Caps: Not Enough Fight to Win Against Pens

The Washington Capitals had to wait out the Penguins Stanley Cup banner ceremony for the new season to get rolling. And it didn’t take long for the Caps to make a statement to the Pens – we aren’t rolling over—it’s A NEW YEAR!! 

It was an absolutely crazy, brutal, and physical night. We knew it would be but had no idea that the Caps would come out fighting to the extent that they did. And we have to say we really liked it! Marc-Andre Fleury was back for the Pens and Braden Holtby tending the net for the Caps.

watermarked32016-10-13-2126First Period

59 seconds into the first period it was a Swede play with Marcus Johansson to Nicky Backstrom to Andre Burakovsky for the first goal of the night. And swede it was as Nicky bounced the goal over the opponent’s stick to slide it over to Burky.

Coach knows what he is doing with these lines!

watermarked72016-10-13-2127And, yes there was a major scrum when Braden Holtby took a hit behind the net from Tom Kuhnhacki – with Justin Williams leading the scuffling. There were two shots on goal (SOG) from Ovechkin and Carlson but not additional goal.

This period was full of hits and scuffles and yes, Tom Wilson went to the box with Tom Sestito for matching penalties. You remember Sestito – the guy who went after Liam O’Brien in the preseason.

Period ends 1-0 Caps

Second Period

started off slow but man oh man did it get intense! It all started with the Caps getting called for too mnay men on the ice – really, really?? Ovi sat out the penalty while Patric Hornqvist lifted his stick a bit high and shot one past Holtby. Holtby “voiced his objection” to no avail. 1-1.

The Caps defense slipped a bit this period, letting too much get past them or turning over the puck with ease. In the midst of the battle, Kuznetsov took a stick to the face, losing his lid. Oshie had a similar experience. Both without penalties called.

Tensions were on the rise as a Caps turnover led to a Malkin goal. Malkin nics Holtby on the passby and by now Justin Williams has had enough. He lunged after Malkin, tackling him from behind and flipping him down an a classic wrestling move. Unfortunately, the refs weren’t too happy about it (coach probably not either) and Stick is assessed a minor two-minute penalty that would begin with the third period.2-1 Pens at the end.

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Third Period

Stated with the Pens on the power play.

Burky would score again after a nice turnover from the pens. Nicky got the primary assist on this one too with Niskanen lending a hand. Tied again at 12:41, 2-2

And, the Caps game goes into overtime.

Fleury was pretty incredible – showing why he is the number one go-to goalie for the Pens. The Caps were shooting machines with six shots to the Pens 2. Not enough for either so off to

The Shootout

Bonino – miss

Oshie – scores

Malkin – scores

Kuzy – miss

Letang – scores

Backstrom – scores

Kessel – scores

Ovi – miss

Penguins take the win in the shootout.

It was a tough loss; however, the Caps played the kind of game we want to see them play. Schmidy was awesome. We think what ever chats he and coach had at the end of last season motivated him to fill the Chimera gap. Mr. Friendly is the new Mr. Speedy. Everyone, with the exception of Justin Williams and Tom Wilson (The Willy’s) had a SOG. That’s ok – they were forces to be reckoned with. Sanford held is own, even got m;ixed up in one of the many team mash ups.

 

“B” is for Backstrom (2016 in photos)

jersey backy

Nicklas Backstrom had a rough start to the 2015-16 season and a few health issues throughout the year. Following the end of the 2014/15 season, Nicky had arthroscopic surgery on  his hip, according to the Washington Capitals. Although the Caps predicted that he would be back at the start of the season, he did not play until 17 October 2015. Backstrom suffered an “upper-body” injury December 31st. Then in April he was again sidelined him for an “upper-body” injury for three games. There was some fear that he might miss the playoffs; however, he rallied enough to come back scoring 11 points before the Caps Cup run would end.

Nicky made it to the All Star Game for the first time. He, Kuzy, and Hotby looked like they had a blast. According to the Washington Post, Coach Barry Trotz lobbied for his invite.

The 28-year old Swede lives in Arlington with his girlfriend Liza and their beautiful daughter Haley. He signed a 10-year contract of which he has four years left. We can expect to continue to see more great stuff from Backy – the humble star center of the Caps. That said, there is some concern with the number of injuries he endured last season. He has been conditioning all summer with his trainer in Sweden.

He is dedicated to winning the Stanley Cup for Washington. As CSN reported following the Caps loss to Pittsburgh, he had this to say about Caps Fans and winning: “I love them,” Backstrom said. “I love Washington fans. They’re absolutely the best fans in the world. Even if we disappoint them, hopefully they have faith in us. I know we’re gonna do it. We’re gonna do it one day. I promise them.”

We know that Backstrom will give it his all in the 2016/17 season. His dedication and work ethic are one of the things his teammates admire and respect about him. As the center for Ovi and Oshie, he is a powerful asset to team. The quiet Swede will also participate in the World Cup of Hockey in September/October 2016.

The future looks good for next year, if he can put these injuries behind him!

 

Where the Caps Are: Week Two

Hard to believe it has only been a couple of weeks since the season for the Washington Capitals ended. Players have dispersed across the globe. Those on social media have done a great job of letting us know where they are.

Here’s what they have shared:

From Russia with Love

Starting with our Captain Alex Ovechkin who having left the International Ice Hockey Federation games (with Dmitry Orlov and Evgeny Kuznetsov) is relaxing home in Russia.

Yes, after celebrating his medal, Ovi is out clubbing again with his fiance, but that’s what Ovi does when he is back with his friends. Party on Ovi!!

 

And then we have the lovebirds: Ovi and Nastya. Not sure what is happening with his hair but they look happy!!

We know that Kuzy and Orlov go home to spend time with their families during the break. From their season ticket holder discussion, they said they really value the time during break to be with their families because the season keeps them apart.

Stan Galiev on the other hand is still in Virginia. He and his beautiful wife, Olya, are avid bike riders. We have even seen Galiev biking home after practice at Kettler.

We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see if either of our engaged Russians tie the not this summer!

And then we have the Swedish contingency.

No posts from Nicky Backsrom or Marcus Johansson; however, we think they are still in the area. At least we ran into them last week doing family things around town. Andre Burakovsky is home (in Sweden) though and seems pretty happy to be there!

Looks like some of the Canadians have gone home.

Tom Wilson posted from the beach and the Toronto Raptors game with his brothers.

Michael Latta sent out word that he was heading home:

And Mike Richards headed home to relax and fish a little.

Northumberland News reports: “Justin Williams has returned to his childhood home in Cobourg, Northumberland, Ontario where he The Justin Williams Hockey School will run from July 25 to 29 at the Cobourg Community Centre. It will welcome 26 participants born between 2003-05 and 30 participants born between 2006-08. The camp provides youngsters an opportunity to learn skills from Williams, including skating, puck handling, shooting and off-ice conditioning in a positive, fun-filled, environment. launched a hockey camp.”

The break time is also a great time for the players to spend those extra hours with their families. This year the Oshies and Alzners headed to Disney World with their families. We were a bit nervous about Lauren Oshie; she will be delivering the Oshie’s second girl very soon!!

John and Gina Carlson have traveled a little, had a date night, and John took Baby Lucca to work with him for  a little skating time.

It looks like Philipp Grubauer might still be in town from the picture he posted a few days ago.

 

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Nate Schmidt is working on his golf game at the Beaver Masters..

We miss our Boyz and will do our best to let you know how they are spending their time. Some of course are waiting to sign new contracts and we will post as soon as we know something new here.