Caps: Photo Shoot, Practice, and Getting Ready for the Road Trip

The Washington Capitals started the morning with the annual photo shoot. There was a lot of twitter buzz over “who wears it best” between Justin Williams and Andre Burkovsky. Now we know why Burky was letting the curls run wild!! We’ve always said JWill had a strong influence on the younger guys, we just didn’t know it extended to their hair!!

 

After the photo the team made their way over to the Arlington rink for some drills before heading off on for five games away from home. Holtby is likely to see a fair amount of time in front of the net as the team goes down the final stretch to the playoffs. Philipp Grubauer is looking fit too. The Caps are fortunate to have two talented goalies. to carry them through to the last round of games and into the playoffs.

The Caps have a lot to celebrate as they board the plane for their first stop in Minnesota. Ovi with his 12th 30 goal game and the team with some well-fought wins to their credit set the stage for them to tally more points before returning home.

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The schedule for the remainder of the regular season:

28 March    Minnesota Wild   8 pm est on

29 March     Colorado Avalanche  10 pm est

31 March      Arizona Coyotes  10 pm est

2 April          Columbus Blue Jackets  6 pm est

4 April          Toronto Maple Leafs  7:30 pm est

5 April          NY Rangers at home 8 pm est

8 April          Boston Bruins (away) 3 pm est

9 April         Florida Panther – final home game 7 pm est

We’ll be ready to release the balloons to celebrate a great season!!

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Capital Punishment at Verizon Center! Capitals Win All the Three Home Games

The countdown to the end of the regular season is already in underway as the Caps are in playoff rhythm. After beating the Coyotes by 4-1, the Capitals won all the three consecutive games at Verizon Center.  In addition, they extended their home-factor which was very important to the team this season: 14-straight wins at home to set a franchise record.

In the total, Washington is four games undefeated, when they beat the Lightning by 5-3 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. T.J. Oshie noted a hat trick and the Capitals reached 100 points then. When the homestretch began, the first foe was the Flames, which the Caps beat by 4-2. After that, was a come from behind victory against the Blue Jackets by 2-1 (SO). And then, ending the homestretch, a 4-1 victory against the Coyotes.

watermarked5(2017-03-25-2200)Saturday, the Capitals scored first with Alex Ovechkin from his office, capitalizing on a power play. After a scoreless second period, Arizona tried to sketch a reaction at the second half of the third period with a Peter Holland goal, but the Caps managed to get a victory yet in the regulation.

Dan Winnik put the Capitals in front again by 2-1, Justin Williams fired a rocket and Winnik scored again, now taking advantage of their empty net to set up the final numbers to the game.

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The Capitals are still playing good hockey at the crucial moment of the regular season. The final games are important because they show us that this is the team which is going to the playoffs. Also, Washington enjoyed the home-factor during this season and that might be the differential. The Capitals have now five straight games on the road, a good test before the playoffs. After that, there will be three games remaining (two at home) before the playoffs. The next game is on March 28, against Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center (Saint Paul, Minnesota).

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Road trip:

Minnesota Wild (March 28)

Colorado Avalanche (March 29)

Arizona Coyotes (March 31)

Columbus Blue Jackets (April 02)

Toronto Maple Leafs (April 04)

GO CAPS!!

Photos by Mel Abernethy

Brett Connolly Among the List of NHL Nominees for Masterton

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Teams have begun to announce their nominees for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy which is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writer’s Association. The NHL says players are considered for their “perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.”

The Washington Capitals have nominated their 24 year old winger Brett Connolly. Connolly came to the Caps from the Boston Bruins. He spent a good bit of his time at the start of the season watching the game from the press box; however, in 59 games he recorded 15 goals and six assists—certainly his best season since moving up to the NHL. He last scored the goal only against Nashville on March 16 and continues to demonstrate sportsmanship and a dedication to the game of hockey.

Brett jumped right in and became an active member of the Caps family as he participated in fundraisers and fan activities since arriving in September 2016. He’s a quiet sort but we have seen a friendly generous side of him from his participation in the Caps Canine Calendar, Hockey Fights Cancer, and the Better Halves Gift Basket Auction (it went for $1,100). And he was a willing partaker in the Scarlet Caps Hockey ‘n Heels night, shooting the puck with the ladies.

Other nominees as of this writing include:

  • Dan Girardi with the NY Rangers
  • Ryan Reaves of St. Louis Blues
  • Paul Byron with Canadiens
  • Patrick Maroon of Edmonton Oilers
  • Brian Gionta of the Buffalo Sabres
  • Mikael Backlund of the Calgary Flames
  • Jarome Iginla from the LA Kings for his perseverance and team dedication to the Colorado Avalanche
  • Henrik Zetterberg with the Detroit Red Wings
  • Marian Hoosa for Chicago Blackhawks

Craig Anderson, the Ottawa Senators goalie, is very likely to receive the award . This has been a rough year for Anderson whose wife Nicholle is fighting throat cancer through extreme chemotherapy treatments. To his credit, Anderson has attempted to play as many games as possible, demonstrating courage and perseverance in his professional and private life. The Senators and teams throughout the league have supported Craig and Nicholle during this time. Anderson is on the cusp of playing his 500th career game

In 2010 Capitals goalie Jose Theodore received the Masterton after overcoming the death of his  son. According to Hockey News, “Theodore’s infant son Chace died last summer due to complications stemming from his premature birth. He went on to have his best year since 2002, helping the Capitals finish with the league’s best record and putting together a 20-0-3 run over the final three months.”Jose went on to set up a charity in memory of his son.  The Caps announced they were not resigning him the day of the award.

Win or lose, there are many strong men in this league that battle through adversity on and off the ice. When we feel underappreciated or overwhelmed, they help to inspire us to take one more step forward.

 

 

 

Caps Shootout Win Over Blue Jackets Photo Gallery

Photos by Mel Abernethy and Brittney Marcum

The Washington Capitals battled steadily against the Columbus Blue Jackets in Washington DC on Thursday night. The Caps ended the night holding the Metropolitan Division lead. And the night pitted two of the best goalies (Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky) and potential Vezina Trophy winners, against each other.

Continue reading “Caps Shootout Win Over Blue Jackets Photo Gallery”

In a Tough Game, Capitals Beat the Blue Jackets by 2-1 (SO) and Holtby Wins “Duel” Against Bobrovsky

In a direct fight for the NHL lead, the Washington Capitals hosted the Columbus Blue Jackets at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The game also marked the clash between two of the greatest goalies in the present-day NHL: Braden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovsky. Holtby is the current Vezina Trophy winner and both are contenders for this year and thanks to them, the game was scoreless after two periods. However, the regulation and the overtime weren’t enough to unveil a winner between these elite NHL teams.

Before the puck drop in the District, Alex Ovechkin became the first player in NHL to wear custom-painted skates. The customized skates were for the Russian Heritage Night and they had the American and Russian flag. Ovechkin planned to auction them to raise money for the American Special Hockey Association. He wanted to play with them, but his request was denied by the league.

The first 40 minutes had no goals. Wilson and Anderson got a matching minors. The Capitals had three power play opportunities, but didn’t capitalize any of them, keeping the game scoreless. Holtby and Bobrovsky were the greatest names during two periods, it would change in the 3rd.

watermarked28(2017-03-23-2152)Just 41 seconds was enough to break the tie: Seth Jones made it 1-0 to Columbus. Some minutes later, defenseman Dmitry Orlov honored the Russian Heritage Night and tied the game again, now with goals, in 1-1. It was his sixth goal this season and his first goal in 11 career games against Columbus.  Since then, the Caps could manage to create good scoring opportunities and creating some pressure, but the regulation would end tied, just as the overtime.

In the shootouts, T.J. Oshie was the first one and converted, as the usual. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom were stopped, but Braden Holtby stopped all the three shots from Columbus and deservedly was named the First Star of the Game.

And one more thing before we close- Braden Holtby was terrific in the net tonight. Even when his lid went flying and he bounced back, shaking those locks of hair and smiling at the ref. We vote Holtby for the Vezina and just for the most hysterical goalie in the league to watch.

Check back with us on Friday for the complete photo gallery.

Are You Ready for the Capitals Russian Heritage Night?

Thursday at Verizon Center the Washington Capitals will celebrate the heritage of some of our most colorful players: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetzov, and Dmitry Orlov. We thought we would share some of our favorite photos of these guys in preparation for the night.

Ovi took Washington by storm when he arrived in 2005 after signing a $124M contract for 13 years. Though he hasn’t brought home the Stanley Cup yet he continues to break records in the NHL and in the Caps franchise. As much as we love his playing, we love all those great smiles and other odd faces we catch at practice and during games. You’ll see that just like Alex, our skill with the camera has grown since we started taking pictures in 2010.

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Dima is the ‘quiet one’ – except we know he is a bit of a prankster too. Just look at that mischievous face of his. Orlov plays defense for the Caps and has been kind of up and down in his stats. We get that he is inconsistent, but when he is good – he’s really good. He told fans last year that he was really working on his english so it will be interesting to see if there is more confidence in how he speaks–and in his game as we head to the playoffs.

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But when it comes to charisma and those goofy looks –  Kuzy tops all the rest. From day one he has been great about meeting the fans. This year has not been as great as we had hoped but we have no doubt that he will bring it in the playoffs. Simply put, we love us some Kuzy.

 

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And though he may be in Hershey now, we just had to include our old friend Stan Galiev. No matter where he plays he will always be one of the our favorite Russians! watermarked photo 2 (2016-03-16-1148)

Caps Outshine Flames in 4-2 Win

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The Washington Capitals were back at Verizon Tuesday night meeting the Calgary Flames. Calgary is hanging on to the wild card slot and hoping a win will move them a little closer to clinching a spot. The first line was back to the Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie combination. We were hoping to see Nate Schmidt slide in somewhere, but unfortunately, he was scratched again with the return of Brooks Orpik…

Holtby in the net because after all it was Holtbeast Bobblehead Night!!

 

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The Caps came out hard – shooting and all. Caps and Flames were four-on-four as Kuznetsov and Troy Brouwer shared a seat in the box.     However….Kuzy bounced right back as the clock ran out and with a little help from Burky got the boys on the board 1-0. The Flames matched the Caps with a goal by Sean Monahan. Although the Caps were leading in SOG midway through the period, the teams ended with the Flames having 11 shots and the Caps with 10 for a very competitive game.

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Back to the second period – not as strong a start for either team. after five minutes the Caps had three shots putting the Flames in a defensive posture. The Caps had a close call but Elliott in the net pushed back as the ref waved off what could have been a Burky goal. Caps finally went on the powerplay with Michael Stone hooking. By this time the Caps had plenty of almost a goal moments and twice as many SOG as the Flames. Unfortunately the Caps couldn’t make it happen.

But then again, TJ Oshie did score his 30th goal of the season and his first time scoring 30 goals in a season ever!!  And he just turned 30. The magic number!!  And Kevin Shattenkirk recorded his first goal as a Caps player. Second period ends with the Caps up 3-1.img_8193

watermarked(2017-03-21-2154)Third period got off little fan fare; three shots between the teams after five minutes. With less then five minutes left in the third Brouwer scored his first goal against his former teammates closing the gap to 3-2. Not to be outdone, Alex Ovechkin scored his 29th goal of the season ending the game 4-2 in the Caps favor.

Congrats to Braden Holtby on his 300th game, a bobblehead, and a great game with some amazing saves. Winning feels good and to win against a team like the Flames feels even better!

Photos by Mel Abernethy

 

The Importance of the Final Stretch in the Regular Season

The Washington Capitals became the first team in the NHL to reach the 100 points and to clinch a playoff berth. The other ones that have joined them as of now are the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Chicago Blackhawks. There is less than a month remaining the regular season, but the last games show us which of the teams are going to the playoffs.

The Capitals have 11 games remaining: five at home and six away. And about the six away games, the Caps are gonna play five straight on the road, an endurance test before the playoffs. Actually, if we get back to January, we’ve see a true endurance test the Caps went through brilliantly: depth-scoring winnings against elite NHL teams. The Caps have defeated Columbus by 5-0, Montreal by 4-1, Pittsburgh by 5-2 and Chicago by 6-0. One of these wins were part of the franchise record sat up by the Caps, with 14-game home win streak.  Scoring so many goals and suffering the less goals as possible are some of the recipes for success.

About scoring goals, the bottom lines have done a great job contributing to the Caps’ depth-scoring, which is important. So, the top-six won’t be overloaded by the pressure and responsibility. And the defense is pretty well: the Caps are the team with the best goals against average (159) and, harmoniously with the offensive department, the team has also the best goal differential (+69).

The Caps’ performance in these final games during the regular season will show us how the current team is playing and if it has the capacity to get great conquest during the playoffs, something that the fans are waiting for a long time. And this team has great chances to do it.

Capitals Monday Practice Photos

Photos by Brittney Marcum

The Washington Capitals were back at it on Monday, chirping at each other and working out the kinks that have crept in from the past few games.

Some of the players were out early: Tom Wilson and Daniel Winnik.

All the defensemen were there, expect for Brooks Orpik who took a maintenance day.

Could be that we will be seeing more of Nate Schmidt??

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Marcus Johansson was back after a brief bought of the flew.

 

 

Lots of drills, passing and shooting:

The boys were shooting hard and fast on  Holtby and Grubauer:

We know that Coach Trotz has a plan for facing the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. We can all relax a bit now that the team has secured its place in the playoffs. The team will need to keep  working to stay  motivated through the remainder of the regular season–guarding against injury.

NHL Playoffs 101: Format and Trophies

The playoffs are right around the corner. If you’re a new hockey fan the playoffs may be confusing, or you may not understand the formatting. I’ll admit it took me a bit to understand the way the playoffs work. If this applies to you then don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place.

Series Format

The NHL playoffs are some of the most grueling playoffs of all sports. In order to win the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy, teams have to win 16 games in total. In football, they have to win three or four games straight. In baseball, its winning 11 or 12 games to take the world series.

The NHL playoffs are even more grueling than the NBA playoffs because a playoff game in hockey averages 2.62 goals per team. And teams play hard for those goals. Also a average total of 478 goals are scored in during the playoffs. In an average NBA game, they get 99.66 points, meaning teams make at least 33 baskets. An average total 15,747 points are scored.

Each series is best of seven which means the first game doesn’t matter so much. And of course, you don’t want to lose four games in one series.

Teams Formatting 

The NHL has two conferences: the eastern and western. The Eaatern Division includes the Metropolitan and Atlantic Divisons. The Western Division includes the Central and Pacific Divisions. The Caps are in the Metropolitan Division.

Like most other sports, the teams that play in the first round are based on how each team finiahes the season. Each division has three teams in the playoffs and those teams that rank fourth in each division earn a wild card for the conference playoff.

The team that did the best in the division is the first wild card and then the one that did worse is the second wild card.
In the first round, the first seed in the conference plays the second wild card. The first seed in the other division plays the first wild card. Then the third team plays the second team. The rest of it depends on who wins in each round. Here is a bracket from last year to show.


The Playoff Game Changes 

Each game has three periods of twenty minutes, as usual; however, instead of ending a tied game with a five minute overtime and maybe a shootout, the teams instead play as many 20-minute overtimes as needed. Fun fact the most overtimes in a playoff game is six overtimes for both Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Maroons game in 1936 and the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs game.

The Trophies 

In the playoffs, teams can win three team trophies. The most rewarding of which is the Stanley Cup. The championship Stanley Cup  is the trophy that every hockey fan lives and dies dreaming that their team will one day own it!

The team that win the Eastern Conference receives the Prince of Wales Trophy.  Of less importance to Caps fans, the team that wins the Western Conference takes home the Clarence S   Campbell bowl.

Also, there is one individual trophy, the Conn Smythe trophy. That one won by the player who does the best in the playoffs and is awarded at the end of the playoffs.

Now that I have explained everything lets go Caps! Let’s try and get our first cup!!