The Washington Capitals, at least in the case of defenseman John Carlson, finally won something on Friday night. Although it doesn’t officially end their current seven game winless stretch, Carlson stole the spotlight in the Hardest Shot challenge at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition at SAP Center in San Jose. It’s been a long time coming for Carlson and in 2019 he finally was voted into his first All-Star game. Continue reading “John Carlson Wins Hardest Shot Competition”
Game 7’s have not been kind to the Washington Capitals blah blah blah. We already knew that. But something was different about this team. The Caps dominated Game 6 at home to stave off elimination and went back down to Tampa, a place where they did win two out of three games in that series, with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time in 20 years. Meanwhile, Capital One Arena opened their doors and held a watch party allowing fans to catch the game on the videoboard. Continue reading “Caps Road to the Cup, Top 10 Moments from the Playoffs #3: A Game 7 Road Shutout to Advance to the Finals”
This moment would be the Washington Capitals biggest test. For the first time this past spring, the Capitals were on the ropes. A win would keep their season alive while a loss would’ve sent them packing. So far in the Eastern Conference Finals at that point, the Caps took the first two games in Tampa Bay but dropped their next three games to the Lightning, including two at home. Refusing to end the season on their home ice, the team and the fans brought the noise, the hits and the thunder as the Caps won 3-0 to force Game 7. Continue reading “Top 10 Capitals Moments of the Playoffs #9: Caps Dominate Bolts to Force Game 7”
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
Caps Daily Glass Bump: Pregame 18 December 2015
Photos by Brittney Marcum
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!!
We never know what kind of a day it will be when we arrive at Kettler Ice Plex to shoot pictures of practice for you. Today was one of those unusually fun days because the rink was packed with fans for the Washington Capitals and the Tampa Bay Lightning as both teams held their practice here today.
Add the CSN Mid-Atlantic crew conducting interviews and several of the players and their families hanging out, to the great fans we talked with, and you have all the ingredients for a perfect day after a win!
Here are some of the sights we captured today.
We shifted rinks and had a chance to catch some great shots of the Bolts.
Great fan turnout for the Bolts.
Even Coach Trotz and some of the players hung around to watch.
Tune in again tomorrow for our game preview and review.
FYI: Practice for Friday has been cancelled.
What does one do when they are on vacation and away from their favorite hockey team? You visit rivals in their stadiums and make comparisons! This is our first article in a series about NHL stadiums/arenas that we will write about as we visit them.
Amalie Arena is electric—from the outside in. No, really. It is ELECTRIC! There are actual lightning bolts coming down from the ceiling. And the fan energy was pretty impressive too. The pump-up begins before the fans even walk through the doors. There is a bar which serves just about anything you could want to drink and a couple of food trucks with plentiful options in the outdoor pavillion. Get a drink and then roam around the outside promenade (Note: you CAN also bring your drink from outside into the arena with you.) The night we attended a Kings-Bolts game there was a championship winning high school band performing and then the Lightning Girls put on a show to piped in music. When it was time to open the doors there was a big countdown which was rather exciting! Continue reading “Visiting Tampa Bay Amalie Arena, Home of the Lightning”
The Caps did not have practice this morning as we have an early start for today’s game: 5 pm at the Verizon Center. The Caps have back-to-back games with a matchup in Toronto Saturday night, so the team will not have practice Saturday, and are scheduled to have Sunday off. They will return to Kettler Monday.
The Bolts have headed north after a hard-fought OT-Shoot-out match against the LA Kings. Undoubtedly the match to watch is that between goalies. Ben Bishop is proving he is every bit the net beast as Braden Holtby (6’2”, 217lb). Bishop had 37 saves through overtime. He’s a big guy himself (6’7”, 214lb) who fills up the net. He has a save percentage of .929 and a Goals Against Average (GAA) of 1.99 compared to Holtby’s 9.24 save percentage and 1.95 GAA. Bishop ranks third in GAA while Holtby owns the second spot in the league behind Henrik Lundquist.
Holtby or Bishop? Who will stop more shots?
What to Watch for Tonight
Coach Trotz celebrates his 1,300th game tonight.
Justin Williams: Two points to go to reach 600 career HNL points.
John Carlson will play is 400 consecutive game tonight.
Karl Alzner is three games away from 400 consecutive games.