Kukla's Korner Hockey
Yesterday at Capitals Insider, they had this on Halak..
Halak couldn’t hide the trade that sent him from the Blues to last-place Buffalo on Feb. 28 for Ryan Miller — six days later, the Sabres then traded Halak again to Washington — has not yet been forgotten. He admitted Monday to having “mixed emotions” about the first encounter with his former teammates.
“It’s still fresh. I play there for four years. I know these guys,” Halak said. “We’ll see whether I play or not, but obviously I’m looking forward to go back there.”
The 2013-14 NHL Regular Season wraps up this Sunday.
Remaining games left for teams in the Eastern Conference Wild Card race...
Detroit- at Buffalo on Tuesday, at Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Carolina at Detroit on Friday and at St. Louis on Sunday.
Columbus- Phoenix at Columbus on Tuesday, at Dallas on Wednesday, at Tampa Bay on Friday and at Florida on Saturday.
New Jersey- Calgary at New Jersey tonight, at Ottawa on Thursday, NYI at New Jersey on Friday and Boston at New Jersey on Sunday.
Toronto- at Tampa Bay on Tuesday, at Florida on Thursday and at Ottawa on Saturday.
Washington- at St. Louis on Tuesday, at Carolina on Thursday, Chicago at Washington on Friday and Tampa Bay at Washington on Sunday.
At this point int time, do you care to make a prediction? What teams take the two wild card spots and in what order?
If you missed the play, watch it below with Adam Ward of TSN breaking it down...
added 1:34pm, from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
“To be honest with you I didn’t see him, I kind of lost the position. It is what it is,” Ovechkin said. “We make lots of mistakes, it’s not about one mistake. You can’t blame one mistake in the whole game.”
That’s not an encouraging message from the face of the franchise, especially when the franchise in question might miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006-07. But little about the last two weeks has been encouraging for the Capitals, who have lost four straight since returning from their California trip and are close to being eliminated from playoff contention.
from Chuck Gormley of CSNWashington,
Meeting with reporters on Thursday, Oates did not backtrack on Wednesday’s description of Alex Ovechkin quitting on a play that led to a goal by Dustin Jeffrey in Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss to the Stars.
The bigger issue, Oates said, is that his 28-year-old captain recognizes his shortcomings and addresses them.
“I didn’t talk to him yet about that particular play,” Oates said. “We will. The message is the same message I tell him all the time.
“It’s a shame because he actually pushed hard up the ice [into the offensive zone] and I’m sure when he turned around he saw we had three guys back and figured they’d get the job done and they didn’t.”
FYI, Ovechkin did not meet with the media today.
added 3:42pm, Aaron Ward of TSN breaks down the latest Ovechkin mistake, watch it below too...
added 3:33pm, from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,
from Barry Svrluga of The Washington Post,
Somehow, during those years of postseason berths, the playoffs became a birthright here. Given Alex Ovechkin’s presence at the center of a once-young, on-the-rise core, that’s not unreasonable. McPhee believes that core, when healthy, could contend for the Stanley Cup. Leonsis said before this season he didn’t “see any weaknesses” with the team.
So follow that line of thinking. Does that mean the problem is with Adam Oates, who has yet to complete one full season as head coach? Oates’s mantra has been to treat players like he wanted to be treated during his own Hall of Fame playing career, with respect and positive reinforcement. He isn’t changing that now.
“The one big thing is someone will say, ‘You need to yell at them,’ right?” Oates said after a somber practice Wednesday. “I don’t see Bill Belichick yell. Now that doesn’t mean he can’t yell with his eyes, right? Or his face, his mood. That’s all part of respect, no question. Everybody says that until they’re the one yelled at.”
But fans would argue that there’s nothing positive to reinforce, so Oates needs to yell. If he’s unwilling, then off he goes.
Continue following that line of thinking, though. Leonsis keeps McPhee, but McPhee fires Oates. Don’t discount this, because there are indications of fissures in that relationship, subtle and otherwise. As a player, Oates was never afraid of playing the squeaky wheel. Could he be that way as a coach?
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
Alex Ovechkin has received criticism for his absentee defensive play throughout his nine-year NHL career and in the third period of a blowout loss against the Dallas Stars Tuesday night he offered more fuel for his detractors.
At the midway point of the period, Stars veteran Ray Whitney chipped the puck through the neutral zone up to Alex Chiasson, who raced into the Washington end. As the play moved toward the Washington net, though, Ovechkin glided near the offensive blueline, slowly moving up toward the red line and then completely missed Whitney as he cut in front of him to drive down the slot.
It wasn’t until Whitney passed him that Ovechkin took a full stride, even then it was only two steps before he coasted again.
continued with quotes from Oates and video of the goal or watch the video, with evidence, below...
“There was zero urgency, if I was a fan, I’d be booing us right now. Playoff race like we’re in, we lose 5-0. It’s awful. There’s no words for it.”
-Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals. More on their loss to the Dallas Stars by Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
That Clune, an experienced fighter, took on an inexperienced player who has barely any track record with fisticuffs didn’t sit well with some of the Capitals even though they acknowledged Wey wasn’t ambushed into fighting.
“They had a little tangle before the fight and they were talking to each other a bit and Weysie seemed to be a willing combatant,” Troy Brouwer said. “But at the same point guys who are known to be fighters, they have to have enough respect to pick their spots to know when guys are able to fight fighters.”
Said Oates: “I’m surprised the guy would do that but they had contact, they kind of looked each other in the eye and Patrick also didn’t back down. Got to give him credit for that.”
more including Oates saying it appears Wey will be okay. No concussion test was given last night but he did not return to the game..
Watch the fight below...
from Mike Wise of the Washington Post,
If the Capitals fall short of bringing Leonsis at least two profitable home postseason series this year, he might have little choice but to start over with a new front office. I’m not endorsing McPhee’s firing, especially just to appease angry fans.
I am saying 16 years is an incredibly long time to run a pro team. Outside the NHL, just Pat Riley with the Miami Heat and Brian Sabean of the San Francisco Giants (two more GMs with titles) have more tenure with one franchise than McPhee in all major North American sports.
Here’s hoping this underwhelming roster battling pulls and assorted pains can siphon a magical run that lasts into late May. Otherwise, the data and metrics are there in plain sight. This team will not be closer to a Cup now than it was three, four, even two years ago.
And if McPhee is finally jettisoned, the irony will be cruel. He will have lost his job in part because he could never acquire enough mentally tough, give-no-quarter players, guys like a former, scrap-till-he-dropped Ranger and Devil named . . . George McPhee.
Hot seat or no, that burns just thinking about it.
Before last night's win in Anaheim,(Caps had 2 PP and one was the game winner from Ovechkin), here are their recent power play stats via Chuck Gormley of CSN Washington,
The Capitals are 12 for 31 [38.7 percent] on the power play in their last 10 games and have scored a power-play goal in four of their last five games.
Washington scored two power-play goals on Sunday against Toronto, marking the 17th time this season the Caps have scored two or more power-play goals in a game. Washington is 13-3-1 this season when scoring two or more power-play goals in a game.
The Caps rank second in the NHL on the power play at 23.7 percent.
So how do you stop it? Do you key on Ovechkin and leave others open or do you just play a standard penalty kill and hope for the best?
Below, watch Ovechkin's game winning power play goal against the Ducks last night.
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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