Dark times for Dmitry’s production

The Washington Capitals’ defensive core has grown immensely since Dmitry Orlov was drafted 55th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has established his role on the team as a top 4 defenseman with a well played two-way style and glimpses of offensive talents. The Caps would not have won the Stanley Cup last year without his contributions at both ends of the ice.

Paired with defensive partner Matt Niskanen, Orlov has the support to use his offensive talents in all zones on the ice with Niskanen’s defensive mindset. Last year, Orlov produced 31 points (10g, 21a) in all 82 regular season games. This year, he is at 27 points (3g, 24a) with only a handful of games left. I have noticed one big thing that could possibly be preventing him from matching last year’s numbers, and that’s offensive zone entry.

Orlov is a confident, offensive defenseman. When he has the puck on the entry, he has two options; throw the puck down low/ring it around for the far side winger or carry it in and look for the pass/shot. A lot of his turnovers this season have been in the offense zone, mainly due to bad decision making. When given a prime shooting lane, he decides to carry the puck and make a move or attempt to make an unnecessary pass to move the play/goalie. It’s been a very noticeable aspect in his past few games and would most likely have more points on the season if he made the simple decision.

3-on-3 OT against the New York Rangers. Orlov has the puck in the offensive zone, makes a move to the outside and gets well defended. He loses control of the puck and drops it to Ovechkin. If Ovechkin was not there, Orlov would’ve had his pocket picked. Good move nonetheless by Dmitry. Video credit: Marcus Boutilier/@SportMajor via Twitter.

This is purely an opinionated piece. As a college hockey defenseman in my younger days, I’ve had to tweak my own game here and there to make things work for me. That could be the case here for Dmitry, but it’s a little late in the season to be experimenting with his game. He has the capability to put up big numbers and I feel making the simple plays would benefit him and his team more. I know Orlov has the ability to put up more points than he has so far this season, I would just like to see him play a bit more conservative when make offensive zone entries. We believe in you, Dmitry, defend your Stanley Cup well!

I am open to discussion on this topic, hit me up on my personal Twitter handle @Jurky88.

Djoos is loose with Jensen

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

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.

Shattenkirk to Caps Strengthens Cup Run; First Look Against NYR Tonight

Opinion Piece by Chris Cleveland

Kevin Shattenkirk to the Caps means it really is Stanley Cup or bust this year. As the trade deadline winds down, the Washington Capitals shocked us all and made what could be the trade that puts them over the top and finally brings the Cup home to DC. The Caps sent their 2017 first round pick, 2018 second round pick, and Zack Sanford to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk.

I know Shattenkirk very well. Actually I am a huge Blackhawks fan as well and they had to deal with Shattenkirk constantly. The guy is a darn good defenseman and has one of the best slap shots I have ever seen. He drove me crazy with the number of goals he has scored on the Hawks and I am super happy he is now with the Caps. Another really appealing thing about him is his ability to create plays and set up his teammates. The part I really like about him though is his age. He is only 27 and can really provide a major boost to the Caps blue line–something that has been lacking in the playoffs . The Mike Weber experiment last year which was a complete failure. This; however, is going to be a totally different story.  As one of the best D in the league, Shattenkirk is going to be one of the key pieces of the Caps cup run this year.

sanford-called-upEven though we did give up a lot for him, like Zach Sanford,  it is going to be worth it in the end if we bring home the Stanley Cup this year. My final reason for liking Shattenkirk is he is a magician on the power play. He has scored so many power play goals against the Hawks from so many different angles and he loves the one timer from the point too. I also don’t think the Caps are done trading yet. I could really see us trading off Stan Galiev and Nate Schdmit together for a depth forward who has won a Cup before. You know, someone like Patrick Sharp? Here is my best guess at what the Caps D pairs will be from as we head to the final run for the Cup:

Carlson Alzner

Niskanen Shattenkirk

Orpik Orlv

Thoughts?? Are you more hopeful now about the Caps getting all the way to the finals this year? Think we need more change?

 

Featured Image by NHL

FiCP Goes to Hockey N’ Heels

By Brittney Marcum

Hockey N’ Heels 2017, hosted by Courtney Laughlin, was in my opinion, much improved from 2016. The previous year the Caps only used one of Kettler’s rinks; however, this year they utilized both, making the sessions much less rushed and giving us time to truly enjoy them.

Once again there were three on-ice sessions, as well as three off-ice. First up,  our group (the red group) went to learn about face-offs from the legend Rod Langway. He explained to us how to hold the stick as well as why players get thrown out and replaced at the circle. We had so much fun going against each other and unleashing our inner Jay Beagle!!

Next on the agenda was a lesson in goalie skills from the man behind the beast, Coach Mitch Korn. Mitch explained to us the importance of the different pieces of goalie equipment and gave us directions on how to use them. We even got take a go at playing goalie for ourselves. We also spoke to him about how long goalies really have to react to those pucks flying at them from all angles and his responses were astonishing. He said that goalies watch video of players on other teams shooting so that they know what to expect come game time.

Our last on-ice activity was broom ball with Daniel Winnik and Nate Schmidt. Our half of the group was playing alongside Dan Winnik who explained we really needed to moonwalk while playing as to not fall over on our butts… If you must know I definitely fell on mine. Nate Schmidt was really getting into it which made it that much more enjoyable for everyone involved.Brett Connolly and Philipp Grubauer hosted similar groups on the other side of the ice.

The off-ice sessions included a chat with Chef Robert Wood (SuperFd and Eco Catering) who has an AWESOME cookbook coming out, including recipes from  the Caps better halves. The food he cooked up for the evening was delicious[ the shrimp- pineapple skewers were my personal fave! We also got the opportunity to talk with Coach Trotz about his thoughts on how the team is doing and who their biggest competitor is. In case you were wondering he said it was the Blackhawks, and we all know how that went. The third off-ice session was a chat with Caps Alumni Craig Laughlin, Paul Mulvey, and Rod Langway. We discussed the expansion draft and the biggest changes they have seen in the game since they played.

Overall we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and recommend anyone trying it at least one time.

We want your input!  Let us know what you thought of the event good or bad!

Caps Pregame Update 

Ok folks we finally have the skinny on tonight’s game.

Philipp Grubauer is in the net, giving the team a chance to redeem themselves after the embarrassing lack of support they showed on Saturday.dsc_0156

Taylor Chorney is in again which means Nate Schmidt is in the viewing area tonight.

The lines are as we have never seen them before as the team captain moves to the second line. This is one area that the critics have disagreed with Coach Trotz. We listed it as a weakness–the inconsistency and unraveling of cohesion. Others think the change could spark new energy. We remain optimistically skeptical…

The lines tonight, according to Isabelle Khurshudyn of WP are as follows:

Forwards

Marcus Johansson-Nicklas Backstrom-T.J. Oshie

Alex Ovechkin-Jay Beagle-Andre Burakovsky

Zach Sanford-Evgeny Kuznetsov-Justin Williams

Daniel Winnik-Lars Eller-Tom Wilson

Defensemen

Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen

Dmitry Orlov-John Carlson

Brooks Orpik-Taylor Chorney
Goaltenders

Philipp Grubauer (starter)

Braden Holtby


Scratches

Brett Connolly

Nate Schmidt

Hang on friends- it’s gonna be a wild ride tonight. Game time is 7  pm on CSN.

Carlson: Caps Special Weapon

John Carlson has been the defenseman stars of the playoffs since the first game. Carly is back to his old self after missing a total of 26 games during the regular season for lower-body injury. He is often called “the most under-rated” defensemen in the NHL; that is until the playoffs. He has averaged 25 minutes on the ice and racked up three goals. He is a key component to the Caps power play—scoring all three goals on the PP. Carly blocks an average of two shots a game and at 6’3”, 210 pounds, he is a brick wall opponents don’t want to run into.

In seven postseason games he has already surpassed his 204/15 record of five points in 14 games. Every time he steps on the ice, we are pretty sure something is going to happen. He already has 30 shots on goal, just three shy of Alex Ovechkin. He also has a 10 percent save average–the highest of any of the team defensemen. He is a solid special teams player who grits it out on the powerplay or blocking shots to kill off the opponent’s powerplay. Averaging about 25 minutes on the ice every game, you get the feeling that he is always there.

As the Caps keep pushing forward to defeat the Pittsburgh Penguins, look for Carly to play a key role in the team’s success.

GO CAPS!!!

 

Caps Shutout Flyers in Game One Victory

Playoff hockey time! The Presidents’ Trophy winning Washington Capitals went to battle with the 2nd Wild Card Philadelphia Flyers. The game began with a moment of silence for the passing of late Flyers owner Ed Snider.

First Period: Too Many Penalties

The Capitals and Flyers started their first playoff series in eight years. The theme throughout the first period was that the Capitals were shorthanded too often. Defensemen John Carlson (hooking) and Brooks Orpik (illegal hit to the head and interference) each spent time in the penalty box. Thankfully, the penalty kill and Braden Holtby were successful at keeping the Flyers off the board. The teams were scoreless after the first period.

Second Period: Captain America gets it Started! 

Evgeny Kuznetsov blocked a shot with his ankle less than three minutes into the second. The Caps’ power play did everything but score on their first opportunity. Halfway through the period, the Flyers did not have a shot on goal in the second. The Caps went on the penalty kill for the fourth time and were successful. Just 19 seconds into the Capitals’ third power play, John Carlson scored the first goal of the series. Marcus Johansson and T.J. Oshie collected the assists on Carlson’s goal. The Caps lead 1-0 after two periods of hockey.

Third Period: Beagle Seals the Win! 

The Capitals went on the power play less than three minutes into the period after there were too many Flyers on the ice. Sam Gagner got assessed a double minor for hi-sticking Brooks Orpik but the Caps were unable to get an insurance goal on the extended power play. Brayden Schenn cleaned out Mike Richards but no call. Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds dropped the gloves with less than seven minutes left in regulation. With 3:24 left in regulation, Jay Beagle double the Caps’ lead. Johansson had his second assist of the night on Beagle’s fourth career playoff goal. The Capitals defeat the Flyers, 2-0, and Holtby’s third playoff shutout. One down, 15 to go.

As expected, a Capitals and Flyers series is fueled by the rivalry and is incredibly physical.

What’s Next?

Practice: The Capitals are scheduled to practice at 11:30am at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday.

Game: Game Two is on Saturday at 7pm at Verizon Center.