capitals hockey

Capitals to Host 2015 Winter Classic

In the next of a long string of badly-kept secrets from the NHL regarding its Winter Classic, the 2015 version will be hosted right here in Washington, DC. The formal announcement will come from Caps owner Ted Leonsis tomorrow during the team’s annual Caps Convention.

No information yet on the venue or opponent; supposedly that will come tomorrow during Leonsis’ announcement. Potential sites are Nationals Stadium (of which Leonsis has a minor ownership stake of which Mark Lerner, one of the Nats owners, has a stake in Leonsis’ Monumental Sports company) or FedEx Field in Maryland, home of the Washington pro football team.

Opponents can run the gamut, but ideally would be from one of the larger hockey television markets and a team rival. With the Caps in a new division this year, the list only increases with possibilities.

The 2015 Winter Classic will take place on January 1 and be aired nationally on NBC.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Sputter and Slide in Loss to Penguins

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DSC_9661
courtesy of bhrome

Going into last night’s game in Pittsburgh, the Caps had gone 9-0-1 in the Penguins’ own home, a streak dating back to 2007. So if there was any night the Caps could break out of their dismal start and begin the arduous climb back into the playoff picture, now was the time.

Until the second period, it looked as if the Caps were on the upswing. And then it all fell apart. The Pens scored five goals in the second, including two in the span of eleven seconds, and put the game out of reach. Michal Neuvirth was pulled after Pascal Dupuis put the Penguins up 2-1, but the goalie switch didn’t spark anything. The Penguins lit up Braden Holtby for three more goals. Final result? Penguins 5, Capitals 2. Streak broken.

Alex Ovechkin and Ribeiro got a goal and assist in the loss. Ovechkin continues to do well, struggling only in the points department. He was his usual aggressive self, even as he continues to adjust to his new spot on the right wing. He’s got five points in five games – but it’s just not enough to spark a flagging and apparently mentally drained Caps team.

After the game, Ovie was clearly upset. Reporters asked how angry he was. “Angry enough,” was his simple response.

It’s a sentiment many long-time Caps fans identify with these days.

Next game is tomorrow as the Caps host the equally-struggling Florida Panthers. Puck drops at 7 pm.

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Oh Look, an Apology (Sort of)

Photo courtesy of Keith Allison
Ted Leonsis
courtesy of Keith Allison

Oh look, Ted apologized.

Two things. First, where was this on Sunday? Why wasn’t this the email sent out? Not that this is all that much better, mind. (I’m bemused by the fact it’s actually entitled “A Note of Apology and Empathy.”)

Second, I find it interesting it comes out in the wake of other team notifications regarding some of the promos offered and first steps being taken to rebuild burned (nuked?) bridges. I’ve got to say, the timing on this is just…really, really poor.

I think what really irritates me most is this particular statement in Leonsis’ post:

It is now incumbent upon us to be a first-class partner not only with our players but also with our fans. It is time to move forward in the best way we can, together.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but why is it only now ‘they’ (I’m assuming the ownership group) recognize the necessity to partner with the fans? It’s a little late for that light bulb illumination. This tidbit of revelation would’ve been better served coming any day prior to September 15, 2012…

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

The Best Week in DC Sports just got better

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Harper glare
courtesy of BrianMKA

The Wizards finished their season with six straight wins, D.C. United is 2nd in the Eastern Conference after a hot start, the Redskins have drafted Robert Griffin III to be their next quarterback, the Capitals won a pivotal Game 7 against Boston to advance to the next round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, and lastly, the Nationals have started their season 14-5 and have the best pitching staff in the National League and possibly all of baseball.

Late today, the Nationals announced that Ryan Zimmerman would be joining Brad Lidge, Michael Morse, Drew Storen and Chien-Ming Wang on the DL, and that Bryce Harper would make his major league debut tomorrow night at Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles.  So far, Harper’s not lighting up the AAA league quite as he had with the lower levels of the minor leagues, but it’s hard to deny the talent of the youngest member of the elite athletes club of Washington.

Can Harper make a difference at the Major League level? That depends on the Bryce Harper we get. This is one of those wonderful moments where a team has decided, “Alright, screw it, let’s give the kid a chance.” There’s no guarantee that Harper’s ready, though the expectations for him are nothing short of towering. Will he have a Strasburg moment tomorrow night in Dodger Stadium? Can he bring some offense to left field, where the Nationals have struggled to put anything in the offense column?

DC sports fans have been waiting for answers to these pressing questions since the summer of 2010 when the Nationals took Harper with the top pick of the draft. Will he be the next Ken Griffey Jr., or will he be the next Todd Van Poppel? It all starts tomorrow night at 9:10pm. Don’t miss it.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Secure Playoff Spot


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Fan Silhouette
courtesy of clydeorama

As unlikely as it may have seemed nine days ago, the Washington Capitals have defied the odds, shaken off some stinging recent defeats and secured a place in the Stanley Cup playoffs starting next week.

The Caps defeated the Florida Panthers 4-2 last night at Verizon Center before a raucous sellout crowd. Washington took an early 3-0 lead, survived a mid-game rally by Florida, then played aggressively down the stretch. Combined with the Buffalo Sabres’ loss in Philadelphia a few minutes earlier, Caps fans were able to celebrate their team’s success in the final home game of the regular season. Continue reading

capitals hockey

Bruins Beat Caps by a Field Goal, 4-1

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courtesy of bhrome

Two weeks ago, the Capitals came into their game against the Boston Bruins on the hockey equivalent of fourth and long: reeling from consecutive losses and missing their captain, Alex Ovechkin. With the help of a hat trick from an unexpected source, diminutive Mathieu Perreault, the Caps hung on to beat the Bruins and set the stage for today’s Super Sunday rematch.
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Sports Fix

Sports Fix Special: A Day for Wicked Pixels

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one way FAIL
courtesy of philliefan99

Boy, what a morning.

First up was Alex Ovechkin, who today opted out of the All-Star Game, citing a lack of passion brought on by a 3-game suspension for an off-his-feet hit on the Penguins Zbynek Michalek during Sunday’s game. I can understand his frustration with the league for a 3-game suspension when Michalek was cleared of a similar hit in the exact same game. It can be hard to be a professional hockey player. That is also why he’s paid $9.5M on average per season. As Don Draper says, “That’s what the money is for!” I suppose that he’ll instead be chilling in his new house in McLean, valued at $4.2M.

In acting the petulant teenager, Ovechkin hurts the fans and the league, when he’s really just angry that his team can’t seem to feed him the puck up close to the net. Look, Ovi, I know you’re having a rough go of it right now, but the answer here is to buckle down and do more not do less, especially in the face of criticism. There’s a lot of concern out there for the team’s work ethic, and that there’s no combined leadership on the ice. By opting out and saying that you’re just not feeling it, well, I have to wonder – have you felt it at all this season? I know you’re hitting like crazy, and your game against Pittsburgh this week saw you with 3 points, but I’m not seeing the leader that I was hoping for.

The Capitals, in standing by their star, are at least giving him an “honorable” out, and given the lack of discipline for Michalek, that seems to be at least justified in part. In doing so, aren’t the Capitals doing more to hurt the hockey capital’s enthusiasm for the sport as a whole? I had thought that this was an organization dedicated toward hockey as a whole, but this latest set of actions seem to belie that isn’t the case always.

And now on to the firing of Flip Saunders, first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.  The Wizards have started the year at a lovely 2-15, including a 20-point loss in Philly last night, a game in which they trailed by 30 at the half, which is something I was pretty sure was only possible when a JV team plays the varsity at DeMatha. Sadly, it’s not likely that the elevation of assistant Randy Wittman to the head coach, even temporarily, is going to change the slide of the Wizards – not that they can slide much further down the charts.

I can’t remember a more terrible day for Monumental Sports in the new era, and though it feels like piling on, the state of DC sports is fairly deplorable, given the Redskins’ back to back 6-10 seasons, the Wizards seemingly-perpetual last place position, and the Capitals struggles amid an abundance of talented players. How terrible is it that a .500 season from the Nationals seems to be the brightest spot in the DC Sports world right now?

So yes, Uncle Ted, this is a day for wicked pixels, but it’s hard to dodge these as just being the words of some pajama-clad bloggers when it’s the whole of the sports media with their head in their hands wondering what could possibly be going on.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Islanders give Capitals a Rough Ride, win 3-0

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DSC_7692
courtesy of bhrome

When the Capitals came into Tuesday night’s game against the New York Islanders at the end of an unusual homestand: every one of the four teams the Caps played had played within the previous 24 hours. Tuesday night, however, the Caps came out looking like the tired team and were shut out for the first time this season.
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Sports Fix

Capitals douse Flames, grab 3-1 win

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DSC_5742
courtesy of bhrome

On the coldest night of the winter so far, Mike Green returned to the ice at Verizon Center warm Caps fans’ heart, as the Caps defeated the Flames, 3-1. Though he was not his usual sterling self throughout the game, with a little over 15 minutes of playing time, Green was back in action in the Red on Tuesday night in front of a a packed house happy to see him.

The Capitals struck early, with a power play goal in just the second minute of the night off a beautiful one-timer by Ovechkin, fed by Marcus Johansson, on a well-executed 2-on-1 after some strong neutral zone play.  The neutral zone would be the focus of the first period, with the Caps transforming gradually into the Dale Hunter-lead team that fights hard in the neutral zone to maintain control of the game through the middle part of the ice. For the most part they’d succeed in pushing for possession battles outside of their own end.  Ovechkin said post game, “Everybody’s buying into everything and working very hard. That’s the most important thing. No one is taking it easy.”

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Late Caps Rally Torpedoes Senators

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Vokoun Sprawls to Save
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The Capitals won their first game in regulation under new coach Dale Hunter, and their second victory since the bench boss’ debut. Like the last win, this one came against the Ottawa Senators. We’d also like to take a moment to welcome back Alex Ovechkin, whose goal last night was reminiscent of seasons past, when he actually played like a superstar.

The game wasn’t an easy win; the Caps had to rack up four goals in the third period in order to finish the comeback. But a win is a win right now, with the Caps having stumbled their way down the Southeast Division standings.

The good:

  • Ovechkin showed up on the score sheet after a five game drought; he scored on a beautifully skilled play in the third period to give the Caps a 3-2 lead.
  • Returning veteran Jeff Halpern knocked in his second of the season, putting the Caps on the scoreboard.
  • Troy Brouwer had his second Gordie Howe hat trick of his career, assisting on Halpern’s goal, scoring the team’s fourth marker, and taking on Jesse Winchester in the first period.
  • Nicklas Backstrom’s power play goal in the third ended an 0-for-24 slide in the special teams department; it was also the team’s first road PPG in over a month.
  • The Caps had 44 shots on goal.

The bad:

  • Inconsistent play kept Ottawa in the game, even late in the third.
  • The Caps still racked up the penalties, giving the Senators seven chances throughout the game (not counting Brouwer’s fisticuffs).
  • The power play still sputters; the Caps had a 5-on-3 advantage for 1:47 in the first period but failed to take advantage of it.

The quote:
“I glad [sic] we got the win and of course it’s nice it to get a goal, finally. Last couple of games I tried to score, but this time it worked.” Alex Ovechkin, on ending his goal drought.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Steamroll Flyers 5-2

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‘Perreault Shoots’
courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

Many in the hockey world saw last night’s match-up between our Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers as a heavyweight showdown. In one corner, the undefeated Capitals who’ve won despite stretches of sporadic play and missing superstars. The other, a rebuilt Flyers squad looking to prove their makeover wasn’t just for show.

And then enters Alexander Ovechkin. Consistently successful against the orange-and-black, Ovie didn’t disappoint as he helped the Caps blow the game wide open and stuck the Flyers with their first regulation defeat. Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Squeak Past Senators

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Nicklas Backstrom
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

The Capitals got early goals from each of their dynamic duo of Swedish centers, then hung on for a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators last night at Verizon Center. Nicklas Backstrom scored a power play goal in the middle of the first period. Marcus Johansson lit the lamp with a nifty wrap-around three minutes later and the Caps looked like they were going to blow the doors off the Senators. But lackluster play by the Caps in the second and third periods allowed Ottawa to stay in the game. Continue reading

capitals hockey

Caps Weather Hurricanes 4-3 (OT)

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‘DSC_5742′
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Mike Green reclaimed his “Game Over” moniker and sent the rebound of a Dennis Wideman shot from the point trickling into the net as the Washington Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime in front of a raucous Verizon Center crowd, the 107th consecutive sellout. The Capitals almost held on to win in regulation, but Jussi Jokinen scored for the Hurricanes with just over a minute remaining and their goalie, Brian Boucher, pulled in favor of the extra attacker.

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capitals hockey

Capitals Season Preview

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‘ovi en fuego…’
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Saturday night it all begins again: 30 teams, 1 cup. After a crushing four-games-to-none defeat in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning this spring, the retooled Washington Capitals return to the Verizon Center to rock the red against the Carolina Hurricanes and officially kick off their 2011-12 NHL campaign.

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Capitals Rookie Camp Begins

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Perhaps overshadowed by the excitement of the NFL’s opening weekend, for hockey fans there is a milestone all of their own that signals the start to another season of their favorite sport. Recently, the Washington Capitals announced the dates of their annual rookie camp, which along with training camp, is the official beginning of the season.

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Adventures, capitals hockey

Capitals Development Camp Begins

Photo Courtesy Katherine S.

Starting today, the Washington Capitals will be hosting their annual prospect development camp at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington. Many of the Capitals’ recent draft selections, along with a number of free agent invitees, will be making their way to DC for the chance to impress the coaching staff and maybe secure a call-up to the Capitals’ AHL affiliate Hershey Bears or even the Caps. All sessions are free and open to the public (and in light of the opressive heat forecast for this week, the air conditioning is fantastic).

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capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Lose Series, Season to Tampa

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courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

If you haven’t heard by now, there was a complete implosion down in the Tampa Bay area. How is this relevant to DC? Because the implodees were our own Washington Capitals.

The Caps dropped Game 4-and the series-with a lackluster, passion-less filled “do or die”contest to the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-3.

Our own Dan Rowinski will conduct a WeLoveDC postmortem tomorrow. Meanwhile, the gnashing of teeth, calling for heads, and fan deconstruction has already started. If you’re looking for answers to sooth the depressing rage, look no further than On Frozen Blog today and swing back here tomorrow for our own analysis.

capitals hockey, Sports Fix

Caps Top Rangers in Game 2

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Marcus Johannson digs in for a faceoff against Brandon Dubinsky of the Rangers.
courtesy of ‘bridgetds’

Is playoff hockey awesome, or what?

The Capitals went toe-to-toe with the New York Rangers in an intense physical game, scored two quick goals in the second period, then locked down the defense to hang on for the 2-0 victory and a 2-0 lead in the series. Michal Neuvirth made 22 saves to earn his first NHL post-season shutout in front of a lively and appreciative crowd last night at the Verizon Center.

The Rangers showed more fire and hustle in the first period, outshooting the Caps 13-7, outhitting by a margin of 18-11, and generally dominating puck possession. The bodies were flying, and more then one player took the short trip down the corridor to the locker room for repair, only to be back on the bench for the next shift. Continue reading

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Ovechkin’s OT winner sends Caps to the top of the East

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‘ovi en fuego…’
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Alexander Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal with 1:41 remaining in overtime to give the Washington Capitals a 5-4 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres in a weird and wild game Saturday night at the Verizon Center. The win moved the Caps to the top of the Eastern Conference by one point over the idle Philadelphia Flyers, though Philadelphia does have a game in hand.

However thrilling the win was to the 18,398 fans who made up the 100th consecutive sellout crowd for a Capitals home game, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was in a less-than-celebratory mood at his postgame press conference.

“I’m concerned with the process of how we played,” Boudreau said, “I thought it was way too close to looking like last year.” Continue reading

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

Hurricanes Batter Caps, 3-2


Semyon Varlamov faced a penalty shot.
courtesy of PackaPucksPics

The Caps couldn’t muster enough energy last night to play a complete hockey game, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. “I feel like at some points in the game we were just coasting a little bit instead of pushing the envelope and that’s what bit us in the end,” said rookie defenseman John Carlson, probably the best player on the ice in red last night. “We gotta be able to compete and beat any team that’s going to come hard because everyone is going to be fighting for their lives in the playoffs.” Let’s hear it for rookie leadership.

Indeed, the Hurricanes were five points out of the playoffs coming into last night’s game and will likely have to win all of their remaining games to qualify for the playoffs, so the intensity was high. And after resting some key players during a recent road trip, the Caps lineup last night looked remarkably like a playoff team. Continue reading