Don’t have much going on over Memorial Weekend? Feel like watching hockey being played for a good cause for FREE?
“The Armed Forces Hockey Classic (AFHC) is a tournament where military veterans the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy come together to compete against one another while raising money for the United Heroes League (UHL). The UHL wants to ensure that all 5 million military kids are able to develop critical life skills through sports. This intense focus on youth development and serving the families of our military service members motivates the UHL to keep programs focused. This focus has inspired 115 professional athletes and over 30 professional sports franchises to lend their name and support to the UHL.”
The Washington Capitals have supported the UHL since their start in 2009 along with many other franchises, like the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Kings. Players/coaches who have contributed to this cause have been Nicklas Backstrom, Karl Alzner, Bruce Boudreau, Taylor Chorney, Matt Hendricks, Nate Schmidt, and many others!
This event is being held just outside of Dallas, Texas in North Richland Hills. Veterans, local and country-wide, are gathering there to play the greatest sport for an excellent cause. Coordinators have stated that they have received donations and incoming participants from places like Alaska, Colorado and even the DMV! The winning team of the tournament will get to hoist the James “Maggie” Megellas Championship Trophy. Who knows, you may see someone you’ll recognize!
2010 AFHC Champions – Team Navy/Marine Corp.
The tournament will begin May 25 @ 10:00 am EDT, first puck drop @ 10:15 am. All games will be live-streamed via Facebook here. For more information on the AFHC and the UHL, click here. Have a wonderful weekend!
The Capitals are out of the Stanley Cup playoffs too early (again), but that doesn’t mean that Caps fans no longer have a reason to pay attention to the rest of the playoffs. Some of the reasons are emotional (teams and fanbases that we just don’t want to see win and some that we do) and some are strategic (draft position), so let’s get to it.
Boston vs. Columbus
Let’s be realistic. No one outside of New England wants to see Boston win another title, especially with championships in the two most recent major league sports (Red Sox in the World Series and Patriots in the Super Bowl). Besides, they won a Cup in 2011 (too soon) and that would leave the Caps as the only Cup winner in the decade without multiple Cups.
While the Blue Jackets are a rival, they have a fanbase that has not had a lot to enjoy, so seeing a city and fanbase that has no other pro sports teams (though the Ohio State University football program arguably qualifies), I would not have an issue with their city getting to enjoy a title. Columbus sacrificed a lot of their future at the trade deadline so their future is not as bright. Besides, they have one of the best hockey bars around (the R-Bar near Nationwide Arena).
Strategically, if the Blue Jackets advance to the Eastern Conference Final, their first round draft pick (owned by Ottawa in the Duchesne trade) drops to one of the bottom four picks. This moves the Caps’ pick draft up a spot in the first round.
Carolina vs. Islanders
I’m glad this round is over because it was a no-win situation. Allowing Trotz to leave was going to look and feel worse if the Islanders advanced. Seeing the “bunch of jerks” and their late to the party fanbase advance isn’t exactly a joy either, but at least with Carolina advancing to the Eastern Conference Final, their draft position in the first round has dropped to the bottom four in the first round, so that does benefit the Caps.
Dallas vs. St. Louis
If Dallas advances, one of the second round draft picks that Dallas traded to the New York Rangers for Mats Zuccarello becomes a first rounder and we don’t want to see that happen. As a Caps fan, I never want to see anything that benefits the Rangers, especially since they will select second overall in the upcoming draft thanks to the draft lottery and they are doing a pretty good job with their rebuild in a short period of time.
St. Louis is the only remaining (and existing) team from the 1967 expansion to not win the Cup. It probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for them to win one. Besides, they went to the Final the first three seasons in the post-1967 expansion NHL, were swept all three times, and haven’t been back since. It may be about time.
San Jose vs. Colorado
San Jose is the equivalent of the Caps in the Western Conference in terms of always doing well in the regular season and always falling short in the playoffs (at least until last season for the Caps). Their core is getting older, Joe Thornton is getting close to retirement, and their pain needs to end sometime. The San Francisco Bay Area has done pretty well with the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants each winning multiple titles this decade, so that works against any sympathy for that area’s fanbase, but they will likely be getting worse before they get better and this may be their last good chance at a title.
Colorado is a feel good story after the horrific seasons that they have endured recently and there is a certain German goaltender that most people in the DMV still have a fondness for, but Colorado still has two Cups, including one during the Avalanche’s first season after relocating from Quebec, which edges this one towards the team with no Cups. Besides, Colorado is young, talented, has the 4th overall pick in the upcoming draft (thanks to Ottawa), and should only be getting better.
Enjoy (or at least try) to enjoy some great hockey over the next month.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have been the main rival of Washington Capitals since the 1990’s and heated up when Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby and were drafted in 2004 and 2005, respectively. The rivalry begins with the regular season and carries into the playoff matchups. Other major rivals for the Caps in the Metropolitan Division have included the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, although not like that with the Penguins.
Apparently, a new rivalry is rising although not with a team in the same division. It looks like the Tampa Bay Lightning are going be a frequent opponents for the Caps in the regular season and playoffs and a new primary rival. Continue reading “A New Capitals Rivalry Rising??”
TLDR: Brett Connolly scores 21st goal of the season, and the Caps power play continues to struggle. Sluggish start by the Capitals never gained steam, Minnesota beats Capitals 2-1.
Tonight, the Washington Capitals took on the Minnesota Wild at Capital One Arena. After dropping their last game to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the boys in red were certainly hoping to rebound and add to their 3-point cushion in the Metropolitan division. Conversely, Minnesota was fighting for a playoff run in the West, and heading into tonights’ game, were just one point out from the second wild card spot.
The Caps elected to start Braden Holtby tonight, but were missing defenceman Michal Kempny, who suffered a lower-body injury versus the Lightning. Christian Djoos was inserted back into the lineup, having been paired with John Carlson. Washington announced shortly before puck drop that Carl Hagelin would not be playing, due to illness. The Wild decided that goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who has just one win in his last 5 starts, would get the start between the pipes.
Early on in the first period, Jakub Vrana took a hard sliding hit into the boards behind Dubnyk. Luckily, he was able to quickly recover. The Capitals started off very similarly to the way they did versus Tampa. They quickly and successfully forced turnovers by the Wild, and spend a good amount of time in Minnesota’s defensive zone. The Capitals would receive the first power play of the night, as Kevin Fiala went to the box for slashing. However, they would not score. As the period progressed, the Caps seemed to lose some steam, and at one point, hadn’t registered a shot on goal in eight minutes. The Wild would score first, as Jordan Greenway snuck the puck past Holtby with under three minutes remaining in the period. Providing an opportunity for the Caps tie the game, they received a late power play, as Marcus Foligno went off to the box for slashing. Heading into the first intermission, the Capitals trailed 1-0.
The Capitals started off the middle frame with 46 seconds left on a late first period power play. Minnesota would kill off yet another shot-less Caps’ power play. Washington simply has not played with enough drive or desire, and the Wild took advantage. Luck was very much in the Caps’ favor as they were gifted another power play as Hunt went off for slashing. The Capitals would eventually waste yet another man-advantage. We would get four-on-four play for two minutes, as Brooks Orpik and Justin Zucker were sent to the box for roughing. A shot by Nick Jensen deflected, ending up behind Dubnyk, and Brett Connolly would be credited with his 21st goal of the season.
With 8.6 seconds remaining, the Capitals would be faced with their first penalty kill as Tom Wilson would go off for hooking. The Wild would start the third with 1:52 left on their power play. The two teams were tied at one goal each.
While it may not have been the most exciting game of the season, it was nonetheless an important one. A Caps win would provide a decent 5-point cushion between them and the 2nd place Isles team. Tom Wilson got a great breakaway immediately out of the box, but the puck just wouldn’t cooperate. Lots of high-danger chances generated for both sides, but both Dubnyk and Holtby were sharp as could be. A missed pass led to a breakaway by Luke Kunin, and with less than eight minutes left, the Wild took a 2-1 lead. Todd Reirden would elect to pull Braden Holtby for the extra attacker, but it wouldn’t be enough. The Minnesota Wild would win this one, splitting the season series, holding the Caps to a 3-point lead in the Metro division.
FiCP’s Three Takeaways of the Game
The Power Play needs a recharge.
The Capitals need to improve their passing and stop. passing. in. front. of. Holtby.
Less turnovers, please. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, this is a hockey game, not a bakery.
Lineup confirmed this morning states Christian Djoos is expected to be back in the lineup in for Brooks Orpik. He will be in alongside trade deadline-acquired Nick Jensen, who was traded by the Detroit Red Wings for Madison Bowey.
Djoos has a good two-way game and can contribute offensively very well, as seen throughout both seasons he has played with the Capitals. Orpik is a fantastic leader on and off the ice. His defensive prowess has been such a presence for the Caps’ defense core and being the oldest player on the team surely has an impact for respect. His time in the NHL, however, is coming slowly but surely to a close day by day and could announce his retirement from the league if not after this season, but the next few. A smart decision to start giving Djoos and Jensen a look at a 3rd defensive pair going forward.
Jensen has good speed and good puck mobility, which could compliment Djoos’ offensive blue line game. Looking onward, I see this pair together next season. I’m am personally very eager to see how the two work together.
The Washington Capitals have announced their new addition to the organization, Virginia-native forward Joe Snivley. He signed a two-year contract beginning on the 2019-2020 season. A hometown hero signed with the area’s professional hockey team, it doesn’t get more “storybook” than that.
Playing college hockey for Yale, Joe accrued 36 points (15g, 21a) in 33 games and set a collegiate career high in power play goals (5). Prior to Yale, Joe was drafted by the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL. He played 3 season with them, posting up 125 points (50g, 75a) in 159 games. He also represented Team USA at the 2013 Ivan Hinka Tournament (U-18) and at the 2014 World Junior Championship.
Interviewed at the press conference, Joe was asked what led him to signing with the Washington Capitals. “Signing for the Caps means a lot because it’s my hometown team.” He practiced and trained at MedStar Capitals Iceplex during his youth and was a part of the Washington Little Caps.
One of our own here in FiCP, Chris Cleveland, has seen him play and has had family play with/against him in the past. “I’m excited about this signing. The kid is good, really good. He’s a beast for how small he is, too.” Very stoked to have a hometown guy in the organization. An active player that comes to mind when thinking of a hometown player playing for his hometown NHL team is Detroit Red Wings’ forward Justin Abdelkader. He made his debut and stuck with them ever since. Maybe that’ll be the case here, we’ll just have to see. Congratulations Joe Snivley, and best of luck out there!
This morning, the Columbus Blue Jackets announced that they have traded Vitali Abramov, Jonathan Davidsson, and two conditional 1st-round draft picks (2019/2020) in exchange for the Ottawa Senators’ top center Matt Duchene and Julius Bergman. While this isn’t necessarily Caps news, it is something to be aware of. Columbus is going all-in. We could potentially have a round-two with them and their newly acquired fire power.
Formerly drafted by the Colorado Avalanche, Duchene blew up in his early years as an incredible playmaker. With other stars like their captain Gabriel Landeskog and the “fastest-skater-with-the-puck” Nathan MacKinnon taking over as the face of the Avs, they were pretty stacked at the time and pushed Duchene to the backseat. He eventually went through a rough patch with the club and decided to request a trade. He got what he wished for and was traded to Ottawa. The Senators have been a struggling team for quite a while now, especially this year, placing dead last in the Eastern Conference. In hopes of getting a hold of some young stars, they put Duchene up for grabs and the Blue Jackets were happy to scoop him up.
Photo Credit: Isiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports
Columbus has been a thorn in the Capitals’ side for the past few years and solidified the rivalry after mocking Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s bird celebration after their first 2018-2019 regular season win over the team. If these two clubs meet in the post-season, the Caps must be aware of Duchene’s talent he adds to Columbus’ scoring abilities. Fast skater, quick hands, and some incredible hand-eye coordination; definitely a player to watch out for.
Photo Credit: Patrick Gorski/Icon Sportswire
Columbus now has a pretty stacked center core. They have Pierre-Luc Dubois, Alexander Wennberg, Riley Nash, BooneJenner (flex), Brandon Dubinsky, Lukas Sedlak, and now Matt Duchene. My guess is that Sedlak is scratched to fit Duchene in their lineup. Down the middle would be Dubois-Duchene-Wennberg-Dubinsky, Jenner is currently on the wing so he’ll probably stay put. They’re going to be a huge threat in the playoffs.