Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Red Wings

Today's preview can be found here here. I will try to post pre and post game notes on "Simply Sensational!" while sticking to analysis and more formal stories on TheHockeyWriters, but for a game of this caliber, I elaborated a little more. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chris Cooley on the Kiss Cam

Here is a clip I found on Cooley's blog which he posted two weeks ago (which is a decade in internet years by the way). Enjoy:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Post-Game: Capitals @ Bruins

The Caps probably could have left Beantown with a 2-point night, but in my opinion, there's nothing wrong with an OTL against the best team in the Conference.

  • Mike "FUCK YEAH" Green can thank Brooks Laich for the traffic in front on Green's goal, which should have been on the powerplay if you watch it again.
  • Jeff Schultz sure had a good view of Shawn Thorton's goal. Thorton skated right by Schultz...on the backhand, while Jeff offered a weak poke check attempt.
  • Marc Savard celebration= Briere fist pump + Ovechkin leap.
  • Michael Nylander was off the hook for about 10 minutes before he took a dumb penalty that led to Savard's goal.
  • Green and Alex Ovechkin combined for 17 shots, and Donald Brashear was the only forward not to register a shot on goal.
  • Tomas Fleischmann has six points in eight games this month and had another great game last night.
  • I trust Jose you?
Next up, the Detroit Red Wings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Bruins

Following last year's All-Star break, the Capitals went on the road to face a tough Northeast division test in the Montreal Canadians. The Caps failed that test, falling flat on their face in the opening frame (three goals allowed in the first period), allowing Cristobal Huet to his final shutout as a member of the Canadians.

This year, Washington has to play in Boston for their first game back from break. Zdeno Chara is fresh of repeating his crown in the hardest shot, and Marc Savard may have become my new favorite player doing his best job trying to save VERSUS horrendous commentators.

Since the turn of the century, the Caps have only won in regulation once playing Boston on the road. It also doesn't help that the B's are 17-3-2 at home, and are second best in the league with a 32.2% efficiency.

Tim Thomas looked ridic in the All-Star game, and Timmy has only lost twice on home ice. He's kinda had the Caps number, going 8-2-1 against Washington lifetime, but has allowed nine goals in his last four and a half periods (against the Caps).

For a first place team, the Caps sure don't act like it on the road. There are teams in fourth place in their respective division that have a better away record than the Capitals 11-12-2 mark. Washington is 5-6-1 against playoff teams (if the season ended today) on the road. Now would be a good time to hit .500 before the mighty Wings come to town for an afternoon tilt on Super Bowl Saturday.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ovechkin Wins the Breakaway Challenge

I'd say he took a page out of Clinton Portis' playbook when it comes to outfits. Either way, AO defends his crown, winning by more than 20% of the votes.

Hopefully this Doesn't Happen During the Breakaway Challenge

Ovechkin winds up for the spin around baseball shot...and..........

His stick breaks....Womp womp.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Salary Cap Casualties: Karl Alzner

If you haven't stopped by TheHockeyWriters yet, what are you waiting for?! The website is growing rapidly and will eventually have a writer for every team. Here is the latest article I've put out for THW concerning Karl Alzner.

Crosby to Miss the All-Star Game

Dang, all those auto-votes for nothing... Bummer

Well not quite Sidney.

Capitals NCAA Prospect Update

Hockey's Future has just put out an update on the five Capitals prospects playing in college. They are Andrew Glass, Phil DeSimone, Nick Larson, Joe Finley, and Dan Dunn. All are 2007 draft picks of the Capitals except Finley, who was drafted in 2005.

Here is Finley's evaluation:
One of the Capitals most promising prospects, Finley is a fantastic combination of size and power with a great hockey sense.

Despite missing much of the 2008-09 season with a concussion he suffered in the Fighting Sioux’s second game of the year, Finley is right back on track in his development. To date, he has one goal and three assists in 10 games and has been a defensive rock for North Dakota.

Finley over the past four years has shown a steady improvement in almost every facet of his game. At 6’7 and 240 pounds, he is an imposing figure on the ice, but what makes him so impressive is how well he uses his body. Finley is very physical and leaves nothing to be desired along the boards or in the defensive zone.

Finley has a very heavy shot from the point and can keep the puck in the zone very well. He has the ability to make plays and be a game manager on the power play, and is in no way a liability in pressure-scoring situations.

Finley looks to finally be ready to take his game to the next level this coming fall, probably starting with the AHL’s Hershey Bears. If UND finishes the season early, he could even turn pro this spring.

You can read the whole article here.

What a baller...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Senators

Not much to say about the Capitals victory against the Islanders, two points its two points. I do have a few things to say to the New York Islanders announcers:

  • It's Jeff...Jeff Shultz. Nick plays for Minnesota.
  • I feel somewhat insulted when we are referred to as the "Washington Ovechkin's." It's probably just a man-crush gone too far.
  • Speaking of that... one announcer said Ovechkin is "...the best player today in any team sport." Of course that's not biased whatsoever. He's probably never heard of LeBron James, Christiano Ronaldo, or Peyton Manning.
As Tarik pointed out yesterday, Washington will be in Canada's capital to play on Inauguration Day in addition to playing in Ottawa on Election day also.

Unlike the Islanders, Ottawa has actually won in 2009, with their two wins coming against the Southeast Division. The Caps played seven straight playoff contending teams and now are facing the (tied for) second worst team in the Eastern Conference a day after beating the worst time in the Conference.

While no one is looking past this game (like they were against the NYI), Washington gets a seven day break before playing Boston, Detroit, and Ottawa again.

Alex Ovechkin, who netted two goals in yesterday's victory, has six goals in his past four games including a four goal performance against the Sens last season.

Brian Elliot (who?) should start in net while Martin Gerber continues to be the stupidest pick in my fantasy draft be on his AHL conditioning stint.

It'd be nice getting within six points of Boston going into the break, but with Theo's record against the Sens, the Caps better be ready to play.

NHL Image of the Night- January 19th

Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green celebrate Ovechkin's goal in overtime, much to the dismay of Richard Park. Ovechkin had two and Washington beat the New York Islanders 2-1. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Ovechkin on Twitter?

According to Michael DiLorenzo, NHL Director of Corporate Communications, Alex Ovechkin has a Twitter account.

I'm assuming its for real seeing how Michael works for the NHL, and if you have an account, you can follow Alex here.

Pre-Game: Capitals @ Islanders

Whatever the New York Islanders' resolutions were for the new's not working. The Islanders haven't even won a game in 2009, going 0-7. It's not as bad when all seven teams are playoff teams (as of today), but the Isles have managed just three goals in their past three games (all home games).

The good news keeps coming for Islanders fans who lost another goalie, this time to waivers. With DiPietro out for the year, and MacDonald out for a month, Yann Danis is now the starter. Danis is 0-5 this year and hasn't won a game since 2006. In his only meeting against the Caps (as a Canadien), Washington dominated Danis, putting up a four goals in the first 25 minutes, forcing the Habs to sub in Jose Theodore. But that was the dark age...when the likes of and Brian Sutherby and Brian Willsie would get more ice time than Alex Ovechkin.

Speaking of Theo, he's the expected starter today and has fared pretty well against the Isles. JT60 has a 1.89 GAA in 22 games against New York, including five shutouts, the most against any team. He's won eight of the past ten and even three of the past four against the Islanders.

Boyd Gordon is back, but still no Tom Poti or Shaone Morrisonn. Washington is 9-1-3 against Atlantic Division teams...let's make it 10-1-3.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Why Situational Goalies in Washington Can Work

Check out my post over at TheHockeyWriters, looking at a strategy of starting Jose Theodore on the road and Brent Johnson at home.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Holtby Stops 26 in Shutout

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. - Braden Holtby made 26 saves to record his fourth shutout of the season as the Saskatoon Blades blanked the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-0 on Friday night in the Western Hockey League.

Derek Hulak and Milan Kytnar each had three points (a goal and two assists) for the Blades (30-11-3-1). Burke Gallimore added a goal and an assist, while Teigan Zahn and Travis Toomey also scored.

Holtby (4th round, 93rd overall) hasn't lost in regulation in the new year (3-0-1-1) and is now second in the WHL in shutouts. His 24 wins are good for third in the league for the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades are second in the WHL with a 30-11-3-1 record.

Braden's improvement in the past few years speaks for itself:

New Gig!

Hey guys, I'm happy to say that in addition to writing for this site, I now will be covering the Capitals on TheHockeyWriters. The site is pretty new, but it's got a lot of potential and I'm really excited about this new opportunity. "Simply Sensational!" should stay about the same, with pre/post game analysis, Caps news and notes...On TheHockeyWriters, it's more of articles that I will post regarding the Caps that go into detail, etc...

There will be NO duplicate content, and I promise that writing for TheHockeyWriters will not force me to cut back on the posts here. I expect to post on that site three or four times a week, and will link those posts on this site.

Please stop by TheHockeyWriters to check it out sometime, and you can find the posts that I've already written here.

Thanks for reading!

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Bruins

The Caps lead with a familiar storyline against a Northeast powerhouse. Last year, it was the Ottawa Senators, whom the Capitals beat all four times, outscoring the Sens 22-12. This year, they have already beat the Eastern Conference leading Bruins 3-1 on home ice. Washington has uncharacteristically lost two of the past three at home, and have managed only three goals over that span.

Boston knows a thing or two about winning on the road, having won all seven away games since losing to the Caps on December 10th. In addition, the Bruins have the best win percentage (62%) when trailing after the first. One stat going in the Caps favor is that the Bruins are only one of two teams that has never won a game when trailing going into the third. The Bruins are 0-6-1 when losing after two periods.

The B's are led by Marc Savard who has just made a killing playing against Washington. His 42 points in 32 games rank just one point behind Savard's 43 points (31 games) in his career against Pittsburgh.

Tim Thomas should get the start tonight and has dominated the Eastern Conference. Against the Atlantic and Southeast Divisions, Thomas is 9-0-2. Timmy is also 8-1-1 against the Caps in his career.

It seems as though each game the Caps play is a pivotal game. First the Flyers' game was the most important, the Pens' game is a 'must win', and now Washington has to face a Boston team that has won 14/16 and maintains an 11 point lead on the Caps.

"Simply Sensational!" on NHLOLZ

Check it out here if you haven't already.

Friday, January 16, 2009

NHL Image of the Night- January 15th

Ian White of the Toronto Maple Leafs is called for high sticking against Tuomo Ruutu and the Carolina Hurricanes. The 'Canes would score on the ensuing power play, but it was not enough as the Maple Leafs won 6-4. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Capitals ECHL Update

Hockey's Future has put out another Capitals-oriented article, updating the performances of a handful of Capitals prospects playing for the South Carolina Stingrays. In the article, Holly Gunning takes a look at Travis Morin, Sasha Pokulok, Viktor Dovgan, Josh Godfrey, and goalie Michal Neuvirth.

"Progress" seems to be the main theme as these players are thriving in the ECHL, just to get promoted to minimal minutes if any at the AHL level. Here is an excerpt from the Morin segment:
Is there anything holding him back from playing in the AHL?

"The only thing I can think of at this point is how deep Hershey is and how deep Washington is,” Bednar said. “Obviously Hershey's No. 1 in the American Hockey League, and they signed a lot of guys. [Morin]'s a guy who's very consistent for us. From day 1 last year on, I maybe remember a handful of games where he wasn't noticeably one of the best players on the ice and he's the same way again this year. He got out to a little bit of a slow start numbers-wise, but now he's climbing in the league standings. He's very patient, sees the ice well, just does everything really well.

"I don't know why he isn't playing at that level,” Bednar continued. “I don't see him play at that level when he goes up, so I don't know what he's not doing there. But they're deep at center in Hershey and he just hasn't gotten an opportunity, whether it's with Washington...I've got to think if he keeps doing what he's doing, he's going to get a chance with Washington or Hershey next year or if he moves on to another organization. I'll certainly be the first to promote him because he's very good at what he does."

And the just-turned 25-year-old isn’t just good offensively. He’s hard on the forecheck, hassles opponents for the puck, and plays tight defense down low. Not to mention he’s a good locker room guy. If the 6’2 195-pound Morin wasn't under contract by Washington, he would have been snapped up by an AHL team a long time ago.

Neuvirth is also feeling the effects of the log jam of goalies at Hershey (and even Washington):
Bednar said he sees NHL potential in all the players that Washington sent down, but Neuvirth may be on the quickest track to get there.

"Just from listening to the Washington guys talk, they know what he can do. They talk about him and [Simeon] Varlamov very similarly and Varlamov is playing in the NHL up and down with Hershey. [Neuvirth]'s been great for us and it's just a matter of time to move up the ladder."

You can read the whole article here.

Happy Birthday Josh Godfrey!

Happy birthday to Josh Godfrey who turns 21 today! He has played 20 games between the Bears and the Stingrays and has nine assists. Here is an interview of him from this July at the Capitals Development Camp:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Post-Game: Hershey Bears vs Albany River Rats

This was a very bad game from the start with the Bears giving up four goals in the first, and ended up losing 7-2 to the last place team in their division, the Albany River Rats.

  • On a positive note, Alexandre Giroux scored his 29th of the season and is two games away from tying Brett Hull's record of 14 consecutive games with a goal.
  • Simeon Varlamov didn't make it to the second period, getting pulled after stopping 11/15 shots through the first. He didn't look bad per se, but a change in net was necessary after a 4-0 deficit.
  • Chris Bourque played hard the whole game...can't say the same about most of the Bears' players.
  • The Rookie Line decided to play the third period, but not the first two.
  • Scary moment when Jay Beagle went down awkwardly in the corner, but after about 30 seconds of lying motionless, face down, Beagle was on his feet and returned to the game.
  • The defense struggled mightly clearing the puck out in front of the net with both Karl Alzner and Bryan Helmer suiting up for the Capitals tonight.
  • Tim Clownboy and Tyler Sloan got major beef... Conboy was yelling at Sloaner in the penalty box after charging the Bears' 'D' man after the whistle, forcing him to fight. I'd call it a draw, but Sloan threw Conboy to the ground.
My man, Jerome Samoson (pronounced Sam-SONN), netted two goals including the game winner, but Michael Ryan stole the show with a hat trick by the 2nd period. Ryan finished with three goals on four shots, and two penalties (including diving). Ryan now has three hat tricks this year? Wow that seems kind of high. Even 'Rooster' only has one hat trick, and he's leading the league in goals...

Pre-Game: Hershey Bears vs Albany River Rats

So with everyone talking in anticipation about the Penguins against the Capitals, I am going to do the logical thing and miss that game to attend the Bears game as they take on the River Rats. Yeah I know I'll regret not watching the NHL game, but I'm sure the blog-happy Washington Capitals community will inform me on everything that happened during the rivalry game. I will offer up one prediction, and that is that a picture of Alex Ovechkin in the urinal will surface (pun intended) on the internet...just a hunch.

Hershey is 2-2 in their past four home games, but has an incredible season record of 15-4 at the Giant Center. The Bears still lead the league in goals for (159), and average almost five goals a game at home.

Alexandre Giroux leads the league in goals with 28 and is closing in on an AHL milestone. If Giroux scores tonight, he'll be two games short of tying Brett Hull for consecutive games with a goal. Giroux scored in his 11th straight in the Bears loss on Sunday, and is looking to surpass Hull's record of scoring in 14 consecutive games set back in the 1987 campaign.

On the River Rats side of things, they had a few players poached to the KHL earlier this year, and are one point out of last place in the Eastern Conference. I could do the "Two degrees of Keith Aucoin" who played two seasons there (including last year), but I have a life homework.

Albany is "led" by Michael Ryan and Jakub Petruzalek who have 27 and 25 points, respectively (remember Giroux has 28 goals). Maybe I'm being too harsh, Ryan has played in 29 games and Jakub has played in all 38 games for the Rats.

I'm going to keep an eye on Cane prospects Jerome Samson as well as Nick Dodge. I'll write a little about them tomorrow, as well as the young Bears that impress me...I'm just dissapointed I won't get to watch Michal Jordan play in person.

Here is a Jerome Samson teaser:

NHL Image of the Night- January 13th

A view from outside the HP Pavilion is captured before the San Jose Sharks hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning. After beating Tampa Bay, San Jose is now 19-0-2 this year at home. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Oilers

Edmonton comes into tonight's match-up with 20 wins, while Washington has 18 home. Still, that does not take away the importance of the game. The Caps are on the verge of losing a season-high three straight, while the Panthers are quietly creeping back into contention, having gone 4-0-1 in their last five.

Edmonton has not been too fond of playing in the Nation's capital of recent years. The Oilers have won just once--in 1997-- since 1990, losing the other 11 games.

Goals have become a rarity at Verizon Center with just three in as many games. Edmonton gives up the 13th most in the league on the road, including six in their loss at Calgary. Dwayne Roloson should start between the pipes and is 3-0-1 this year against the Eastern Conference. Roloson also boasts two shutouts in seven games against the Caps.

While Sergei Fedorov and John Erskine are both returning to action tonight, the Oilers are going to be without their top scorer, Ales Hemsky. Hemsky was injured on a what seemed like a regular check December 28th against Nashville, and has missed the Oilers' last five games. Edmonton will also be without Zack Stortini who broke his leg, Joe Theisman style, in a fight with Brad Staubitz on January 9th.

The Oilers have the fifth worst record (for teams above .500) when surrendering the first goal, while the Caps rank fourth in 1st period goals for... Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

NHL Image of the Night- January 12th

Ryan Malone of the Tampa Bay Lightning sends Matt Greene of the Los Angeles Kings into his bench during the first period. Tampa Bay defeated Los Angeles to move out of the cellar in the Southeast Division. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

NHL Image of the Night- January 11th

Nashville Predators goalie Dan Ellis wipes his face during a break in action against the Chicago Blackhawks. Ellis made 30 saves, but took the loss in Chicago's 3-1 victory. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Post-Game: Capitals @ Canadiens

Well I missed most of the Caps loss to the Blue Jackets yesterday, and frankly, I wish I had missed this game too. They looked tired and not ready to face one of the better Eastern Conference team. The team blew a chance to have Bruce Boudreau represent the Capitals behind the bench at the All-Star game.

  • Way to go Milan Jurcina. Way. To. Go.
  • Brent Johnson played well in his second appearance in the new year. The last goal was a little questionable, but he had some stellar saves to keep Washington in the game.
  • The power play just looked awful. Individual performances and lack of communication doomed the Caps with the extra man.
  • Tomas Fleischmann- Your goal does NOT make up for leisurely skating to the puck as Tomas Plekanec raced by you to score short-handed.
  • The first goal of the game was scored by All-Star, Alexander Semin, with assists to All-Star Mike Green and Tyler Sloan.
  • The Habs' All-Stars (Kovalev, Komisarek, and Markov) combined for three assists.
  • I can't believe I'm saying this, but I want Jeff Schultz back. Sean Collins need to go back to where he the AHL.
  • Props to David Steckel on the penalty kill.
  • Ovechkin should have never shaved...And what's up with the boo birds when he touches the puck? Are the Canadiens' fans THAT jealous of him?
  • I'm not a fan of Andrei Kostitsin, and you should be either:

Tomorrow, I will leave Arlington, and continue blogging from school in Harrisburg. I plan on going to the Hershey Bears' game on Wednesday the 14th against the Albany River Rats, the Hurricane's farm team.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Nice Jeans Ovechkin

Hmmm, these or the sweat pants? Which would you wear if any? I'd have to go with the sweat pants, except not in public.

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Blue Jackets

Playing against the Blue Jackets, the Capitals biggest problem has been Rick Nash. The Columbus captain and leading-scorer notched two goals against Washington in their last meeting and has six goals in six games against the Caps.

So how can Washington slow down the 2002 1st overall pick? Well I think Brian Rafalski did the job. Nash got tangled up with Rafalski and slammed feet-first into the boards. Nash did not return after the first period.

So with Nash injured just in time for the Capitals game, rookie goalie Steve Mason is the Caps next biggest concern (but is he legit?)... seeing how injuries just keep piling up for the CBJ.

Let's get to it:

  • Speaking of Mason, the kid got three straight shutouts to end December, and has won four of his last six. I'd call that legit. He's also 3-0 with three shutouts (two of the three are different than those mentioned before) against the Eastern Conference, including shutting out the Caps.
  • Nash has never played a full season in his six year career.
  • If you haven't seen Ovechkin's new interview, here it is...I knew she couldn't do the whole interview without asking a 'Vodka' question.
  • With a win tonight, Washington will be on track for 118 points... 11 more than their previous season-high of 107 in 1986.
  • Columbus' power play ranks dead last at a putrid 10.2%. That's 18 power play goals... By comparison, Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom combine for 16.
  • Caps have gone 14-3 since losing to Columbus to end the month of November.
  • 18-1-1 speaks for itself, and with the Blue Jackets ailing this time, the pre-game story is pretty much switched.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More Capitals Mutants

Shamelessly stolen from Tim Phillip's Facebook album:

Post-Game: Capitals vs Flyers

There was so much trash-talking/questionable comments by players and coaches of both teams leading up to this game that it was almost guaranteed to be a thriller. And when the game came down to the wire, Jose Theodore, the newest member of the Flyers/Caps rivalry, stonewalled the three most explosive players in the Flyers' lineup in the shootout.

  • Nicklas Backstrom has five goals in his last six games against Philly. He is two goals shy of last year's total of 12, and on track for over 90 points. And it's now time to consider him at the level of Thorton, Lecavalier, and Iginla.
  • With Sergei Fedorov getting closer and closer to returning, and Karl Alzner's excellent performance at this level, I'm (unfortunately) counting down the days that Michael Nylander is on the Capitals. If Feds returns, there needs to be a roster move and it could involve Nyles, who was in the box for Braydon Coburn's goal.
  • Is Theo the outright starter? His 33-save performance and Brent Johnson's injury is only helping JT60's cause.
  • Alex Ovechkin has already surpassed last year's PIMs, and is on track to double the 40 penalty minutes he picked up last season. Should we be worried?
  • When all the injuries are settled, Eric Fehr deserves to be on this team.
  • Upshaw, Coburn, and Carter combined for 23/34 shots for the Flyers.
  • Boyd Gordon- 64% on faceoffs...nice.
  • Every player had a plus/minus rating of '0.' Never seen that before, but a low scoring game with only power play goals will do that for you.

(the front of this guy's shirt was a little to explicit for this website)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Mathieu Perreault!

Happy birthday to Mathieu Perreault who turned 21 yesterday. I got his autograph after a game in Hershey earlier this year. Perry has 26 points in 34 games for the Bears this year.

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Flyers

So it's settled; the Flyers are the Capitals biggest rivals. So many times are Washington sports teams "assessed" the wrong rivals. The Redskins/Ravens match up is cool because the cities are so close to each other, but they rarely play. The Nats/Orioles match up showcases two jokes of a baseball franchise young, rebuilding teams... but they are in different leagues. In order for it to be a rivalry, teams must play against each other often. And the games must mean something to the players and to the fans, not just deciding draft picks for the upcoming draft.

This is what makes the Capitals and Flyers games so intriguing. The teams are close enough to one another to attend away games and the both clubs offer competitive games every time out.

Up until last year, the Caps faced severe problems at the Wachovia Center, but in a statement game against Philadelphia last November, Nicklas Backstrom turned the table and 'started' (if you will) the WSH/PHI rivalry.

The teams played 11 times last year, with Philadelphia winning six of those, with four of those coming in the playoffs.

  • Everyone knows Washington is 17-1-1 at home this year, and even 23-1-1 dating back to the last 25 home games in the regular season. But dating back to 2001, the Capitals are just 6-6 at home against the Flyers.
  • Donald Brashear loves playing against his old team. Although not scoring in the teams last meeting, Brash raked up 26 PIMs including a brutal beat down of Flyers' tough guy, Riley Cote.
  • Washington had 25 shots in the first period against Philly on December 20th...just three shots shy of the Flyers' total shot output. Yet Philadelphia still took the decisive 7-1 victory. Both Capitals goalies are healthy so it's up to Boudreau has yet to name the starter for tonight's sold out game.

Monday, January 5, 2009

NHL Image of the Night- January 5th

Jason LaBarbera sprawls out to make a glove save on Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars. The Stars won in the shutout 3-2 (3-2). Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Neuvirth Injured in Emergency Start

Capitals goalie prospect, Michal Neuvirth started yesterday as a healthy Hershey Bear goalie, and ended it as an injured South Carolina Stingray goalie.

Per Hockey's Future:

On Saturday night against the Gwinnett Gladiators, Michal Neuvirth covered a puck far outside the blue paint, but when told by the referee to move it along, simply stayed still. He received a delay of game penalty, but he had no choice -- he was in too much pain to move.

The 20-year-old had a groin pull -- the first he's ever had, he said after the game.

Neuvirth didn't start this game under normal circumstances. Neuvirth had been with the AHL Hershey Bears, but got sent back down when Stingray Bobby Goepfert suffered a concussion. Neuvirth arrived at the Arena at Gwinnett Center in foggy suburban Atlanta just 10 minutes before warmups began.

Because of his late arrival, Neuvirth wasn't able to get a good stretch, which he thought was a major contributor to the groin pull. The precipitating event was a Gwinnett player running into him while following up a shot at the beginning of the third period.

Neuvirth's exit from the game after 42 minutes meant that emergency backup goaltender John Havrilack had to come in. Havrilack, a men's league fill-in that the Stingrays brought along, saved all 10 shots he faced.
Recently, Neuvirth was named an ECHL All-Star. Michal has a GAA of 1.90 in ECHL action, a .932 save percentage, and two shutouts to boot.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Post-Game: Capitals vs Rangers

Last time the Rangers faced the Caps, Washington showed it could win in a fantastic, action-packed game...And now the Caps prove to the Rangers that they can win the boring games too.

With all the scoring coming in the last 10 minutes of the second period, Washington was able to hold off the Rangers who continue to slide, and sit in second place in the Atlantic Division.

  • Alexander Semin should not have played this game. He was obviously still hurt and I just hope he didn't aggrivate any injury during the game. He had one shot on net and got pushed off the puck a majority of the time. Sascha even got into a tussle with the Rangers' Marc Staal. Semin was ejected (for not tying down his jersey), but did get in a few bitch punches as the players tumbled to the ice.
  • Eric Fehr played his best game in as long as I can remember. Three shots and countless other scoring chances, keep it up while your still in the lineup Eric.
  • Fans in the 400's do NOT like Michael Nylander's risky moves in the defensive zone. You can get away with them when on offense, but cut it out when you're right in front of the net.
  • Mike Green's power play marker was straight out of Princeton's basketball playbook. Backdoor all day (insert homosexual joke here).
  • Alex Ovechkin was literally triple shifting. He skated over 27 minutes and after Semin's ejection, was skating with the fourth line. Bruce Boudreau even put Ovie, Semin, and Backstrom on the same line for some time.
  • Chris Clark- Great energy, not so great fighter...
  • Dear New York Rangers: Thank you for starting Stephen Valiquette. Ovechkin's shorthanded, GWG had to have depleted the Rangers morale seeing that how Ovie shot it from 10 feet inside the blue line.
  • Jose Theodore is 7-1 (1.98/.918) at home. What this means is that no Cap fan should be yelling at him when he leaves the crease to play the puck...especially if you have an annoying voice and sit a row behind me...
Finally some pictures I took at the game. I was the lucky winner of the trivia contest on the Caps podcast, which is every gameday at 3 pm. So thank you Brett Leonhardt and Mike Vogel.

Pre-Game: Capitals vs Rangers

The last time these two met, the Capitals rallied from four goals down and eventually won in overtime on Shaone Morrisonn scored his first goal of the year and his first since February 26.

That game was played three days after an embarrassing 7-1 thumping in Philly. Dating back to the final goal in the St. Louis win, the Caps had been outscored 12 to one halfway through the second period of the Rangers game... But Washington managed to turn it around and have won five in-a-row since the loss to Philadelphia.

  • Washington has won four in-a-row against the Rangers.
  • Nicklas Backstrom has been held scoreless in just four of the last 27 games. The Capitals are 19-7-1 in that stretch. Backstrom has two goals in 14 career games in January.
  • Mike Green has two game-winning goals in two of the past three games against the NYR. Caps are 18-5-3 when Green plays.
  • Brooks Laich needs to continue his play in front of the net to throw Henrik Lundqvist off his game. He has points in three of his past four against the Rangers and needs to establish himself early and often in the offensive zone.

NHL Image of the Night- January 2nd

Ilya Kovalchuk celebrates his goal in the second period. Ilya finished with a goal and an assist as Atlanta took down the Vancouver Cancuks 4-3 (2-1) in the shootout. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Post-Game: Capitals vs Lightning

Okay sorry for the lack of posts, I've been caught up with things while I'm back in town for another week, but let's get right to it:

  • First off, thoughts and prayers go out to Jamie Heward who suffered a concussion by the hands of Alex Ovechkin in the third period. It was soo erie at VC for the fiveish minutes that the former-Cap was down. Then the stretcher came out and when Jamie finally was carted off, the fans gave him a 'Standing O'.
  • Hats off to Sean Collins who scored his first career NHL goal...On a side note, Collins did get his pocket picked by Martin St. Louis who ended up getting the secondary assist on Vincent Lecavalier's second goal of the night with 15 seconds left in the second period.
  • Another 'hats off' to Chris Clark who notched his first goal of the season. Although only skating 11:30, Clark played his butt off and even got into some fisticuffs with Adam Hall.
  • Speaking of Hall, he's played in the playoffs in four consecutive years, with three different teams...I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that his playoff streak ends this year.
  • Ryan Malone is the biggest douche in the world. Watch him skate one shift and you'll agree.
  • I hate having to pronounce Evgeny Artyukhin and Paul Szczechura. Please make it stop.
  • Mike Smith would be a good goalie if a) he wasn't an idiot and b) he didn't leave the crease every chance he got.
  • For every five spin moves Michael Nylander does in the neutral/defensive zone, he turns the puck over...and this time it led to Tampa's second goal that cut the lead to 3-2. He redeemed himself on the nice assist on Clark's goal.
  • That penalty shot was bullshit. Mike Green swept the puck away, then tripped Hall...And for those looking for tendencies, looks like the poke check is Brent Johnson's go-to move in the shootout.
  • Ovie owned Steve Eminger, hands-down.
  • Caps have won in the last 13 games that Boyd Gordon has scored in.
  • Greenie would be on pace for a 30 goal season had he played in every game this season.
And finally a Capitals story to read regarding the Winter Classic...I promise, it's short.

NHL Image of the Night- January 1st

Alexei Ponikarovsky attempts to screen Buffalo's Ryan Miller. Buffalo defeated the Maple Leafs by the final score of 4-1. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.