The day before training camp opened, Andi Lambert, the wife of Washington assistant coach Lane Lambert, died at the age of 45. She had spent the last 17 years battling a rare form of breast cancer. On Saturday, the entire Capitals team, along with members of the Nashville Predators, who Lambert previously coached for alongside Barry Trotz, went up to Ohio attend the funeral outside of Cleveland.
“I know it meant a lot for him for us to be there and support him and to remember Andi the way we all know her and love her,” Trotz said Sunday. “It just tells you the class of the people in this business.”
On March 28, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Mike Green scored with one of your sticks.
If you turned off Saturday’s Capitals-Predators game after twenty minutes, I’m worried for you. Yes, it was ugly at that point, but the Caps team of the game’s latter two-thirds wasn’t so bad. If you tuned out, you’d have missed Troy Brouwer’s hero pose and Mike Green’s Ovi spot routine. It was still a brutal loss, but it wasn’t such a bad game after all.
The Caps actually looked pretty good for ten minutes, but after failing to convert a 4v3, the Predators took over. First it was Mattias Ekholm, whose pretty backhand goal came right after the Caps power play expired. Then Mike Fisher took the wheel after Karl Alzner lost his stick and a battle in the crease to Filip Forsberg. Speaking of that dude, Forsberg broke our hearts and ended Holtby’s afternoon with a solo scoar.
That all happened in the first damn period.
The second found Troy Brouwer scoring twice, his 19th and 20th of the season, to put the Caps within striking distance. Things were looking up, but then Mike Ribeiro, who is probably a garbage human being, gave the Preds their fourth goal.
Mike Green put the Caps back within one just 20 seconds into the third, scoring on a Greenie shot from the Ovi spot with his Stealth. The Capitals ratcheted up the pressure late, but Pekka Rinne held onto the lead.
Now begins a tough weekend for the Washington Capitals. There’s the two early games against two very high-achieving teams, the Nashville Predators today and the New York Rangers tomorrow. There’s also the untidy narratives surrounding today’s game, specifically Barry Trotz playing his old team, who got better when he left, and the “return” of Filip Forsberg to Verizon Center, where he never really played as a Capital, but you know what I mean.
On January 16, 2015, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Frederick Breedon
The Caps had a spirited effort against the Nashville Predators, erasing a two-goal hole and gaining the lead, but James Neal– that jerk– got the best of the Caps twice, earning a W for the home team and ending Washington’s win streak at three.
The game was back-and-forth until Seth Jones’s shot after an offensive-zone faceoff win for the Predators beat Holtby’s glove side. James Neal found a good spot and got a better bounce to put the Preds up two goals in the second period, but hold up–
Alex Ovechkin scored on monster shot from, like, no angle during 5v5 and then doubled it up with a power-play shot from the Ovi spot two and a half minutes later. That guy alone changed the game before you had time to go potty.
Marcus Johansson notched a PPG in the third before Mattias Ekholm tied it up on the power play late in the third. Then, with one hundred seconds late, Matt Niskanen choked the puck up to James Neal, who scored an unassisted layup.
Remember that time you showed up at the party and your ex was there? You’ve both moved on, and you’re both doing pretty darn well, but now the rest of the night is about posturing to see who truly won the breakup?
The home stand is over. Now the Caps have to prove they can win on the road, and they’ve gotta do it against the hottest team in the league. The Nashville Predators are also the Caps head coach’s former team and the home of a prospect who was frittered away two years ago and has since rose to stardom.
Barry Trotz and the Caps vs Filip Forsberg and the Predators. Dramaaaaaaa.
The Washington Capitals have gone to major lengths to promote Barry Trotz since hiring him this summer. And while Trotz is certainly an improvement over former coach Adam Oates, the Caps still find themselves as a middling team (after a scintillating October), with fans finding little to be excited about for the future.
Sigh. Am I all alone in thinking that Caps fans are kind of at a low right now? The team is still way better than the Oates!Caps, but this ain’t exactly working either. All the great stuff the Caps were doing in October is gone now, and all the inefficiencies in the lineup are costing goals on a nightly basis.
We’re one month out from the Winter Classic, but the community seems melancholic. I don’t blame ‘em; at some point wins are needed to justify enthusiasm. The Capitals have let you down.
Meanwhile, Trotz’s former team, the Nashville Predators are undergoing a renaissance without their former bench boss. The irony is miserable.
On March 30, 2014, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: John Russell
The weekend hasn’t been kind to the Washington Capitals. Aside from the Leafs, the Caps’ competition in the wild card race all gained ground while the Caps floundered against the Bruins. Sunday’s game against the Nashville Predators was a crucial opportunity to stay on pace. And while Nashville had a headlock on Washington during even strength, the Caps managed to summon up some special teams magic to keep the game interesting. Or excruciating, depending on your attitude.
The Capitals got on the board first with a beautiful five-on-five unicorn: Nick Backstrom stole the puck, served it to Mike Green, who found Troy Brouwer alone at the back door. Nashville stuck back 100 seconds later with Patric Hornqvist’s goal following a big rebound off Halak’s chest. Hornqvist wasn’t done, scoring a semi-breakaway late in the first as the Caps momentarily forgot what they’re supposed to do at their own blue line (hint: defense).
The second period was all Nashville, but Halak was halaking like there was no tomorrow. The Caps earned back-to-back power plays and converted the second of them, a frantic backhand by Brouwer in the slot. Shea Weber restored Nashville’s lead nine minutes into the third period with a monster slapshot. Nick Backstrom tied it a few minutes later, converting a power play with a slapshot as the bowels of Caps nation collectively liquefied.
Overtime gave us no decision, so here we go with the…
Jarnkrok was a sidewinder, but Halak smashed him with a shovel.
Kuznetsov missed wide again. He’s not gonna like that.
Craig Smith scored on an early release.
Grabo got blocked.
Josi denied low.
Nick Backstrom, who is not Calle Johansson, blocked.
On December 7, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo: Patrick Smith
It’s been too long. The last Caps game– back when healthcare.gov wasn’t working and the Spaghetti Os social media guy still had a job– was a pretty tough loss to the Hurricanes. Four days later, the Capitals hosted Matt Hendricks and the Nashville Predators to a Saturday night thing, putting up a ton of goals in the first frame and fending off their foes for the next forty minutes. Here’s how it went down.
Troy Brouwer cracked an 11-game scoreless streak early in the first with one of the softest softies ever, a slow backhand that dribbled past Nashville goalie/The Doors organist Marek Mazanec. Alex Ovechkin was Alex Ovechkin on the power play, and then Karl Alzner threaded the needle from way-out to officially make it a scoar-moar-goals kind of night. Roman Josi put a nasty wristshot to Braden Holtby’s far side to get the Perds on the board, but that was quite a strong first frame for the Caps. 3-1.
The second period was scoreless, but it did find the Predators closing the gap in the possession game.
Martin Erat set up Nate Schmidt for his first NHL goal in the third, but Eric Nystrom scored on the very next shift because this is the Capitals and they do just do stuff like that sometimes. Mikhail Grabovski, who is awesome, helped Eric Fehr, who is awesome, get free wings for the fans. Bam. Win.
That didn’t take long: forward Martin Erat, acquired from Nashville at the 2013 trade deadline along with Michael Latta in exchange for top Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg, now says he wants to leave Washington.
Speaking with Czech news agency iDNES.cz and translated by our friend Lindsey Novak, Erat expresses dissatisfaction with the ice time he’s getting in Washington and seems eager to move on.