Devante Smith-Pelly: Stanley Cup Memories And Now

Devante Smith-Pelly (DSP) was a key component of the Capitals 2018 Stanley Cup win. It has not always been an easy journey for DSP in the NHL. He made his first appearance with the Washington Capitals in late-summer of 2016 after the NJ Devils bought out his contract. He would play two seasons with the Capitals before they sent him down to the AHL Hershey Bears. Although he joined the Caps for the 2019 playoffs, his future again hangs in the balance as the Caps general manager looks at the big picture for the coming few seasons. With the pool of talent in Hershey from which they can draw and other signings they need to consider, it is highly unlikely that he will suit up in a Caps sweater again. Continue reading “Devante Smith-Pelly: Stanley Cup Memories And Now”

One Year Later – Kuzy and Exorcising the Demons

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since one of the most memorable, as well as one of the most stress-relieving moments that most Caps fans can remember occurred. “The Save” is up there as well, but the anniversary for that is a month away.

It’s early in the first overtime of Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Evgeny Kuznetsov is skating straight towards Penguins’ netminder Matt Murray with Pens’ defensemen Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang a little behind to Kuzy’s left and right.  A moment later after a quick deke, Kuzy deposits the puck between Murray’s pads into Pittsburgh’s net and glides towards and then along the boards. Continue reading “One Year Later – Kuzy and Exorcising the Demons”

Capitals Excerpts from 31 Thoughts

Each week during the regular season and about once per round during the playoffs, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes his popular 31 Thoughts column.  In the current column, two of the thoughts (numbers 20 and 21) were about the Capitals. Continue reading “Capitals Excerpts from 31 Thoughts”

Capitals Player Season Recap: Nicklas Backstrom

One of the most underrated centers in the NHL today, Nicklas Backstrom has been a crucial part of the Capitals’ organization for many years. Drafted in 2006, “Backy” has been a playmaking machine for the club and a serious lifeline for goal scorers like Alex Ovechkin and Jakub Vrana.

Backstrom accumulated 74 points this season (22g, 52a), putting him 2nd on the Caps’ list for most points behind Ovechkin. This post-season, Backstrom has the most goals for the Caps (5) and the best face-off percentage (52.69%). He continues to help drive this team to its best form and this season he did not disappoint. His vision on the ice has always been something that sometimes gets overlooked, but blows our minds when we notice it.

As a top six elite centerman for the Caps, Backstrom holds his team and himself to a high standard. In his season exit interview he stated, “Even if it sucks right now, I feel like we’re going to come back stronger and more prepared. That’s our goal and we got a good team.” He has the perfect mindset for a leader of the Washington Capitals, train hard and come back stronger next year for a harder run at glory.

Player Season Recap: Alex Ovechkin

Ever since he was drafted by the Washington Capitals in 2004, Alex Ovechkin has ignited the hockey community in the DMV in so many ways. He has proven himself to be a world class, one of a kind hockey player. He has surprised us all with insane highlight reel goals and brought home the Stanley Cup. His game has grown tremendously since game one of his career and the franchise owes everything to our great captain.

Parade ovi stanley cup

Ovechkin has proven time and time again he can contribute in many ways other than scoring and hitting. This regular season he has totaled 38 assists for the Caps; 4th highest on the team behind Evgeny Kuznetsov (51), Nicklas Backstrom (52), and John Carlson (57). He’s been looking to pass the puck to make the play rather than go for the snipe as he usually does, disregarding the fact of earning his 8th Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy with 51 goals. He has been playing on different parts of the ice, like screening the goaltender in the offensive zone and playing the high-point man on the umbrella power play. This regular season he has accumulated 89 points (51g, 38a) in 81 game and in the playoffs he accumulated 9 points (4g, 5a) in all 7 games of the series with the Carolina Hurricanes.

 

Ovechkin had yet another great season and carried his stellar play through into the post-season, there’s nothing he should be ashamed about. He continues to shoot the puck and distribute checks to better his team through each in-game situation. Goalies continue to study and learn his shooting/scoring tendencies each season. Ovechkin also continues to evolve his own game, finding new/old creative ways to beat them. At the prime age of 33 and turning 34 in September, he isn’t getting younger and must stay up to par in this fast-paced league. He stated in his season exit interview he stated, “I have to be better” at everything. He mentioned his shooting, passing, even his fight with Andrei Svechnikov all has to better moving forward. He’ll train hard this off-season to seek another crack at reuniting with Lord Stanley’s Cup and don’t be surprised if we see another successful season from the Great Eight.

John Carlson: Still One of the NHL’s Best Defenseman

John Carlson is a key component to the Washington Capitals’ success. He has become an elite defensemen in the NHL with a history as a two-time AHL Calder Cup and one-time NHL Stanley Cup champion. The defenseman was invited to the All-Star Games twice (2010 and 2019) and in the 2017-18 season he held the League record for the most points by a defenseman in the regular and playoff season.  Carlson is one of the most experienced and capable players on the Capitals roster. Continue reading “John Carlson: Still One of the NHL’s Best Defenseman”

Decade of Excellence – Thankful Even After Defeat

The Capitals have been eliminated from the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs earlier than any Caps fan had hoped. Whether the craziness of this year’s playoffs with all division winners being eliminated in the first round makes it any easier is up for debate. For me personally, I’m disappointed that hockey in the District has come to an end for the season and I have to wait over five months for it to begin again. Continue reading “Decade of Excellence – Thankful Even After Defeat”

The Kuznetsov Concern Was Real

All through the playoffs fans and the media covering the Washington Capitals expressed concerns about Evgeny Kuznetsov’s performance. By the time the Caps exited the playoffs it was clear that they were right to be concerned.

Maybe if they made it to the second round the Caps would have seen a resurgence in his performance. In game seven he finally got a goal. Sure he had five assists in the series but that isn’t why the Capitals signed him to a rather hearty contract last summer.

In the exit interviews on Friday, he acknowledged that his play was inconsistent. He didn’t want to talk about next season- he had some spicy comments about that!

Even the man who makes the real decisions about the team, GM Brian MacLellen basically said that beyond the top line, the team lacked the desperation they had last season. The GM was clearly aggravated that some of the best players didn’t show up and play at their highest level in the playoffs. Specifically, when asked about Kuznetsov he said that he was frustrated by the performance of a potential top ten player and his lack of consistency. It is going to take a special touch to motivate a strong-willed player like Kuznetsov. It isn’t clear if Todd Reirden is the one to do that.

It will be interesting to see how he performs when he is back on Russia’s team in the IIHF Worlds and if we see the old Kuzy show up. For now, he isn’t going anywhere unless he wants to move. Given that he just bought a couple pieces of property in McLean, Virginia it is doubtful he wants to be anywhere else but on the Capitals roster.

Caps Have Tough Decisions in Free Agency

By Daniel Johnson

With the 2018-2019 Caps season coming to an abrupt end, they now have some difficult decisions to make with impending free agency. With their Salary Cap having little room for error, there are some pretty significant contracts to ponder. Continue reading “Caps Have Tough Decisions in Free Agency”

Do We Really Need to Worry About Kuznetsov?

We have been watching Twitter and the comments about Evgeny Kuznetsov’s less than impressive showing in the playoffs so far. Should we be worried with what some are calling a lackluster play? Continue reading “Do We Really Need to Worry About Kuznetsov?”