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.