The Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs are playing opposite ends of the ice tonight.
Monday night, old pals William Nylander and Nicklas Backstrom we’re sharing a bowl of guacamole at Rosa Mexicano. We aren’t sure what they were doing sitting across from Capital One Arena – whatever it was, they were having fun.
We love Philipp Grubauer. He has really proven himself this past season. Coach Trotz gave him plenty of opportunities to shine and shine he did. Lets look back at the his performance this season and at Worlds where he was beyond incredible. So we start with his overall stats.
He played in 24 games with 13 wins with two wins in overtime and three shutout games.
He saved .926 percent of shots fired at him and ranking him fourth in the league overall. FYI- Braden Holtby had a .925 this year.
He only played 19 minutes in the playoffs, jumping in for Holtby on a bad night. Unfortunately he let in two goals on nine shots. But then again, he hadn’t played in weeks.
And then there is the IIHF Worlds in which he played for Team Germany. It can be said that he saved his motherland from extreme embarrassment. The team only had 20 shots on goal and did not score until late in the third period. Grubi on the other hand had an amazing 48 saves letting only two goals from Team Canada through. And we know how Canada plays which makes this an even more impressive story. He was without a doubt the star of the game. At one point we think nearly every other sentence was: “Grubauer saves.”
Grubauer continues to improve and mature with every year he plays. The Capitals are fortunate to have two powerful goalies minding the net. Under Coach Barry Trotz and goalie coach Mitoch Korn he has sharpened his skill and had much more time to show what he has to offer.
We know that Grubi is one of the top names the media is bantering around for Las Vegas. After all George McPhee is very familiar with why the Caps brought him into the organization–they always figured he would be in the NHL, even as a potential starting goalie. The Caps could offer him a new contract which would include a bump in salary as mandated by the NHL and NHL PLayer’s Association of “no less than 110% of player’s salary.” If he doesn’t accept the offer he is free to consider other teams come 1 July.
Except of course where the Las Vegas Knights are concerned. Again, according to the NHL rules: “Clubs will have two options for players they wish to protect in the Expansion Draft:
a) Seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender
b) Eight skaters (forwards/defensemen) and one goaltender”
That means, one goaltender is NOT protected. And then there is the clause that says: One goaltender who is under contract in 2017-18 or will be a restricted free agent at the expiration of his current contract immediately prior to 2017-18. If the club elects to make a restricted free agent goaltender available in order to meet this requirement, that goaltender must have received his qualifying offer prior to the submission of the club’s protected list.
Grubauer meets the unprotected criteria. This is why many of us believe he has played his last season with the Capitals.
We don’t want to see him go. He has been part of the Caps family since he began playing for the Stingrays in the 2011 season. We watched him go back and forth to Hershey before coming up to the NHL. However, we always want the best for our “family” and if that means moving to a warmer climate – we know he is ready and will do us proud.
It’s been nearly two weeks since the Capitals were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Pittsburgh Penguins. A few days after, the team disbanded for the offseason. So what do they do once the season is over?
According to NHL.com, the off-season can be broken up into four sections. The first month is transition and recovery from injuries. As the summer goes on, players go from recovery to strength building then power and speed. By the end of summer, it’s conditioning.
And, if you’re Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov or Dmitri Orlov, you go play for Team Russia in the World Championships. The dynamic trio played on a line together and each managed a goal and assist throughout the tournament. Russia ended up going 5-1, losing to Finland in the semi-finals and winning the Bronze medal game over the United States 7-2. They have medaled in the last three World Championships (Gold – 2014, Silver – 2015, Bronze – 2016.) The three players will now take the next three months off before hockey camp starts in late August.
Most players after their team is eliminated from the playoffs take the initial month to relax and go on vacation with their families (T.J. Oshie is in Disneyworld and is also getting ready for the arrival of baby #2).
Players take time to recover from nagging injuries they had during the season and post-season. Coaches and players can also give their time to help charities and appear more often at events they couldn’t go to during the regular season.
After the initial month or so of vacations and such, players tend to start focusing back on hockey. They know the physical toll a season takes and the more they train, the better off they’ll be once training camp begins. They start with working out two to three times a week in July then ramp it up to four or five times a week in July. This includes lifting weights, cycling, interval training, yoga, and resistance training so they can be prepared for their 30 second shifts with body contact. They also look at footage of their game play and get together with coaches to improve their play.
As for the fans, the NHL playoffs are still going on (Tampa Bay leads Pittsburgh 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals while St. Louis and San Jose are tied at 2).
The Calder Cup Playoffs have the Caps own Hershey Bears in the Eastern Conference Finals playing the Toronto Marlies.
Some of our players (Ovechkin and Holtby) will be in Las Vegas on June 22 for the NHL Awards. Ovi receives his sixth Maurice “Rocket” Richard award and is nominated for the Mark Messler Leadership Award. Braden Holtby is up for the Ted Lindsay and Vezina.
What do you do over the summer to get your hockey fix? Comment and let us know!