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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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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Monday night, after Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward scored his first goal of the year, he returned to the bench to take in the adulation of his teammates.

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Boyd Gordon celebrates his first period goal on Monday. (Photo credit: Patrick McDermott)

The Washington Capitals got their first hockey (non-shootout) win of the season on Monday, beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. The game, though, was a bit of a mirage. While the power play got back on track with two goals, their struggles at early in the game– especially at even strength– are a massive problem for the team. The Caps were outshot 10-3 in the first period despite playing against arguably the worst defensive team in the league. While the Washington media corps overlooked this in their post-game questions, Adam Oates understands the trend is glaring hole for the team.

“I’m taking suggestions right now,” Oates joked when I asked him how he thought the team could fix its liability. “We addressed it, we talk about it, and hopefully we’ll conquer it. We gotta find a way to just keep focused earlier.”

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There are no pictures of Brouwer’s scoreage. Step your game up, photogs. (Photo credit: Geoff Burke)

Troy Brouwer finally got on the scoreboard Monday night, scoring his first goal of the year off some nice tic-tack-toe passing on the power play. It wasn’t the only first in the Brouwer family that night though: Troy and Carmen’s daughter, Kylie, turned one.

“It’s something that I’ll remember,” Brouwer told me. “It was nice to be able to do it now — five games too long for me.”

Unable to throw a party Monday due to the game, the Brouwers hosted a large party for the baby girl at their home on Sunday. A large number of Capitals players attended, along with a myriad of family relatives. At the end, the birthday girl received a large cupcake — there’s no word on whether the 12-month-old was able to metabolize it or what her wish was — and a necklace from Mom and Dad.

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Brouwer not happy.

Washington Capitals forward Troy Brouwer was disgusted after the team’s 5-1 shellacking to the Colorado Avalanche. The Capitals have lost four of their first five games and if you ask Brouwer, the losing has nothing to do with the team’s talent level. Brouwer thinks it has everything to do with the team not working hard enough.

“We’re going to be be hard-pressed to make the playoffs if we continue on the path we’re on now,” a calm but frustrated Brouwer said to Monumental Network. “I think playoffs should be the furthest thing from our minds as of right now.”

Below are his full comments to the press.

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Photo via Caps Instagram

Washington Capitals Captain Alex Ovechkin is 28 year old. Over the years, he’s had his critics: no Stanley Cup, no Olympic gold, he keeps trying the same move, why isn’t Brooks Laich the captain already?

But if you look at how Ovechkin stacks up against others, he’s already one of the greatest to ever play the game. He seems destined to be a first-ballot hockey hall-of-famer.

Fun fact: did you know that with his masterful two goal performance on Thursday, Ovi surpassed Eric Lindros in goals? He entered the game with 372 regular-season tallies, the same as Lindros had at the end of his injury-plagued 13-season NHL career. Ovechkin is two games into his ninth season.

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Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin is getting married to Maria Kirilenko. We know that; there’s a ring. But what about the date? Up until now, there has been nothing but speculation and rumors. Some of those rumors, to Ovi’s bemusement, implied that he had allegedly cancelled or postponed the wedding. A few days ago Ovechkin promised Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov a call as soon as the date is set.

Enter Troy Brouwer, who spoke to another Sovetsky Sport reporter, Leonid Varshavsky, on Tuesday.

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GIF by welshhockeyfan

The Caps lost 4-3 to the Blackhawks in overtime tonight, but that doesn’t matter. Instead, let’s remember this game for the time Mikhail Grabovski and Troy Brouwer’s failed to celebrate correctly. The second line clearly needs to develop some more chemistry here or it’s going to be a loooooooong year.

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Yep. (Photos by Chris Gordon)

There were some wild panels at this year’s Capitals Convention. My friend Kate cooked with Mike Green, George McPhee talked about getting verbal abuse about trades from teenage girls, and Ted Leonsis… well, I guess that one wasn’t so weird. The best one of all, though, was the ping pong tournament between pairs of Caps players. Taking part: Karl Alzner and John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom (aka Team Swede), and Mathieu Perreault and Troy Brouwer (Team Sexy Legs). Team Sexy Legs you ask? Well, just take a look at Troy’s outfit. I will never look at my thighs the same.

In the end, Team Swede won all their games, taking the tournament crown. Below, take a look at my photos.

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