Perreault and Beagle (Photo: Patrick McDermott)
I feel sorry for all the johnny-come-lately fans who never knew Bruce Boudreau’s Caps. You know who I’m talking about: all those fake fans who started following the Caps just because of the undeniable electricity of Hunter hockey. Those trendy, fairweather fans who only bought their first Caps shirsey because they saw Ovi pile on an inconceivable 38 goals back in 2011-2012. All they ever knew of the Caps was the unlimited delight of low puck possession and the benching of fan-hated Mike Knuble.
Okay, starting over.
If you were to make a list of things that turned this franchise around in the last decade, you’d see Bruce Boudreau’s name somewhere right underneath Alex Ovechkin and the return to the red uniforms. Now Boudreau is with the Ducks and positively killing it in the Western Conference. Boose brought his league-leading team to Verizon Center for his first game since getting fired more than two years ago. The crowd and the team seemed to appreciate the emotional dimension, and we fans got a decent, if uneven, game out of it.
Mikhail Grabovski got the Caps on the board first by tapping in a pass from Troy Brouwer (and helped along by Ben Lovejoy). Nicky Backstrom converted a power play four minutes later with a sneaky shot to Jonas Hiller’s shoulder. Andrew Cogliano got the Ducks into the game by sweeping up the shards of a broken Caps defense.
The second period was polluted by penalties, and Saiku Koivu tied it with a bang-bang in the waning seconds. Hampus Lindholm got a puck through a crowded shooting lane and well-screened Philipp Grubauer to put the Ducks up with five minutes left. Alex Ovechkin rang the post, and our hearts sank.
Ducks beat Caps 3-2.
Photo credit: @mediachameleon
Two years ago, after the Washington’s eighth loss in 11 games, the Capitals fired head coach Bruce Boudreau. Gabby had glided the team to a Presidents’ Trophy and made the Caps the talk of the NHL. He had also overseen crushing playoff defeats and long losing streaks. After the latest one, general manager George McPhee had enough.
In 2013, Boudreau is on a different streak. He now coaches the Anaheim Ducks, a team he took over just two days after being fired by the Caps. Tonight, Bruce returns to Verizon Center for the first time (along with Mathieu Perreault), with his team on an eight-game winning streak. They own the best record in the NHL.
Here’s what Bruce had to say at the morning skate, via a press release from the Ducks.
Photo credit: @Sydneyhasnever
The Washington Capitals are carrying three goaltenders right now. Why? Not sure. But with Philipp Grubauer earning another start tonight, Braden Holtby decided to take a shift or two on defense during this morning’s practice.
I’m in love with this photo right now. I’d take Holtby over Urbom any day of the week.
Last season, Mathieu Perreault made Washington Capitals shootout victories a bit more memorable with his bench freak-outs, which we dubbed the #PerryCelly. It became A Thing. A bit less known, however, was the knowledge the whole #PerryCelly thing came about because of Karl Alzner.
One night, Alzner and Perreault were watching the YouTubes, as humans are like to do. They came across Peter Dill, a basketball player for Seton Hall. Dill was not very good– he tallied just a single basket in two years playing for the school– but boy did he get excited when his team scored.
Photo: Frederick Breedon
After Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, I figured their four days off this week would be a good thing. The team would get a chance to work on its 5v5 play, and the distance of time would give us a bit more clarity on a chaotic, young season.
Nope. I was wrong.
The Capitals don’t intend to tinker with their lines just yet, while the rest of the league seems dedicated to making Caps fans miserable. It’s been a four-day break in which players are still getting paid, but everyone still seems as grumpy as a non-essential government worker.
Photo credit: Hannah Foslien
When George McPhee traded 19-year-old Filip Forsberg for Martin Erat last year, the Washington Capitals acquired a 32-year-old veteran who should have fit in nicely with their top-six. This season however, Erat — who has a $4.5 million cap hit — plays under ten minutes a night on the team’s fourth line. With the surprise signing of Mikhail Grabovski during the offseason and Tom Wilson’s great play during the preseason, the Caps had to shed salary ahead of their season opener to make room for The Ten Train. So they dumped Mathieu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks for a fourth round pick and an AHL player.
As I said that day, moving Perreault was curious considering the team’s lack of depth at center and his success over the last three seasons. And through two games this season, he has been — gulp — Anaheim’s best player.
Saturday night against the Minnesota Wild, Perreault scored his first point (an assist) and first goal as a Duck. His goal was the overtime game-winner.
Photo credit: David Zalubowski
Three days after he was traded by the Washington Capitals, Mathieu Perreault made his debut for the Anaheim Ducks. He centered Anaheim’s second line and skated with young stud Jakob Silfverberg and future hall-of-famer Teemu Selanne, so maybe no more feeling sorry for him.
Perreault’s performance was about as good as it could be in a lopsided 6-1 loss in which your papa bear head coach got assaulted by a pane of glass.
In 15:14 of ice time, the tiny French-Canadian won 13 of 16 face-offs (81%), had one hit, and created a bunch of chances. He wore #22 (looks so weird) and got a hair cut.
Horn Guy, Owen, and Matty P.
Ed. Note: Well, this stinks. Remember last year when Mathieu Perreault did all those celebrations? A couple fans came up with some super cool cutouts to partake in Perry Celly festivities. I wrote about it during the playoffs when the Caps were up
3-1 3-2 in the first round, but before we could post, Washington collapsed. A long summer ensued. We intended to finally publish this as the 2013-2014 season got started, but, guess what, Perreault got traded. Oops. Here it is anyway.
Mathieu Perreault is wild.
So are Caps fans.
In honor of Perreault’s crazy post-game celebrations, Kat and her boyfriend Owen could often be spotted during last year’s playoffs watching warmups from the front row, holding up a giant Matty P cardboard head, and waving around two gloves attached to popsicle sticks. Even for players accustomed to seeing things like the Brouwer Rangers (and their fanny packs) this provoked a second look for some Caps.
“Chimera was skating by, looked up, and he just broke out laughing,” Owen told me outside Verizon Center in May.
“It’s made Oleksy do a double take,” Kat continued. “Matty P smirked and he actually tried to throw a puck at us. He didn’t quite get it over.”
“He gets an A for effort,” Owen added.
Never forget. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)
Tonight I was naughty and ordered pizza. A food coma knocked me out for two and a half hours on our living room couch. When I woke up, walked downstairs, and refreshed the website I helped create, I learned that the Washington Capitals traded everybody’s favorite French Canadian bro, Mathieu Perreault, for a fourth round pick and a minor league dude from Anaheim that George McPhee will probably say “can play.”
As an avowed fan who gets emotionally connected to some of the players, it’s — ya know — kinda upsetting. From a blogger’s point of view, Perreault was one of the most interesting players on the team. He had personality. He delivered many, many pageviews.
But when I check my emotion and look at the facts, this move is curious on a few levels. Mathieu Perreault was an underrated player who brought the team a lot of value. Since the 2010-11 season, the Capitals have been a much better team with Perreault on the ice than off. Despite his tiny size, Perreault is a talented puck-chaser and forechecker who drives play.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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