Kukla's Korner Hockey
This is not about pinning all the blame on Ovechkin or trading the Russian star. But something has to give, either in the week-and-a-half to come, or immediately after the Olympic break, for the Caps to salvage this season. That said, a playoff berth wouldn’t and shouldn’t be an excuse for ownership to avoid serious changes. Head coach Adam Oates should be the last to be blamed and Washington’s current core and GM George McPhee should be among the first.
Maybe Ovechkin can win a gold medal in Sochi and use it as a rocket booster for the second half of the Capitals’ year. But maybe the mental and physical toll of playing for his country make this situation more dire. In either case, there’s no good reason for continued patience with Washington’s roster. The sample size is big enough, long enough, and doggone it, more and more people don’t like it.
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News where you can read more about the Capitals (Ovechkin was -5 last night in a 5-2 loss to Columbus).
from Lucas Aykroyd of IIHF.com,
The world is waiting to see how Ovechkin will carry himself starting on February 13, when Russia opens its quest for Olympic gold against Slovenia. It’s a prize Russia hasn’t claimed since 1992.
Ovechkin is the greatest NHL goal-scorer of the new millennium, and among modern-era NHLers, only Mike Bossy and Mario Lemieux boast better goals-per-game averages at 76.2 and 75.4 respectively.
Likely bound for his fourth Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s top marksman, he is also a three-time winner of both MVP trophies, the media-voted Hart and the player-voted Ted Lindsay (formerly Lester Pearson). If Ovechkin retired today, he would still be a surefire inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
But right now, the focus is on the Olympics.
And Ovechkin, despite faithfully and admirably suiting up for Russia in IIHF competition at least once every year since 2002 (with the exception of 2009), has never played quite as well at either the Olympics or World Championships as he has at his NHL best. Neither his laser shot nor his offensive-zone physicality has been quite as effective.
Mike Green left last night's game with an upper-body injury after this hit from Boone Jenner of the Columbus Blue Jackets and did not return.
No update on his health but Green in the past has suffered a concussion and shoulder injury.
from Katie Carrera of Capitals Insider,
... first a look at an unnecessary high hit from Buffalo defenseman Mike Weber on Nicklas Backstrom that came in the final minute of regulation.
Backstrom is in the neutral zone and circles back toward the Capitals’ bench for a line change when Weber sticks his right elbow out and clips the center in the head. It’s a dangerous hit under any circumstances and also eerily familiar to when Rene Bourque elbowed Backstrom back in January 2012 – a play that sidelined Washington’s top center for 40 games with a concussion.
Backstrom took one more shift in the game, in overtime, and spoke with reporters afterward. The 26-year-old pivot is one of the more soft-spoken players on the team, but when he’s upset it comes across rather clearly and that was the case in the visitors’ dressing room at First Niagara Arena.
“I was going for a change, that’s the only thing I know,” Backstrom said. “You saw the hit yourself, make your own judgment if it belongs in this league or not.”
more and watch the hit below...
Bounce, bounce, settle, score.
from Katie Carrera of the Washington Post,
The prescription for the Washington Capitals’ destruction is becoming familiar. Combine bad penalties with some sloppy decisions in the defensive zone, mix in a few neutral zone turnovers, sprinkle in a meager offense — and the recipe is all but complete.
That formula led to a 2-1 defeat Friday night to the New Jersey Devils, the Capitals’ seventh straight loss. They’ve scored more than one goal in one of those seven setbacks and have now dropped 14 of their past 18 games.
This particular failure saw another opportunity for Washington to pull itself out of its funk against a Metropolitan Division foe go to waste as the sixth-place Devils now sit three points ahead of the seventh-place Capitals.
“We’ve just gotta find a way to win a game. Gotta find some goals. It seems like we have to get a shutout to win a game. We’ve got to find a way to do it,” Jason Chimera said. “If desperation doesn’t set in then we’re in trouble, that’s for sure.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Washington Capitals and Verizon Center, both owned and operated by Monumental Sports & Entertainment, are the first professional sports team and venue to preview the professional sports fan engagement app, Skybox, built specifically for Google Glass. Developed by APX Labs, Skybox brings a whole new level of engagement to fans attending a live event. As the first professional sports team and venue to preview a fan engagement app on Skybox for Google Glass, the app allows Capitals fans to stay connected at the game by referencing real-time stats, playing in-game highlights, instant replays and more.
Big time punches being thrown here.
Miller with a great, stretching blade save on Mikhail Grabovski.
The Sabres won in a shootout 2-1 and Miller was great again.
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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