You may not be aware of this but your team just acquired a true gem in Michael Latta. Latts, as we here in DC call him, is one of the hardest working players around and won’t ever stop fighting (literally and figuratively) for the team. Latta was a fan favorite here and we want to clue you in on some things you need to be aware of before day one of training camp in El Segundo…
1. Latts is the nicest guy you’ll ever meet and he is always willing to stop for a photo with fans. He is also very humble when it comes to meeting fans and talking about his game.
As sad as we are to see Michael go, we really do wish him ALL the best with the Kings and hope he will be given the chance to be the incredible player we know him to be.
All this being said, please please PLEASE take good care of our boy. Ask him to take photos, tell him how amazing he is, and know that there are so many fans in DC counting on you to make him feel at home.
We love you Michael LAtta and hope you go on to do GREAT things that we know you are capable of.
Photos by Brittney Marcum (BamitsBrittney93 on IG)
By now you all know that only one of the duo that makes up the Caps Roomies received a qualifying offer by today’s deadline. That person was Tom Wilson.
We here at FiCP are having an especially hard time coming to terms with the loss of Michael Latta so we thought we’d share some of our favorite moments from this past season with Latts.
So many memories with Latts from this season but our favorites came after practices when Michael would take a few moments out of his day to talk to fans. He will be greatly missed by us and we are sure by you as well. We wish him all the best in his future career and hope to see him back on the ice even with another team.
New Year’s Eve in Raleigh: Puck Drops Early (6 pm)
Photos by Brittney Marcum
After a rough game Wednesday, the Capitals overpowered the Sabres in the third period for their ninth win in a row. It was not without a cost though as Nicklas Backstrom left the ice with an undisclosed injury, as did Jay Beagle. Beagle will need surgery according to Coach Trotz and will go on the injured reserve list shortly.
Michael Latta and Nicky are expected back with the team in Raleigh; however, it seems that John Carlson may be out a bit longer after reviewing the results of his MRI. Players will be called up from Hershey to fill gaps or be on hand should any player not make it to the ice on Thursday. Expect some line shifts as a result.
There was no morning skate.
According to CBS Sports, the Caps franchise record for consecutive wins is a “14-game run from Jan. 13-Feb. 7, 2010. They’re also opening a five-game trip seeking six consecutive road victories for the first time since Feb. 20-March 15, 2011.”
Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 20 goals. With his last two goals against Buffalo he is now within five goals of 500 NHL career goals.
A goalie has not been announced for tonight’s game at time of posting.
Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (24). Yup, we just keep changing the number on the same sentence!
Backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer could get the nod tonight. In the seven games he has been in the net he has four wins, two losses, and an OT loss. He should be strong in the net against the Canes should Trotz give him the opportunity.
Andre Burakovsky finally scored a goal in the third period of the Buffalo game—his first in 25 games. It will be interesting to see if he will break loose now with that monkey off his back!
The Caps have shown no mercy to the Canes in their two games so far this season ending 4-1 in October and 2-1 earlier this month.
Cam Ward should be in the net for Carolina. He has lost three of his last five games and overall has won 11 of 27 games played this season.
Justin Faulk (27) leads the team with 14 goals and 14 assists and as a defenseman he can be expected to play an offensive game against the Caps. He also leads the league in power-play goals. He hasn’t scored on the Caps in the last 15 games played against them.
Eric Staal (12) scored two goals in the Canes game against the Devils Tuesday breaking his scoring drought. However, he hasn’t scored in seven straight home meetings with Washington,
Holtby, with 125 career games won is four games away from passing Don Beaupre (128) for second place on the Caps franchise list.
The Capitals start a five-game away stretch on 31 December:
Sat Jan 2, 2016 Capitals Blue Jackets, 7:00 PM CSN-DC
Tue Jan 5, 2016 Capitals Bruins, 7:00 PM CSN-DC, TVAS
The Capitals extended their winning streak to eight when we last met the Buffalo Sabres. One of the keys to the Capitals’ success in Buffalo was their penalty kill. Much of that credit goes to Braden Holtby but the defense really stepped up in light of missing John Carlson for the night.
Michael Latta left the ice after a fight on Monday and was seen with his arm in a sling. No sling Tuesday night when he, Nate Schmidt, and Tom Wilson took in a movie; however, he did take morning skate. He is listed day-to-day.
Zach Sill was recalled from the Hershey Bears on Tuesday. Zach has two goals and five assists in 28 games played in Chocolate Town along with 28 penalty minutes. He will fit in nicely with the Caps fourth line as he steps in for the ailing Latta.
John Carlson did not skate this morning and looks to be a scratch for tonight.
Alex Ovechkin leads the team with 18 goals. He is now just seven goals away from 500 NHL career goals.
Nicklas Backstrom leads the team with 32 points and 22 assists. He made an awesome pass to Ovi resulting in the first goal of the game on Monday.
Braden Holtby leads the league in wins (23) and goals against average (1.86) He remains the only goalie in the NHL with 20 wins or more. He is inching closer to overtaking former Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth lead in save percentage with a rate of 0.935 to Neuvy’s 0.937
Backup goaltender Philip Grubauer in the seven games he has been in the net has four wins, two losses, and an OT loss. He should be strong in the net against the Sabres should Trotz give him the opportunity. A goalie has not been announced for tonight’s game at time of posting.
Brooks Laich and Andre Burakovsky still haven’t been producing as of late, but the fourth line looked strong Monday, although none of them actually had any shots. Maybe Sill will help turn that tide.
The Sabres ended their practice Tuesday with a shootout drill. Are they anticipating a close game on Wednesday? They had two near misses on Monday and the potential for a tie game is fairly high if they can get the puck in the net without a collision with the goalie!
Coach Bylsma in his presser Tuesday said that the team keeps work on improving their passing and they “threw a different drill at them today to sharpen the decision-making and execution.” They also drilled on playing the walls which was missing in the game against the Caps.
Rookie center Jack Eichel, the darling of the Sabres, had some great moves in his game against the Caps. Even so, his four shots failed to light the lamp.
Nicolas Deslauriers is likely to have the attention of Caps players given his run in with Williams and fight with Latta.
Center Ryan O’Reilly (90) could pose a threat to the Caps even though he was sluggish on Monday. He ranks first in goals and points (32) for the team as a whole. He has also had two GWG’s (Game winning goals) so far this year.
Evander Kane (9) was stymied by Braden Holtby and while he had four shots Monday, he still has been unable to break his goal scoring drought. He will certainly want to make good on his attempts tonight.
Goalie Watch: All three goalies practice on Tuesday. No word yet who will be in the net.
Linus Ullmark only let in two shot out of 26 on Monday against the Caps. He has lost more games than he has won so far this season.
Chad Johnson had 30 saves on 33 shots against the Bruins the last time he played. He has a .918 save percentage. In his last 5 games he’s had three regulation wins, one regulation loss and one loss in OT.
Goaltender Robin Lehner has been out since he was injured in the first game of the season. He participated in practice Tuesday but still has no timetable for his return.
Fight Potential: Given the atmosphere on Monday, we rate the fight potential HIGH. When it comes to major penalties for fighting Washington has 10 while Buffalo has 7 Additionally, the Caps average .29 fights per game compared to the Sabres’ .19. Josh Gorges leads the Sabres in penalty minutes at 44. Eyes on Evander Kane and Nicolas Deslauriers to instigate.
Practice Shots: Caps held morning skate at Kettler Ice plex this morning. Our parting gift to you is the darling of the Caps: Evgeny Kutznesov.
Caps-Hurricanes in Raleigh. Game time 7pm on CSN-DC
No morning skate for the Caps today so we will have to share some more pictures taken at practice yesterday.
Two days after the Caps great win over the Ottawa Senators, the NHL network and media outlets are still talking about Michael Latta and Braden Holtby. Sprinkle in some Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and the consensus is: the Caps are real cup contenders this year. The Caps are points away from taking the number one spot in the league away from the Dallas Stars—something we haven’t seen from this team in a very long time.
Michael Latta was the darling of Tuesday night with a goal and an assist. He received the third star of the night from the NHL Network and everyone was talking about this hidden jewel on the team. But we knew it all along!!
Talk about Braden Holtby and Vezina Award and even the Hart Trophy continues, as do comparisons to other Caps greats like Olie Kolzig. Tuesday it will be monster goalie against monster goalie when 6’7” Ben Bishop steps into the crease.
We get to celebrate 36 year old Jason Chimera’s 900th NHL game tonight!!!
What About Tampa Bay You Say???
Steven Stamkos (91) leads the Bolts in goals and points, but he hasn’t scored a goal in his last 10 games and surely is looking to snap out of that pattern. Could he do it tonight?
The next player the Caps should watch out for is Nikita Kucherov (86). Although he only has 12 goals to date; he earned half of them in the last five games, along with an assist.
And then there is Ben Bishop. Bishop fills up the net and makes it hard for anyone to get around him. He is second in the league with 1.92 goals against average and has a save percentage of 0.931 (7th in the league). However, his wins are less impressive than Holtby: 13/25 compared to 20/25. Either way, it could be another fight between the goalies that determines who skates away with the W.
After tonight the Caps will head to New York to face down the NY Rangers and properly lay claim to the number one spot in the Metropolitan Division. Then they are on to Carolina December 21st before returning home for a post-Christmas game against the Atlantic Division leaders—the Montreal Canadiens.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING YOUR UPWRAPPED GIFT FOR THE TOY DRIVE TONIGHT.
AND DON’T FORGET TO BRING A LITTLE CHRISTMAS CHEER TO YOUR SECTION USHERS WHO KEEP THE PEOPLE FROM WALKING DOWN DURING PLAY AND THROW OUT ROWDY FANS FROM OPPOSING TEAMS!!
The Caps practiced at Kettler Iceplex this morning in preparation for their match with the Edmonton Oilers at 7 pm tonight. The line-up appears to be the same as that for their last game on Saturday:
Michael Latta (see photo above) was the only player working on faceoff drills. Given his 88 percent win on the faceoff last game, we can expect to see more of him in the faceoff spot tonight.
Looks like we caught coach explaining to Andre Burakovsky that he is going to get a little more time to “clear his head.”
Stanislav Galiev gets the nod again tonight–in for Burky.
T.J. Oshie is back in the lineup tonight–did we ever doubt he would be? After a maintenance day to recover from some hard hits Friday, Oshie was back on the ice at morning skate.
And then there is Nate Schmidt…does this guy ever not smile? Today we saw that behind that smile is a man with some power. Note the broken stick and his ever so sheepish look.
And lets not forget, today is Nicklas Backstrom’s 28th birthday. We wish him well and a night full of points!
Coming into the game tonight the Caps are 13-5-1 against the Oilers 7-12-1. Caps are 21-10-2 at home against the Oilers. This is the second and last meeting of the season for these two teams. Should be a fast-skating night to see if now that the Caps know they can score first if they have figured out how to win two in a row! Stay tuned for highlights later tonight.
What to Watch for Tonight:
John Carlson: One point away from passing Rod Langway’s record of 202 for eighth place in goals earned by a Cap’s defenseman.
Justin Williams: Three points to go to reach 600 career HNL points.