We’ve Never Been Here Before: Capitals Game One Round One Playoffs

We have never been here before.

Round One as the NHL Stanley Cup Defending Champions, not just the Washington Capitals.

It feels different. We want to win like we did last summer. We have the taste of victory. Continue reading “We’ve Never Been Here Before: Capitals Game One Round One Playoffs”

That’s A Wrap: Caps Fall to Islanders in Last Regular Season Game

It has been an amazing regular season for the Washington Capitals who ended as the Metropolitan Division Champions for the fourth season in a row. It was one last regular season match between old friends Barry Trotz and Todd Reirden; now foes on the ice and new rivals as the Isles shutout the Caps 3-0.

Continue reading “That’s A Wrap: Caps Fall to Islanders in Last Regular Season Game”

Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win

Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby and defenseman John Carlson were well represented at the NHL All-Star Game in San Jose last week. With coach Todd Reirden at the helm of the Metropolitan Division, the trio contributed to wins over the Atlantic and Central Divisions to win the All-Star Game and split the grand prize of one million dollars. Continue reading “Braden Holtby and John Carlson Lead Metropolitan Division to All-Star Game Win”

The Pregame: Barry Trotz Returns to D.C.

The Washington Capitals are back home looking to snap a three-game slide when they host the New York Islanders for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. This contest isn’t just your ordinary Metropolitan Division matchup, however, instead it marks the return of an important figure that led the Capitals to championship greatness. Barry Trotz coached the Caps for four seasons, ending his tenure with the first Stanley Cup in both the history of the franchise and the coach’s resume. When the season ended, the two sides between Trotz and General Manager Brian MacLellan didn’t reach an agreement on an extension which allowed Trotz to walk and take a coaching job at the island.  Continue reading “The Pregame: Barry Trotz Returns to D.C.”

Hershey Bears Spotlight: Aaron Ness

Aaron Ness recently signed a brand new one-year two-way contract with the Caps/Bears worth $425,000 in the AHL and $625,000 should he be brought up to the Caps.

Aaron started his hockey career playing at USHS-MN system from 2005 through 2008. He joined the US National U18 team in 2008, alongside Cam Fowler, Nick Leddy, and Ryan Bourque. Aaron was also drafted in 2008 by the New York Islanders in the second round #40.

After being drafted, Aaron Ness went on to play for the University of Minnesota for three seasons.  His teammates in his final season included the likes of Nate Schmidt and Erik Haula (both who have now signed with the new kids on the block, the Vegas Golden Knights).

Once Ness completed his seasons in the NCAA league it came time to visit the AHL; the Bridgeport Sound Tigers where he donned both the “A” and the “C” for a time. During his five seasons with the Sound Tigers his cumulative 23 goals were that of a beginning defenseman. Bears 2016 ness peters Ellis goalie

As a free agent, Ness signed with the Hershey Bears in 2015. Since joining the Bears his numbers have remained on the same level as in previous seasons. We have not seen a huge improvement in his scoring but he has been a consistent player for the Bears. We see Ness as a good backup when needed for the Caps but he lacks that extra skill that the John Carlsons of the world posses. We need to see more fiNESSe in his offensive play and the ability to put it in the back of the net.

Read our Hershey Bear reports to meet the players.

Djoos

Bourque

Barber

Johansen

Boyd

Hobbs

Vrana

Copley

O’Brien

No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer

The writing is on the wall – it is highly likely that Philipp Grubauer will not return to the Washington Capitals as a back-up goalie.  Brian MacLellan said as much on Wednesday during the media interviews. Grubi wants, and deserves, a starting spot.

king grubi

So what are the likely options being touted about? How about replacing Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders. Halak could be on the move which means this might be the best option available for Grubauer. The Isles seem dissatisfied with their backup goalies so we think they won’t be moving them into the starting spot anytime soon.  Continue reading “No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer”

Caps Open Somewhat Dull – Fan Perspective from Chris Cleveland 

I really was not too impressed with the Caps  opening night for a few different reasons. The night seemed to be off to a great start with the red carpet event.

red-carpet62I wasn’t at it my self, but it looked pretty fun and was fairly crowded. Some of the guys’ suites were on point. Oshie was asked by a reporter if he was best dressed – he said, “Not a chance. I would go with Holts or one of the Swedes. They always seem to have something clever in store.”

I jumped on the Metro around 5 and I thought it would be a lot more crowded then it was. I got into the Chinatown area around 5:45 and it still was not too crowded with Caps fans. It made me kind of curious as to what the crowd would be like at the game. There is  usually a decent amount of Caps fans around the arena.

I went and grabbed dinner at Vapianos, a fan favorite. When we got there I thought, “So this is where everyone is! The place was packed with Caps  fans. Once I finished dinner we went across the street to enter Verizon Center. When we arrived there still were all that many people in the concourse. I headed to my section to watch the Islanders warmups.

watermarked42016-10-16-2207I sit in Section 101, right off the visiting’s team bench. When I walked down to the ice there were a few scattered Islander fans.  As it came closer to puck drop,  I thought surely this place would get at least a little louder.


I was wrong . It was pretty quite.

 Even during the player introductions, I was like hmmmm, this was a lot quieter then last year. The game seemed to start pretty slow itself with the Islanders controlling the momentum the first few minutes. As I looked around the stands, some parts were pretty empty. I kept wondering, “What are people doing tonight? The Nats have just been knocked out of the playoff.” I was really starting to wonder where the late arriving crowd was.

Anyway, we finally put up a goal and the place went crazy! Who would have thought Daniel  Winnik would score our first goal of the season!  A few minutes later Zach Sanford took a god-awful penalty which lead to the Islanders tying it up on the power play. The kid didn’t see much ice time after that.

The Caps were having so many problems with the power play. For some reason Ovi couldn’t catch a pass in his one-time spot and no one could get a shot on net. Other than the Swede line and our 4th line, a lot of the guys looked out of sorts. I barley noticed Oshie or a other key players. We finally scored again and  who thought it would be Winnik again??

My overall impression of opening night is I thought it was dull. The building seemed really quite. It was 1-1 for quite sometime and a lot of our guys weren’t playing that well. Also I really was not that impressed with the play of Sanford. I have to wonder how long he’s going to be up here when you have guys like Vrana, Barber, and Galiev waiting in Hershey to be called up.  The Caps closed the night out with a 2-1 win and the place quickly emptied out.

Maybe Tuesday night will provide a bolt of energy. I’ll let you know!!

Caps Home Opener: Full Day of Celebrations

Finally, we are turning the DMV R E D!!

watermarked22016-10-10-2016
Fancy Slapshot Red Carpet 2015

The Caps home opener against the Islanders starts at 7 pm but there is plenty to do before then.
Sign up, if you haven’t already for the 8 am Best Buddies – Strolling with Nolan Caps Team – walk. Details are here.

Check out morning skate at Kettler Iceplex at 10:15 am. Click here for info on getting photos and autographs with players. Given their tight schedule, they may not have time to stop so don’t be too disappointed.

Stop by team store at Kettler Iceplex if you need to pick up a new jersey for the game-or even a cowbell!!

Head downtown early for the Caps Red Carpet Walk at 3:30pm. There will be plenty of stuff to do on F Street until…watermarked42016-10-10-2016

Doors open at 6 pm. Head down to the glass for warmups by 6:30.

And then UNLEASH the FURY and prepare for a great night of hockey!!

History Repeating: Caps Knocked Out of 2nd Round…Again

Was it a dream? Unfortunately it was not as the Washington Capitals, the NHL’s best team in the regular season, got ousted once again by the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 in a overtime 4-3. This makes them 1-8 all-time in series vs. Pittsburgh.

The Caps have not been very successful in the playoffs since 1998, the first and only time they made the Eastern Conference and Stanley Cup Finals. Let’s take a look at the playoff history since then.

1997-1998 : Washington mows through the playoffs past the Boston Bruins and Ottawa Senators to get to the Eastern Conference Finals against Dominik Hasek and the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps win the series 4-2 and get into the Stanley Cup Finals, where they are swept by the juggernaut Detroit Red Wings.

1999-2000; 2000-2001 : The Capitals made the playoffs by winning the Southeast Division two years in a row after missing out in 1998-1999. In the quarterfinals, they played the Pittsburgh Penguins, who won both series 4-1 and 4-2 respectively.

In the Summer of 2001, the Capitals went all in and traded three prospects to the Pittsburgh Penguins for five-time Art Ross trophy winner Jaromir Jagr. We all know how that went.

2002-2003 : After missing the playoffs the previous year, the Caps were in as a wildcard. Playing in the quarterfinals against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they lost the series 4-2 and then proceeded to not make the playoffs for the next four seasons (including the lockout).

In 2004, Jagr was sent to the New York Rangers. The Capitals ended this season 23–46–10–3, good for second to last in the NHL. With the NHL Draft Lottery, the Capitals won the overall number one spot over the worst team in the NHL, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and chose a legend: Alexander Ovechkin.

2004-2005 : NHL LOCKOUT – NO PLAYOFFS

2007-2008 : After four seasons of no playoff hockey, the Caps hired Bruce Boudreau as their head coach. They proceeded to win the Southeast division and take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the Quarterfinals. A hard fought series, the Caps went in with a new goaltender Cristobal Huet. After being down 3-1 in the series, the Caps made a valiant effort but lost the series 4-3.

2008-2009 : With Huet gone and Kolzig signing with Tampa Bay, the Caps signed free agent Jose Theodore as their goaltender. Trading off between Theodore and Semyon Varlamov, the Caps won the Southeast Division and were scheduled to play Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers. For the first time since 1998, the Caps won the opening round series 4-3 before falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in the semi-finals.

2009-2010 : The Caps had their best season yet, winning the President’s Trophy with 121 points as the leagues best team. Behind Theodore and Michal Neuvirth, the Caps drew a pesky Montral Canadiens team with Jaroslav Halak in net. Halak stonewalled the Caps and sent the best team home in round one 4-3.

2010-2011 : With Varly and Neuvy trading off, the Caps locked up best team in the Eastern Conference with 107 points. They proceeded to take out the New York Rangers 4-1 but came up against a buzz saw in round two as the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Caps 4-0.

2011-2012 : Still unsure of the goaltender situation, the Caps signed Tomas Vokoun to a one year deal. After firing Bruce Boudreau part way into the season, the Caps hired former enforcer Dale Hunter to the job. They finished second in the Southeast and played the Boston Bruins, 2011’s Stanley Cup Champ. With Neuvirth and Vokoun both injured, Braden Holtby got his shot as starting goaltender for round one. The Caps had a hard fought series against goaltender Tim Thomas but Holtby and the Caps outlasted with 4-3. In round two, the Caps ran into the New York Rangers hot Henrik Lundqvist and lost the series 4-3. Hunter announced he was “stepping down” as coach.

2012-2013 : Another former Cap Adam Oates was named head coach before yet another NHL lockout occurred.

2014-2015 : After a dismal 2013-2014 season, the Caps fired Adam Oates and General Manager George McPhee. They introduced new head coach Barry Trotz, formerly of the Nashville Predators. Getting the team to buy in to his philosophy, Trotz and the Caps gave Braden Holtby the reigns to the starting job and finished second in the newly crowned Metropolitan Division. They played the New York Islanders in round one and won that series 4-3. In the second round, the Caps played familiar foe the New York Rangers. Behind Lundqvist, the Caps lost the series 4-3.

2015-2016 : The Caps have a record-breaking season, finishing with 120 points, the most wins by a Caps team in history (56) and the President’s Trophy. They come up against a pesky Philadelphia Flyers team that came back in the series after the Caps jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the series. But the Caps put them away 4-2 and went to the next round. Playing their nemesis from Pittsburgh, the Caps faltered and went down 3-1 in the series before forcing a Game 6 and losing the series to the Pens.

It has now been 18 years since the Capitals have gotten past round two.

So what next for the Capitals? First you have to decide what you want to do to the team: a total rebuild or address your needs in certain areas, like a scoring forward and better defensemen on the backend. Whatever the decision, the team has nearly four months to think about it and get ready for pre-season in September.

(Stats Courtesy of NHL.com)
Written by Christopher Johnson, Photos by Brittney Marcum