Matt Niskanen Likely for Thursday Caps-Islanders

Matt Niskanen was looking pretty happy to be skating with his teammates on Wednesday. He seemed none the worse for wear and coach indicated in the post-practice presser that if everything checks out, Nisky will be skating on Thursday.

Niskanen is certainly one of Coach Trotz’ favorite players He has repeatedly spoken about his consistency on the ice. Niskanen leaves quite the void when he isn’t playing and the Caps need his kind of workmanship back. Matt has nine assists this season, second only to Nick Backstrom with 14.

Video from this morning:

 

 

Jakub Vrana Called Up for Caps (Sanford Down)

By Chris Cleveland

In a surprise move Jakub Vrana and Paul Carey have been called up to the Caps roste0r while Zack Sanford has been sent to the AHL Hershey Bears. Trotz gave Sanford a fair shot for sure; he kept him up here a lot longer than people thought he would.

That being said, Vrana has been lighting it up in Hershey (9G, 7A in 18 games) and could just not be  ignored any longer.

I really like this move, To be honest, Vrana has been on some kind of streak down in Hershey this year, basically averaging a point per game. He could be the jolt the Caps offense needs. I wouldn’t be surprised if Vrana played tomorrow night making his NHL debut.

They want to see what this kid is all about and could have some big ice time. Also Paul Carey being called up could be sending a message to a few guys on the bottom six. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Carey and Vrana both end up playing tomorrow night.

Here is my best guess at what the lines would look like:

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Ovi Nicki Mojo

Burakosvky Kuzy Vrana

Carey Eller Williams

Winnik Beagle Wilson

Trotz Post Practice Thoughts 11/30/16

After a day off and a night of gambling, Coach Barry Trotz put the team through the drills this morning and continued to evaluate the lines and the health of players T.J. Oshie and Matt Niskanen.  Here are our fav takeaways from his presser after:

On the Lines:

“I put the old group together last game at the end…they gave us a real boost…doesn’t mean they will stay together tomorrow.”

“I know what will work. Nothing in stone on those lines.”

niskanen-on-the-way-back Niskanen:

“Need to talk to the trainers…if everything continues on the path that it was today, there is a very good chance he will play tomorrow.”

Oshie:

Still out at least through Saturday’s game.

Power Play Problems:

“When it’s going really good we score a lot of goals off those second and third sort of quick strikes after the initial bomb at the net or shot. And we haven’t been able to do that as well. Some of that is we don’t get seconds because we don’t force the goalie to make any saves.”

On Oshie and Niskanen: “We make a great scramble plays.”

Jay Beagle:

“Jay Beagle has an effect on our team in a positive way everyday.”

Oshie Gap:

“There are guys lining up for Osh’s spot because he is out and that’s great because you are going to get more ice time–but then you better produce.”

“Some guys can get it done and some guys can’t get it done and we find out.” (when players step in for injured players)

sanford-williams-carlson

John Carlson Troubles

“Such a talent.”

“It’s not coming  easy for him. He’s playing catch-up.”

Zach Sanford Struggle

“Very detailed, he listens, he aborbs” “just hasn’t gotten a reward yet.”

“He’s going to be a good player for us.”

No intention of sending him down to Hershey, yet. UPDATE: Zachary was sent to Hersey after the press conference. 

Words of Wisdom!

“Something you just got to (I think it’s Mitch’s term) you got to defrag the computer because you are over thinking things.”

Click here for the full presser.

 

Should We be Worried About TJ Oshie’s Injury?

In short yes, but this wouldn’t be much of a blog post if I answered only in short.

Remember that article I wrote about Ovechkin? On November 18 he took an awful hit from the Red Wings’ Riley Sheanan and is out with an upper body injury. No one knows how long he will be out, but he is week to week and that doesn’t sound good. But how much of a liability is that?

Last year we scored 252 goals and Oshie scored 26 of them. During the playoffs, we scored 29 goals and Oshie scored six .This year we’ve scored 48 goals and Oshie has scored eight goals–second to Ovechkin in most goals scored. Oshie also has an amazing plus minus record of +10. He is just absolutely amazing in shootouts. Oshie was a key player in the USA vs. Russia game. He scored all four goals in the shootout and won the game for team USA. He is an essential player on our team.

Is there a bright side though?

Yes, yes there is. Although TJ Oshie may be out for a while, we were given Paul Carey just in case another player was injured.  It is good for players with less NHL experience than Oshie to get a chance at playing. While he isn’t as good as some of the other players now, the additional play time may be strategic for the team in the long term

Even though Oshie isn’t playing in the games he’s now practicing with the team. Coach said today that he is unlikely to play this week but with an upper body injury “the lower-body still works,” and he has been given the ok to skate.

Thanksgiving Week in Photos…

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and let me tell you I was feeling very thankful for the 4-3 win over the Blues, and the 3-1 win over the Sabres. Because of the holiday we are little behind on our gallery posts so we figured why not combine the two games and give you one big AWESOME photo gallery. Enjoy the sights!

Excuse me, you’re in my way there…

Goalie looks

Those dang Blues!

GOALLLLLLLLL!!!

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Buffalo Sabres- 11/25:

Grubiiiiii!

Warm-ups:

GOALSSSS and GOALLSSS

Action Shots

 

What to Expect in Week Ahead: 28 November to 4 December 2016 for Capitals

The past week (November 21 – 27) we saw two wins and a loss. In the two home games before and after Thanksgiving we saw a spark in the Caps that gave us hope. And then there was the sad game in Toronto that had us asking what the heck is going on???

The Caps have plenty of time to work out whatever is holding them back. First game isn’t until Thursday.

Game Schedule

Thursday, 1 December, NY Islanders at Verizon Center, 7:00  pm on

Saturday, 3 December, at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:00 pm on CSN-DC

Practice/Morning Skate (Schedule subject to change)

Monday the Caps held practice at Kettler  Capitals Iceplex at 10:30.

Tuesday practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 10:30

Wednesday practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex at 10:30

Thursday Morning Skate will likely be an optional skate.

Friday  TBD

Saturday morning skate Tampa Bay

Special Events

Thursday is German Heritage Night at Verizon Center. FWe’ll have to see if he is net as the week unfolds.ans typically wear black, red and gold and cheer on Germany’s own Philipp Grubauer.

Per the Caps website: “Join us as we kick-off the first of four Caps Heritage Nights, celebrating hockey’s German heritage. Fans who purchase a Heritage Night package will receive an exclusive Capitals Oktoberfest-themed beer stein and the opportunity to attend a postgame Q&A with German Capitals player(s). All fans in attendance will enjoy German themed food and drink specials from Aramark and thematic experiences throughout the concourse with Slapshot and the Red Rockers.”

Theme tickets are available through washingtoncaps.com

Thursday is Third Jersey Night!

Caps Raked by Leafs in 4-2 Loss

On Saturday, the Washington Capitals headed to Canada to take on the Toronto Maple Leafs in their second game of a back-to-back. After winning against the Buffalo Sabres on Friday, and winning 4 of their last 5, the Caps were looking to keep gaining ground in their division and inch closer to the red hot, first place New York Rangers.

Back in his hometown, Tom Wilson got the start on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Kuznetsov. The Caps were looking a little slow and tired, and the Leafs took advantage. Matt Martin scored on a breakaway lifting the Leafs to an early lead. Caps were called for the games first penalty as Brooks Orpik was called for hooking. The Caps killed it successfully. Almost immediately after, the Caps were called for another penalty as Nicklas Backstrom was called for holding, and the Caps PK was successful yet again. Justin Williams was called for another penalty when he caught Tyler Bozak up high with his stick. Caps killed this penalty also. The Leafs were definitely buzzing in the first. They had some grade A chances but Braden Holtby was either there with a great stop, or got some help from the goal posts. They were really the goalie’s best friend! The Leafs were out shooting the Caps 25-10 total shoot attempts and 15-6 shots on goal. The Caps were lucky to get out of the first only down by 1 goal.

In the second, Caps still could not maintain zone time and, other than their initial play from the opening faceoff, showed no fire. The Caps head back to the penalty box as Karl Alzner took a necessary penalty to prevent a breakaway and was called for holding. The Leafs finally got one past Holtby and score a powerplay goal. James van Riemsdyk netted a rebound to put the bad guys up 2-0. Marcus Johannson drew the Caps first powerplay of the game as he was hooked by Zach Hyman. With :24 seconds remaining in the penalty to Hyman, Leo Komarov was called for hooking, giving the Caps a brief 5 on 3 advantage. However, the Caps did nothing to help themselves. With both penalties killed, Holtby kept the Leafs from getting another one by doing a great split save. Caps would head back to the powerplay when Nazem Kadri was called for roughing. Caps had some good opportunities but Frederik Andersen was there to keep the Caps off the board. Dmitry Orlov continued the penalty parade with the Caps fifth penalty of the game as he was called for boarding. Another ping from the crossbar kept the Leafs to only two goals. Caps end the second still down by 2.

The Leafs got a goal :22 seconds into the third. Auston Matthews puts a rebound in past Holtby. Tom Wilson took his frustration out on Matt Martin after Wilson told Matt Hunwick to have a seat and Martin took exception and defended Hunwick’s honor. Both Wilson and Martin received 5 minutes for fighting. This fight was honestly not surprising by Wilson. With the Caps down by three goals, somebody needs to do something to get these boys pumped up. It must’ve worked because Backstrom finally got a puck past Andersen and spoiled his shutout. Caps almost added another one when they had a slight breakaway. The Leafs had another breakaway also, but Holtby held his ground. However, Kadri gave the Leafs back their 3 goal lead when he put a puck five hole on Holtby. Caps went to the powerplay when Hunwick was called for hooking. They could not convert on the PP, but Marcus Johansson gave the Caps another goal as he lofted the puck over Andersen. With just over 2 minutes left, Holtby is pulled for the extra skater. However, it was for naught. Caps lose, 4-2.

Considering how this game started and how bad the Caps played for 95% of the game, I am seriously surprised they only lost by two goals. Holtby definitely needs to thank his goal posts. The rest of the team needs to thank Holtby. He kept this game as close as it was. The entire team just seemed like they did not want to be playing this game. At least it was not a shutout for Toronto. 

The Caps get a nice break as their next game is not until next Thursday, December 21st. It will be at 7 pm at the Verizon Center against the New York Islanders. At 13-6-2, the Caps are now 3 points behind the Rangers and 1 point behind Pittsburgh. Hopefully our boys can get some rest and attack their next game with the FURY we are used to seeing them UNLEASH!!

Oh Season of Giving

I started giving blood after my dad passed away in July 2015. I was already signed up for the blood drive before my dad was even sick,  so after he passed two days earlier, I went to Ketler to give blood in honor of my dad.

As soon as I got inside the ice rink I knew I was in the right place.. .all of my dads favorite players were honored with banners at the end of the rink: Dale Hunter, Rod Langway, Mike Gartner & Yvon Labre.

 My appointment today was for 730am and as I left Verizon Center last night after the Caps beat the Buffalo Sabres 3-1, I contemplated not coming because it meant I had to get up at 530am on a Saturday!  But then I thought about the person who might need my blood donation and how they may not even have the option to wake up early or late on a Saturday, and it all made sense.
After giving blood, you are directed to the snack area to replenish yourself before heading out on your way. There is a survey to help Inova Blood services better serve us . One of the questions is how to get more people to not be intimidated to donate. I answered to assure people they were helping others and with the great service here you don’t have to be afraid of needles!!

 

 With Thanksgiving teo days ago and living in a time where being kind to one another is not reported on as much as the unkind stuff, it’s important to remember we should be kind and give more than we receive.

 If your unsure or afraid of giving blood, don’t be. I was in your shoes not too long ago, unfortunately it took me too long to realize it’s not about me. It’s about what I can give to help!

 Next blood drive is in January!  I’ve already signed up!! How about you?! Come join me!  You won’t be sorry!  Oh and did I mention the Marcus Johansson bobblehead! 😉

 Happy season of giving year round!!

Capitals Beat Sabres in 3-1 Win

While tonight’s 3-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres was void of much excitement, it wonderfully showcased all of what the Capitals have worked hard on during the off-season, such as their early scoring and penalty kill.

The first period was lackluster to say the least. Other than Daniel Winnik’s early goal at 5:08, nothing of huge importance happened. Grubauer was phenomenal in goal, as the under-appreciated 25-year-old typically is, with some very nice saves. The defense was surprisingly good, something you don’t see very often when 31 is in goal, unfortunately. Williams did take a penalty early on for goaltender interference but the strong PK had no problem dealing with it. Sanford had a beautiful breakaway, but was robbed of the goal by Anders Nilsson. Marcus Foligno was the next to go in the box for another interference call, but it had no real impact on the game. Overall, the Caps played well, just not great.

The second period was another dull one, played well but not remarkably so. Grubs continued to be the star of the game and keep the Sabres from scoring, but he had the help of some incredible defense from his teammates, who continued to be very fast and keep Buffalo on their toes. On the power play, after Johan Larson took a slashing penalty, the Caps took shot after shot, never letting up. It wasn’t long before Marcus Johansson scored at 13:25 and gave us the 2-0 lead. Buffalo eventually got another penalty, Taylor Fedun, this time, with holding. Brett Connolly followed suit, a few minutes later, with a hooking call, and would carry this penalty into the third.

Speaking of the third, it didn’t start off very differently from the previous two. It was a little slow and dull, but it would liven up soon enough. Alex Ovechkin landed himself a tripping penalty and only minutes after it ended, Sam Reinhart got the Sabres on the board with a goal, almost ten minutes in. Not long after, Andre Burakovsky got called with a delay-of-game penalty which only served to show how remarkable our penalty kill is this season. Though it almost didn’t get caught, Buffalo was hit with the too many men on the ice penalty, pointed out by Justin Williams and the fans. Thank goodness it did, however, because it led to Brett Connolly’s power play goal late in the game. After that, it was the Capitals’ strength and determination that led to our 3-1 win.