The Beagle is Gone

Oh Jay Beagle how we adore you and that infectious boyish smile of yours. You have always been so kind to your fans. You always showed us that we were all part of this team. And he has shared the love of this sport with the youngest of players – setting a high bar for them.

And the guy who doesn’t get on social media may never know how much we admire him and how much we will miss him, as well as Ashley and the children. Continue reading “The Beagle is Gone”

Grubauer Changes Sweaters

Washington Capitals trade Philipp Grubauer

We knew it was going to happen, we just didn’t want to believe it.

Philipp Grubauer, beloved backup goalie, is no longer a Washington Capital.

On Friday the Caps traded him to the Colorado Avalanche WITH Brooks Orpik in a surprise move. Caps got a second round pick out of it. We didn’t see all that coming.

Continue reading “Grubauer Changes Sweaters”

Another Turning Point for Capitals: A Fork Stuck in the Road

An Opinion Piece by Lily Rosenberg

This off season the Capitals have re-signed Dmitry Orlov, TJ Oshie, Brett Connolly, and Evgeny Kuznetsov. However, we have also lost many talented players in Nate Schmidt, Karl Alzner, Justin Williams, Kevin Shattenkirk, and most recently Marcus Johansson. They all deserve to be appreciated.

Nate Schmidt 
Schmidt was a ball of sunshine. He was just always smiling and he just had this charm. He was also just a very quick defenseman. He was such a good player and clearly the Vegas Golden Knights saw that too. He was snatched up by VGK last Wednesday and will work under General Manager George McPhee, as he did when he first played with the Caps.  He will be missed and I hope he gets one of the top spots in Vegas.

Karl Alzner
Alzner was a good defenseman. He has helped the Caps so much through the years he played with them. I have met him before and he was just a genuinely nice guy. Although he wasn’t too nice about one of the reasons he left saying:  the Caps “always get stumped in the second round.” I won’t hold a grudge. He signed a five-year 23 million dollar deal with the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.

Justin Williams
We only had two years with him but it was a good two years. He was our Mr. Game 7 but the one game seven we had, he didn’t really help us. We loved his hair and his personality. He said on twitter the Caps “didn’t reach our goal but I will cherish the time I spent there.” On Saturday he signed a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes for nine million dollars. We will miss him and his hair!

Kevin Shattenkirk
What can I say about Shattenkirk that hasn’t already been said?  We mourn only the promise we had when he first joined the team. Shattenkirk under-performed our expectations with his -7 points in the playoffs. He signed a four-year deal with the NY Rangers on Saturday for $26.6 million. I hope he helps the Rangers as much as he helped us. 😉

Marcus Johansson
This one really really hurt. Not only did I lose a good shirt but we lost a good player. Johansson was a clutch player and possibly one of the most improved players this past season. He was also just a kind person. He would always sign autographs and take pictures with fans. He had so much potential. Last night he was traded to the New Jersey Devils for a second and third pick by the Capitals in next year’s draft. While I will be excited to see him again, I will be sad to see him in the other teams jersey.

While I am confused as to Brian McClellan;s reasoning, I understand that things happen for a reason and I wish all of these players good luck for the future. I still hope we get a Cup before they do though. 

Capitals Under Construction: Comments from MacLellan

Capitals General Manager Brian MacLellan (GMBM) held a media call Monday morning to talk about all the changes and signings from the weekend. It was, as many reported, an open and honest discussion about what transpired. Although many disagree with some of the decisions he has made, he did his best to explain them. “It hurts, we spent three years to get that lineup last year.”

He started by explaining that the team “maxed out”  with what they spent the “last three years building the team”  and had to make some tough decisions. He was expecting to run into “issues” and “knew this was coming.” Mac compared the pain the Caps are experiencing as the “hangover” that teams that who have won the cup go through – only we haven’t.  Caps were “top heavy” like Blackhawks and Pens. He is now “comfortable” with the position they are in and ready to settle on Philipp Grubauer and Andre Burakovsky. They are next on the agenda.

When asked, he said they didn’t buy out Oprik because he liked how he looked last year:  “We value what he brings to young defensemen.”

On signing Evgeny Kuznetsov, MacLellan said they “went above where we thought we were going.” Kuzy had the KHL option and the Caps “had to comply with his demands.” GMBM still sees it as a good deal for the team. They could either go with Kuzy or Marcus Johansson and they opted for Kuzy.

Younger Guys

In the season ahead, GMBM is excited about the prospect of new younger players joining the lineup. He wants to give younger guys a chance to play. The blue line will add a couple of those younger guys this year.  Looking for speed there and will have to see who to slot with John Carlson.

The Caps today signed right-wing Devante Smith-Pelley from the NJ Devils to a one-year two-way deal and he his likely to get more NHL time. Mac said: “I think there’s some untapped potential.” Hershey Bears’ center Jakub Vrana might yet get a shot – haven’t heard him mentioned in a while. Maybe even Nathan Walker, the left-winger from Australia, might see more NHL time.

The Caps are Happy to have two strong goalies on the team with two young defensemen added in. There will be a change though in who is coaching the goalies this year with the formal announcement we expected. Mitch Korn will step down as goalie coach and become director of goaltending. They will promote Scott Murray to goaltender coach, who was dominate during Capitals development camp last week.

Our Takeaway

There is a sense that GMBM was slow on the draw this year and maybe didn’t have full control over the decisions that needed to be made. There was a lot of money spent for TJ Oshie and Kuznetsov which forced his hand. Additionally, perhaps the Nate Schmidt over Grubauer draft choice was unexpected.

We know that keeping all these players and salaries straight is no easy game. We have heard that before from Don Fishman, Assistant General Manager, Director of Legal Affairs, just how grueling a process this time of the year can be for managers. We don’t envy him the task of making all the numbers work.

What lies ahead? A bit of the old peppered with the new. All teams need a strategy to integrate their younger players or run the risk of losing them to other teams. Now appears to be that time. It also may mean that this will not be our Cup year, again. We’ll stand behind the Washington Capitals, we always do in the end. We are hopeful that these decisions won’t create too much chaos and we will adjust to the change.

LET’S KEEP ROCKING THE RED!! 

 

NHL Expansion Draft: Goalie Watch

Now that the complete available lists are out, Caps fans are wondering if we might really lose Philipp Grubauer to George McPhee (GMGM). He has lots of  interesting  picks available to him.

If McPhee is looking for experienced starting goalies, there are some great players on the list. With the Pittsburgh Penguins releasing Marc-Andre Fleury following the playoffs, GMGM now has a goalie with Stanley Cup experience to add to his list of possible number one goalies. And then there is Robert Luango who could come in as a number two behind Fleury, although his is one of the oldest goalies in the league at 37.. Of course there is Michael Neuvirth who McPhee hired and fired so we don’t really see him as a viable pick given how much young blood there is on the available list.

GMGM can pull up to three goalies from the available list. We would think McPhee is going to go with a mix of experience and players who he and the coaching staff can groom over the next couple of years as they come together as a team. No one expects greatness right out of the gate, but if they even want to prove themselves contenders, they will need a strong goalie in the net who is ready to face down opponents in the Western Conference.

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From our perspective, we think Grubauer really should be his number one choice but we expect him to go with Fleury. Picking Grubi means that Phoenix Copely is safe with the Caps and could become the back up goalie. Bottom line, the pool is wide open and George McPhee has been known to do the unexpected. Going with some veteran players might be safe, but we could all be surprised in the end.

Here is the list of now available goalies:

Dustin Tokarski – Ducks
Louis Domingue – Coyotes
Anton Khudobin – Bruins
Malcolm Subban – Bruins
Anders Nilsson – Sabres
Linus Ullmark – Sabres
Brian Elliott – Flames
TEddie Lack – Hurricanes
Michael Leighton – Hurricanes
Cam Ward (G)om McCollum – Hurricanes
Mac Carruth – Blackhawks
Jeff Glass – Blackhawks
Joe Cannata – Avalanche
Calvin Pickard – Avalanche
Jeremy Smith – Avalanche
Oscar Dansk –  Blue Jackets
Anton Forsberg Blue Jackets
Joonas Korpisalo Blue Jackets
Henri Kiviaho – Stars
Maxime Lagace – Stars
Kari Lehtonen – Stars
Antti Niemi – Stars
Justin Peters – Stars
Jared Coreau – Red Wings
Petr Mrazek – Red Wings
Edward Pasquale – Red Wings
Jake Paterson – Red Wings
Laurent Brossoit – Oilers
Jonas Gustavsson – Oliers
Reto Berra – Panthers
Sam Brittain – Panthers
Roberto Luongo – Panthers
Jack Campbell – Kings
Jeff Zatkoff – Kings
Johan Gustafsson – Wild
Darcy Kuemper – Wild
Alex Stalock – Wild
Al Montoya – Canadiens
Marek Mazanec – Predators
Keith Kinkaid – Devils
Scott Wedgewood – Devils
Jean-Francois Berube – Islanders
Christopher Gibson – Islanders
Jaroslav Halak – Islanders
Magnus Hellberg – Rangers
Antti Raanta – Rangers
Mackenzie Skapski – Rangers
Mike Condon – Senators
Chris Driedger – Senators
Andrew Hammond – Senators
Steve Mason – Flyers
Michal Neuvirth – Flyers
Marc-Andre Fleury – Penguins
Aaron Dell – Sharks
Troy Grosenick – Sharks
Harri Sateri – Sharks
Jordan Binnington – Blues
Carter Hutton – Blues
Peter Budaj – Lightning
Kristers Gudlevskis – Lightning
Jaroslav Janus – Lightning
Mike McKenna – Lightning
Antoine Bibeau – Maple Leafs
Curtis McElhinney – Maple Leafs
Garret Sparks – Maple Leafs
Richard Bachman – Canucks
Ryan Miller – Canucks
Pheonix Copley – Capitals
Philipp Grubauer – Capitals
Michael Hutchinson – Jets
Ondrej Pavelec – Jets

 

 

Washington Capitals: Sticking with Orpik?

Based on general manager Brian MacLellan’s comments last week, it would appear that the Capitals are sticking with Brooks Orpik. The GM said that there would be no buyouts, which implies that Oprik, with two more years on his contract, will remain on the roster. This has upset some fans who think it would be better to release some salary cap space to make room for younger players. Others see the benefit to be gained from someone with his experience and locker room presence.

The Capitals’ alternate captain isn’t afraid of the fight. He doesn’t hold back on the ice. And he doesn’t hold back from calling out his teammates to do better. After the Caps lost three west coast games, Oprik told Mike Vogel that “We make hockey our first priority and focus a little better than we did on this trip.” He didn’t want to explain himself to the press, but we’re sure his pals heard him loud and clear. After all; many wives, girlfriends, friends, and family accompanied many of the players, turning the trip into a bit of a holiday and perhaps a distraction. He went on to complain about the number of penalties the team was taking and the negative impact on their game. Continue reading “Washington Capitals: Sticking with Orpik?”

Capitals and Their Fans: Photo Review of Season

Throughout the summer of 2016 and the entire 2016/17 season, Brittney Marcum and Mel Abernethy captured Caps fans and season ticket holders around the area. They also caught the Capitals doing their best on the ice and interacting with the fans and the Washington DC community. Here are some of their favorite photos. ENJOY!img_7681

Continue reading “Capitals and Their Fans: Photo Review of Season”

Washington Capitals: Much Ado about Nothing

The Caps are sitting pat – sort of.

General Manager Brian MacLellan finally emerged on Tuesday to talk about the past and future season. The big takeaway?  Don’t look for any major changes or anything unexpected. To be clear:

  • They are NOT NOT trading Alexander Ovechkin. Duh.
  • Yes, he is STILL the captain!!
  • They are NOT changing the coaching staff. (We think this is their last chance though.)
  • They are working to come to terms with TJ Oshie – terms that won’t break the bank.
  • No buyouts. That most likely would have applied to Brooks Orpik.

GMBM seems to have faith in the team they have; however, they are also looking for a younger, faster team which will mean moving up those younger players as veteran players begin to show a decline in their performance. As we said in our previous article, that mostly applies to Ovechkin, Backstrom, Beagle, and Niskanen (the over 30 crowd). Mac indicated that his top four defensemen are Niskanen, Carlson, Orlov, and Schmidt (per Washington Post) so we would expect that once Oshie is locked down, they will sign Orlov and Schmidt. Brett Connolly could be back as well. At least is sounds like he will be given a qualifying offer.

Others still to sign are Kuznetsov, Burakovsky, and Grubauer.

The writing is on the wall for the following players who are unlikely to be wearing red sweaters next season:

Karl Alzner

Dan Winnik

Justin Williams

Kevin Shattenkirk

And we still expect Phillip Grubauer to head to Las Vegas.

We aren’t terribly surprised by the news. We know that signing Oshie is a priority and that creates a domino effect for the remaining RFAs and UFAs. If the Capitals want a younger team that they can mold into a playoff winning team, it will require the loss of a couple of favorite players and the slotting of some rookies in those positions.

The dust hasn’t even begun to settle but one thing is clear: certain players and coaches have been put on notice. Put up or face a trade or firing. No one is immune, not even Ovechkin or Trotz. We think the owners are serious about winning the cup, maybe  REALLY serious for the first time ever. And they are willing to make some tough changes if that is what it takes.
Stay tuned friends, we have all of June to figure this one out!!

Shattenkirk to Caps Strengthens Cup Run; First Look Against NYR Tonight

Opinion Piece by Chris Cleveland

Kevin Shattenkirk to the Caps means it really is Stanley Cup or bust this year. As the trade deadline winds down, the Washington Capitals shocked us all and made what could be the trade that puts them over the top and finally brings the Cup home to DC. The Caps sent their 2017 first round pick, 2018 second round pick, and Zack Sanford to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Kevin Shattenkirk.

I know Shattenkirk very well. Actually I am a huge Blackhawks fan as well and they had to deal with Shattenkirk constantly. The guy is a darn good defenseman and has one of the best slap shots I have ever seen. He drove me crazy with the number of goals he has scored on the Hawks and I am super happy he is now with the Caps. Another really appealing thing about him is his ability to create plays and set up his teammates. The part I really like about him though is his age. He is only 27 and can really provide a major boost to the Caps blue line–something that has been lacking in the playoffs . The Mike Weber experiment last year which was a complete failure. This; however, is going to be a totally different story.  As one of the best D in the league, Shattenkirk is going to be one of the key pieces of the Caps cup run this year.

sanford-called-upEven though we did give up a lot for him, like Zach Sanford,  it is going to be worth it in the end if we bring home the Stanley Cup this year. My final reason for liking Shattenkirk is he is a magician on the power play. He has scored so many power play goals against the Hawks from so many different angles and he loves the one timer from the point too. I also don’t think the Caps are done trading yet. I could really see us trading off Stan Galiev and Nate Schdmit together for a depth forward who has won a Cup before. You know, someone like Patrick Sharp? Here is my best guess at what the Caps D pairs will be from as we head to the final run for the Cup:

Carlson Alzner

Niskanen Shattenkirk

Orpik Orlv

Thoughts?? Are you more hopeful now about the Caps getting all the way to the finals this year? Think we need more change?

 

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Capitals and Blackhawks: Anybody’s Guess What Sunday Looks Like

GAME TIME IS 12:30 pm ET

Washington Capitals: 45-11-4

Blackhawks: 38-20-5

Watch on NBC and listen 106.7

Sunday will be a day of unknowns and surprises as the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks settle in with line changes, new players, and the pressure of the trade deadline hanging over them. It isn’t clear right now if Brooks Laich, who was placed on waivers Saturday, will be on the fourth line or sitting in the locker room watching. Caps newest defenseman, Mike Weber may be in for the game, but there is no clear word on that either. And then there is Michael Latta who was sick Friday, skated Saturday, and should be on the fourth line, unless Stan Galiev is in again. And let’s make it even more confusing by adding the question about Jay Beagle. Coach Trotz said in Saturday’s press conference that Jay could be put in anytime, including Sunday. Jay himself said, Sunday, Tuesday, or this week.

Now the Blackhawks. They made some moves on their roster this week that are clearly intended to bolster their run for the Stanley Cup. They acquired Dale Weise, Tomas Fleischmann (Flash), Christian Ehrhoff and Andrew Ladd. Additionally the Coyotes picked up Jiri Sekac off waivers. According to the Chicago Tribune: “During Saturday’s practice, Ladd skated on a line with center Jonathan Toews and Andrew Shaw on the right wing. Andrew Desjardins was on the left wing with Teravainen at center and Fleischmann on the right wing. Marian Hossa (leg injury) did not skate. Ehrhoff was on the Hawks’ fourth defensive pairing with Viktor Svedberg.”

Bottom line, it will be an unpredictable afternoon in the Windy City. Hold onto your hats friends!!

Caps Forward Lines: based on Friday and possible changes

  • Ovechkin Backstrom Oshie
  • Burakovsky Kuznetsov Williams
  • Chimera Johansson Wilson
  • Laich Richards/Beagle Latta/Galiev (We really have no clue, anybody’s guess!!)

Defensemen Parings

  • Alzner Niskanen
  • Schmidt Chorney
  • Orlov Orpik

Goalies

Braden Holtby  Philipp Grubauer

Injury List

Still: Maybe Jay Beagle. And John Carlson(lower-body).

Chicago Blackhawks: What we know now based on Saturday Practice

Forwards

  • Ladd Towes Shaw
  • Panarin Anisimov Kane
  • Desjardins Teravainen Fleishmann
  • Mashinter Rasmussen Panik

Defensive Pairings

  • Keith Hjalmarsson
  • Gustafsson Seabrook
  • Riemsdyk Rozsival

Goalies

Crawford  Darling

Injury List

Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa