Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights

michael banner 2A Stanley Cup Finals rematch happened on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Washington Capitals returned to the scene of the place where they captured their first Stanley Cup but the Vegas Golden Knights didn’t feel too well welcoming the Stanley Cup champs in their house. They got revenge in the rematch with a 5-3 win with the game-winning goal coming from….. Nate SchmidtContinue reading “Nate Schmidt Makes His Old Team Pay, Caps Fall 5-3 to the Vegas Golden Knights”

Hershey Bears Finalize Coaching Staff with New Assistant Coach

The Hershey Bears announced on Monday the hiring of Mike Eastwood as their new assistant coach. He joins new head coach Spencer Carbery, assistant coach Patrick Wellar, and Alex Westlund to round out the coaching team.

Eastwood was with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League for three seasons and became their assistant coach in the 2014/15 season. In the announcement, the Bears touted his ability to develop players in Ottawa, something that Hershey has a great reputation for doing with Capitals players. He should prove to be a good addition to the team.

Bryan Helmer, vice president of hockey operations in the press release said: “We’re excited to welcome Mike Eastwood to Hershey, as we finalize our new coaching staff, Mike provides an element that we feel will be a great asset to our young players. He did a great job in his coaching stint in the Ontario Hockey League, and he can draw from his vast playing experience in the NHL to help grow and develop our team as we chase a championship”

Here is the remainder of the press release:

Eastwood, 51, spent three seasons with the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, serving as an assistant coach in 2014-15 before being promoted to associate coach. In each of Eastwood’s three years in Ottawa, the club qualified for the playoffs. With the 67’s, Eastwood played a pivotal role in developing prospects, including current Philadelphia Flyers forward Travis Konecny, and Kody Clark, a 2018 second round draft selection of Washington.

The Ottawa, Ontario native played 13 seasons in the NHL from 1991-2004, scoring 236 points (87 goals, 149 assists) in 783 career games with Toronto, Winnipeg, Phoenix, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. He also skated in 97 career playoff games, scoring 19 points.

The responsible, two-way center was known for his craft on faceoffs, and enjoyed his best season in 1999-2000 with St. Louis, a year in which he helped the Blues win the President’s Trophy as the team that finished with the most regular season points in the NHL. That season, Eastwood collected a career-high 34 points (19 goals, 15 assists) in 79 games, on a Blues team that also featured both Helmer, as well as Todd Reirden, the new head coach of the Capitals, on the blue line.

A star player at Western Michigan University, Eastwood was originally drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 5th round in 1987. He spent two seasons with Toronto’s American Hockey League affiliate, the St. John’s Maple Leafs, including the 1992-93 campaign that saw Eastwood finish with 59 points.

Photo from the Ottawa Citizen.

Caps Line Shuffle Leaves Us Shaking Our Heads…

Coach Trotz appears to be trying something new–again–with the lines. For the Oilers’ game, Coach moved T.J. Oshie to the second line and moved Andre Burakovsky up to the first. And we know how that game went with all the penalties, missed opportunities, a single goal by Alexander Ovechkin, and a 4-1 loss.

This sparked shock and horror to many fans as the Caps lost two straight games in regulation – something they hadn’t done since March of 2015, according to Mike Vogel. From what we are hearing and reading, Caps fans are feeling as if something is off.

And now we are hearing from reporters at the Vancouver practice that Trotz has really shifted the lines again.

Ovechkin  Backstrom  Williams

Johansson  Kuznetzov  Wilson

Burakovsky  Eller  Oshie

Sanford  Beagle  Connolly

Building Chemistry? 

img_5394-3So we have Tom Wilson moving up to the second line and Oshie moving to the third and a big switch up with Williams moving to the first line. We have gotten used to seeing Backstrom move back and forth between the top two lines, so this is no great surprise. But quite frankly, this latest move has many of us scratching our heads.

We get that Trotz likes to keep things fluid and keep the players from becoming complacent. We get that he likes to reward those that play hard and demote those whom he thinks haven’t shown enough enthusiasm for the win. We just aren’t sure what these changes indicate, if anything.watermarked142016-10-01-1257

  • Is he hoping to spark Wilson into a more offensive player by paring him with Mojo and Kuzy? He still leads the team in penalty minutes and has only had six SOG.
  • Is there a chemistry there that we aren’t seeing or that coach hopes to create?
  • What will Williams bring to the first line that is missing? Leadership? He hasn’t exactly been heating up the ice with SOG or goals.

We have said it before, and we will say it again: IN TROTZ WE TRUST!

They pay him the big bucks to figure this stuff out. We know something is off and it is up to him to find the way back to the kind of winning we saw last season. We have to remember that he knows things about the team which we are not privy to and so for now:

Breathe Friends – Breathe. And hang on until we see how things go on Saturday. 

 

 

BB on the Move Again

Bruce Boudreau has once again been released from his duties as an NHL head coach. We’re actually pretty surprised that Anaheim hung in there as long as they did this season.

bruce

General Manager Murray said about BB’s firing: “In no way, shape or form is this pointing a gun at Bruce’s head. Let’s make that perfectly clear. But you’ve got to start somewhere.” Sounds familiar.

When teams fail to thrive quite often there is a disconnect between the coach and the team. For whatever reason, the team may no longer hear or respect the coach and the coach can no longer find the way to reach or encourage the team. It is what happened in Washington and it looks like its what happened in Anaheim. Change has to happen when a team falls short of full success. You can’t exactly fire the full team so the first to go is usually the coach.

Bruce is a talented coach. He is a great guy. He is likable, which is why he still owns a warm spot in Caps’ fans hearts. The rumor mill has already spinning in full gear as the media guesses where he will end up next. Ottawa, Minnesota, and maybe the Islanders. Where ever he lands, we wish him well–unless the Caps are playing against him!

Trotz’s Take: NYR Post-game comments, 3/4/2016

Following Friday night’s loss to the NY Rangers, Coach Trotz had these comments about the game:

About the Performance:

I thought we played pretty well, actually.”

“I thought we came out with a pretty good game plan.”

“I didn’t think the first was too bad.”

“I thought in the second period that we dominated that period.”

“I thought in the third we had a pretty good push on but they did a really good job defending.”

“I thought they had a couple of key saves.”

“We couldn’t’ get it tied up.”

You don’t want to give a goal up the end of the period—you don’t want to give up a goal the first two minutes the start of a period.”

Beagle, Richards, Winnik were outstanding—I would not want to play that line a lot—they were good.”

“We played the right way”

Trotz said he told the guys after the game: “I’ll take that game any day of the week

There are hockey gods and the way we played against the Leafs I think that was their way of going, you gotta give us one back for that effort.”

Road Trip

The Caps head off on a four-game road trip which after Boston takes them to the west coast and play against the Anaheim Ducks, the LA Kings, and the San Jose Sharks. Coach is looking forward to the trip, saying: “Great for us to get on the road a little bit, we’ve been home for a long time we may be a little stale. Get on the road and see if we can pull the game a little back together”

Bruins: “We are gonna get marked up by all the teams that we’re playing, Boston is playing very very well right now who knows what happens. They might be a first round opponent. Still a lot of hockey to be played they’re gonna come out ready to go tomorrow night”

Ducks: “…and then we head to Anaheim that’s five games seven nights that will be a tough one. Anaheim’s has won 10 or 11 in a row right now They’re playing real good hockey right now, they’re in first place and they are gonna want to mark us up and see what we’ve got to offer from this side “

Kings: “…and then we go to LA and they are fighting for first place and we’ve seen them once”

Sharks: “…and then we go to San Jose, who played us in game two.”

I think they are all fighting for first place within a point or two of each other and they are sort of peaking at the right time.”