The Caps Will Honor Nicklas Backstrom on Wednesday Night for 600 Career Assists

michael banner 2Nicklas Backstrom has been our best kept secret for over the last decade. His dazzling playmaking abilities, methods to set up players including Alex Ovechkin and his snipes for goals have entertained Caps fans for several years. When the Capitals won the Stanley Cup I cried right at the moment Alex Ovechkin handed off the Cup to Backstrom as the duo had been through a lot together. Nothing will beat the milestone of a Cup but 600 assists is still an impressive feat. Backstrom acheived the mark on October 22 in a win over the Vancouver Canucks and the Caps will recognize him before a big game takes place on the ice between the Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Continue reading “The Caps Will Honor Nicklas Backstrom on Wednesday Night for 600 Career Assists”

The Pregame: You Will See a Different Top Line Tonight vs. Edmonton

michael banner 2We are under an hour away until puck drop. The Washington Capitals will host Connor McDavid and the Oilers on Monday night and our Twitter King will be in attendance. Washington will look to bounce back from a two-game winless slide and stopping McDavid and former Cap Alex Chiasson will be key to victory. Here’s how the team will line up based on the rushes from morning skate. A quick guide before we watch the game.  Continue reading “The Pregame: You Will See a Different Top Line Tonight vs. Edmonton”

Caps Fall to Stars in Overtime to Begin Homestand

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michael banner 2CAPITAL ONE ARENA – The Washington Capitals returned home on Saturday night to take on the Dallas Stars. After dropping a heartbreaker in Montreal where they allowed two late goals (not including the empty net), the Caps were hoping some home cooking and a normal hockey schedule would do the trick. They did get a point out of this one but they still fell in overtime 4-3 on a goal by Jason Dickinson. Something about the Stars having the Caps number, which defies logic. Since the 1996-97 season, the Stars are 23-2-6 against the Caps. Imagine how much torture that would be if that was the Cowboys record against the Redskins. At least the Skins won that game a few weeks ago! Okay back to hockey. Continue reading “Caps Fall to Stars in Overtime to Begin Homestand”

Tom Wilson will be Suspended 20 Games to Start the Season

It’s almost like de ja vu. Last year when the Washington Capitals ended their preseason against the St. Louis Blues, Tom Wilson laid out a controversial hit that had him suspended for four games. One year later? Same deal but only a harsher punishment since he’s a repeat offender. After Wilson and general manger Brian MacLellan flew up to New York this morning for a hearing, the NHL Department of Player Safety has decided to suspend Wilson 20 games to begin the season. Continue reading “Tom Wilson will be Suspended 20 Games to Start the Season”

Caps Road to the Cup: Top 10 Moments from the Playoffs #8 Jakub Vrana’s Go-Ahead Goal Lifts Capitals to Unfamiliar Territory

Capitals jersey off back Bowey Vrana Chiasson (2018-04-08-1037)

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There was some nervous tension around Capital One Arena on Saturday May 5 after two periods. After Alex Ovechkin scored a game-winning goal in Pittsburgh to put the Capitals in front 2-1, Tom Wilson was suspended for three games for a controversial hit on Zach Aston-Reese. The Caps dropped Game 4 and were trailing the Penguins 3-2 entering the final 20 minutes.  Continue reading “Caps Road to the Cup: Top 10 Moments from the Playoffs #8 Jakub Vrana’s Go-Ahead Goal Lifts Capitals to Unfamiliar Territory”

No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer

The writing is on the wall – it is highly likely that Philipp Grubauer will not return to the Washington Capitals as a back-up goalie.  Brian MacLellan said as much on Wednesday during the media interviews. Grubi wants, and deserves, a starting spot.

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So what are the likely options being touted about? How about replacing Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders. Halak could be on the move which means this might be the best option available for Grubauer. The Isles seem dissatisfied with their backup goalies so we think they won’t be moving them into the starting spot anytime soon.  Continue reading “No Shortage of Good Goalies Looking for Contracts, Including Caps Grubauer”

Caps Pregame Roundup: Caps-Blue Jackets & Practice Photos

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The Capitals will look to redeem themselves after the dreadful loss in Raleigh on Saturday. When our own Chris Cleveland congratulated Coach Trotz on the win in Chicago Friday, coach replied, “We sucked in Carolina though.”

So what is everyone saying about the upcoming game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday?

The Blue Jackets are coming off a big win against the St. Louis Blues, however, Coach John Tortorella said following the game that he was less than thrilled with the teams performance calling it a “sloppy” game. He specifically expressed displeasure with the checking.

CBJ have a better scoring record than do the Caps with “Nick Foligno leads Columbus with six goals, Sam Gagner has two assists and Josh Anderson has 18 shots on goal.” SportsChatPlace

 The Hockey Writers write that the “Blue Jackets have tallied the first goal in 11 of their 13 games.”

Monday’s Cap’s practice was a mix up line changes and drills to fine-tune player skills. It was clear that Trotz was working them hard as payment for their trials the previous week. It was hard to tell at practice Monday how the lines might look come Tuesday as coach seemed to be looking for the right mix as he moved players up and down the lines.

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Steve Whyno (AP) writes that Coach Trotz is switching around the lines again–including moving Jay Beagle up with Alex Ovechkin. The Washington Post also reported the potential for Beags sharing the first line with Ovi as coach looks for just the right balance.

We should have a better look at Coach’s plans following the morning skate at 11;30. We’ll be sure the post line updates as soon as we hear more. In the meantime, CSN is predicting:

1. Ovechkin-Beagle-Connolly/Burakovsky

2. Johansson-Backstrom-Oshie

3. Sanford-Kuznetsov-Williams

4. Winnik-Eller-Wilson

The defensive pairs, meantime, appeared unchanged.

 

Capitals in Florida

The Washington Capitals are in Sunrise, Florida to  see if they can make it three in a row in the W column. Braden Holtby is expected back in the net following the shutout for Philipp Grubauer. Brett Connolly will be in again which means that Zach Sanford and Taylor Chorney are scratched for a second game. The Swede line remains in tact.

Everyone is ready to see the third line for the Caps register some points on the board.

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The Panthers come to the ice a bit bruised after an OT Shootout loss to Tampa Bay Lightning. James Reimer was in the net and unable to stop a fifth shot by  Lightning rookie Brayden Point–his first shootout in the NHL. Prior to the loss, the Cats had won their first two games. Roberto Luongo is expected to be back in the net tonight and it looks like Jarmir Jagr will be in the line up as well. He is one goal away from a career 750.

Caps Lines according to Daily FaceoffL

Panthers Lines:

Next game is back home against the NY Rangers, 7 PM.

 

Smile!.. It’s Nate Schmidt’s birthday!!

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This season Nate Schmidt played in twice as many Caps games than the past two seasons. We love watching Schmidty play. He gives all he has every game;  he hits with power, blocks blistering slap shots with his body, has speed in his skating, and a smile on his face during his interviews in between periods.  Not easy to do after playing 20 minutes of hockey, but we love when Schmidty is the special guest during period breaks at home or on the road.

The blond haired, blue eyed American born defenseman turns 25 on July 16th.. What?!  Yes he’s a quarter of a century old. Seems like yesterday he was just starting out with the Caps.

This season Nate scored two goals and 14 assists in 72 games with the Washington Capitals. He earned a permanent spot in the line up for most of the season. He was a solid player on the blue line providing the Caps with consistent checking, passing, and more importantly his infectious smile helped keep spirits high even in those low spots.

As the Caps team matures you can see Nate developing into one of the leaders on the team down the road. Not only through his play but the words of encouragement to other players. With the recent loss of Jason Chimera to free agency and the New York Islanders,  we can see Schmidty possibly taking Chimmers’s place in the locker room.

Nate has great role models to learn from: Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, and Karl Alzner. And with teammates like Taylor Chorney,  Schmidty has a great team supporting his growth in the Caps system.

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Caps fans could expect Schmidt to really come into his own in the next few years. He’s had the taste of playoffs and now knows how fast the game can be during playoffs. With experience,  you learn and grow to develop your game that much better. Nate Schmidt has the tools and the teachers to improve his game to the next level. We are anxious to see what he brings in the 2016-17 season.

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Happy birthday Nate!  25 looks good on you and your smiling face!

Spring BreakUpdate: Meeting Your Favorite Caps Player

We have had a lot of questions lately about practice schedules and how to meet the Capitals’ players. With Spring Break starting for many of you parents  we wanted to share what we have learned about getting photos and autographs–for free–of your favorite Caps player. Here’s what we have observed over the years:.

Please comment on the blog to let us know your experience. We’ve gotten some great comments and added them to this update. Personally, we think we have some of the most generous and giving guys in the league!!

Practices are held at Kettler Iceplex in Arlington, VA. The practices are open to everyone. Here’s what coming up:

Friday March 18:  Game Day Morning Skate at 10:15

Saturday March 19:  Practice is scheduled for 11:30 but don’t be surprised if Coach cancels practice since it is a travel day. We’ll update as soon as we know on Twitter.

Monday to Thursday: we don’t have the official schedule yet but we would guess there will be practice on at least Tuesday and Wednesday as the Caps are between road trips.

There are some challenges to getting autographs and each player is a little different. Basically, we tell our friends that the best place to stand is outside the revolving door in in front of the Caps Kettler offices. Do not try to go in the offices, even if you see a player inside. You can also stand to the right of the player benches near the media center; however, only an occasional player will stop there and the crowd is pretty dense so your chances may not be as good as if you stood outside.

  • If you are waiting outside, wear comfortable shoes. You could be there for an hour or more waiting. If they are eating (you will see Robbie with the food carts through the glass) they will be even longer!
  • We also ask friends not to chase them to their cars or to stand waiting by their cars. We have seen one-too-many close calls when fans get in the way of a player trying to rush off the roof!!
  • If a player parks on the seventh floor, they will exit through the door at in the far left corner as you come off the main elevators. Again, please don’t stalk their cars. Most of them will sign or politely tell you that they have to go.
  • If a player parks on any level lower than the seventh we take it as a sign that they would prefer not to be bothered that day. Or they just don’t want their cars dinged up! At any rate, we try to leave them alone below the seventh floor.
  • On game days the players may be more rushed, especially if they are late leaving Kettler because of interviews or other commitments. If they are leaving for the airport, they are unlikely to stop for very long and most frequently you will see the trainers and assistants bring up their cars for a quick getaway. Duty first and all that!!

Let’s start with the Top Six:

Alex Ovechkin: Does not stop to sign autographs, except on VERY rare occasionally. There are many reasons for this but it is NOT because he is rude or feels he is too good for his fans. Usually he is running somewhere to another commitment. He may stop occasionally for a picture, especially if there is a child involved. When he does stop it will most likely be for one or two people.

  • One of our followers shared this, “Ovi recently stopped and signed something for me at Kettler after practice and he had no problem personalizing the picture that I asked him to sign. We were chatting the whole time and he was laughing because he wanted to make sure he spelled the words correctly.”

Nicklas Backstrom: If he parks on the roof he will stop and sign autographs and take pictures. We have rarely seen him say no but he may not stand and talk. Other days we have seen him talk with fans for quite a few minutes.

TJ Oshie: He is more unpredictable. He frequently parks on the lower levels of the garage. If he parks on the roof he will stop for pictures and to sign things, but he usually does not stay too long.

Andre BurakovskWMP6y: We never know where he is going to park; however, if he is on the roof, he will stand there to take pictures and sign items until everyone is happy. And even then, he may just hang out for those that want to chat.

Evgeny Kuznetsov: Oh Kuzy. He loves to take pictures and sign for the fans. Unfortunately, he often is in a rush to get home to the family (or Family Feud) and won’t stay for long. He usually parks along the sidewalk and makes a sharp right coming out of the offices. You’ll just have to watch his body language to see if he would rather just get going.

Justin Williams: Ok, if you can find Stick, he will sign. He seldom parks on the roof or even the seventh floor. He will be polite and sign if you are as well. He is a heck of a nice guy just not easily accessible.

The Best of the Rest

Tom Wilson and Michael Latta are about the best when it comes to taking pictures and signing autographs. They almost always park on the roof. It usually is a mob scene when they come out so no promises on the quality of pictures you pictures—but they love quick selfies.

WMP5Karl Alzner is by far our favorite, followed by Braden Holtby. They are friendly and will joke around with people standing outside. They usually have something in their hands and may have to run to their trucks to drop off food before signing.

Marcus Johansson, Jay Beagle, Brooks Orpik, Philipp Grubauer, and Dmitry Orlov frequently park on the roof. They will stop but not stay for too long.

The Garage Parkers include Matt Niskanen, Taylor Chorney, John Carlson, Nate Schmidt, Stan Galiev, and Jason Chimera. If you can catch them on the seventh floor, they will stop. They are all very gracious. They surprise us from time to time by parking on the roof.

The Unknowns: We don’t know too much about the new guys. Daniel Winnik, Mike Richards, and Mike Weber may need some time to adjust to the fans outside. We hear that Richie may park in the garage and has been seen on the roof too. We don’t know how much access fans from other teams have so give them a few days to get used to us. We are sure they will soon understand the special rapport they players have with the team.

Hershey Bear Players: When a Bear player is called up to play in the NHL they usually stay in a hotel nearby. That may mean that they walk and don’t park on the roof or in the garage. But Hershey players are used to meeting with the fans after a game and will most likely greet you with excitement.

We hope this helps you out. We have a great time meeting the players and enjoy watching them interact with the Caps Family. And please tag us when you get that perfect picture. We want to hear and see your story!!

Go CAPS!!