NHL Pause: Can it please be over?

March 12, 2020: the day hockey came to an abrupt end with the announcement from the commissioner that he would take a pause as the United States and Canada began to see the spread of the Coronavirus. It was maybe when many of us realized that this was serious and possibly life changing. It was only two weeks ago and yet it seems like forever.

We have seen hockey go on hiatus before with the lockouts. That was about grown men who couldn’t come to agreement (where have we seen that lately). There was uncertainty then too: when would they start, how long would it take, would the game look different, and could the teams (for us the Washington Capitals) be able to quickly rebound. Those are the same questions we are asking today and we have the same, if not greater degree of uncertainty.

What we do know is that we need hockey. There is something healing about hockey and sports in general. It was there after 9/11 to help us cry with New York and give us something to look forward to. It was there in Las Vegas after an unthinkable shooting when the newly minted Vegas Knights stepped in the limelight. Their opening was unlike anything ever seen and a powerful statement about resilience and recovery. And it was there in Florida when Roberto Luango stood as part of the local community, as a parent and said what needed to be said about the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. So yes, we need hockey to help make us feel whole again.

In the meantime, we watch reruns of the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup and that incredible parade after. We cheer again as Alexander Ovechkin scores 700 and 701 points, over and over again. Now we watch simulated games with our own guys announcing the short video game. But it’s getting a little old.

Caps Stanley Cup Parade

What we are really missing is community. Work and schools and religious communities are banding people together over various video chat platforms. It makes us feel connected when we actually see faces. Can we do that in Caps country? Can we virtually connect in a way that will help us all get through? Call some friends- get online and talk Hockey and when you do—be sure to check and see how everything is going. Give them space to talk about their fears and maybe cry about kids being home and unemployment. And bring some laughs in as you talk about hat tricks and amazing saves.

Let’s do community Caps fans. We need it more than ever!

Caps Defeat Rangers in OT Before Falling to the Panthers in a Shootout

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What a weird schedule. Back-to-backs, then a few days off. Repeat. This week the Caps had a more favorable scheudle with two games at Capital One Arena. First the Capitals hosted the New York Rangers on Wednesday Night Hockey. Then on Friday, Washington hosted the winless Florida Panthers.  Continue reading “Caps Defeat Rangers in OT Before Falling to the Panthers in a Shootout”

Caps Final Regular Season Game: Fall to Cats but Head to Playoffs

It has been an awesome season for the Washington Capitals. Verizon Center was tingling with excitement with the anticipation of the playoffs starting this week. There were quite a few “be safe” scratches tonight: TJ Oshie, Justin Williams, Matt Niskanen, Brett Connolly, and John Carlson. Alex Ovechkin and Nick Backstrom both said they wanted to play every game of the season, so there were in the line up.

img_8451That meant there was space for Garrett Mitchell, Captain of the Hershey Bears and Taylor Chorney – finally on both accounts. Also in tonight were Chandler Stephenson and Paul Carey down from the HBH.

The first period kind of drifted by with no penalties, a total of 17 SOG, and no goals. Most excitement was seeing Mitchy on the ice!!

Oh and of course there was Jaromir Jagr who has now said that he will play at least until he turn 50, God willing.  img_8484

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Into the second at 15:35 we had the first power play with a trip of Ovechkin. No goal came out of it unfortunately. Caps got another PP but it didn’t work that well for the Caps because the Panthers scored shorthanded. Period ends 1-0 Cats.

Third period was about as slow as the previous two. Wilson went to the penalty box. And once again the Panthers scored again making it 2-0 Cats. And that’s how the Caps ended the regular season. No biggy but a win would have been nice.

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Still the most fun thing was watching Mitchell–’cause not much else was going on, other then watching to see what else was going on in the league to see who the Caps will play–so far it looks like Toronto on Thursday.

 

Photos by Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy

 

 

Photo Gallery:Florida Panthers Road Trip to Washington

The Florida Panthers visited the Washington Capitals Saturday night. Roberto Luongo played a noble game but the Caps finally broke through in the third period to win it 4-2. We have to admit, Lu is one of our favorite goalies to watch in action.

Here are a few shots we thought fans from Sunrise might enjoy.

The game only got heated a few times, a little tussle with Tom Wilson and Aaron Ekblad. And then there was the call that left Gerard Gallant a bit miffed with the refs!

In addition to the loss to the Caps, the Cats loss their prominent play11-5-332er Jaromir Jagr in the first period to an apparent groin injury. To add fuel to the fire, Capitals’ key player Alex Ovechkin scored his 18th regular season overtime goal — he follows one goal behind Jagr’s record. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

Panthers take on the Lightning Monday at 7:30 pm while the Caps next play Tuesday against San Jose at 7 pm

Photos by Mel Abernethy and Brittney Marcum

Caps Dog Cats Luongo For the Win

Reunited and It Works So Good: Ovi Backy Oshie

The Florida Panthers came to Washington to  win and it looked like they might the way Roberto Luongo was playing. The Cats were first on the scoreboard  with Jarad McCann navigating around Kuznetsov to tip the puck in 1-0. There was a lot of speed on the ice but it seemed as if the Panthers were in control most of the period. There was that moment when the Holtbeast had an amazing save on a wrist shot–he just spread out post-to-post and the fans went crazy.dsc_0741

Dmitry Orlov was called for tripping with less than a minute left in the period and  Florida would start the second period on the power play. BTW- did anyone else catch Dima’s  little tap on the head of Vincent Trocheck before headed off to the box?  Any way, the period ended with Florida holding the lead – the first time the Caps have trailed at the end of the first period all season 1-0 Panthers.

Also of note: Jaromir Jagr was back in DC playing for the bad guys and  getting in the middle of a scrum that didn’t really amount to much other than a good photo op!  Jagr left with a little over four minutes left in the second and never returned. Something about a cramping in the groin area…we’ll just leave it at that…

In the second period the Caps looked like they would pick up the pace and maybe take control of the game. On the Panthers side, McCann seemed to be all over the place- riding the Caps most of the period. Ovi was reunited back with TJ Oshie and finally with a shot from Ovi,  OSHIE finds the net and WOO-HOO the arena was alive once again tiring those nasty cats 1-1.

There was a bit of confusion when Aaron Ekblad was called for a high stick against Macus johansson. First it was a two-minute minor and the Caps started on the powerplay. Then we hear there was blood and it was a double minor – and then it wasn’t. Penalty clocks were finally set for 2 minutes.

Luongo kept squeezing and stopping while the we keep waiting to see if the Caps could take the lead.  Luongo just wouldn’t take a breath and let a goal in. We ended the second all tied.dsc_0877

Now the third period – that was when the Caps kicked it into high gear and stunned the Panther’s goalie. But first the Cats would score one on the Caps on a power play after a high-stick was called on Marcus Johansson. Reilly Smith backhanded the puck through Holtby’s five-hole giving the Panthers the 2-1 lead. Then Ovechkin would deflect a shot from Brooks Oprik and record his seventh goal of the season. Nate Schmidt got a piece of the assist too. Next up, Oshie would go top shelf and give the Caps the lead with this second of the night and sixth of the season. 3-2 Caps. The Caps were finally beating Roberto at his best when Lars Eller grabbed a rebound from John Carlson and a two-goal lead for the win at 4-2. Panther’s coach wasn’t too happy about it but the goal held as did the lead.

Caps ended a well-played game with their fifth win in a row!!

Caps Tame Cats with 4-2 Victory

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Everybody Scores!!
On Thursday night, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals headed south to BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida to take on Jaromir Jagr and the Florida Panthers. The Caps have a pretty good record against the Panthers, getting a point in 14 out of their last 16 meetings.

Would the Caps walk away with 2 more points tonight? If the forwards keep producing like they have been, the defense stays solid and there’s another strong performance from our Holtby, it should be another Caps victory.

In the first period, Andre Burakovsky undressed Micheal Matheson with a beautiful deke, but was stopped by Roberto Luongo. TJ Oshie had a great oppurtunity as well, but was denied by the right post. Justin Williams got the Caps on the board first with a good follow-up shot on a rebound of his previous shot that was blocked by Luongo. Nate Schmidt got the primary apple on Williams’ goal. Not even 2 minutes later, Evgeny Kuznetsov got a lucky bounce and put another past Luongo, assisted by Matt Niskanen. Holtby made some excellent saves to keep the Panthers off the board. However, Matheson put one past Holtby’s glove side and got the Panthers their first goal of the game. Caps lead in shots on goal 12-8, and also on the scoreboard. Good guys up, 2-1.

In the second period, the first penalty of the game was committed and resulted in a powerplay for Florida. Lars Eller was called for tripping Denis Malgin, but the Caps successfully killed the penalty. Holtby got lucky with another puck that pinged off the post. Washington was called for another penalty when Oshie was caught hooking
Jussi Jokinen. The Panthers got a goal during the ensuing powerplay that was promptly waved off. However, Jagr got his 750th goal past Holtby, glove side again. The goal, which tied the game, was during a Panthers powerplay. Nicklas Backstrom was called for tripping Shane Harper.

The Caps seemed tired in the second. They spent a lot of time in their own zone. The ice was definitely tilted in Florida’s favor and the Caps were lucky to get out of the period tied with the Panthers, 2-2.

The Caps started off the third period still having issues clearing their own zone or maintaining pressure in the offensive zone. The Panthers were called for their first penalty of the game when Keith Yandle was caught hooking Burakovsky. The Caps went to the powerplay, which was killed by Florida. About three minutes later, Ovechkin gave the Caps back the lead. Niskanen got the primary assist when he fired a shot on net that Ovi deflected past Luongo. Nate Schmidt was then called for interference and the Caps were right back to the penalty kill. Holtby gave the ref an earful when his helmet was knocked off by Jagr’s stick when it caught the cage of his mask. There was a scary moment for Daniel Winnick when he took a blocked shot off the side of his face. Luckily, he was ok and returned to the game. (we found out later, he lost part of his ear–really part of his ear!)  The Caps were able to kill the penalty and Brett Connelly almost got his first goal on an odd man rush with Justin Williams, but Luongo stoned him. Marcus Johannson was the benefactor of a turnover and blasted an unassisted goal past Luongo to seal the victory.

Caps win, 4-2.

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This was the Caps third victory in a row. They are now 3-0-1, with their only loss the overtime loss against
Pittsburgh in the season opener. There was good offensive support from the Caps D-men. There were multiple
Caps defensive players that had assists on the Caps goals. Despite a lackluster second period, the Caps had
a strong game.

The next bout is at home on Saturday, October 22. The Caps take on the New York Rangers at the
Verizon Center at 7 pm.

Capitals in Florida

The Washington Capitals are in Sunrise, Florida to  see if they can make it three in a row in the W column. Braden Holtby is expected back in the net following the shutout for Philipp Grubauer. Brett Connolly will be in again which means that Zach Sanford and Taylor Chorney are scratched for a second game. The Swede line remains in tact.

Everyone is ready to see the third line for the Caps register some points on the board.

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The Panthers come to the ice a bit bruised after an OT Shootout loss to Tampa Bay Lightning. James Reimer was in the net and unable to stop a fifth shot by  Lightning rookie Brayden Point–his first shootout in the NHL. Prior to the loss, the Cats had won their first two games. Roberto Luongo is expected to be back in the net tonight and it looks like Jarmir Jagr will be in the line up as well. He is one goal away from a career 750.

Caps Lines according to Daily FaceoffL

Panthers Lines:

Next game is back home against the NY Rangers, 7 PM.

 

Caps Panthers Pre-Game Notes: All You Need to Know

DON’T FORGET: It’s a 7:30 puck drop tonight. Watch on NBCSN and listen 106.7

Your printable reference for tonight’s #CapsCats game.

With a 35-8-4 record returning from the All-Star break, the Caps will soon begin a series of games against Western Conference leaders—most who they have yet to play this season.

No Alex Ovechkin tonight: suspended for skipping the All-Star Games.

No Marcus Johannson.

Sill in for MoJo
The Panthers have clawed their way up to the top and will be coming in from Nashville after a weekend of that highlighted the talents of Jaromir Jagr and Roberto Luongo. They lead the Atlantic Division with a 29-15-5 record.

Al Montoya will get the start in the net tonight. He is 7-2-1, .929)

Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team in points (34 with 8 goals & 28 assists).

Jagr follows with 33 points and sits behind Riley Smith (16g) with 15 goals. (BTW: Kuzy did score on Luaongo during the Games)

Caps Forward Lines

Galiev (49) Backstrom (19) Oshie (77)

Burakovsky (65) Kuznetsov (92) Williams (14)

Chimera (25) Richards (10) Wilson (43)

Laich (21) Sill (23) Latta (46)

Defensemen Parings

Alzner (28) Niskanen (2)

Schmidt (88) Carlson (74)

Orlov (9) Chorney (4)

Goalies

Braden Holtby (70) Philipp Grubauer (31) **

** Expected in the net tonight.

Injury List

Marcus Johansson joins the injured list having left the Flyers game early with an upper-body injury. He did not skate with the team on Monday or Tuesday. He is considered day-to-day.

Brooks Orpik skated with the team during morning skate for the first time in ages. This is a good sign friends! Sounds like he is on the mend. He has missed 33 games.

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Jay Beagle’s recovery is coming along. It could be another couple weeks before he returns to the game following hand surgery. He continues skating with the trainers before team practice. He has missed 11 games.

 The Panthers Projected Lineup

Forward Lines

Huberdeau (11)Barkov (16)Jagr (68)

Jokinen (36) Trocheck (21)Smith (18)

Howden (42) Bjugstad (27) Shaw (48

Thornton (22) MacKenzie (17)Knight (53)

Defensemen Pairings

Campbell (51) Ekblad (5)

Kulikov (7) Gudbranson (44)

Kampfer (3) Petrovic (6)

Goalies

Luongo (1) Montoya (35)**

** Expected in the net.

Injury List

Savard, Bolland, and Mitchell