Archive for the 'NHL' Category

21
Dec
10

Capitals Finally Win

By Jesse Jones

The Washington Capitals were on an eight game losing streak, the longest under coach Bruce Boudreau.  During the streak, the Caps were never outshot, and seemed to have been giving up goals easily.  There was some speculation that if the team kept losing, Boudreau would be fired, despite the fact that the team had won three straight division titles, and was the number one overall seed in the playoffs last year.

One day after a crushing defeat in Boston, the Caps traveled further north to Ottawa to face the Senators.  Things seemed like they were going to remain the same, as the Caps fell into an early 2-0 hole after the first period.  After that, it seemed like the Caps were back.  They scored three goals in the second period, two by Mathieu Perreault, and another by Eric Fehr, and held the Senators scoreless for the rest of the game to win 3-2.

The losing streak was over.

The losing streak has dropped the Caps into third in the division, behind Atlanta and Tampa Bay, and sixth in the conference.  Washington will look to get on track and bounce back to the top of the conference where they belong, starting tonight, as they try to win their second straight game, hosting the New Jersey Devils, a team that beat them 7-0 during the losing streak.  After that, the team will host Pittsburgh Thursday.

08
Nov
10

Caps Beat Flyers In OT

View from my club level seats last night

By Jesse Jones

The Philadelphia Flyers (9-4-1) came into Washington yesterday to face the Capitals (9-4-0) , who had won three straight games.  Both teams had nearly identical records, and both are sitting atop the East early in the season.

The scoring started in the tenth minute of the first period when the Flyers’ Nikolay Zherdev scored his fourth goal of the season.  In the eighteenth minute, Eric Fehr scored his third goal of the season to tie the game at 1 a piece.

The second period was just the first, as Philly scored first, followed by an Alexander Semin power play goal to tie the game up.

The third period saw no scoring, despite a four minute penalty on Chris Ponger and a two minute penalty on Sean O’Donnell which saw multiple chances for the Caps to take the lead.  At the end of three, the score remained 2-2 and the game took extra minutes.

Minutes were not needed in overtime, only 29 seconds.  Still on the power play, Mike Green scored the game winning goal to give the Caps the 3-2 lead and improve their record to 10-4-0.

Washington outscored the Flyers 39-25 in the game, and goalie Braden Holtby saved 23 shots to help the Capitals win.

The Caps are atop the Southeast division and are now atop the Flyers for first in the East with the tiebreaker.  Both teams have 20 points.

The Caps travel to New York tomorrow to face the Rangers at 7.

12
Oct
10

Caps Start Season 2-1

By Jesse Jones

Last season was supposed to be the season the Washington Capitals won it all. The team had the best offense and the best record in the NHL, and faced the eighth seeded Montreal Canadians In the playoffs. But the team failed to perform in the playoffs, and lost in seven.

Now it’s a new season, and the team is hungrier than ever, as they should be. They have arguably the best player in the league, the best offense, and one of the best coaches. But what’s been lacking was consistent goal tending and defense.  So, in order to make a change, the team let go of goalie Jose Theodore and decided to go with two young net-minders in Semyon Varlamov and Michal Neuvirth.

After a 5-1 preseason, the Caps finally took the ice to start the regular season in Atlanta October 8.  Things started out good for the Caps, as Brooks Laich scored the first goal of the season between the two teams.  But the momentum would not hold up, as the Thrashers scored the next 4 out of 5 goals between the two teams, including two by Evander Kane, and the Caps lost the season opener 4-2.

The following day, Washington had their home opener against the New Jersey Devils.  After falling behind 2-1 in the first period, the Caps played lights out and scored six straight goals, including two by Alexander Ovechkin, and Washington got their first win of the season 7-2.

Last night, the Caps had their second straight home game, this time hosting the Ottawa Senators.  Alexander Semin started the scoring in the first period, but the Senators tied the game up in the second.  Shortly after, Eric Fehr scored his second goal of the season to put the Caps up 2-1, before Ottawa tied it up 2-2 in the third, sending the game into overtime.  With 30 seconds left in OT, the captain, Alex Ovechkin , scored the game winning goal, and his third of the year.

After three games, the Washington Capitals have a record of 2-1, and have 4 points in the standings.  The goal tending of Neuvirth has been enough to help solidify the defense in the absence of Varlamov.  The team will look to improve their record and gain more points tomorrow night when they host the New York Islanders.

24
Sep
10

Caps On HBO

sid ovie

By Jesse Jones

The Washington Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year’s Winter Classic at Heinz Field January 1, 2011.  It is one of the biggest games of the regular season for the NHL, with two great teams with great young players, Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby, and not to mention the fact that they are rivals.

Because of all the hype for this game, the NHL has decided that it needs to capitalize on this.  Starting December 15, the NHL and HBO will air four one hour-long episodes on HBO’s series “24/7”.  The show will be just like Hard Knocks, and will follow both teams leading up to the game and after the game.  A lot of behind the scenes action will be showed, and it’s a great chance for fans to see different sides of their favorite teams and players.

The NHL will most certainly grow in popularity because of this show, and once again, the NHL got it right.

29
May
10

Caps-Penguins in 2011 Winter Classic

Picture from Winter Classic in 2008 between the Sabres and Penguins

By Ben Linton

Ovechkin and Crosby. Capitals and Penguins. Two of the biggest player/team rivalries in the sport of hockey will collide on New Years Day at Heinz Field. This will be the fourth installment of the Winter Classic, where teams play an outdoor hockey game, ad element that has been recently implemented to get some buzz growing about the sport.

I really think this is a great thing for the sport of hockey. Recently the sport has gained a lot more notoriety with its superstar players like Ovechkin and Crosby, underdog stories like the (gulp) Canadiens and Flyers (down 3-0 in playoffs, came back to win series), and with this Winter Classic. It seems like hockey is on the rise and headed in the right direction, which is a good thing to see.

18
May
10

Backstrom Signs Huge Deal

nicklas backstrom

By Jesse Jones

Nicklas Backstrom had a huge year for the Washington Capitals this season.  He had career-highs in goals, 33, and assists, 68.  These 101 points propelled him into fourth in the league in points.  He has also played in every game for the past three seasons.

Backstrom’s performance helped the Caps to a record setting regular season (yes, the playoffs were a complete dissappointment), and he was rewarded with a 10-year, $67 million contract with Washington.

This signing is the second huge deal from the Capitals and general manager George McPhee.  Three years ago, Alexander Ovechkin signed a 13-year, $124 million contract.  Ovechkin and Backstrom are the Caps two best players, and now they are with the team for the next decade.

Yes, the regular season success has not been rewarded with much success in the playoffs, but the front office is doing a great job.  They are bringing in guys that want to win, and have the talent to do so.  Washington was so close to having a championship this year, but couldn’t win when it counted.  Now that they have secured the best two players on the team, maybe other stars from the NHL will see the committment from the front office, and help Washington get its first ever Stanley Cup.

28
Apr
10

State of Emergency

By Ben Linton

They have the best record in the National Hockey League. They clinched the number one seed in the east division and home ice throughout the playoffs. They held a streak of 14 consecutive victories at one point this season. They possess the reigning MVP of the league. So why can’t the Washington Capitals put away the Montreal Canadiens like they are supposed to?

Sadly, the NHL’s most dominant team has struggled to put away the eight-seed Montreal Canadiens, leading them to play in a game that will not make, but only break their season. You see, a game seven victory will not even boost to morale of the Capitals team, because they were never supposed to be in such a predicament to begin with. Even if they win, they will still have immense pressure on them to live up to their expectations of hoisting the trophy at the end of the season.

How did they get here? The dreaded powerplay and an opposing goalie that is playing unconscious right now are the main reasons why the Canadiens have stuck around for so long. The Capitals have been plagued by the Canadiens penalty kill and have only scored one goal on a powerplay the whole series, a total of 1 for 30. Washington is also out-shooting Montreal 250 to 178, but have failed to capitalize on these opportunities. Part of this can be credited to Canadiens’ goalie Jarsolav Halak, who holds a .931 save percentage throughout the series and has been an absolute nightmare for the Caps’ offense.  All these things combined has made a recipe for disaster.

So when the Capitals take home ice Wednesday Night, something they have been unable to protect this far into the playoffs, expect a whole different attitude. So much more rides on this game, other than just advancing in the playoffs. The Capitals have been the only bright light in a sports town that has seen its beloved Redskins go 4-12, the Wizards disappoint to an unbelievable degree, and the Nationals possess the worst record in the MLB in 2009. Right now, the Capitals are the only thing sports fans in D.C. have to hold on to. And if the Caps happen to let Game Seven slip, all hope for sports in the nation’s capital may slip as well. Game 7 will be of monumental importance (no pun intended).

26
Apr
10

Where’s The Balance?

By Jesse Jones

Remember when Washington Capitals’ captain Alexander Ovechkin was suspended for his hit on Chicago Blackhawks’ Brian Campbell?  If not, here’s the hit:

Now compare that video with this hit from Chicago’s Marian Hossa during the playoffs Saturday:

Hossa was only given a five minute major, and no suspension will be handed down. Both hits are very very similar, yet Hossa only missed five minutes of the game, while Ovechkin was thrown out of the game and suspended. Could this be because Ovechkin’s hit resulted in an injury and Hossa’s did not? Or because it’s the playoffs? Who’s to know.

The NHL is one of the best professional leagues to keep balance with their decisions and rid the league of any “question marks” in the rule book. However, the punishments for these two hit are extremely different. Is this fair or foul? Let me know.

20
Apr
10

Caps Gain 2-1 Series Lead

Ovechkin Celebrates After His Second Goal Of The Series

By Jesse Jones

Thought after the first game the Washington Capitals were in trouble?  Don’t be so sure about that.

After a huge come-from-behind victory Saturday night in Washington, where the Caps came back from a 4-1 deficit to win 6-5 in overtime, the Capitals traveled to Montreal for game three of a 1-1 series with the Canadians.  Semyon Varlarmov got the start for Washington, as he earned the victory Saturday night after Jose Theodore gave up 2 goals on 2 shots.

The first period was all about the goal tending, as Semyon Varlarmov and Jaroslav Halak made save after save to keep the score at 0-0 through 20 minutes.  The second period, however, was quite different.  Washington went on a scoring frenzy, which was started by a shorthanded Boyd Gordon goal 1:06 into the period.  Four minutes later, Brooks Laich extended the lead to 2-0.  Four minutes after that, Eric Ferh scored his second goal of the playoffs to make the score 3-0.  And you know who scored next, Alex Ovechkin.  The Captain scored his second goal of the playoffs to give the Caps a 4-0 lead.  And with the great play of Varlarmov, there was no doubt who was winning this game.  The Canadians only scored once the entire game, and that came midway through the third period.  Varlarmov played excellent, recording 26 saves and having a save percentage of 96.3% on his way to leading the Capitals to a 5-1 victory.

Washington, who now has a 2-1 series lead, will have a day of rest before playing Wednesday night in Montreal for game four of the series.  The team will look to capture another victory on the road, which would allow them to seal the deal and advance to the second round Friday night in Washington.

12
Apr
10

Caps To Play Montreal In First Round

capitals montreal canadians

By Jesse Jones

Although the Washington Capitals ended their regular season Sunday in an overtime loss at home to the Boston Bruins, they enter the 2010 NHL Playoffs on a roll, as they have won  nine of their last fourteen games, and have only one loss in regulation during that span. The top seed in the NHL will face off against the eighth seed in the East, the Montreal Canadians, Thursday at 7 PM. Washington won the season series 2-1-1.

Montreal (39-33-10) backed their way into the playoffs, as they got in thanks to an overtime loss Saturday night that gave them one point in the standings. In their past 11 games, the Canadians (also known as the ‘Habs’) have won just three games.

It’s well known that Washington (54-15-13) is all about explosiveness, but there are still doubts as to whether or not their defense and goal tending will be enough for them to make it to the conference finals and potentially win the Stanley Cup. The goalie position will be key for the Caps, as it is for any other team. Last season Simeon Varlamov was the man in the playoffs, but has been injured much of this season and has not been on par in his return, as he has only won two games in his past eight, and has allowed three goals or more in six of those games. Jose Theodore has played extremely well this season, going 30-7-7. He has allowed 2.88 goals a game, and has a save percentage of 91%. His numbers have spoken for themselves this season, and hopefully his playoff numbers will as well.

After a “dry spell” for Alexander Ovechkin, the Great Eight seems to be back on track. Ovie has scored four goals in the last three games to reach 50 goals on the year, and also scored his 500th career goal against the New York Rangers. And despite missing 10 games due to injury and two suspensions, Ovechkin finished second in the points standing with 109 points. Another plus for the Capitals is that the team is 30-4-8 since Ovechkin was named Captain on January 5th.

With all that being said, I believe that Washington will advance to the second round in five games.

Tune into Versus Thursday night at 7 PM to see the start of what hopes to be a long and successful playoff run for the Washington Capitals.




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