Monday, 28 May 2012

Prospect Profile: Cody Ceci

























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

PROSPECT FACTS: 


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 shop.NHL.com

- 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,

Cam

Friday, 18 May 2012

Important Offseason For The Caps

After a disappointing performance in Game 7 against the New York Rangers, the offseason for the Washington Capitals is, sadly, here till October. The Capitals have plenty to improve on in their roster situation in the upcoming Draft in June at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and the upcoming Free Agent frenzy in July.

Here's where things get interesting for the Caps: Remember the offseason trade the Caps made where we gave away often injured goaltender Semyon Varlamov last summer? Well, the trade didn't make too many splashes then but it could be a huge difference maker for the Caps this offseason, especially as the Draft nears! In exchange for Semyon Varlamov, the Colorado Avalanche gave the Capitals their 2012 1st round pick (11th overall) and the option to grab a 2nd round pick in the 2012 or 2013 draft. Caps opted to take the 2013 2nd round pick as the Avalanche didn't struggle as much as we would have hoped this season.

General Manager George McPhee shocked and angered all Caps fans by not making one single move at the trade deadline when he had a team that was really struggling. At the time it seemed like he really messed up but in the end it was the right thing to do. Well played McPhee! Now the Caps have pieces to play with on the chess board this offseason to fix the biggest holes the team needs to get filled. Most notably, the Caps need to fill a major hole at the 2nd line center position. Who might the Caps sign in Free Agency to do that? How about Zach Parise, Brian Rolston, or even Jarret Stoll! Outside of Unrestricted Free Agency the Caps have the pieces to maybe make a big move at the Draft in Pittsburgh and cut a deal with the Penguins for, rumored to be on the move, Jordan Staal. The Capitals two 1st round picks could be in play this year as well as the 2013 2nd round pick from the Avalanche from the Varlamov trade last summer. Jordan Staal is good but realistically he isn't worth all that and the Caps will not offer all those picks for Staal. Why wont they? The Caps have the upper hand and can pass on Staal if the Pens want too much for him and work on signing Zac Parise. Parise will probably be a bit pricey, probably in the $5-$6.5 million per year range. The only way the Caps can afford Parise is if UFA Alexander Semin signs for less than his outrageous $6.7 million a year deal or we just let him go. Lets be honest, Semin is a good player but he is not worth $6.7 million a year. Every GM knows that and even though his huge ego thinks he can get that kind of money, a GM would be stupid to offer him that kind of money. The Caps will make an offer that is a bit less than last years deal and if he declines that and the other lower offers a few other teams might offer him, he'll be on his way to the KHL. To be honest, Semin will either be playing for the Caps next year, or in the KHL. I don't believe other GM's want to take a chance on him. As for the Caps others free agents, Vokoun will obviously not be back as the Caps finally have their man in net in Braden Holtby. Dennis Wideman may or may not be back as a Capital but he was not worth the $4.5 million we gave him this year. He better take a pay cut for his horrendous play in the 2012 playoffs or get out of town. McPhee would be stupid to resign him for that kind of money as there are others on the Free Agency market that are better defensemen and will cost less, like Johnny Oduya! Others might include, Matthew Carle, Brad Stuart, Filip Kuba and a guy I really like, Ryan Suter.

Mike Green is a Restricted Free Agent this summer and any offer that another team makes can be matched by the Capitals. I'm not a huge fan of Mike Green but I know the Capitals will do whatever it takes to keep him in a Caps uniform. I think that Caps should walk away from him if the price for him gets driven up too high because again, there are Unrestricted Free Agents that are better defensively then him (even though they aren't as good defensively. Mike Knuble is a UFA this summer and he will do whatever it takes to stay a Capital unless he decides to retire. He loves this team and the Caps need his leadership and experience. Jay Beagle and Perreault are RFA this summer as well and they will surely stay in Capitals uniforms as they are the type of players that go under the radar around the league but are crucial for the Caps. John Carlson has made a name for himself since enter the Caps lineup and as a RFA, he will surely stay a Capital. As for UFA and local man, Jeff Halpern, he's gone as the Caps probably wont attempt to resign him.

So, if the Caps get a cheaper Semin, or for that matter, pass up on him, they will be in play for signing Zach Parise in free agency or they could make a quick trade for Jordan Staal. Either one would do wonders for the Caps. The Goalie position is taken care of with Holtby. Semin should be resigned but for a big pay cut. Wideman should take a pay cut or let him walk and sign Oduya or Suter. Carlson, Green, Beagle, Perreault and Knuble (unless he retires) will all be back next season! Finally, the Caps need a new head coach and that man, in my mind, is Ron Wilson (again)!

Till Next Time,
Will

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Mismanagement of assets and why GMGM's face is my new dart board


                Tomas Vokoun was only supposed to be in Washington for one season, I get that.  I also accept the fact that he was one of the sole reasons that the Caps stayed in playoff contention through Gabby’s firing and into January.  He was borderline great at a time when Neuvy and Holtby were struggling, along with every other player on the roster or in the system it seemed.  Regardless of how he played immediately leading up to the deadline there were plenty of teams in desperate need of goaltending help.  Looking back at the standings we the caps were in 9th place on March 30th.  Knowing then that we as currently put together without a certain Swedish center being healthy, we were barely going to make the playoffs, and a very good chance at not making it.  Letting the deadline go by yet again without making a major acquisition was a calculated move indicating that there wasn’t a player worth trading multiple pieces for I get that.  What I don’t get is knowing full well that it was an almost certainty that two of if not all three of our big Unrestricted free agent trio Semin, Vokoun, Wideman, would not be coming back in 2013.  It’s nothing less than a mismanagement of assets to let the deadline pass without moving one of those players. 
                Vokoun was incredibly useful, but that use had run its course,  I hate comparing GMGM to Ray Shero—it’s like comparing silver cup winning apples to really shi**y apples—but the Penguins were in a very similar situation last season, UFA’s to move, uncertain if stars would return, yet still in playoff contention.  He said I’m going to improve the team for this season and the next.  Moving one asset in this case a young skilled defenseman, a position of depth in the organization, for a player to help out that season and the ones coming after in James Neal.  In my humble opinion, Neuvy had proved himself in the playoffs last year and given the chance again would have been just fine.  Knowing what you know about the likely hood of all three UFA’s returning I think it behooved GMGM to move Vokoun to any one of the goalie starved teams fighting for the playoffs(Chicago had plenty of scoring and terrible goaltending, just one example).  The equation in my mind was simple—Neuvy plus quality centre/forward/dman/whatever the return for Vokoun would have been was greater than Vokoun in net and Neuvy on the bench and no improvement to the skaters. 
                The series against the Rangers was basically decided by one goal here or one goal there, I’m quite confident that any player that came back in the Vokoun trade would have been worth one freaking goal.  Whether it was a defenceman to take the place of Schultz (who was on the ice for what seemed like 80% of the goals against) to an extra center to maybe create one chance for Semin on the second line or heck even someone to take Mojo’s useless ass place.  I refuse to believe that whoever it was would not have been worth one extra goal and wouldn’t you know we probably win the series. 
                The history of GMGM and pulling the trigger on really anything sometimes has me wondering if he has any sort of cahones at all.  This team has been damn close for almost five years now yet the biggest addition by trade that has been made was for Scotty Hannan or a half washed up Federov, hell both of those even sort of worked out.  Looking at the last few cup winners or those playing for the cup, they have F*ing gone for it.  You can go down the list, Hossa all three times worked out pretty well, Guerin was a borderline hall of famer, and Chris Pronger put the Flyers on his back when they went to the cup.  GMGM has been hoarding assets and sitting on his hands for five years, and now they are starting to slip away with no return on them in sight.  Either make a move for the now or for the future this passive aggressive bulls**t leads me to screaming at you on the TV screen “WE HAVE NEEDED A F**KING SECOND LINE CENTER FOR FIVE YEARS” over and over.  In 2009 I went ballistic when Jose Theodore was chosen to backstop the best Caps team I’ve ever seen, what happens if they make a move for Vokoun then?  Hindsight is 20/20, but I can still use your head as a dart board GMGM. 

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hunter Steps Down As Caps' Head Coach


Dale Hunter, head coach of your Washington Capitals, stepped down today.  As I'm sure many of you remember, Hunter took over during the middle of the season for Bruce Boudreau and coached the team to the conference semifinals against the Rangers.  Hunter cited his family and farm team in London as some of his reasons to step down.

GMGM now has the task of finding a new coach for the team--Anyone but this man...

Sorry, I meant this man...
Whoever the new coach ends up being, this is not the only change we should expect from this team during the off-season.  Alex Semin's agent has reportedly stated that he does not wish to return, Tomas Vokoun is expected to leave (although I'm sure not many of us expected him to last anymore than one season anyway), and several other veteran Caps players might not be returning [i.e. Halpern, Knuble, Wideman (please god get rid of Wideman!)]

Dale, you will be missed and I'm sure we all will remember you.
(Not Original at all--I know)


Monday, 14 May 2012

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Caps Lose, Season Ends Too Early


Last night in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi finals, the unthinkable happened. Our Washington Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs for Lord Stanley's Silverware. We lost 2-1, and did not play as well as we could have done, by a long shot.
Watching from a dodgy internet stream at 1 AM, I was devastated when Brad Richards snatched a goal just over a minute in. My fit of rage woke up my two border collies, who proceeded to bark for ages and ages. I wasn't too popular with my family. The official season ending goal for the Capitals was scored ten minutes into the third by Del Zotto, and although Hammer replied seconds later with his first goal of the playoffs, it was too little, too late as the Caps could not muster the offense to get a tying goal.
I know it's really difficult to look at positives right now, but by taking this series to seven games, we officially did the 5th best this season, as once we were knocked out, only 4 teams remained. We'll have two first round picks, no.11 and no.25.
But I'll be honest here, this is what I feel like, and I'm sure it's what you feel like right now (unless you're a Rangers fan - if you are, why are you here?):
I know it's tough, Junior, but we'll pull through. Thanks for reading this post, it must be really depressing, but that's just hockey, you know.

We'll keep you going through the offseason with general Anglo-American satire, 'Cam's Cool Lists' (wait and see!), draft/free agency coverage, et cetera.

Let's Go Caps. The cup's coming to DC in 2013, I feel it.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Game 7 Again. This Is It!



Am focused for game 7 so sik aha )))))))
Washington's win in Wednesday night's game 6 confirmed that, for the second round in a row, the Caps are having a full seven game series. Tonight's result will mean knocking out the Rangers three times in four years. How awesome would that be?

Anyway, onto tonight's game. it's fair to say that the Holtbeast had a distraction yesterday, as his fiancĂ©e gave birth to his son, Benjamin Hunter Holtby. But the question is, where did this middle name come from? As Ana from RMNB pointed out, Hunter is Holtby's mother's maiden name as well as obviously Dale Hunters surname. Either's feasible... but I digress.

As you know, the Caps have played the Rangers and won the series two times in the last three years. Here are the goals that clinched the series. 2009: Seregi Federov. 2011: Jason Chimera. 2012:?

Here are the keys to advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals tonight:

- Holtby. He has to stay on top of his game, like he has been all through the playoffs and not let his new baby distract him. I'm aware this sounds terrible, but it's fine, because it's the Cup.
- Ovechkin needs to play like the Ovechkin of old and tear around scoring goals. That'd be nice.
- Semin needs to be Good Sasha tonight. Now, more than ever. Save the slashes for the Oilers in the regular season. Keep up the good two way play.
- Wideman has to play like he did in the regular season, and we can shut down the powerful offense.
- Lundqvist has a GAA of 2.00 at the MSG this series. If we can get three past him, that could well be the key to victory as the Rangers struggle to get three goals in regulation.
- We need veteran leadership from guys like Hammer, Knoobs and Halpern now more than ever.

Let's show those 'experts' who predicted the Caps to get swept by the Bruins how wrong they are now. Round one wasn't a fluke, and we're taking this to the Conference Finals.

I'm staying up to watch the game, so me and Will will live tweet this one, ask us anything, give us your insight and correct us!

Let's Go Caps!!!!!!!!




Thursday, 10 May 2012

Caps Win in Game 6 and I bought Way Too Much Beer!

I don't think I need to say anything more than the title.  The Caps won tonight!  Alex Ovechkin got the first of the game eighty-eight seconds in--that has to mean something.  Jason Chimera (#IheartBaldy) got the Caps the two goal lead in the second, which is something that has been more rare for the Caps this post season than a leprechaun riding a unicorn.  The Caps would go on to win 2-1.

Am I forgetting anything???

Photo Credit: Toronto Sun

Oh yeah!  Braden Holtby was an absolute god!  The Holt-Beast stopped thirty of thirty-one shots.  The only one that got by him was a deflection by John Carlson's ass.

All in all an amazing game and now I have a case of Yuengling that I have barely dented because I was afraid I would be depressed after.

Finally gang, please pledge my beard!  Every dollar you pledge allows Holts to add a new Holtbyism to his routine!

Caps win 2-1

#Capsin7

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Game 6: Happy Days or Jumping the Shark?

The Caps are coming home to DC tomorrow to fight for their collective playoff lives, and because of that I'll be even more of a nervous wreck tomorrow at 7:30 than I would have been if the Caps had won last night.  Here's what needs to happen:
  1. Caps NEED to win.
  2. Scratch Wideman, or at the very least he and Schultz need to agree it's time to start seeing other defensemen.
  3. See number 1.
Number two isn't going to happen because for some unknown reason Wideman, or D-Dub as I imagine coach refers to him, is Hunter's boy, but I would love to see some changes in the line-up--if only to shake things up a bit (#FreeHalpern, #FreeErskine).  So, let's look at what needs to happen in order to accomplish our first bullet point.  I know this is groundbreaking analysis (#sarcasm), but expect both teams to come out strong in the first.  If Washington can score from an early push then I'll be drinking to celebrate, but if the Rangers get lucky in the first period I'll be drinking to forget.

Besides, we just can't lose to a team whose head coach looks like Author Fonzarelli.

As Mike Knuble said in the first round, this series, and this post-season in general, is overdue for a blowout by the Caps.  I have faith that they can make that happen tomorrow, mostly because the Rangers have already jinxed themselves, but also because the sports gods have tested us with an extremely long over-time loss and a 6.6-seconds-remaining-kick to the crotch--it's time for somethings to start going our way.  If there is any sense of justice at all in the world, things will go our way tomorrow

And, if the above words did nothing to inspire hope that we can win tomorrow, and ultimately take the series, this should sufficiently finish getting you pumped.

This will not be the last shameless plug that I make for my beard, because the Caps still have two more rounds to play.  Every time someone pledges me, Alex Semin sheds a single tear of joy.  Thanks for any support and C-A-P-S!  CAPS!  CAPS!  CAPS!

#Capsin7

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Game 5: Tough One To Swallow, Rangers Win 3-2 In OT

I'm not going to sit here and throw stats and numbers at you today.  That game took too much out of all of us and honestly I really just don't feel like looking at them.  If you want to know the stats then here's a link to the NHL site.

For those who couldn't watch the game here's a short recap.  The Rangers Stralman opened up the scoring about halfway through the first frame at even strength.  Then Brooks Laich tied it up in the second.  Carlson then snapped the 1-1 tie early in the final third, giving the Caps the lead with plenty of time left.  The Capitals held that lead until the final 7.6 seconds of the game where Richards and the Rangers caught a break and tied the game on the Ward high-sticking penalty.  The game headed to overtime where it didn't take long for Staal to find the net and finish off the improbable NYR win.

There's no way to sugarcoat that game. It hurt. A lot. The Capitals seemed to be outplayed right from the opening face off but found themselves holding a one goal lead with less than a minute to play.  The penalty kill that had stood strong all game long looked poised to hold the Rangers, even when facing the two extra attackers. But the rebound off of the initial shot went straight to a Ranger who got it past all the traffic to Richards who nailed the wide open net.

Even with that penalty, which I was screaming many expletives at, I have gained a ton of respect for Joel Ward. After the game he was ready for the press and was not hiding from his actions. He took the blame and said he let the team down, going from a hero in one series to a goat in this one. Through it all he remained a class act.  While the penalty was his fault and was possibly one of the worst in Capitals history, I believe that the loss is not entirely on him. There were many opportunities for the Caps to bolster the lead with 4 or 5 failed odd man rushes throughout the game.  The penalty is a big reason for the outcome of this game, but it's not the only one.

Many things could have happened, even in the final seconds to change the outcome. Winning a defensive zone face off, or even Holtby grabbing that rebound would have allowed the Caps to take the important 3-2 series lead.  But neither happened and we find ourselves one game away from elimination in the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

So what can we do? Well I read somewhere that we shouldn't take it too hard because this was one of the worst games from Washington's perspective and one of the best for the Rangers. I mean it took them two power play goals to collect the win.  All I can say is we have to put this one behind us and come out like we did after the devastating triple overtime loss  in Game 3.  The Caps are comeback kids and are 3-0 when facing elimination.  Holtby has yet to lose two in a row in the playoffs. We can do this.  This team has the skill and the heart to take us into the Eastern Conference Final.


The Capitals will be ready for Game 6. It's in front of our home crowd and could not be more crucial.  It's time for them to defend Verizon Center in front of a sea of red!  Puck drops at 7:30 in DC. Be ready and stay confident!

Caps in 7.  And as always, Lets Go Caps!!

P.S. It could be worse. You could be a fan of these guys


This Isn't a Post-Game, I'm Just Depressed

That sucked...  The Caps didn't out play the Rangers by any stretch of the imagination, yet somehow they came back from a goal down to take a 2-1 lead with a few seconds left.  We should have been heading home to Washington with a chance to take the series, but since when does this team like to do things the easy way?  Richards scored late--and I mean late--to tie the game, then one of the hundred Staals that are in the NHL won it in OT.

Things will be better on Wednesday.  The Caps will tie this series yet again and they will win it in seven in New York--have faith.  Also, Caps fans, don't be so harsh on Ward.  Remember, we wouldn't even be here today if it weren't for him.

I'm off to sob, eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and watch last night's episode of Game of Thrones--hopefully Tyrian will say something witty to make me feel better.

Photo Credit: HBO.com

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Caps win(!) and I try a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita(...)

As I'm sure you already know the Caps have evened the series at two games apiece.  Alex Ovechkin started the scoring in the first off of a bad turn-over that Ovie turned into a slap shot that found its way off of Lundqvist's glove and in.  In the second, Anisimov beat Holts to knot the game at one, Backstrom beat Lundqvist with a sick wrist shot over the goalie's right shoulder (I can only imagine Lundqvist's reaction was something like this), and Gaborik tied it yet again with a little over three minutes remaining in the period.  In the third all the scoring we would need to see was Mike Green lighting the lamp on the powerplay--something I haven't seen nearly enough of this season.

Photo Credit: Toronto Sun

Aside from all of that action we have to deal with rumors of a possible Alex Ovechkin suspension because of a hit on Dan Girardi, and Karl Alzner didn't have to return home to Jay Beagle messing up his house again.  Oh, and I had a Bud Light Lime-A-Rita--it made me feel the same way I do after entering a Walmart, which isn't a good thing.

One more shameless reminder to please pledge my beard!  Thanks for any support!


Caps win 3-2 and take the series back to New York tied.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Exhausting Loss In Game 3 Turns to Must Win Game 4

The overly exhausting 114+ minutes that was played in game 3 and turned into a Capitals 2-1 loss, has turned game 4 into an absolute must win game for the Washington Capitals. Why is it a must win game so early on? The Caps lost the 1st home game of the 2 very important home games they have in this stretch of the 7 game series. The Caps lost Wednesday nights game 3 (Wednesday night in the US that is) in the 4th longest game in team history. If they lose both games and go into a devastating 3-1 hole in the series to the #1 seeded New York Rangers going back to Madison Square Garden in front of the Rangers' raukus fans, it will not look pretty for our beloved team! 

If the Caps go into the 3rd period of today's game 4 losing, expect the team to be taking lots of chances of getting back into the game to tie it up. Their 3rd period play will be risky but the Caps will know that this is a must win game and if they are losing, they will have to play with every last bit of will to win that they have to pull out a big win today. If the Caps go into the 3rd period with a lead I would expect them to not take any chances, have barely any offensive firepower and sit back on the lead. We have seen this many times and it backfires a lot. If its tied going into the 3rd period then both teams will not be taking chances and their nerves will be very high. I'd expect game 4 to enter overtime if the game is tied going into the 3rd period baring any goaltender meltdown.

Enjoy the game!

LET'S GO CAPS!!!!!

Ya Boy,
Will

Friday, 4 May 2012

From a Sleep Deprived Caps Fan in Attendance.

Well... that was very very very long.

The Caps, and as much as I hate to say it, the Rangers played a hell of a hockey game--probably one of the best I've ever been to.  A power play goal from Ryan Callahan put the "Rangaas" on the board in the second, then a John Carlson wrist shot tied it five minutes later.  We would then go another four periods before anything else went on the board.  The ninety-fifth shot of the game, from Marian Gaborik, went by Holtby and ended the it early Thursday morning.

All in all, it was a great game with a somewhat disappointing ending.  Ovie and others threw big hits, we got to see two games for the price of one, and Brian Boyle took an Alex Semin shot in the face--thankfully Boyle was able to keep playing.  Despite them being our enemies for the remainder of this round, it is always frightening when a player gets hit with a puck like that.

At least it finished before the Metro System closed, and stranded a lot of depressed Caps fans there.

As we've already stated in our last post, don't panic yet Caps fans.  We still have another game at home to tie this series before it goes back to MSG.

And remember, it could always be worse.  We could be the Penguins.

Also guys, please take a moment to pledge my playoff beard for the Caps Beard-a-Thon.  I'm not sure what the correlation of winning to pledges received is, but I'm sure it's pretty high.  Thanks!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Caps Lose Game 3 2-1 In Triple Overtime

Photo Credit: The Guardian (the best British newspaper ever 'cos it reports on hockey)

This Eastern Conference series was tied 1-1 when it headed to the nation's capital. Taking a Game 3 win would be pivotal in the series for either side, so neither would give up. That's why it took almost six full periods and 102 minutes of play for Marian Gaborik of the Rangers to break the deadlock and give his team the win.
The Caps are now down 2-1 in the series. The goal came so late in the game, it was so sudden and unexpected. The realisation was sudden. We were losing the series, and this is how it felt:

The horse represents the goal and the kid represents the Caps fanbase. Powerful imagery.

You can't blame Holtby for this loss. Guy made 47 saves on 49 shots, despite being on ice for 114 minutes. To stay alert for this long is impressive for any goalie, let alone one in his first playoffs.
So what went wrong?
The Caps outshot the Rangers in regulation, at 29-27. However, total game they were outshot 49-46.

It's really hard to pinpoint anything that cost the Caps the game, they could have capitalised their chances better but Hank was hotter than fire. The fact is an overtime win really comes down mainly to luck. The Caps were outshot  throughout overtime, and luck swung the Rangers' way. The key to winning an overtime game is to fire pucks on net from left right and center. The Caps were understandably incredibly frustrated  by this loss, and poor Karl Alzner had to come back to this. (Photo via his twitter)


The Caps need to believe in Game 4. It's so important that they bounce back and win on Saturday, and they can then use momentum from the win to go ahead and snatch Game 5 - giving them two chances to win the series. I'll hesitate to still say Caps in 6, but they will win this series. Remember the Caps losing Game 3 in the first round? Well, there's a reason why we're in the second round, I'll leave it at that.

I'll be live tweeting Game 4 - Cam

Let's Go Caps #rally

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Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Now A Best Of 5: Game 3 of Capitals-Rangers

The Caps took Game 2 from the Rangers at MSG on Monday night.  This means the series comes back to Verizon Center tied up at 1 game a piece and becomes a best of 5 series.  There is a few things to look forward to as they face-off tonight in Game 3. 

First the lineup: 8-19-90, 25-21-28, 26-83-20, 22-23-42; 27-74, 44-52, 55-6  

No you're eyes are not deceiving on you. They finally put Ovi and Backstrom together again! Expect big things from this dangerous Swede/Russian/Swede combo. Unless Dale Hunter changes the lineup...again.

Ovi is hungry as all hell to play and score more.  The low TOI (13:36) in Game 2 already raised his production. It will be curious to see if Hunter noticed that and plays him more.  Plus with someone like Backstrom feeding him the puck, there should be a goal for our top line tonight.  

However don't underestimate lines 3 and 4.  They have been the ones that have been winning the battles along the boards and have been getting the Caps those dirty goals all postseason long.  Knuble and Ward were the pair that lead to the series winner in Boston after all.


The D lines have remained the same throughout the series. Expect more of the shot blocking, Dale Hunter defense that we've been seeing.

As far Holtby goes, all he needs to do is keep steady and play like he did in Game 2.  He performed better after falling off a bit in the first game.  In front of the home crowd, he should be able to hold the Rangers to minimal rebounds again which will frustrate the Rangers offense.  As long as there are no bad line changes or errant passes (fingers crossed) he should be fine. This kid is a big reason the Caps are as far as they are. Plus look what he can do! (video from rmnbblog on youtube)

video


As soon as the puck drops tonight, Holtby will have officially have more NHL playoff experience than Michal Neuvirth. Through nine career playoff games, Holtby is 5-4-0 with a .931 SV% while Neuvie is 4-5-0 with a .912 SV%. Just thought that was pretty interesting. 

Today is Jason Chimera's 33rd birthday!  Happy Birthday from all of us big guy! Here's to hoping Verizon Center breaks out in "Happy Birthday" for number 25!


I will be live tweeting the game tonight from @CapsAcrossPond so if you can't watch the game, head over there to keep track and to chat about the game, Caps, or just life in general. Look forward to hearing from you!

Puck drop is at 7:30 in Verizon Center. Be ready to Rock the Red! You know I already am!

Lets Go Caps




Caps From an Hour South Down 95

I suppose I'm a little late to the new contributors bandwagon, but I guess its better to be late than never at all.  First lets get the introductions out the the way.  I'm Tim, twenty-one years of age, entering my junior year at VCU, and I am a complete homer for D.C. sports teams.  I love the Nats, and I'll be all in on the Wizards and the Redskins if they ever become good--I am the definition of a bandwagon fan when it comes to those sports.  However, the Caps have always been my first love.  I've been with this team through good times and bad times.

Don't expect to see my posts bogged down with a lot of facts and statistics.  I'll leave most of the post-game analysis to my colleagues.  What you can expect from me are pop-culture and television references, constant references to Jay Beagle having a breed of dog for his last name (#woof), and a blinding prejudice toward Jeff Schultz.

I look forward to writing more posts, and hope that you enjoy them.

 C-A-P-S! CAPS! CAPS! CAPS!

-Tim

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Caps Win In Game 2, 3-2 Over the Rangers

This was the hard-hitting and high(er) shooting game that we had expected in Game 1.  If you didn't catch the game last night, then you missed out on a thriller that surprisingly didn't take OT for the Capitals to seal the victory. Here's a recap of last nights action:

The first period started with the Rangers getting the majority of the chances due to their relentless forechecking but with 12:20 left in the first, the Capitals found the back of the net off the stick of Mike Knuble. Ward picked a pass and brought the puck into the offensive zone. Then he dished to Aucoin who then passed it right back to Ward.  He saw Knuble parked in front of the net. Bam. Perfect pass and the puck is in behind Lundqvist.

(photo credit: The Boston Herald)


Then a little less then 5 minutes later, the Capitals strike again. Carlson missed a bouncing puck inside the Rangers blue line and the kid who beat us in Game 1, Kreider, got a full head of steam down the ice for a breakaway.  Holtby would have none of it as he made the save and the Capitals cleared it and dumped it into the Rangers zone. Then Chimera with his blinding speed, beat Lundqvist to the puck behind the net and kicks it to the front where Matt Hendricks tried a no-look backhander between the legs only to stopped by a diving Lundqvist. The puck then squirts right through the crease where Chimera taps it in off a defenders skate and the Capitals took a 2-0 lead. If that just sounds wacky then this video should help (courtesy of Fred Murtz on Youtube).



video

It was a bizarre play but gave the Capitals a 2 goal lead, a lead that we had only seen once in the playoffs during Game 5 of the Boston series.  And just like they did when they got the lead against the Bruins, they went into defense mode and stopped attacking the Rangers.

The Rangers were all over them at the end of the period, spending most of the time in the Capitals zone. And in the final minute of the first period, after coincidental minors to Carlson and Staal, the Caps were beat on a 4v4 that brought the game within 1 off a nice pass from Gaborik to Richards.

The second period was hard fought but held scoreless by the two netminders.

Just seven minutes into the final frame, the Rangers score on the Knuble penalty and knotted the game at 2.  This was the first power play goal of the series but Washington would not take it lying down.  They gained two penalties in quick succession but could not convert on the first.  No problem.  The second one was all they needed.  Backstrom won the faceoff  which went straight to Ovechkin. He wheeled out to the point and took a MASSIVE wrist shot which blew by a heavily screened Lundqvist.  It was perfect timing from the Captain. They had just completed the "Ovi sucks!" chant that they perform with 8:00 left in the third period. A little over thirty seconds later, Ovi is the one smiling and taunting the crowd.


GIF via Jaspers Rink commentator Dimagus)


It was awesome to see the Great 8 get the game winner because he's been somewhat transparent during these playoffs.  For the Caps to win he needed to step up and he did just that with a beauty of a shot.

For the rest of the period the Capitals played defense and were able to hold the Rangers from scoring, though there were some scary moments.  The Rangers were on the verge of scoring the equalizer with Del Zotto seeming to hit the crossbar too many times for comfort.  However the Caps held firm and squeaked out the 3-2 win.

This was a momentous game for the boys in white. Here are some of the facts that that were brought around by Game 2:
  • This game broke the Capitals 6 game losing streak in the second round of the Playoffs.
  • The game MVP, Braden Holtby, was able to rebound from a disasterous Game 1 and control the rebounds, saving 26 of 28 shots faced. My personal MVP was the crossbar that was against us in Game 1 (Most Valuable Post).
  • Even though his TOI was low (13:36 with only 3:33 in the first period), Ovechkin proved why he needed to be on the ice as his production was much better with 7 SOG and the GWG.
  • The Rangers out-shot the Caps 28-25 (way up from the 14-18 in Game 1) but 15 shots were blocked by Dale Hunter's crew.  The Rangers also tallied 15 blocked shots on the night, proving that this series is going to take some creativity in the offensive zone for both teams.
  • The series is coming back to Washington tied 1-1. Headed back to home ice, the stats for the home team are not pretty (23 for 55 in these playoffs) but if the Caps can feed off of the Verizon Center crowd and continue getting traffic in front of Lundqvist, they will continue to succeed.
Game 3 tip-off is this Wednesday at 12:30 AM for those across the pond and 7:30 PM eastern time at Verizon Center. Be ready to Rock the Red and cheer our Capitals to a Game 3 victory over the King Henrik and the Bluecoats!

Caps in six.  I believe.  Lets Go Caps

Some British Hockey Violence, Just Because

Hey guys, here's a kickass bench clearence that happened last season in the EIHL (our top league)

Posted because we know you guys love some international hockey violence.


Evgeny Kuznetsov Is Staying In Russia For Two More Years

We won! We won! Yep, we won Game 2 against the Rangers. It was all going so well, the series was at a tie heading into Game 3 and Kuzya was due to announce his decision about his future this morning, and it was widely expected that the 19 year old star would join the Caps in 2012-2013, especially after being photographed with this hat on:

Turns out the kid was trolling us along. And yes, Kuzya, we're mad. Here's a perfect reenactment of what happened (photo credit @hockeyshops):

Really? Really? We could have used him so much next season, but he says it's only for two years. This could  be a good thing, hear me out. According to his EliteProspects report, he must improve his strength. Personally, I'd hate to see him go up against players like Andy Sutton or Milan Lucic. Also, he's only 19. It's a big ask for someone to move to a country where the language is totally different and you hardly know anyone there - as a 16 year old hockey player, if a KHL team offered me a contract (ha, as if) I would not go out there for at least a couple of years. He's human, guys, he's not a machine.

Caps From Across The Pond wish him the best of luck over the next two seasons and hope to see an all Russian Ovechkin-Kuznetsov-Semin line in a couple of seasons' time.

An Aspiring NHL Journalist and Huge Caps Fan

I just saw a post from one of my new blogging "teammates" introducing himself on here and I thought I would do the same! My name is William Hirsch and I am 20 years old. I am currently finishing up my Sophomore year of college at West Virginia University {GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!! :)}. I am majoring in Television Broadcast Journalism and Minoring in History. I currently work at West Virginia University's college radio station (called u92, on the web at u92.wvu.edu) as a sportscaster and the Assistant Men's Basketball Producer. I also do my part in broadcasting the Men's Ice Hockey, Women's Basketball, and Baseball games. I am having the time of my life taking part in these sports journalism activities at WVU with some great people who I hope to join in the professional Sports Journalism World!!!! When I return home to my hometown in Maryland this summer (right outside Washington D.C.) I will be starting my internship at NBC 4 in Washington D.C. in their Sports Department! I absolutely love talking hockey and I would love to bring my hockey knowledge to those that want to learn the game from me! My Caps and hockey background: I was born in Washington D.C. and am from Chevy Chase, Md. I started playing the game of hockey the exact same day Wayne Gretzky retired from the NHL but I have always had a strong passion for the Washington Capitals since a very early age. I have seen the best of the Caps when they made the Stanley Cup Finals in 1997-1998 and when they were the laughing stock of the NHL. I have played hockey at the travel and high school levels. I had dreams of playing in college but during my senior year of high school I broke two vertebrae's in my spine and ceased playing the game for health reasons and to try and make it as a NHL analyst. I dream of being the next Rick Jennerette in NHL play-by-play or taking Mike Milbury's sport on the NHL on NBC!!!! Well ladies and gentlemen and fellow Caps fans, that is my life story thus far but I hope I make a difference in the knowledge you posses about the Caps!!! Follow me on twitter (@capsfanatic_wvu) to interact with me and for what I like to think is good Capitals coverage and analysis!!! Much Love, Will Hirsch