Because Hockey Night In Canada loves us, they recorded the Capitals pre-game routine in the hallway just outside the locker room. It is ridiculous and therefore I must show you.
Photo: Chris Gordon
On October 12, 2013, Nate Schmidt made his NHL debut against the Colorado Avalanche. A little more than two years later, Schmidt has played 83 NHL games. His journey to the NHL has been unsteady with his coaches trying to figure out whether he’s an AHL prospect, a healthy scratch candidate, or typical third pairing defensemen. But Schmidt is none of those. In fact, he may be one of the better defensemen in the NHL. And with a lower body injury sidelining top pairing defenseman Brooks Orpik, Schmidt finally has a chance to prove it.
“I don’t think we’re seeing anything different,” head coach Barry Trotz told me of Schmidt’s play. “Nate, we felt, we had the most trust in at this point that we moved him up, gave him the opportunity. The things that he does well is skate. He’s skating and getting up ice, getting back on the breakouts, hard on the forecheck, and he defends well because of his mobility and stick. He’s a very effective player for us.”
Awesome Photo: Chris Gordon
The love for Nate Schmidt ’round these parts is well-documented. Possession monster, always smiling blah blah blah. Enough already, RMNB, right? Never.
Instead of talking about his possession prowess or his facial expression, today we’ll look at game clips to illustrate what makes Schmidt such an effective defender: his skating and passing. These qualities make Schmidt a solid player. They are why his possession numbers are glowing.
The best moment of Tuesday’s generally bad Caps-Rangers game was Alex Ovechkin’s goal by way of Nate Schmidt’s pass. It was Ovechkin’s 6th goal of the season, Schmidt’s first point, and occasion to celebrate with an intense hug.
How to beat Lundqvist, right there
Just scant moments after getting speared in the li’l Ovis by Marc Staal, Alex Ovechkin got revenge the best way possible: SCOAR. And to my own personal delight, the primary assist on the Ovechkin’s goal belonged to smile-expert Nate Schmidt.
Photo credit: Bruce Bennett
The Washington Capitals played in the final game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on April 27. The Caps lost that contest to the New York Islanders, but their Game 7 victory in Washington put an end to hockey at the Coliseum. It was a glorious moment. Six months later, the Islanders have left the brutalist circular abode behind, moving to the opulent Barclays Center in Brooklyn. After closing out the Coliseum, the Capitals got the chance to play one of the first games in the new place, beating the Isles 3-1 Monday night.
The differences between the two buildings are striking. While the old concrete blob featured notable amenities such as rat poop and a TV angle that seemed to be coming from St. Louis, the new barn has a bus elevator, which is a freaking elevator for buses.
“I’ve never been on a bus elevator,” Jay Beagle told RMNB. “At first we were kind of like, what’s going on here? And then we realized it was an elevator for a bus, so that was kind of cool.”
On Sunday, longtime RMNB reader/commenter Owen Johnson went to Caps practice and defenseman Nate Schmidt did something super cool for Owen’s nephew.
I’ll let Owen take it from here.
Smile, everyone! The Capitals announced Wednesday morning that they have re-signed pending restricted free agent defenseman Nate Schmidt to a two-year, one-way deal. Schmidt will make $750,000 in 2015-2016 and $875,000 in 2016-2017. With Mike Green’s likely departure, Schmidt should receive a full-time roster spot next season.
The 23-year-old Minnesotan has scored three goals and seven assists in 68 career games for the Capitals, including one goal and three assists in 39 games last season. He has tallied six goals and 20 assists in 65 career games with the Hershey Bears in the AHL.
Though he was sidelined by injury for part of the 2014-2015 season, Schmidt made the Caps “wayyyy better” when he was playing. Schmidt’s 54-percent possession was first among Caps defenseman.