During the Capitals’ run to the 2018 Stanley Cup, the team faced many obstacles. One of those key obstacles was injuries to key players. In previous seasons those injuries would have daunted this team and the quote on quote “nail would be in the coffin.” Then came the 2018 Cup run where we lost Nicklas Backstrom for four games spanning across two series and unlike previous years, it didn’t phase the boys.
The other key obstacle was Tom Wilson’s three game suspension in the Pittsburgh series. Although as we did with the Nick Backstrom injury, we played harder and stronger than ever before. We used that, “let’s do it for Tommy!” mantra which as we would find out later in the calendar year that it would help us just one more time.
When Tom Wilson was given his 20-game suspension, most hockey people concurred that that blow along with the aforementioned Stanley Cup hangover would be the demise of these Capitals. During the first month and a half of the year this was in fact the case. We went from five great games to five abysmal games in the blink of an eye but as is common with this team as of late, it didn’t phase them.
Although just like during the Cup run, nothing could stop them. Role players are stepping up and the stars are being stars. If you told me this would happen during the 2016-17 campaign I wouldn’t believe you. This aforementioned next man up mentality is surely contagious so here’s to it lasting for seasons to come.
Dmitry Orlov had a bit of a scare when he went head-first into the glass after he was checked on the numbers from behind. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was assessed a one-game penalty for the hit which thankfully did not have serious repercussions for Orlov.
We hate to see any player hurt, regardless of the team. The Flyers and the Caps aren’t the only teams seeing hard hits and injuries in the playoffs. For example, the LA Kings have lost Alex Martinez again. He was out after an April 2 injury and his attempt to return in the post season was ended when he exited the game in the second period of Game One. It is unclear what is going on with him but his team is clearly feeling the loss.
However the post-season games unfold, we are praying that no one is seriously hurt in the run for The Stanley Cup. We hope the Caps game on Friday is free of the injuries we have seen in the previous four games.
The boys had a day off yesterday at home before leaving tonight for a short trip to New Jersey. Before they departed DC once again they held a 10:30 practice at Kettler. TJ Oshie sat out practice due to illness, but John Carlson continues to skate with the team. Carlson is currently the only player for the Caps besides Oshie (day-to-day).
Many kids and their parents attended practice due to Spring Break in the DMV, but if you weren’t able to catch it we have PLENTY of photos right this way…
The team held morning skate at Nationwide Arena with puck-drop set for 7 pm. Tonight on CSN. The Blue Jackets had a strong showing against the Dallas Stars serving up a surprising defeat at 6-3.
Possible line changes for tonight:
Zach Sill skated with the fourth line during morning skate.
Aaron Ness skated with Taylor Chorney.
Andre Burakovsky skated with the second line.
Special note: The Caps Road Crew is in the house!
Player Call-ups and Scratches.
On Friday, the Caps recalled defenseman Ryan Stanton from the Hershey Bears. Stanton played 54 games for the Vancouver Canucks in 2014/15 and ranked fourth in hits and blocked shots for the team. This year for the Bears he has two goals and five assists in 28 games played. He also has 30 penalty minutes.
Defenseman Aaron Ness was recalled from Hershey on 31 December. He mostly likely will fill in for Carlson tonight. The 5’10, 187 pound Ness has played 27 games with the Bears registering two goals and 11 assists.
Connor Carrick was reassigned to Hershey on Friday.
Zach Sill, recalled from Hershey Tuesday, January 29 originally filling the gap when Michael Latta injured his arm, he and Latta have filled the gap for the injured Jay Beagle. The 6’1”, 202-pound forward Sill has played two games and registered four shots but no goals. He averaged 10:20 in ice time in his last two games.
Right wing Stanislav Galiev has been a healthy scratch having played his last game December 14 against Pittsburgh.
Jay Beagle had successful hand surgery today, according to the Washington Capitals and has been placed on the injured reserve list. Up to six weeks before his return. He has missed 1 game.
John Carlson could be back after the Columbus game, according to comments from Coach. He has missed 3 games.
Brooks Orpik is on the Long-term Injured Reserve list for an undisclosed injury. He has missed 23 games and there is no timetable for his return.
Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 21 goals and is four away from 500 NHL career goals. He is fifth in the NHL. He also is four games away from a career 800 NHL games.
Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (24). His 1.86 goals against average (GAA) is currently second in the league. He’s got this! And backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence.
Jason Chimera is four assists away from an NHL career 200 assists.
Blue Jackets Watch
This is second meeting between the teams this season. In October Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie scored two goals ending the match 2-1 Caps. The Blue Jackets see this as a ‘must win’ game as the team on the bottom of the standings chart struggles to save face. They played a physical game against Dallas with 29 hits and one roughing penalty by Rene Bourque (18).
Curtis McElhinney is the netminder tonight. He was in the net against the Jackets surprise win against the Stars with 40 saves on 43 attempts. Should be a great goalie matchup if he is as sharp tonight.
Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky was activated and removed off Injured Reserve list. The Russian Vezina Trophy winner last played December 8 and has a .918 save percentage. The Jackets have won 30 of 51 games with Bobs in the net. He is now listed as day-to-day.
Left wing Scott Hartnell (43) leads the team in points with 15 goals and 14 assists. He has two goals in his last five games.
Left Wing Brandon Saad (20) holds the second team leader slot with 14 goals and 13 assists, with three goals and three assists in his last five games.
Left wing Nick Foligno (71), the team’s leader in goals and points last season is not performing as strongly this year; however, he has stepped things up recently with one goal and six assist in his last five games.
Center Brandon Dubinsky (17) has four assists in his past five games.
David Clarkson is in for Matt Calvert. No production from Clarkson in his last four games.
Braden Holtby, with 125 career games won is four games away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.
The Caps have a scheduled day off on Sunday.
Practice is scheduled for 10:30 Monday at Kettler Capitals IcePlex.
Tue Jan 5, 2016 Capitals Bruins, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS
The Washington Capitals ended their third winning streak this season as 2015 came to a close. Let us not lose faith though—it had to happen sooner or later. A nine-game streak is worth celebrating and it is not time to raise the panic flag yet.
The Caps have taken a bruising the past few games. Players have been on and off the injury list. Thankfully, only two are on the injured reserve and long-term injured reserve. Although we don’t know the full extent of Brooks Orpik or Jay Beagle’s injuries, we can hope that they are on the road to recovery and will join the team before too long.
Beagle is having surgery according to Coach Trotz and has been placed on the injured reserve list. No timetable for his return.
John Carlson could be back in a few days, according to comments from Coach.
Meanwhile, Trotz’s Boys are up in Columbus, Ohio taking a day to rest before they look to resume their winning posture.
On the Bright Side
Standings: The Caps are first in the Metropolitan Division. They are first in the Eastern Conference. They are a close (1 point) second in the NHL. They have a healthy lead in the division and conference.
Team: Coach Trotz has molded this team into just that: a team that plays well together and that supports one another. It isn’t a matter of one shining star but of many who step forward to share the responsibility for winning.
Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 21 goals and is four away from 500 NHL career goals. He is fifth in the NHL.
Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (24). His 1.86 goals against average is second in the league. He’s got this! And backing him up in the net is Philipp Grubauer who is a strong goaltender and someone in whom the coach has great confidence.
Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetzov are assist masters. Each has 22 assists and 11 goals. They are creating opportunities every shift for the top line to score while scoring themselves as well.
Justin Williams, T.J. Oshie, and Marcus Johansson round out the top six with a fighting drive to get to the net and score. Williams and Oshie have 24 points and MoJo has 22.
Jason Chimera has notched 10 goals this season making him part of the six with double-digit goals. Although Tom Wilson only has two goals in his column, there is no denying the presence he brings to ice and the way in which he excites the team and the crowds. The hole on this line clearly is Jay Beagle, yet the team managed to fill the gap with Michael Latta and Zach Sill. Sill seems to be a great fit for now, regardless of which line he plays.
Andre Burakovsky finally broke through and scored a goal during the game in Buffalo. The fourth line, with Brooks Laich and Michael Latta looked strong on Thursday—each with shots on goal that came close to getting around the net minder.
Defense: The loss of John Carlson could be seen on Thursday. Carlson brings something more to the game than just the 27 points he is carrying—he brings real leadership too. It is less clear what coach will do with the partnering of defensemen and the temporary replacement of Carlson on Saturday. They were not all that the team needed on Thursday and hopefully they will get back in the groove and hopefully Carly will return strong and healthy against Boston.
Bottom line: The Caps are still a strong team. They still want to win. The word most tossed around after the coach’s presser is “resilience.” They have a commitment not to lose two straight games and they have the desire to go for another winning streak. This is a team hungry to win and we can expect to see more good things in the days ahead.
Holtby, with 125 career games won is four games away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.
Sat Jan 2, 2016 Capitals Blue Jackets, 7:00 PM CSN-DC
Tue Jan 5, 2016 Capitals Bruins, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS
We are about mid-way through the 2015/16 season and we are starting to see the player injury count rise around the NHL. The Washington Capitals, with the exception of Brooks Orpik, have had their bumps and bruises and until last night none of our players had missed a game for an injury.
John Carlson’sconsecutive game streak (412) ended after warmups and he concluded that he just couldn’t come back and play. He is out with an ‘upper-body injury’ which we hope won’t leave him sidelined for long.
And then there was the Michael Lattafight. Stepping up to defend a bruising to teammate Justin Williams, Sparky took on Nicolas Deslauriers, who issued a strong beatdown in return. Latts left the ice and is reported to have an arm injury. Still waiting for more details. Continue reading “NHL Injury Role Call—December 28, 2015”