What is Wrong with Marcus Johansson?

Marcus Johansson-2

Photo credit: Chris Gordon

For the Capitals, there’s a lot to keep track of right now. We’ve noticed Alex Ovechkin’s scoring slump, a whole lotta penalties, and some bad breaks for the goalies. One thing we haven’t noticed is Marcus Johansson, and that’s a big problem too.

In 2011-2012, Johansson scored 14 goals and 32 assists, shooting a pretty boss 15.6%. That was enough to make him the team’s third best scorer behind the Alexes, a crucial piece of a lean team.

Not so much this year. Through seven games, Johansson’s stat line looks like this: 0, 0, 0%.

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Graig Abel

Photo credit: Graig Abel

Remember how we were whining about losing that game in Ottawa? How it wasn’t fair? How we were skeptical that lady luck would ever swing the Washington Capitals’ way?

Not tonight. The Caps’ loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs wasn’t an artifact of luck, but rather the sadly predictable result of a penalty parade.

Mike Ribeiro hit up Joel Ward on the weak side for an easy opening goal. JVR tied it up with a rebound goal during a super-sized power play for the Leafs.  Alex Ovechkin recorded a PPG with a nasty wrister to restore Washington’s lead. Then the Capitals killed off a eleventy billion penalties. The Leafs tied it up in the third when Nikolai Kulemin ate snow to knock home a loose puck behind Neuvy. The Leafs stole the lead with a Matt Frattin net-crash halfway into the third.

Leafs beat Caps 3-2.

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Alex Ovechkin (2 of 2)

Adam Oates talks to Ovi during practice on Saturday. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

Alex Ovechkin has become a one-dimensional player. Once the league’s most creative and premier scorer, Ovi has been stymied by his apparent unwillingness to change — at least so far. His struggles at right wing in the first three games this season demonstrated that much. After just eight periods, the exercise ended. Ovi was back at left wing.

Ovi’s switch has been the story of the season so far for the Caps. But not everybody thinks it should be.

“Are we talking about Ovi again? That’s bulls—t,” forward Troy Brouwer told me when asked about Ovechkin’s play this season.

“It shouldn’t be difficult,” Brouwer said. “He’s a right handed shot, he should be able to play right wing. It should be hard to play your off wing.”

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Ovi and Mojo Collide

Tuesday morning, the Washington Capitals scrimmaged the Reading Royals at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, winning in a nail biter by a score of 8-0. During the first period of the game, Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson violently collided into one another. Since the game wasn’t broadcast online, we had to rely on tweets and blurry photos to try to imagine what happened. We all thought the worst.

Thankfully, both players ended up being okay, but after investigating CSN’s video of the hit, we don’t know how.

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Alex Ovechkin lay on the ice in pain

Noooooo! (Photo credit: Stephen Whyno/The Washington Times)

On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals scrimmaged their ECHL affiliate, the Reading Royals, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. With a shortened training camp, the Caps need every opportunity to get into game shape. But with the regular season just days away they also don’t want to get hurt, and Washington had a bit of a scare on that front.

As Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson were skating in the neutral zone, they collided brutally near center ice. Both players laid on the ice in pain and were slow to get up.

While Johansson managed to stay in the game, the Capitals’ captain, who was bleeding from the chin, had to leave the ice for repairs.

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Marcus Johansson at a Karlskoga gas station

“Uhhh, can somebody pick me up?” (Photo credit: VF-Sport)

After sixteen straight hours of negotiations, the NHL and NHLPA agreed to the framework of a new CBA at 5:45AM Sunday morning, effectively ending the lockout. Across the globe in Sweden, Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson, who had been playing for BIK Karlskoga of the second-tier HockeyAllsvenskan league, was on the bus heading towards Skåne for his team’s game against Malmö on Monday.

As Johansson and the team received word the lockout was over, the bus immediately pulled over at a Karlskoga gas station and dropped Johansson off. “It all happened very quickly,” cracked Johansson to the Swedish website VF-Sport (Värmlands Folkblad) an hour later.

Below, the jump, Jacob Ware (@JacobWare95) translates Johan Eriksson’s full conversation with Mojo, as the Capital travels home to Karlstad.

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Photos: Alex Ovechkin and Team Russia Win Channel One Cup

“Russian Machine flex for the ladies.” (Photo credit: sportbox.ru)

On Sunday, Alex Ovechkin and the Russian National Team defeated Finland 3-1 to take the 2012 Channel One Cup. During the three-game tournament, Russia dominated, outscoring their opponents 14-2. Ovechkin, who mostly played on the team’s third line, had two points in three games — a goal and an assist. Team Sweden, who saw Nicklas Backstrom score three points and Marcus Johansson record his first national team goal and points, was the runner-up.

Below the jump, we have a few more photos from Russia’s post-game celebration.

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Alex Ovechkin Scores Goal in Channel One Cup

Maybe the greatest photo taken of Ovechkin of all-time. (Photo credit: Grigory Dukor/Reuters)

On Thursday at Moscow’s Megasport Arena, the Russian National Team defeated Sweden in the first game of the Channel One Cup.  The tournament, which was made possible because all European leagues took a four-day break during their regular seasons, prominently featured three Capitals players playing against each other: Alex Ovechkin who skated on Team Russia’s third line with Alexey Tereschenko and Nikolai Zherdev; Nicklas Backstrom who centered Sweden’s first line; and Marcus Johansson, who played to the left of Backstrom in his national team debut.

In Russia’s 5-1 blowout win, Ovechkin scored a beautiful 1-on-2 goal and Backstrom tallied an assist for Sweden.

Now let’s see these highlights!

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Marcus Johansson Scores First Allsvenskan League Goal

D’aww. Look how proud he is. (Photo credit: hockeyallsvenskan.se)

Last Tuesday, Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson signed a lockout contract with BIK Karlskoga of the Swedish Allsvenskan League, where the team would only pay his $5,000 monthly insurance fee. Keeping in a tradition that seems to ring true for all Capitals players playing overseas (plus Brads and Biznasty), Johansson is paying instant dividends for his new club, registering his first Allsvenskan League goal in BIK Karlskoga’s 4-2 win over Mora Saturday.

Video is below the jump.

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On Tuesday, Marcus Johansson became the sixth Washington Capital to sign in Europe, agreeing to a short-term contract with BIK Karlskoga of the Swedish Allsvenskan League. Johansson is pretty much playing for free, as Karlskoga is paying his insurance, which is $5,000 a month.

On Thursday, Mojo suited up and made his debut, skating on Karlskoga’s second line as their right-winger. Wearing familiar #90, Johansson finished without points and a minus-1 in Karlskoga’s 3-1 loss to Södertälje.

Meanwhile, Johansson’s new teammate, Martin Thelander, posted a video on Viasat’s Facebook page documenting a typical gameday for him. Johansson is included in the clip, interviewed by Thelander, who interviews Mojo with a banana.

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