Caps Fans Care

Every now and then, when an opposing team scores – in just about any arena – there are a number of fans who think it’s cool to yell “Who Cares!?!?” as the announcer names the person responsible. It sounds something like this:

Announcer: “Washington Capitals Score! Alex Ovechkin scored the goal at 12:55 in the period, with assists from Kuznetzov and T.J. Oshie, making it 1-0 in the first!”

(Opposing) Fans: “Who Cares?!?”

And to be fair, this is yelled in the Capital One Arena just as often as other rinks, so we are just as bad as the other guys. (Well… not as bad as Penguins fans. They’re awful. They can’t help it though; they live in Pittsburgh. That would make us cranky, too.)

My point? This cheer sucks.

It doesn’t make any sense. I mean, right, you’re trying to advertise your nonchalance about finding yourself down by one during a game, because you’ll obviously tie it up. Sure. That’s, umm, important? But as a fan, you should care. You should care a lot.

Because now you’re playing one goal down, and that doesn’t always light the fire under our team’s butts like we’d like it to. Sometimes, it means we’re gonna lose. And shouting that you don’t care about that is like commenting on an online movie review for a movie you never plan on seeing. Why bother showing up, if you don’t care? Why waste the oxygen it takes to yell this nonsense?

So here’s my proposal: The next time you find yourself wanting to yell “Who Cares?!” in response to another team’s goal, don’t. Just don’t. Maybe we’ll earn a reputation for being the fans who care.

:::mic drop:::

Heck of a Home Opener Photo Gallery

As you all know, the Caps had their home opener yesterday. And boy did they kick some Canadien butt!

The Caps once again held their annual red carpet right outside the main entrance of Capital One Arena, and the boys were looking sharp per usual:

 

And we know you all want to see Tom Wilson:

 

Then there was Nathan Walker…. the first Aussie to play in the NHL, so of course he was given the Newbie Treatment prior to warm-ups:

His proud teammates joined him moments later:

Then came the Intros:

And finally…. THE GOALS… ALL THE GOALLSSSS:

 

And in case you didn’t know the Caps won their 2nd game in a row 6-1… Tampa Bay you’re next.

 

Photos by: Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernathy

The History of The Capitals Penguins Rivalry

Tonight we are playing the Pittsburgh Penguins. To most of the NHL the Penguins are infamous for their players and their cup wins. To us they’re infamous for Sidney Crosby and the times we have played against each other in the playoffs. I’m going to dive into the history of the rivalry. This is a different type of article than I usually do. Warning about this article it may hurt a bit.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins were founded in 1967 and Capitals in 1974. The rivalry however didn’t start until we met for the first time in the playoffs in 1991 in the Patrick Division finals. The Capitals won game 1 but lost the other 4. The Penguins then won their first stanley cup against the Minnesota North Stars in 6 games.

 

The year after the Penguins and the Capitals played in the second series against the penguins. We led the Penguins in a 3-1 however the Penguins won 3 games straight and won the series. The Penguins later went on to win their second Stanley Cup against the Blackhawks in 4 games.

 

In 1994 the 7th seed Capitals played against the 2nd seed Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round. We beat the Penguins 4-2. This was first and unfortunately only time we have beaten the Penguins in the playoffs. We however lost the New York Rangers a round later.

 

1n 1995 the Penguins unfortunately took back our pride in the first round of the playoffs. We held a 3-1 lead and then the Penguins scored in overtime to win game 5 and won both game 6 and 7. The Penguins were then taken out by the New Jersey Devils 4-1 the round later.

 

In 1996 we played the Penguins again in the first round. We were leading 2-0 and then the Penguins came back and won the next 4 games. The Penguins later lost in the Conference finals against the Florida Panthers 4-3.

 

We didn’t met the Penguins again til 2000 the 7th seed Penguins played our second seed Capitals in the first round. The beat us in 5 games. The Penguins then were eliminated by the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2 in the second round.

 

ln 2001 we met the Penguins in the first round. We lost to the Penguins in 6 games with an overtime goal. They lost later against the Buffalo Sabres in the conference finals. This was the last time the Penguins had would make it into the playoffs until the 2007 playoffs. We made it into the playoffs after that until the 2004 playoffs.

 

We then got lucky and got the first round pick off 2004 and picked our star Alexander Ovechkin. We were all so excited to see Ovechkin play in the NHL and then a bit of bad news happened, we were locked out. The Stanley Cup wasn’t given to anyone that season nor was the President’s trophy or the Calder trophy. The Penguins got the luck of the draw and picked Sidney Crosby. This made the rivalry grow stronger.
In the 2009 playoffs we faced of against the Penguins for the first time with Ovechkin and Crosby. We won game 1 and then the most legendary playoff game happened. In that game Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby scored a hattrick each. It was an incredible game we beat the Penguins 4-3. We then lost game 3,4 and 5. In game six David Steckel scored an overtime goal taking us back home for game 7. Unfourtunatly we fell to the Penguins 6-2 in game seven and Crosby would win his first Stanley Cup in game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings.
In 2011 we met again in an important setting. Unlike the past games I’ve talked about it wasn’t on the playoff stage it was on New Year’s Day at Heinz Field during the Bridgestone Winter Classic. Former Capital (and current Penguin) Eric Fehr scored 2 goals and we beat them 3-1.

 

We met again in the Playoffs last year in the second round. We took Game one when Oshie scored a hat trick including a goal in overtime. We lost 3 games after that. We then played in game 5. We were down 3-1 and many fans had lost hope. We won the game 5 3-1 and moved elimination off a day. Unfortunately game 6 arose. This was the most intense game of the series. We were down 3-0 until Oshie scored at the end of the second. We then scored another two more goals taking it to overtime. Then this is the painful part (don’t say I didn’t warn you) 6:32 seconds into overtime Nick Bonino lit up the light. The Penguins went on and beat the San Jose Sharks in 6 games.
This is the history now lets move on to the future and win tonight!

Caps Silence Blues in 4-3 Win

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All those hats…hard to get them all….

Tonight’s 4-3 was a struggle for power between the Capitals and the Blues, exchanging far too many penalties but using their tremendous goalies to stay afloat. This game also saw the return of Lars Eller after he came down with an upper body injury after the Red Wings game. In the end, though, the Caps reigned supreme.

The first period or, as I like to call it, How Not to Play Hockey, featuring an incredible nine minutes of even-strength playing. I honestly feel bad making you read all of these penalties, but here they are. It all started with the Blues having too many men on the ice, served by Robby Fabbri. Less than two minutes later, Jay Bouwmeester joined him in the box for slashing. Next up, Nate Schmidt, sent to the sin bin for holding, which the Blues only got to enjoy for five seconds before their own guy, David Perron, went in for interference. It wasn’t long before Alex Ovechkin had to serve a minor for too many men, as well. Just over two minutes later, Kyle Brodziak was sent to the box for slashing.

The upside of all of this, though, was the Caps’ power play goal, 17 minutes in, and scored by Ovi. As well, shoutout to the beer man, Perry, for joining me in making fun of referee Tim Peel’s broken microphone as he called all of these penalties.

The coaches must not have been very pleased with the constant penalties, because when the teams came back out for the second period, things were much different. It was almost as if they just decided they weren’t going to play to avoid getting penalties, but that still didn’t work. Daniel Winnik went off, early on, for hooking, which wasn’t much with the low energy level that was present. Despite this, though, Braden Holtby continued to be absolutely godly with his saves. It wasn’t long before Ovi scored his second of the night, but Vladimir Tarasenko answered, less than a minute later, with his own goal to put the Blues on the board. The only other noteworthy event was Dmitry Orlov and Colton Parayko’s matching slashing penalties, but the period was dull overall.

While the third period didn’t improve much in terms of penalties, it had plenty more goals than the past forty minutes. But it was terrifying. Things were slow at first, with most of the action happening in the neutral zone, rather than any real offensive plays. That is, until, Evgeny Kuznetsov got in on the action and scored off of a beautiful pass from Orly. Not even a minute later, Ovi earned himself a hat trick with his third goal, making fans go crazy. It got scary when the penalties returned.

Andre Burakovsky went to the box for holding and Ellen soon followed him with a tripping penalty. The Blues saw their chance and they took it, first with Pietrangelo scoring, and then Tarasenko following, less than a minute later.

img_6283Despite this, the Caps held strong and closed out the night with a 4-3 win.  

Photos by Mel Abernethy

Jackets Zip Up Caps Again, 3-2 

With Tj Oshie and Lars Eller listed as day-to-day the Caps lines took another adjustment:

90-19-14, 8-92-65, 28-83-43, 26-82-10. Defense: 9-74, 27-2, 44-88. Chorney was scratched again. Holtby vs. Bobrovsky in the opposing nets. 

Nicky Backstrom got things going with a wrist shot through Bobrovsky to score first for the Caps. Caps PR tweeted out that the Caps  “have scored first in 15 of their 18 games this season.” The Caps were success most of the period putting pressure on the Jackets. They would loose a bit of there steam as the period ended with the Jackets outshooting, out hitting, and out blocking. Period ends 1-0 Caps. 

Sure Alex  Ovechkin scored, as did Nick Foligno of the Jackets.  The Caps still seemed to be struggling with only four shots on goal. Burakovsky isn’t looking fully himself which leaves us wondering if he is really ok? At the end of the second Caps still lead 2-1. 

Coming into the third period it seemed as if the Caps were still looking for their offensive game. Right off the bat Jacket’s Brandon Dubinsky tapped one in around Holtby, tying the game 2-2. With 1:43 left in the period Backy’a stick gets a little too high putting the Jackets on the PP. And they make it 3-2 with a bounce over Holtby. Backstrom was pretty upset with the call against him. Toronto asks another look to see if it was offside. No such luck, a disappointed Verizon crowd here’s the bad news that it is a good goal. Bobs continues to thwart the Caps and the game ends 3-2 Columbus. 

Caps hold practice at Kettler on Monday with a Wednesday night game against St. Louis. 

Chimera: Pros Outweigh Cons for Washington Capitals to Retain

The Washington Capitals will consider signing UFA Jason Chimera in the coming weeks. FiCP votes YES.

 

Jason Chimera in one of three unrestricted free agents* that the Washington Capitals’ will consider signing over the summer—or not. The Caps’ community love this guy, but do we love him enough to want to sign a 37 year old third-liner for another couple of years. We don’t question his ability because of his age; however, it surely is part of what management is thinking about as they consider the upside and downside of keeping him on the Caps roster.

So a little background. Jason was signed by the Caps in 2009. He previously played for the Columbus Blue Jackets and Edmonton Oilers. He makes $2 million a year – a sizable hit to the salary cap but not outrageous—unless the Caps want to bring in someone and pay them more. That’s probably one for the con column.

His penalty minutes are actually down! In seven years with the Caps he has had 350 minutes compared to the 372 with the Oilers in five years. This season he has spent less time in the box than in his entire career. So while some will point to penalty minutes – we think he has it under control. Ok with the exception of a stick thing in the playoffs…

And since we are talking playoffs—he was a bit of a no-show in the scoring department when the team needed him most: against Pittsburgh. He had an assist the first game of the second round but after that his production tanked. In all fairness, the third and fourth lines weren’t the heavy lifters in the series so we can’t count him down too much for the Pens win.

Why We Say, “Sign Him Up.”

Like a fine wine, this left winger gets better with time. He  had one of his best seasons in 2015/16. He ended the regular season with 40 points. His previous high was 42 in the 2014/15 season.

Chimera is a clutch player in the truest sense of the word. He pulls out all the stops when the Caps are in need of that extra push. As a Washington Capital, he has 11 game-winning goals in the regular season and another six in the playoffs.

Being a clutch player also makes him one of the fastest and toughest players on the team. Never thought of as an ‘enforcer,’ Chimera is a brute on the ice. His Corsi average for control of the puck suggests that when the Ice Cheetah is skating, the team is controlling the puck.

He is one of those ‘seasoned leaders’ we hear the upper management talk about. He brings a tenacious desire to win tempered with the ability to make the guys laugh and lighten up at just the right time. With 951 regular season games, this guy has seen it all.

Is that enough you ask? The Capitals need leadership in the locker room. They need someone to lighten things up when they are down. They need someone who wants to win with THIS team more than just about anything. We think Jason Chimera has proven himself to be an asset and if they can afford to keep him—they should.

*Unrestricted free agents in the NHL are players without contract renewals who can consider offers from other teams without the last team they played with placing any restrictions on them.

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Caps Not Done Yet, Back to Pittsburgh 

The Capitals brought the second round back to DC and extended the series to a sixth game with a great win! 
Head coach Barry Trotz shuffled up the forward lines: Evgeny Kuznetsov moved up to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and T.J.Oshie (a.k.a TKO line); Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson formed the All-Swede second line; and Justin Williams started on the third line with Jason Chimera and Mike Richards.
And it worked! 
The first period was powerful as the Capitals and the Penguins came out flying. Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals had come to show they are not done yet. Ovechkin only needed eight seconds on the Capitals’ first power play and the first shot to score the first goal of the night. When scoring first, the Capitals are 4-1. 
Nicklas Backstrom took an interference penalty open in the door for Chris Kunitz to score on the rebound on the following Penguins power play. It was not just Ovechkin who got scoring chances, the rest of the guys in red were peppering Matt Murray with shots. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period.
The Capitals started the second firing- literally Ovechkin almost had his second of the night in the opening seconds of the period. Ian Cole went to the box and T.J. Oshie hit the crossbar but he collected the rebound of an Ovechkin shot and gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead. 
About halfway through the period, Justin Williams took advantage of a Penguins mistake and he put one right in Murray’s five-hole, 3-1 Caps. The“Holtbeast” made some incredible super human saves late in the second to keep the 3-1 lead. 
The Caps maintained their two-goal lead throughout the third period despite the Pens pulling goaltender Matt Murray with over three minutes left in the period. The Caps held the Penguins from even getting a shot on goal and secured the win to force a game 6 back in Pittsburgh. 
Game 7, should the Caps have success in Pittsburgh will be in DC on Thursday. Caps should hold practice Monday at Kettler. We’ll keep you posted. 
Three Stars of the night: Holtby, Ovi, and Oshie. Go Caps!

Round Two Stimga: Caps Keep Coming Back

Yea, we all know the Caps history.

We use the appearance of their star player Alex Ovechkin in 2005 as a starting milestone since many of our friends think the team’s success rests on the shoulders of Ovi. So, here’s where they stand:

They have made it to round 3 conference finals, oh never…

They have made it to round 2 four times, including this season.

They have made it to round 1  three times, including this season.

They totally missed the playoffs in the 2005/06, 2006/07, or 2013/14.

They haven’t made it to the Stanley Cup Final since the 1997/98; they have made it to the playoffs 26 times since 1974

We understand the cautious optimism that borders on a lack of expectation. However, we have all said, over and over, that THIS Capitals team is different. We believe this to be true and while we are on the cautiously optimistic side of the fence, we are holding our breath with everyone.

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This team has real depth. We have Stanley Cup winners who know what it takes to keep coming back.  In the course of six games, all but seven of the active roster players recorded a point, including goaltender Braden Holtby. One of those without a point was Brooks Orpik who was out for four games. Every player, with the exception of Mike Weber had at least one shot on goal during the series. Eight players scored at least one goal.

How do the Caps compare with the other teams that moved forward to round two? We find that for many of the teams more than nine players scored goals in Round 1. For all but three teams, every player has a shot on goal. On average, only five players on a team did not record a point. In the grand scheme of things, we are slightly under-performing when compared against the other league leaders. Slightly.

As the team starts round two against the Pens on Thursday we think the Caps will need to increase their shots across the board. Every player will need to be more intentional about creating opportunities in front of the net. And against the Pens – stay out of the box and watch your defense. As Coach Trotz said today, it will take the entire team.

We think THIS team is ready to play like a team. We think they are fully invested in getting to the final round, one game at a time. And we plan to be along for the ride!!

GO CAPS!!!

 

 

 

Caps-Pens Renew Playoff Rivalry in Game 1

Alex Ovechkin has one simple request for fans and the media: don’t make this about Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby. The Caps face off against their arch rivals from Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals for the first time since 2009, when both Sid and Alex scored hat tricks in Game 2 of the series. Caps friends will remember having a 2-0 lead only to see the Pens win three straight. On the verge of getting knocked out, Washington took game six to overtime where they won 5-4 to force a game seven. That game the Caps were never in the building as the Penguins crushed them at Verizon Center 6-2 to win the series and, eventually, the Stanley Cup.

Play Your Game

OK Caps fans. Breathe. We reached the second round after a tough first round series with Philly. The positives you take away from that series are the play of Braden Holtby and how Alex Ovechkin was in beast mode. They’ll need this and more as they take on a team that easily dismantled Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers four games to one with their speed and efficiency on the Power Play.

  • The Capitals Power Play is 29.6% and penalty kill is a league best 95.8% for the playoffs.
  • Braden Holtby has played Vezina Award winning hockey throughout the playoffs. Thus far he is 4-2 with a 0.84 GAA, .968 save percentage and two shutouts.
  • Players that need to boost their play in this series: Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky.
  • The Capitals are 1-7 all-time in Stanley Cup Playoff series (19-30 overall) against the Penguins. The last time they beat them in a playoff series was 1994 when the Caps won four games to two.
  • Injuries: Defenseman Brooks Orpik is listed day-to-day but is looking likely to start the series.

No Fleury, No Problem

The Penguins have had to deal with a lot of injury issues. First, Evgeny Malkin was deemed out for the first part of the Rangers series. He has since made a triumphant return with two goals in Game 4. Then Marc-André Fleury has been battling concussion symptoms for more than a month, leaving rookie Matt Murray and Jeff Zatkoff as the Pens only options. Murray has been stellar in his rookie season, coming into the Ranger series and winning three straight games while allowing four goals.

  • The Penguin Power Play is a phenomenal 38.1%, tops in the league for the playoffs. Their penalty kill is 89.5%.
  • Rookie netminder Matt Murray is 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA, .955 save percentage and a shutout.
  • Sidney Crosby leads the team with three goals, five assists.
  • Injuries: Goaltender Marc-André Fleury (concussion, day-to-day); Forward Beau Bennett (undisclosed, day-to-day); Forward Scott Wilson (lower body, IR); and Kevin Porter (ankle, IR)

Your starting goaltenders will be Braden Holtby for the Caps and Matt Murray for the Pens.

Puck drop is 8 p.m. on CSN.

ROCK THE RED and GO CAPS!

Caps NHL Playoffs Round2 Practice in Photos

The Washington Capitals hit the ice again in front of a crowd of excited fans on Tuesday.

We had a lot of fun capturing the best players the league:

Tom Wilson was all coy skating by himself on the ice while he waited for his teammates to join him.

Evgeny Kuznetsov thought it was hilarious to shoot his puck at the camera while Wilson egged him on.

Coach Trotz was getting in some shots today as well as carting around a net that looked strangely like our little icon!

 

The Caps Fan Club hung signs to celebrate the Caps success in Round 1 and outside the Capitals prepared for excited fans to meet their favorite players.

We captured a bit of it on video for your viewing pleasure:

Caps practice again Wednesday at 1030. Morning skate on Thursday likely, and then it’s on to Round 2.