Thursday, 20 September 2012

#Lockout2012 - NHL Players in the British Leagues - Could It Happen?

With the NHL preseason having been cancelled today, it looks more and more likely that the regular season will start late. Last time that happened, the whole season was cancelled (2004-05). Whilst this was terrible for NHL fans worldwide, British fans got to see a rare spectacle - NHL quality players in our country.

Bali'more Hockey Classic Cancelled, Hon

Joey Crabb's Baltimore Hockey Classic and All You Can Eat Crabb Leggs has officially been cancelled.  As any hockey fan knows, the ongoing dispute between the NHL owners and the NHLPA means that games are going to be cancelled, and the Baltimore Hockey Classic is among the first to go.  It's just like the Colts leaving Baltimore all over again, but worse I imagine--I'm not really sure how bad that was for you guys considering that I'm not a Baltimore football fan.  In any case I imagine that this is probably just as bad.

I've heard that Joey is taking it pretty hard.

But look at it this way Joey, at least you now have more time to focus on the O's playoff push.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

KHL Rules on Signing NHL Players Matter for 2012-2013

Now that the NHL is in yet another lockout, the rules of the KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) that apply to singing NHL Players during a lockout, matter. Since the lockout will ultimately lead to my excessive boredom and, at times, depression, I have diligently put together a list of the rules that the KHL has in place on signing NHL players when a lockout occurs!

Disclaimer: I do realize that not all NHL players and stars are going to sign in the KHL but as far as I could tell through research, the other European leagues do not have rules on signing NHL players during lockouts.

Happy Birthday, Alex Ovechkin

Just because we're locked out, and have nothing better to do...

Happy 27th Birthday, Alex Ovechkin!

Here's to the next 27!

Also, perhaps more importantly, everybody's favourite Russian goalie turns 20 today. So a very happy birthday to you too, Seryozha Kostenko!

Oh, how we love them.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Doomsday - NHL CBA Expires - Cam's Thoughts.

At 11:59 PM on September 15th 2012, the unthinkable happened. Just eight years after the locked out 2004-05 season, the owner's ridiculous demands have caused yet another work stoppage. Whilst there are no regular season games cancelled yet, it's a pretty good bet that there will be cancelled games. 

Friday, 14 September 2012

#Caps Re-Sign John Carlson

June 20, 2008. He has not changed.
The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman John Carlson to a six-year, $23.8-million contract that will see the blueliner be paid an average of $3.97 million a year.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

State of the Capitals: Brouwer Re-Signed, European Prospects Kick-Off Season, CATP Merchandise

(We'll steer well away from any lockout-related news in this particular post)

With September dragging on, news is slow on the Washington Capitals front. It's warm, there's too much NFL on TV, and for the hockey-loving, there's not much to do. But some significant news #Caps came through today, as the team announced that RW Troy Brouwer has been re-signed to a three-year, $11-million contract.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Christian Djoos Shines at Four Nations Tournament

When the Washington Capitals' European prospects do well, the Europeans among us here at Caps Across the Pond are happy.

And with the doom of the Collective Bargaining Agreement talks leaving us all distraught, a certain Caps' 2012 7th-rounder thought he might do us all a favo(u)r and cheer us up.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Join CATP at the 4th Annual Charity Hockey Classic

Come on out to the Kettler Capitals Iceplex atop the Ballston mall on September 9th, watch hockey for a great cause, and say hi to one of the writers for your favorite British founded Caps themed hockey blog!

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Tickets are $10 and admission is free for children.  All proceeds and donations from the event go to Inova Blood Donor Services, which tests and provides blood and blood products to hospitals and medical centers throughout the DC area.

Four teams will all compete in a round-robin, and each team will have a special guest coach from the Mike O'Meara show.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Reading Rainbow

Getting To Know The Royals

Royals GM LeVar Burton
With CBA negotiations still underway and the threat of a lockout looming, NHL fans may find themselves with more time to pay to the minor leagues at the start of next season.  For Caps fans that means time to get to know our new ECHL affiliate the Reading Royals.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Goodbye Sasha

Today at about three twenty-two in the afternoon Alexander Semin signed a one year, seven million dollar contract with the Carolina Hurricanes.

All of us here at CACTP would like to wish Sasha all the best in Carolina, and hope that he is able to get along with the two Staal brothers that he'll be working with.

Goodbye Sasha.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

There's A New Hunter In Town...Again

The Capitals announced that they have finally signed their second assistant coach yesterday!  No it wasn't an ex-Capitals player this time. Instead the Caps went after an ex-assistant coach.  The name of that man?  Tim Hunter.

Say hello to Tim Hunter! (No relation to Dale Hunter)

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Joey Crabb's Baltimore Hockey Classic and All You Can Eat Crabb Legs

C'mon out to Joey Crabb's Baltimore Hockey Classic Hon!

Date: September 26

Location: 1st Mariner Arena, Baltimore, MD.

Hang out with one of yer newest Capitals, Joey Crabb, as he and the Washington Capitals take on the Columbus Blue Jackets!

The festivities are set to include all you can eat Crabb leggs and drinks will be provided by Natty Boh!

See you there hon! 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Alex Semin: Misunderstood

For whatever reason Alex Semin has been labeled as a lazy, egotistical coach-killer--they say he's an enigma of a man that lacks effort and has a sense of apathy during the post-season.  While Sasha does possess a somewhat enigmatic quality to him, lazy?  A coach-killer?  Lacking effort during the playoffs?  That is simply untrue--it's a falsehood spread by the left wing-hating Russian-bashing media.

I've also heard that Alex Semin is behind a conspiracy to make the new Batman movie anti-Romney

Let's address the issue of lazy first.  I'm honestly not sure where this claim is based in reality.  If one were to base an opinion of him being lazy off of the fact that his point production has dipped over the last several years, then perhaps there could be a case made.  However, take this into consideration--over the past several years the quality of Sasha's line-mates has gone down.  As Jeff Angus points out in his great piece, "Alexander Semin and Ignoring the 10 Percent," In 2009-10 Sasha spent over twenty percent of his time on the ice with Ovechkin and Backstrom, and over the following seasons that percentage of time gradually went down and Alex began to play with less gifted players a greater percent of the time.  It doesn't take a genius to realize that a hockey player on a line with better players will generally play at a higher level.

No Love For Sasha

We are now 21 days into Free Agency and one star has yet to be signed. So, who wants the Caps talented but, "coach killing, island misfit, lazy, egotistical" second line winger? As of right now, it seems to be no one. Here is how I see Alexander Semin's remainder in Free Agency playing out:

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Meet Calle Johansson

With the resignation of both Dean Evason and Jim Johnson when Dale Hunter resigned as the Capitals head coach after the Caps 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff second round exit, the Caps have since been on a search for their replacements.

The Capitals took their time in hiring Adam Oates as their next head coach and that was good news for Calle Johansson.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Capitals Re-sign Green, 3 Year Deal

That's right Caps fans! Mike Green is back in DC!!

After declining the qualifying offer of $5 million per year the two sides agreed on an extension, a 3-year deal worth $18.25 million ($6 million in the 2012-13/2013-14 seasons and $6.25 million in 2014-15).   Which means we get to see the beloved Vespa-riding, defensive bad boy all the way through 2015!! (Photo credit to Google images)

Monday, 16 July 2012

Could Wolski Have A Comeback Year?

A couple of weeks into free agency, the Caps captured the signature of one time 65 point scorer, 26 year old left winger Wojtek Wolski - for just $600,000. A certain Alex Ovechkin scored 65 points this year, and the Caps paid $9 million for his services. An incredible deal, right? A top six forward for fourth line money? As you'd expect, there's a catch. 

Wolski's production has collapsed since 2010. This season, he was regularly hurt with a sports hernia, playing just 31 games for the Rangers and Panthers, scoring 12 points along the way. He played a further six games in the AHL for the Connecticut Whale. These are not impressive numbers at all and if he continued with this production he would struggle to even make the third line. This is why he has be signed to such a low  salary this year - the Caps are not prepared to risk top six money on him.

However, Mike Ribeiro, Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson - Wolski's likely top six linemates - scored a combined 254 points this year, in 356 games. Riberiro played for a non-playoff Dallas Stars, and Johansson is only 21, and should increase his production in 2012-13. Wolski may well become a better points producer among these players. At 6'3 and 210 lbs, he should also add some physicality to the top six. Of course, with exciting prospects Evgeny Kuznetsov,  Forsberg and Wilson in the pipeline, Wolski will have something to prove this year if he wants to win a contract with the Caps again.

Wolski is also a shootout specialist, which will really help the Caps pick up extra points to try and snatch the Southeast division back again this year. Although these will not show up in his stats, this will give the Caps a leg up into the playoffs. If he succeeds with these, the player who is described as 'an enigma' (and we thought we were done with those), could regain confidence and help the Caps in other ways.  

The Caps feel that they can turn his career around, and George McPhee believes he is ready for it and self effacing, saying: 'He was really good, really honest, really blunt, and said, I know my career's on the line, I have to play better, I put my foot off the gas.' This all sounds very positive, and that he is ready to take his production to the next level. Playing alongside great playmakers like Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Riberio coupled with his better attitude, there is no reason why Wojtek Wolski can return to form this year, and score over sixty points again. If he can return to this production, the Caps could finally overcome the Eastern Conference Semi Final.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Capitals Development Camp Finishes With A Bang

The large crowd that showed up to the final Capitals Development Camp Scrimmage to support the Capitals prospects in their final day in the DC area were given quite a treat. The scrimmage could not have been anymore entertaining for the Capitals fans that were in attendance. Seven total goals, hard hits, a fight and some big saves were all part of the day at Kettler.

The scrimmage festivities started with the adrenaline pumping and familiar voice of Capitals PA announcer Wes Johnson getting the crowd into the the action followed by a short speech by new head coach Adam Oates. The Capitals 2011-2012 entrance song soon followed as the Capitals prospects entered the ice and the atmosphere at Kettler quickly increased to the intensity of a game that would be normally seen at the Verizon Center (with a lot less people of course!). At the drop of the puck, all hell broke lose and the prospects duked it out for a full 60 minutes for one final time to make a statement.

2012 7th round draft pick Sergei Kostenko started in net for the red team and made some fantastic saves early on as his team jumped to a 1-0 lead 15:51 into the game. The opening goal was scored by Stanislav Galiev who I claimed needed to make a statement today infront of the large crowd. He was rather unimpressive in the previous scrimmages of the Development Camp. As soon as the Galiev goal was scored, the goaltender for the white team, Brandon Anderson, fell apart. Just 53 seconds later, Riley Barber increased the red teams lead to 2-0. Anderson was fighting off shots at this point and got a lot of help from his defenseman. At the end of the 1st period the Red team stayed ahead 2-1 with Tom Wilson leading the way in hits by a large margin.

Early on in the 2nd period, Brent Tate of the white team challenged Max Iafrate to a fight just to the left of Kostenko. Iafrate declined as the crowd's attention turned towards the scuffle that was beginning between Tate and Iafrate. As they skated down the ice the gloves were dropped and Tate landed a big punch and Iafrate quickly went down. This was Iafrate's 2nd fight of the week. He fought Chandler Stephenson at the conclusion of Thursday's scrimmage. Chandler Stephenson eventually tied the game at 2 for the white squad. Then with 11:31 left in the 2nd period, break out player David Vallorani gave the white team a 3-2 lead for his 4th goal of the week (also recorded 1 assist this week) and Kostenko started to crumble. The goalies were changed at the 10 minute mark (Brooks Ostergard for white and Scott Darling for red). The 2nd period ended a 3-2 lead for the boys in white.

Much of the 3rd period was a stalemate. A bunch of hooking penalties were called consecutively on both teams. Galiev made a thundering hit on Travis Boyd at center ice along the glass by the scorekeepers table with 2:40 left in the game. The littlest guy at the camp, TJ Syner, tied the game at 3 for the red team with 53.2 seconds left in the game. The crowd roared in appreciation for the beautiful passing sequence that occured to create the goal.

1:42 into OT the red team clinched the win thanks to Cornell's Greg Miller. Then both teams shook hands and exited the ice.

Todays scrimmage was about as thrilling of a hockey game as it gets! This exciting week of the Capitals Development Camp could not have ended with a better scrimmage than the one that took place today.

From what I saw, the most impressive players all week long at the camp were forwards Greg Miller, David Vallorani, Andreas Martinsen, Tom Wilson, and Barry Almeida. Defenseman Cameron Schilling, Jaynen Rissling, and Max Iafrate caught my eye. Goaltenders Scott Darling and Sergei Kostenko (reminds me a lot of Semyon Varlamov) were also impressive.

Thank you to all who adamately followed the blogs twitter account and our nightly posts with our updates from the camp all week long. I enjoyed being there covering the camp for our followers and fans! Make sure to follow me on twitter at @capsfanatic_wvu for more Capitals talk all offseason long, and, most importantly, during the upcoming Washington Capitals season!

Until We Meet Again,

Friday, 13 July 2012

Capitals Development Camp Day 5

Day 5 of the Washington Capitals Development Camp consisted of just a scrimmage, however, an oddly formatted scrimmage. The scrimmage started at 9:45am EST at Capitals Kettler Iceplex. The 1st period was 20 minutes of stop clock action. The 2nd (and final period) was 25 minutes of stop clock action.

With the addition of David Vallorani (who played on the red squad during all previous scrimmages), the white team defeated the red team 4-1. As weird as this may seem, Vallorani seems to be the difference maker in these scrimmages. Vallorani is fast, agile, and has a tremendous amount of playmaking ability. Today, he got one assist on a goal by Connor Carriker to add to his total of 3 goals prior to today. He had 2 yesterday for the red team. His 4 points in the scrimmages thus far leads the Capitals Development players. His point totals in the Caps Development Camp are not the reason the Caps should sign this kid right away.

As previously mentioned, Vallorani is noticeably fast. He is quite agile and has a great ability to make quick turns and stop on a dime, all while keeping perfect controll of the puck. His stickhandling skills are not to the level of Stanislav Galiev, but, combined with all his other hockey attributes, he makes a great player. His ability to find open ice for himself in the offensive zone and elude defensive pressure and open up alleyways for his teammates is vastly better than any other players ability to do so at the Capitals Development Camp. He is not a big kid, acutally, he is relatively small compared to most of the other guys at the camp but he is not intimidated by anyone and plays fearlessly.

After signing Filip Forsberg earlier today. The Capitals should start working on making an offer to David Villorani who in my opinion plays like Martin St. Louis!

Other guys who impressed me at the Capitals Development Camp thus far are goaltenders Scott Darling and Sergei Kostenko, forwards Tom Wilson, Andreas Martinsen, Travis Boyd and Barry Almeida as well as defensemen Cameron Schilling and Jaynen Rissling. The players that I was not impressed with that have grown on me are forwards Filip Forsberg and defenseman Max Iafrate. All of these guys are worth giving a contract too. Other guys are worthy as well but these are my favorites from what I have seen thus far!

Thanks for all your continued support on the Caps Across The Pond twitter account and my twitter account (@capsfanatic_wvu). I truely do enjoy interacting with every single one of you!

I will be tweeting live again from the final scrimmage tomorrow morning at 10am EST from the blog twitter account and I hope that when the Caps Development Camp concludes I can keep interacting with you guys on my personal account throughout the offseason and next season and so forth as I am very active on twitter when the season starts!

See you again tomorrow!!!!!


Capitals Development Camp Day 4

After a well-deserved break, the Washington Capitals prospects and Free Agent invites returned to Kettler Capitals IcePlex on Capitals Development Camp Day 4 for the group's third scrimmage.

As always, the players split into two groups in the morning, one working on on-ice drills and the other working in the weight room, then in the afternoon returned to the Capitals rink to entertain the onlooking fans once again in scrimmage form.

Team White, boasting Filip Forsberg, Cam Schilling, Chandler Stephenson and Nathan Walker, took Game 1 by a 3-1 margin. Team Red, highlighted by Stanislav Galiev, Patrick Wey and Tom Wilson, won Game 2, 2-1.

They faced off at 3:00 PM.

Free agent invite Matt Bailey opened the scoring for the Red team, shoveling a cross-ice pass from David Vallorani through the pads of Brandon Anderson for a 1-0 lead. Gregory Miller made it 2-0 in close after a Brant Harris shot for his second goal of Camp. Best-player-ever Vallorani made it 3-0 in the second-period, snapping a feed from linemate TJ Syner over Anderson's outstretched arm for his second goal of Development Camp. David Civitarese cut the lead by a third after hooking Garrett Haar to win the puck and sneaking it past Russian newcomer Sergei Kostenko, left out to dry. Kostenko would then stop Filip Forsberg on a Penalty Shot, before Camden Wojtala made it 4-1 with a rebound in front. New goalies came in, Brooks Ostergard replacing Brandon Anderson for the White team and Scott Darling stepping in for Red. It wouldn't take long for Tom Wilson to make it 5-1 Red, converting with a nifty move on a Penalty Shot, before David Vallorani rounded out the scoring for Red with a top-shelf rip from the left goal-line. Michael Quinn ensured Filip Forsberg wouldn't leave his third-straight scrimmage pointless, converting on a pretty 3-on-1 with the Swede and Barry Almeida. Seventh-round pick Christian Djoos rounded out the scoring, jumping up in the rush and almost breaking the crossbar on a short-side wristshot past a screened Scott Darling.

Tempers flared after the final whistle, as Chandler Stephenson dropped the gloves to protect his teammates from the livid Max Iafrate, but it wouldn't matter. Red beat White 6-3.

Here are those that impressed:

Filip Forsberg - RW - The Swedish 11th-overall pick has had a relatively quiet week, but he was good today. He manufactured a couple of breakaways, won himself a penalty shot (only to be robbed by Kostenko), and put his silky stickhandling skills on display on more than one occasion. The 17-year-old is the best player and brightest prospect at Camp, and, while he perhaps hasn't impressed as much as Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov did in their first Development Camps, he was certainly stood out.

Sergei Kostenko - G - Yesterday, a hushed anticipation fell over Kettler as fans got to see 2012 seventh-rounder Sergei Kostenko, who arrived late from Russia after visa troubles, for the first time. He didn't disappoint. And he didn't disappoint in his first scrimmage, either. Kostenko, an athletic yet positionally and technically sound netminder, made a number of key saves to keep the Red team in front, only yielding a goal because of the referees' refusal to make calls. Kostenko is an exciting prospect, and he sure was exciting today.

David Vallorani - C - The UMass-Lowell senior, who totaled 29 points in 38 games in college hockey's best division, has been the star of Development Camp this year, and he was at his best today. An undersized but speedy player with all the skills to be the next Mathieu Perreault, Vallorani first set up a goal then scored two himself. He certainly is making a name for himself at Camp, and could well find himself signed to a contract come the end of the week.

Nathan Walker - RW - The undrafted Australian winger has been impressing at Camp so far this week, and for the second scrimmage in a row, he was one of the best players on the ice. Walker is quick, gritty, skilled, and has all the all-round game to make it at the next level. He has to reenter the draft next year, but the Caps could well look to pick him up.

The players return to the rink for another scrimmage at 9:45 AM tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Capitals Development Camp Day 3

After two high-tempo scrimmages, the Washington Capitals prospects were given somewhat of a day off at #CapsDevCamp.

In a relatively non-newsworthy day (until about 4:08 PM), Group A and Group B were on ice at different times, working on technical skills, shooting, skating, passing, stickhandling, and mini-games.

The real news for the Development Camp-dwellers was the arrival of 2012 7th-round goaltender Sergei Kostenko, who had originally struggled to get a visa from Russia. Kostenko looked solid on the ice, moving well in the crease and flashing his pads on more than one occasion. He hasn't been showcased in a scrimmage yet, but will get his chance tomorrow, as Team Red and Team White face off again.

Italian-born 4th-round pick Thomas Di Pauli had to leave camp to return to summer school at Notre Dame.

The big news of the day was the Caps' signing of 26-year-old Polish left-winger Wojtek Wolski on a one-year, $600,000 contract.

Wolski should step into the Caps' top-six, perhaps playing alongside the likes of Mike Ribeiro and Troy Brouwer on a new-look second-line.

Wolski brings good size (6'3") and skill to a lineup that has looked starved without Alex Semin and Mike Knuble in the mix.

Just another reason to look forward to Training Camp...

Capitals Development Camp Day 2

With the pressure of making a good impression and starting the camp off on the right foot largely past the Washington Capitals prospects, the quality of play at Development Camp was expected to increase, and the players duly delivered.

After splitting into two groups this morning, the position players doing timed skates on Kettler's second rink and the goaltenders working with Adam Oates on the Capitals rink, the Washington Capitals prospects and Free Agent invites reconvened in front of fans at 2:45 for the Camp's second scrimmage.

Brooks Ostergard and Steffen Søberg held shutouts for the Red and White Teams, respectively, and halfway through the 60-minute, running-clock game, the score was tied 0-0. That said, shortly after the halfway mark, FA invite David Vallorani broke the deadlock, converting on a 3-on-2 slapshot after a feed from fellow invitee Matt Bailey. That score would hold until the last minute, when Aaron Gens one-timed a TJ Syner drop-pass past Brandon Anderson for a 2-0 Red lead. Australia's favourite Nathan Walker spoiled Scott Darling's shutout with a snapshot with just 4.7 seconds remaining, but it wouldn't be enough.

A day after losing the opening game 3-1, Team Red triumphed over Team White by a score of 2-1.

Here is a breakdown of those that impressed on Development Camp's second day...

Connor Carrick - D - Plymouth Whalers-bound USNTDP defenseman Connor Carrick was drafted as an offensive player, but today, the 5'11" defenseman put his more defensive and physical sides forward. One shift in particular stands out. Carrick started off by nearly dumping Brant Harris into the bench, then went on to destroy 6'4"-er Tom Wilson at center ice, before forcing a Scott Darling save after a nifty move around an opposition defenseman. The 5th-rounder has two more years of junior eligibility with which to impress the Caps' brass, but if today is any indication, there is no reason to believe he won't.

Christian Djoos - D - A day after disappointing in the scrimmage, Christian Djoos put all the qualities that made the Caps want to draft him in the 7th-round on full display. He blocked several shots, was composed with the puck, and even used his 5'11", 158-pound frame to knock Tom Wilson to the ice once. He put up 24 points in 40 games for Brynäs Jr in the SuperElitserien last season, and should get more time with the adult team this year. The Swedish blueliner is one to watch.

Steffen Søberg - G - At this point, there is little doubt over who the best goaltender at Development Camp is. After impressing a summer ago with his raw talent and athleticism, Steffen Søberg has come back better. He made some big saves today, most memorably a point black stop of Gregory Miller, en route to a well-deserved shutout. He will be joining Vålerenga of the Norwegian GET-Ligaen next summer, and if he performs, could be in line for a move to North America in 2012-13.

David Vallorani - C - Free Agent invites are meant to be complements at Development Camp, not stars. Vallorani shone today. After dominating the speed trials, Vallorani was one of the real bright spots of the scrimmage, hitting the crossbar once on a coast-to-coast give-and-go play with Stanislav Galiev and scoring the opening goal. A senior with UMass-Lowell last season, the center is looking for a pro contract, and if he keeps impressing, could earn it with the Capitals organization.

Nathan Walker - RW - Many expected Australian winger Nathan Walker to be a draft pick this summer, but everyone passed. Now, he is bringing his skills to the lucky fans at Kettler. Walker is fast. A bundle of energy that never stops moving, he seems to always be available to his teammates. He isn't the biggest guy, but he always bounces right back up after hits. He was rewarded for his efforts with a goal today, and, if he keeps playing as well as he has, it could well be the first of many for the Washington Capitals.

The players return to the ice tomorrow morning for Capitals Development Camp Day 3.

Caps Day 1 & 2 Development Camp Photos

Cameron Schilling (Defenseman)

Tom Wilson (Forward)

Stanislav Galiev (Forward)

Filip Forsberg (Forward)

Group A - Day 1

Filip Forsberg photograph autographed by Filip for an anxious fan!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Capitals Development Camp Day 1

Today was Day 1 of the Washington Capitals Devolopment Camp! An exciting time for big time Caps fans to get a glimpse of what will be the future of our team.

On the metro ride over to Kettler Capitals Iceplex, my mind was racing with thoughts of, "how good is Filip Forsberg?" "Can Tom Wilson be a big time scorer but also a intimidating fighter?" "Is this Stanislav Galiev's breakout year?" all while listening to B.O.B's new song, "so good."

Jump forward past Group A & B's practices, the Capitals prospects are, "so good!"

First, Adam Oates did run the practices if anyone was wondering. He was all business. Gathering the boys around for directions to each drill and expecting them to do the drill mistake free at an ultimate pace. He got what he asked for!

Max Iafrate - D - son of Capitals legend, Al, was invited as a free agent defenseman. The most noticeable attribute about him was his heavy slapshot. I counted two defenseman cringing at his shot while practicing shots from the point looking for a fellow defenseman to deflect their respective shots. Will he stay in the organization? I need to see more of him to know.

Tom Wilson - F - the first thing you notice about him is how big he is. Tall and thick! During drills he wasnt noticeable for his speed or stickhandling but during the scrimmage you could not take your eyes off him when he was on the ice. If your eyes were not on him you would be attracted to the thunder he would create by crunching bones against the boards. Every shift he was out to smack opponents around. When around the net he has the presence of mind to grind around the offensive zone to create scoring chances. He seems to have just the right touch of physical presence and intimadation and a solid amount of scoring potential. Lets not forget he is young and will beccme even stronger! He reminds me of a young Mike Knuble. Strong, powerful (ox like) with great scoring ability! In my opinion he is the most NHL ready player at the 2012 Development Camp.

Stanaslav Galiev - F - not particularly big but makes up for it with smooth hands. If you are a defenseman and loose focus, he has the dangles to make you look foolish. Galiev also posses unreal vision. The kind of vision where he may be trapped in the corner with no where to go and nails a teammate streaking to the net with a pefect tape to tape pass leaving you saying, "how did he see that guy?" In my opinion he is not NHL ready baring no injuries but we all know that in a 82 game season, injuries occur. He will most likely see some time with the Caps due to Foreseen injuries in the lineup.

Filip Forsberg - F - Tall and thin or your typical 17 year old build. Far from NHL ready but get this kid in the weight room and he will become something special. He is a good skater with nice hands. He shy's away from contact a bit too much for my likeing but he's young. His lack of strength does not help him with having a noticeable shot. Weights, weights, weights, just like Backstrom and he will be fun to watch!

Cam Schilling - D - He is a big kid that is a very solid defenseman. He too, like Wilson, is very strong. He possesses great size which comes with a long reach that is perfect for a stay at home defenseman! He skates very well and has a quick release which is perfect for fooling goalies with shots from the point. Another guy who I believe is very close to being NHL ready.

Nardo Nagtzaam - F - great flow, great speed and he tapes his stick with grip down the shaft for his left hand. He is a lefty and it's not often you see that type of tape job now a days. He is an interesting kid I presume!

Christian Djoos - D - way too small, or it seems a boy amongst men. He is too small to be a good defenseman right now. He really needs to bulk up if he wants to have a chance to ever crack the Caps lineup. He has a short reach and does not make up for it with particularly great skating. He simply gets beat too easily. He needs time to develop!

Scott Darling - G - hockey prospect websites gave him a future success rate of an "F". I just don't see it though. Of all the goalies he looked to be the best. He was tall and his stance took up most of the net. He was agile and moved well for a big goalie. On top of all that he is very fundamentally sound.

Brandon Anderson - G - this kid loves his glove hand. It was his go to method of making a save. His glove is quick and he is relatively good at making sure he catches the shot and doesn't let it escape his glove. I would have to say beating him on a clear shot will rarely work. He loves to go down on every shot he sees and doesn't seem to be afraid to do so (eerily like Tim Thomas). The best way to beat him is give him a strong head fake, get him to go down and go for the deke.

As I mentioned earlier, Tom Wilson was very fun to watch during the scrimmage. He wanted to hit someone every chance he got but did not give up trying to help the red squad score a goal. Aaron Gens (D, free agent invite) made a slick shot fake from the left point and made a perfect shotpass to Gregory Miller (F, free agent invite) who easily tapped it home early on in the scrimmage. The crowd at Kettler "ooo'd" in approval! Galiev was a non factor for the Red squad today. Brooks Ostergard also struggled in net for the Red squad. However, Andreas Martinsen and David Villorani had breakout games for the boys in red. Both were very good at skating with the puck and trying to open up the ice to make a play for their teammates. Villorani is small, fast, and shifty while the lone German Martinsen is big and powerful. The white team ended up winning the oddly formatted game 3-1 with goals by Travis Boyd, Greg Burke and Brent Tate.

I want to say thank you all who fired away questions to me while I was at the Development Camp today on our twitter account (@capsacrosspond). At one point there were so many questions coming in I got quickly overwhelmed and accidentally called a lady, "sir!" the more traffic I get during the camp, the better my experience is, so again, thank you!

I will be in attendance all week so keep tweeting me on the blog account as well as follow my personal account (@capsfanatic_wvu). I would be glad to host your "off hours" questions about the caps and or the camp there when my day is done at the rink!

Until tomorrow :) !!!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Adam Oates Makes The Hockey Hall Of Fame

If you think you are having a good day today, its probably not been as good as the day that newest Washington Capitals head coach and living legend, Adam Oates is having.

Before I get to that, here's an appropriate link to a famous Daryl Hall & John Oates song, "Maneater":

You can enjoy the wonderful sound of Hall & Oates' "Maneater" while you read about Adam Oates (get it?).

Now on to the good stuff!

Just one hour after being named the head coach of the Washington Capitals, Adam Oates was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame along with Pavel Bure, Joe Sakic and Mats Sundin! For Oates, a good day got even better.

In his 19 seasons in the NHL, Adam Oates amassed 341 goals, 1,079 assists, and 1,420 points in 1,337 games. In 1992-1993 he recorded 142 points with the Boston Bruins which was his highest point total for a season in his NHL career. All in all, he recorded 100 or more points in a season 4 times (102, 115, 142, 112). Oates played for 7 teams over his 19 year career including 6 seasons with the Washington Capitals that included the 1997-1998 season in which the Capitals made it to the Stanley Cup Finals and got swept by Oates' former team, the Detroit Red Wings. Oates also made the NHL All-Star game in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1997.

Oates is the oldest player to lead the NHL in assits in a single season when he had 64 in 2001-2002 at the age of 39 with the Washington Capitals and the Philadelphia Flyers. Oates has currently accumulated the most career playoff points (156) without ever winning the Stanley Cup. Finally, Oates is 6th all-time in the NHL in assists. His legacy also includes being known as one the cleanest players to ever play in the NHL. He was a Lady Byng Trophy Finalist six times in his career and lost to the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Pierre Turgeon, Ron Francis, and Joe Sakic (fellow 2012 HHOF Inductee).

Adam Oates ended his interview with the media today by saying he was going to go play the lottery. Why not when you're having a day like he is currently having! Is he going to add a winning lottery ticket of $100 million or more to his resume for 6/26/2012?

Make sure to sauce me a follow on twitter @capsfanatic_wvu

Until Next Time,

Caps Name Oates Coach

After what seemed like an eternity of time between Hunter's resignation and this moment, the Washington Capitals finally have a new Coach!

George McPhee announced today that Adam Oates will be the Caps' bench boss for the 2012-13 season.

Oates was one of the finalists for the job along with former Blackhawks assistant coach, Mike Haviland, and coach of the Calder Cup champion Norfolk Admirals, Jon Cooper (Whom I don't recall campaigning for).  The nineteen season NHL veteran played for the Caps between 1996 and 2002, and in that time he collected 73 goals and 290 assists.

Oates began his coaching career with the Tampa Bay Lightening as an assistant coach in 2009-10.  The following season he went on to be New Jersey's assistant coach, and he was with the team for their run to the Cup finals this season.  He is expected to be the balance between the offensive style of Bruce and the defensive shell of Hunter.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hi, I'm the CATP Video Editor

Hey there, I'm Hamish, Cam's brother. I'm 14 and also a hockey player, and I like editing hockey videos, so have taken on video editing for Caps Across The Pond, and I'll write occasional articles too. My favourite Caps player was Varlamov until he got traded, so now it's Ovi.
Want to see what I can do? Well here you go:

Saturday, 23 June 2012

2012 NHL Draft Recap

It was a busy couple of days for the Washington Capitals, who had more picks than anyone else in the NHL entering the draft. As a result, there have been multiple adjustments to the Caps organization.
I'll split this into two parts - welcome and goodbye.

A Warm Caps Welcome To.....

Mike Ribeiro

The Caps acquired Mike Riberio in return for Cody Eakin and the 54th pick this year. This is a great move for the Caps, as Ribeiro is capable of 60-70 points a season, and has a single all star game appearance under his belt. He will slot in the second line center position behind Backstrom, and is the answer to our "Where is our second line center?!!11!!! Fire GMGM!!!!!!11!!". He carries a hefty $5 million cap hit, but has only one year left on this contract, meaning that we have an insurance policy if things don't work out. At age 32, he is an experienced player and will be a good fit in the locker room. Can't wait to see him in Red come September.

Filip Forsberg

With the Capitals first pick of the 2012 Draft at number 11  (from Colorado) , the Caps selected Forsberg, who was widely predicted to be selected in the top five, but, thanks to the hockey gods - and defensive needs of other teams - we landed the highly touted Swedish center. Measuring 6'1 and weighing 188 pounds, once he puts more weight on, he will be a force to be reckoned with. Look to see him in the Caps' lineup in October 2013 - and if his game keeps improving, look for him to steal Nicky's no.1 center spot eventually. A great pick for the Caps.

Thomas Wilson

The Caps picked again five spots later, and selected right wing Thomas Wilson. Ever thought when watching the Caps, "why can't we play more physical?" - here's your man. This guy only turned 18 in late March, but he looks about 25. Measuring at 6'3 and weighing 205 pounds, he will be terrifying. He was voted best hitter in the OHL this year, and was runner up in 'hardest worker'. He bases his game on Milan Lucic, who, despite being a Caps fan I have always enjoyed watching and personally base my game off him (don't expect me to get my name called next year though!) If any sucker messes with a Cap in a couple of years' time, they better be scared.
Chandler Stephenson

61 picks later, in the third round, the Caps selected Chandler Stephenson out of the Regina Pats of the WHL. The guy's a versatile player who can play on the left wing or as a center, and saw his draft stock rise this year, scoring 22 goals and putting up 42 points in 55 games this year, at the tender age of 18. Expect him to crack the roster eventually, but give him time with Hershey. Potential is always hard to judge, but he has a good chance of reaching the NHL.

Thomas Di Pauli

This guy came in at number 100. As his name suggests, this kid is actually Italian but moved to the US to peruse his hockey dream. He's yet another forward, a center. He could grow a bit, measuring 5'11 and weighing 188 pounds, but is a good pick, scoring twenty points this year in the USHL. He sure has a shot at making the NHL, but is by no means a safe bet.

Austin Wuthrich

Picked 107th, this kid is... you guessed it, yet another forward! He plays on the right wing, this year for Notre Dame in the NCAA. He is 6'1 and weighs 190 pounds, but he is almost 19. College players are unpredictable in the NHL, and this guy is no exception. As with most players outside the top 100, it will take him at least several years to make the NHL, if at all.

Connor Carrick

So the Caps selected another forward, right? No! It's a defensman this time, and the third USHL player the Caps have selected this year, putting up 18 points. Selected at 137, he was ranked 124 coming into the draft, rising from 157 in the midterm rankings. He will be going Michigan College, as 'my mom would kill me if I don't get a degree' . As usual with the later picks, you should allow several years before expecting them to break into the NHL.

Riley Barber

This forward, selected by the Caps 167th, is a Pittsburgh native. He's a right winger, measuring 6'0 and weighing 194 pounds. He put up 20 goals and 35 points in 55 games in the USHL this year, and expect him to go to college. Will he be a Caps player in the future? It could happen, after all his ranking rose from his midterm of 141 up to 86. Obviously, as a later pick he is far from a sure bet.

Christian Djoos

The Caps selected this Swedish defenseman 195th overall. He isn't playing at men's level yet, as he is still seventeen, but he picked up 24 points this season in 40 games, not bad for a defensman going this late in the draft. He's a long shot to make the NHL, and will most likely stay in Sweden for at least another 2-3 years before probably making his way up thru the AHL or ECHL.

Jayden Rissling

Selected 197th overall, this guy's a defensman for the Calgary Hitmen. He'll be 19 in September and has very good size at 6'4 and weighing 223 pounds, one of the heaviest draftees this year. He put up 23 points in 55 games this year, with 124 PIMs. No prizes for guessing his style of play. He could well be Erskine's replacement.

Sergei Kostenko

It wouldn't be a Caps draft if we didn't select a Russian, or a goalie at that. Selected 203rd, he was 3rd goalie on the Russian World Junior roster this year. His stats aren't too impressive, but he's a goalie, so you never know. Hey, Lundqvist was selected 205th, and he won the Veniza this year!

A Sad Caps Farewell To....

Cody Eakin

The ginger ninja was shipped off to Texas with this year's second round pick for Mike Riberio. With plenty of centers for the Caps this draft, Eakin was quite expendable. He spent only one season with the Caps after they selected him 65th in 2010. He picked up 8 points in 30 games. He will definitely become a regular within a couple of years, but don't be shocked if he's not in the NHL this year. Everyone at Caps Across The Pond wishes him all the best out west. However, his departure was necessary to secure our second line center position. 

It's been an exiting draft and I can't wait for free agency, and then the start of the season! Let's go Caps!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Hire This Man

I'm sure many of my fellow Caps fans have concerned themselves with the issue of who will be the Caps new head coach.  In the past GMGM has gone with candidates that have relatively little experience coaching at the NHL level.  It's a tactic that has worked out well for McPhee--albeit with little success in the playoffs.  Personally, I don't think that the lack of playoff success has anything to do with the way the team has been coached.  The post-season is as much about luck as it is about talent and great coaching--one lucky bounce or a hot goalie (Halak) can mean the difference between moving on or teeing off.  That is why I think the Caps would be well served to look out side the existing talent pool of laid-off NHL coaches yet again.

There have been several such candidates floating around; such as Mike Haviland, former assistant coach of the Blackhawks, and Adam Oates, former Cap and current assistant coach of the Devils.  Neither has been a head coach at the NHL level and both men have advantages and disadvantages.  Haviland has a great history of coaching at the AHL level and was part of a Stanley Cup winning team with the Blackhawks; then there's Oates, who has gained experience as an assistant coach in Tampa Bay and had a run to the Finals as an assistant in New Jersey this season.  The Devils' unlikely run to the Cup Finals may have increased his chances, but that's not all he has going for him--his work with Kovalchuck gives him experience in turning around Russian superstars.

Despite the success that these two men have had, they are not who I would like to see behind the Caps' bench next season.  I'm calling for a man who, like Bruce (I still miss him), has absolutely no NHL coaching experience--even as an assistant.  I demand a man that has had success at every minor league level he has coached. I need the most interesting man in hockey!

Jon Cooper!

Jon Cooper pictured thinking of all the reasons he loves America
I have Coop-mania, and for good reason--the man has been amazing at every level he has coached.  He has won championships with teams at every level of juniors in the US.  He spent five seasons with the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL, while there he guided the team to a 223-93-17 record and to two league championships in 2007 and 2008. He then went on to coach the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL.  Coop led the Gamblers to the single biggest turn around in league history--going from 32 points in 2008 to 82 points in his first season behind the bench.  Under Cooper, the Gamblers were regular season champs for both of his two years there and they were league champs in his final year there.

King Coopa went on to coach the Tampa Bay Lightening's AHL affiliate, The Norfolk Admirals, in 2010.  In his second season with the Ads the team set club records of 55 wins and 113 points, and Norfolk went on to win the Calder Cup over the Toronto Marlies.

Jon Cooper celebrating after Admirals Calder Cup victory

His amazing success at lower levels of competition aside, there is one other reason GMGM needs to hire Jon Cooper.  The Capitals have gone far too long without a coach that resembles Marty McFly.

Jon Cooper seen debating the morality of taking a sports almanac back to 1985 with Doc Brown.
Cooper would be an amazing fit for the Caps and he needs to be behind our bench next season.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Prospect Profile: Radek Faksa

With under a week to go before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Caps Across The Pond will be profiling yet more potentail Caps selections - today, it's Radek Faksa of the OHL's Kitchener Rangers.

Prospect Facts

Position - Center
Date of Birth - Jan 9th 1994 (Age 18)
Height - 6'3
Weight - 203lbs
Birthplace - Opava, Czech Republic
Shoots - Left

Radek Faksa is a well-rounded Czech center playing with the Kitchener Rangers of the Ontario Hockey League. A two-way forward, Faksa brings all the skills needed of a modern NHL player, including good skating, very sound technical skills, and a high hockey IQ.

With Marcus Johansson seemingly more effective on the wing and Brooks Laich having more value to the team when anchoring the third-line, the Caps perennially have a need at second-line center. A dynamic center with the ability to man both ends of the ice, score, and win faceoffs, Faksa could fill that need, while also acting as a good complement for the Caps' smaller players, like Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, and, if he comes, Evgeny Kuznetsov on his wings.

In 62 games with the OHL's Kitchener Rangers this season, Faksa scored 29 goals and recorded 38 assists for 67 points, to go along with 47 penalty minutes and a plus-19. 

An advantage that Faksa brings is that, unlike most of the prospects in the draft class, there are very few downsides to his game. Already having the size and strength to play in the NHL, Faksa, while not overly physical, uses his body well on the ice, effectively nullifying a criticism often made of European players. Despite that size, Faksa is still a very sound skater, allowing him to be a force in the neutral zone and a more dynamic forward. 

Where will he go? Faksa is ranked as the number seven North American skater by Central Scouting, meaning there is a good chance he is still around by the time the Caps pick at number 11. Considering the upside he brings and the low-risk nature of his game, the Caps could well pick him up with their first pick in the draft.

Caps Across The Pond, On The Same Side As The Pond

Caps fans, I'd like to introduce myself. My name is Jake Ware, and I will be writing for Caps Across The Pond. I am half-English and half-Swedish, and have been a huge Caps fans since moving to Washington from Europe six years ago.
As well as Caps Across The Pond, I have experience writing for DC Pro Sports Report and Bleacher Report, covering the Capitals. You can follow me on Twitter at @JacobWare95. I look forward to joining the CATP team and bringing my fellow Caps supporters the very best team coverage available.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Prospect Profile: Matt Finn

With under a week to go before the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Caps Across The Pond will be profiling yet more potentail Caps selections - today, it's Matt Finn of the Guelph Storm in the OHL.

Prospect Facts

Position - Defenseman
Date of Birth - Feb 24th 1994 (Age 18)
Height - 6'
Weight - 197lbs
Birthplace - Toronto, Ontario
Shoots - Left

Matt Finn is a mobile two -way defenseman whose draft stock rose significantly in 2011-12, more than doubling his points total from 21 to 47 in 60 and 61 games respectively. This suggests that he has high growth potential, meaning he may turn into a draft steal eventually.
As a defensman, he can continue the gradual rebuild of the Caps' defense. As players such as Hamrlik and Schultz begin to disappear, Finn could join the young guns of Carlson, Arlzner and Orlov, giving the Caps great blueline potential. 
A major strength of Finn's game is his elite hockey IQ, which is very important to succeed in the NHL today. This allows him to create great plays and maintain his positioning almost all of the time - a skill the Caps could really use. 
However, as with most players, there are downsides to his game. Despite being a fairly large player for the OHL, he does not play very physical at all. Even if he grows he will always be around average size in the NHL and this could only detriment his physical game. Of course, this problem could be helped by lining him up with a tough defensman such as Alzner - or even Griffin Reinhart if the Caps choose to take him!
Where will he go? Most likely at no.16. His lack of physical play makes him a more risky option, causing him to slip off the no.11 selection, but he will make a great draft combination with a more safe selection such as Gaunce.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Prospect Profile: Brendan Gaunce

Prospect Profile:

                                                Position:   Center/Left Wing
                                                Date of Birth: 3-25-1994 (Age 18)
                                                Height: 6'2
                                                Weight: 201 lbs
                                                Birthplace: Markham, Ontario
                                                Shoots: Left

Brendan Gaunce is currently a center/left winger, playing for the Belleville Bulls. This year he played 68 games, scoring 28 goals, putting up 40 assists - combining for 68 points, one point a game. He also had 68 penalty minutes - one a game. 68 clearly is the number for Gaunce! 
He was fairly highly touted from the start, drafted into the OHL second overall behind top-5 prospect Alex Galchenyuk). He's a big player, whose not afraid to mix it up at all, even though he puts up the points as well , an ideal second line center for the Capitals in the future. At his size and playing style, he is fairly NHL-ready, giving him a year in the minors first. 
However, his skating and creativity is reportedly cause for concern and if he does not work on this he will likely remain second line for his career, if not third line. However, he would be a very safe pick for the Caps at no.16, and if he is still available, the Caps should grab him as a long term solution. He's not a flashy player, but he's a solid player, which is what the Caps need - think Brooks Laich style. 

Capitals Preseason Schedule

The only thing that kept me going after the Capitals were eliminated from this years playoffs was that there were still the last two rounds of the playoffs to be played.  Now that they're over (congrats to the LA Kings) I have this. The preseason schedule.

If you havent seen it yet, here is the preseason schedule for the Washington Capitals:

Sept. 25, vs. Boston, Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26, vs Columbus, 1st Mariner Arena, 7 p.m.
Sept. 30, at Detroit, Joe Louis Arena, 5 p.m.
Oct. 1, at Columbus, Nationwide Arena, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3, at Boston, TD Garden, 7 p.m.
Oct. 5, vs Nashville, Verizon Center, 7 p.m.
Oct. 7, vs Detroit, Verizon Center, 5 p.m.

I have gone as far as to post this in my room, my desk at work, and other various places because it reminds me that Capitals hockey will return. Just seeing this schedule and knowing of its existence gets me excited for hockey to come back into my life. And lets be honest. We have been without Caps hockey for 32 days. That's 32 days too many.

And I could not dream of a better way to start off the preseason than with the Tim Thomas-less teddy bears at home.

Photo Credit: Google Images
Unfortunately the league's collective bargaining agreement with the NHLPA that ends on September 15.  Fingers crossed that this doesn't postpone any part of the upcoming season...

So that's it. The countdown is currently at 111 days. I suggest finding a very addictive hobby (I chose golf) because we have a long offeseason ahead of us folks.

Good luck with all of your offseason endeavours and be sure to check back here for more Caps news and anything hockey related!

As always, Lets Go Caps!!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Tim Thomas Will Take a Year Off

Tim Thomas will not return to hockey next season. Whether its because of a year long lockout or because he announced on facebook that he was going to take a year off to reconnect with the, "three f's" that he has neglected over his long journey in the NHL. What is certain, is he won't be playing for the Bruins or for any team in the NHL. The three f's that Thomas was referring to when he posted the message on his official Facebook page are Faith, Family, and Friends. He went on to mention how he will workout very hard on his time off and make a return to the NHL at the age of 39. Thomas has 1 year left on his contract with the Bruins and his cap hit is around $5 million. Since this announcement, the Bruins will either have to "suspend" him so they don't have to pay his contract and don't have to suffer his cap space hit too. The Bruins are left with Tukka Rask and Anton Khudobin as their goalies. Thomas has been fairly controversial as of late after he posted a message on his facebook page to fans about his decision to skip the Bruins visit to see President Obama at the whitehouse to celebrate their 2010-2011 Stanley Cup victory. Thomas has been exposed as a pretty odd guy with his stunts this year. He is also dreaming if he thinks he can take a full season off and return to the NHL. He may try to return for the 2013-2014 season but I don't believe he will physically be able to make a return and being that the 2012-2013 season was the last on his contract, the Bruins will not want to resign him and neither will any other NHL teams. A classic example of a 40 year old goalie bust was Tampa Bay's Dwayne Roloson. He will be too risky to sign because of his age and the fact that he will not have played an NHL game in over a year. Expect Tim Thomas' last NHL game to be a devastng loss in overtime of game 7 in the 1st round of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Follow me on twitter at @capsfanatic_wvu. Till next time, Will

Monday, 11 June 2012

Adam Henrique Looks Like Freddie Mercury

Like most Caps fans, I have been suffering through hockey withdrawal.  I've turned to the only remaining source to get my fix, the Stanley Cup Finals.  In my time watching the finals I've noticed three things, "Quick" is a very hard name to mock, Marty loves to flop around, and Adam Henrique looks like Freddie Mercury.

Above we see Henrique during the Cup Final as well as his high school yearbook picture.
The Devils' rookie who scored the series winning goal in game six against the Rangers (thanks for that) and the game winning goal in game five against the Kings has decided to grow out the facial hair above his upper lip exclusively.  In an interview with the New York Times he explained that he did it before in juniors and it seemed to work for him then.  Whatever works for you Adam; just go out there and win another game six, because I need more hockey, and when the season is over I'd love to see you tour with Queen.


Monday, 28 May 2012

Prospect Profile: Cody Ceci

Today's potential Caps draftee is Cody Ceci of the Ottawa 67's in the OHL.


Position: D
Birthplace: Orleans, Ontario
Date of Birth 12/21/93 (age 18)
Height: 6’2 
Weight: 208 lbs
Shoots: Right

Cody Ceci is a mobile, strong two way defenseman. This year with the 67's he was able to play a lot in all situations, getting 17 goals and 43 assists in 64 games this year, adding 2 goals and 13 assists in 18 games in the playoffs (where the 67's made it to the conference finals) - and the Caps need consistent players in the playoffs. A great puck mover at OHL level, plus excellent on ice vision and intelligence, he could be a real asset to the Caps in the near future (as his size suggests, he is almost NHL ready - give him another season in the OHL).
His draft stock has improved significantly over this past season, originally starting out as late 1st rounder, he is now expected to fall in the top ten, being ranked as no.9 by the ISS, so what's to say he won't keep improving at this pace?  
However, his lack of physical presence despite his size is cause for concern, especially as the NHL is far more physical than any junior leauge. He has to work on this. Also, his production may be very good at OHL level, he is unproven at a higher level, as his playmaking may not be as effective up in the big league. All in all though, if he is still available at #11, the Caps should seriously consider him, but if he's still available at #16, the Caps should take him, no doubt about it - he's a slight gamble, sure, but if we pick up a more low risk prospect at #11, this would be a great first round.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Caps Acquire Zach Hamill For Chris Bourque

The Washington Capitals have made their first acquisition during the post-season.  GM George McPhee has sent Chris Bourque (26 year-old winger and the leading point producer in the AHL last season) to the Boston Bruins for Zach Hamill (the 8th overall pick in the 2007 draft).  The Caps swapped an undersized wing, who is just 5'8, that has been a great point producer at the AHL level--but has never been given a decent shot at the NHL level--for a slightly undersized center, at 5'10, who hasn't really lived up to expectations for a player selected in the top ten of the draft.

All in all I'd consider the trade a wash.  Bourque will have a chance to play for the same team that his father spent so much time with, which is great, and the Caps will add another center to their line-up or at the very least to Hershey's line-up.

Both players' contracts are expiring this offseason, and in all likelihood Chris Borque was not going to re-sign with the Caps and as a UFA the Caps would recieve zero compensation. Hamill is a restricted free agent meaning that once he has been qualified, at a lofty price of over $800,000, he can stay with the Caps and even if another team presents and offer sheet,we can either match it and keep him or receive a draft pick or two.  After Hamill's 16 game season this year, he could potentially be with the Caps next season - the most games Bourque has ever played in a season was 21, in 09-10 with the Penguins (plus one game that season with the Caps). Since then he has not played a game in the NHL.

CATP wishes Bourque all the best. Welcome to the organisation, Zach Hamill - now we have two Hammers!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Prospect Profile : Griffin Reinhart

This series of posts will be about potential draft selections by the Caps in 2012. This year we have two picks higher than the last few years, at 11th (from Colorado) and 16th. Due to the close proximity of these picks, these prospects could potentially be selected with either pick.

So today's prospect is...... Griffin Reinhart, Canadian defensman from Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL.

He's the son of Paul Reinhart, who played over 600 games in the NHL, and his brother Max is in the Calgary Flames system - so hockey clearly runs in the family.

Measuring at 6'4 and 207lb at just 18, he is fairly NHL ready physically. Although he is a fairly tough player, he is by no means one dimensional, scoring 12 goals and tallying 24 assists in 58 games this year. He has an incredibly hard shot, and is an very good skater for a player his size, meaning he is a quality puck mover and will not be knocked off the puck easily. He is generally a two way player, who can play both a shutdown role and a more offensive one - although with the better opponents at NHL level he may switch towards being a defensive defensmen, think Jeff Schultz with better skating and slightly more scoring.

A potential issue is the fact that he doesn't play very physically and his poise is apparently cause for concern according to scouts, even so, he could be a great fit with the Caps, possibly replacing Mike Green in a few years time.

He's ranked tenth among North American skaters so is more likely to be selected 11th by the Caps, but could potentially fall to 16th, similar to how Cam Fowler fell in 2010.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

EA Sports Unveils First Details of NHL 13

Stepping our posts away from the Washington Capitals themselves today, Electronic Arts' incredible NHL hockey video game series is gearing up for its latest release, NHL 13, dropping in September. Yesterday, the first few details of what we can expect from this new instalment were revealed by EA. So, without further ado...

- 'True Performance Skating'. With this addition, EA has added 1,000 new animations, making the game far more true to the sport itself. It allows for all kinds of crazy moves and dekes to be dreamed up, and overall looks like a great addition to the game! More details later this month.

- 'EA Sports Hockey IQ'. Although EA haven't revealed much about this feature yet, they have confirmed that the artificial intelligence has been overhauled to make it quicker and faster, a welcome addition to the EASHL and the Be a Pro modes. More details later this month.

- Goaltender improvements. Very little has been revelaed on this, but from what I gather the goalie AI has improved and fatigue is now a bigger factor. By the way, EA there's a stats glitch with goalies in Be a Pro mode. More details in June.

- 'GM Connected'. This mode looks like the real deal. The Be a GM mode from previous games has been taken online so you can have your own NHL with 29 other people. It'll even have a mobile app to support it. Being an armchair GM myself, I can't wait for the chance to assemble a dynasty and lift the cup with the Washington Capitals. I'll probably blog about it, too. More details in June.

- Be A Pro mode. My favourite mode from NHL 12 is back with improvements. You now have more control over your carrer and are now able to retire and request a trade, so you won't have to stick three years with Flordia when you've been drafted. Hopefully this also includes rejecting contracts and shorter games - enough with half hour games! More details in July.

- EASHL. The EASHL, the league where players' custom hockey playing counterparts come together to form clubs and win championships is back, and with it come improved club matchmaking and the ability to select a captain. More details in July.

- 'Team First Presentation'. This seems to customise everything about the game depending on your favourite team. No prizes for guessing which team I'll select. More details in August. 

- 'NHL Moments Live'. Imagine the 'History Will Be Made Commercials' and then imagine being able to re-enact these historic hockey moments in video game format. Awesome. More details in August.

- Hockey Ultimate Team. An existing fun game mode involving trading cards and playing for championships has been improved, but as for how, we don't know yet. More details in August.

According to EA, other game modes have also been improved, and this hopefully includes offline Be a GM, which lacks realism in some respects. Trade logic is skewed and waivers are wrong.

There's also going to be a limited edition which features:

- Exclusive collectible Stanley Cup® tin featuring an embossed Stanley Cup image

- Two Stanley Cup® Theme Hockey Ultimate Team packs featuring randomized player items from the Western and Eastern Conference Champions

- Gold Jumbo Hockey Ultimate Team Pack (Regular) featuring 24 randomized items, including an exclusive

- Wayne Gretzky Hockey Ultimate Team Legend and six other rare items

- A CCM Boost Pack featuring the all-new CCM RBZ stick (For use in Be a Pro and EA SPORTS™ Hockey League)
- A 10% discount on a one-time purchase at

- A complete copy of NHL 13

This apparently retails at $80. Assuming it's available in the UK, this is £50, which for a collector's edition like this is very reasonable.

Remember that the cover vote is still going on! There are no Caps left, but here are the remaining candidates:
Claude Giroux, Anze Kopitar, Pavel Datsyuk, John Tavares, Scott Hartnell, Evgeni Malkin, Henrik Lundqvist and Pekka Rinne. You can vote for your favourite here.

I think it's safe to say I'll be playing this come September. 

Below is EA's trailer.

Till next time,