Missing Brooks Laich

We hockey fans are a passionate bunch. We wear our heart on our sleeves. We are quick to critique failure and even quicker to celebrate success. And usually we understand when a player needs to be traded from our favorite team and there is a social media buzz about the years they played with us. Caps fans have gone through some of that in the last couple of years with trades from Matt Hendricks to Mike Green. We felt the disappointment that they had to go, we wished them the best, and celebrated them in videos at Verizon Center.

And then there is Brooks Laich.

brooks serious

We knew his stats were slipping. We all wrote about it. We all knew there was trouble on the fourth line and that Brooks was part of the problem. We knew it was only a matter of time.

  • First the rumors started about trading Brooks.
  • Then the Caps put him on waivers.
  • He cleared waivers.
  • We attempted to explain that he could stay or he could go (to Hershey)
  • And then the Caps announced he was gone – a trade with Connor Carrick to the Toronto Maple Leafs, the worst team in the NHL.

Now that hurt!!

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We have great memories of Brooks on and off the ice.

And the tweets late Sunday night, (because everyone was up watching the Oscars) expressed the depths of respect for Brooksie and extreme sadness that he is moving on from us.  One such tweet from Anna Knox is representative of the massive tweets that went out to Brooks on Sunday and Monday.

Laich it or not, trades are a part of hockey. Ok, let’s just say the business side of this sport stinks sometimes!  Losing a player such as Brooks Laich has been devastating to our hockey family here in DC . From the GM getting choked up when talking about the trade. to ourselves completely crying over the fact that Brooks will no longer be a part of the Caps! Admit it, tears were shed!!

How exactly are you supposed to handle this kind of stuff?!  Our photographer Mel writes:

“Well, I thought I would write how much I appreciate Brooks and it looks like I’m not the only one. Which really makes me feel better about the fact that I’m not alone . Together we Caps fans can console each other and know that we were lucky to have Brooks with us for the past decade!”

Good luck Brooks!! 

And thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

We will miss you!

Love your fans in DC 

We are humbled that Brooks chose one of our photographs in his thank you post to fans. Remember to bring your tissues to the game tonight for the tribute.

Caps Go Wild; A Gallery

Here at FiCP we enjoy sharing different kinds of photos with you, our viewers. So if there is ever a specific photo of a player or player(s) you want to see just leave a comment below with your Instagram or Twitter handle and we will do our best to get it to you!

Now on to the fun stuff:

EX CAPS ROOMIES WARM-UP SHENANIGANS: 

 

OH KUZY….

IMG_2123

I SEE YOU:

ALL ABOUT THAT GOALIE:

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WE LOVE THOSE ACTION SHOTS:

GETTIN CHIPPY:

THAT SNEAKY BENCH FLOW:

WE WIN!!!!

Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Hawks Better the Caps in Windy City

Coach Trotz had to deal with a few changes and probably some emotions as he sent the team out to meet the Chicago Blackhawks. The Hawks were going through some of their own adjustments as well, which might have thrown them off their game a bit during the first period but they made up for it in the second and never let go of the lead.

Brooks Laich cleared waivers and played on the fourth line with the returning Jay Beagle in the center slot. The Michaels (Latta and Weber) watching from the locker room with Stanislav Galiev.

First Period: Caps Set the Pace

By the end of the period the Caps were outshooting (17 to 6), winning more face offs, playing more physical, and doing a better job staying out of the penalty box. The Caps scored first on a power play and were almost immediately answered by the Hawks, ending the period tied 1-1. Pretty positive all around.

Goals:   Marcus Johansson scored during the power play on a rebound from Justin Williams, secondary assist to Nicklas Backstrom. Hawks Patrick Kane scored, assisted by Trevor van Riemsdyk and Artem Anisimov.

Penalties: Andrew Desjardin hi-sticking Orlov, Trevor van Riemsdyk delay of game for shooting the puck over the glass, and Alex Oveckin for a tripping…

Score: 1-1

Second Period: Hawks Fire Back

Chicago came out ready to regain control of their ice. The Caps were first in the sin bin but Jason Chimera with Jay Beagle on the PK kept the Hawks from scoring. Crawford denied a powerful wrist shot from Ovi—the highlight of the period for the Caps. And then the Caps went back to killing the Hawks power play as Chorney trips up Towes and the Hawks take advantage with their second goal. The Hawks outshot the Caps this period, closed the SOG gap, and ended the period ahead of the Caps.

Goals:  Jonathan Toews assisted by Teuvo Teravainen and the newly returned Andrew Ladd

Penalties: Brooks Orpik for hooking. Taylor Chorney for tripping against Jonathan Toews.

Score: 2-1 Hawks

mojo down

Third Period: Tilt Blackhawks

In which Marcus Johnasson is taken down by an elbow to the face from Towes, with no penalty call. However, there were mutual roughing penalties called after Willy stepped in to defend MoJo. Another power play for Hawks with no goal achieved, however, the Hawks scored on what looked like a missed icing call from our vantage point. Oshie would then get a weird penalty for interference. Hawks can’t count and the Caps go on power play. PPG Kuzy! The Boyz did all they could to win it but in the end, the tide shifted in Chicago’s favor.

Goals: Dennis Rasmussen, unassisted. Evgeny Kuznetsov with his 19th goal, unassisted.

Penalties:  Tom Wilson roughing matched with Andrew Shaw. Patrick Kane hi-sticking; TJ Oshie interference; Dennis Rasmussen to the box for too many men on the ice; and Niklas Hjalmarsson for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Score: 3-2 Hawks

If this was a precursor to the playoffs, then the Caps faired pretty well, all things considered. It is obvious that they are going to have to gain control of the ice first, score first, and do their best to avoid penalties. Our goalies, be it Braden Holtby or Phillip Grubauer, will need to be more alert because the team we face in the playoffs will be more in sync and more powerful than the one we saw today. The final score when next we meet will in large part rely on which goalie sits taller in the net.

hawks holtbeat

Coming Up: A Killer Week for the Caps.

Caps are off Monday but it is Trade Watch Day. Presser set for 3:30 at Kettler

 

Tuesday: Morning skate at 1015 at Kettler followed by a 7:30 pm game against the Pens at Verizon.

 

Wednesday: Morning skate at 10:15 am at Kettler followed by a 7 pm game against the Leafs at Verizon.

 

 

Photos by Brittney Marcum

WOOF WOOF BEAGLE IS BACK!!! (And lines changes for Hawks game)

Lots of happy dancing around Washington Capitals Land today as center Jay Beagle returns to the line up. There were hints Saturday that he could be in as soon as today and BAM there he is on the ice again.

Beags has been preparing for his return for the past few weeks, gradually skating with trainers before Caps practice and then finally joining in for practice. We knew he had traveled with the team and were hoping today would be the day.

WELCOME BACK JAY

New Lines for Blackhawks

Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie

Burkovsky  Kuznetsov  Williams

Chimera  Johansson  Wilson

Laich  Richards  Beagle

Orpik Orlov

Alzner Niskanen

Schmidt Chorney

Holtby in against Crawford

Hockey Traditions: Karl Alzner and Braden Holtby

Have you ever noticed what happens at the end of a game when the Washington Capitals win? Everyone lines up and does the head-tap with Braden Holtby. It a long-standing hockey tradition designed to honor the guy who took all the punishment in the net and kept the team in the game.

 

We have all seen the way in which Braden gets in the zone before the game. And we know about his water bottle rituals and odd acrobatic stretches before the game. What we have been wondering about though is the role Karl Alzner plays at the end of the game. Have you ever noticed the way Karl stands next to Braden as the rest of the team head and fist bumps Holtz? And when they have all passed through the congratulation line, Karl gives him a hug, wraps his arm around him, and escorts him off the ice.

So we asked Karl the other day, “What’s up with you and Braden at the end of the game?” He paused, thought about it, and then then said, “I don’t know.” Like most traditions it started one day and became an end-of-game ritual. Karl said he doesn’t remember doing it in Hershey where he and Holtby got their start playing with the AHL Bears. He doesn’t even know how it started but figures it probably had to do with their long friendship and playing history.

neuvy alzner

Apparently Karl doesn’t realize he has been escorting the goalie after a win for sometime now. Here he is in 2010 with another former Hershey Bear goalie turned Caps goalie–Michal Neuvirth.

So, we don’t know why they do it, but we think it is pretty cool and symbolic of the special bonds that hockey players develop over the course of their careers.

Photos by  Mel Abernethy and Brittney Marcum

Capitals and Blackhawks: Anybody’s Guess What Sunday Looks Like

GAME TIME IS 12:30 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 45-11-4

Blackhawks: 38-20-5

Watch on NBC and listen 106.7

Sunday will be a day of unknowns and surprises as the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks settle in with line changes, new players, and the pressure of the trade deadline hanging over them. It isn’t clear right now if Brooks Laich, who was placed on waivers Saturday, will be on the fourth line or sitting in the locker room watching. Caps newest defenseman, Mike Weber may be in for the game, but there is no clear word on that either. And then there is Michael Latta who was sick Friday, skated Saturday, and should be on the fourth line, unless Stan Galiev is in again. And let’s make it even more confusing by adding the question about Jay Beagle. Coach Trotz said in Saturday’s press conference that Jay could be put in anytime, including Sunday. Jay himself said, Sunday, Tuesday, or this week.

Now the Blackhawks. They made some moves on their roster this week that are clearly intended to bolster their run for the Stanley Cup. They acquired Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann (Flash), Christian Ehrhoff and Andrew Ladd. Additionally the Coyotes picked up Jiri Sekac off waivers. According to the Chicago Tribune: “During Saturday’s practice, Ladd skated on a line with center Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw on the right wing. Andrew Desjardins was on the left wing with Teravainen at center and Fleischmann on the right wing. Marian Hossa (leg injury) did not skate. Ehrhoff was on the Hawks’ fourth defensive pairing with Viktor Svedberg.”

Bottom line, it will be an unpredictable afternoon in the Windy City. Hold onto your hats friends!!

Caps Forward Lines: based on Friday and possible changes

  • Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
  • Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
  • Chimera Johansson Wilson
  • Laich Richards/Beagle Latta/Galiev (We really have no clue, anybody’s guess!!)

Defensemen Parings

  • Alzner Niskanen
  • Schmidt Chorney
  • Orlov Orpik

Goalies

Braden Holtby  Philipp Grubauer

Injury List

Still: Maybe Jay Beagle. And John Carlson(lower-body).

Chicago Blackhawks: What we know now based on Saturday Practice

Forwards

  • Ladd Towes Shaw
  • Panarin Anisimov Kane
  • Desjardins Teravainen Fleishmann
  • Mashinter Rasmussen Panik

Defensive Pairings

  • Keith Hjalmarsson
  • Gustafsson Seabrook
  • Riemsdyk Rozsival

Goalies

Crawford  Darling

Injury List

Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa

Waivers, Laich, and Beagle

The Washington Capitals announced on Saturday that they were placing Brooks Laich, the only player that has been with the team as long as Alexander Ovechkin, on waivers. With the return of center Jay Beagle seemingly around the corner, the Caps are finding they need to free up some room on the team salary cap. If another team picks up Brooks they also pick up the balance of  his $4.5 million contract.

  • The salary cap—the maximum amount a team can spend on player salaries—is a complex calculation of the percentage of earned revenue that is further complicated when adjusting for the value of the Canadian dollar and the Canadian TV market.
  • Roster movement also requires constant adjustment to ensure that the teams stay above the minimum ($52.8 million) and that they don’t bump too close to the maximum or “hard cap” of $71.4 million

Although Laich has been healthy this season, in 59 games he only has one goal and six assists as he centers the fourth line. He hasn’t scored since November 5th against the Boston Bruins. In the past five games Brooks has demonstrated the drive to succeed that he is known for with three shots on goal, two in one game. Despite his efforts and the hopes of Caps fans that this season would be his breakout season, the numbers prove otherwise.

 What‘s the Waivers Thing?

Article 13 of the Collective Barging Agreement (CBA) includes the rules that regulate how a player is moved from the NHL to minor league affiliates. As part of the process a player is first offered to other teams in the NHL before being sent down. Teams have 24 hours to claim a player and if he is not claimed by another team, his team can send him to the minors. Note that a team does not HAVE to send an unclaimed player to the minors. If they don’t sent him send him down after 30 days, he must remain in the NHL.

What About Jay Beagle?

Jay Beagle sustained a hand injury on 30 December 2015 and has been out since. He began working out with the trainers before team practice and joined the team for practice 20 February and was cleared for contact three days later. In the team interviews Saturday he indicated that he was close to returning, perhaps this weekend but certainly this week. He said he is feeling stronger. To bring Jay off of the injured reserve list though means that Washington will need to make room for his salary.

Moving Forward

From a salary cap perspective, in this case, if Brooks isn’t picked up and the Caps decide to send him to Hershey to play with the Bears, the Capitals would free up $950,000. It would give them the ability to acquire a player for whatever gap they believe they have. Add in a little John Carlson on the Long-term injured reserve list for a few weeks, also gives them a bit of freedom on the salary cap, according to Chuck Gormley of CSN. Right now it’s a roster movement game to open the door for the return of Jay Beagle or the acquisition of a new player. And then when Carly is ready, the legal minds at the Caps will have to sort it all out again. Let us not forget additionally after the trade deadline there is not roster limit to how many players a team can carry.

Caps-Habs Photo Gallery

Okay… so we’re a little behind in our gallery posts but today is catch up day! YAY!

First up in our series of posts today is Montreal.

Warm-ups:

The bad guys:

Game Shots:

A few pre-game moments…

Photos by Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

Caps Tame the Wild

This win is the Capitals’ 45th win of the season, which matches their number of wins in the entirety of last season. The Capitals still have yet to lose two consecutive games in regulation. This season may have its bumps but it is still amazing.

First Period: Another Slow Start
The game started slow for both teams but the Wild would out-shoot the Capitals, 9-2, in the first 10:04. The Capitals would not get another shot on goal until 15:05 courtesy of Evgeny Kuznetsov. Penalty trouble was a theme in this period as the Caps took three penalties. The penalty kill was successful for the first two penalties but on the third, Minnesota’s only power play shot-on-goal got through Braden Holtby. It is now seven consecutive games that the Capitals have allowed the first goal.

GOALS: Mikko Koivo scored his 13th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter)

PENALTIES: Brooks Orpik (holding); Matt Niskanen (roughing); Tom Wilson (tripping)

SCORE: Caps trail 1-0.

Second Period: Career High for Orpik

49 seconds into the second, defenseman Brooks Orpik scored his career-high third goal of season. The Caps looked to not repeat the first period. But Nino Niederreiter got the Wild their lead back with a breakaway goal 5:05 into the second. Defenseman Taylor Chorney could not get to Niederreiter to take away the puck. The Capitals were trapped in their own zone for a lengthy amount of time during this period. Minnesota’s goaltender Darcy Kuemper made an amazing save on Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin late in the second. The Caps outshot the Wild 13-10 in the period but the Wild had a 22-16 overall lead.

GOALS: Brooks Orpik scored his third of the season (assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin); Nino Niederreiter scored his 12th of the season (assisted by Ryan Suter and Jason Pominville)

PENALTIES: None
SCORE: Caps trail 2-1.

 

Third Period: The “O” Factor.

The Capitals came out shooting while the Wild got away with some penalties. The Burakovsky-Kuznetsov-Williams line had a fantastic shift in the Wild zone. Goaltender Kuemper deniedWatermarked Photo 2 (2016-02-26-2340) Burakovsky and then took a delay of game penalty for intentionally knocking the net off its moorings. Alex Ovechkin did what he does best,
score power play goals. Ovechkin is the first player to reach 40 goals this season and he is the tenth player to have eight 40-goal seasons. With about five minutes left in the game, Dmitry Orlov scored the eventual game-winning goal. Holtby secured the win by not letting the Wild tie with the extra attacker.
GOALS: Alex Ovechkin scored his 40th of the season (assisted by Matt Niskanen and Nicklas Backstrom); Dmitry Orlov scored his seventh of the season (assisted by Andre Burakovsky and Evgeny Kuznetsov)

PENALTIES: Darcy Kuemper (delay of game)

SCORE: Caps win 3-2. Watermarked Photo 3 (2016-02-26-2340)

Notes: 

Marcus Johansson is a new dad (baby girl) and so is newly acquired defenseman Mike Weber (baby boy). There was no John Carlson (lower body injury) or Michael Latta (flu) in the lineup. Minnesota’s Darcy Kuemper made his first start against the Capitals. 

WHAT’S NEXT?
Practice: 11:30am on Saturday at Ketter Capitals Iceplex.

Game: 12:30pm against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

Written by: Renee Garces

Photos by: Brittney Marcum 

Caps-Wild Line Projections

team

It’s a cold and windy Friday night in Chinatown as the Minnesota Wild meet the Washington Capitals. Both teams are coming into the match after a loss. For the Wild, former Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth put a stop to their hopes for a fresh start with a last minute stretch save that surprised even his Flyers teammates. The St. Paul team has two consecutive losses after a brief four-game winning streak. They have a new man in charge and the hope to somehow gather enough points to get into a wild card position.

  •  The Wild are missing some of their key players tonight with Zack Parise out for an upper body injury and Jason Zucker out with a concussion.
  • Top scorers in the Wild lineup tonight. are Mikko Koivu, Charlie Coyle, and Thomas Vanek.
  • Keep an eye on their defense, especially Loui Eriksson and Matt Dumba.

Wild Lines

  • Schroeder Koivu Coyle
  • Porter Granlund Vanek
  • Niederreiter Haula Pominville
  • Carter Stroll Fontaine
  • Suter Spurgeon
  • Scabdekka  Dumba
  • Reilly Folin

Dubrynk or Kuemper in the net
The Washington Capitals on the other hand are still leading the league in points and games won and unless they get sloppy, are likely to keep that lead going into the playoffs. The last few games have been tough on the Boyz but they never seem to lose the drive to win.


For now the biggest problem they may have is keeping everyone healthy. First Marcus Johansson had a little something, now Michael Latta is sick. Makes you wonder if they weren’t feeling 100 percent on Wednesday…

Your Caps lines as we know them now:

  • Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
  • Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
  • Chimera Johansson Wilson
  • Laich Richards Galiev
  • Schmidt Carlson
  • Alzner Niskanen
  • Orpik Orlov

Holtby in the net with Grubauer backing him up.

coaches call

Trotz Corner:  Latta could be in, but unlikely. Coach hinted that Chorney could be in but would not say who he would pull. We are betting Orlov or Carlson. Beagle not ready to return yet.

 

 

A few additional shots from practice: Chimera took a tumble and left a little less than happy. And…we aren’t sure what exactly was going on at the bench…

Let’s hope the team philosophy to never lose more than one game rings true tonight.