Hershey: Where Caps Fans Place Their Hopes

After losing out on their chance to follow the Washington Capitals all the way to the final Stanley Cup challenge, Caps fans now place their hopes in the Hershey Bears. The Bears will enter the final charge for Calder Cup on Wednesday, June 1st.

Other than the fact that many of us can’t stomach the final round of the Stanley Cup because a certain team from Pennsylvania is playing—this is a great chance to see how some Caps prospects play under pressure.

Your AHL Bears Playoff Leaders:

DSC_0601Carter Camper has been the playoff’s number two top scorer to date in the AHL, after former Bear Connor Carrick who ended the playoffs with 18 points. (we sure do miss him on the team)

Jakub Varna leads the team in playoff goals at seven—he also has six assists. He is a shooting machine with 37 shots on goal (SOG) during the playoffs.

Carter Camper leads in overall points (15) with six goals and nine assists. He has 29 SOG in the playoffs.

Chris Bourque has proven why bringing him back to the Bears this year was the right decision. He is third in the overall point count with 10: four goals and six assists. There doesn’t seem to be anything he won’t do to get in front of the net.DSC_0561

And finally, let’s talk Zach Sill. Caps fans had a chance to see a bit of him this past season when he was called up to Washington to play. He rounds out the top lines with eight points: five goals and three assists. Another player that is driven to win; Sill seems to be everywhere ready to shoot.

DSC_0569The Bears have always had some pretty tremendous goalies and this year they again have two of the best in Justin Peters and Dan Ellis. Peters has been the goaltender of choice this year with Ellis only playing in two post-season games.

Roster Recap- The Hershey Bears

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Connor Carrick now playing for the Marlies

The Hershey Bears have made a few roster adjustments since the last time we spoke of them. And since the Bears are currently in round three of the Calder Cup Playoffs facing off with the Toronto Marlies, we thought it would be an excellent time to do a roster update for you! Via the Hershey Bears site this is their roster through the playoffs.

Chris Brown and Connor Carrick were both traded away by the trade deadline this season. Ryan Bourque (brother of Chris Bourque) was acquired for Chris Brown, Daniel Winnik (playing in Washington) was acquired in exchange for Connor Carrick and Brooks Laich.

Any other names you don’t recognize are back-ups in case of injury in the playoffs.
2 TYLER LEWINGTON D R 6-1 197 Dec 5, 1994 Sherwood Park, AB
4 MADISON BOWEY D R 6-2 209 Apr 22, 1995 Winnipeg, MB
5 CHRISTIAN DJOOS D L 6-0 162 Aug 6, 1994 Gothenburg, Sweden
6 MIKE MOORE D L 6-1 206 Dec 12, 1984 Calgary, AB
7 RYAN STANTON D L 6-2 205 Jul 20, 1989 St. Albert, AB
10 DUSTIN GAZLEY RW R 5-9 161 Oct 3, 1988 Novi, MI
11 ZACH SILL C L 6-0 202 May 24, 1988 Brookfield, NS
12 NATHAN WALKER LW L 5-8 186 Feb 7, 1994 Cardiff, Wales
13 JAKUB VRANA LW L 5-11 190 Feb 28, 1996 Prague, Czech Rep.
14 RYAN BOURQUE LW L 5-9 178 Jan 3, 1991 Boxford, MA
15 TRAVIS BOYD C R 5-11 184 Sep 14, 1993 Hopkins, MN
17 CHRIS BOURQUE LW L 5-8 180 Jan 29, 1986 Boston, MA
18 CARTER CAMPER C R 5-9 173 Jul 6, 1988 Rocky River, OH
19 RILEY BARBER RW R 6-0 198 Feb 7, 1994 Pittsburgh, PA
20 LIAM O’BRIEN LW L 6-1 220 Jul 29, 1994 Halifax, NS
21 CHANDLER STEPHENSON C L 5-11 195 Apr 22, 1994 Saskatoon, SK
23 SEAN COLLINS C L 6-1 198 Dec 29, 1988 Saskatoon, SK
24 DOMENIC MONARDO LW R 5-10 187 Oct 6, 1988 Oakville, ON
25 COLBY WILLIAMS D R 6-0 195 Jan 25, 1996 Regina, SK
27 AARON NESS D L 5-10 192 May 18, 1990 Roseau, MN
28 PAUL CAREY LW L 6-1 190 Sep 24, 1988 Weymouth, MA
29 CONNOR HOBBS D R 6-1 196 Jan 4, 1997 Saskatoon, SK
31 DAN ELLIS G L 6-1 191 Jun 19, 1980 Saskatoon, SK
32 ERIK BURGDOERFER D R 6-2 210 Dec 11, 1988 East Setauket, NY
35 JUSTIN PETERS G R 6-1 210 Aug 30, 1986 Blyth, ON
36 GARRETT MITCHELL RW R 5-11 196 Sep 2, 1991 Regina, SK

NEXT GAME: Sunday May 29th @ 3:00pm (Game 5)

Where the Caps Are: Week Two

Hard to believe it has only been a couple of weeks since the season for the Washington Capitals ended. Players have dispersed across the globe. Those on social media have done a great job of letting us know where they are.

Here’s what they have shared:

From Russia with Love

Starting with our Captain Alex Ovechkin who having left the International Ice Hockey Federation games (with Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov) is relaxing home in Russia.

Yes, after celebrating his medal, Ovi is out clubbing again with his fiance, but that’s what Ovi does when he is back with his friends. Party on Ovi!!

 

And then we have the lovebirds: Ovi and Nastya. Not sure what is happening with his hair but they look happy!!

We know that Kuzy and Orlov go home to spend time with their families during the break. From their season ticket holder discussion, they said they really value the time during break to be with their families because the season keeps them apart.

Stan Galiev on the other hand is still in Virginia. He and his beautiful wife, Olya, are avid bike riders. We have even seen Galiev biking home after practice at Kettler.

We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see if either of our engaged Russians tie the not this summer!

And then we have the Swedish contingency.

No posts from Nicky Backsrom or Marcus Johansson; however, we think they are still in the area. At least we ran into them last week doing family things around town. Andre Burakovsky is home (in Sweden) though and seems pretty happy to be there!

Looks like some of the Canadians have gone home.

Tom Wilson posted from the beach and the Toronto Raptors game with his brothers.

Michael Latta sent out word that he was heading home:

And Mike Richards headed home to relax and fish a little.

Northumberland News reports: “Justin Williams has returned to his childhood home in Cobourg, Northumberland, Ontario where he The Justin Williams Hockey School will run from July 25 to 29 at the Cobourg Community Centre. It will welcome 26 participants born between 2003-05 and 30 participants born between 2006-08. The camp provides youngsters an opportunity to learn skills from Williams, including skating, puck handling, shooting and off-ice conditioning in a positive, fun-filled, environment. launched a hockey camp.”

The break time is also a great time for the players to spend those extra hours with their families. This year the Oshies and Alzners headed to Disney World with their families. We were a bit nervous about Lauren Oshie; she will be delivering the Oshie’s second girl very soon!!

John and Gina Carlson have traveled a little, had a date night, and John took Baby Lucca to work with him for  a little skating time.

It looks like Philipp Grubauer might still be in town from the picture he posted a few days ago.

 

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Nate Schmidt is working on his golf game at the Beaver Masters..

We miss our Boyz and will do our best to let you know how they are spending their time. Some of course are waiting to sign new contracts and we will post as soon as we know something new here.

Chimera: Pros Outweigh Cons for Washington Capitals to Retain

The Washington Capitals will consider signing UFA Jason Chimera in the coming weeks. FiCP votes YES.

 

Jason Chimera in one of three unrestricted free agents* that the Washington Capitals’ will consider signing over the summer—or not. The Caps’ community love this guy, but do we love him enough to want to sign a 37 year old third-liner for another couple of years. We don’t question his ability because of his age; however, it surely is part of what management is thinking about as they consider the upside and downside of keeping him on the Caps roster.

So a little background. Jason was signed by the Caps in 2009. He previously played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. He makes $2 million a year – a sizable hit to the salary cap but not outrageous—unless the Caps want to bring in someone and pay them more. That’s probably one for the con column.

His penalty minutes are actually down! In seven years with the Caps he has had 350 minutes compared to the 372 with the Oilers in five years. This season he has spent less time in the box than in his entire career. So while some will point to penalty minutes – we think he has it under control. Ok with the exception of a stick thing in the playoffs…

And since we are talking playoffs—he was a bit of a no-show in the scoring department when the team needed him most: against Pittsburgh. He had an assist the first game of the second round but after that his production tanked. In all fairness, the third and fourth lines weren’t the heavy lifters in the series so we can’t count him down too much for the Pens win.

Why We Say, “Sign Him Up.”

Like a fine wine, this left winger gets better with time. He  had one of his best seasons in 2015/16. He ended the regular season with 40 points. His previous high was 42 in the 2014/15 season.

Chimera is a clutch player in the truest sense of the word. He pulls out all the stops when the Caps are in need of that extra push. As a Washington Capital, he has 11 game-winning goals in the regular season and another six in the playoffs.

Being a clutch player also makes him one of the fastest and toughest players on the team. Never thought of as an ‘enforcer,’ Chimera is a brute on the ice. His Corsi average for control of the puck suggests that when the Ice Cheetah is skating, the team is controlling the puck.

He is one of those ‘seasoned leaders’ we hear the upper management talk about. He brings a tenacious desire to win tempered with the ability to make the guys laugh and lighten up at just the right time. With 951 regular season games, this guy has seen it all.

Is that enough you ask? The Capitals need leadership in the locker room. They need someone to lighten things up when they are down. They need someone who wants to win with THIS team more than just about anything. We think Jason Chimera has proven himself to be an asset and if they can afford to keep him—they should.

*Unrestricted free agents in the NHL are players without contract renewals who can consider offers from other teams without the last team they played with placing any restrictions on them.

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Happy Birthday Latta (All the Reasons we Love Latts in Photos)

Happy 25th birthday to our favorite Cap! (Oh who are we kidding, he is our favorite everything.)

This one goes out to our dedicated Michael Latta Fans!

We have had the privilege of getting to know Michael a little bit this season and have had a lot of fun taking pictures of him for you.

There is serious Latts.

There is roomie Latts.

There is shooting Latts.

There is silly Latts.

And last but certainly not least, there is son Latts.image1 (13)All we can hope for is that we will see Michael back on the ice come October. He is a restricted free agent which means it is time to negotiate a new contract. We think Michael has what it takes as a solid fourth liner. Trotz has said he brings a spark to the game (which is why we have nicknamed him Sparky)and you see that every time he is on the ice. He even took to fighting a bit more at the end of the regular season — much to our surprise.

Latta is good on the face off. Sparky has the right juice for a fourth liner. He isn’t overly expensive at this stage of his career. We need to see more ice time for him so that he can become the solid player the Caps need in their next run for the Cup. We recommend the Caps sign him up for another two years. And yes, we would take him over Mike Richards or Stan Galiev.

Happy Birthday Michael, and we really enjoyed getting to know you this season!

 

NHL Offseason: What Do Caps Players Do?

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Capitals were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins. A few days after, the team disbanded for the offseason. So what do they do once the season is over?

According to NHL.com, the off-season can be broken up into four sections. The first month is transition and recovery from injuries. As the summer goes on, players go from recovery to strength building then power and speed. By the end of summer, it’s conditioning.

RS USA Lines

And, if you’re Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Dmitri Orlov, you go play for Team Russia in the World Championships. The dynamic trio played on a line together and each managed a goal and assist throughout the tournament. Russia ended up going 5-1, losing to Finland in the semi-finals and winning the Bronze medal game over the United States 7-2. They have medaled in the last three World Championships (Gold – 2014, Silver – 2015, Bronze – 2016.) The three players will now take the next three months off before hockey camp starts in late August.

Most players after their team is eliminated from the playoffs take the initial month to relax and go on vacation with their families (T.J. Oshie is in Disneyworld and is also getting ready for the arrival of baby #2).

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Tj means business…. 📷🤓

A post shared by Lauren Oshie (@lauren.oshie) on

Players take time to recover from nagging injuries they had during the season and post-season. Coaches and players can also give their time to help charities and appear more often at events they couldn’t go to during the regular season.

After the initial month or so of vacations and such, players tend to start focusing back on hockey. They know the physical toll a season takes and the more they train, the better off they’ll be once training camp begins. They start with working out two to three times a week in July then ramp it up to four or five times a week in July. This includes lifting weights, cycling, interval training, yoga, and resistance training so they can be prepared for their 30 second shifts with body contact. They also look at footage of their game play and get together with coaches to improve their play.

As for the fans, the NHL playoffs are still going on (Tampa Bay leads Pittsburgh 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals while St. Louis and San Jose are tied at 2).

DSC_0641The Calder Cup Playoffs have the Caps own Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference Finals playing the Toronto Marlies.

Some of our players (Ovechkin and Holtby) will be in Las Vegas on June 22 for the NHL Awards. Ovi receives his sixth Maurice “Rocket” Richard award and is nominated for the Mark Messler Leadership Award. Braden Holtby is up for the Ted Lindsay and Vezina.

What do you do over the summer to get your hockey fix? Comment and let us know!

Why so Serious??? Photos Show Caps Wanted This!!

In the weeks since the Caps lost the chance to win the Stanley Cup there has been a lot of talk about their inability to close the deal. We have been watching this team at practice and have seen their drive during games. There is no doubt in our minds that the Washington Capitals took the challenge seriously.

It starts at the top and there is no one who wanted this more than the Caps’ Captain Alexander Ovechkin.DSC_0141 Even Wayne Gretzky said after meeting with Ovi,  “How much passion he has for the game and how badly he wants to win a Stanley Cup,” according to Alex Prewitt.

 

And then we have our favorite defenseman, John Carlson, who tied Ovi in goals and assists during their playoff stretch.CapsPens Gm 1-88

Following their elimination from the playoffs Nicky told reporters, “We’re gonna do it one day. I promise them.” We believe him.DSC_0350

And finally, lets not forget Justin Williams. Willy was brought here to win. That’s all he wanted. He set an example for the team and he gave it his all.

We still believe in these guys and can’t wait to see how next season shapes up!

Friends Helping Friends; Caps Family @ Fort Dupont

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Like most Caps fans, I’m still upset over the Caps being eliminated in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs;  I couldn’t focus on anything but that overtime Game 6 and the Caps exit interviews where every player was so upset, disappointed and had no answers to why the Caps lost.

I had signed up to volunteer at Ft. DuPont Ice Rink to help MSE foundation, some of the Washington Capitals wives, Coach Trotz along with his family and many awesome Caps fans. We would clean, paint, organize, garden and give back to an organization that gives so much to the local community by offering ice skating and hockey to those that might otherwise never have the opportunity to skate. The Ft DuPont Ice Rink is also very involved in getting young females to discover ice skating and that hockey is even for girls!

You can imagine after being involved in so many positive things and being able to talk with fellow fans who were feeling the same way I was about our hockey team, I was able to start healing from that overtime loss and started looking forward to next season.

I was able to simply sign up through the Caps website and arrived Saturday morning at 9 am. All the volunteers  received a Rock the Red t-shirt, snacks, beverages. We had the option to sign up for painting, cleaning, yard work, re-stringing nets, or organizing hockey gear. I ended up sorting hockey gear and  I met all kinds of fans. We, had some great conversations about which team will advance to the next round. Most Caps fans did not want Pittsburgh to advance …with a smirk on my face, I agreed!  img_1482

I will sign up again next year. This experience not only helped me get through a tough loss, but I learned  it is better to give than receive. And I learned our hockey team family is such a great role model for our communities in the Washington metropolitan area.  If we focus on that part of what hockey, and sports in general, can do to help the youth of today; you can start to feel good about the direction we are heading!

Come out and volunteer with us Caps fans! You don’t have to wait for a Caps-sponsored event to be part of the giving community. It will help you get through this tough ending to the Caps season and make the summer go by much faster!

Keep Rocking the RED!!

By Mel Abernethy 

Photos Dedicated to our Caps Family

Back in November a mother-daughter team decided to step out and launch a blog that would highlight photos taken at Caps practice and games, with a few good stories thrown in to make it interesting. We added a couple more ladies to help write the post games for us and then we added another gal-photographer. Finally we broke down and asked two of our guy friends to join us writing about the Caps and the local hockey community. Our goal was to bring you a positive perspective on our favorite team and some great pictures to bring it to life.

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Little did we know that we would make so many friends along the way!

Continue reading “Photos Dedicated to our Caps Family”

History Repeating: Caps Knocked Out of 2nd Round…Again

Was it a dream? Unfortunately it was not as the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team in the regular season, got ousted once again by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 in a overtime 4-3. This makes them 1-8 all-time in series vs. Pittsburgh.

The Caps have not been very successful in the playoffs since 1998, the first and only time they made the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Finals. Let’s take a look at the playoff history since then.

1997-1998 : Washington mows through the playoffs past the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators to get to the Eastern Conference Finals against Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps win the series 4-2 and get into the Stanley Cup Finals, where they are swept by the juggernaut Detroit Red Wings.

1999-2000; 2000-2001 : The Capitals made the playoffs by winning the Southeast Division two years in a row after missing out in 1998-1999. In the quarterfinals, they played the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won both series 4-1 and 4-2 respectively.

In the Summer of 2001, the Capitals went all in and traded three prospects to the Pittsburgh Penguins for five-time Art Ross trophy winner Jaromir Jagr. We all know how that went.

2002-2003 : After missing the playoffs the previous year, the Caps were in as a wildcard. Playing in the quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they lost the series 4-2 and then proceeded to not make the playoffs for the next four seasons (including the lockout).

In 2004, Jagr was sent to the New York Rangers. The Capitals ended this season 23–46–10–3, good for second to last in the NHL. With the NHL Draft Lottery, the Capitals won the overall number one spot over the worst team in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and chose a legend: Alexander Ovechkin.

2004-2005 : NHL LOCKOUT – NO PLAYOFFS

2007-2008 : After four seasons of no playoff hockey, the Caps hired Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. They proceeded to win the Southeast division and take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Quarterfinals. A hard fought series, the Caps went in with a new goaltender Cristobal Huet. After being down 3-1 in the series, the Caps made a valiant effort but lost the series 4-3.

2008-2009 : With Huet gone and Kolzig signing with Tampa Bay, the Caps signed free agent Jose Theodore as their goaltender. Trading off between Theodore and Semyon Varlamov, the Caps won the Southeast Division and were scheduled to play Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. For the first time since 1998, the Caps won the opening round series 4-3 before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the semi-finals.

2009-2010 : The Caps had their best season yet, winning the President’s Trophy with 121 points as the leagues best team. Behind Theodore and Michal Neuvirth, the Caps drew a pesky Montral Canadiens team with Jaroslav Halak in net. Halak stonewalled the Caps and sent the best team home in round one 4-3.

2010-2011 : With Varly and Neuvy trading off, the Caps locked up best team in the Eastern Conference with 107 points. They proceeded to take out the New York Rangers 4-1 but came up against a buzz saw in round two as the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Caps 4-0.

2011-2012 : Still unsure of the goaltender situation, the Caps signed Tomas Vokoun to a one year deal. After firing Bruce Boudreau part way into the season, the Caps hired former enforcer Dale Hunter to the job. They finished second in the Southeast and played the Boston Bruins, 2011’s Stanley Cup Champ. With Neuvirth and Vokoun both injured, Braden Holtby got his shot as starting goaltender for round one. The Caps had a hard fought series against goaltender Tim Thomas but Holtby and the Caps outlasted with 4-3. In round two, the Caps ran into the New York Rangers hot Henrik Lundqvist and lost the series 4-3. Hunter announced he was “stepping down” as coach.

2012-2013 : Another former Cap Adam Oates was named head coach before yet another NHL lockout occurred.

2014-2015 : After a dismal 2013-2014 season, the Caps fired Adam Oates and General Manager George McPhee. They introduced new head coach Barry Trotz, formerly of the Nashville Predators. Getting the team to buy in to his philosophy, Trotz and the Caps gave Braden Holtby the reigns to the starting job and finished second in the newly crowned Metropolitan Division. They played the New York Islanders in round one and won that series 4-3. In the second round, the Caps played familiar foe the New York Rangers. Behind Lundqvist, the Caps lost the series 4-3.

2015-2016 : The Caps have a record-breaking season, finishing with 120 points, the most wins by a Caps team in history (56) and the President’s Trophy. They come up against a pesky Philadelphia Flyers team that came back in the series after the Caps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series. But the Caps put them away 4-2 and went to the next round. Playing their nemesis from Pittsburgh, the Caps faltered and went down 3-1 in the series before forcing a Game 6 and losing the series to the Pens.

It has now been 18 years since the Capitals have gotten past round two.

So what next for the Capitals? First you have to decide what you want to do to the team: a total rebuild or address your needs in certain areas, like a scoring forward and better defensemen on the backend. Whatever the decision, the team has nearly four months to think about it and get ready for pre-season in September.

(Stats Courtesy of NHL.com)
Written by Christopher Johnson, Photos by Brittney Marcum