I have a bad habit of nitpicking the public statements of NHL general managers. I have a ton of respect for their talents, and I think their jobs are very difficult, but they’re also kind of terrible at articulating themselves– or maybe they’re just bad at saying things that are supported by facts.
Case in point: Capitals GM Brian MacLellan touting the playoff performance of Tim Gleason.
Your favorite player might play in the biggest game of the season. Smiling god/defenseman Nate Schmidt has been recalled from the Hershey Bears. If he plays in game seven on Wednesday, he’ll be filling in for Tim Gleason, who was beleaguered and banged up in game six.
Gleason wound up with four third-period shifts last night, but none after 10:57.
For the Rangers, the winners of the Presidents’ Trophy this year, a few inches here and there had put them on the verge being eliminated from the postseason in early May. In their last eight periods coming into Friday’s game, they had scored two goals. After every loss to the Capitals, three of them heading into game five, they insisted they were about to break through. Every night, the Rangers showered Capitals goalie Braden Holtby with pucks. Though his teammates prevented many of those shots from reaching him, most made it through towards the net. Holtby, as he has all season, stopped nearly all of them.
In a series with some of the most spectacular goals imaginable, Holtby, 25 and a restricted free agent at the end of season, has been Washington’s most remarkable player. In the regular season, Capitals coach Barry Trotz played him more than any other goalie in the league, 73 games total. Through game four of this round, he had given up just 15 goals in 10 postseason games. His 1.48 goals against average and .950 save percentage topped all goalies still playing in the postseason.
But the Rangers offense, which netted 248 goals in the regular season, never disappeared. As their head coach Alain Vigneault reiterated after every game, they were knocking on the door. In the opening three games of the series, they put 94 shots on net. They added another 35 the first 58 minutes of game five. But their chances were running into the league’s hottest goalie, a guy who had been benched for weeks on end just a year ago.
But finally, 101 seconds before New York’s season was set to expire, Chris Kreider beat Holtby on the Rangers’ 36th shot of the night, a one-timer from the near circle.
“I just didn’t see it,” Holtby told reporters after the game.
Over the past season, we’ve seen Marcus Johansson go from a talented set-up man into the Caps third leading goal scorer. Andre Burakovsky has gone from an 19-year-old babyfaced rookie into, for a while, the team’s top-line right wing. In the past two weeks, those two have added more facets to their game. In the 2015 playoffs, Johansson and Burakovsky have become physical forces on the ice. But instead of going for needless checks that only put them out of position as so many players do, Marcus and Andre pick their spots, using their bodies to bump opponents off the puck or maintain possession.
“You never want to approach a game looking for hits,” Brooks Orpik, who was third in the league in that stat during the regular season, told me Wednesday. “If you do that you’re gonna be out of position.”
“We can’t try to be a skill team all the time,” he added. “If you are a big team, you have to use that to your advantage.”
At the trade deadline, the Washington Capitals traded for veteran defenseman Tim Gleason for his toughness. Paired with Mike Green since then, Gleason looked to Unleash The Glease in the first period on Isles center Brock Nelson.
Instead the Glease unleashed on veteran linesman David Brisebois.
Hard to play against, tough customer, character guy: those were some of the hockey superlatives thrown around by Barry Trotz and his players when asked about Tim Gleason, the team’s newly acquired D-man.
“He’ll keep people honest,” Trotz told reporters at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “You want to take a shot at Greenie, he can back it up.”
Yep, despite whatever my zany Russian political science professor and Some People on the Internet say, Mike Green isn’t going anywhere.
On December 26, 2010, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck
Ouch. (Photo credit: John Carlson)
The yuletide has receded, and the Washington Capitals have gotten back to work. Meeting the Carolina Hurricanes in snow-covered Raleigh, the Caps were out to test their mettle following that shootout loss to Pittsburgh on the 23rd.
Mathieu Perreault crashed the net in the first period, turning a sublime, unguarded puck from Alex Semin into the night’s first goal. In the second, Jussi Jokinen exploited a bad Caps line change to sneak one past Semyon Varlamov. Minutes later, Alex Ovechkin stormed through neutral ice and set up David Steckel to make the score 2-1. In the late second period, a bounce went finally went the right way for Ovi, who submitted the Caps third and final goal. The Canes attempted a comeback led by Jay Harrison/Tuomo Ruutu’s goal, but couldn’t get all the way. Caps beat Canes 3-2.
Well we managed to get our hands on a 100% fake hand-crafted card Alex Ovechkin recently sent to Tim Gleason in apology. Hopefully this clears up any ill-will between the two, and we can all just move on. Check out the card below the jump.