For example, take a look at Thursday’s game against division rival Tampa. The Capitals gained a 4-1 lead, only to surrender two third period goals and barely escape with a win. There were missed poke checks, goals scored from a seated position, and lots of enthusiastic coaching. You know: Caps hockey.
On February 14, 2013, In Game Recap, By Peter Hassett
Photo credit: Scott Audette
Happy Valentine’s Day, hockey lovers! I hate this stupid day, but I found a good way to pass the time. The Washington Capitals served the Tampa Bay Lightning to some offense-go-boom and peppered it with all the careless defense that makes Caps hockey both fun and infuriating.
Troy Brouwer executed a lovely passing sequence on the game’s opening power play, but Martin St. Louis evened the score with a series of swats at Holtby’s pads. Eric Fehr scored his second goal in as many games by going straight to the net, and then made it three with a rocket from outside in the third period. Jay Beagle reintroduced himself with the dirtiest goal ever scored by a half-human/half-hound. Teddy Purcell got one back with a zero-angle shot that probably went off a Caps skater’s boot, and Nate Thompson made it darn close with a breakaway that Holtby misread. The Caps survived a late-minute panic and earned the win.
When Panthers center Drew Shore scored his crazy, mid-air, ricochet goal and gave Florida a 5-3 lead, all seemed lost for the Washington Capitals this night. But this isn’t the same team of a few weeks ago. Eric Fehr scored on a rebound in front of the net. Alex Ovechkin tied it up with a beautiful wrist shot from the point on the powerplay. And Troy Brouwer got all Herculean and won the game in overtime.
Braden Holtby has been shaky at times this season. After his excellent run in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the young netminder has struggled to find his game the first few weeks of the season. Of course, he wasn’t the only one.
“It’s obviously it’s others saying that — the media and whatnot,” Holtby said of the early season travails. “It doesn’t even come close to the pressure we put on ourselves in this room.”
Saturday, though, we saw the Holtby Caps fans love — saves, sass, and stick handling that can put forwards to shame.
With the Caps on the power play up 1-0 early in the second period — a frame that they’ve had some issues with this season — Holtby scooped up the puck cleared down the rink by the Florida Panthers. The former minor hockey forward then fired a beautiful saucer pass from here to the moon — or rather from the crease to just before the far blue line (around 110 feet), where Troy Brouwer was waiting. Brouwer then rifled a slap shot past Jose Theodore for his second goal of the night (his first tally required less skill and more backside).
“Great play, big goal,” head coach Adam Oates said. “It obviously hurt.”
John Carlson shot a one-timer to Theodore’s far side that was tipped in by ample bottom of Troy Brouwer, the same gentleman who caught a monster saucer pass from Braden Holtby before unleashing a perfect slapshot on Florida’s Jose Theodore. Joel Ward capped off an offensive-zone takeaway with a snazzy goal from the slot. The Caps cracked the four-goal plateau for the first time thanks to a nifty one-timer by Ovechkin right after the faceoff. Mathieu Perreault earned his first of the year halfway through the third, chasing Jose Theodore from net in the process.
The Caps were not the only thing missing on Tuesday night. Some fans noticed the absence on a long-time staple of the video board: playing Unleash The Fury when the team is down late in a game. A few of you took to our comments to vent your fears, but according to Michael Wurman, the Director of Game Entertainment and TV Products for the Washington Capitals, there is no need to worry.
“I debated running it early, but I wanted to see how the second period played out,” Wurman told Ian Oland, referring to the 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. “The game just didn’t dictate it in the third period.”
“The game always dictates how and what we run,” he added. “Unleash The Fury and the other pump up elements are never scripted.”
On January 22, 2013, In Guest Post, By Russian Machine Never Breaks
[Editor's note: When Mike Knuble was let go by the Capitals over the offseason, Knuble's Knights were temporarily without a player to worship. After some careful thought, they re-formed as a fan club dedicated to power forward Troy Brouwer and dubbed themselves the Brouwer Rangers. Nathan Burchfiel, the group's fearless leader, is now here to reveal the group's new spandex'd uniform and signs for the Caps home opener. The floor is all yours, Nathan.]
After the Caps lost their season opener to the Tampa Bay Lighting on Saturday, many Caps fans were weeping and gnashing their teeth about this Schultz or that Ovechkin. We, on the other hand, were busy experiencing something of an existential crisis.
As we struggled to squeeze into lycra suits and freshly painted motorcycle helmets during our first and only Brouwer Rangers “dress rehearsal,” the existential question wasn’t, Who are we and what are we doing with our lives? It was more, How are we going to pull this off without being arrested for indecent exposure?
As you may know, for the past three years, we’ve attended Caps games decked in plastic armor, shields and swords, and armed with an array mildly controversial but mostly silly signs in support of fan-favorite Mike Knuble. With Knuble’s departure – and at his encouragement – we knew we had to continue the tradition with a new victim muse player to cheer for.
There’s plenty floating around about why we picked Brouwer (and why we do this at all in the first place) so we won’t rehash it here. With the lockout still fresh in our minds, who really wants to dwell in the past anyway? Instead, the fine folks at RMNB asked us to provide a preview of what’s in store for the Brouwer Rangers during this shortened season. Our existential crisis has become, Can this possibly live up to the antics and adventures of Knuble’s Knights?
Thursday night at Verizon Center, the Washington Capitals held an open practice and offered free concessions to fans to say sorry for the NHL lockout. The free stuff was cool and all and yay hockey is back, but here’s the real story: Troy Brouwer did the Gangnam Style dance.