Alex Ovechkin has never made it past the second round of the playoffs. It’s a trite fact, but unavoidable. He’s been in the NHL since 2005, with his window as a primary goal-scorer closing. In 10 years, he has yet to win a Stanley Cup. Some core players around him, like Mike Green, are likely to leave this summer or within the next few years. This may be Ovechkin’s best chance to win a Cup as the undisputed leader of the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin seems to know that. In this year’s Division Final against the Rangers, DC’s captain has put on an astonishing display of talent and dedication, nearly winning games for the Capitals off his play alone. On Saturday, he came up short, but it was another immortal individual performance.
“He’s a force,” coach Barry Trotz said. “No question.”
Midway through the third period, Washington was down 3-1, having just given up a crushing goal to Rangers forward Derick Brassard. Just 90 seconds before Rangers fans were to begin their eight-minute mark “Ovi Sucks! Ovi Sucks! Ovi Sucks!” onslaught, Ovechkin bumbled down the ice with three Rangers on him. He knifed straight through Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh, New York’s top defenders, as the two hopelessly whacked at Ovi. Falling to his knees, he let off a perfectly placed wrist shot that went top shelf on Henrik Lundqvist. It was a goal that was nearly impossible to imagine another player in the NHL scoring. It was utter brilliance, under immense pressure, on a huge stage. Save for the cheers of Capitals players, MSG fell silent.
With Braden Holtby sick on Friday night, top prospect goaltender Philipp Grubauer made a spot start for the Capitals in game two. The Caps won the game 4-3, but in the process, Grubauer’s kryptonite might have been exposed: high shots to the glove side.
Earlier this evening, Nats Park opened its doors to NBC and NHL Network host Kathryn Tappen so she could do a preview for the Winter Classic on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. Tappen spoke about the upcoming game and JESUS CHRIST WHAT IS THAT???? RUN KATHRYN. RUN AWAY RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN.
After the Capitals’ 4-2 loss to the Red Wings Wednesday, Pierre McGuire spoke to Detroit head coach Mike Babcock during NBCSN’s post-game show. There was one response from the Stanley Cup-winning bench boss that was particularly interesting to me. Babcock was asked about his long history with Barry Trotz in the Western Conference and if that gave him any insight into the game.
Babcock, considered to be one of the best coaches in the league, instead went out of his way to praise how good of a coach he thinks Trotz is.
He also briefly gushed about Andre Burakovsky, once Pierre told him what his name was.
This seemed really genuine to me, so I had to share.
Tonight, the Washington Capitals are on national TV and you know what that means: everybody’s favorite bald commentator is inside the glass! At the beginning of the telecast, Pierre McGuire, the Emmy award winning analyst, talked about the Caps new defensive additions during the offseason: Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen.
If the Washington Capitals were uptight before their game against hated rival Pittsburgh tonight, you wouldn’t know it watching NBCSN’s pre-game show. As everyone’s favorite sideline reporter Pierre McGuire interviews Karl Alzner, forward Joel Ward finds the camera and stares. And then stares some more.
In the first period, Washington Capitals forward Joel Wardhad an Esa Tikkanen-esque miss on a yawning net. After Alex Ovechkin hit Nicklas Backstrom with a beautiful cross-ice pass on a Caps power play, Backstrom fed a wide-open Ward, looking for a tic-tac-toe goal. Ward, seeing that he had to roof the puck over an out-stretched Henrik Lundqvist pad, carefully gathered in the puck on the blade of his stick and shot. Then he whiffed.