Late in the second period of Sunday’s game, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski earned a penalty shot after getting hooked by Ryan McDonagh on a breakaway. Instead of getting fancy with New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, Grabo raised up his stick towards the Madison Square Garden roof and fired a slap shot into the top corner of the net.
Saturday night everybody’s favorite Belarusian, Mikhail Grabovski, had the game-winning overtime assist against the New York Islanders. Three days later, back at home and in the lovely confines of Verizon Center, Grabo was given an early Christmas present from the Washington Capitals game equipment staff. Unfortunately for Mikhail, it was probably a present he wish would have come with a gift receipt.
The Capitals spelled Grabo’s name wrong on jersey. No, you weren’t hallucinating during warm-ups. Mikhail’s last name was really spelled with a Y.
Fehr scores on Friday. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)
Eric Fehr has rarely had an easy season in the NHL. Under Bruce Boudreau, the former 18th overall pick was often under-utilized, banished to the bottom-six or the press box. Late in his first stint with the Washington Capitals in 2011, Fehr suffered a serious shoulder injury, a problem that plagued him for nearly two years. Because of that, he struggled in his only season with his hometown Winnipeg Jets after being traded from Washington. Looking for a job after the NHL lockout, Caps general manager George McPhee decided to take another chance on Fehsie. The 28-year-old, for the most part, succeeded, notching 17 points in the shortened season.
Rather than settle in with a nice role on second or third line, however, Fehr was asked to try something he’s never done before: play center. He spent much of October at pivot, registering just one goal. The shift, Fehr admitted, was difficult. Playing in the middle requires you to be much more aware, along with increased defensive responsibilities and not having a set position on the ice. Fehr’s struggles were understandable. Playing center for the first time in not something you can adjust to in a few preseason games. After the experiment Fehr then spent two games on the first line in early November after Alex Ovechkin went down with an upper-body injury. He did well in that spot, picking up a few points that week.
“It’s a very unique season for me,” Fehr told me Friday night. “I knew coming there was a good chance I was going to play center, but it’s been a little bit different.”
Inexplicably, head coach Adam Oates then scratched him for the next nine games. He was allowed back in the lineup only when another player in the coach’s doghouse, Martin Erat, got sent to the press box after he requested a trade.
“He was ready to get back in and he’s provided a spark for us,” the coach said of Fehr. “He’s played good.”
As the second period of the Washington Capitals/Toronto Maple Leafs game drew to a close, former Leaf Mikhail Grabovski fell to the ice and suffered a scary injury. David Clarkson‘s skate clipped Grabovski’s face. There was blood.
Joel Ward has had a couple of hot streaks in his career. In fact, he’s making $3 million a year partially because of one (13 points in 12 games) during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs with the Nashville Predators. Despite his playoff success, Ward’s recent regular season results have been unimpressive. In his first year with the Caps, we scored just six goals in 73 games. Last year, in a lockout shortened season, he had eight. Eighteen games into the 2013-14 campaign, he’s matched that total.
“When he came here obviously he had a great playoff for Nashville,” head coach Adam Oates said after the game. “When we’ve talked, him and I, I expect him to play now like he does in the playoffs, every night. Now, that’s a playoff game. We need these points.”
After scoring a hat trick opening night, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski struggled, scoring only two points in his next six games. However, since being demoted to the third line with Jason Chimera and Joel Ward, Grabovski has found his groove, scoring 7 points in his last 5 games. And on Saturday night against the Florida Panthers, Grabovski reminded us again just how freakin’ skilled he is, scoring a fantastic goal in the shootout.
Chiefly, it was Washington’s third line of Joel Ward, Mikhail Grabovski, and Jason Chimera providing the firepower, scoring four of the game’s seven goals. Ward, in his first career hat trick, notched three. All in all, members of the line registered an amazing 10 points in 60 minutes. Since being placed together on October 18th, the trio has been masterful, registering nine of the team’s 18 even-strength goals since Adam Oates’s line shuffling. That’s, like, half of them. Not bad for bottom-six guys.
The Washington Capitals released a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesday that gives us a peak behind the curtain of the upcoming Caps Dog calendar, which benefits the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Every dollar from the sale of these keepsakes will go to making a pet’s life better, which is why on December 3rd, you will buy one when they go on sale. They’ve be available through the Capitals’ team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler, as well as online.
Because I love you guys, I have collected some of my favorite stills from the new video. If you ask me, the best pic is the one where Grabovski stares deep into that dog’s soul. Or Hula Holtby.
Well, well, well. What do we have here? All of you #Grabbo Acolytes: prepare for defeat. All of you #Grabo Soldiers, get ready to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear their lamentations. The debate has been settled: it is Grabo, not Grabbo.
The battle has raged for ages (a few months) and taken many lives (140-character limits). Torontonians and a minority of Caps fans fell firmly into Camp Grabbo. Other people, meanwhile, sided with Camp Not Obviously and Completely Wrong. Because a plurality of Caps blogospherians fell into the B Singularity, we had a temporary armistice through the season’s first seven games, but recent developments may give us a lasting peace.