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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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, The Daily Feed

Bolts Drop Caps in Season Opener

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Shake the rust off, it’s time for hockey!

The Caps opened the shortened 2013 campaign with a 6-3 loss in Tampa Bay last night. The game was close through two periods. Three unanswered goals by the Bolts sunk a Caps team that looked shaky, slow, and  a bit rusty.

Not exactly a stirring debut for new coach Adam Oates. But the stuttering start is somewhat expected, as teams had less than a week in an abbreviated camp. Forming a cohesive spirit with new faces and a new bench boss at the drop of the puck isn’t easy.

Bright spots were two goals from Joel Ward and one from newcomer Wojtek Wolski that tied the game in the second. “You always hope to contribute, for sure,” Ward said. “You’re not going to go out there and say I’m going to score five or anything, but you try to finish your opportunities if you can. I was fortunate to get a couple.”

Another moment that many Caps fans enjoyed was watching defensemen Tom Poti play in his first NHL game since January 2011. Poti got a point in his return. Earlier in the week, Caps senior writer Mike Vogel tweeted that if Poti was able to get back on the ice, he’s a sure-fit for this year’s Masterton Trophy, awarded to a player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to ice hockey. Poti’s battled several physical issues, including a lingering groin injury, for the last two years.

Next up is the Caps home opener on Tuesday against Winnipeg.

capitals hockey, Sports Fix, The Features

Capital Upgrade: Summer 2012 Edition

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2012Draft031
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Typically, the period between the NHL Awards night and Unrestricted Free Agent day – known to non-hockey fans as July 1 – can be one of tumult, surprise, or downright boredom. It’s when the front office of every team takes the spotlight, working last-minute contract deals, shuffling trades for salary cap space, and executing the yearly NHL Draft. Year to year, it can be hot, cold, or lukewarm for any organization.

This year, the Washington Capitals have been hot. How hot? Enough that I’ve had to morph this article from a NHL Draft day summary into one that encompasses several changes from the Caps’ front office over the last few days. And the initial prognosis – such as these can be in the off season – is that the Caps may have finally found the last pieces of their playoff enigma.

A fast recap: in the last week, we have 10 new draft selections, a new coach, a new second-line center, and sayonara to two players (with a third possibly on the horizon). Shall we dive into the changes? Continue reading

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Dale Hunter Steps Down

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And it looks as if ultimate samurai coach Dale Hunter has fallen on his sword for the now-ousted Washington Capitals. According to various sources, Hunter stepped down from his stint as bench boss this morning.

GM George McPhee indicated at a brief press conference that the team will be taking its time selecting a new coach. If the Caps are smart, they’ll have someone signed on before the NHL Entry Draft on June 21. (McPhee did hint to WaPo that this was indeed a possibility.)

ProHockeyTalk has a (questionable) list of possible replacements from the NHL coach recycling bin. Of all of those listed, I would think Bob Hartley’s the best option.

Who would you like to see helm the pine bench next season?

Sports Fix, The Daily Feed

The Best Week in DC Sports just got better

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Harper glare
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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

Islanders give Capitals a Rough Ride, win 3-0

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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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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

Caps Continue Slide in Loss to Jets

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‘Boudreau Does Not Like the Call’
courtesy of ‘clydeorama’

Winnipeg Jets winger Evander Kane scored twice against Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth and shut down captain Alexander Ovechkin en route to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals in Manitoba, Canada.

The good:

  • Alexander Semin scored the lone Caps tally early in the first period.

…and that’s about it.

The bad:

  • The Caps blew a 59 second 5-on-3 power play in the second period that could have turned things around after the Jets’ scoring spurt that saw three goals in just under five minutes.
  • Ovechkin had five shots on the night but remained scoreless for the third consecutive game. His current season tally of 7 goals, 14 points is a career low after 17 total games.
  • The third period was insipid.

The quote:
“The best way to slow it down is to score a goal,” said coach Bruce Boudreau. “The best way to stop a crowd from cheering is to not making stupid mistakes in your own zone and giving them opportunities to score.”

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Stumble, Lose to Predators

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‘Russia vs. Czech Republic’
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A beat-up Capitals squad hit Nashville last night and stumbled out with a 3-1 loss to the Predators. Don’t let the score fool you; the game remained scoreless for over 55 minutes. Early in the third, Troy Brouwer wristed a perfectly-placed cross-ice pass from Marcus Johansson past Preds goalie Pekka Rinne and the game looked like it would finally break open in the Caps favor. Thirty seconds later, Martin Erat solved Tomas Vokun and it went downhill from there. Colin Wilson’s game-winning goal came with less than 30 seconds on the clock, and Shea Weber’s empty netter five seconds later was the nail sealing the coffin.

The good:

  • Tomas Vokoun was stellar for most of the evening. Stopping 28 of 30 shots, he was in top form with some specatular saves.
  • The Caps second line (Jason Chimera, Brooks Laich, Alexander Semin) accounted for 14 of the Caps 40 shots.
  • Marcus Johansson and Cody Eakin continue to shine on the third line.

The bad:

  • The power play went 0-for-3; the team has the 7th-best power play in the league.
  • The Caps are now 1-3-1 in their last 5 and 3-5-1 since their red-hot start.
  • The team dominated through two solid periods but once Brouwer’s goal tallied in, it seemed like there was a complete shift in tone. Erat’s tying goal came when the Caps thought there was an offsides but with no whistle, the Predators played on. As a result, Erat scored. The Caps never seemed to recover from that momentary lapse and the Preds made the most of it.

The quote:
“I think guys are as upset as I’ve seen,” said Mike Knuble. “That was frustrating. We really battled to get that lead. They tied it right away, but the least we should have done was force overtime.”

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Overcome Devils 3-1

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‘IMG_3383.jpg’
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After the debacle against the Dallas Stars last week, the Washington Capitals needed a rebound. Coach Bruce Boudreau punished the team with some nasty practices and in the first of this home-and-home series against the New Jersey Devils, it seemed to have made an impact. The Caps finished strong in their 3-1 victory at Prudential Center.

The good:

  • The Caps overcame a sloppy and slow first half of the game, erasing the Devils’ early lead with a couple of opportunistic goals by Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson.
  • The game turned in the second period after some solid and consistent play by the Caps kept the Devils from capitalizing on any opportunities.
  • Jason Chimera’s game-winning goal was a combination of power and grace, plowing through a pair of Devils and outskating Devils’ rookie Adam Larsson to the goal mouth, then faking goalie Martin Brodeur to snap home a shorthanded goal. It’s easily the pivot moment of the game.

The bad:

  • Alexander Semin had just over 8 minutes of ice time in the game, with only 16 seconds coming in the final 35 minutes. Semin took a 2 minute hooking call halfway into he first period.
  • The first period start was hideous for the Caps, who took only 3 shots in the first 19:50.
  • Mike Green, who had just returned after missing six games with an ankle injury, went down late in the first period in a collision with New Jersey’s Ryan Carter. According to the Caps, the injury is not the ankle and Green will likely be out short-term.

The quote:
“If you look through history, and I wouldn’t want to do the calculating, but when you score a shorthanded goal in a tight game, that team almost always wins,” said Coach Boudreau when asked how important Chimera’s shorthanded goal was.

capitals hockey, The Daily Feed

Caps Steamroll Flyers 5-2

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‘Perreault Shoots’
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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

Capitals Declaw Panthers 3-0

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Newly acquired goaltender Tomas Vokoun was rock solid against his former team, leading the Caps to a 3-0 shutout (his first of the season) over the visiting, division rival Florida Panthers behind goals from Marcuss Johansson and Alex Semin in front of a large weeknight Verizon Center crowd. The Caps remain undefeated, moving to 5-0 on the season, their best regular season start in team history.
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capitals hockey

Caps Weather Hurricanes 4-3 (OT)

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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

Caps, Pens to Raise Money for Lokomotiv Families

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‘Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’
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For many area hockey fans, the October 13 showdown between the Penguins and Capitals over in Pennsylvania is the start of this season’s perennial rivalry. But this year, it’s something a whole lot more.

Both the Caps and Pens announced a joint effort to raise money for the families of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, the KHL team that perished in a plane crash on September 7 in Russia. Caps and Pens players will wear jerseys with the commemorative Lokomotiv patch for the game, then autograph the game-worn and -issued jerseys for auction on nhl.com. All proceeds from the auction will benefit the Lokomotiv players’ children and families.

Russian players Alexander Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin will participate in a ceremonial face-off before the game. Wives and girlfriends of both teams’ players will also be selling remembrance bracelets at CONSOL Energy that evening.

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

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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, 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

Looking at the Caps’ 2011 Trade Deadline Day

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So the NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Washington Capitals made the most of it. Truth be told, the Caps started a few days ago, acquiring Marco Sturm off waivers from Los Angeles, and then added two new pieces of the current puzzle yesterday. Dennis Wideman joined the blue line corps early in the day, and the biggest catch came at the buzzer with the Caps announcing the acquisition of center Jason Arnott from New Jersey.

Do the Caps believe they’re ready for the post season with these three players? Caps management seems to think so. Let’s break it all down and see if we agree. Continue reading