On December 6, 2008, Karl Alzner, a 20-year-old old defenseman one year removed from the WHL, scored his first NHL goal in a game in Toronto. Alzner had been picked fifth overall a year earlier by the Washington Capitals, ahead of current offensive stars like Logan Couture and PK Subban. Goals, though, have never been part of Alzner’s game. He is a pure shutdown defenseman. If Alzner hits the back of the net, it’s usually an accident. In the five years and one day since that goal, Alzner has added just four more tallies to his stat sheet.
On Saturday night against the Nashville Predators, Alzner scored his sixth career goal, a booming slap shot from the point that got through traffic and past goalie Marek Mazanec. It was his first goal ever at Verizon Center too, after six years and 148 games.
With under two minutes to go in the third period, the New York Islanders appeared to steal the game late from the Washington Capitals. As Thomas Vanek put a shot on Braden Holtby from the far corner, Kyle Okposo and John Tavares hacked at his gloved hand. Unfortunately for Holtby, Nate Schmidt jostled the puck loose from the Caps goaltender. Eventually, Vanek deposited the loose puck into the net.
On November 27, 2013, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
Photo credit: Patrick McDermott
Blame Rachel Cohen for this.
[Note: This recap is Chanukah-themed tonight. Why? Because there's literally no one on the Internet right now.]
Last week, there was only one way to describe the play of the Washington Capitals: shameful. After winning three straight, the Capitals allowed seven unanswered goals at Verizon Center, before showing some life late against Montreal. Saturday’s game, though, was markedly different. The Capitals still lost, but they put 50 shots on goal, Washington’s highest total since 2010. On the first night of Chanukah, the Caps looked to continue that output against the lowly Ottawa Senators. They did — at first.
It started with a sublime play by yelling person-cum-Jewish pun Michael Latta, who skated into the offensive zone, got tripped, and then pole vaulted over a Sens defender. The loose puck went to Eric Fehr, who unleashed a lovely wrist shot to put the Caps on the board. Ottawa tied it up less than a minute and a half later, however, when Bobby Ryan tipped one past Braden Holtby on the man-advantage. However, Marcus Johansson whacked in a loose puck in front on the power play just 38 seconds after the Sens tally, giving the Caps a 2-1 lead. BUT WAIT! A mere 47 seconds later, Brooks Laich backhanded home a loose puck in front. Four goals in under five minutes. Whew!
The second period was all Sens. Chris Philips put them within one with a blast on the power play, before Colin Greening tied the game at three.
In the final frame Mika Zibanejad added another PP tally. Ugh. The game looked hopeless until John Carlson tied it late. Prepare to cry, though, because just over a minute later Zach Smith beat Mike Green and Nate Schmidt to win the ballgame. Ryan added an empty netter. Sad face. Vodka. Sens edge Caps 6-4
Bjugstad and Schmidt (right) bump fists before the 2012 West regional semifinal (Photo credit: Sherri LaRose-Chiglo/St. Paul Pioneer Press)
After the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers were upset by Yale during last spring’s regional semifinal, a few of Minnesota’s star players left the program to pursue professional careers.
Among them were defenseman Nate Schmidt, who signed with the Washington Capitals as an undrafted free agent, and Florida Panthers’ 2010 first-round pick center Nick Bjugstad. Both spent three years in college hockey, and both were all-stars in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
The Washington Capitals have been terrible defensively this year. There have, however, been a few bright spots. While he hasn’t looked fantastic (who has so far?), rookie Nate Schmidt has held his own after being called up to replace an injured Jack Hillen. Right now, he’s skating big minutes with a guy named Mike Green. The 22-year-old was playing college hockey just seven months ago and has played in fewer than two dozen professional games. And Saturday, Schmidt got the first point of his young NHL career.
On October 27, 2013, In Game Recap, By Chris Gordon
Look at these idiots. (Photo credit: Derek Leung)
Utterly stunning as it may be, the Washington Capitals came into Saturday’s late night bout against Calgary on a three game winning streak after a pair of 4-1 victories and shootout nail biter in Winnipeg. With a newly even record, the Caps looked to put themselves above .500 for the first time this year with a win against the lowly Flames. They didn’t.
Kris Russell scored just over a minute into the game after a horrid opening shift for the Caps. It didn’t get better. Jiri Hudler put the Flames up by two with some net crashing. Jason Chimera got one back for the Caps on a nice backhand shot in front. Mike Cammalleri, though, just continued the bloodletting. Holtby pulled, Holtby mad. In the second, the Caps were better. Aaron Volpatti‘s muffled wrister found the back of the net to put them within one heading into the final frame. That period was stupid. Cammalleri potted another. Curtis Glencross added one more. Flames drop Caps 5-2.
As we said in our story before the game, Nate Schmidt‘s entire family flew to Washington D.C. to see him make his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche. Parents Tom and Joanne, as well as his brother Mike, flew from their home in Minnesota. His sister Emily, in medical school in Arizona, got out of a scheduled surgery so she could show her brother her support.
During the game, Comcast SportsNet found Nate’s family behind the Capitals goal. They looked nervous. Mike, Emily, Joanne, and Tom can be seen sitting above.
Photo credit: Kyle Mace / Sweetest Hockey on Earth
When head coach Adam Oates sent 22-year-old Nate Schmidt down to Hershey during training camp, he told the defenseman to “always be ready” for a call-up.
Tonight, the prospect will make his debut, filling in for an ailing John Erskine. He will become the third rookie to make his NHL debut for the team this season. Schmidt joins Connor Carrick and Michael Latta, who played in the Caps season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on October 1st.
Michael Latta celebrates a goal. (Photo credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals brought their B-team players to Boston on Monday, but the Boston Bruins brought in their B-team scorekeepers. According to them, the Bruins led shots 38-14. Okay, maybe. But also according to them, the Caps’ third-period goal was scored by Martin Erat and assisted by Nate Schmidt and Mikhail Grabovski.
No. It was Michael Latta‘s. Really. Let’s take a look.