Photo: Maddie Meyer
Marcus Johansson left Wednesday’s game after suffering an upper-body injury in the first period.
It’s not apparent exactly what the injury is, but it probably occured when Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds smeared Johansson into the boards halfway into the first period.
The Washington Capitals are the league’s best team and lead the Eastern Conference by 16 points halfway through the season. They are dominating for a lot of reasons. You could point to the Caps’ league-leading power play and fifth-rated penalty kill, Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin being Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin, the rise of Evgeny Kuznetsov, or Brian MacLellan’s ace offseason acquisitions of Justin Williams and TJ Oshie.
I think one thing that sets this Caps team a part is the selfless brand of hockey they play.
We got another glimpse of this Tuesday during the second period of the Caps-Blue Jackets game. With the Caps up 5-2, future Lady Byng candidate Marcus Johansson forechecked in the corner with Blue Jackets defenseman Justin Falk. Falk, potentially trying to spark his terrible team in a hopeless game, began mauling the peaceful Swede. Then suddenly, Falk’s gloves were off. He wanted to fight Johansson. I’m not sure why. Johansson has zero career fights.
And that’s when fourth liner Michael Latta sprung into action.
Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson has been suspended two games by NHL Player Safety for his illegal check to Thomas Hickey’s head. This suspension comes despite Johansson’s standing as one of the NHL’s least penalized players. He’s only been whistled for three minors this season.
Here’s the NHL’s full explanation.
Last November, former Swedish Idol judge and hockey/media guy Daniel Breitholtz did a bit where Nicklas Backstrom literally tattooed his arm at a DC tattoo parlor for a video on Aftonbladet, Sweden’s biggest newspaper. For their next trick, Backstrom and Breitholtz teamed up to mess with Caps’ Swedes Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky.
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.
There’s a reference to Swedes on bikes.
Photo: Jamie Sabau
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.
Photo: Mike Ehrmann
During Hockey Night In Canada, Elliotte Friedman took part in a Headlines segment and spoke about several players who are potentially on the trading block. One Capital in particular made that list.
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
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.”
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