The Washington Capitals held an optional practice in front of a full house, Saturday. Half the team, including Head Coach Barry Trotz, was not on the ice. Everyone was energized and in high spirits from the 6-0 shutout against the Chicago Blackhawks the night before.
Instead of a puck, Daniel Winnik started the warm-up with a perforated practice golf ball. Later Braden Holtby and Nate Schmidt shared a silly moment after Schmidt and Dmitry Orlov put a shot past the netminder. Holtbeast playfully slashed Schmidt’s legs, whose dramatics ensued for a fun set of images. Holtby’s face after his payback was priceless.
Post-practice Matt Niskanen even tried to hide from the camera and we shared a laugh. It was a great welcome back to the hockey grind. Enjoy these snaps from the morning practice.
The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice over the last four seasons (2012-13 and 2014-15). They are always at the top of the league. And they feature three of the best players in the league: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith. That’s why when you beat the Hawks, it’s a big deal.
That’s why Friday’s result was such a surprise. The Caps, using their blistering team speed in the neutral zone, put up a touchdown against the Central Division’s best team.
Let’s review all the goals.
Last week, former Capitals forward Brooks Laich congratulated Nicklas Backstrom on his 500th career assist. Wednesday night, Laich had even kinder words for his former captain, Alex Ovechkin, after the Russian machine hit 1,000 points.
On December 29, I was at Verizon Center for the Washington Capitals’ 2-1 shootout loss against the New Jersey Devils. While neither the game or its result were what Caps fans wanted, those in Verizon Center were treated to a bit of a pick-me-up late in the third period.
Amidst the tension over the tie game and the end of regulation nearing, Baby by a 15-year-old Justin Bieber was suddenly booming through the loud speakers. It was already a bit of an odd choice for a hockey game, especially considering the song came out nearly seven years ago. But then I noticed that the song had been requested by Tom Wilson, Washington’s resident enforcer, and everything made sense.
In the spirit of RMNB’s unwavering commitment to hard-hitting journalism, here’s another update to Tom Wilson and TJ Oshie’s bizarre pregame butt-slashing routine.
Tuesday night at Verizon Center, Wilson decided to keep the ritual short, whacking Oshie’s gluteus maximus once. It paid off big time.
Tuesday night at Verizon Center, former Capitals defenseman Connor Carrick will be playing the second game in his former barn since being traded. While Carrick struggled at times during his stint in Washingon, he’s turning into a very dependable player for Toronto.
In 32 games this season, Carrick has scored only one goal and registered four points. But his possession tells a different story. The five-foot, eleven-inch defenseman has pushed play, ranking second on the team with a 53.99% score and venue adjusted Corsi. The only player he trails is Jake Gardiner.
After the team’s morning skate, Carrick spoke about his familiarity in Washington, as well as his longtime friendship with “big boy” Tom Wilson.
Early in the first period, Tom Wilson knocked John Moore out of the game while trying to forecheck in the offensive zone. As Moore fetched the puck and sent a backhanded pass to a teammate, Wilson hit the Devils defender in the shoulder and middle of the back, sending Moore’s head careening into the boards. Moore would be stretchered off the ice and taken to a local hospital. Wilson was not whistled for a penalty on the play.
After the game, Wilson spoke about the hit and seemed shaken by it.
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