The Morning After: Caps Hockey Hangover

Thursday night the Caps played their first Stanley Cup Playoff game at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. It was not always a pretty game, and it went into overtime, which means the early-working ladies of FiCP didn’t get a game recap out in time. So here are some of the highlights of the game, as captured by Mel.

Warm up were great. You could tell the players were jazzed to be there. The crowd was ‘lit’ with glow torches, and there was an air of winning throughout the phone booth. John Carlson was back and paired up with Karl Alzner again.

 

And then the first period happened…

Toronto surprised, and silenced, the crowd with a 2-0 lead. Leafs Mitchell Marner scored his first NHL playoff goal and Jake Gardiner came in behind him to give them the two-goal lead. The second goal was initially waved off but after a review prompted by a Coach Babcock challenge, the goal was reinstated.

Coming back to the second period it wasn’t clear if the Caps were ready for this playoff game or not. Fans were moaning a bit, just as three-time Cup winner Justin Williams scored the first Caps goal of the night. He came back with a second goal right though Leaf’s goalie Craig Anderson’s legs to tie it up. We can’t help but keep watching that one.

Meanwhile – Caps fans were getting a kick out of seeing former Hersey Bear Connor Carick taking on some of his old pals. Lots of love taps, and then a few scrums to show he was no longer one of us. Oh and Happy Birthday Connor, who turned 23 Thursday.

Back to the game and the third period.  Pretty much nothing happened there. The Caps out shot the Leafs. There were no penalties. By the end of the period we were off to overtime. And what an overtime it was!!

You may recall this statement earlier in the week…

We don’t expect to hear Babcock trash talk any more Caps players because it was Tom Wilson who brought it  home with his first (unassisted) goal in the NHL Playoffs, and he is the “first Capitals player to scored his first playoff goal in overtime.” (NHL) We couldn’t be more excited for Wilson!!

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For all the concerns expressed about Auston Matthews (34), he was relatively quite Thursday with one SOG.

So now we wait until Saturday at 7 pm EST to do it again. Caps have morning skae at 10:30 Saturday at Kettler.

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.