The Washington Capitals defense, now and presumably into the playoffs, goes like this:
Alzner – Carlson
Orlov – Niskanen
Orpik – Shattenkirk
The pairs leave 6’1″ Minnesota-native Nate Schmidt on the outside looking in. When asked about the lineup on Thursday, head coach Barry Trotz did not equivocate. “Nate is seven,” he said. “[Schmidt] played very well, and that makes the decisions tougher. That’s his job as a player. He’s in that seven-hole.”
There are lots of factors that inform a coach’s lineup decisions, and it’s certainly Trotz’s prerogative to make those calls, but it’s worth stating for the record that Nate Schmidt is not the seventh best defenseman on the Capitals. He’s probably among the seven best defensemen in the entire league this season.
According to The Washington Post’s Isabelle Khurshudyan, Nate Schmidt will serve as the team’s seventh defenseman for the rest of the season and sit tonight against Nashville. This decision is somewhat of a surprise, as reports had previously suggested that Brooks Orpik might get scratched with Kevin Shattenkirk returning from a two-game suspension.
After sitting out for five games, Schmidt was excellent filling in for Shattenkirk. Besides scoring a nice goal to open the scoring against Minnesota, Schmidt went plus-13 in five-on-five shot attempts during his two games back in the lineup. Schmidt sitting after such an excellent performance is a tough by-product of the Caps’ stacked blueline, especially after the Shattenkirk acquisition.
Washington Capitals Head Coach Barry Trotz refers to Jay Beagle as Mr. Fix It , but Beags might need some repair work of his own after a head-butt from Nate Schmidt.
The day after an over-aggressive gaffe by Brooks Orpik led to an early Dallas Stars goal, Barry Trotz revealed that talented, puck-moving defenseman Nate Schmidt might be getting back into the lineup soon.
It’s not what you think.
The poster, inspired by the nine expressions of Darth Vader, showed Schmidt happy regardless of the situation.
Saturday, reader @zhale11 showed Schmidt the poster after practice and he, surprise surprise, happily signed and posed with it.
The Capitals unveiled the latest in their long series of bobblehead giveaways on Thursday, and it’s an instant contender for the best one yet.
Defenseman Nate Schmidt is immortalized in the newest figurine, which will be available to donors at the April 8 blood drive at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Of course he’s smiling.
In acquiring defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk from the St. Louis Blues last night, Caps GM Brian MacLellan made a key move to help propel the team for a deep postseason run. He snagged the crown jewel of the 2017 NHL trade deadline without sacrificing any true roster players.
While the addition of the 28-year-old top-pairing defensemen doesn’t require sacrificing a key piece of the Caps’ roster, it will shake up the special-teams configurations and blue-line pairings. We will get a better sense of the impact after Brooks Orpik returns from injury, but it may take a while for the playoff-ready pairings to be finalized.
What we do know is that Nate Schmidt is the player most likely to lose his spot in the lineup, if the past is any indication. Schmidt has been the only defenseman this season Barry Trotz has scratched to get Taylor Chorney into the lineup, sitting out eight times through the team’s first 61 games.
Let’s take a closer look at how the pairings might shake out.
The Capitals Better Halves are auctioning off their annual gift baskets. The themed baskets include autographed items and jerseys from all your favorite Capitals players. The basket also includes items that highlight each player’s unique personality.
For the Winniks, their basket highlights the couple’s love of bulldogs and liquor. Taylor Winnik and her creative mind got alcohol from every country represented on the Capitals and then had the corresponding players sign the bottles.
So yes, there is a bottle of Russian Vodka, Stolichnaya, signed by Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov.
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