Kukla's Korner

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Entries with the tag: washington capitals

A Failure to Change for Oates

It is seen as pretty much a foregone conclusion that in two weeks' time the Washington Capitals and Adam Oates will part ways.  The hall of famer looks to be leading the team to their first playoff miss since 2007, and looking rather listless in the process.  While I was a one-time supporter of Oates, I simply can't argue against his firing.  The question that is left, then, is where did things go wrong.  What was it that Oates failed to do?

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  Tags: adam+oates, washington+capitals

Why Backstrom’s Goal Wasn’t

In the first period of today's game between the Washington Capitals the Philadelphia Flyers, Nicklas Backstrom's shot trickled through Steve Mason and was heading into the net until Mark Streit cleared it off the line.  When play eventurally stopped, the referees held a lengthy review.  Eventually, the call on the ice of no goal was upheld, much to the chagrin of Capitals fans.  Using some crude tools around my house, I'll show why the referees were correct.

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  Tags: nicklas+backstrom, philadelphia+flyers, video+review, washington+capitals

The Goalie Game

As has been the case for at least the past month or so, murmurs are once again circulating throughout Twitter (ultra-reliable BTW) that the Washington Capitals are at least somewhat interested in acquiring Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller.  This has been generally met with an air of disbelief among fans and writers, and yet, the rumor stays alive.  It doesn't help when your General Manager publicly points out how much better off your team would be if the goaltending was better.  Since I like to tell myself that we, as fans, know less than a GM or a coach, it made me wonder today if maybe I'm not seeing the team performance correctly.  So, I decided to sit down and rewatch every single even-strength goal the Capitals have allowed this season.  Here's what I saw.

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  Tags: braden+holtby, michal+neuvirth, philipp+grubauer, ryan+miller, washington+capitals

A Glance at Erskine

In years gone past, it's been pretty clear which defender on the Caps' roster drew the ire of the fans.  He might have once put together a +50 season (as if it really means anything), but Jeff Schultz was generally disliked by the fanbase.  With Schultz have been bought out this past summer, there had to be somebody step in a replace him.  It has become clear the John Erskine has stepped in to fill the void, and he might surpass the mark.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, john+erskine, washington+capitals

Are They That Different?

Anybody who has even paid marginal attention to the Washington Capitals over the past couple of weeks knows they are in trouble.  They are in the midst of a season-worst seven-game losing streak.  In those six games, they have been outscored 19-8.  They are currently playing the worst hockey of the stretch, having gone four straight games without scoring more than one goal.  This has sparked a plethora of outbursts from fans directed towards the coach, GM, and the players.  While it is clear the players are not performing well, are these the right players from which to expect success?

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  Tags: washington+capitals

Senators 2 Capitals 0 ReCap

The Capitals ran their season-high losing streak to six with a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.  A game with no Alex Ovechkin and a noticable lack of fans due to weather was just about as dull as possible.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: ottawa+senators, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 1 Blue Jackets 5 ReCap

In what was one of their worst showings of the season, the Capitals fell 5-1 in Columbus on Friday night.  Not really anything good to say about this one.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: columbus+blue+jackets, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 3 Penguins 4 ReCap

The Capitals continue to struggle late in games as they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguin 4-3 on Wednesday night.  The Capitals led three different times, but allowed the Penguins to tie it up every time before giving up the game winner inside of two minutes.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: pittsburgh+penguins, recap, washington+capitals

Sharks 2 Capitals 1 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals fell to the San Jose Sharks in a shootout 2-1 on Tuesday.  In what was yet another well-played game by the Capitals, they were stopped by another great goaltender.  At some point, you have to stop giving the opposing goaltenders all the credit.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: recap, san+jose+sharks, washington+capitals

Maple Leafs 2 Capitals 3 ReCap

The Washington Capitals made it two wins in two nights as they beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-2.  It was once again a late goal, this time from Joel Ward, that sent them home with a win.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: recap, toronto+maple+leafs, washington+capitals

Capitals 4 Lighting 3 ReCap

The Washington Capitals finally got off their losing streak, beating the Tampa Bay Lighting (and bad ice) by a score of 4-3.  It looked like they had yet again blown a late lead, only to see a last-minute Eric Fehr deflection seal it for good.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: recap, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Capitals 3 Wild 5 ReCap

The Washington Capitals held the Minnesota Wild to only 11 shots, but still fell by a score of 5-3.  There's not really anything else to be said, but I'll give it a shot.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: minnesota+wild, recap, washington+capitals

Hurricanes 4 Capitals 3 OT ReCap

The Washington Capitals dropped their third straight home game against the Carolina Hurricanes by a score of 4-3.  In what has become the norm for these games, Jeff Skinner was the best player on the ice, finishing off his hat trick with the game winner in overtime.  On to the reCap: 

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 1 Sabres 2 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals suffered a rough SO loss to the Sabres tonight by the score of 2-1.  It was a game that saw the Caps tie a season-high in shots (50), but they just could not get them past Ryan Miller.  Not in the regulation; not in overtime; not in the shootout.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: buffalo+sabres, recap, washington+capitals

What Can We Expect for Tom Wilson?

Earlier tonight, Tom Wilson was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging Braden Schenn.  At the time, it looked really bad and talk of suspension took over social media.  I decided to sit down, look at the hit again as well as the history of charging suspensions to see what we can expect from Shanahan.

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  Tags: brayden+schenn, philadelphia+flyers, tim+wilson, washington+capitals

Capitals 2 Flyers 5 ReCap

The Capitals run came to an end tonight, with a 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.  What was a back-and-forth game, took a huge turn when Tom Wilson was ejected for charging Brayden Schenn.  On to the ReCap:

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  Tags: philadelphia+flyers, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 2 Panthers 3 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals were unable to see their winning streak continue as they lost 3-2 in the shootout at the hands of the Florida Panthers.  The Capitals were lucky to gain a point in the game as they found themselves outshot by a wide margin (40-23).  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: florida+panthers, recap, washington+capitals

Tampa Bay 5 Washington 6 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals overcame three early goals to down the Tampa Bay by a score of 6-5 in the shootout.  The Capitals were down 3-0 early before coming back to tie it late in the seocond.  The Lightning would regain the lead in the third only to see Alexander Ovechkin score his fourth of the night to tie it with 33 seconds remaining.  This is a win to remember for sure.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: alexander+ovechkin, recap, tampa+bay+lightning, washington+capitals

Hurricanes 4 Capitals 1 ReCap

The Capitals had a rough start to their extended homesteand, falling to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-1.  A decent start was undone by an absolutely abysmal second period, usually the Caps' best period.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: carolina+hurricanes, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 3 Islanders 2 ReCap

The Washington Capitals overcame a late goal to best the Islanders 3-2 in overtime tonight.  After Thomas Vanek scored with less than two minutes to go, the Capitals scored a late shorthanded goal and took both points thanks to Alexander Ovechkin's 14th overtime goal.  The win moves the Capitals into clear second place in the Metropolitan division.  On to the reCap.

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  Tags: new+york+islanders, recap, washington+capitals

Who is at Fault?

Earlier today, Katie Carrera of the Post reported that winger Martin Erat feels his time in Washington is up and he would like to be traded elsewhere.  The 32-year-old Czech came to the Capitals at last year's trade deadline, along with Michael Latta, for first round pick Filip Forsberg.  Since that trade, each of those players has scored exactly once.  That is a fine number for young players like Latta and Forsberg, but Martin Erat is a proven double-digit scoring threat.  Something has obviously gone wrong here, but the question remains, who is responsible for this disaster?

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  Tags: adam+oates, george+mcphee, martin+erat, washington+capitals

Penguins 4 Capitals 0 Overreaction

The Washington Capitals put in one of their worst showings of the season tonight, falling to the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0.  It's always infuriating to lose to rivals, but when you lose like this in your own building, it tends to sting a little more.  For that reason, and the fact that they played so poorly, the usual reCap will be replaced by a bit of an overreaction to a November loss.

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  Tags: overreaction, pittsburgh+penguins, washington+capitals

Capitals 4 Red Wings 3 SO ReCap

The Capitals completed yet another third-period comeback en route to a 4-3 shootout victory over the Detroit Red Wings.  The Capitals entered the third period trailing 3-1, but goals from Ovechkin and Latta were enough to force overtime and, eventually, a shootout.  The win keeps Washington within a point of Pittsburgh, who beat Nashville earlier in the night.  On to the reCap.

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  Tags: detroit+red+wings, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 1 Avalanche 4

The Washington Capitals ended their brief Western road trip with a 4-1 loss at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche.  It was the second and final time the two teams have met this season, with Colorado taking both games by a combined score of 9-2.  This game was rough to watch, and that is about more than the scoreline.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 3 Coyotes 4 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals squandered a third period two-goal lead en route to a 4-3 shootout loss to the Phoenix Coyotes.  The loss snapped the Capitals four-game winning streak and was the first shootout loss under Adam Oates.  The Caps also failed to move within two points of division-leadin Pittsburgh, who fell to St. Louis earlier in the night.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: phoenix+coyotes, recap, washington+capitals

Wild 2 Capitals 3 SO ReCap

The Washington Capitals extended their win streak to season-high four games with a 3-2 shootout victory over the visiting Minnesota Wild.  The Caps had to erase a 2-1 Wild lead late in the third with a Marcus Johansson goal.  The Capitals also had a big penalty kill in overtime en route to the skills competition.  The win moved the Caps to 9-7-0 on the season.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: minnesota+wild, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 7 Flyers 0 ReCap

The Washington Capitals turned in one of their best performances of the season tonight en route to a 7-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.  What started sloppy, became high scoring, and eventually became a circus.  It was the first shutout of the season for the Caps as well as their largest offensive outburst.  On to the reCap.

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  Tags: philadelphia+flyers, recap, washington+capitals

Capitals 2 Canucks 3 ReCap

The Capitals finished off their West Coast road trip tonight with a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Vanouver Canucks.  It was one of those games that you could, in theory, chalk up the Caps simply being tired from the long swing, but only if you hadn't watched the Caps this season.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: recap, vancouver+canucks, washington+capitals

Rangers 2 Capitals 0

The Capitals were unable to build on the last win as they fell to the New York Rangers by a score of 2-0.  The loss drops them to 2-5-0 early in the season.  Not a lot of good in this game, so on to the reCap:

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  Tags: new+york+rangers, recap, washington+capitals

Oilers 2 Capitals 4

The Washington Capitals managed to get back in the win column thanks to a 4-2 victory over the visiting Edmonton Oilers.  Prior to tonight, the Capitals had lost three straight and had looked pretty mundane in the process.  It also marked the first regulation win for the Capitals this season.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: edmonton+oilers, recap, washington+capitals

Avalanche 5 Capitals 1

The slow start to the Capitals season continued tonight with a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.  As has been the case in the early season, they had some good chances, but just could not find a way to take advantage of them.  The loss puts the Caps at 1-4-0 on the season and their lone win was not exactly noteworthy.  On to the reCap.

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  Tags: colorado+avalanche, recap, washington+capitals

Latta, Carrick Assigned, Schmidt Recalled

The Washington Capitals have announced that they have assigned defenseman Connor Carrick and center Michael Latta to AHL Hershey.  Carrick started the first three games for Washington before being scratched last night in favor of Alexander Urbom.  Latta started the season with the Caps, but was sent down to Hershey after one game only to be recalled earlier this week.  They have also recalled defenseman Nate Schmidt from AHL Hershey.

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  Tags: connor+carrick, michael+latta, nate+schmidt, washington+capitals

Hurricanes 3 Capitals 2 ReCap

The Washington Capitals fell to 1-3-0 to start that season after a 3-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.  It was the Capitals first loss at home this season and first loss in the new Metropolitan Division.  The Capitals got out to an early lead behind a Jason Chimera goal, but were unable to keep the Hurricanes from tying it up and taking the lead in the third period.  On to the ReCap.

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  Tags: carolina+avalanche, recap, washington+capitals

October 10 Pregame News & Notes

After what feels like another offseason, the Capitals will take the ice tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Verizon Center.  After facing off against three Western Conference foes to start the season, the Caps will get their first taste of life in the Metropolitan Division, even if it will still look like an old Southeast battle. 

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  Tags: adam+oates, tomas+hertl, washington+capitals

The Even-Strength Problem

It may only be three games into the NHL season, but the understatement of the season might be that the Capitals are not good on even strength.  Through the first three games, the Caps have been outscored 8-3 during 5-on-5 play.  That does not include Marian Hossa's empty netter or Lee Stempniak's 4-on-4 goal.  Oh, and those three that the Caps have scored: Grabovski on a 2-on-1, Carrick on a breakaway following a penalty kill, and Ovechkin off of a faceoff.  They have yet to score from actually establishing offensive zone pressure.  Their power play very well might be the best in the league, but you are going to spend much more time even than you will on the man advantage. 

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Capitals 1 Stars 2 ReCap

The Washington Capitals took a 2-1 loss to the Dallas Stars Saturday night, dropping them to 1-2-0 on the season.  Yet again, the Capitals' even strength play continues to suffer, with their lone strike tonight coming on the power play.  Honestly, was not a fun game to watch, but on to the reCap:

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  Tags: dallas+stars, washington+capitals

Flames 4 Capitals 5 ReCap

The Washington Capitals erased an early 3-0 hole to defeat the Calgary Flames 5-4 in a shootout.  After giving up six goals to Chicago on Tuesday night, it was a disastrous start for the Caps as they gave up three first period goals to Calgary.  It's one thing to have Chicago light you up, but for Calgary, a perceived lottery team, to run out to a three goal lead, that's a disaster.  The Caps, though, managed to erase the deficit, tying the game late in the third period.  On to the reCap:

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  Tags: calgary+flames, washington+capitals

Caps Acquire Urbom; Assign Latta

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.

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  Tags: alexander+urbom, michael+latta, new+jersey+devils, washington+capitals

Capitals Trade Perreault

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.

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CAPS TO MAKE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

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.

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BALTIMORE HOCKEY CLASSIC QUICK HITS

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

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HOCKEYVILLE QUICK HITS

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.

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Capitals Re-Up Alzner

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.

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What now?

It was just over a year ago that George McPhee finally got what he had been looking for.  In trading Cody Eakin and a second-round pick to Dallas, he ended his search for a legitimate second-line center.  Mike Ribeiro was pretty much everything the Capitals had been looking for since Fedorov retired.  And unlike the previous experiment with the likes of Brendan Morrison, Ribeiro actually produced.  Through the first quarter of the season, Ribeiro was arguably the only Capital producing, to the point where he actually usurped the first-line center role away from Nicklas Backstrom.  When the rest of the team finally awoke from their lockout slumber, Ribeiro settled nicely into that second line, helping Troy Brouwer surpass his goal total from last year.

Yet here we are.  A place we all knew was coming.  It had been clear since the trade deadline that Mike Ribeiro wanted that “last contract”.  At 33 years of age, he was looking for a team who was willing to give him at least 4 years, with a decent salary to boot.  With the salary cap dropping a substantial amount next season, the Capitals appeared unable to give Ribeiro what he wanted.  Both sides had been talking extensively lately, but to no avail as Renaud Lavoie has reported that the Capitals will allow Ribeiro to hit the free agent market come this Friday. 

So, here we are again.  One year later, and no second-line center.  Here are some of the options the Capitals have with regard to filling Ribeiro’s void.

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First Response

Note: This post was written in complete and total anger.  It very well might be nothing more than the babbling of a mad man.  After I’ve cooled off, I’ll post a more levelheaded review.

I don’t know why I let myself buy into this.  For 90% of the season, I firmly believed this team was not a Stanley Cup team.  When they made the move for Erat (don’t get me started on that again), I said it made no sense for a non-contender team to make that move.  And yet, here I am.  Sitting in complete disgust after they laid a massive egg against the Rangers in Game 7.  Disgust at the product I just saw on the ice and that I was dumb enough to buy it.

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Old Habits Return in Loss

Every Cap fan knew that we would see a different Ranger team now that the series has shifted to New York.  The Ranger offense had been so anemic that, logically, it could only improve.  The question would only be whether or not the Capitals could continue their defensive success.  The answer, as we learned last night, was not what we would have hoped.

Prior to the game, Braden Holtby voices some of his concerns with the Capitals being “too loose” going into Game 3.  Ten minutes into the game, it seemed his concerns were unfounded.  The Caps had already killed off yet another Ranger power play and were already up 1-0 thanks to Nicklas Backstrom.  But then, the looseness seemed to arise.  And sure enough, Brian Boyle leveled the scoring as a Ranger power play expired.  A power play that the Caps had effectively limited.

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(3) Washington Capitals vs. (6) New York Rangers – Preview

It just had to be the Rangers, didn’t it?  As if both teams had not had enough of each other over the past five playoffs.  It honestly does not feel like there are any story lines left to see play out.  We’ve seen rookie goalies stand on their heads (Varlamov and Holtby).  We’ve seen a team completely collapse in practically no time (Joel Ward double minor).  We’ve even had to answer the question of which team had the loudest fans.  Is there anything we haven’t seen?  I guess we’ll find out starting Thursday.  ON TO THE BREAKDOWN!

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Can the Caps keep Mike Ribeiro?

Last night during the Washington/Toronto game, CSN Washington asked the viewers, as they do every game, to weigh in on a particular matter via Twitter.  The topic of the day was, essentially, what has been the biggest reason for the Caps’ surge over the past month.  While not every person tweeted the same thing, the overarching theme was the strong play of Alexander Ovechkin.  I can find no error with that reasoning.  Ovechkin’s recent discovery of old ways has certainly been the driving force to turn this season around.

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Caps Taking a Big Risk

A few days ago, I was talking to a buddy of mine about the Caps’ chances during these last few weeks.  He remarked “This team is good, but if they had somebody like Erat, I’d say they are a solid cup contender.”  Now, a bunch of you are no doubt going to call me a liar, that nobody could have had that foresight.  And you’d be right.  Because this team is not a Martin Erat away from the Cup.

In Martin Erat, the Caps will get a 31-year-old right winger.  This season, he has 4 goals and 17 assists over the span of 36 games.  Had this been a regular season, he would be looking at 7 or 8 goals at this point.  He is coming off a career year, where he scored 19 goals and 39 assists.  He has eclipsed the 50 point mark in 5 of the past 6 seasons.  They do also get Michael Latta, but I don’t expect anything from a guy with 184 PIMS in the AHL.

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Laich Set to Make Debut

A little over an hour ago, Washington Post’s Katie Carrera reported that Brooks Laich will make his debut tonight against the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Laich was injured while playing in Switzerland during the lockout and, in my opinion, has been a large missing piece in the team’s search for consistency.

While Laich’s stats have been declining over the past couple of seasons (down to only 41 points last season), he has arguably been the most consistent performer over the past 4 years.  While I understand the team’s logic in handing the captaincy to Alex Ovechkin, I still feel that Brooks Laich would have been the better choice.  He typically logs heavy minutes on the both the powerplay and the penalty kill either as a pivot or on the wing.

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