F Street Faithful
Just one game into the season, the Washington Capitals have made some small tweaks to their roster, claiming Swedish defenseman Alexander Urbom off waivers from the New Jersey Devils and assigning fourth-line center Michael Latta to AHL Hershey.
The Washington Capitals opened their 2013-2014 season with a high-scoring, gut-wrenching loss to the Chicago Blackhawks by the score of 6-4. The Caps were able to stick with the defending Stanley Cup champs, even taking the lead for a couple minutes in the third, but weren't able to cash in on a late two-man advantage to force overtime. The 8:00 game was delayed 30 minutes to account for the banner-raising ceremony for Chicago. It was an incredible ceremony, but it seemed to go on forever. On to the breakdown:
A couple of days ago, I noted that the emergence of Tom Wilson was going to spell bad things for Mathieu Perreault. Yesterday that has come to be true as the Capitals traded Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks for AHL winger John Mitchell(and no, not the one you are probably thinking of) and a 2014 4th-round draft pick. And thus draws to a close the five-year stint in Washington for Perr-Ochocinco.
Perreault was drafted by the Capitals in 2006 out of the QMJHL. He officially joined the organization in 2008, quickly making a name for himself, racking up back-to-back 50 point seasons in Hershey. After a couple of seasons going back and forth between Washington and Hershey, Perreault became a full-time Capital at the start of the 2011 season. All combined, Perreault would play 159 games at the NHL level, racking up 33 goals and 37 assists and becoming one of the pound-for-pound fan favorites in the process.
Washington Goals: Fehr (Byers), Ovechkin PPG (Carrick, Perreault), Wilson (Grabovski, Chimera), Fehr (Carrick, Perreault), Ovechkin PPG (Fehr, Carrick), Perreault ENG
Philadelphia Goals: Giroux (Read), Hartnell PPG (Courturier, Timonen), Simmons (Lecavalier, Schenn)
Eric Fehr continued his hot preseason with two more goals last night after two the other night against Nashville. The first was more of a right place/right time situation as Ray Emery was caught out of his net and Fehr simply had to redirect Dane Byer's pass. His second goal came after a Connor Carrick missed shot. As the puck bounced around the back of the net, Fehr took a couple swipes at it, potting it over the sprawled Emery.
It might not be quite the headline as Fehr, but Ovechkin also racked up a couple goals, both on the power play. The first a typical Ovechkin one time, being fed from Connor Carrick for a one timer. The second was more of a gift from Emery who failed to corral a weak shot from Carrick. Essentially an empty net for Ovechkin.
It has come to light that Washington Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis will make a large announcement on Saturday at the Capitals Convention. There is some speculation as to what this is, but Sky Kerstein of 106.7 The Fan tweeted the above just moments ago. Maybe it’s the Classic, maybe it isn’t. Either way, it looks like outdoor hockey might be coming to the Nation’s capital next season.
For the second time in three years, the Washington Capitals took a short trip up I-95 to play a preseason game in Charm City. This time around, it was the Boston Bruins paying a visit to the hockey-starved city. Baltimore welcomed the Caps with open arms, even chucking a crab on the ice after a Washington goal. Yet again the Capitals found themselves playing more than the mandated 60 minutes, going all the way to their 3rd consecutive shootout, this one going 7 skaters. As was the case last time NHL hockey was played in Baltimore, the Capitals could not send them home with win, falling 3-2 in the shootout.
Washington Goals: Wilson (1), Wellman (1)
Boston Goals: Florek, Kelly
The Washington Capitals opened up their preseason schedule last night with a 4-3 shootout victory against the Winnipeg Jets. It might have been played on an Olympic-sized rink with a lot of rookies, but it's still our first chance to see our boys play in 4 months.
Washington Goals: Hillen (1), Galiev (1), Brouwer, PP (1)
Winnipeg Goals: Kane (1), Kosmachuk (1), Kane (2)
A scary moment early on as Alexander Ovechkin was basically force-fed the stick of Winnipeg rookie Ben Chiarot on a dump-in follow through. A bloody Ovechkin went back to the dressing room, but returned to the ice before the 4-minute power play expired. No serious damage, but still not something you want to see in a preseason game.
Rumors circulating over the past couple of days have come true as the Washington Capitals have signed unrestricted free agent center Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year deal worth roughly $3 million. The move comes as a bit of a surprise as it had appeared that George McPhee was standing pat with the roster that he had. He even went as fair as to name Brooks Laich as the second-line center for the upcoming season. That probably is not the case anymore.
This should be nothing of a slight against Brooks Laich, but Mikhail Grabovski gives the Capitals a legitimate player to fill the hole left when Mike Ribeiro bolted for the desert. Grabovski, 29, has all the makings of a scoring center, if he can stay healthy. His best season came in 2010-2011 when he racked up 29 goals and 29 assists in 81 games with Toronto. He has scored 20+ goals in all 3 seasons in which he played more than 60 games. If his NHL numbers last season are combined with his KHL numbers, he actually posted a respectable 21 goals and 19 assists in 77 games.
The National Hockey League released the 2013-2014 schedule moments ago. You can take a look at the Capitals’ schedule here. Some quick thoughts on the upcoming road:
Two Banner Games?
The Washington Capitals will open the season playing in Chicago watching the Chicago Blackhawks raise their 5th Stanley Cup Champion banner on October 1. Two nights later, they could raise the last Southeast Division Champion banner ever as they host the Calgary Flames. The Capitals’ first three opponents are “Western” teams.
The Washington Capitals have announced that they have re-signed defenseman Karl Alzner to a 4-year contract. The contract is worth $11.2 million, with an annual cap hit of $2.8 million. With Alzner back under contract, it leaves Marcus Johansson as the only major RFA left to sign. With around $5.6 million left in cap space, Johansson should be extended shortly.
As much as people, myself included, point to the importance of the Capitals finding a second-line center, re-signing Alzner was just as important. Even if re-signing RFAs has become little more than a formality, it’s still nice to see one less thing for the Caps to worry about. He has shown himself to be the most consistent blueliner the Caps have and, at 24, is just entering the prime of his career. The stability he brought to the top pairing was a huge reason for Mike Green rediscovering his form, aside from Green simply being healthy. I’d imagine he will see most of his time this season again with Green.
With Alzner back in the fold, it leaves the Capitals with 8 blueliners capable of contributing at the NHL level, although only Green, Alzner, and Carlson would be described as top-4 quality. With the lack of options on the free agency market, the Caps should strongly consider trying to put together some package (with maybe a Jason Chimera or even Michal Neuvirth) for a true top-4 defenseman. What is the future for Dmitri Orlov? Can we really expect Steven Oleksy to contribute like he did last year? Hopefully, the Jeff Schultz buyout taught them when to move a guy.
About F Street Faithful
Welcome to the home of the F Street Faithful, run by Matthew Tate. This is a go-to blog for all things related to the Washington Capitals. The F Street Faithful is 5% news and 95% breaking down the news.
In the past I have written for several other sports blogs as well as the college newspaper while at York College of Pennsylvania. I am a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania but am based out of Southern Maryland.
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