Sunday night, former Capitals forward Eric Fehr won the Stanley Cup for the first time in his career as a member of the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. After a pig pile in front of Matt Murray’s net, Sidney Crosby was announced the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as Playoff MVP by Gary Bettman. Then Crosby was presented with the Stanley Cup.
Every member of the team skated around the SAP Center ice with the championship trophy. Fehr got his opportunity with the Stanley Cup after Phil Kessel.
Photo: Jared Wickerham
During the summer, Eric Fehr left the organization that drafted him in 2003 for its biggest rival.
“I knew that come free agency day, when [the Penguins] came calling, I knew there was going to be, not necessarily an uproar, but I knew that Caps fans would be upset about it,” Fehr said recently to The Washington Post’s Mark Giannotto. “But at the end of the day, it was a good opportunity for me. It was a good fit, and I was excited about the team that was here having played against them for as many years as I did. Knowing how good they are, I wanted to be a part of that.”
And in the end, the move paid off. Fehr is now a Stanley Cup champion for the first time in his career. The Winkler, Manitoba native will get a championship ring and have his name immortalized on the Stanley Cup forever.
Photo credit: Sean Kilpatrick
The Washington Capitals started something with their first win on Sunday and sought to keep that going against the Ottawa Senators. The Caps brought a sense of coherence and confidence to their game that we haven’t seen in a long time, but the game’s back half started sagging and one bad penalty cost them everything.
The Capitals gave Troy Brouwer his second goal of the year, a net-crashing backhand set up by some hardworking hockey from Wojtek Wolksi and the Caps D-corps. Matt Hendricks deflected Jay Beagle’s wide-angle shot into the net to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. The Senators got on the board with a Condra shot deflected off of Jim O’Brien. Milan Michalek tied it up with a tricky backhand off the faceoff that eluded Neuvirth. Former Cap Sergei Gonchar got the game-winning goal on an undeserved power play in the games final minutes.
Sens beat Caps 3-2.
After midnight came and went, hockey’s biggest league is now out of order and NHL stars are free to sign contracts withh Russia’s KHL. Free from their contractual obligations as of now, players can sign with teams overseas (though some leagues, such as Swedish Elitserien (SEL), don’t allow temporary contracts).
Earlier, the KHL announced requirements for players signing temp deals. A single team can sign no more than three players and only one of them can be non-Russian (though teams are not obligated to dress more than five foreigners to games). They don’t count against the salary cap, but they can’t be signed to contracts worth more than the 65% of their NHL deals’ annual value.
Foreign KHL players must meet one of the following criteria:
These rules don’t apply to the KHL teams representing countries outside Russia.
Below the jump, we give you the blow-by-blow of the KHL’s version of a free-agent frenzy.
Craig Anderson watches one go by. (Photo credit: Andre Ringuette)
The Pre-Game: We hear through the Twitters that perhaps we went just a weee bit overboard with our preview of Saturday’s Ottawa game, and shameless self-promotion of teh PuckBuddy’s Big Gay Night Out. Whoops! Curiously: among the critics was Donald Trump, who should know a thing or two about the line between gleeful self-promotion and villainous sociopathy, so we take that to heart. So that, plus Peter’s epic stat-tastic data set analysis matrix (or whatever) have convinced us today we’re going to play it down the line.Yup, right… directly, down that… unbending line. Directly… forward, in a non-curvilinear fashion. And that’s as close as we’re ever going to come to saying it, so get over it.
The Pre-Game: Interesting fact: did you know that the North American Otter (Enhydra lutris) has to eat roughly 25% of its body weight in food every day just to survive? True! Like, how many Dippin’ Dots would that be? AND that in the ancient Zoroastrian religion, that otters were considered holy beings?! So Wow, I mean like…
Oh. Oh, it’s the Ottawa Senators. Oh lolz! If you could see my face blushing.
Actually, we have enough blush, and not in an endearing way, left over from Thursday night. Although we cautioned, and predicted moments, we didn’t – and simply never ever will – go on the record predicting a Pens victory over the Caps, despite our well-shared worries. Sure, it wasn’t a blow-out. Yeah, Erskine earned himself a pelt off one of the birds, in just payment for Beags (IMHO.) And yes, even hobbled offensively as we are (and whyis that, exactly?) and with all the turmoil and blah blah go freaking tell your shrink because I don’t give a damn we kept them to one point. Whoot! A loss by only one point!
Which says a lot about where we’re at. Too much. Too, too much, if you ask us, girlfriends.
Mojo scores on the wraparound! (Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt)
The Washington Capitals hosted the Ottawa Senators in Chinatown for a game that– INEXPLICABLY — ended after sixty minutes. After three games that went to overtime and beyond, this slow Saturday night snoozefest was welcome.
On the power play, Alex Semin sucked in a few defenders before feeding Nick Backstrom, who scored from the weak side. Marcus Johansson’s wraparound goal was a thing of beauty. Peter Regin exploited the top line’s laziness to make it 2-1. Then about forty minutes passed without anything important happening. Caps beat Sens 2-1 (NOT OT).
Anyone who’s had the misfortune to spend time in Ottawa has had the quintessential Canadian city experience: clean, cultured, and quietly disappointing. All the maple doughnuts and Labatt’s in the world can’t hide the fact that Ottawa is as appealing as lap dance from Marcus Bachmann. Puzzlingly, everyone seems mostly OK with this… albeit in a polite, deferential way. Ottawantarians seem to take civic pride in their shared, outstanding blahness. Just look the Senators.
The Capitals have ended their eight-game losing streak. Just take a moment to process that. Go ahead, put that dumb old grin on your face. We’ll wait.
There you go. Feel better? Me too!
The Sunday night tussle between the Ottawa Senators and Washington Capitals had no shortage of extra meaning. The team’s mental state and possibly even careers hung in the balance. Game on.
Ottawa’s Ryan Shannon delivered a bang-bang puck over Neuvy’s left side to make it 1-0. Chris Kelly plopped in a pass from Chris Neil to give the Senators a two-goal lead in the first period. The Capitals could have deflated at that first intermission like usual, but they returned for the second ready to do work, son. Mathieu Perreault waited all of 34 seconds to score the Caps’ first goal, an ugly one. Eric Fehr allowed almost an entire minute to elapse before recording the second, also ugly. A powerplay opportunity found Perreault scoring again with another homely tally. The Caps held off a late-game man advantage to snap the slump: Caps beat Sens 3-2.
Mike Green needs help (Rick Stewart/Getty Images).
This week, the Caps free agent picture became clearer as the organization announced they will not be renewing the contracts of defenseman Joe Corvo and forwards Brendan Morrison and Scott Walker, and Tarik El-Bashir reported that José Theodore‘s tenure with the Washington Capitals may be over.
All this leads to more speculation as to what the roster will look like next year. ESPN and the writers of Puck Prospectus have addressed the offseason needs for all 30 NHL teams and surprised no one by stating that the Caps need a shutdown guy on defense.
The Bruins signed defenseman Dennis Seidenberg to a four-year contract extension, taking off a likely target unrestricted free agent acquisition during the offseason and leaving only a few top four shutdown defensemen left in the UFA pool.
The Caps need as close to a sure thing as you can get. They can’t afford to let age (Sergei Gonchar) or injuries (Paul Martin, Willie Mitchell, and Mark Eaton) detract from the production of their top four defensemen during next year’s inevitable Cup run.
With Tarik El-Bashir reporting “the team does not, in fact, plan to pursue the Ottawa blue liner [Volchenkov],” that leaves just two defensemen that can fill a Top 4 spot. And more specifically, the top pairing with Mike Green:
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