St. Louis Blues Pregame: East St. Louis Toodle-Oo

Jamie Sabau

David Backes. (Photo credit: Jamie Sabau)

Doug Johnson of the PuckBuddys writes. Follow @PuckBuddys on Twitter.

The Unhappy and Unfunny Edition

The Pre-Game Practice

So. Anything happen over your holiday weekend?

Oof. Coach Juggles was jiggled out of the Caps hierarchy sometime late last week, so go the reports. But those who wielded the ax only announced it Monday morning. As if on Sunday we didn’t suspect our Regent would be decapitated; or that on Monday, after the quartering, they would all just expect us to blandly melt back into the blah-blah of our desperate little lives.

There’s been plenty of blah online in the last 36 hours, and in general on the Caps bench this season. Fine. But do not number us, your humble PuckBuddys, as among those celebrating the call for Boudreau’s head.

It is the right of every sovereign to decapitate those they wish…or at least was, in Elizabeth’s days. But who are we kidding? Today, it’s the unquestioned right of every sovereign owner of an NHL franchise – your Majesty – to chop off the head of any servant they see fit. Assuming they can buy out their contract.

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) teamed up with the Capitals’ Tomas Vokoun and Jeff Halpern a few months ago to shoot a PSA encouraging parents to check ratings when choosing games for their children — what Vokoun calls a “box check.” The ad, which has been playing without sound in Verizon Center bathrooms all season long, has finally made it to YouTube and we have it above. One word of advice for companies looking for a Caps spokesperson: Halpern is a natural!

Below the jump, check out a few behind-the-scenes pics from the ad via ESRB’s Facebook Page.

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Tomas Vokoun’s Five-Hole Sinks Caps, 5-3

Photo credit: Mike Stobe

After ripping up Carolina like (forgive us) a hurricane, the Caps hopped on plane and flew on up to the Island to take on Tavares & co. The Isles were looking to break a six game losing streak and it didn’t start well for them — it ended differently.

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Caps beats Ducks 5-4 (OT), Nick Backstrom is Crazy Good

by Mitchell Layton

Pot roast. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

The Washington Capitals had only one date with the Anaheim Ducks on the calendar this year, so they played it like two totally different teams. The Caps of the first half hour were disorganized and besieged. The Caps of the second half hour were focused and buzzing. A hole was dug by the former and filled in by the latter.

Saku Koivu siezed on bad communication between Wideman and Hamrlik to score the game’s first goal. Teemu Selanne took a pass from Koivu for a lay up goal to make it 2-0. Selanne notched another one in the second period, thanks for some more bad defense and a weak-side pass. Joel Ward got the Caps on board with a close wrister that went five-hole. Dennis Wideman capitalized (puns!) on a scrambling Hiller, slapping home a goal making it 3-2. Corey Perry took a couple swats at a loose puck in the paint to make it 4-2. Troy Brouwer’s shot gave Hiller trouble and kept the game interesting.  With six attackers and less than a minute remaining, Nick Backstrom made the net quiver. Tie game. 4-on-4 overtime, where Backstrom struck again by slapping a bouncing puck into a gaping net. Game over! Caps beat Ducks 5-4 (OT).

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High and Mighty, Caps beat Wings 7-1! Undefeated!

Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt

Look how happy those white people are! (Photo credit: Ann Heisenfelt)

The final two undefeated teams in the NHL, the Washington Capitals and Detroit Red Wings, met in Chinatown– each with the intention of removing that title from the other. All eyes were on this game. And it was a good one.

On the power play, Nick Backstrom found Mike Green, who scored with surgical precision from the high slot. Just 61 seconds later, Mike Knuble’s takeaway led to a short-side goal by Marcus Johansson. Back to Mike Green, who turned Ovechkin’s lateral pass into his second powerplay goal of the night. Niklas Kronwall unleashed a monster one-timer during a two-man advantage to put Detroit on the board. Mathieu Perreault ended the second period by cleaning up Matt Hendricks’ rebound. Brooks Laich stole the puck and set up Joel Ward to make it 5-1. Perreault showed up again with a clever wrister up front to make the score just plain ridiculous. The Wings didn’t even try to stop Nick Backstrom, who made it a touchdown. Caps beat Red Wings 7-1.

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Photo credit: Bruce Bennett

The Washington Capitals game with the Philadelphia Flyers should’ve been the clash of the titans: Alex Ovechkin and Jaromir Jagr. Only one of ‘em showed up.

Claude Giroux deked wide to score on a breakaway made possible by Alex Semin’s giveaway. Mathieu Perreault required the rest of the fourth line to screen in his tying marker. Late in the first, someone told Alex Ovechkin that he was tied in goals with ex-Cap Dave Steckel, so Ovi promptly scored on a rebound.

Nothing happened in the second period, but get ready for this. Roman Hamrlik ripped one from way out that deflected in, then Alex Ovechkin found an open spot on open ice and chipped it in, then Joel Ward got a flukey deflection to make it 5-1. All that happened in 150 seconds. Late goal by someone and who cares. Caps beat Flyers 5-2.

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First rule of hockey writing: if there’s a photo of a guy hit in the junk, USE IT. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

The Florida Panthers were still coming down off blowing out Tampa 7-4 when they showed up for their game with the Washington Capitals. That big win must have taken a lot out of them, ’cause they just didn’t show up to play on Tuesday.

Three penalty killers gravitated to Alex Ovechkin, leaving Marcus Johansson enough space to score his third of the season. Early in the third period, Alex Semin effortlessly ripped the puck far side to make it 2-0. With an empty net, Alex Semin fed goal-scoring leader Jason Chimera, who lobbed it in for the coup de graceCaps beat Cats 3-0.

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Four and Oh! Caps beat Sens 2-1 in Regulation

Marcus Johansson

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).

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NBA Lockout Turns Wizards Fan into Caps Fan

Craig Brownstein of Puck Buddys writes for Russian Machine. You will follow @PuckBuddys, and you will like it.

The NBA lockout continues. Getting a jump on last night’s breaking news about the first two weeks of the NBA season being spiked is Chris, one of the newer faces in Capsblogistan. Chris loves the Wizards and was a fan of all the DC teams except the Caps, but when he saw David Stern’s writing on the wall, he decided to dedicate his online efforts to the the Men in Red. From the mission statement on his site, CapsBasketball:

This blog is designed for people who never really watched the Caps but are looking to start now that there may not be an NBA. We can all figure it out together!  I have decided to “force” myself to watch hockey and to become a “hardcore” Caps fan. Has anyone written a blog about something they don’t know anything about before? Thousands of times I guess. While I’m writing this I could name maybe 3-4 players on the roster. This should be interesting…

He is a proud noob and doesn’t even try to hide it. His headline for a post ahead of Saturday’s season opener: “A Kid Named Michael [sic] Neuvirth Will Start In Goal Game 1.“ His recap of the Canes game was entitled: “Caps Win!  Other Team Still Rewarded,” clearly mystified on why one point is awarded for teams that lose in OT. Chris has given nicknames to some of the players; Vokoun is “Tommy V,” and that just freakin’ cute. With even weaker photoshop skills than ours, he depicts our veteran Czech netminder as a raccoon. Also cute.

We’re sure Chris will pick up the nuances of the Caps’ playing style as well as the lingo and quaint customs that have become part of our lives: Carlzner, Grab your sacks, Baby Swede, Will be sick!!! hahahah))), Fancystats, Haagen Daaz, Sasha Minor, The Front Page, and some guy named Sir Ryan.

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Vokoun shuts the door in the shootout. (Photo credit: Mitchell Layton)

Ballgame. (Photo credit: Greg Fiume)

This certainly wasn’t what Tomas Vokoun had in mind for his first game as a Washington Capital. Five goals. Bronx cheers. And, surprisingly, a win.

“It just shows how strong this team is,” Vokoun told reporters after Monday’s 6-5 shootout victory. “They literally won today without goaltending. So what can I say? … It was just ugly, ugly, ugly game for me.”

“It’s the first game, obviously you want to leave a good impression for the fans and everything,” he continued. “Couldn’t tell you the last time I remember having as bad a game as I did tonight. But we won the game, certainly not thanks to me. The team play great. I think it shows a lot of character, guys battle, came back four times. I’m going to make a promise I’m going to get them back sometime when they’re going to need me.”

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