Some highlights from Saturdays Caps win over the Bruins

The Caps did a lot of little things well in yesterdays 4-3 win over the Bruins in Boston. Here are a few of them that really jumped out at me:

  • The Caps stood up for their goalie beginning early on in the game, shoving away many Bruins that got near Tomas Vokoun
  • John Carlson was especially impressive during one segment of a first period penalty kill, tying up the puck along the boards to waste some of the Bruins power play time, then roughing up Lucic a bit in front of the net as he tried to settle in there, and stepping up to block a shot to close out the sequence
  • As Russian Machine pointed out on Twitter, Mike Knuble had some great puck possession time in the game.
  • Alex Semins pass to Jay Beagle for Washingtons 3rd goal was excellent, not to mention the work to get that puck before making the pass
  • Brooks Laichs tip-in for the 4th goal was nice to see he was set up by Alex Ovechkin for what appeared to be an even easier tip-in the previous game but missed
  • Troy Brouwers play with one second left to knock away a puck that was about to become a shot on goal showed the Caps fighting until the very end.

I did get nervous when the Bruins pulled within one, especially after the Caps third period collapse at home versus the Jets a few weeks ago. But the Caps held on. Well see if playing back to back days affects the teams ability to stay focused on the important details during todays game against Toronto, whos coming off a Saturday afternoon game against the Flyers.

Check out yesterdays Caps-Bruins highlights on

Other Notes: For some great analysis, check out this post by WNSTs Ed Frankovic and his theory on why the Caps have played better this week. >>> I was really impressed with Dmitry Orlov in overtime during the Caps win against Tampa on Thursday night. Mike Vogel has a nice look at the rookie defenseman on the Dump n Chase blog. >>> Finally, what would it take for CSNWashington to give us a Caps pre-game show before every game? As I noted on Twitter yesterday, it seems theres been enough interest in the Caps to justify it and these five minutes intros we get before the puck drops  for some games, like yesterdays, feel very rushed.

Need a sign for the Caps game?

Looking for a sign to take to tonights Caps game, in the wake of Caps players asking for a Scratch Hunter sign to be removed Tuesday night? Heres one

Free sign! No purchase required!

Download the PDF for printing here at this link: Ignore this sign

Lets Go Caps! Win. This. Game. One solid shift at a time.

A sign that an unfocused Caps team has gone completely off the rails

Ive been a huge Caps fan for a long time and I always will be. Ive been a big believer in The Plan and a strong supporter of most of what the organization has done the last few years. But lately, a few things have been bothering me:

    • Though Ive long been a big fan of Alex Ovechkin and the take-no-prisoners approach he took the NHL by storm with, I havent been impressed with him lately and his inability to take responsibility for some of his actions, act like a team leader publicly, etc. The organization and some fans seem OK with him doing whatever hed like. Mike Wise recently dubbed these people Great 8 enablers, during the skipped All-Star Game debate. As Caps fans, we all need to take a break from the red Kool-aid often enough to see things objectively.
    • The Holden Family season tickets in the 400 level, which my father owns and generously lets his whole family use, have gone up 90.7% in five years. Professional sports is a business, I love what Ted Leonsis has done for the Caps, and this team has become extremely popular. However, now in their fifth straight year, these constant and sometimes rather steep increases have started to feel excessiveand like the type of thing that could come back to haunt the organization if they hit a prolonged rough patch.
    • Ive watched the Caps exit the playoffs in an uninspiring fashion for three straight seasons. As I wrote the other day, (see 90.7% link in the bullet point above): Not since the 2007-08 playoff loss in seven games to the Flyers has it appeared as if the team left it all out on the ice as they were eliminated. In series losses to Pittsburgh (’08-’09), Montreal (’09-’10) and Tampa Bay (’10-’11), the team looked flat and unable to push over the hump to take their post-season game to the next level. Yet still today, even under a new coach and with a variety of veterans and role players brought in over the last few seasons, the team does not seem to have learned to seize opportunities, finish opponents when they have them down or play a full 60 minutes on a consistent basis. There are times when the Caps dont even seem present.

Then this afternoon, I read something that further irks me and it relates especially to that third and final bullet point above.

I was following a story Tuesday night about two Caps bloggers, known as Knights of Knuble, who were asked to take down Free Knuble and Scratch Hunter signs they brought to the game. It was reported by Stephen Whyno of The Washington Times that this was due to some Caps players requesting the signs be removed during warm-ups.

Today, Leonsis confirmed this on his blog, writing: A couple of players saw a sign at ice level during warm-ups that they felt was disrespectful toward our coach. One of the players asked one of the bench personnel to see if he could get them to take it down. One of our arena employees thought he was being helpful, and asked the fans to take it down.

Leonsis goes on to explain that the signs should have been permitted inside the venue, which is great to hear because banning signs is Redskins-like behavior and very un-Caps.

But I couldnt help but wonder aloud on Twitter today: Why are Caps players even focused on signs in stands during warm-ups? Nice that they want coach respected, but why not just block it out?

This is a Caps team that acts confused when they cant get up for a big game. Multiple players have commented on not knowing why they come out flat some games and theyve been uttering nearly identical quotes after some of these games for over three years now.

Recently, after a loss to the Panthers, defenseman Karl Alzner commented, Some teams it’s just real easy to get up for and that’s because of the team that they are: the Rangers, the Canadiens. Those games are really easy and sometimes here in Florida it’s difficult to get up

I was dumbfounded when I read that Alzner quote back in early February. If youre a professional athlete and youre thinking that, dont say it out loud. And while youre thinking that but not saying it, ask yourself why you are a professional athlete yet unable to focus enough to get up for any game you need to get up for, particularly one against a division rival that was banging on your door at that point.

But now, when I see that there are guys on the Caps that are so unfocused on the game at hand that theyre actually going to take the time to ask that a Scratch Hunter or a Free Knuble sign be taken down during warm-ups, quotes like Alzners and this teams inability to play consistent hockey for 60 minutes, or from one game to the next, makes a little more sense.

Ignore the damn signs, Caps! Or be so in the zone and focused on the precious two points up for grabs that you dont even notice the signs to begin with. Play like you did a few years ago when you were all business, dead set on gaining two points at a time and nothing more and nothing lessuntil it was time to play the next game and grab those two points.

You were a machine, Caps, and thousands of people were inspired by it. But now, when I see your captain sulking, your disinterest on the ice at times and some of you actually taking the time as pro athletes to worry about what a cleanly-worded and done-seemingly-in-good-fun sign says, I cant help but think that you sound like losers.

Ive rooted for a lot of losing teams in my life; its really not hard to do. Im not a fair weather fan, even when my teams are on a losing streak. But when a team doesnt seem to care for stretches at a time or when they look deflated, uninspired and plain defeated, theyre not always a lot of fun to pull for. And now you want to complain about signs, Caps? Really? Seriously, guys? Is that where the focus should be as you sit outside the playoffs with under 20 games left in the regular season? (I also doubt one of the biggest bad-asses in the history of hockey, Dale Hunter, needs anyone to protect him from a paper sign. Im also sure he saw and heard much worse than Scratch Hunter during his playing days).

See yourself, one solid shift at a time, winning the game being played on the ice, Caps, not what some fan is holding up to the glass surrounding it. Your season, and many fans patience, might be gone soon if you dont.

Ward is the Hurricanes only true star?

Before tonights Caps game against the Carolina Hurricanes starts, lets try to remember that Cam Ward is their only true star. Waitwhat??? I dont agree with that, but its what Washington Post columnist Jason Reid wrote in a recent column:

A 5-0 loss against Carolina on Monday was the low point of the season — the Capitals at least hope it doesn’t get any worse. Carolina is last in the East. Goalie Cam Ward is the Hurricanes’ only true star — and he sat out because of an injury.

Something tells me that Carolina Hurricanes fans would disagree with that statement. In fact, most anyone following the Caps and their Southeast Division opponents on a regular basis or any big hockey fan would likely say that Ward isnt the only true star on the Hurricanes.

For starters, Carolinas captain Eric Staal is a two-time 40 goal scorer and an Olympic gold medalist. He captained an NHL All Star team last season called Team Staal. He has scored 245 NHL goals over the course of eight seasons with the Hurricanes. Staal also racked up two goals and an assist in that 5-0 game against the Caps that Reid referenced in that column.

Jeff Skinner, who scored over 30 goals last season and was named NHL Rookie of the Year, is another example of a Hurricanes player that would be viewed as a star in many peoples eyes. Maybe hes too new to be considered a true star, but the media was all over that guy last season and it hard not to hear about him if you were following the sporthe had a goal that game against the Caps too.

Im not sure what Reid meant when he typed that about Ward and the Hurricanes, but it strikes me as another example of a Post sports columnist somewhat out of touch with hockey, yet writing about the sport. Im not sure where the sports editor was on this one either.

Hockey Day with the Frederick Keys and former Washington Capital Rod Langway

English: Four banners for the the Washington C...

Image via Wikipedia

From the Frederick Keys blog:

Hockey Day On April 7th at 2pm, the Keys will drop the puck with Hockey Day. This special day will include an appearance by former Capital and NHL Hall-of-Famer, Rod Langway. Also, we will be giving out Keys 2012-13 Calendars (HN Funkhouser) and Magnet Schedules. Stick around after the game to watch the conclusion of the Caps season finale on the videoboard!

Jeff Carter to the Caps: What could have been

Im already on record about why I think the Caps should have traded for Jeff Carter.   Unfortunately, Carter, a sure-fix to the Caps biggest need, has found a new home in Los Angeles.  I could go on about how a 27 year old offensively gifted center, who is a responsible two-way player and affordable (both in cap hit and trade price), could have gone a long way to fixing what ails even a healthy Caps team.  I could go on about how the 2C hole has become the Achilles heel of George McPhees tenure and this was likely his best shot at fixing it.  But I wont.  Instead of 1,000 words on what could have been had the Caps traded for Jeff Carter, Ill leave you with this picture.

Photo edit by Justin Michaliga (@jmichaliga)

Copy of the original Richards-Carter image here

Call it heart or soul or character or whatever you want

Picture via @japersrink

This quote is nearly two years old and came after the Washington Capitals blew a 3-1 series lead against Montreal Canadiens in the 2010 playoffs. But there are times, like right now, when it still seems somewhat appropriate.

Call it heart or soul or character or whatever you want, but the Capitals don’t seem to have it. And until they find it, it’s hard to imagine there won’t be more of these shocking conclusions in the nation’s capital.

ESPNs Scott Burnside, April 2012

Cmon! Lets! Go! Caps! With emphasis on the Go!

Weekend recap

English: Alex Ovechkin, 2009

Alex Ovechkin - Image via Wikipedia

In case you missed anything, below are links to all the happenings this weekend at

Caps-Bolts: Ovechkins other options with 25 seconds left

With about 25 seconds to go in last nights game against the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Washington Capitals down by a goal, I would have liked to have seen Alex Ovechkin pass the puck to a teammate rather than hold it and eventually shoot from a bad angle (see video embedded below).

Troy Brouwer was open and then, after Ovechkin comes out from behind the net, John Carlson appears to have been open as he was cutting in from the point. Carlson might have had the whole top right corner of the net open for a quick shot, with Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon down in a butterfly position and over toward the left post.

Just putting the puck on net like Ovechkin eventually did isnt a bad idea in that situation, but he had better options and they would have involved some puck movement, which is often a very good thingin fact, its what led to the Caps only goal of the game.

Eight year anniversary of Washington Capitals trade for Brooks Laich

[Laich] has played more games (531) in a Capitals sweater after the lockout than any other player.

read more at Dump n Chase


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