Matt Niskanen Heads Back to Pennsylvania

Matt Niskanen has always been one of the more reserved Capitals’ players. We remember when he first came to Washington in 2014 after a successful career with the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals announced Friday that they traded the defenseman to the Flyers for Radko Gudas. Continue reading “Matt Niskanen Heads Back to Pennsylvania”

Caps acquire Radko Gudas from Philly

This morning, the Washington Capitals have announced that they have done a one-for-one defenseman swap with the Philadelphia Flyers; Radko Gudas in exchange for Matt Niskanen, Philadelphia will retain 30% of Gudas’ remaining salary.

We here at FiCP are sad to hear this news about Niskanen leaving the organization, but understand the business move by Brian MacLellan. This is most certainly a move to clear up salary cap space to re-sign certain players or shop the free agent market. Trading Niskanen has opened up $3,405,000 in cap space for the Caps to work with, making it possible to re-sign guys like Nicklas Backstrom and/or Braden Holtby.

Gudas plays a physical game from the blue line and has been a beating pulse on Philadelphia’s penalty kill for years. Him being a right-handed defenseman certainly puts him on the 3rd pair with either Christian Djoos or Jonas Siegenthaler.

A plus side in this trade is that Gudas only has one more year on his contract until he’s a UFA compared to Niskanen, who has two more years. Gudas’ contract will expire around the time Backstrom and Holtby’s contracts expire, so there’s that. Who knows, GMBM could flip real quick and dish out Gudas to a struggling defensive team for forward depth or picks. Until then, welcome to the Caps Radko!

In Surprise Move the Capitals Trade Matt Niskanen to Flyers

We all felt that Matt Niskanen would not return in a Capitals’ sweater for the 2019/20 season. And now we know where he will he playing and where we will face the talented defenseman next season. Continue reading “In Surprise Move the Capitals Trade Matt Niskanen to Flyers”

Dark times for Dmitry’s production

The Washington Capitals’ defensive core has grown immensely since Dmitry Orlov was drafted 55th overall in the 2009 NHL Draft. He has established his role on the team as a top 4 defenseman with a well played two-way style and glimpses of offensive talents. The Caps would not have won the Stanley Cup last year without his contributions at both ends of the ice.

Paired with defensive partner Matt Niskanen, Orlov has the support to use his offensive talents in all zones on the ice with Niskanen’s defensive mindset. Last year, Orlov produced 31 points (10g, 21a) in all 82 regular season games. This year, he is at 27 points (3g, 24a) with only a handful of games left. I have noticed one big thing that could possibly be preventing him from matching last year’s numbers, and that’s offensive zone entry.

Orlov is a confident, offensive defenseman. When he has the puck on the entry, he has two options; throw the puck down low/ring it around for the far side winger or carry it in and look for the pass/shot. A lot of his turnovers this season have been in the offense zone, mainly due to bad decision making. When given a prime shooting lane, he decides to carry the puck and make a move or attempt to make an unnecessary pass to move the play/goalie. It’s been a very noticeable aspect in his past few games and would most likely have more points on the season if he made the simple decision.

3-on-3 OT against the New York Rangers. Orlov has the puck in the offensive zone, makes a move to the outside and gets well defended. He loses control of the puck and drops it to Ovechkin. If Ovechkin was not there, Orlov would’ve had his pocket picked. Good move nonetheless by Dmitry. Video credit: Marcus Boutilier/@SportMajor via Twitter.

This is purely an opinionated piece. As a college hockey defenseman in my younger days, I’ve had to tweak my own game here and there to make things work for me. That could be the case here for Dmitry, but it’s a little late in the season to be experimenting with his game. He has the capability to put up big numbers and I feel making the simple plays would benefit him and his team more. I know Orlov has the ability to put up more points than he has so far this season, I would just like to see him play a bit more conservative when make offensive zone entries. We believe in you, Dmitry, defend your Stanley Cup well!

I am open to discussion on this topic, hit me up on my personal Twitter handle @Jurky88.

Bring Out the Bird! Evgeny Kuznetsov Delivers in Overtime, Caps Top Avs 4-3

This was a game full of de ja vus. In the end, an Alex Ovechkin feed to Evgeny Kuznetsov for the breakaway that was shades of Game 6 of the Caps second round series in Pittsburgh last year that would be the difference. Kuznetsov came through with the overtime goal as the Washington Capitals defeated the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in overtime at Capital One Arena in D.C. In the midst of a season-long six game homestand following the all-star break and bye week, the Capitals have now won three of their last four games after a season-long seven game winless drought entering the break.

Continue reading “Bring Out the Bird! Evgeny Kuznetsov Delivers in Overtime, Caps Top Avs 4-3”

Caps Winless Drought Extends to Seven Games Entering Break

The Washington Capitals were expected by many experts to have a Stanley Cup hangover of some sorts after winning the Cup and enduring the shortest, quickest offseason for the entire roster. Things were kind of 50/50 at the start of the season, then the team got hot to close out the 2018 calendar year. When that calendar flipped to 2019, that hangover talk resurfaced. The team is having a hard time moving on from the past.  Continue reading “Caps Winless Drought Extends to Seven Games Entering Break”

Capitals Defensemen Shine but Team Falters 8-5 to the Blackhawks

The Washington Capitals drooped their fifth game in a row in a 8-5 offensive shootout loss the Chicago Blackhawks in a Sunday afternoon matinee at United Center in Chicago. All five Capitals goals came from defensemen with All-Star John Carlson pacing the way with two while Brooks Orpik, Dmitry Orlov, and Matt Niskanen each added a goal of their own. In the end though, the Caps goaltending couldn’t overcome a Blackhawks attack highlighted by a four-goal afternoon from Jonathan Toews. The Cap shave now dropped eight of their last 11 games and are still looking for answeres. They haven’t dropped five games in a row since the start of the 2014-15 season.

Continue reading “Capitals Defensemen Shine but Team Falters 8-5 to the Blackhawks”

Nicklas Backstrom Misses Caps Morning Skate Due to Illness, Will Be Game-Time Decision vs. Flyers

MEDSTAR CAPITALS ICEPLEX – The Washington Capitals took took the ice on Tuesday morning to prepare for their contest that night against the Philadelphia Flyers. The Caps are coming off an impressive 3-2 comeback win over the Detroit Red Wings thanks to Michal Kempny‘s late third period goal that ended their brief three-game western road trip. The Flyers meanwhile were shutout at home by the St. Louis Blues 3-0 last night. When the Caps took the ice in Arlington this morning, everyone was marked present except for one. Nicklas Backstrom is sick and the team said he’ll be a game-time decision for tonight.  Continue reading “Nicklas Backstrom Misses Caps Morning Skate Due to Illness, Will Be Game-Time Decision vs. Flyers”

Matt Niskanen is Day-to-Day and Will Travel to Ottawa

Late in the third period during Thursday night’s Washington Capitals game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Matt Niskanen was hit gruesomely by Clark Bishop into the boards. While there was no penalty on the play, Niskanen exited the game and did not return. Following the game, Caps head coach Todd Reirden didn’t have an update but with the team practicing on Friday morning before traveling to Ottawa for Saturday’s game with the Senators the coach got a better idea that morning on Niskanen’s status. Continue reading “Matt Niskanen is Day-to-Day and Will Travel to Ottawa”

Capitals Hold Off Hurricanes for a 3-1 Win

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The Washington Capitals returned to action at Capital One Arena following the NHL holiday break and got a huge 3-1 win over their Metropolitan Division rival Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. It was their third win in a row that saw goals from Chandler Stephenson, T.J. Oshie and John Carlson. Christmas was fun and the Caps had great videos, but it feels good to see them play hockey again.

Continue reading “Capitals Hold Off Hurricanes for a 3-1 Win”