On Tuesday afternoon, the Minnesota Golden Gophers tweeted the Washington Capitals with a suggestion: play Nate Schmidt.
Your favorite player might play in the biggest game of the season. Smiling god/defenseman Nate Schmidt has been recalled from the Hershey Bears. If he plays in game seven on Wednesday, he’ll be filling in for Tim Gleason, who was beleaguered and banged up in game six.
Gleason wound up with four third-period shifts last night, but none after 10:57.
— Alex Prewitt (@alex_prewitt) May 11, 2015
With Gleason out (but not necessarily because Gleason was out), the Capitals dominated the final ten minutes of that game.
When Nate Schmidt and Mike Green were on the ice together during 5v5 this season, the Capitals controlled 55.1 percent of the shot attempts.
Photo credit: Julie Jacobson
For about an hour on Friday night, Curtis Glencross was a playoff hero. His breakaway goal with 10:54 left in the third period looked like it was going to send the Capitals to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in 17 years.
The Rangers, however, tied the game late. In overtime, Glencross attempted a cross-ice pass to spring Brooks Laich. It was a bad one. The trade deadline acquisition stopped and flipped the puck lazily into the hands of Rangers forward Jesper Fast. Within a few seconds, the game was over. Glencross fell to his knees as the Rangers celebrated their comeback victory.
Speaking to the media after the game, Glencross was shellshocked — and perhaps headed for a benching. But instead, he will play tonight, skating once more with Laich and Tom Wilson on the fourth line as the Caps look to close out the series in game six at Verizon Center.
The Caps have announced that they have recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt from Hershey. This is an emergency recall. Apparently, Mike Green is banged up. The Caps listed him a day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
Schmidt has 2 goals and 4 assists, and a 53.4-percent shot-attempt percentage in 29 games for the Caps this season. He recently returned from a fractured shoulder blade.
We also like Mike Green.
While the loss of Green on the blue line is a big blow to the team, it appears as if it’s a short-term thing. Having a replacement as capable as Schmidt waiting in the wings speaks to the blue-line depth that Brian MacLellan has built in his short time as General Manager.
Photo Credit: Gregg Forwerck
Hard to play against, tough customer, character guy: those were some of the hockey superlatives thrown around by Barry Trotz and his players when asked about Tim Gleason, the team’s newly acquired D-man.
“He’ll keep people honest,” Trotz told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “You want to take a shot at Greenie, he can back it up.”
Yep, despite whatever my zany Russian political science professor and Some People on the Internet say, Mike Green isn’t going anywhere.
Even though the NHL trade deadline is still five days away, a flurry of deals have already been made. The Devils dumped Jaromir Jagr to the Panthers; the Hurricanes traded Jiri Tlusty to the Jets and Andrej Sekera to the Kings; the Penguins acquired Daniel Winnik from the Leafs; and the Blue Jackets took David Clarkson from the Leafs for some ungodly reason.
The already small group of rentals and useful players has gotten even smaller.
“You need two to dance and we’re going to the dance and there’s 30 guys and there’s only about eight girls at the dance,” Barry Trotz said to The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt Thursday, essentially calling the 2015 trade deadline a sausage fest. “That’s what it is. There’s only going to be like eight or nine guys dancing.”
Early Thursday, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reported that Brian MacLellan has been burning the phone lines pursuing another top-nine forward.
Photo: Kyle Mace / Chocolate Hockey
UPDATE, January 12, 10:40 AM. Schmidt has a fracture in his shoulder blade and will miss 6-8 weeks.
#Caps defenseman Nate Schmidt sustained an injury (scapular fracture) last night in Hershey and will be out 6-8 weeks.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) January 12, 2015
Washington Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt is just a ball of positive energy regardless of the Schmiduation. After only playing in two NHL games since December 18th (despite having the second best possession numbers among all Caps defensemen), head coach Barry Trotz sent Schmidt down to Hershey to get in some work over the weekend.
On Saturday, Schmidt nearly scored a hat trick. Then, on Sunday, the 23-year-old defenseman got injured (the severity is still unknown) after taking a run from Admirals forward Chris Wagner.
Photo credit: Chris Gordon.
On Wednesday afternoon, Nate Schmidt sat in the corner of the Washington Nationals clubhouse, quietly taking off his gear after Caps practiced outside at Nats Park. With the NHL taking over the baseball stadium, the room has been temporarily transformed into a hockey locker room, though it’s not quite as smelly as a real one. To Schmidt’s right, around 15 reporters gathered around Karl Alzner, eager for his thoughts on the eyewear revolution he started. As RMNB’s Chief Fashion Reporter, I had my eye on a different aspect of Winter Classic apparel: the scarf Schmidt was wearing.
“This is my first ever scarf experience!” Schmidt gleefully announced to me. “First ever. I used to always make fun of people who wore scarves.”
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Nate Schmidt recently found himself watching from the press box for two games while Jack Hillen took his spot beside Mike Green. Hillen is an adequate player, but should be seventh on the Caps defensive depth chart among those healthy.
That isn’t to say that Hillen should never get a sweater. Over the course of a season, it’s fine and good to work in a guy like Hillen here and there so rust doesn’t build up, but Barry Trotz has made it clear that the reason Hillen was given a sweater recently is because, in his opinion, Schmidt had played his way out of the lineup. Schmidt’s recent benching is another questionable lineup decision by Barry Trotz, wherein he seems to focus on the “big mistake” as opposed to the underlying processes and actual patterns of play.
Photo credit: Rob Carr
On Saturday night, Nate Schmidt and Andre Burakovsky sat out as the Capitals faced the Devils in Newark. Tom Wilson, the first line right wing, was also benched for most of second period. Barry Trotz’s weapon is ice time, and he uses it.
For Schmidt, it was his first scratch of the season, coming on the heels of excellent play alongside Mike Green throughout the year. The game before, Schmidt had misplayed Blue Jackets forward Michael Chaput, who scored a game-tying goal late in the game.
“Sometimes you have to reset players when they’re not going very well,” Trotz said the benchings. “You have to give them a little jolt.”