Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
If the Capitals decide to spend some of their remaining cash to re-sign Joel Ward, who will otherwise enter unrestricted free agency for the third time in his career, the versatile forward would welcome returning with open arms. According to his agent, speaking via telephone Tuesday, the proverbial puck sits in Washington’s end.
“Washington is his first choice over going to unrestricted free agency,” Peter Cooney said. “We would like to re-sign with Washington and come back. Our door is open for the Capitals, absolutely first and foremost.”
Coming off a starring postseason role in which he tied for the team lead with nine points, facing the end of a four-year deal annually worth $3 million, Ward figures to receive a raise, regardless of his destination. At 34 years old, this could be Ward’s last deal structured longer than two years, and MacLellan already predicted that term length would “be an issue,” provided Ward for asks for a three- or four-year contract, which seems all but certain.
With forwards Jay Beagle and Eric Fehr also entering unrestricted free agency, the Capitals likely won’t bring back both of them and Ward, while still satisfying MacLellan’s stated offseason desire to acquire a top-six winger.
from Alex Prewitt of The Washington Post,
The white banner hung outside the team entrance to their facility read, “THANKS FOR A GREAT SEASON,” and deep down the Washington Capitals believed it had been as much. They gathered in Arlington one last time Friday afternoon before scattering for vacation, another second-round elimination behind them, the hurt of another early summer still fresh. They conducted physicals, held exit interviews, revealed injuries and, for some pending free agents, said goodbye.
It was the standard closing act, performed every year, speaking with freshly shaved beards before the curtain dropped for good on their 2014-15 season. Had the New York Rangers not bounced them in seven games, had they not squandered a 3-1 series lead for the fifth time in franchise history, they would have packed for a flight to Tampa Bay, bound for the Eastern Conference finals, the first many of them would have experienced. Instead, they cleaned out their lockers.
“We’re still sitting here today, so it doesn’t feel any differently,” forward Jason Chimera said. “It still feels pretty bad. It still feels like you lost someone in your family, for sure. It’s not a good feeling to be out here, but I’d be lying [if I didn’t say], as you get further down, you really start to believe.”
via the the NHL's YouTube channel,
from Kerry Fraser of TSN,
- Boyle placed himself in a vulnerable position.
- The Rangers player materially change his body and head position immediately prior to the hit delivered by Orpik.
- Orpik attempted to hit squarely through his opponent's body and did not "pick" Boyle's head.
These circumstances as listed in rule 48.1 subsections (i) (ii) and (iii) qualifies this hit as unavoidable and therefore "legal."
Watch the hit below....
from Dan Steinberg of DC Sports Bog,
“Guys are a little bit shocked, don’t know what to think,” Matt Niskanen said after the loss. “We’re hurt, for sure. We were obviously in a great position. We believed that we could — we believed we had a good shot of moving on and doing something. And it didn’t happen.”
“I don’t know either,” Karl Alzner said, when asked for help interpreting the result. “Just don’t think about it for a day or two. I don’t really know how you can determine [who was the better team]. Well, I guess they are. They’re the team that’s moving on.”
Most team sports are capricious, but playoff hockey often seems especially so. New York’s Game 5 goals — both of which hit obstacles on their way past Braden Holtby — might easily have bounced in more favorable directions. A potential Washington goal was disallowed. Overtime is so often a coinflip, which Washington lost twice. Which helps explain why some Caps were left thinking they had played well enough to advance.
“We’re a great team, and I think we deserve a better result,” captain Alex Ovechkin said.
“I thought we deserved this series,” agreed Eric Fehr, who watched most of it as a spectator while he nursed an injury. “I thought we worked hard, and I thought that this was going to be the year we were going to break through.”
They didn’t. And because of that, the Caps must grapple with the same confusing questions the rest of us are facing.
from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,
Stephane Matteau was in the house because, well, of course he was for a Game 7 on Broadway, and of course this winner-take-all between the Rangers and Caps would go to overtime.
Twenty-one years later, 21 years after the last time the Rangers played an OT Game 7, a new hero etched his name in franchise lore, and it was No. 21, Derek Stepan who put an end to this second round by burying a rebound at 11:24 to propel his team to a 2-1 victory Wednesday.
“Individually, it’s a really cool moment for me,” Stepan told The Post minutes after his shot was heard ’round the hockey world. “But it’s also really cool just to be part of this group.”
This group — these Rangers — are now the first team in NHL history to overcome 3-1 series deficits in back-to-back-years, duplicating their Round 2 feat against Pittsburgh a year ago with this charge out of that hole that germinated with last Friday’s Game 5 victory in which Stepan first set up Chris Kreider’s tying goal with 101 seconds remaining in regulation and then spoon fed Ryan McDonagh for the winner in OT.
Those were big moments for No. 21, who hadn’t been able to elevate his game and put the same kind of offensive-zone stamp on the game in the playoffs that he had for so much of his five-year career.
from Alex Prewitt of Capitals Insider,
No penalty on the play and Boyle went to the dressing room and did not return.
from Katie Strang of ESPN,
Plenty of pundits predicted Rangers netminder Henrik Lundqvist would give the Rangers the definitive edge in goal, but that hasn’t been the case. Plenty also anticipated that Holtby might wear down after a heavy workload during this regular season -- a career-high 73 starts, 25 straight heading into the postseason. But that hasn’t been true, either.
Instead, Holtby has been resolute between the pipes for the Caps, steadying the team with his signature sense of calm, one that comes across as an almost Zen-like presence on the ice.
It’s that even-keel equanimity that he exudes even the day before one of the biggest, if not the biggest, games of his life, as he essentially shrugs off any questions about the enormousness of the moment.
"It’s just another game," Holtby said after the team’s practice Tuesday. "The game doesn’t change. The circumstances outside of it do. I do what I enjoy doing, and that’s playing hockey. Circumstances aside, I expect the top level in myself of every game I play, so tomorrow’s just another challenge."
Beyond that cool, collected, unaffected demeanor is also a fierce competitor, teammates will assure you.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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