Kukla's Korner Hockey
Entries with the tag: washington capitals
The Florida Panthers defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 on Tuesday night, and they did so by taking a 20-round shootout, with Nick Bjugstad scoring the game-winning, 6-shooters-to-5-shooters-scoring goal:
USA Today's Ted Berg spoke with the producers of Epix' version of The Road to the Winter Classic, and I guess this was inevitable...
In a small, dark room in lower Manhattan, Fritz Mitchell stares at a computer monitor as video editors tap away on computer keyboards, cuing up footage of Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.
Leonsis, interviewed in an otherwise empty hockey arena, is discussing the progress of his team's most recognizable star — forward Alex Ovechkin — and so animatedly sings the veteran's praises that Mitchell and his crew struggle to find "room tone," the arena's background hum, a note necessary for seamlessly splicing together the highlights of the interview.
"(Leonsis) seems approachable, like a regular guy," says Mitchell, a producer on the fourth season of Road to the NHL Winter Classic, which debuts [Tuesday] on Epix at 10 ET.
"We're going to make him a character," says executive producer Ross Greenburg from a couch a few feet away.
But the fact that Epix' folks claim that they want the players and coaches to "forget the cameras" after the level of--if you'll pardon me for being a blunt Red Wings fan--"embedded" journalism in HBO's 24/7 had become post-Bryzgalov guerilla journalism, i.e., "Let's try to find someone else who's wild" to the point that Mike Babcock and Ken Holland finishing each other's sentences and Todd Bertuzzi drinking beer may have been the most "human" moments of a 247 that had the Wings and Leafs stumbling their way through a December spent trying not to embarrass themselves, or be embarrassed for exploitative purposes:
Damien Cox and Elliotte Friedman had about 70 seconds' worth of time to issue their version of the Satellite Hotstove on Saturday's Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, but they sped-talked their way through the following topics:
1. Cox says questions were surrounding Kaberle-Rangers participation in Kaberle's skate in Toronto today as the New Jersey Devils have had Scott Gomez around for over a month, but he can't travel with them on the road as he's not under contract/can't be paid;
Kaberle is allowed to travel with the team, per an NHL memo, for about 10 days before the team has to sign him or let him go, so the Rangers have to make their decision in another 7 days.
2. Friedman reports that while Taylor Hall remains on the IR with a sprained knee, Hall can at least skate early next week, though his timeline has not changed;
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, dmitry+kulikov, edmonton+oilers, florida+panthers, luke+schenn, nathan+mackinnon, new+york+rangers, niklas+hjalmarsson, philadelphia+flyers, taylor+hall, tomas+kaberle, washington+capitals
I don't like going around in the evening to search for ugly hits, but this one made me say, "Oh, boy" right away. As the Hockey News's Jared Clinton notes, Alex Ovechkin went after Niklas Hjalmarsson during the Washington Capitals' 3-2 win over Chicago, and...It ain't pretty:
For the second straight game, Washington Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin threw what can best be described as a questionable hit.
On Tuesday night, during the Capitals game against the Calgary Flames, Ovechkin caught Curtis Glencross with a high hit. A scrum ensued, everything was sorted out, and what came of it was a roughing call to Glencross.
Friday night, in the Capitals first game since the hit on Glencross, Ovechkin caught Chicago Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjlamarsson with another hit in the upper chest and head region. This time, it was whistled by the referees as an illegal check to the head:
Clinton continues and argues for and against an Ovechkin suspension.
I still get email alerts for the "Winter Classic" some eight months after "The Winter Classic at the Big House," and when I looked for Wings news this evening (George here if you haven't figured it out by now), all sorts of "reports" lit up my inbox.
According to the Washington Post's Alex Prewitt and Mike Debonis, the most conspicuous absence involved in this year's Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks--the venue--should be revealed...By the end of the month?
An agreement has been reached for Nationals Park to host the 2015 Winter Classic on Jan. 1 between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks, multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation said Saturday.
The deal between the NHL and the Nationals finalizes the location that has been widely assumed since it was announced that the Capitals would host the annual event on New Years’ Day, though negotiations between the two sides had dragged into the fall. Last month, sources indicated that there were still hurdles to clear.
No timetable for an official announcement was given, though one source speculated it would happen “before the end of the month.” The Capitals begin preseason training camp on Sept. 19, have their first preseason game on Sept. 21 versus Buffalo and open the regular season on Oct. 9 versus Montreal.
Prewitt continues, pointing out that the NHL's in charge of securing the venue, and let's just say that given that Daniel Cleary couldn't wear #11 without reimbursing the NHL for already-printed Alfredsson jerseys at this time a year ago, I'm guessing that the merchandise already being produced by Reebok in China, Thailand and Vietnam doesn't include any "at the [venue x]" labeling.
The 2014 Winter Classic was marketed very strongly as a showdown at "The Big House" (a.k.a. Michigan Stadium), but the 2015 Winter Classic between the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks hasn't included, oh, say, a "Battle at RFK" angle.
According to the Washington Post's Alex Prewitt and Mike DeBonis, there's a good reason for the lack of location-specific marketing:
Since it was announced in December that the Washington Capitals would host the 2015 Winter Classic, it has been widely assumed the most natural venue for the game was Nationals Park.
NHL representatives visited Nationals Park, in addition to RFK Stadium and FedEx Field, a person with knowledge of the situation said at the time of the announcement, and had pegged the ballpark as the likely site for the annual New Year’s Day game.
But with one month left until the NHL preseason begins and with the Jan. 1 game between the Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks less than five months away, there has still been no official announcement where it will be held, and a source with knowledge of the negotiations said Friday there are hurdles left to clear.
Unless they manage to catch Patrick Kane on an off night (ha ha ha, kidding...sort of), HBO's 24/7 series isn't likely to garner a whole bunch of "unforgettable" footage of the Blackhawks, especially given the way the Wings and Leafs tried so very hard to avoid becoming the next Ilya Bryzgalovs last season, but Comcast Sportsnet Chicago reports that 24/7 may remain the price of admission to taking part in a Winter Classic:
The Blackhawks and Capitals will square off in the 2015 Winter Classic on Jan. 1, but the NHL has yet to announce its plans for the "24/7" series leading up to the game.
According to Sports Business Journal's John Ourand, the league is still in the process of finalizing its plans, but an official announcement is expected to come soon.
That link requires a SBJ subscription...
"We're having a series of meetings with the NHL discussing how we move forward on that project," HBO Sports President Ken Hershman told The Daily. "Hopefully, we'll have something to announce shortly."
Two 2014 draft picks have been inked to entry-level deals over the past 24 hours:
Update: Make it three:
One really begets the other here, so bear with me:
Via Chris Nichols, Minnesota Wild GM Chuck Fletcher spoke with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's Michael Russo about the free agent wining and dining period, which is clearly very good in terms of sensing the "fit" for players with various organizations, but isn't necessarily fascinating in terms of the way that it's driving players' "market values" into the stratosphere...
Cue Fletcher: “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several agents of pending UFAs and try to get a sense of who may have interest in coming to Minnesota and talk about different roles and whether what we have to offer them fits from a role and an ice time standpoint with what they’re looking at. There’s been some ones that may work out, there’s been some ones that clearly won’t work out. But that’s good. I wasn’t really involved in the shopping period last year, but it’s been great. It gives you the sense where instead it used to be July 1 it was such a battle to sign guys. You were competing with other teams to sign players. It wasn’t like you were spending time interviewing players to get their idea of an ideal role. We weren’t having these conversations you might assume we were having. A lot of times you had to make quick decisions and you were throwing money around. So the great thing about the shopping period is you can say, hey this is what we have. This is the type of role. This is the type of fit. Does that interest you?”
And the lack of consensus as to who-goes-where from picks 1 to 4 to the utter mess of players who could be drafted anywhere from 5th to 40th means that we could see a flurry of trades to move up and/or down (and a first round that takes four or five hours starting tonight at 7), as NHL.com's Dan Rosen notes...
From the NHL:
NHL ANNOUNCES 2013-14 ALL-STAR TEAMS
LAS VEGAS (June 24, 2014) -- Center Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins and defenseman Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins, who each earned his third career berth on the First All-Star Team, head the list of players voted to the 2013-14 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Crosby received First Team honors for the second consecutive season, while Chara earned a spot on the First Team for the first time since 2008-09.
Joining Crosby and Chara are two second-time selections to the First Team, right wing Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. The squad also features two first-time recipients, left wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and goaltender Tuukka Rask of the Bruins.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, alex+pietrangelo, anaheim+ducks, boston+bruins, boston+bruins., chicago+blackhawks, colorado+avalanche, corey+perry, dallas+stars, duncan+keith, jamie+benn, joe+pavelski, nashville+predators, pittsburgh+penguins, ryan+getzlaf, san+jose+sharks, semyon+varlamov, shea+weber, sidney+crosby, st.+louis+blues, washington+capitals, zdeno+chara
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek presented a Canada-centric look at the NHL's 2014-2015 season schedule on Sunday evening, and he revealed that the NHL will probably hold an outdoor game in California for the second consecutive season:
For the upcoming season, there is one Winter Classic – Jan. 1 in Washington, where the Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks – but it is believed that a Feb. 21 date between the Kings and the Sharks will also be played outdoors in the Bay Area, after the NHL successfully pulled off an outdoor game at Dodger Stadium last January. The NHL is firming up the details of its outdoor schedule, though it is believed the number of games will be sharply reduced from the six that were on the schedule a year ago, Last year, the NHL flooded the market with outdoor games primarily for two reasons – to generate additional revenues coming out of a lockout that saw the cancellation of 34 games per team; and to draw attention back to the league before and after the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Three of the six outdoor games came just before the NHL took its Olympic break and two others came immediately afterward.
With no Olympics to bother with this year, the NHL All-Star Game returns to the schedule after a one-year hiatus, with Columbus hosting the 2015 event during a four-day between Jan. 22-26.
Continued with more "key dates"...
I kind of "stole" the prime quotes from the Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson's main Hockey World column for my Malik Report overnight entry, but I smiled broadly and nearly laughed out loud form the Blog Cave while reading Holland tell Matheson the same dang thing--almost word for word--that Babcock's been repeating to journalists and radio talk show hosts who can't or won't believe that Babcock will remain with Detroit when he can coach anywhere he wants after his contract's up a summer from now:
“I don’t believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence … I believe he’s happy in Detroit, but there are options,” said Holland, whose contract is also up next July, but will certainly get a new one from owner Mike Ilitch.
Holland has got the Red Wings into the playoffs in each of his 17 seasons. There were three Stanley Cup championships in 1998, 2002 and 2008, plus a Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009.
Late-season rallies were required to keep a 23-year playoff streak alive while the Red Wings integrated lots of young players — Gustav Nyquist, Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurko, Danny DeKeyser — into the lineup each of the last two years.
“Two years ago, we won our last four games to get into the playoffs. This year, we got in again (despite a terrible run of injuries),” said Holland. “Mike’s a tremendous coach, if not the best coach in the league, then one of the best.”
Matheson's main column focuses on Babcock and Holland, but he also included this nugget of wisdom from Ottawa Senators assistant coach Perry Pern (regarding Barry Trotz's attempts to get Alex Ovechkin to "buy in" to playing defense, as Matheson addressed in a Sunday afternoon column):
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, barry+trotz, detroit+red+wings, george+mcphee, julien+brisebois, ken+holland, kris+letang, marian+hossa, mike+babcock, montreal+candiens, perry+pearn, philadelphia+flyers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, pk+subban, pk+subban, ray+shero, washington+capitals
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson kicked off his last regular-season slate of Hockey World columns with individual awards picks, and his pick for the Vezina Trophy is a surprising one:
Vezina Trophy (top goalie)
1. Semyon Varlamov, Colorado.
2. Tuukka Rask, Boston
3. Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay
Had off-ice issues this year which weighed on him but very consistent work. Rask is best Finnish goalie right now, and they’ve got a full stable of good ones around the NHL. Bishop, nursing sore wrist as playoffs loom, is a six-foot-seven giant and a workhorse.
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Tags: antti+niemi, calgary+flames, detroit+red+wings, edmonton+oilers, evander+kane, george+mcphee, henrik+zetterberg, jonathan+ericsson, ken+holland, ryan+smyth, san+jose+sharks, semyon+varlamov, vezina+trophy, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson penned a particularly prolific set of Hockey World columns and blog entries (so much so that I'm stealing one for my Malik Report blog), and we're going to start sifting through four separate columns/entries' worth of observations and nuggets of wisdom with a question that many have pondered but few have tried to analyze:
Is there any logical way in which the Washington Capitals and Alexander Ovechkin can engage in a civilized "divorce" (and/or removal of that heavy captain's "C"), or is the team, "Married to Alex Ovechkin for life?"--to the detriment of an increasingly rotating cast of coaches, goaltenders and complementary players?
Since the Gretzky trade/sell to the LA Kings in 1988, we all know anybody can get dealt, although that’s Leonsis’s call, and the question is how many people would give up their tickets to games if Ovie wasn’t there. There’s 100s of people in Caps’ No. 8 jerseys at games in Washington. But, winning often trumps player loyalty and in the time Ovechkin has been with the Caps, they have won three playoff rounds in, this, his 10th year.
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Tags: alex+ovechkin, anaheim+ducks, calgary+flames, chris+pronger, derek+roy, dustin+byfuglien, evander+kane, mike+green, ryan+miller, st.+louis+blues, teemu+selanne, vladimir+konstantinov, washington+capitals, winnipeg+jets
Yahoo Sports' Harrison Mooney reports that nobody got hurt in this collision between Alex Ovechkin and Washington Capitals teammate Jack Hillen, but it sure looked like what happens when semitrucks collide:
From the NHL's Department of Player Safety:
Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov will have a phone hearing Monday for his hit on Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn during the third period Sunday at Verizon Center.
Orlov, who scored two goals in the game, was assessed a major penalty for boarding at 9:33 of the third.
The following grounds for the proposed supplemental discipline are being considered: boarding. However, the Department of Player Safety retains the right to make adjustments to these infractions accordingly upon further review.
The Flyers won in overtime, 5-4.
Here's the play in question:
During the Philadelphia Flyers vs Washington Capitals game yesterday a female fan took a puck to the head.
Hockey players and clearly fans are tough. Glad to see she is alright even if she may be heading to an NHL fan edition of concussion-protocol.
Before we get started with this the morning after skate this morning take a moment to reflect upon those that have served your country – no matter where you call home. Without those whom came before we would not be here today.
Now - Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed It
New York Islanders at Montreal Canadiens
Power Play goal all around in the Bell Center last night.
The opening goal of the game came just shy of the two minute mark in the second period as Montreal’s Brendan Gallagher would give the home team the early lead.
It would be a holding call to Canadiens Francis Bouillon for holding that would give the Islanders their second power play of the period, this one leading to a slap shot goal from Pierre-Marc Bouchard to tie the game.
Via Puck Daddy's Harrison Mooney, Florida Panthers scrapper Krys Barch lost a tooth during the course of the Panthers' 3-2 shootout loss to Washington, and when he was being "chirped at" by a few unruly Capitals fans, Barch chose to mockingly offer a pulled-out tooth to the gents jabbering at him:
I never fought when I played goal, and I'd delicately describe the practice as "dumb" in the modern-day NHL, so you'd be correct to suggest that I thought Ray Emery's scrap with Braden Holtby was idiotic, and that the combination of injuries sustained during the Caps-Flyers brawl and the lack of supplemental discipline for Emery because there are apparently "no rules" prohibiting one goalie from skating to the other end of the ice and choosing to lay a beating upon another goalie all yielded a lack of team discipline and a lack of responsiblity-taking on the part of the NHL.
The New York Post's Larry Brooks' Sunday column includes a pondering about the Vanek-Moulson trade, a note about the Oilers' goaltending, suspension talk and much more, but his main thrust involves the Flyers-Capitals brawl and Emery's conduct, with Brooks suggesting that the Flyers' lack of discipline can be traced down from its ownership to the GM coach and players:
Welcome to the morning after! A recap of the games from the night before and quick hit hockey news.
In Case You Missed
It Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Puck dropped in Boston to start the season for the two Atlantic teams’ first game of the 2013-14 season. Neither team wasted much time getting on the box score; however, to start it was on the penalty side. A hooking call to Bruins Reilly Smith would lead to a shorthanded goal by teammate Chris Kelly.
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Tags: boston+bruins, calgary+flames, ilya+bryzgalov+to+the+echl, los+angeles+kings, minnesota+wild, new+jersey+devils, new+york+rangers, phoenix+coyotes, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks, tampa+bay+lightning, tim+thomas+returns, vancouver+canucks, vlasic+skate+to+face, washington+capitals
I heard about this one on Twitter before I saw it, and even before I was able to see the video, I'd figured that this wouldn't yield a suspension. Philadelphia Flyers forward Zach Rinaldo gave Washington Capitals forward Mikhail Grabovski quite the elbow, receiving a major penalty and game misconduct for his efforts...
But Grabovski got back up and played on the Capitals' power play, and as we've seen regarding the Department of Situational Discipline, the NHL tends to penalize based upon injury as opposed to intent.
Now that it is official that the Washington Capitals will host the 2015 Winter Classic more questions have risen:
Where is the game going to take place?
Who will the Capitals play?
What are the events for their Fan Festival?
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Tags: boston+bruins, chicago+blackhaawks, chicago+blackhawks, detroit+red+wings, flyers, minnesota+wild, montreal+canadiens, nationals+park, nhl, washington+capitals, winter+classic, winter+classic+2015
Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, will be Gary Bettman’s guest on the NHL Hour today.
The NHL Hour broadcasts live Thursdays from 4-5 pm ET on NHL Home Ice, (XM channel 204) and NHL.com. The show will re-run on XM Satellite Radio and NHL.com, with archived shows available for download via a podcast on NHL.com.
From Neil Stevens at the CP via Yahoo!,
Living in the Detroit region doesn’t mean he buys into the Red Wings’ marketing slogans.
“My whole life I’ve tried to explain to people in America ... being in Detroit, it’s Hockeytown, so they say,” he said. “I call it Red Wings Town. Canada is Hockeytown, there’s no doubt about it. The fabric of the sport is Canadian for sure.”
Media attention paid to the Leafs “seems a lot more magnified now” than in his day. That could be explained by the proliferation of all-sports TV and radio stations since his playing days. He has only one regret.
“There’s nothing like it,” he said of playing in the NHL. “I had great personal accolades and individual accomplishments. I won championships at every level. The only thing I didn’t win was a Stanley Cup. There isn’t a day that goes by ... that’s the one thing I always think about.”
more… of an enjoyable interview with Al Iafrate
From Howard Fendrich at the Sun Herald,
Heading into today’s game at Carolina, the Capitals are 2-1-1 under Boudreau, giving them the same number of points from those four games as they earned in the previous 13.
“That’s what Bruce is trying to preach: Expect to win every night,” goalie Olie Kolzig said.
Boudreau will have to wait until next week, when the Capitals have five days off in a row, to fully implement his system. It calls for aggressive, attacking play, including asking defensemen to press forward, and it was responsible for an AHL championship in 2005-06, his first season with Hershey.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Maybe someone can provide one good reason for Alex Ovechkin to sign a new contract with the before becoming a restricted free agent on July 1, because we sure can’t think of any.
Ovechkin, stuck in a hockey market in DC that’s as irrelevant now as it was before the lockout and therefore denied a suitable stage to showcase his brilliance, isn’t going to make more money by signing with the Caps than he would by inviting offer sheets this summer.
continued plus more NHL talk including this,
Dialogue has resumed between Scotty Bowman and the board of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment aimed at working out a deal so the nine-time Cup-winning coach and one-time player personnel director would become the Toronto club’s president and director of hockey operations, Slap Shots has been told.
via the Patriot-News,
“Quite honestly,” said Boudreau, elevated Thursday from his position as Hershey’s head coach in the wake of Glen Hanlon’s firing, “I caught myself saying, ‘Ovechkin is up. Ovechkin? Holy smokes.’ That’s what caught me most of all. I was here in front of 20,000 people. It was a good situation.”
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Afterwards, Hanlon conceded that he’d never undergone anything quite like the current meltdown at any other stage in his career, as a player or a coach, and sounded as if he were out of answers. So Boudreau gets the first chance to pick up the pieces and in a month or so, McPhee will start to get his answers: If this were really a coaching issue, or if the team that he’s rebuilding isn’t quite ready to turn the corner just yet.
from the Washington Capitals,
The Washington Capitals have relieved Glen Hanlon of his coaching duties and named Bruce Boudreau the team’s interim head coach, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.
from the Washington Post,
Hanlon became the target of a group of disgruntled fans, who late in the second period began booing and chanting, “Fire Hanlon.” Hanlon has been behind the bench since December 2003 and presided over some lean times for the franchise.
But this season was supposed to be different after an offseason spending spree added three veterans to a core that already included Kolzig, Alex Ovechkin and Semin, raising expectations.
But nearly a quarter of the way in, the Capitals find themselves with 13 points in 20 games, dead last in the league standings.
more (reg. req.)
The Caps still have some time to turn things around, but they better get it into gear quickly, or it could turn very ugly.
The Anaheim Ducks announced Monday that the team acquired centre Brian Sutherby from the Washington Capitals for a second round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
From Scott Morrison at Sun Media,
Where exactly the Washington Capitals are in their negotiations with star Alexander Ovechkin, general manager George McPhee is not saying. He wants to keep contract talks as private as possible to avoid the daily questions and potential distractions. The Caps have enough on their plates on the ice, without any off-ice issues.
Bottom line is McPhee simply has to find a way to sign his star, who potentially could become an unrestricted free agent in the summer, but the Caps are not likely to let that happen
from Scott Burnside at ESPN,
What is certain, though, for every feel-good story that grabs headlines, even if only for a short while, there is another team that believed it, too, and had the Cinderella goods, only to find it still wore the garments of the scullery maid.
For teams like the Washington Capitals, that feeling of disappointment, even disbelief, is hard to fend off.
The Caps were one of those teams that began the season with that kind of iron-clad belief they were ready, even if the rest of the league didn’t believe it.
Owner Ted Leonsis told fans emphatically, “The rebuild is over!”
from the Christian Science Monitor,
Many sports fans have long believed that anyone could be a sportswriter – that anyone could sit up on press row, forgo cheering, and type up a few deep thoughts and pithy observations about the games professional athletes play.
These days in Washington, D.C., that widespread belief is being put to a test. To many sportswriters, it’s a scandal. To the owner of the Washington Capitals, it’s the future….
“Because of the way blogs are produced they can provide instant information and reactions that papers won’t publish until the following day,” Henschel says. “People want their information fast and, until recently, the bloggers were the only ones providing that service. I think it’s extremely telling that the Caps’ beat writers for the two major papers in D.C. have recently created their own blogs that can be updated as needed.”
from the Washington Post,
“There’s no question: There’s desperation now, even though it’s not even 20 games yet,” Kolzig said after yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “Any time you go on a winless streak that we’ve been on, you’ve got to turn the tables and do the exact opposite to get back into it. For the good teams, the losing streaks never outlast the winning streaks.
“The bottom line is we have to put a streak together.”
Of the 16 teams that qualified for the playoffs last season, only Ottawa had as few as 13 points after as many games. But the talented and deep Senators won nine of their next 11 games and earned a spot in the Stanley Cup finals.
more (reg. req.)
from Tarik El-Bashir at Capitals Insider on AO contract talks…
Nothing has changed, he said, since the last time I asked him about this on Oct. 29 in Toronto, adding that serious talks still have not started and that he’s not sure when they might.
I asked him if that lack of an offer is bothering him. At first he said, “No.” Then he paused for a moment before saying, “Of course I think about my contract. It would be stupid to answer that I don’t think about my contract. Of course I think about it. But we don’t start talking. We just wait. We still have time.”
This earlier today from Marty York at Metro News,
Two young NHL stars, defenceman Dion Phaneuf and forward Alexander Ovechkin, have rejected contract-extension proposals from the Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals, respectively.
The Caps offered Ovechkin a five-year pact similar to the deal the Pittsburgh Penguins gave Sidney Crosby ($8.7 million a season), but the sniper is demanding more — between $9- and $10-million a year.
from the Washington Post,
After dropping five of the past six games and dropping into last place, there are lots of frustrated players in the Washington Capitals’ locker room. No one, though, is more unhappy than defenseman Steve Eminger, who isn’t playing and isn’t sure why.
“It’s past frustrating,” he said following yesterday’s practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “It’s just a matter of them putting me in the lineup, and putting me in there for more than one game, or moving me to somewhere I’m going to play. Because clearly I’m not in their plans.”
from Stan Fischler at MSG Network,
The ever-rumor-seeking Toronto reporters pressed Alex about the possibility of his leaving Washington next summer. Ovechkin is in the final year of a three-year pact. As yet, the Caps have not made an offer but he loves the D.C. area.
“We have lots of time,” Alex says. “It will happen, I want to be here. I don’t like a change of pace. I like the team and the organization and the fans.”
from in the room at the Washington Times,
The moral of this story is, while the Caps might be deeper than last year, they just aren’t deep enough to overcome injuries to three impact players at the same time. The additions of Backstrom and Steckel and the improvement of Green (and Ovechkin on defense) has gone a long way to turn 7-1 and 5-2 losses from the end of last season into 4-3 and 2-1 defeats. But the Caps have to get healthy if they’re going to win consistently enough to get back in the playoff picture.
from Capitals Insider,
Before last night’s loss, I spoke to GM George McPhee about a lot of things, including whether he’s considered making a trade to improve his struggling and injury-plagued team, or just to shake things up.
Here’s what he had to say on the subject:
“You would like to help your team, but has there been a trade in this league since opening night? We call other GMs every week to see what’s going on. And there’s not a lot going on in this league. I don’t know if it’s turned into the NFL, but it’s really hard to make a trade right now.”
From Mark Zwolinski at the Toronto Star,
Alex Ovechkin has become many things in Washington: a celebrity, a millionaire and a hero. Now he’s a mentor and role model.
The 22-year-old has opened up his home to newcomer Nicklas Backstrom, and is helping the Swedish rookie adapt to hockey and life in the U.S. capital.
“I remember being a rookie and Dainius Zubrus, he helped me, so I wanted to give back the way Dainius did for me,” said Ovechkin, whose two goals lifted the Capitals to a 7-1 win over the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
“OV (Ovechkin) has been very good for Nicklas, he takes him all over and kind of shows him around,” Capitals coach Glen Hanlon said. “Dainius was great with him, and now it hasn’t taken him long to reciprocate.”
from the Washington Times,
No team in professional sports offers as much unfettered access to bloggers as the Caps, though several teams have rolled out special accommodations. The New York Islanders, for instance, created a special “blog box” separate from traditional media members, and other teams have provided credentials on a game-by-game basis. The growing number of bloggers has captured the attention of NHL officials, who are exploring whether a league-wide policy toward bloggers is needed.
“The NHL is looking closely at it,” said Caps chief communications officer Kurt Kehl, who served on a special committee to address the issue at a recent league meeting. “There is some fear of the unknown.”
On Frozen Blog pointed the story out to me and you can read more there…
added 12:41pm, Ted Leonsis chimes in too at Ted’s Take...
Tarik El-Bashir at the Washington Post,
Something’s got to give. Seriously. Here are some basic (but key) stats you need to know:
*Despite the addition of three power play specialists, the unit ranks 27th (4 for 35). That’s a measly 11.4 percent effectiveness rate. Forget about Motzko for a moment, 11.4 percent still isn’t acceptable with players named Ovechkin, Nylander, Kozlov and Poti out there. (The return of Alexander Semin this week should help a ton. But can one player single-handedly turn around the Caps’ pp woes? They had better hope so.)
from the Washington Times,
Did you run into Crosby at any point this summer?
“Yeah, I call him every day,” he said before rolling his eyes. “He’s Crosby, I’m Ovechkin. I am here. He’s over there. Why I have to call him in the summer and say, ‘Hey, what’s up buddy? What are you doing?’ “
Ovechkin’s smugness about the subject underscored the general theme from members of the Washington Capitals organization at practice yesterday
from Empty Netters,
We’re going to jump the gun a bit here and briefly preview the Penguins-Capitals game in Washington Saturday.
Many EN readers have told us of the Capitals’ attempts to minimize the healthy contingent of Penguins fans that usually show up at Verizion Center anytime the Penguins are in town. We went to both Penguins games in Washington last season and there were at least 5,000 Penguins fans in the house each game.
The Capitals are attempting to stage a “white-out” night and are encouraging their fans to wear white to the game. They are also handing out white towels to the first 15,000 that show up.
read on for more and numerous NHL bits…
(sorry, my fault) NHL.com,
In this week’s Head-To-Head, NHL.com’s Evan Grossman and Adam Kimelman debate which superstar is the best all-around player, Washington’s Alex Ovechkin or Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby.
It’s Ovechkin, no contest!
By Evan Grossman | NHL.com Staff Writer
Sidney Crosby and Wayne Gretzky are compared to each other at each and every opportunity. But here’s one you probably haven’t heard before: They are both not the best players of their respective generations.
No disrespect to either guy, but there’s something you people need to wrap your minds around. Gretzky, despite his total rewriting of the record book, was not as good as Mario Lemieux was—just like Crosby, despite his trophy-case first two years in the NHL, is not as good as Alexander Ovechkin….
Sid the Kid is The Man!
By Adam Kimelman | NHL.com Staff Writer
What’s the old saying? Don’t believe the hype?
Take a look at Sidney Crosby. It’s not hype; it’s gospel truth. “Sid the Kid” can’t buy a beer yet, but he’s got a chance to sip something out of that big silver mug the NHL gives away each June….
from D.C. Sports Bog,
At which point Brashear gave out his e-mail address over the radio. I’ll withhold that address for now, although it’s obviously not that hard to find. And what happened next? Aside from a Junkie saying “silly”?
“Five minutes later I’m getting [bleepin’] emails coming in, coming out,” Brashear said. “I’m thinking, ‘A lot of people want to talk to the players, so why not just start a blog and see where it goes?’ “
thanks to On Frozen Blog for the pointer.
from the Washington Capitals,
Watching Nylander darting about in the attack zone, curling off in sharp tight circles to elude defenders and protect the puck, you wonder how hard it would be to play on a line with him. Backstrom is picking up the art of playing with the slick Swedish center.
“I try to be close with him on the ice, so he can pass to me and I can pass back,” says Backstrom. “After a couple [practices] and games, I think I can read what he is going to do. We can know each other, that’s not a big problem. I think that is going to be good.”
As a rookie playing a strange position (left wing) in a strange country and on a smaller ice surface than he is used to, Backstrom is growing accustomed to his new environment both on and off the ice.
from USA TODAY,
What kind of transition do you expect to the NHL?
Backstrom: I have to get used to the smaller rink. I feel better and better, but in the beginning it was tougher than I thought. But I’m playing with good players, so that will make it easier for me. I just have to work on my skating and getting a little quicker, but it’ll be good.