Trade: Hal Gill to Nashville

Photo credit: Michael Miller

[Ed. note: In the run-up to the trade deadline, RMNB will be publishing trade stories– including non-Caps news.]

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Hal Gill has been traded from the Montreal Canadiens to the Nashville Predators in exchange for Blake Geoffrion, Robert Slaney, and a 2012 2nd round pick.

Hal Gill has a cap hit of $2,250,000 and will be expected to provide veteran defense for a Nashville team that may be in danger of losing either one or both of their star defensive pairing of Shea Weber and Ryan Suter over the next few months. Blake Geoffrion has a cap hit of $1,062,500 and has yet to score in 22 games with the Predators this season, though he did contribute 6 goals in 20 games last season and will likely be expected to chip in some offense on a Montreal squad that often struggles with this. Slaney is a 23-year-old left wing with no pro experience thus far.

Hal Gill isn’t especially known for his speed or mobility — look for terms like “parking meter” and “pylon” on his bingo card — but he’s an excellent penalty killer and a very good defensive mentor. Nashville’s scary defense just got a little bit scarier.

Caps Beat Preds 4-1 in Mike Knuble’s 1,000th Game

I score? I really score? (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Coming into Tuesday’s game against the Predators, the Caps had been inefficient offensively, managing to score only one goal in each of their last three games. Would being confronted with two of the best defensemen in the league — Shea Weber and Ryan Suter — and a team that has played in 10-straight one goal games (7-3-0) somehow help their cause? Also, would an emotional pre-game ceremony honoring one of their team leaders, give the Caps a lift?

You bet your ass it did.

After the Capitals started the game off with four dominant shifts in the Predators zone, Alex Ovechkin — beautifully set-up by Karl Alzner — scored on a breakaway at 7:47 of the first. Later in the period, Nicklas Backstrom wrapped home goal number two of the night, his twelfth of the year. After a scoreless second period, Sergei Kostitsyn ruined Neuvy’s shutout bid with a twisted wrister from just outside the slot. Then Alex Semin decided he felt like scoring. Troy Brouwer, too! Caps beat Preds 4-1.

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“Kanooblian” by Mark Burrier. See Rare Words for more of Mark’s art.

Mike Knuble will play his 1000th NHL game on Tuesday night. And I get to write the pregamer! Woohoo!

There’s a team. They’re from Nashville. That’s where Steve Earle got busted for dope the first 40 times, and it’s where my girlfriend Hayley Williams lives right now. The Predators are 17-11-4. Their new guitar pick logo is awesome. They beat the Caps 3-1 last month, and their home jerseys harshed my rods and cones. Faith Hill hates Carrie Underwood. The Preds are just barely inside the playoff picture right now. D-man Shea Weber is insanely good (24 points, plus-15) and will get even better. But enough about them, let’s talk Kanooble!

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Sad Like a Country Song, Preds beat Caps 3-1

 John Russell

(Photo credit: John Russell)

The Washington Capitals began their circuit of North America with a stop in Nashville with their Predators. With Mike Green still ailing and a shooting drought in their immediate past, the Caps had something to prove.

After more than 55 minutes of play, Troy Brouwer finally beat Pekka Rinne using a defender for a screen. Like 0.874325 seconds later, Shea Weber fed Martin Erat east-west to tie it back up. With 24 seconds left, Colin Wilson beat a stickless John Erskine and a sucked-out Vokoun to make it 2-1. Backstrom lost a faceoff to give Weber an empty netter 5 seconds later. Preds beat Caps 3-1.

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Photo credit: John Russell

Doug Johnson of Puck Buddys sells his sword to Russian Machine. @PuckBuddys wants your tweet.

The Pre Game: “And here’s my theory of punctuation. At the end of every sentence there should be a tiny clock that shows you how long it took you to write that sentence.” – Laurie Anderson.

Watching Capitals games is becoming an existential exercise, based on the obscene, neutered device we call the clock. As in: Caps score first by the clock: we lose. Caps trail in the second by the clock: we win. Watch the game, watch the clock; we score first, we lose last.

Call me crazy. Call me late for dinner, but consarnit, the Caps are just not behaving by the clock. Headline from Saturday: Caps Lose, Broadside of Barn Safe! What went wrong? Coach Juggles’ shoot-out changes? The Caps total lacking D?  #BadSasha? #EvilSasha? #HailSatanSasha?

Here’s the thing: Caps, every time you take a lead and blow it, you smoke a tiny bit of our time. Think about that: every game you go forward at the first, only to surrender… you surrender a few minutes of our lives.  The clock is ticking. What will you do with it?

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Click here to see the full photo. (Photo credit: Bruce Bennett)

Tuesday’s Baltimore Hockey Classic may have been dampened — see what we did there? — by puddles, poor ice conditions, and a Predators win, but there was one high point. Midway through the second period, Alex Ovechkin skated down the ice before Preds’ defenseman Ryan Ellis tried to separate Ovi from the puck at the half wall. Ellis lost. Apparently, really bad.

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Photo credit: John Russell

On Friday, the first day of free agency, the Capitals surprised many as busiest team in the NHL. Dumping Semyon Varlamov to Colorado, they then signed five players, including three bound for Washington’s NHL roster. The biggest wild card of the bunch? Thirty-year old right wing Joel Ward, who was given a four year $12 million deal.

“It’s going to be fun to make a new batch of friends and join a new family, start bonding right away,” Ward said of joining the star-laden Caps. “Obviously you see them on the highlight reel every night.”

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Caps Steal Two Points in Nashville. Win 3-2 in OT.

Brooks Laich deflects home Alex Ovechkin's shot from the point as the Caps steal a win in Nashville, 3-2.

Brooks Laich celebrates his OTGWG. (Photo Credit: Joe Howell)

With Tom Poti and Mike Green out due to injury, we all knew that the Caps’ defense was going to be a little bit suspect tonight. But really, the main issue for the visiting team ended up being their collective effort. Case in point was the opening face-off where Tomas Fleischmann lost the draw cleanly to Cal O’Reilly. He then turned and watched helplessly as Steve Sullivan raced past his four other unprepared teammates and went in alone on Michal Neuvirth.

But for Neuvy, it was no big deal. He stone-walled Sullivan 8 seconds in. He stone-walled five Predator powerplays, including 29 seconds of a 5 on 3. And he made 37 saves in total to collect his fourth straight win.

Thanks to ten minutes of actual hard-work in the third period and two minutes of pure domination in the extra session, the Capitals leave Bridgestone Area with a huge 3-2 character victory.

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Caps Lose 3-0 to Predators in Final Preseason Game

dany-sabourin

Photo by Nick Wass/AP

Well, it’s a good thing we got this out of the way. Every hockey team has a measure of bad hockey games in them, so we should be relieved that the Caps disappointing performance came before anyone started keeping track.

After a sterling performance in net by Michal Neuvirth for thirty minutes, Dany Sabourin‘s relief effort fell woefully short. The first shot he faced, courtesy of Nashville’s Cal O’Reilly, got past him. Two of the twelve shots he faced in the third, both from Joel Ward, put the game well out of reach for the home team.

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