This was the Matt Hendricks’ year. This was the year that he broke out of his small, specific role and became a real contributor. This was the year that he made NHL goalies and women everywhere swoon with his dazzling shootout moves. This was the year that the most significant story about him was not centered around a ghastly eye injury.
We try to read lips, but it’s not easy to know what our Capitals are saying. Not unless a HBO crew is following them, or they’re within earshot of Pierre McGuire.
Luckily, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, Mike Knuble, and Matt Hendricks got mic’d up for the second round of the playoffs. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the Rangers vs. Caps. Tears and swear words not included.
There were a few common themes to the Capitals’ last postseason interviews, before they went their separate ways for summer. The first question posed was always about Dale Hunter, who has made the decision to return to the London Knights franchise in Ontario rather than stay on to coach the Caps. The team expressed universal admiration and gratitude for what he brought to the Capitals in his short tenure, often focusing less on his system than on the character and sense of accountability he was able to instill.
There was clear disappointment at the early ending to the season, but a different tone to the team’s assessment of their year than the year before — many of the Caps mentioned that they thought they were able to go out in a way that they feel better about this year, though of course they’d all still rather be playing hockey.
Read on for the details of Jay Beagle‘s injury, Brooks Laich standing outside Hunter’s window holding a boombox, and Hunter’s odd career model for Alexander Ovechkin.
In a few short hours, the Capitals will face the Rangers in New York City to battle over who will advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. But we shouldn’t worry. Why? Because our team is made up of a bunch of super heroes.
When Dale Hunter was first hired as Caps head coach, old-time fans of the team assumed #32 would bring his fiery nature behind the bench. Instead, Hunter has been cool, calm, and collected, rarely losing his composure or seeming visibly upset.
After Mike Green rifled a shot past Henrik Lundqvist in the third period, the Capitals had to hold a one-goal lead for almost six minutes to win Game Four. With that in mind, Dale Hunter sent out the Wagons. Washington held the Rangers to only two shots on goal during that stretch — six blocked — and would hold on to win 3-2 and tie the series at 2.
As Caps fans, most of us were already aware that Matt Hendricks was awesome. Perhaps we were not aware until this season just how awesome he really was, but we’ve had our eyes opened one shootout stunner and monster playoffs shift at a time. As the games have gotten bigger, so has he. All-Star goaltenders everywhere have come to fear him, and superstars brace themselves when they see him about to finish a check.
In honor of the nickname Craig Laughlin coined for Hendy earlier in the season — “The Paralyzer” — we present our new Minnesota license plate inspired t-shirt, lovingly designed by Ian Oland. You can check the shirts out in our t-shirt store here. Also, shipping is free right now through May 8th when you place an order over $30. Just use the coupon code MOTHERSDAY12 at checkout.
The Washington Capitals returned home with hopes of gaining a series lead over the New York Rangers. Fans got involved with some rousing “O! V!” cheers, the Caps got their offense moving, and the ice was as soupy as you’d expect in the D.C. spring. But this game was unlike any others. It was a thing of History. Capitals history. And you can probably guess from that alone how it turned out.
After a scoreless first, Ryan Callahan converted a power play by tapping in a puck served up for him after bouncing off of Matt Hendricks. John Carlson tied it up with a dangle-icious wrister that went top shelf.
The third period was tense, but offered no resolution to the game. And so we went to overtime.
Alex Ovechkin rang the post on a huge breakaway– leading to some goal lights and a bit of premature celebration, but it was waved off. And thus we needed double secret overtime.
Brian Boyle blocked Mike Rupp’s sure-thing game-winner, and thus we needed triple overtime.
In trip OT, Jeff Schultz made the block of his life using his pants. Yeah, his pants. That’s how weird stuff got.
But then Marian Gaborik coordinated with Brad Richards to finally end it with some behind-the-goal-line action.
Matt Hendricks was in some kind of mood tonight. It’s already been the postseason of the grinders for the Washington Capitals, but Hendricks took that to a whole new level with 9 SOG and 10 hits, including one building-shaking crusher on Ryan McDonagh 4:20 into overtime. Video is below the jump.
Last season, the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup with grit, a stiffing defense, and a big weirdo in net by the name of Tim Thomas. Thomas had an incredible 1.98 GAA, .940 Save Percentage, and 4 shutouts in last year’s playoffs. In the Finals, Thomas went into beast mode, giving up only 8 goals in 7 games, giving Boston its first Stanley Cup since 1971-72. Naturally, he was the Playoffs MVP.
Well the Bruins are back to defend their title and are trying to become the first team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to win the Cup in back-to-back years. Standing in their way however, will be our 7th-seeded Caps, a rag-tag group of veterans, AHL’ers, and Russians that I’m pretty sure Pierre McGuire and Mike Milbury still think are Eurotrash.
Unless he suffers a gruesome injury or chooses to skip out on a game because of an Obama appearance, the Capitals will have to find a way to consistently score on this Tea Partier from Flint, Michigan. And that, for them hasn’t been easy.
Timmay is a career 14-5-3 against Washington, which includes a save percentage north of .920. He’s consistently beaten the Caps in their own barn, winning 7 of 9 career games against them. While Thomas went 1-1-1 against the Capitals this year in 3 starts, he also stopped 82 of 89 Washington shots. He was nearly impenetrable, no matter how much we only want to remember his — um — poor performance in the March 29th shootout.
So on those 7 goals, how have the Caps beaten Thomas? Is there a particular place on the ice that the Caps have had more success shooting?