Breaking Down Jeff Schultz’s Plus-50 Season

Editor’s note: Pat Holden has written about Caps hockey over at Brooks Laichyear since 2012. We’ve asked him to pitch in here at RMNB to smarten us up a bit. Please give Pat a warm welcome. Follow him on Twitter.

This isn’t a post about plus-minus or debating its merits. I don’t like it and neither should you, but that’s not my purpose here. You can love plus-minus and still read this post without becoming enraged. Probably.

Jeff Schultz‘s plus-50 in 2009-10 was the highest rating we’ve seen since Peter Forsberg in 2003. When Caps fans or hockey fans in general make fun of plus-minus, Schultz’s name is almost always invoked. Even Ovechkin did it.

But we don’t often look too closely at Schultz’s 2009-10 season. It was uncommon and– most importantly– really, really lucky. Below is a player usage chart for the Caps defense from that season that will serve as the foundation for examining Schultz’s season.

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capitals-weagle-prototype-jersey

Photo: Icethetics

On June 22, 2007, Ted Leonsis unveiled new uniforms for the Washington Capitals. The team dumped their five-starred eagle and Capitol Dome logos and returned to their original red, white, and blue color scheme.

During that faithful day, the team also unveiled two new marks, including a secondary logo which would be nicknamed by Capitals fans as the Weagle (an eagle that had a W shape with a subtractive silhouette of the Capitol Dome on the bottom).

On Thursday night, Icethetics noticed an interesting jersey up for auction on eBay. The user manonthemoon12345 described the sweater as a “rare authentic” Washington Capitals prototype jersey. On the tag, it’s dated November 16, 2005 and there is a note that this is a second of six versions of the jersey.

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ovechkin-pants-curling

RIP (Photo: @WashCaps)

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz might have given his players the day off Thursday, but everyone ended up on the ice anyways. The Caps held what I can only describe as an “intense team building event” at the Calgary Curling Club and I’m sad to report there was one casualty: Alex Ovechkin‘s pants. Let us have a moment of silence for #OviPants.

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Photo: Washington Capitals

This Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings, the Washington Capitals will be holding Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night. Caps players will wear purple jerseys during warm-ups while both goaltenders, Braden Holtby and Justin Peters, will be wearing lavender-colored masks throughout the game. How cool is that?

The jerseys will then be autographed and auctioned on the main concourse during the game. Also notable and adorable, eleven-year-old Ryan Darby from Make-A-Wish will participate in a ceremonial puck drop. Hopefully, he throws Henrik Zetterberg out of the dot like Braden Nienaber did with Steve Ott last year.

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Photo: Amanda Bowen

Editor’s note: Pat Holden has written about Caps hockey over at Brooks Laichyear since 2012. We’ve asked him to pitch in here at RMNB to smarten us up a bit. Please give Pat a warm welcome. Follow him on Twitter.

During the preseason, Barry Trotz said that he prefers to keep forwards in pairs when shuffling lines. So far, that has proven to be the case. The Caps’ four persistent pairs through the first five games have been Ovechkin-Backstrom, Burakovsky-Johansson, Ward-Chimera, and Kuznetsov-O’Brien.

There’s a lot of noise in the numbers this early in the season, but with that disclaimer, a look at Trotz’s deployment so far shows many things we’d expect and some things we wouldn’t. But the biggest story is that the Caps fourth line is struggling, and Barry Trotz clearly doesn’t trust them.

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Ask Not the Sparrow How the Eagle Soars, Hockey’s Back!

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If you’re like me, October can only mean two things: Halloween is coming, and HOCKEY IS BACK!!!

To celebrate the return of the Caps, I did what I do best: Illustrate! Here we have Jason Chimera as the Ice Cheetah, John Carlson as Captain America, Nicklas Backstrom as Thor, Braden Holtby as the Holtbeast, and of course, Alex Ovechkin as the namesake, the Russian Machine. Our hockey superheroes in Red are ready to soar into DC again, prepared to thwart whatever stands in their way.

(The quote comes from an anime I watched summer, Kill La Kill. I thought it was pretty fitting, since y’know…. eagles/weagles.)

Hockey is here, so you know I’ll be in the stands, unleashing a little fury to do my part for the thwarting.

LET’S DO THIS.

Destined to be the NHL’s all-time leading outdoor scorer.

Ever since Mike Knuble left the Caps– and possibly even before– hockey geeks have wanted one name above all others on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom. Eric Fehr, the 29-year-old country music fan from Winkler, Manitoba, seems to have finally gotten the nod.

Fehr is expected to play right wing on the Capitals’ top line to start the season. Your boy Chuck Gormley reported it first.

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On Wednesday morning, the NHL released a two-minute long video promoting the upcoming Winter Classic in Washington DC. The gravely narrator gets us excited for the Capitals match-up with the Blackhawks on January 1.

Enjoy!

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The jersey’s got stripes! (Photo: Monumental Network)

At noon on Tuesday, the Washington Capitals will debut their new Winter Classic jerseys. All the big wigs are in attendance: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA Don Fehr, and Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Also scheduled to attend are Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Braden Holtby, who will be modeling the new sweaters.

There will be a lot of information to cover today: plans for the game, a 24/7-like documentary series leading up to the game, the Caps new WC logo, the NHL’s logo, whatever the Hawks are doing, rink placement inside the stadium, views from the seats, and probably even more.

We’ll update this post as information comes in so keep refreshing. Have a blast in the comments. Also, we’ll have some awesome photos from Amanda Bowen, who is photographing the event for us, later.

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Caps Implement Hogwarts System For Training Camp

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The Washington Capitals have announced their roster and schedule for training camp. It’s basically “blah blah blah,” 66 players, “blah blah blah,” a buncha scrimmages, but I wanna point out the part that struck me.

The Capitals have organized training camp into groups, each named for a different Caps legend.

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