dressed in a skin-tight skeleton costume with his dogs for Halloween in October.
January models Andre Burakovsky and Marcus Johansson had problems. By the time the photographer was ready for them, the puppies they were carrying fell asleep in their arms. Adorable, but improvisation was needed. The New Years theme became “falling asleep before midnight.” After two rounds of throwing balloons, the crew tried popping confetti champagne bottles that startled the two pups awake in the middle of the take. The Swedes handled it well: with many puppy kisses.
After the main sets, the photographer did sessions with the player families that wanted their own set of photos. #SquadGoals.
Prepare yourself for enormous amounts of adorable. We can’t wait to buy this calendar.
Over the last few weeks, most of the Caps roster has filed back into Kettler Capitals Iceplex for informal skates. TJ Oshie arrived on Wednesday, leaving captain Alex Ovechkin as the last remaining player out of town. Ovechkin is missing a lot, as these pre-preseason skates are very serious affairs.
On Wednesday, restricted free agent Marcus Johansson and the Washington Capitals went to arbitration. Johansson asked for $4.75 million while the Caps offered $3 million. Two days later, an arbitrator has finally announced his decision. The Caps winger, who set career highs in goals, shots on goal, and points last season, has been awarded a one-year, $3.75 million contract for next season.