September 20, 2019

OPINION: The Caps deadline deals make them better, but not good enough

Another trade deadline has come and gone. It’s a time when general managers try to inflate the importance of all the moves they made/didn’t make and a time when fans and analysts alike sit back and overestimate the impact a handful of depth players will have around the NHL.

Excuse me for not planning a Stanley Cup parade in Washington after the Capitals added Tim Gleason and Curtis Glencross to the roster.

I like both of these players. I’m not thrilled that the Caps have so few draft picks in what is supposed to be an excellent draft, but in the NHL where players outside of the first round rarely make the big leagues, I’m okay with making the types of deals general manager Brian MacLellan did in pursuit of the Stanley Cup.

But come on. Have the Caps really gone from a wild card team to Cup contender with these additions? [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 63 Recap: Caps play poorly in loss to Canes

By trading Andrej Sekera and Jiri Tlusty on Wednesday, the Carolina Hurricanes organization signaled to the NHL that they were waving the white flag on the season. Apparently, the team didn’t get the memo because the Hurricanes looked like anything but a defeated team in their 3-0 win over the Washington Capitals on Friday.

The last place Hurricanes, with backup goaltender Anton Khudobin, proved to be too much for the sliding Capitals who have gone without a point in three straight games for only the second time this season. [Read more…]

Dealing with the Devils: Why trading for Jaromir Jagr makes little sense

The NHL deadline is fast approaching and the Washington Capitals are in need of a right wing. It just so happens that the New Jersey Devils stink and have a pretty good right wing on the last year of his contract.

That wing, of course, is Jaromir Jagr.

Of all the players the Caps could target at the deadline, Jagr is the most intriguing given his history with the team.

Jagr came to Washington amid much fanfare and excitement in 2001. After two lackluster seasons, he was traded to the New York Rangers as the Caps dismantled their team in order to rebuild.

Now with the team in need of a right wing, many are wondering if Jagr could return to Washington in a deadline deal.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 61 Recap: Caps win streak snapped in Philly

The Washington Capitals’ four-game win streak was brought to an end on Sunday with a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite battling back from a 2-0 deficit, the Caps were unable to finish off the Flyers and instead gave up a late third-period goal for the loss.

The Caps had another sluggish start and found themselves down 2-0 in the second period. Claude Giroux snapped an 11-game goalless drought with an early power play goal and Wayne Simmonds added another power play tally in the second. Tom Wilson finally got the Caps on the board and Joel Ward caught Philadelphia goalie Robb Zepp off guard with a rolling puck chipped into the top shelf to tie it in the second. [Read more…]

Is Orpik already not living up to his contract?

Brooks Orpik (Caps Debut)- Caps introductions before Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Brooks Orpik (Caps Debut)- Caps introductions before Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

One of the big offseason moves for the Washington Capitals was the signing of veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik, a move met with almost universal derision from fans and analysts alike.

The Caps needed to shore up their defense and they did so by signing Orpik and Matt Niskanen. A five-year deal for the 34-year-old Orpik, however, virtually guarantees that he will not be able to live up to his salary by the end of the contract.

Is he going to be a $5.5 million player when he is 38 or a $4.5 million player when he is 39? Probably not, but that’s down the road. Right now he is a major asset to the team, right?

Well…some people are not so sure.

[Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 57 Recap: Ovechkin’s four-point night fuels Caps to a wild win

The Anaheim Ducks tried to jump on the Washington Capitals early, but Alex Ovechkin had other plans. The captain kept the Caps in it early with two first period goals and tacked on two assists to lead the Caps to the 5-3 win in Anaheim.

A crazy first period saw four penalties called and four goals scored. The Ducks took leads of 1-0 and 2-1 early in the first, but twice Ovechkin was there to tie it as the teams traded two goals apiece before 10:30 had passed. After a shaky start, backup goalie Justin Peters seemed to settle down allowing the Caps to take control in the second. He finished with 30 saves on 33 shots. [Read more…]

Plugging the right wing hole on the Caps’ top line

Marcus Johansson Washington Capitals Practice, 10/07/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Marcus Johansson
Washington Capitals Practice, 10/07/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Washington Capitals may still have 28 games remaining in the regular season, but make no mistake, head coach Barry Trotz is already thinking about line combinations for the postseason.

It would be premature to call the Caps a ‘lock’ to make the playoffs, but at the very least they will be playing some meaningful games down the stretch of the regular season. Trotz needs to have his best line combinations set for when the team really needs to pick up points.

The problem, however, is that there is a big gaping hole on the right side of his top line as the Caps don’t currently employ a top-line right wing.

As the trade deadline approaches, Trotz and general manager Brian MacLellan will have to determine if that right wing is even on the roster, and if he is, who will it be. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 52 Recap: Quick two-goal burst in the second proves decisive in Caps’ win

The Ottawa Senators had plenty of opportunities in the third period to tie the game, but Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals’ penalty killers came up big in the third period to preserve a one-goal lead.

Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin both scored in a span of 49 seconds in the second period and that was all they needed to down the Senators 2-1. [Read more…]

Why Beagle? Exploring the Caps most curious top line winger

Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Head coach Barry Trotz has tried just about everyone at right wing on the top line, but no one creates more reaction than when Jay Beagle is given the nod.

Trotz is not the first coach to try this tactic. Adam Oates famously paired Beagle with Ovechkin as the top line center much to the horror of the hockey community. The reaction was so negative some touted this decision as one of the main reasons why Oates should be fired.

With a competent coach now in charge of the team, many thought the days of Beagle on the top line were over, but in the merry-go-round of forwards to play on the right of the top line, Beagle has certainly had his fair share of opportunities. [Read more…]

Free agent decisions loom large for Caps as trade deadline approaches

Mike Green during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Mike Green during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

As the teams return from the All-Star Break and meaningful hockey starts again, the next big day on the NHL calendar is the trade deadline.

The NHL trade deadline is on March 2 at 3 pm, just over a month away. The task for each team over the next few weeks is to determine what their realistic goals are for this season and going forward so that they can determine if they will be buyers or sellers at the deadline.

On an individual level, general managers need to determine the future of their pending free agents, i.e. who they will seek to re-sign and who already has one foot out of the door.

The Washington Capitals are no exception. There are currently 10 players on the roster who are in the final year of their contract and General Manager Brian MacLellan has to determine now who he wants to see back in Washington next season. [Read more…]

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