Caps Re-sign Michal Neuvirth for Two Years and $5 Million

The Capitals announced Saturday morning that they have re-signed goalie Michal Neuvirth to a two-year contract worth about $2.5 a year. Neuvirth has stopped 91% of all shots against this season, but has largely been shelved (just 13 games played) due to injury, illness, and Braden Holtby’s 91.9% save percentage.

Neuvirth will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the contract.

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Senators beat Caps 2-1 (OT) Because Mike Ribeiro

Patrick McDermott

Check out the Hendyface! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

I was expecting some kind of letdown after the Washington Capitals ensured themselves a playoff spot on Tuesday, but dude. Thursday’s game against the Ottawa Senators wasn’t bad by any stretch, but it didn’t carry the same gravitas now that the Caps are locked in third place. Erik Karlsson’s unlikely return to service was heartening for pure hockey fans, but it’s way too late in the season for us to muster up that kind of neighborliness. Besides, it’s totally possible this is the team the Caps will have to face in the playoffs, so we should probably get the enmity brewing now.

Karlsson got one, then Ovi got one. Then overtime, where ex-Cap Sergei Gonchar won it all because Mike Ribeiro is a liability.

Sens beat Caps 2-1. Ottawa makes the playoffs.

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Francois Lacasse

Photo credit: Francois Lacasse

The Washington Capitals have had it too good for too long. After filling their greedy maws at the trough of the Southeast for so long, they traipsed up to French Canadia to lay a beating upon the beast of the Northeast, the Montreal Canadiens. The Habs, sporting one of the best power plays and possession numbers in the league, were a worthy foe, but the Caps had Ovi. And that’s all you really need these days. Just a big plate of Ovi and wash it down with some Backstrom. Put some greasy Fehr in there if you want, but Ovi is the main dish.

Caps beat Habs 3-2.

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Photo credit: Greg Fiume

The Washington Capitals’ most valuable player is probably Braden Holtby. After a rough start, Holtby has improved to a solid 91.5% save percentage and recorded four shutouts. That success has been a big part of the Caps’ turnaround in the standings, but it has also given short shrift to Michal Neuvirth, whose future with the Capitals has become murky.

Neuvirth has started just 9 games this season. Coach Adam Oates has consistently turned to Holtby’s hot hand (despite how nebulous that myth is) whenever he had the option. Neuvirth has missed his recent opportunities to start due to illness and then general wooziness following a shot to his mask at practice last week. With Neuvirth playing his worst in a contract year at the same time Holtby is locking down the #1 goalie slot, no wonder there’s chatter about Neuvirth getting courted by the KHL.

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Michal Neuvirth’s New “Eagles of Washington” Mask

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Photo credit: DaveArt.com

Though recently we’ve seen him in a baseball cap more often than not, Michal Neuvirth‘s got a new mask. As with all Neuvy’s lids, the latest one was done by masterful Swedish airbrush artist Dave Gunnarsson, who posted pictures on his Facebook page. This is sad news for us at RMNB as Neuvy’s current Olie Kolzig Memorial Mask is a favorite of ours. The old mask lionizes former Capitals great Olie Kolzig on one side along and Czech netminder Jiří Holeček on the other. Neuvy has yet to wear his new mask, so the old one is still around for now.

The new mask features a large image of Washington’s Weagle logo on the front, but with the head chopped off and replaced with a more realistic rendering. The right side, as always, sports an image of Strekov Castle from Neuvirth’s hometown in the Czech Republic.

“Just as usual the design is pumped with details and hidden messages,” Gunnarsson, who designs masks for many NHL goaltenders, including Braden Holtby, wrote on Facebook. “It is so exciting to create a design in old school style mixed with top modern fx.”

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Ovi’s smiles are getting progressively weirder as the night goes on. (Photo credit: @ovi8)

With Alex Ovechkin scoring his 700th point and the Capitals escaping Raleigh with a win over division-leading Carolina, the players were in a festive mood. That might explain why half the team started tweeting after the game, shooting congratulations to Ovi (#respect), describing the victory with a three-letter word, and posting… well… other weird things.

Take a look for yourself.

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Gregg Forwerck

Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck

The Washington Capitals got rocked by Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Thursday looked like more of the same until Alex Ovechkin threw the team over his husky Russian shoulders and carried them kicking and screaming into the W.

This one could have gone very different. It’s good to know your Capitals can still surprise you.

Caps beat Canes 3-2.

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Patrick McDermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

After a misstep on Long Island, the Washington Capitals hoped to regain their footing while hosting the New York Rangers on Sunday. After a quick start, the Caps lost control of the game. A snazzy goal by Steve Oleksy in the first period gave the Caps the lead, but the Rangers retaliated with four goals– two of them scored after penalties by Alex Ovechkin. Holtby was chased from the net, and the Caps never really mounted a palpable comeback.

Rangers beat Caps 4-1.

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mojo

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

A few weeks ago I published a piece explaining why I wasn’t freaking out the Capitals. My point was that bad luck had been quashing good possession numbers, a trend that I predicted would soon reverse. That did not happen.

The Caps have just two wins through eleven games, making them the worst team in the league. During media time on Friday, General Manager George McPhee primarily blamed that record on bad goaltending and undisciplined, “selfish” penalties. CSN’s Alan May agrees.

I admitted on Thursday night that I was baffled by why the Caps were losing, so I thought we could use this time to figure out what exactly isn’t working. Because I’m pretty sure it’s not the penalties.

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Please, Gnome More: Leafs beat Caps 3-2

patrick mcdermott

Photo credit: Patrick McDermott

I wrote on our mission statement that hockey should be as fun to read about as it is to watch. So what happens when hockey– Caps hockey at least– becomes a chore? Tuesday’s game between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals was another messy loss, and gnome amount of puns will cheer us up right now.

The Leafs scored first, JVR seizing upon a communication breakdown between Neuvirth and Poti behind the Caps net. JVR struck again after Washington’s defense temporarily lost motor function. Marcus Johansson got his first of the year late in the first after Tomas Kundratek gave him a nice feed at the back door. Korbinan Holzer got his first NHL goal with a tricky long bomb. Mike Ribeiro executed a nice zone entry and passing sequence by sinking a powerplay goal, but the Leafs emerged victorious.

Leafs beat Caps 3-2.

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