Caps Auction Off Ugly Christmas Sweaters (Photos)

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The sweaters on sale. (All photos by Chris Gordon)

A couple weeks ago, the Washington Capitals released a magisterial Christmas video in which their players wore ridiculous outfits while pretending to provide musical accompaniment to Jingle Bells. Tonight, the team auctioned off the signed ugly sweaters worn Nicklas Backstrom, John Erskine, Mike Green, Brooks Laich, Alex Ovechkin, Aaron Volpatti, Joel Ward, and Tom Wilson in the video, with the profits benefiting Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic. Troy Brouwer owns the onesie he wore in the video, and according to Caps Community Relations, he refused to part with it. Instead, a signed stocking was offered instead. I imagine he’ll be wearing the onesie on Christmas day.

In the third period, it was announced by Caps PR that bidding raised $5,225 for charity. Way to go, guys.

Here are some photos of the #fashion on sale:

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Love ugly Christmas sweaters and cheesy music videos? This video will make you happy. The Washington Capitals have recorded a music video for Jingle Bells to wish you guys happy holidays. It features Caps captain Alex Ovechkin on the bells, Brooks Laich on the drums, Joel Ward on an inflatable pink saxophone, Troy Brouwer on bass, Aaron Volpatti on the guitar, Nicklas Backstrom on the tambourine, John Erskine on a pre-k piano, Tom Wilson on the ukulele, and– of course– Mike Green rocking the cowbell.

You have to see this.

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No matter how bad your day has been, Mike Green‘s was worse. The two-time Norris nominee was whistled for three infractions in the first period, leading to two Tampa Bay Lightning goals. In total, Green racked up 18 penalty minutes in just 9:18 of ice time. Comcast SportsNet commentator Alan May diagnosed the penalties during the first intermission, calling them “textbook” and the result of “laziness.”

Let’s review.

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Why the Capitals Suck After Scoring a Goal

Holtby - Patrick Smith

Photo: Patrick Smith

Fifteen times this season the Capitals have surrendered a goal within 2:30 of scoring. Nearly one-fifth of the total goals scored against the Caps have come in that 150-second window after a goal. That’s a startling number. Way back in October, Adam Vingan of WaPo Express spoke to the team about the pattern. “We have to find a way to stay on the gas pedal,” Steve Oleksy told Vingan when that number was only 8 goals-against.

The Capitals have not stayed on that metaphorical gas pedal. Instead, they’ve allowed another 7 goals within the two and a half minutes after scoring. The most recent was on Saturday, during the Capitals-Predators game, when Eric Nystrom responded to Nate Schmidt‘s goal by scoring one of his own just 23 seconds later. The Capitals had a good goal cushion by that point, but weak shifts like that after Caps goals have cost the team wins.

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Mike Green Scores First Goal of the Season on 65th Shot

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“Thank you, Hockey Gods.” (Photo credit: Alex Brandon)

Through 24 games this year, Mike Green had yet to find the back of the net. Though playing on the Capitals’ high-flying power play, Greenie was in one of the longest goal scoring droughts of his career. In fact, his 62 shots on goal were the most from any player without a marker. Late in Washington’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, however, the former 30 goal scorer finally lit the red light.

“I wish it was on a different night, but yeah,” Green said when asked if he was relieved. “Hopefully the flood gates open up.”

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Holtby Overtime: Caps Top Isles 3-2 (OT)

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Ballgame. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Like the Bond marathon on SyFy over the last few days, the Washington Capitals are a fickle thing. Lately, the Caps have mixed the sublime elegance of the Sean Connery era with the confusing stupor of the Timothy Dalton movies. More often than not, it’s been the latter.

Plainly, they didn’t deserve to win yesterday’s game. Only the godlike brilliance of Eric Fehr kept the Caps from a fifth straight loss. They did win, however, and got their tired asses on a plane to hell Long Island this morning. With Braden Holtby making his second start in as many days, the setup for this one didn’t look good.

Washington’s start, however, was better than we’ve come to expect. Though New York handily outshot them early, the Caps controlled possession. The teams traded chances, with no one converting. Hey, that’s better than being 3-0 after 20!

As usual, the Caps got it going in the second. The period was filling with odd-man breaks and open looks for Washington, with the fourth line converting midway through the frame. Martin Erat – yes, that one — made a nice play behind the net before setting up the puck for Tom Wilson, who fired it on net. Aaron Volpatti did the net crashing thing to put the Caps on the board.

In the third, though, the Isles got the goal back — and they did on a Caps power play. Four minutes into the period, local pariah Mike Green missed a pinch and Cal Clutterbuck took the puck the other way on a breakaway. Yeah, it was awful. Then, Thomas Vanek gave the Isles the lead with some whacking in front, to Braden’s dismay. With less than two minutes left, this one looked over. HOWEVER… Nicklas Backstrom was stone cold clutch, converting in front with the Caps down a man. In overtime, the big Russian — that would be Alex Ovechkin — did his thing. Boom. Crazy times. Caps top Isles 3-2 (OT).

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Capitals Re-assign Dmitry Orlov to Hershey

The Washington Capitals have assigned defenseman Dmitry Orlov to the Hershey Bears. With the expected return of Mike Green to active service vs Montreal tonight, the Caps have apparently hit their quota on offensive-minded, left-handed defensemen without a goal to their name.

So ends Orlov’s second stint with the Capitals this season. Orlov was first called up on October 30 before getting re-assigned on November 13th. While on the ice, Orlov did not allow a single shot or goal against his team.

Orlov now returns to the Hershey Bears, where he has been averaging a point per game (2 goals, 6 assists in 8 games). The Bears will play the Binghamton Senators twice this weekend.

Orlov’s 2013-14 NHL stat line:

GP G A P TOI FF% PDO VORP THAC0 ENIGMA C.O.R.S.I.
0 0 0 0 0:00 DIV/0 n/a n/a n/a

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That Sucked: Pens Blank Caps 4-0

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:( (Photo credit: Rob Carr)

Ian Oland birthday card of the night. (Photo credit: Brouwer Rangers)

Ian Oland birthday card of the night. (Photo credit: Brouwer Rangers)

A few years ago, the Washington Capitals-Pittsburgh Penguins rivalry was the NHL’s top draw. Led by the league’s best players, the teams spawned epic playoff series and fantastic regular season games. Eventually, though, Sidney Crosby got hurt and Alex Ovechkin got stale. For the past couple seasons, Caps-Pens has been a bit hollow.

This year, however, Ovi vs. Sid is relevant again: Crosby came into the game tied for the league lead in points, Ovechkin was tied for the lead in goals. Wednesday, the Caps were just one point behind the Pens for the Metropolitan division lead. With NBC in town, the good old days of the late ’00s were back — even if Brooks Laich didn’t give a crap.

Unfortunately, the game was less Snovechkin and more 2009 Semifinals game seven.

Paul Martin put the Pens up early through a screen that make Braden Holtby look foolish. Rejected Gossip Girl character Beau Bennett stretched the lead to two on a two-on-four — yes two-on-four — for Pittsburgh midway through the first. The second frame was utterly boring until ya boy Sidney Crosby unleashed an Ovi shot from the Ovi spot on the power play to put the Pens up by three. James Neal added another in the third.

Worst. Pens Blank Caps 4-0.

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John Carlson celebrates - Derek Leung

Photo: Derek Leung

The Washington Capitals remain weak at even-strength, so they’ve been relying dearly on their electric power play to win games. The Caps have scored a respectable 42 goals at even strength, but they lead the league in power play goals with 21. I’d say those power play goals are primarily responsible for the team’s plus-10 goal differential.

The PP unit’s de facto quarterback has always been Mike Green, at least when he’s healthy. Green has played 79.5% of the Caps’ power play time, second only to Alex Ovechkin. Green had recorded 7 points, all assists, all primary, on the power play before suffering a lower-body injury in the overtime win over the Blue Jackets on November 12th. In Green’s absence, the position of PPQB1 has fallen to John Carlson. 

Unlike the goalless Green, Carlson has scored twice on the power play this season– once in Glendale and again vs St Louis. So it makes sense that reader Chris R. would ask:

A good question, and one that may be pressing as early as Wednesday night when Green may return to play the Pittsburgh Penguins.

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Alex Ovechkin is Doing The Troll Face A Lot Lately

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Every NHL player gets an allotment of tickets for games. It’s written in the CBA. Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin apparently had a milestone day in this regard, as Mike Green reports on his Twitter account that Ovi has given away his tickets for the first time ever. John Carlson is the beneficiary. No big deal, but there is a reason we’re writing.

Check out the photo. Ovi knows what the internet wants, and he delivers the troll face for the second time in two days. John Carlson is notable just because he is not yelling or grimacing for the first time. And there’s good ol’ Steve “Norris” Oleksy poking his head out between Ovi and Carlson’s torsos. Why not. They won three in a row.

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