Bad Starts Continue to Doom the Washington Capitals

WardUgh

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

The Washington Capitals have a glaring hole: they are terrible in the first period. The team is being outscored 24-15 in opening frames, one of the worst differentials in the league. Friday night, it happened again: the Montreal Canadiens took a 3-0 lead less than 14 minutes into the game.

The Caps know this is a problem too. It’s existed all year and you’d have to be stupid to miss it. Most troubling, though, is the lack of answers the players seem to have for the issue. They know it’s there, they just can’t stop it.

“Maybe we need some better music or something,” Troy Brouwer quipped. “I don’t know. We gotta find a way. We gotta find it fast.”

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brouwer-subban-fight

Photo credit: Alex Brandon

Troy Brouwer has struggled this year. Despite his five tallies he has posted team-worst possession numbers along with linemate Brooks Laich. The 28-year-old has scored just one goal at even-strength. Friday night, Brouwer tried to contribute in other ways. Namely, punching people in the face.

It started when Brouwer ran Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov in the near corner. Though the hit was clean, T-Brow skated a long way to make the check. Flashy defenseman P.K. Stubban, apparently, didn’t like that. The goal-scoring d-man shoved Brouwer before asking him to drop the gloves. Troy obliged.

“I just came in and finished my check,” Brouwer told me. “He wasn’t happy with it.”

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carlson-wilson

For nearly two full periods, Tuesday’s night’s game was mind-numbingly dull. But then, Troy Brouwer fumbled the puck in spectacular fashion on the power play, putting the Columbus Blue Jackets up 1-0. The next Caps power play went a little a better.

Skating into the offensive zone, Martin Erat fought for the puck near far circle with Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout — yes, that’s a real name – as John Carlson and Tom Wilson drove towards the front of the net. As Erat approached, he was tripped by Prout. Falling over, Marty made a brilliant pass to the front of the net, connecting with Carlson. JCar scored for his fourth goal in six games. Carlson also fell over as he contacted the puck, crashing into CSN’s goal cam. Wilson, eager to celebrate, then tripped over Carlson’s legs, himself tumbling into the net.

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brouwer-bobblehead-wut

GIF by welshhockeyfan

The Washington Capitals organization loves bobbleheads. They’ve given out countless resin statues in recent years. At blood drives, at home games, or as part of the team’s Kids Club: tons tiny, oddly proportioned Caps players have made their way into fans’ homes.

Tonight we add another to that family: mustached George Parros Troy Brouwer.

Troy’s handlebar look is because of Movember. Many Caps — most notably Karl Alzner and Alex Ovechkin — are growing ‘staches this month to raise money and awareness for cancer research and mental health.

So the Brouw bobblehead– the Brouwblehead– is particularly awesome– even though it looks more like Super Mario than #20.

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Photo credit: @BrouwerRangers

Several Washington Capitals players are participating in Movember, a month-long facial hair fundraiser for prostate and testicular cancers as well as mental health. For the next however-many-days-are-in-November-I-can’t-remember-the-rhyme, the Caps will be growing lip shrubbery for a good cause.

The Caps are doing their part to raise awareness. At the November 5th game against the New York Islanders, the Caps will be giving away Troy Brouwer Bobbleheads. (Also, Alex Ovehckin is expected to return, so maybe buy tickets?)

LOOK AT THAT THING. WHAT IS THIS THING. I NEED IT.

P.S. Why not get involved in Movember? You can donate to someone’s campaign– such as friend-of-the-blog Nick Frye!

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brouwer-gets-squirted

Playing the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday, Troy Brouwer scored a powerplay goal — his third of the year — off a pretty, pretty pass from Nicklas Backstrom. Brouwer got mobbed by his teammates, skated back towards the bench, and… hey wait a second.

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Moar Caps Dog Calendar Photos

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The Washington Capitals released a behind-the-scenes video on Tuesday that gives us a peak behind the curtain of the upcoming Caps Dog calendar, which benefits the Homeward Trails Animal Rescue. Every dollar from the sale of these keepsakes will go to making a pet’s life better, which is why on December 3rd, you will buy one when they go on sale. They’ve be available through the Capitals’ team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler, as well as online.

Because I love you guys, I have collected some of my favorite stills from the new video. If you ask me, the best pic is the one where Grabovski stares deep into that dog’s soul. Or Hula Holtby.

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backstrom-jets

Photo credit: Trevor Hagan

The Capitals were kind of a mess throughout Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets. The game was tied after a wacky second period (featuring the Ovisplosion), and it took Nick Backstrom’s mystical Swedish skills and Troy Brouwer‘s finishing ability to restore a Caps lead.

It was the only pretty thing in an ugly (but happy!) game, so let’s give it a closer look.

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Winning Feels Nice: Caps Top Blue Jackets 4-1

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Happy times! (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

Finishing up their longest home stand of the season, the Washington Capitals took on new look (!) Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday. Facing a bunch of weak teams, the Caps didn’t do well in their last four games of their five game set at Verizon Center, posting a record of 1-3 and falling to 2-5 overall. Yesterday, Adam Oates had enough and went all “Screw everything! YOLO!” on the lines. Erat to the second! Fehr on the fourth! Grabo on the third! Other things! Par-ty!

No offense in the first frame. In the second, though, power play powerhouse Joel Ward rifled one top shelf on Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Caps the lead. Washington added to it about six minutes later when Brooks Laich popped in the rebound after Steve Oleksy’s inexplicably fancy stick work. The Caps took it home in the third with tallies from Troy Brouwer and Alex Ovechkin. Garbage goal for Artem Anisimov late. Wee! Caps top Jackets 4-1.

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hit

Troy Brouwer collided with New York’s Derek Stepan in the third period of Wednesday’s garbage fire. Brouwer hit Stepan in the head as he skated to the bench. My original assessment of the hit, on Twitter and in the game recap, was that the hit was dirty and Troy Brouwer should be suspended.

I’m not so sure now.

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