Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Star Weekend Recap

All-Star weekend had a slightly new format, adding the draft Friday night for the players. Alexander Ovechkin was no stranger to the festivities when he was picked by Team Staal in the 2nd round. Mike Green delivered the pick to his teammate.
The most exciting part of the weekend is always the Super Skills Challenge held on Saturday night. Ovi took the ice for the Breakaway Challenge and pleased the crowd with some stellar moves. He won the challenge receiving 38.5% of the fan votes. Three-peat for Ovi? Yes he has won the Breakaway Challenge 3 times in a row, what a stud!
Ovechkin also participated in the fastest shot contest and clocked a 98.2 mph slapper. His 2nd attempt he was forced to use the rival stick of Kris Letang and did not beat his first shot. Afterwards he skated off and said, “I terrible”.
Both of the Capitals’ players hit the stat sheet in the game today. Greener logged 2 assists and Ovi had a goal and assist. Ovi also was the first player to score in the game off a tip-in 50 seconds in. The game came to an end with Team Staal losing 11-10, but the weekend was a blast for all the players and fans.
Greener and Ovi will meet back with the team soon to face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at the Verizon Center. Hopefully this 5 day break has gotten rid of the scoring woes for the team. The last meeting with the Canadiens was about a month ago when we shutout Montreal 3-0. Let’s hope the last 31 games Bruce and the boys will be in the win column. Rock the Red!!!!!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Capitals send down three to Hershey for all-star break

The vice president and general manager of the Washington Capitals, George McPhee, announced earlier today that they were assigning three players to Hershey. The Caps have sent down forwards Mathieu Perreault and Jay Beagle and goaltender Braden Holtby to the Hershey
Bears going into the all-star break.
Beagle has played 19 games with the Capitals this year logging 2 goals. Perreault has played 24 games and scored 8 points for the team (5-goals, 3-assists). Both of these forwards have been up with the Caps for the majority of the past 2 months.
Holtby was in the net for the Caps three games in a row before this past loss to the Thrashers, only allowing 1 goal each contest. He has been in net a total of 8 games this year winning 4 of them. Braden Holtby will also be allowed to partake in the AHL all-star festivities this coming weekend.
These roster moves have occurred partly because of the all-star break, and also players coming off injuries. Matt Bradley skated in his 1st game in almost a month Wednesday night vs. the Thrashers. Alex Semin is also predicted to come back from his lower-body injury next week putting the two AHL forwards in a tough spot. One thing is for sure, this will not be the last time we see any of these three players in a Capitals sweater this season.

Semin signs 1 year contract extension with Caps

For all of those people who didn’t waste their time watching that game last night vs. the Thrashers, the Caps were shut out for the 7th time of the season 1-0. I am not going to do a full recap considering how frustrated I am about the team’s offense. Washington has the defense, goaltending, and talent, but seems to be lacking the ability to score lately.
There are 31 games left in the season for the Capitals, and needless to say we have some work to do. They were unable to score on 36 shots last night, Ovechkin being responsible for 8 of them. Varly played another stellar game saving 23 of 24 shots.
Worried about the Caps? No, the Caps will definitely make it to the playoffs which are a fresh start for everybody. Does anybody remember the Philadelphia Flyers clinching the playoffs the last game of the season last year? Yeah and they later made it to the Stanley Cup despite all odds. The Caps have plenty of time to turn it around, and if you’re giving up on them now as a fan than please do, we do not need fair weather fans in DC. In Ovi We Trust.
In better news, the Caps signed 26 year-old Alex Semin to a one year extension. The deal is worth around $6.7 million for this young gun. Semin has 18 goals this year, but has been out of the lineup due to a lower-body injury for most of January. Semin should be back on the ice in no time with reports of him practicing with the team. He was going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year so I am glad the team didn’t waste any time in signing him.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Week Ahead

Caps vs. Thrashers
The Caps will be traveling to Atlanta for their last game before the All-Star break. The Thrashers lead the series between the two teams this year 3 to 2, and have outscored the Caps 8-1 in the past 2 games. Hopefully that will change because Tampa Bay is creeping away with the division lead after winning their 5th straight last night vs. the Maple Leafs.
Lately the Capitals’ defense and goaltending has been superb, but we cannot say the same about the offense. The Caps seem to be close to finding that scoring burst that happened last season. The Thrashers have won 1 of their last 8 games, and will be coming off a 3 day break. Both teams will be fighting for a win, with it being the last game before the break.
Where are the power play goals? Tonight could be the perfect opportunity for the Caps PP to get back on track. Atlanta has only killed 67% of power plays in their last 16 games allowing 19 goals. The Caps have only scored 1 power play goal in the last 8 games. I’m expecting an extra man twine tickle in Philips Arena from the Capitals. The puck drops at 7 you won’t want to miss it since it’s the last game for an entire week.
All-Star Weekend
Two friendly faces will be taking part in the festivities this weekend in Carolina, Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin. As stated before on the blog it will be Ovi’s 4th, and Mike Green’s 1st all-star appearance. Mike Green was also named as an alternate captain for Eric Staal’s team. Maybe he will convince that loser to pick Ovi first round and not his teammate Cam Ward. Regardless it will be cool to see the two partake in the draft, skills competition, and game.
Another fun fact about this weekend is that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins are expected to be out because of injury. Sid the Kid is still hurt? Yes, Caps’ fans Crosby is still out due to that concussion he suffered from David Steckel on New Year’s Day. NO BIG DEAL!!!!!! Thank you Steckel, it is the gift that keeps on giving. Oh yeah and one more thing about Stecks. He currently leads the league in faceoff percentage with 64.2%.
All-Star Weekend Schedule on Versus
Friday Jan 28: Fantasy Draft @8 pm
Saturday Jan 29: Skills Competition @7pm
Sunday Jan 30: NHL All-Star Game @4pm

Caps lose a close one in a shootout to the Rangers

The Capitals and Rangers did not exactly play the most thrilling offensive game at the Verizon Center. In the first period there were no marks on the stat sheet with each team only getting a combined 12 shots on goal (Caps-5, Rangers-7).
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind how much effort Matt Hendricks puts into this team night after night. It paid off again in the 2nd period when he redirected a pass from Marcus Johansson beating the Ney York goaltender. Scott Hannan also assisted on Hendicks’ goal making it his first point as a Washington Capital.
The 3rd period came around and the score was still 1-0 Caps. Washington had only logged 11 shots after 2 periods which was a season low. Alex Ovechkin although he didn’t score looked to be back to the old Alex carving through defenders effortlessly. He played 24:08 and had 6 shots on goal for the Caps.
The Rangers finally tied the score when Marian Gaborik batted the puck in with his glove passed Braden Holtby. In my opinion the goal should’ve been disallowed after review but the score was tied. The game went to over time, and eventually to a shootout with neither team lighting the lamp in the extra 5 minutes.
The Rangers outshot the Caps 29-23 with both goalies playing extremely well. Braden Holtby for the Caps played his third straight game letting up only one goal. Holtby ended the game with 28 saves, and it seems the kid is gaining more confidence with each save he makes.
However in the shootout the rookie goaltender was simply out of his league. Hotlby was undressed by 3 out of the 4 New York shooters. Hendricks and Backstrom scored for the Caps but it wasn’t enough to beat the Rangers. The Caps fell 3-2 in the shootout.
Let’s stay positive Capitals’ fans it was a tough shootout loss. We need to start ending games in regulation to avoid these heartbreakers. The Caps have one more game left on Wednesday vs. the Atlanta Thrashers before the All-star break. Let’s get a W especially since it’s a divisional game. Rock the Red!
Player of the Game: Matt Hendicks (1 goal, +1)
Stat of the Game: 28 gaves 1 GAA (Braden Holtby)
Hit of the Game: John Erskine on J. Gilroy (1st period)
Unsung Hero: Scott Hannan

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Who's Hot, Who's Not

-          Alexander Ovechkin: The Great 8 is back ladies and gents!!!! Ovi has 4 goals and 6 points in his last three games. He also scored his first hatrick of the year last night vs. the Toronto Maple Leafs. Finally, Alex has been playing some defense lately too with +5 ice rating in the past 3 games. Will he reach 50 goals? He has 19 right now with 33 games to play. Don’t ever doubt this man!!!!
-          Braden Holtby: This youngster’s name was called Wednesday when both goaltenders were nursing lower body injuries. Needless to say Braden delivered big with 2 monumental wins for the Caps. He has allowed only two goals in two games, and his save percentage is through the roof around .966. Nice wax job rook!!!!!!!
-          Mike Knuble: The Garbage Man is not exactly playing terrible but his plus minus rating is dropping every game. Knuble has a -4 ice rating and 1 point in the last 6 games. We need him to start cleaning up the trash more in the crease, and maybe play a little D.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Capitals vs. Islanders Preview

The Washington Capitals faceoff against one of the worst teams in NHL tonight, the New York Islanders. They only have 14 wins all season and currently lost their star goaltender, Dwayne Roloson, to the Tampa Bay lightning a few weeks ago. However the Caps will have to keep an eye on 2nd year player John Tavares who leads the Islanders with 18 goals this season.
The Caps are sitting at 5th place in the Eastern Conference with injuries putting a burden in their lineup each week. Most recently both of the Capital’s net-minders are nursing lower-body injuries. Michal Neuvirth left the game vs. the Flyers after the first period because of his injury. Semyon Varlamov played the following two periods, and it was reported after the game that his lower-body was also bothering him.
Both goaltenders are listed as day to day, so the Caps recalled goalie Braden Hotlby from the Hershey Bears to travel with them to Long Island. Holtby has played 5 games for the Capitals this season winning his first two, but had trouble keeping the puck out of the net in his last three. The young goalie has been playing very well at Hershey in the AHL, so if he does get the start hopefully he performs well.
Unfortunately the Caps’ scoring woes continue each night only scoring 7 goals in their last 4 games. They have scored six of the 7 goals in the third period, and zero in the first. Playing a team like the Islanders gives the Caps a perfect opportunity to open the flood gates, and drop a seven or eight spot on this team.
If Washington beats the Islanders and the Lightning lose to Atlanta tomorrow, the Caps will have the lead of the Southeast division. I would like to see the Capitals play a 60 minutes game tonight, and maybe, just maybe they will score a goal in the first period. Let’s start a winning streak in Long Island Caps’ fans. Puck drops at 7 and as always Rock the Red!!!!!
Injury Report
·         Michal Neuvirth- day to day (lower body)
·         Tom Poti- day to day (undisclosed)
·         Alexander Semin- day to day (lower body)
·         Matt Bradley- 1 to 2 weeks (broken finger)
·         Eric Fehr- 3 to 4 weeks (upper body)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who's Hot, Who's Not

-          Marcus Johansson: This youngster has scored 3 goals and logged an assist in the last week. The one they call Mojo is only improving each week in his rookie season. In 34 games he has 5 goals and 6 assists. This last week Marcus has started playing on the top lines with Ovi and Knuble which will only improve him as a player.
-          John Carlson: Even though Carlson only netted one goal and 1 assist this week he was a force in almost all 5 games. Carlson scored his 1st ever power play goal on Sunday vs. the Ottawa Senators helping them get the win. He also had a +2 ice rating playing with defensive partner Karl Alzner.
-          Matthieu Perreault: Perreault is goalless in his last 8 games and seems to be struggling on the ice. In that 8 game span he has a -5 ice rating and hasn’t been a positive in any of those games. His speed and intensity will hopefully get him out of his drought.

Late run for Caps not enough, Flyers take it in OT

The Washington Capitals are dead last in the NHL in 1st period scoring. Not to mention the Caps haven’t lit the lamp in the first period in 7 straight games. Tonight vs. the Flyers it was déjà vu for Washington fans making it 8 straight games scoreless in the opening period.
Philly struck early when Jeff Carter wrapped Michal Neuvirth 90 seconds into the contest. Neuvy was caught out of position and was later removed from the net at the end of the first period. Although the goal was his fault, it was reported that he left the game due to a lower body injury.
Shortly after the goal Caps tough guy, DJ King, scrapped with Jody Shelley of the Flyers. King landed a few good punches and took him down in the end. Jody Shelley? He’s got two first names, and their girls names enough said!!!!!
Semyon Varlamov started the 2nd period with a “10 bell save”, as Locker and Joey B would say. Despite more spectacular saves by Varly, Claude Giroux scored off his own rebound late in the second making it 2-0.
Then the Caps started their run in the 3rd period as they usually do. Mike “The Garbage Man” Knuble tallied first off a rebound from Marcus Johansson. Seconds Later Nicklas Backtrom fired a pass to Alex Ovechkin who tapped in his 16th goal of the season with ease. That assist earned Nicky B his 300th career point in the NHL. Congrats Nicky B!
This game would eventually end in overtime when Andrej Mezaros of the Flyers scored the winning goal off a slap shot. It was another tough loss for the Caps despite earning 1 point for taking it to extra time. The Flyers outshot the Capitals 30 to 25 in the contest.
The Capitals were not given a chance on the power play tonight, and couldn’t seem to get a call from the home-biased refs. This loss makes it the 6th straight OT/shootout defeat the Capitals have suffered in a row.
The Caps will continue their road trip Thursday against the New York Islanders. Hopefully we will start playing 60 minute games instead of 20 minutes. Rock the Red!
Player of the Game: Nicklas Backstrom (1 assist, +1)
Stat of the Game: No power plays (where were the refs?)
Hit of the Game: John Erskine on Jody Shelley (2nd period)
Unsung Hero: DJ King

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Capitals vs. Flyers Preview

The Caps look to start a win streak tonight, going into Philadelphia to do battle with the first place Flyers.  The Flyers are number 1 in the Eastern Conference with a total of 63 points.  The Flyers are 13-6-2 at home this year as opposed to the Capitals 9-9-2 away record.  The Flyers are an extremely good team as it is, and adding their home ice advantage will make the Caps task even more difficult. 

The Flyers come into tonight’s game having 8 of the players already with double digit scoring totals, so the Caps defense and goaltending will have to be at the top of their game.Once again the Caps must win this game tonight, because they can no longer just coast along, in the once mediocre, Southeast Division.  A win tonight with a Tampa Bay loss against the Blue Jackets, will allow the Caps to reclaim top spot in the division.

The Caps are in desperate need of a solid winning streak to give the team vital momentum and confidence.  As stated before the Caps task of winning will not be easy, especially with injuries to: Tom Poti (unknown- day to day), Alexander Semin (thigh- day to day), Matt Bradley (broken finger- 1 to 2 weeks), and Eric Fehr (upper body- 3 to 4 weeks.)

The Caps focus tonight should  be about regaining their dominance that they once had on the power play.  Also, as they did against the Senators on Sunday, they must continue to keep getting pucks on net. 

Finally players such as Ovechkin and Backstrom need to have a coming out party, and do what they do best to win games by putting up points.  The Flyers come in winning 6 of their last 7, lets see if the Caps can put a damper on this in tonight’s much anticipated, hard hitting battle.

- In Ovi We Trust

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Caps triumph over the Sens with a strong 3rd period

The Capitals started slow once again letting Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators poke one in passed Michal Neuvirth 72 seconds into the game. Their offensive woes continued through most of the game logging only 5 shots in the 1st period. Neither team touched the scoreboard in the 2nd period even though the Caps had 12 shots on goal.
The story of this game was 22 year old Neuvy who made numerous saves keeping the Caps in it. He finished the game saving 25 of 26 shots, only letting in Fisher’s garbage goal in the first.
Trailing the whole game, Washington brought their A game in the third period. Ottawa was forced to watch their opponents take the lead right from them playing defense for most of the 3rd period. Brooks Laich was first to strike tying it up between the circles. Laich ended a 12 game scoring drought slotting his 9th goal of the season.
Milan Michalek put the Caps on the power play 43 seconds later with a cheap cross-check on Karl Alzner. After that the Capitals didn’t wait long to strike again. Nicklas Backstrom won the faceoff to defenseman John Carlson who one time peppered a slapper passed the Ottawa goaltender. It was Carlson’s first power play goal of his career, and his 5th goal of the season.
Later in the period Jason Chimera put the Sens away making it 3-1 netting his 6th goal of the season. The Capitals outshot the Senators 26 to 23 in this contest.
Karl Alzner left the game shaken up after the Michalek cross-check, but he led the Caps with a +2 ice rating. Nicky B also climbed closer the 300 career point mark with his assist to Carlson making the number 299.
This win gives the Capitals 57 points tying them with the Lightning for the division lead. It is only a matter of time before we catch Tampa and leave them in the dust before the playoffs. The Caps are off Monday and will travel to Philly Tuesday for a contest versus the Flyers who are currently 1st in the Eastern Conference. The puck drops at 7 in the Wells Fargo center.
Player of the Game: Michal Neuvirth (25 saves)
Stat of the Game: PP goal (John Carlson)
Unsung Hero: Karl Alzner

Fehr out, Caps recall Andrew Gordon

Late in the third period Friday night Capitals winger, Eric Fehr, suffered an upper body injury. He injured himself when he collided with teammate David Steckel vs. the Canucks. Fehr is expected to miss 3 to 4 weeks.
Another injury means another recall from the Hershey Bears. Andrew Gordon was recalled late last night from the Bears to come play for the Caps today vs. the Ottawa Senators. Capitals’ fans will see a familiar face because Gordon has already played 8 games for the team this year all in the month of December. He had a 2 point night when he logged his first career NHL goal on December 21st against the New Jersey Devils. I happen to be there and witness the goal at the Verizon Center (it was sicccckkkkkk)!!!!
Hopefully he can spark the Caps and bring us a win tomorrow. Fehr will be deeply missed for the time being because he has been one of the few producing for the Caps as of late. Also defenseman Tyler Sloan has been assigned to the Hershey Bears for a conditioning stint. He has recorded 1 goal and 5 assists in 19 games this season for the Capitals.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Caps come up short to Canucks at home

This Friday night game started out positive with the Caps actually striking first. Matt Hendrix beat Roberto Luongo on a breakaway for his 5th goal of the season. However three minutes later the Canucks evened things up when Alexander Edler slapped one past Semyon Varlamov.

There were no penalties in the first period for either team which was a positive for the Capitals. Jason Chimera changed that with an early roughing penalty in the 2nd period. Christian Ehrhoff capitalized on the power play 44 seconds in with a slap shot that went through the legs of Varly. Washington had two chances on the power play in the 2nd and failed to tie the score on both attempts.
I need to vent a little on the power play. What are we doing in practice to fix this BRUCE? We can’t keep the puck in the zone long enough to execute anything. Whatever happen to just throwing the puck on net and crashing. That is how you get out of a slump with some lucky bounces, and some garbage goals. Back to the recap.                                                                                                     
Daniel Sedin lengthened the lead to 3-1 in the 2nd period on a breakaway wristing it past Varly. Marcus Johansson would put hope of a comeback in the hearts of Caps fans when he hit a one timer assisted by Nicklas Backtrom making it 3-2. In the end an empty netter by Daniel Sedin would seal the deal for the Canucks. The 4-2 loss puts the Caps on a 3 game losing streak.
The last three games have been hard to watch as a Caps fan because of the lack of effort and execution in the offense. I have faith that things can be turned around but the talent has to step up, and lead by example. Yes, I am talking about the Ovi, Nicky B, Semin, and Green. For the first time in a while goaltending and defense is not the problem for this team. We need goals from our big guns it is that simple.
The Caps have a one day break to shake off this loss. Their next game is at home versus the Ottawa Senators on Sunday at 3pm. Keep the faith Caps fans! There are 37 games left and we are 2 points out of 1st in the Southeast.
In Ovi We Trust.  
Player of the Game: Matt Hendricks (1 goal)
Stat of the game: 3rd goal in 3 games (Marcus Johansson)
Hit of the Game: David Steckel on K. Ballard (3rd period)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Capitals vs. Canucks Preview

The Caps look to get back on track tonight against a tough opponent who they do not see very often. The Vancouver Canucks are first in the entire league with 62 points. The Sedin twins lead this team with 55 points a piece and a unique chemistry between the two brothers.                

The Capitals have to snag a win tonight at the Verizon Center because the Southeast divison is not exactly a cupcake anymore. They will be without Alex Semin (thigh), Matt Bradley (broken finger), and Tom Poti who left Wednesday's game with an undisclosed injury. Vancouver will be missing Sami Salo who has been out most of the season with an achilles injury.

The focus of tonights's game has to be the power play and staying out of the box because that has put us in the hole the past two games. The Caps are bound to strike on the powerplay tonight and Nicklas Backtrom is due for a goal. Both teams are trying to start a winning streak with the Canucks coming off a 1-0 loss to the Rangers, and the Caps losing 3-0 to the Lightning.

Tonight will be a fast-paced, offensive driven game that you won't want to miss.
The puck drops at 7 at home in the Verizon Center. Lets get a win and Rock the Red.                          
In Ovi We Trust.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lightning strike Caps with division lead in hand

There aren’t many positives I can pull from this embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. It was a familiar feeling getting shutout by the infamous Dwayne Roloson because he did it no more than a week ago.
The Caps’ woes started in the first period when four minutes in the Caps were down by 1 with an ugly goal by Dominic Moore. Later in the period the Lightning extended the lead when Sean Bergenheim swatted the puck out of midair past Varly. Also in the 1st period the Capitals failed to execute 2 power plays which seems to be happening night after night.
The Lightning dominated the Caps in the shot category leaving Semyon Varlamov helpless in my opinion on all 3 goals. Varly ended the game with a respectable 35 saves on 38 shots. Tom Poti took an early exit for an undisclosed injury after the first period leaving the Washington blue-liners tired with a 5 man rotation.
The second period was not any better to watch because the Lightning doubled the Capitals shot total 18-9. Simon Gagne later executed on a 2 on 0 easily beating Varly stick side high. That would be the last tally in the match letting Tampa take the lead in the Southeast division.
Dwayne Roloson had a 23 save shutout stopping everything thrown his way in his first home game at Tampa Bay. John Carlson led the Caps in shots with 5 and was one of the only players with an even rating.
Again I’ll try and stay positive because that was the second game in 24 hours for the Washington Capitals. I still felt we did not show much effort in the loss and we have a lot to work on going into Friday against the Vancouver Canucks. Mainly THE POWERPLAY!!!! Bruce we need a change of strategy or something because things are simply not being executed.
On the plus side it was delighting to see Steve Downie still with a black eye from last week’s fight with Matt Hendricks. I wish Scott Hannan would’ve gotten a real chance at fighting that loser with the scuffle that took place in the 2nd period.
The next game for the Caps will be Friday at the Verizon Center versus the Vancouver Canucks at 7. Let’s bring our A game and get back in the win column!
Player of the Game: Semyon Varlamov (35 saves)
Stat of the Game: 5 shots and 24:59 TOI (John Carlson)
Unsung Hero: Scott Hannan

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Player Profile: Brian Willsie

Caps fans saw a new face at the right winger position Tuesday night when No. 24 skated onto the ice. Brian Willsie was called up from the Hershey Bears, the Capitals' AHL minor-league team, to fill the void at right wing left by an injured Alexander Semin.

Willsie played in his first NHL game of the 2010-11 season and contributed immediately with an assist to Marcus Johansson. Last year, he played four games for the Colorado Avalanche.

Willsie has had a long career in professional hockey that started with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League. In the NHL, he has played for the Los Angeles Kings as well as the Caps and the Avalanche. In 380 career games played in the AHL, OHL, NHL, and SLV, Willsie has 52 goals and 56 assists. In 1998, he played for Canada in the World Junior Championships.

In 2005-06, Willsie played 82 games for the Capitals and was Alexander Ovechkin's first road roommate. Ovi wanted a North American roommate, rather than a European one, so that he could learn English quicker. The veteran Canadian stepped up and took the new face of the franchise under his wing.

Willsie should see action as long as Semin is out of commission. Semin injured himself in Saturday's game against the Panthers. He is listed as day-to-day.

Only question is, since Bruce and the Caps like to add the "ie" to create nicknames (Fehrsie, Varly, Neuvie, etc.) what will Brian's nickname be? We shall see.


A View from the Crease: Scott's thoughts on HBO's "24/7" Series

Today is the first Wednesday that hockey fans from all over, including myself, will be deprived of the Caps/Pens Road to the Winter Classic on HBO. It lasted four weeks and in my opinion it got better each week. Behind the scenes looks at both teams gave us insight on our favorite athletes, whether it was on the ice or at their homes.

As a Caps fan, the first episode was hard to watch because it took place during the nine-game losing streak. After one loss, Bruce Boudreau showed me that he took the losing streak personally when he used expletives in the locker room. On the other side of the equation the Pens were all laughs and smiles during their 12-game winning streak. Despite hating the Pens more than any other sports team on the planet, it was cool to see professionals pulling pranks on rookies and joking around in Pittsburgh.

As the show went on, the Caps started winning and it became more enjoyable seeing smiles in DC. My favorite part of the show came at the end point of the second episode in the Ottawa visiting locker room. The Caps ended their losing streak and capped off the night fist-pumping to DJ Pauly D in the locker room!

The third episode featured the first matchup between the Pens and Caps on Dec. 23. The Caps lost in a shootout ending in a 3-2 final. The next two days the teams were off and able to spend time with family and friends for the holidays. I enjoyed seeing teammates Marcus Johansson and Mike Green joining Nicklas Backstrom and his family for a Swedish Christmas Eve dinner. Bruce Boudreau revealed his humorous side when he was oblivious about Christmas gifts for his wife and craved ice cream in the morning at the mall.

From that point on both teams had their eyes on New Year’s Day and their chance at hockey history. They arrived in Pittsburgh and couldn’t celebrate New Year’s Eve like the rest of the world.

In the fourth episode all of the Washington Capitals, especially Ovi and Bruce ,displayed their never ending hatred for the Penguins. Bruce said “it’s two [expletive] points we’re going to take off these pricks here.” We all know how the game ended making the series that much better to watch with a Capitals win.

In the end the Penguins didn’t have the balls or respect to shake Washington’s hands after the game. The Capitals cherished the experience and enjoyed the periodical HBO cameras shadowing their every move. Bruce cracking a Bud Light in celebration of the epic win was all I needed to see to cap off this amazing four-week experience. 

Panthers prowl on Caps in overtime

Marty Reasoner and Michal Neuvirth watch a deflected shot trickle into the net during the first period of the Capitals' 4-3 overtime loss to the Panthers.

The Caps came into tonight’s game with a lot of confidence stemming from a 3-2 victory Saturday against these same Panthers.  As the game began, the Capitals quickly began to look like their regular selves in the first period.  Throughout the season the Caps have dug themselves holes that have made winning and getting into any kind of rhythm very difficult. 

In the first period the Capitals surrendered two goals, one of which resulted from a Florida two-man advantage.  In the same series of plays, Mike Knuble was hit with an interference penalty, which was soon followed by a Nicklas Backstrom boarding call.  The Panthers then capitalized when Mike Santorelli scored on a rebound from a Stephen Weiss shot.

Another score was added when Marty Reasoner deflected a Bryan McCabe shot.  The score at the end of the first could have easily been 4-0 or 5-0, but the game was kept within reasonable reach of a comeback by Michal Neuvirth’s outstanding saves.

In the second period the Panthers once again capitalized on a two-man advantage with Jason Chimera and John Carlson in the sin bin. The Panthers goal was again created off a Stephen Weiss shot which was rebounded and scored by David Booth. 

Finally at the 10:10 mark in the second Marcus Johansson tallied one for the Caps on a beautiful give and go between he and Brooks Laich.  Shortly after, Alexander Ovechkin rifled a pass to Knuble, who then top shelved a shot past goaltender Tomas Vokoun. 

On the upside, going into the third period the Caps had trimmed their deficit to one goal, but they were also 0-5 on power plays.

As the third period started the Capitals hopes were high to continue their comeback. After 7:12 into the third period, Marcus Johansson struck again on a tip in.  The chance was created from a backhand shot by teammate Matt Hendricks, from behind the net. 

At the 12:31 mark in the third the Caps spoiled their sixth and what would be their final power play.

As regulation came to an end the score read 3-3.  Shortly into overtime All- Star defenseman Mike Green was called for hooking.  Unfortunately this penalty would be the death of the Caps and at the 2:51 mark in overtime.

Dennis Wideman shattered the Caps hope at getting three points with a top-shelf wrister. 

Overall it was a very disappointing performance, mainly because of the 0-6 mark on the power plays.  Also the Caps continue to bury themselves with many costly mistakes in the first period.  Stay tuned for tomorrow night’s game at 7 p.m. against division rival Tampa Bay.

Player of the Game: Marcus Johansson (2 goals)

Stat of the Game: 0 for 6 on PP

Hit of the Game: Ovi on Weaver (3rd period)

Unsung Hero: Mike Knuble

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ovechkin, Green named to All-Star Team, Semin snubbed

Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Green were named to the 2011 NHL All-Star team today. 

This will be Greener’s first appearance in the midseason event in his career, even though he has been a dominant defenseman in the Eastern Conference for several seasons. He has eight goals and 12 assists this year. 

Ovi will be participating in his fourth All-Star Weekend. The Great 8 has 15 goals and 29 assists so far. 

Alexander Semin was snubbed as he is tied for 11th most goals in the league at 18. Semin was trying to drum up some votes from the fans, but his recent goalless skid most likely led to his being left off the roster.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Who's Hot, Who's Not

-          Semyon Varlamov: This is Varly’s 2nd week in a row in the hot column and it’s not surprising to anyone. In his last 6 games he has not let up more than 2 goals and his save percentage is through the roof!! The 22 year old has finally proven that he is the Caps #1 goaltender after playing 5 straight games.
-          Alexander Ovechkin: Ovi looked like his old self in the two divisional games this week. Even though he only scored in one of the game his two points were vital in the team’s victory. Not to mention his goal was siiccckkkk and very Oviesque (credit goes to Gino for that masterpiece of a word).  He also logged 14 shots in 2 games.

-          Alexander Semin: Unfortunately Semin has found his way to the “Not” category again. Now with his goalless streak at 14 games Sasha has to tickle the twine sooner or later. I have a feeling Semin will hit the stat sheet hard this week!


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Ovi and powerplay get back on track against the panthers

Saturday night the Caps played their second game in a row against a divisional opponent facing the Florida Panthers.
The Panthers struck 3 minutes in when they undressed the Caps defense leaving Varly defenseless. Following the goal, power play woes continued for Washington letting 2 chances slide by in the 1st. Eric Fehr answered in the second with a tap in from a filthy pass from Mike Green.
Not surprisingly, Varly came up big making 25 saves (12 of them being in the 3rd period). The Caps were on the offensive striking twice in a span of 61 seconds in the third period. First by Green when he shocked me and the rest of the DC area, when he scored on a backhand on the POWERPLAY!!!!!!!!!!! Yes I said power play.
Then Ovi blew by everyone and slotted a breakaway passed Clemmensen making it 3-1. With a fresh new hair cut and a cortisone shot given to him 3 days before the game Alexander Ovechkin looked like his old self when he logged a goal, assist and 6 shots.
The Panthers scored 1 more goal late in the third, bringing everybody to the edge of their seat. Nick Backstrom then picked up a cross-checking penalty in the final minute giving Florida one last chance to tie it. Varly and the defense prevailed giving the Capitals a positive start to the 2nd half of the season.  
The Caps have a 2 day break and then have 3 games in 4 days. The first 2 will be against divisional opponents (Panthers and Lightning) which will be crucial in order to gain first place in the Southeast division. I think it’s about time we go on a long winning streak and for Ovi to go on a long goal streak. I’m calling it via blog. Let me know what you think!
Oh and one more thing. A big shout out to my man #39 David Steckel for being officially responsible for giving Sidney Crosby a concussion and putting him out of the Pens lineup for at least a week. It’s about time somebody hurt that pussy!
Player of the Game: Mike Green (goal, assist, +1)
Stat of the Game: 1 goal 1 assist (Alex Ovechkin)
Unsung Hero: Varly (25 saves and another win)

A View from the Crease

At an early age I was enamored by Peter “Bonzai” Bondra of the Washington Capitals and his ability to score countless goals wearing #12. Through the 90’s I watched the team go through some tough seasons but many talented players come and go from Bonzai to Olaf Kolzig.
My love for the Caps escalated to its highest point in 2004 when they drafted Alexander Ovechkin, “The Great 8.” Since that happened, the rest of the hockey world and I have been lucky enough to view this legend do the impossible on his frozen stage. Each of the following years the Capitals management acquired young guns like Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green to surround Ovi with a solid supporting cast.
Since Ovi has joined the team I have watched the Caps improve each year with several divisional titles and the most current President’s trophy last season. Although all teams strive for those achievements, the absence of a Stanley Cup in the Washington Capitals trophy case has all the fans blood thirsty for Lord Stanley.
Over the last five years the Caps have become one of the most popular teams in the NHL. The city of Washington and I have been spoiled with numerous great moments at the Verizon Center. Suddenly people care about hockey because of the night-after-night entertainers like Ovi and Nicky B. The growth of the fan base will only continue with those two guys locked up for the next decade.  
Maybe I’m just another biased Caps fan but, I see this cast and crew captained by the best player on the planet winning a couple cups in the next decade. I’m just a die-hard Caps fan that wants to put his thoughts and emotions out there in cyberspace for fellow red rockers to read and comment on.
In Ovi we trust

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rhobes’ Ruminations


Although I’m a newcomer to the hockey scene, I have fallen deeply, profoundly in love with the sport. With its hard-hitting, fast pace, its characters that range from the eccentricity of Alexander Ovechkin to the quiet precision of Sidney Crosby, and its elegant combination of speed, power, grace, and strategy, I am ashamed that I haven’t been a hockey fan my entire life.
Admittedly, I’m a basketball guy at heart. My winters have been traditionally dominated by obsessing over the high school, college, and professional hoops scenes. But, I have a new obsession: the Washington Capitals.
There’s only one thing that stands in the way of my Caps fanhood: my location nine months out of the year (most of those being during hockey season). As a student at Notre Dame, I’m surrounded by (faux) Blackhawks fans and have very few people to share my love for the Caps with. Even worse, I’ve been forced to catch the occasional game on Versus if I’m lucky or crappy, illegal live feeds. Every time I see someone rocking the red with a T-shirt jersey or Capitals hat, I have the sudden urge to scream “C-A-P-S, CAPS, CAPS, CAPS” and hope they join me.
For most of the year, I’m relegated to “Gamecasting,” following statuses on Facebook, and watching highlights on Basically, I’m in a Capitals-less void that prevents me from fully participating and watching every game.
I pine for summer when I’ll be able to watch Washington’s run to the Stanley Cup. If you think my credibility as a blogger is hurt by this, I understand. But, I will follow the Capitals to the best of my ability, and I hope you appreciate my efforts. Rock the Red.
In Ovi we trust.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Caps drop overtime heartbreaker to Lightning

Let me start off this recap by saying that it was an offensive travesty on both ends and not exactly a thrill to watch. The only goal of the game was scored with 2 minutes left in overtime when Vincent Lecavalier fired a shot at the Capitals net leaving Martin St. Louis with an easy tap in ending their 3 game winning streak.

Allow me to vent a little after this offensive disappointment. After the exciting win at Heinz field 3 days ago I thought the Caps were going to come out gunning for Tampa Bay’s heads with the division lead in reach. There was one man that prevented this possibility and it was Dwayne Roloson. In his first game with the club after being traded by the New York Islanders he had the Caps number with a 34 save shutout. The biggest disappointment of the night was a familiar feeling felt over the last couple of weeks by Caps fans. The power play was 0 for 3.

Although we were shutout by one of our division rivals I am going to try and stay positive because it is just one game. Semyon Varlamov was on his A game once again stopping 37 shots despite giving up just 1 goal in extra time. In his last 5 games Varly has 1.50 GAA and .961 save percentage. That is phenomenal! Did I mention this kid is 22 years old and is on the road to becoming the franchise goalie if he keeps this up? Sicccckkkkkkk! Kudos to the all 6 defenseman for keeping rebounds out of Varly’s crease until the final shot of the game.

Another upside of the loss was when Matty Hendricks contributed to the team’s momentum yet again when he scrapped for his 10th time of the year with Lightning team goon Steve Downie. Neither of them landed many shots but it ended with Downie holding an ice pack to his face in the penalty box. What a pussy!!!!! Oh and Hendricks yelled some expletives at him that I am not at liberty to say but I was very proud of him.

Finally Ovi and Semin combined for 14 shots but were just unable to light the lamp with Roloson standing in their way. We simply have to score to win, it’s as simple as that.

Player of the Game: Semyon Varlamov (37 saves,1 GAA)

Stat of the Game: 3 for 3 (Caps Penalty Kill)

Unsung Hero: Matt Hendricks

Check out the highlights (or lowlights) on

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Semin looks for three hat tricks in three games against Lightning

The Caps come off a monumental victory over the Penguins in the Winter Classic to face
Southeast Division rival Tampa Bay tonight in the Verizon Center. With the two teams tied atop
the division with 51 point, a win would put the Capitals in sole possession of first place.

Washington has beaten Tampa Bay twice this season, 6-3 and 6-0. In the first matchup Nov. 11,
Alexander Semin had a hat trick, and Alexander Ovechkin, Mike Knuble, and Tom Poti each had
one goal. Semin liked the way the Lightning let him skate through their defense, and pulled a hat
piece in the second matchup Nov. 26.

Semin severely needs to break out of his scoring slump and tonight’s game against the Lightning
is a perfect opportunity to do so. No one should expect the hats to end up on the ice in this one,
but what if he did it?

Three hat tricks in three games against a single team? Has that ever been done before? Do we
need to invent a new word? Let’s toss a few around. Seminal? The Sem-tacular? Semi-sweet?
The triceratops? A bang show? Maple Semin conglomerate? Ménage a trois? That’s my favorite.
But we’re not very good at this. Comment and leave your invention.

The puck drops at 7:07 p.m. in the Verizon Center. Rock the red.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Who's Hot, Who's Not

-          Semyon Varlamov: After a shutout win over the Canadiens, last year’ spoilers, and 32 saves in the Winter Classic, Varly is on his game right now. With more consistent play between the pipes, the Caps are much better prepared to make a run at the Cup
-          Mike Green: Greener has scored in two of the last three and was instrumental in holding Crosby without a score in Pittsburgh.

-          Alexander Semin: The Capitals’ leading goal-scorer has not lit the lamp in 12 games and has only five points during that stretch. Semin needs to produce offensively for Washington to have a more potent attack.

Caps win franchise's first appearance in Winter Classic

Seeking vengeance for a recent shootout loss on Dec. 23 to the Penguins,  the Capitals approached the frozen pond at Heinz Field with a great opportunity to make a statement about their position in the Eastern Conference. Saturday, they seized that opportunity.
With a rain delay pushing the game back to an 8 pm start, the Capitals were visibly anxious to get on the ice. Ovechkin rocked in his seat on the bench like a psychiatric patient, Mike Green scanned the crowd thirstily after every shot in warm-ups, and Bruce glared down the familiar foes on the opposing bench.
Even though was there was no scoring right away, the game got off to a fast start as the Pens and the Caps threw bone-crushing hits and nearly skated out of their boots. The animosity picked up when John Erskine and Mike Rupp got into a tussle. The two righties exchanged punches as the crowd roared. After both players went down and returned to their feet, the fight ended in utter exhaustion.
Evgeni Malkin struck fear in the hearts of Caps fans when he skated in alone and finished off a one-on-one with Semyon Varlamov early in the second. But, Mike “The Garbageman” Knuble evened the tally when he shoveled in a loose puck during a scramble in front of Marc-Andre Fleury.
After the tying goal the Caps took the offensive. Eight minutes later Eric “Fehr-Burger” Fehr converted on a siiicckkkk pass from the rookie Marcus Johansson. That would be the deciding goal. Fehr stretched the lead when he went top-shelf on Fleury.
The conditions were not exactly preferred by either team when the rain picked up late in the 2nd period. By withholding a last-minute gasp by the Penguins, the Capitals held on for the 3-1 victory, arguable the biggest win of the year.
Much-loathed superstar Sidney Crosby was held scoreless by a fierce Washington defensive effort led by Green and Hannan. Center David Steckel stuck it to Crosby in the second with a vicious, blindside hit as the period came to a close.
Varly came up big between the pipes with 32 saves, and Ovechkin, although scoreless, showed his usual dose of brilliance. Fleury stopped Ovi on a breakaway in the second.
Player of the Game: Eric Fehr (two goals)
Stat of the Game: 0 points (Crosby)
Hit of the Game: Steckel on Crosby (second period)
Unsung Hero: John Erskine


Welcome to our blog highlighting the Washington Capitals. We are just a few die hard Caps fan that hope to share our views on the how the Capitals are playing. Please send us your feedback!