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