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  • Caps Recap 10/5/09

    It’s Monday, it’s a new Hockey season, that means it’s time to break out the Caps Recap!

    The Caps had two games last week facing the Northeast Division Champion Boston Bruins in their season opener followed up by the familiar face of Ron Wilson and his Toronto Maple Leafs in their home opener. The Caps came out of the gate swinging scoring 10 goals in their first two games. Alex Ovechkin having three goals in his first two games is hardly a surprise, but for him to be tied with Brooks Laich certainly may raise some eyebrows.

    The race for the cup starts here, so lets get to some recapping! Read the rest of this entry »

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    Caps Continue To Impress

    Turning point…

    Alex Ovechkin scored just over a minute into the game. While the Toronto Maple Leafs may have had 59 minutes to get back into the game – they never did. The Capitals were able to capitalize on the home crowd energy right from the start, and their three unanswered first period goals were the difference in the 6-4 win. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Maple Leafs @ Washington Capitals 10/03/09

    1st period Overview:

    The Capitals opened up the season against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night where they left off the 2008-2009 season with a 4-1 victory. Their fire didn’t stop during their home opener tonight against the Maple Leafs as reigning back-to-back NHL MVP Alexander Ovechkin ignited the raucous Verizon Center crowd with his third goal of the season just 1:17 into the contest. Chants of MVP quickly ensued from the home fans. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Steckel Is The Key For Cardiac Caps

    With all of the incredible talent on both teams in this Caps/Pens series, perhaps the most important this far is the Washington Capitals David Steckel. Coming into this series, you’d have thought that Ovechkin and Crosby were playing one-on-one. Then of course, there were those two Russian guys, Semin and Malkin. That being said, the measuring stick for the Caps has been in the hand of #39.

    Steckel’s main contribution is in the face-off circle. He has been spectacular on face-offs, winning 63.5% in this series. That’s 54 wins in 85 chances. Not too shabby.

    David Steckel is also a key cog in Washington’s penalty killing unit. His size and long arms make him a real asset when down a man. He uses his reach to cover a lot of ice, poke checking, blocking passing lanes and shots, which is why his 4:02 of shorthanded ice time is third in the league for the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs.

    Those are both great contributions to the team, but in this series, its been his offense that has been the difference. Steckel has scrored three times and the Capitals are 3-0 in those games.

    The 6’5″, 225-lb Winsconsonite started off the scoring for the Caps in this series, 13:10 into Game 1. The Capitals went on to beat the Pens 3-2.

    In game 2, it really did seem like it was Ovie vs. Sid, with both players recording a hat trick. The Caps won 4-3. The difference: David Steckel, playing tough in front of the net gobbled up a Tyler Sloan shot that bounced off of Kris Letang right onto his stick, and slammed it through Marc-Andre Fleury’s five hole.

    Then of course, came the game winner in game 6 to eevn the series and force a deciding game 7 on home ice for the Capitals. Steckel could have won game 5 in overtime, but fanned on the shot missing an open net. Then he took a penalty that led to the Penguins third goal in game 6. Being the big-game player he is, he begged his teammates to give him a shot and they did. He repayed them ten-fold.

    The Caps had the face-off to the left of Marc-Andre Fleury in the offensive zone, and who better to work it than David Steckel, who was 10 of 14 in game 6 to that point. Stecks won the face-off to Brooks Laich and drove to the net. Laich, from his knees, passed the puck to Matt Bradley against the boards who passed it back to Laich for the one-timer. Steckel put his stick out and deflected the Laich’s shot in midair, past a butterflied Fleury for the game winner.

    So yes, Simeon Varlamov will need to stand on his head again. Semin and Kozlov will need to play the same inspired hockey they played at Mellon Arena on Monday night. And, of course, Ovie will need to be Ovie, but the difference will be David Steckel.

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    Caps Recap 12/29/08

    Season’s Greetings and Happy Holidays are two ways to send along good wishes and cover just about everybody’s religious beliefs. For the Christians it’s “Merry Christmas,” for the Jews it’s “Happy Hanukkah,” and for Hockey Fans it’s “Ovechkin Scores!”


    The Caps won all three of their games this Christmas week, some in more dramatic fashion than others. The Caps climbed back to a 10-point lead in the Southeast and climbed to second place in the Eastern Conference.


    Alex Semin is still out due to injury, and now so is Brent Johnson, but the Caps did get see the return of Chris Clark, Mike Green, and Jeff Schultz.


    This week started off in Madison Square Garden where the Caps squared off against the New York Rangers in a game that Smokin’ Al Koken dubbed the “Miracle on 34th Street.”


    12/23/08 @ New York Rangers vs. The Four Goal Deficit - Shaone Morrison may have been celebrating his 26th birthday, but it quickly looked like that was going to be all the celebrating the Caps were going to get to do on this Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.


    Jose Theodore gave up three goals before the game was even 12 minutes old, Brent Johnson came in for the last half of the first period but was not healthy enough to finish the game. Theodore returned in the second and gave up a fourth goal and the Rangers looked to be on their way to a rout of the Washington Capitals.


    I’ll admit; I was tempted to change the channel. I’m sure many Caps fans did. Then it happened; it was just a small spark touched off by Alex Ovechkin who had had just about enough of all this scoring by the Rangers. Alex tallied just over the halfway mark of the game (12:38 in the second) and like fire through a dry Christmas tree the Caps burned through the Rangers for three goals in the third, tying the game at four-apiece.


    I am the Alex and the Omega – Alex Ovechkin rallied his troops by getting the Caps first goal of the night. He also scored the game tying goal which propelled the teams into overtime.


    Go Shaone, it’s your birthday… – You couldn’t script a better ending to this game than to have the birthday boy score the game-winning goal in overtime to give the Caps their first win at MSG since 2004. Shaone Morrison, who wears 26 for the Caps was celebrating his 26th birthday and had not scored a goal since February 26th.


    12/26/08 vs. BuffaloVerizon Center was packed on this Friday after Christmas to watch the Washington Capitals welcome the Buffalo Sabres. The Caps faithful did not leave disappointed.


    The Caps would go on to win by a score of 3-2, and it’s no surprise that Alex Ovechkin was again the difference-maker.


    Another one for the highlight reel – Have you ever seen those “stupid videos” where someone catches a shark? They have the shark laying on the deck and it looks dead…until they reach their hand into it’s mouth. That’s what this goal reminded me of.


    Ovechkin takes the puck from his own zone, skates past Toni Lydman in neutral ice, passes the puck between the legs of Henrik Tallinder, and fires off the wrist shot as he loses his balance and slides into the net-minder.


    If you haven’t seen the goal, you can check it out here.(,2,509&event=WSH443 ) It’s the kind of goal legends are made of.


    Go cry on someone else’s shoulder, wouldya? – Anyone that watches the Caps knows that they rarely get away with much as far as penalties are concerned. Their opponents however seem to have the luxury of not getting called for anything. I will cite the Alex Semin injury as a prime example. Semin is cross-checked, the ref is standing right there, but doesn’t make a call. When questioned about the “no-call” he claims Semin was simply “taking a dive.” When he’s challenged on that, he doles out a bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct versus the Caps.


    So, when Derek Roy (center for the Buffalo Sabres) says things like “There were a lot of calls that could have gone our way, but they didn’t, and I don’t know why. Ovechkin gets a little hook on him and it’s a penalty. I don’t know if it’s just our team, but sometimes the elite players seem to get more leeway than the other players.” I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him.


    I guess Mr. Roy forgot that he was guilty of a hand pass right before Thomas Vanek’s power play goal (13:47 in the 3rd), an infraction that would have nullified the tally if detected and properly called.


    12/28/08 vs. TorontoOn the night when the Caps honored Mike Gartner by retiring his number, the Caps players all came out for warm-ups in white #11 jerseys. During the actual game, the Caps wore their white “away” jerseys even though they were skating on home ice.


    Even though the Caps were out shooting the Leafs, and were clearly playing better hockey, the score at the end of the first period was 1-0 in favor of the Leafs.  The Caps knew that if they just kept the pressure up it would pay off, and it did. Brooks Laich and Alex Ovechkin both scored two goals apiece to give the Caps a 4-1 victory over their former coach Ron Wilson and his Maple Leafs.


    I Laich it a lot – Brooks Laich was a 20 goal scorer last season. He has already reached 10 goals this year (24 games ahead of his pace from last season). He earned his third “Hard Hat” honor from his teammates last night for his workman-like performance versus the Leafs.


    More Good News – The Caps got healthier still as they saw the return of Mike Green and Jeff Schultz for this game. With the Caps doing so well, it’s hard to remember how banged up they are. They still have seven players on their injury list including Semin, Federov, Poti, Erskine, Pothier, Fleischmann and Johnson!


    Beware the Phonebooth – The Caps are an amazing 15-1-1 at home. They have the best home-ice record in the Eastern Conference, and the second best home-ice record in the league (only behind the San Jose Sharks who are 18-0-2).


    The Wrap-upIt was a heckuva week for Alex Ovechkin as he scored five goals in three games. It was also a good week for Jose Theodore. After giving up a combined seven goals between the third period versus the Flyers, and the first period versus the Rangers, Theo only allowed 4 goals in the subsequent eight periods. To give you an idea, in those aforementioned two periods (Philly and N.Y.), Theo had a save percentage of 0.700. In the eight periods since, he has a save percentage of 0.941.


    Coming UpThe Caps wrap up 2008 with a rematch versus the Sabres, and start the New Year at home versus the Lightning and the Rangers. For those of you with the careful eye, the Caps are in fact facing two of the three opponents they faced last week. Obviously, Buffalo is going to feel like they have something to prove, since they feel like they got the short end of the penalty stick last week, but New York is coming to Verizon knowing that they cannot take the Caps for granted…even with a four-goal lead.


    Washington must be driving the Vegas bookies crazy as you can never predict what they are going to do. If I had to pick, I’d say the Caps win against Buffalo on the road, and the Rangers at home, but drop the game against Tampa for no other reason than that’s the game they were supposed to win.


    It’s the one thing you can say about the Caps…they are never boring.

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    Blackhawks Downed in DC

    The Capitals, after losing to Atlanta 7-4 just the night before, bounced back against Chicago tonight with a come-from-behind 4-2 victory.

    The Caps faithful certainly “rocked the red” proudly tonight, as the streets of Chinatown were abuzz with hope, and flowing with red jerseys and t-shirts. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Capitals talk Olie and Ovie

    So, last Thursday (9/18/09) was my first assignment with the Washington Capitals this year, and my first ever beat assignment for, well, anybody.

    First off, I was going to have to find the Kettler Iceplex; then I needed to find the Caps’ office to receive my press credential. This was a little easier than I had figured, so I wound up at the Caps’ office at 12:15 for a 3 o’clock game. Everyone was out to lunch, so I was going to have to wait and come back for my credential. This gave me ample time to talk to some of the fans who showed up and were waiting around to pick up their tickets for the game. Read the rest of this entry »

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    Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich Interview 9/19/08

    We caught up with the Washington Capitals’ Brooks Laich this week at training camp, for a quick Q and A. Read the rest of this entry »

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