Saturday, 13 July 2013

Post Caps Development Camp Interviews

After the final scrimmage of the Capitals Annual Development Camp at Kettler Capitals Ice Plex, I caught a few player interviews and asked Caps radio play by play star, John Walton a few questions. Here they are:

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Breaking Down George McPhee's Comments From Day 1 At The Caps Development Camp

Washington Capitals General Manager George McPhee talked with the media yesterday between afternoon Development Camp practice sessions. He made some comments that didn’t go over well with Caps fans. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Ok, I thought so.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Caps Lose Game 6

The Caps came into a matinee game 6 at Madison Square Gardens knowing that a win would send them straight to the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, where a series with either the Boston Bruins or the Toronto Maple Leafs would await them. However, it would not be easy - both the New York and Washington sides had won every one of their home game in the series, meaning that the Caps would have to break the trend to end the series early and send the Blueshirts over to the fairway. 
Recap is below the jump:

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Caps Win In OT, Push Rangers To Brink

With the series tied at 2-2 after both the Caps and the New York Rangers both winning their games at home, the best of seven returned to the Verizon Center for a match where it was all to play for. The game itself was a tight, intense affair and ended in fitting fashion, with an overtime goal from Mike Riberio took the W for the Caps:

McRibz reels away after scoring the game winning goal
Full recap is below the jump:

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Tentative Play Cost Caps

I'll just come out and say it, I don't like the way the Caps played at Madison Square Garden. Whether its the crowd, the ice, or they were too relaxed after a 2-0 series lead, the Caps had some serious issues when playing in New York City.

I'll start with stupid penalties:

Remember at the beginning of the season when the Caps struggled off the the drop of the puck in game one of the season? Well, a lot of that was thanks to some stupid penalties. This is the playoffs and if the Caps want to have any chance of winning this series, those dumb penalties have to stop. I'm looking at you Chimera! That interference penalty to end the 2nd period on an OFFENSIVE RUSH was a game changer. The Rangers game out in the 3rd period and scored a goal one minute into the period after surrendering a 2 goal lead late in the 2nd period. Blame: Jason Chimera.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Caps Take A 2-0 Series Lead

High blood pressure. That was the common phrase for game 2 from the phone booth in DC. Three periods couldn't pick a winner so a fourth was needed and the Caps dominated the extra period from start to finish. Don't believe me? The Caps outshot the Rangers 8-0 and scored a game winning goal on the eighth shot in overtime.

For a full 60 minutes, neither the Caps or the Rangers scored a goal. The battle was mostly along the boards or as Pierre McGuire put it, "Behind the icing line." Seriously Pierre? The, "icing line?" No one calls it that. Technically its still the goal line. You could also call it the goal line extended like in lacrosse and no one would mock you. The icing line? No, just, no! NBC didn't stop there though, they filed a complaint that the Verizon Center was too loud. I'm proud of you Caps fans! 

Anyways, 60 minutes of high octane action wouldn't cut it. The game went into OT and Mike "Game Over" Green finished off the Rangers 8 minutes into OT. Henrik Lundqvist finished the game with 37 saves and played an outstanding game. He even earned first star of the game. Some of the saves he made where something that I can't explain. However, if you want an explanation and some great entertainment, maybe @CapitalsJesus can help. This hysterical account opened up just prior to the game. It is worth a follow as it has provided me plenty of entertainment during the game. 

The Caps take a commanding 2-0 lead on the series after this afternoons 1-0 OT win. The series moves to Madison Square Garden in New York City on Monday May 6th, 2013 at 7:30. I hope the guy that harassed my dad and I outside of MSG when we watched the Caps beat the Rangers 3-2 in a shootout on March 24th, 2013 is there and cries when we lose. That drunkard deserves it (haha)!

Until Next Time,
Will Hirsch 

Friday, 3 May 2013

It's Nice to be Important, but It's More Important to be Nice.

Game one went well.  Alex Ovechkin demonstrated a little more of his MVP-ness, Marcus Johansson did that really cool break-away thing, Jason Chimera was bear-hugged into the boards by Karl Alzner, oh and Holtby--and the crossbar--made a few great saves.  That's all fine and dandy if this were a post-game analysis, but that's not my intent.  I'd like to talk to you today about manners and hockey etiquette.

I was lucky enough to attend game one, and it was a very fun time for the most part.  Sure there was an annoying Rangers fan sitting a few rows ahead of me, and sure he danced when they scored their one goal...but he wasn't hurting anyone.  Cue the obnoxiously loud guy a few rows back.

I'm not trying to say that it's wrong to yell during a sporting event, or that fans shouldn't encourage a rivalry with each other--I myself shouted "Rangers Suck" across my college campus at a guy in a blue sweater--but it is wrong when the vocabulary takes a hurtful, if not hateful, turn.

I won't say the word that this man was shouting, or allude to it, but it was used very liberally.  He threw it around like Brock Lesnar throwing around 3MB.  He is a very vocal and obnoxious minority of Caps fans, and of hockey fans in general.  He wanted to be noticed and he wanted to make the entire game about him.  As the cool-minded majority, we need to report that kind of abusive and hateful commentary when it springs up.  It's fans like him that give hockey fans everywhere a bad name.

That's How You Do It - Caps Win Game 1!

Ovi reels away after scoring

The Caps came into last night's game, their first of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. knowing that they would face a tough series against the team that ruined their dreams in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals last year. They certainly showed they were ready for a good series with a great performance:

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Caps/Jets Post-Game

The Washington Capitals faced off against the Winnipeg Jets tonight in a pivotal game.  The last ever Southeast Division title was on the line, and whoever wins it is all-time Southeast Division Champions.

Matt Hendricks gave Caps fans something to cheer about early when he banked a shot off the back of Pavelec and into the net at the 3:12 mark in the first period.  Only a few minutes later the Jets pressured and Big John Erskine was sent to the penalty box after a diving, last-ditch effort to stop a shot on a wide-open cage.
This is the point in the game that I went to make an omelette--ham, spinach, and Monterey Jack cheese--so I wasn't as closely glued to my keyboard to type the events.
The Jets had another near-miss with roughly seven minutes left in the first when a puck flip over Holtby and Erskine saved the day yet again by knocking the puck away from the line before it went into the net.  It was immediately called by the official to not be a goal and the play would go upstairs where the call on the ice was upheld.  Later in the period Matty P camped himself behind Pavelec's net and passed the puck out to a waiting Jason Chimera in front who pocketed his third goal of the season and gave the Caps a 2-0 lead in a game which they took into the second period.

The second period did not go well at first.  At the beginning of the period Evander Kane choke-slammed some of the momentum away from the Caps with an early power play goal, and Blake Wheeler tied it with 5:49 left to go in the period.  It wouldn't be long, twenty-seven seconds, before Nick Backstrom redirected a pass from Alex Ovechkin past Pavelec to give the Caps their lead back.  Then with 2:26 remaining Jack Hillen jumped into the play to put a shot on Pavelec and Matty P was there to knock home the rebound for his sixth goal of the season and second point on the night, and he gave the Caps their two goal lead back, which they would hold on to going into the third period.

The third period was quiet for a long time, until a Brouwer breakaway chance that missed but led to a strong series of chances for Washington, including a Volpatti backhander that hit the post.  A few minutes later Nik Antropov would shoot a wristshot past Holtby and under the crossbar to heat up the last eight minutes.  Then things got real real when Matty P. high-sticked Nik Antropov with five minutes remaining.  The Caps would have to kill it off to maintain their one goal lead.  The Caps' pk came up big, allowing the 'Peg zero shots during their power play chance.  Then with Alex-Semin.8 seconds left in the third Alex Ovechkin put a shot into the empty net and an awkward George McPhee celebrated.

Your Washington Capitals are the all-time, winner-takes-all, very-last Southeast Division Champs.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Caps beat Habs 5-1, Ovechkin's On Fire and Playoff Berth Edges Closer

Ovechkin celebrates one of his two goals
After the Senators snapped the Caps' eight game winning streak, this writer was worried that the result could  be a slide out of the playoff spots in the remaining games, but I needn't have panicked - because the Washington Capitals are ready to play some playoff hockey.
With Winnipeg losing in a shootout to the Islanders earlier in the day, the Caps knew that a win would put them three points above their Southeast division rivals with just three games to go in the regular season - and win they did, recap is below the jump....

Friday, 19 April 2013

Caps lose to Senators 3-1 in Possible Playoff Matchup

Green lays out Zibanejad
It had to end somewhere - the Caps' 8 game winning streak ended in Ottawa last night after a 3-1 loss. This score could have some important consequences on the playoffs (or lack thereof), but for now, onto the recap:

- After Washington's penalty kill was successful twice through the first period, with good defense from both teams, the action really started in the second period.
- The Senators came out for the second strong - with just a minute gone on the clock, Kyle Turris got the first of the night.
- It took ten minutes for the next score, with Ribz coming up to equalise with his thirteenth of the season, assisted  by new man Erat and Hillen.
- However, this was erased after just two minutes , after Conacher satched one for the Sens
- Despite two Capitals powerplays in the third, the score remained the same until Turris got his second of the night with Holtby pulled. The Caps lost 3-1.

This loss could be critical down the line. After Winnipeg's OT win against Carolina, they are now just two points behind the Caps in the standings with just four games to go - and as the 'Peg are in 9th place, this means there is no certainty of hockey for the Caps in May. Also, as the standings currently are, the Caps would actually face the Senators in the Eastern Conference Quarter final. Seeing as the Caps have lost both meetings with the Sens this year, this could be a bad sign (although they can redeem themselves on April 25 when they face off again.)

The Caps just have to put this loss past them, and there is no reason why they can't. Holtby did play well, stopping 33 of 35 shots he faced - those are playoff numbers. Whilst Ovechkin didn't score, he is still in great form and leads the NHL in scoring. Next opponent for the Caps comes in the form of Montreal, who are leading the Northeast Division but are 5-5-0 in the last ten, so this is by no means an impossible game for the Caps. After that, a crucial game against the Jets. 

Let's go Caps!

Monday, 11 March 2013

The British Invasion!

One of the most common questions I get about supporting the Caps is how I follow the team from so far away. Well, on April 4th I can answer all of your questions. In person. At the Verizon Center. It was foretold in my interview with Puckbuddys, here, and I am pleased to say it is all going ahead!

Yes, that's right, I will be attending my first ever Caps game! Safe to say, upon finding out (in front of hundred people), I reacted like a Justin Bieber fan, almost breaking down in tears in excitement  Having seen NHL games in person twice (Boston-Montreal at TD Garden and Montreal-Florida at the Bell Center), I can't wait to see the Caps face off against the New York Islanders!

I'll be on a school trip, but I have permission to host a meetup before the puck drops. More details will be made available on twitter closer to the time, but the meetup will be inside the arena. You can ask me anything about the website, my life, my hockey career, the Caps... - anything at all! I'll have lots of questions for the vets at The Phonebooth!

Caps fans, show us Brits all you've got! Rock the Red, Unleash the Fury and chant "Isles suck!"

See you there!


Thursday, 28 February 2013

#Caps Claim Aaron Volpatti

The Washington Capitals made their first splash of the season today, acquiring LW Aaron Volpatti off the waiver wire from the Vancouver Canucks.

Volpatti, a 27-year-old native of British Columbia who is currently playing on a one-year, $600,000 deal, is known for his hard-nosed nature and grit. He is not much of an offensive superstar, having totaled just three goals and one assist in 54 career NHL games, but his 11 bouts will bring some much-needed fight to the Caps.

He will wear #24, and could make his debut as soon as Saturday afternoon in Winnipeg.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Ovechtrick Leads Caps To Much Needed Win

With his fianceé Maria Kirilenko in attendance, Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin lead the way for the boys in red as they defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-1. The Caps handed the same Devils team a win at the Phone Booth a few nights ago. Redemption is best served by winning big and that is exactly what the Capitals did today.

Alex Ovechkin ended this early Saturday game with 3 goals, 1 assist, 4 points, +2, 7 shots and 5 hits. Those type of stats have been a long time coming for Caps fans and Ovechkin. His last hat trick at home was on February 7, 2010. Ovechkin's last hat trick was on January 22, 2011. This was also Ovechkin's first four point game since February 4th, 2011. With his three goal performance today, Ovechkin moved into 15th place in active career goal scoring. he is a mere 9 goals away from Danny Heatley's 354 career goals. No worries though, Ovechkin should catch Heatley on Saturday, March 2nd against the Jets. That is if he gets 3 straight hat ricks. Troy Brouwer and Eric Fehr had the other goals for the Caps.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Worst Power Play in the NHL Wins The Game

The Capitals looked to continue their strong play and add to their winning streak which sat at three games before the puck dropped at Madison Square Garden in New York City, on Hockey Day In America.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Caps Look To Make It Three Straight In Tampa

At two games, NHL bottom-dwellers Washington Capitals are currently enjoying their longest win streak of the season, and heading into a key Southeast Division battle with the Tampa Bay Lightning, extending it is crucial.

The Caps face off against a 6-5-1 group which boasts the fifth top scorer in the NHL but are set to start their backup netminder in Mathieu Garon, and with Alex Ovechkin having totaled seven points in his last five games and Mike Ribeiro coming off a three-point night, the Caps will be optimistic about their chances at the St Pete Times Forum.

There are no changes to the lineup, with Marcus Johansson still out injured and Braden Holtby set to start his third straight game. Ovechkin will skate on a line with Ribeiro and Jason Chimera, whilst Wojtek Wolski, Nicklas Bäckström, and Troy Brouwer round out the second-line.

So come on then boys... 5-8-1 looks a whole lot better than 4-9-1.

Matt Cooke Back To His Old Tricks

Cooke's eyes firmly on his target.

I wouldn't be the first person to call former Washington Capital and current Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke the dirtiest player in the league.

And he proved it once again on Wednesday night, in devastating and disgusting fashion.

Near the end of the second period of the Penguins' match-up against the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center, Cooke and Sens defenseman and reigning Norris Trophy winner Erik Karlsson were fighting for the puck at the end of the boards. With Karlsson facing the wall and in a vulnerable and defenseless position, Cooke declines the opportunity to hit the Swedish defenseman, instead lifting his left leg up and stamping down hard on Karlsson's ankle. The complete laceration of the 22-year-old's achilles tendon is visible through his sock.

This is far from the first time Matt Cooke has critically injured players in his career. Beyond receiving a 17-game suspension for a hit from behind on Fedor Tyutin two seasons ago and essentially ending Marc Savard's career with a hit to the head in March 2010, Cooke has been banned on five separate occasions, also escaping suspensions on several more questionable hits.

To me, this is the worst of the bunch. Of course, looking to give a player an injury as serious as a concussion is absolutely despicable, but deliberately causing a player the amount of pain a severed tendon must provide is well-and-truly revolting. Matt Cooke should be suspended for the rest of this NHL season, at the very, very least.


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

#Caps Mount Late Comeback To Top Florida Panthers, 6-5 (OT)

Troy Brouwer. Tank.

Coming off a key 5-0 shutout victory against Florida on Saturday, the Washington Capitals needed to kick-start an important three-game road trip with a win in the return fixture with the Panthers.

And with starter Braden Holtby coming off his best game of the season, the Cats turning to back-up Scott Clemmensen, Alex Ovechkin riding a four-game point streak, and Mike Ribeiro at the top of his game at the tender age of 33, it looked promising heading in. A Troy Brouwer clincher 32 seconds into overtime would give Washington a 6-5 overtime win.

And so to the recap...

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Tribute to Harry Faulkner - A True Athlete

I'm stepping away from covering the Washington Capitals today to bring you a story of a young man who was an inspirational athlete and an amazing person. He had a major impact on my life and I hope he can provide some inspiration for you too.

My phone rang at 2:30 PM on Friday 8th February 2013. I had just finished lessons for the day and was heading home. I picked up, and it was my friend Max. But something was wrong - "Cam, you know you mentioned Harry was playing squash last night..."

I should add some explanation here. Harry was a good friend of both mine and Max, who was very popular at school and renowned for his incredible athletic ability - especially squash, where he was a top player, winning tournaments and even having a world ranking at the age of eighteen.

Here's the three of us together, mucking around on Max's laptop in our Sociology class last week:
Left to right (Myself, Max and Harry)
Max's voiced cracked a bit. "Cam... I don't know how to tell you this, but Harry collapsed during the match and had a heart attack. He didn't make it." I was shocked. I still am - as a teenager, you think you're immortal. I'd texted Harry and had a conversation with him just before he stepped on court. I'd even trained at the squash courts with him that afternoon, and he was completely normal.

First and foremost, as an athlete, Harry was amazing. He would dash around the court like a bolt of lightning and you couldn't see the ball he'd hit it so hard. We had a running joke that I couldn't even score a point against him if he played left handed - which was, unfortunately for me, true! I've known some high level athletes in various different sports in the last few years, and none of them had the level of natural talent that Harry had for his sport - he was built for the squash court.

But it wasn't just his talent that made him such a great player, he had the best work ethic of anyone I've ever known. He would spend hours training for what seemed like every day, giving 100% every single session - he'd often go to tournaments at the weekends, sometimes even in other countries. I remember he won the Polish Junior Open in Warsaw late last year - then just came back into school like nothing had happened. That was another thing about Harry, he was so humble, completely downplaying his incredible talent.

This mix of raw talent, dedication and his humble nature made for a real sportsman. Whilst it is normal for an athlete to have one or two of these qualities, he had all three. That's what made him great.

Away from sport, I'm very proud to say he was my friend. He would always be ready with advice for me, and listened to all of my problems. It's rare you meet a person who is a genuinely kind and friendly, all the time - he'd never say a bad word about anyone. Harry even followed this blog on twitter, just because I write on it! Despite all his commitments to squash, he maintained great grades at school and had offers from multiple universities.

After a hard couple of days, I played hockey at the weekend for my team as usual, as I knew it would be what Harry wanted. I went into the game with his philosophy - always give everything you've got. I put on a black armband in his memory, and went on to play my best game I can remember, against the top team in our league no less. It just shows what an impact he had.

Whether you're an athlete or not, Harry's philosophy was a great one to live by. Work hard, be happy, enjoy people and forget your troubles.

Rest in peace my friend, I will always remember you.

30th December 1994 - 7th February 2013

Same Team, Same Result

The last time the Capitals and the Panthers faced off at the Verizon Center, the result was a Caps smashing of the Cats. To be more specific it was a well played 5-0 game. The Panthers happened to out shoot the home squad 27-25 but the difference was Jose Theodore, or as Caps fans have come to know him, Jose Three-Or-Four. Jose got pulled in the 3rd period after surrendering five goals on 21 shots.

That may be the biggest reason the backup net minder for Florida, Scott Clemmensen, will play tonight.

Ovechkin and Clemmensen have met before

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

If Hockey Were A 40 Minute Game: Caps Lose 3-2 in Ottawa

After a big win on Sunday against the Sabres, the Capitals looked to keep it going last night in Ottawa.  The Senators came into the game with a 3-1-1 record including wins over Winnipeg and Florida (twice) and losses to Tampa and Pittsburgh (shootout).  The goalie matchup posed to be a good one with Michal Neuvirth coming off his (and the Caps) first win of the season and Craig Anderson playing solid hockey between the pipes for Ottawa.

Neuvirth vs. Anderson

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Keep The Good Times Rolling

Although the Ottawa Senators may look better than the Capitals tonight in their retro uniforms and they have the advantage of the home crowd, the Caps must build off their 3-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres at the Phone Booth.

Since taking over for Braden Holtby, Michael Neuvirth has been playing great. His 2.92 GAA and his .889 Save Percentage has been a huge reason the Capitals were able to grab a point from a then undefeated New Jersey Devils on the road and a big two points at home against the Sabres on Sunday.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Caps Lose 4-1 to Habs, Still Pointless Three Games In

The Caps look for answers. Photo Credit: ESPN

So, the Caps lost for the third time in a row, this time to the Montreal Canadiens. It wasn't a performance to shout about, either. As a consequence, the Caps are now in the basement of the standings, fairly worrying considering the playoffs are only four months away. Here's a terrifying stat - in the last shortened season, no team with a three game losing streak failed to even MAKE the playoffs. More below:

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Washington Capitals vs Les Habitants

Its been a rough start to the shortened season so far for the Washington Capitals. The Capitals have been outscored 10-5 thus far and the penalty kill is, well, horrendous as they have only killed 7 of 12 penalties on the season so far, albeit, only 2 games in.

Let us not panic, Capitals faithful, as this ship can be turned in the right direction with a much needed win at home.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Home Opener Heartbreak: Caps lose to Jets 4-2

The title says it all. The Capitals lost to Jets 4-2 in their season home opener at the Verizon Center last night.  Besides the first 10 minutes of the first period, it was really hard game to watch. But before I get too in depth with my analysis, let me break down the game.

Basically how the game went

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Preview: Caps Face the Jets in Season Opener!

Photo Credit : Washington Post
For the first time since Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semi Finals of 2012 against the New York Rangers, the Washington Capitals will play hockey at their home, the Verizon Center. Their opponents - the Winnipeg Jets:

Friday, 18 January 2013


Photo credit: Washington Post
After an agonising (British spelling, deal with it) season shortening lockout, the Washington Capitals will finally face off against the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first game of the NHL season tomorrow night - it's about time. With just a 48 game regular season, there will be more riding on every game - a shootout loss could spell the end of a team's playoff hopes.

But how will the 48 game season affect the Caps? I'll do my best to dissect all the factors involved:

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Washington Capitals Finalise Roster - A Look at the 2012-13 Depth Chart and Opening Night Roster

Photo Credit: RMNB
The Washington Capitals have today reassigned 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson to the OHL's Plymouth Whalers. A day after sending defenseman Cameron Schilling to the Hershey Bears of the AHL, the Caps have seemingly finalised their 23-man opening night roster.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Eric Fehr Returns To The Capitals!

Fehr back in the good old days...

As was reported earlier this week, the Caps have gone ahead and signed right wing Eric Fehr to a one year, $600,000 contract.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

It's over. Here's some funny gifs!

He just found out the lockout finished

Ladies and Gentlemen, the NHL lockout has finished. Four months after the season was due to start, the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to a deal. Details are sketchy, but from what we understand the NHL will resume soon.
Now we have all this to look forward to: (allow them a minute to load)