The NHL All-Star Hype

all star log

The NHL hosts their version of the All Star game this weekend in Nashville, TN. Its an annual event players and fans have come to love and hate. We love seeing our favorite players outside their home environment and teaming up with rival players. But most hate the interruption of the season just as we pass the mid-point threshold.

Kuzy Korolov
Kuzy having a little fun with pal Leo Komarov (Leafes)

 

This year is a little different for Washington Capitals fans though. The excitement started with the announcement that Barry Trotz had been selected as the Metropolitan Coach. Added to the team line-up were Braden Holtby, Alex Ovechkin, and Nicklas Backstrom. Coach started almost immediately to lobby for the inclusion of the “underrated” Backstrom at the games. Nicky said he had nothing to do with Coach’s decision but is honored and excited to be in Nashville.

The one thing keeping national hockey fans engaged, beyond seeing all our favorite players in one place is the John Scott drama. A less-than top quality player, enforcer Scott was voted in by the fans as one of the team captains. Scott has gone with the flow read his own take on it here) despite some backlash from the league itself. There is no denying that he has stolen some of the limelight this year.  Even Holtby managed to get his picture taken with him.

The big change for the Caps was the decision to hold Alex Ovechkin back to rest a nagging minor injury. (Oh and he was suspended for one game as a result)The disappointment of Ovi staying home was quickly overtaken with the excitement that Evgeny Kuznetsov would be taking his place. He was just who we needed to replace Ovi–one skilled charismatic Russian for another. And he seems to be having a blast and creating his own buzz:

The Format

 Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena will host the NHL All-Star Games new format of three 20-minute 3-on-3 hockey games. According to the NHL: “Each team will be made up of 11 players: six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders”  Check out the team rosters here. Additionally, there will be a skills competition to highlight the special skills of the players voted in to participate.

Key segments of the weekend schedule looks like this:

Saturday

Player Red Carpet Arrivals

3:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.
Mascot Showdown Shinny Game 4:30 p.m. 5:00 p.m.
2016 NHL All-Star Skills Competition 6:00 p.m. 8:30 p.m.

 Sunday

2016 NHL All-Star Game 4:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

For Barry Trotz this is a special homecoming weekend as he still has family in the are and a link to the special needs community. One of the things we love about him is his commitment to community. He paid a visit to Best Buddies in between meeting his media obligations:

Check out the All-Star Game site for more information on the game. In the meantime, here are some great shots of Trotz BoyZ captured during Friday’s media day. Check back with us later for some shots of what the other players are doing this weekend…like shots from the beach…

Our thanks to the NHL and the Washington Capitals for some great shots of our Boyz and the events.

Capitals Fight Flyers and Officials but Lose in OT

 

The first game in eight days (and the last one before the All-Star Break) for the Washington Capitals came when the Philadelphia Flyers took a trip to the Nations’s Capital for a Wednesday Night Rivalry game. Capitals defenseman John Carlson was back in the lineup, after missing 12 image11consecutive games.

Also, defenseman Karl Alzner played in his 423rd consecutive game setting a new franchise record passing Bob Carpenter.

Former Capital goaltender Michal Neuvirth started his first game against the Caps since his departure.

 

First Period:  Rust 

The period started with a little scuffle in the corner and 4:48 into the game, Capital Tom Wilson headed to the penalty box for interference. Six seconds into the penalty kill, Flyer Brayden Schenn scored his 12th of the season. After a giveaway from Evgeny Kuznetov, Ryan White scored his fifth of the season to double the Flyers lead 2-0.

  • Flyers goaltender Michal Neuvirth with a save on Tom Wilson for the Caps 3rd SOG with 6:30 left in the first.
  • Flyers were given a penalty for too many man on the ice and Capitals get their first power play of the game 16:33 into the first. Matt Niskanen was then handed a tripping penalty on Flyers RJ  Umberger.
  • End of the first, Capitals trailed the Flyers 2-0 and were outshot 12-6.

Second period: The Swede Goals

The Capitals got all of their rust out during the first. They killed off the remaining time on Niskanen’s tripping penalty and started to test former teammate Michal Neuvirth in the Flyers net. Then something Swede happened in the span of 55 seconds. Andre Burakovksy scored his sixth of the season 7:39 into the second and then Nicklas Backstrom scored his 16th of the season 8:34 into the period.image3 The Capitals controlled most of the second period tying up the game.

  • Flyer Jakub Voracek scored off the faceoff and the Flyers regained their lead, 3-2. Fans viewing felt the officiating in this game was one-sided to say the least.
  • Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby had two penalties (tripping and delay of game) in the same period. Those were his first penalties of the season.
  • Capitals trailed Flyers 3-2 after 2 periods.

Third period: Two for Andre and Calls of Terrible Officiating

Sweet Swede Andre Burakovsky scored again, his seventh of the season, 3:55 into the third period. It’s safe to say that his “sophomore slump” is over. We think he and Kuznetsov are going to be fun to watch for years to come.

  • Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was called for hooking and the Capitals penalty kill was successful once again.
  • The Capitals get their second power play of the night with 2:02 left thanks to a hooking call on Matt Read.
  • End of regulation tied 3-3

Overtime: 38 Seconds and Done

Flyer Jakub Voracek scored his eighth of the season after Caps goaltender Braden Holtby lost his stick 38 seconds into the extra period. Capitals lose 4-3 and collect one point. The Capitals home winning streak was snapped at 12, just one shy of a franchise record.

Positive things to think about: The Capitals still sit in first overall place in the league (35-8-4, 74 points). Capitals fans can see Nicklas Backstrom, Braden Holtby and Coach Trotz in the All-Star Game on Sunday as a part of the Metropolitan division team.

Unfortunately, Alex Ovechkin will sit out the All-Star Game due to a lower body injury that the team would rather he rest during this time off. Pulling out of the festivities will result in a one game suspension. This means when the Florida Panthers visit DC Tuesday, Captain Alex Ovechkin will not be in the lineup. Oh, and Marcus Johansson left the game with an injury–no details available.

What’s Next?

The Capitals will not practice at Kettler until Monday, February 1, at 2:15pm.

The next game is Tuesday, February 2 against the Florida Panthers at 7pm at Verizon Center.

Captain America Return: John Carlson Finally Back

Defenseman John Carlson hit his 200th NHL point this year and from that point on continued to keep the Washington Capitals in the game. Often herald as one of the most underrated D’s in the league, John has been one of the most consistent Caps players. Before his injury he set a personal best in consecutive games playing 412 in a row.

Carlson was drafted by the Capitals in 2008 and with buddies Karl Alzner and Jay Beagle was a member of the 2008/09 Calder Cup winning Hershey Bears. He played his first game with the Caps in November 2009 recording six points in 22 games and scoring his first NHL goal against the Carolina Hurricanes in March 2010.

  
Earlier this year we suggested that Carlson is on track to meet or beat the 55 points he tallied during the 2014/15 season; however, his injury has most likely interrupted that projection, but there is no doubt that Carly will jump right back on the scoring train.

Thanks to everyone who filled in during his absence. 

Welcome back John. We sure did miss you!!

Capitals and Flyers Lineup Projection: The Carlson Return?

The Caps will be aiming to wow fans again with its 13th consecutive win at home tonight. They have the longest home winning streak in the NHL and with 13 wins will tie the franchise record set during the 2009/10 season, according to Caps Today.

The first place Washington Capitals meet the struggling Flyers for the second time this season. Puck Drop is 8pm tonight at Verizon Center. Watch the match on NBCSN or listen on 106.7 or the Caps Radio.

Print this out and take it with you to the game for a quick reference!

Roads are still a bit iffy but Metro should be running.

Your Washington Capitals Projected Lineup for Tonight

Forward Lines
Ovechkin (8) Backstrom (19) Oshie (77)
Burakovsky (65) Kuznetsov (92) Williams (14)
Chimera (25) Johansson (90) Wilson (43)
Laich (21) Richards (10) Latta (46)
Defensemen Parings
Alzner (28) Niskanen (2)
Schmidt (88) CARLSON. (POSSIBLE) (74)
Orlov (9)  Chorney (4)
Goalies
Braden Holtby (70) Philipp Grubauer (31)

Healthy Scratch: Stan Galiev

Kuznetsov and Backstrom lead the team in overall points at 48 and 44 points, respectively.

    
  Ovechkin leads the team with 28 goals and sits behind Kuzy and Backy with 42 points. Williams follows with 16 goals and 17 assists for 33 points. Williams had the game-winning goal in the last game against the Flyers.

Injury Report and Team Scratches

Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play tonight. He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.

 
Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.

Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.

The Flyers Projected Lineup

Forward Lines
Voracek (93) Giroux (28) Simmonds (17)
Raffi (12) Gagner (89) Schenn (10)
Read (24) Laughton (21) Weal (19)
VandeVelde (76) Bellemare (78) White (25)
Defensemen Pairings
Del Zotto (15) Gudas (3)
Schultz (55) Streit (32)
Gostisbehere (53) Manning (23)
Goalies
Neuvirth (30)
In the net
Jason Labarbera 

Sean Couturier is out and listed day-to-day.

Labarbera- called up from AHL Phantoms to back up Neuvy

Jordan Weal played his first Flyers game on Monday. He had one shot and two minutes in the penalty box.

 

Flyers and Caps Back After the Blizzard

PUCK-DROP IS 8:00 PM TONIGHT!!!

The Washington Capitals return to the ice after being snowed out of two games (Anaheim and Pittsburgh)  this weekend. The Flyers missed their game against the Islanders and then proceeded to lose to the Bruins on Monday.  The Caps have won their last two games while the Flyers have lost their last three. This is the last game for both teams before the All-Star break.

The Caps remain in the solid lead for the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. With 46 games played they have 73 points, technically three points ahead of the Blackhawks with 70 points. The Hawks have played 52 games so the Caps have a lock on first place going into the break.

Michal Neuvirth is the projected goalie for this match, the second this season between Washington and Philadelphia. Read our column from January 25 about Neuvy and his journey from DC to Philly. He was reportedly moving slowly after the Monday game but has said he is fine at practice on Tuesday. Steve Mason missed his second day of practice following “maintenance day” on Monday.

Injury Report

Everyone is holding their breath in anticipation that John Carlson could play on Wednesday.  He has missed 12 games with an upper-body injury and has skated with the team during practice for the past week.

IMG_7357
John Carlson looked solid this morning

Brooks Orpik continues to skate before the team practice and is working with trainers to prepare for his return. Coach Trotz had hoped Brooks would be back before the All Stars but it looks more likely that he will return after the break. He has missed 32 games.

Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another three weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He too is skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 10 games.

Caps Roll Call

Braden Holtby, who leads the league in wins (30), is expected to be defending the crease on Wednesday. His 2.01 goals against average ranks third in the league. Backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence. He has had to step in for Holtby in recent games.

IMG_7354
That is one happy Holtbeast

Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov were the stars of the game against the Blue Jackets. Nicky had three shots that brought two goals for the team while Kuzy had four assists that contributed to the team’s 6-3 win. We can expect more WOW moments from both these guys on Wednesday.

IMG_7360
Nicky zeroed in on the bench before practice

It’s hard to single out potential stars for Wednesday when this is a team in which everyone contributes to its success. Keep an eye on Jason Chimera, simply because…he is amazing!

Extra Photos from practice:

Upcoming Milestones

Karl Alzner, the Iron Man, is three points away from 100 NHL points and with this game passes Bob Carpenter (422) for the longest consecutive games played in franchise history.

Nicklas Backstrom with three goals will pass Kelly Miller (162) for the 12th place of Capitals goals scored

Flyers Watch

Claude Giroux leads the Flyers in overall points (37) with 14 goals and 23 assists. He was scoreless against Boston on Monday; however, he has tallied two goals and two assist in his last five games.

Jakub Voracek has been leading the team in the past five games in points (5) with one goals and four assists.

Wayne Simmonds was the first star of the game against Boston, despite the loss. He had nine shots with the two goals scored by the Flyers. Keep a watch on him in the scoring zone.

Coming Up:

Jan 27  Morning Skate at 10:15 am

Jan 27  Philadelphia at 8 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 2   Panthers at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Feb 4   NY Islanders at 7:30 pm at the Verizon Center on NBCSN

Photos by Brittney Marcum

Bringing Neuvy Back: Caps and Flyers Goalie Matchup

neuvy caps
Michael Neuvirth as a Caps goalie.

One-time Caps and Hershey Bear’s goalie, Michal Neuvrith may finally be in the net against his former teammates on Wednesday. Michal started his pro career with the Caps and when he left had a .910 save percentage. He now has a .934 save percentage and often leads the league in that category. Unfortunately, he also has a history of injuries that have probably prevented him from earning the starting position he keeps seeking.

Since leaving the Caps in a trade to the Buffalo Sabres in March 2014 (for Jaroslav Halak), Neuvy has continued to struggle with injuries that sideline him as well as an inconsistent playing record. Nearly a year later to the date, the Sabres traded him to the Islanders for Chad Johnson, which has worked out pretty well for the Sabres so far. In 27 games with the Sabres he left with a .918 save percentage. In a weird set of circumstances, hp,aged as  back-up to Halak during his brief stint. After only playing  in five games, Neuvirth continued his quest to find a starting position which landed him with the Flyers in July 2015 on a two-year back-up goalie deal.

The Flyers have the benefit of a dynamic duo for goalies. Neuvy is having one of his best years. Although Mason has lost his last three games, the Flyers organization seems to have more faith in him, despite the stats that Neuvirth keeps posting when he is defending the crease. Neuvirth lost in their match against Boston Monday leaving the Flyers with their fourth consecutive loss.

  • The Bear’s Calder Cup winner has only had one showing against the Caps since leaving in the playoff round of Islanders in 2014. Mostly he has been injured or watching the game from the bench. No word yet if he gets the net nod for Wednesday, but clearly he will be in the building.

How do our goalies compare? Glad you asked, we have highlighted the categories in which each goalie leads in this comparison:

holby grubauer

GAA Save Percentage Games Played Games Won Shutouts
Holtby 2.01 .930 38 30 2
Grubauer 2.12 .925 11 5 0
Mason 2.72 .914 29 10 3
Neuvirth 2.05 .934 20 10 3

No word yet on who will be in the net for either team on Wednesday. Mason is the most likely candidate for Wednesday. Expect to see Holtby in as well. Check with us on Wednesday for the final line-up and net minder selection.

mason flyers
Steve Mason

Michal Neuvirth Flyers Photo by CBSphilly.com

Steve Mason Photo by Bleacherreport.com

Michael Neuvirth Caps, Holbty, & Grubauer Photos by Brittney Marcum

Caps Snow Weekend Survival Guide

The Washington Capitals were scheduled to play the Anaheim Ducks (1/22) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1/24) this weekend but Winter Storm Jonas (a.k.a TJSnowshie) had another plans. The NHL announced on Friday and Saturday that both games were cancelled and were going to be rescheduled to the later date.

But what are we going to do without Caps hockey?!? Fear not friends, we’ve got you covered!

Monumental Network and Caps Radio 24/7

The Monumental Network has compiled Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin’s eight best goals in his career so far. Monumental Network also has a plethora of entertaining Caps videos to help you pass the time until they play again. Maybe spend some time watching the Caps Roomies be the Caps Roomies.

 

Listen to the Capitals 7-1 dominant win against the Ottawa Senators (Ovi 500!) on January 10 and their thrilling 5-2 win over the New York Rangers on January 17. Capitals Radio is available on the Caps app (top right corner) and capsradio247.com

Podcasts!

If watching videos and listening to the radio are not your things, then there are some fantastic podcasts available (for free!!) for you to enjoy. Fair warning: These podcasts do contain some colorful language.

Ian Oland and Peter Hassett of Russian Machine Never Breaks uploaded a new podcast this week. The episode features Steve “Dangle” Glynn and a speed round of how every Capital has done so far this season. Ian and Peter do a great job and it is definitely worth a listen.

Get to Know Other Teams

Steve Dangle has his own podcast with fellow Maple Leafs Adam Wylde and Jesse Blake. Yes it is a hockey podcast but they discuss everything from Pokémon to “is a hot dog a sandwich?” The episodes can be lengthy sometimes and some of the Canadian references go right over my head but I would highly recommend listening to it. If you want more Steve, he makes a YouTube video after every Leafs game and you could easily spend hours watching them.

Last but certainly not least, get your Dallas Stars fix with the Merrin and Carolyn (a.k.a. the Two Bearded Ladies). They discuss the recent slump that the Stars were in and why Jordie Benn needs to stay in to Dallas (hint: It’s to take care of his brother Jamie and his fish). The ladies do a fabulous and I definitely laughed the hardest listening to them. Also, there needs to be more all female podcasts (girl power!).

Other NHL games

If you want to watch some NHL hockey, that unfortunately does not involve our guys from Washington, NHL Network is airing the Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs game at 7pm EST. Also, NHL Network airs the St. Louis Blues at Chicago Blackhawks   game on Sunday at 7pm EST. You can always listen to any NHL game on NHL.com, or the specific team’s website or pay for the app and stream other games. We recommend the Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars game at 8pm EST tonight as a good one to check out.

Stay safe and warm friends through the blizzard! The Caps should be back to practice at Kettler on Monday and then they take on the Flyers Wednesday at Verizon Center.

Written by Renee Garces

Photo from Wes Johnson’s Twitter

 

Photos From Behind the Scenes of Hockey N Heels

On January 12, Scarlet Caps hosted Hockey N’ Heels. Although there is some controversy about the event name, it is an opportunity to bring more women into the hockey fandom. This event taught all aspects of the game including: face-offs and slap shots, player nutrition, information about equipment. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn from the pros and to make new friends.

I’ve been to Hockey N’ Heels in the past and have been impressed with what I learned from players, coaches, and even the other fans I met. As this wasn’t my first rodeo, I was the resident expert in my group of friends (or so I labeled myself), which included the ladies from FiCP:  Brittney, Renee and me, as well as my mom. My mom even got interviewed by Fox5 and was on the 11 o’clock news. She thinks she’s a big shot now! Once we checked in we were put into four different groups– we naturally Rocked the Red as the Red Group. Continue reading “Photos From Behind the Scenes of Hockey N Heels”

A Tale of Two Coaches: Bruce or Barry?

Bruce Boudreau and Barry Trotz rank up there in popularity with the likes of former Washington Capitals coach Bryan Murray who holds the Caps franchise record of 672 games coached and 343 regular season wins. Both men instill a sense of pride and a desire to succeed in their teams. They are devoted family men. They are mentors to players and looked up to by fans. There is something relatable and likeable about these two men.

We had great hopes that Bruce would lead the team all the way to the cup and today we are hoping that Barry is the man who will do what Bruce couldn’t.

The comparison pretty much ends there, especially when simply looking at their career statistics. And this season one has coached his team to the top and one has fought to stay out of the bottom.

Bruce Boudreau Barry Trotz
Years Coaching 9     (5)      15        (2)
Games 644 (329) 1,196   (128)
Wins 383 (201) 557      (80)
Points 842 (442) 1,274   (174)
Playoff Games 73   (37)    50       (14)
Playoff Wins 38       (17)    19       (7)
Times No. 1 in division 7      1

(Caps Stats)

The Washington Capitals have 25 playoff appearances in the team’s 40 year history. Of the 17  coaches since 1974, its first year in the NHL, only nine coaches took the Caps to the playoffs. Barry Trotz coached Nashville for 13 years and was only able to get to the playoffs seven out of those 13 years—never going all the way. Though Boudreau coached Washington for a shorter period of time, the team made it to the playoffs every year he was at the helm. Still without lifting the cup, despite some great commercials about bringing it home.

But do these stats really matter? When you look at the coaches and the way their current teams (WAS and ANA) are playing now, we don’t think so. The coaches effect players in different ways and their styles definitely influence the way the game is played. But player’s talents vary from team to team and the Caps have had to embrace a new philosophy with Barry Trotz.

barry and kuzy
Coach Trotz: Inspiring his boys to greatness.

 

For whatever reason, the philosophy that Coach Trotz brought to Washington is one that this team, for this season, seems to be accepting and implementing. Everyone seems to agree that this team is playing differently. There is something behind the curtain to which the fans and media are not privy, but it sure seems to be working. We wish Bruce success, but when the coaches face off on Friday, it is in Barry Trotz that we put our hope.

barry and girls
Barry and FiCP writers.

 

References:

www.Hockeyreference.com

NHL.com

Caps Daily Glass Bump: 1/21 

Caps returned to Kettler following a 6-3 win against Columbus on Tuesday and they just couldn’t stop smiling. The rink was pretty full as most kids had a snow day, inlcuding Cale Chimera and Jaxon Williams who seemed to be having a great time hanging out on the bench chattin up the big guys.   

 First on the ice were Jay Beagle and Brooks Orpik before the rest of the team came out to practice, they left the ice before the team came on. 
Perhaps the biggest Caps news in the past few days is that John Carlson returned to the ice to practice with the team. Coach said it is a possibilty he could play against Anaheim tomorrow, we will keep you updated as we get more information on that. 

 
Mike Richards really seems to be meshing well with the other personalities on the team, as we saw the past two games he is excellent on the PK, a skill coveted by many. 

We will keep you up-to-date with any game/ practice cancellations due to weather. As of now everything is still planned to go on as scheduled per Mike Vogel. 

Some extra photos for your enjoyment:

 

Willy is always smilin’
  
   
 

Written By: Brittney Marcum

Photos By: Brittney Marcum