October 30, 2014

About Katie Brown

Katie Brown is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Capitals. She resides in Arlington, VA, and developed a love for the sport of hockey as a youngster while watching her brothers play. Katie works at a nonprofit organization by day but the rest of her time is devoted to watching, writing, and talking about hockey and perfecting her mean one-timer. She is co-host of Girls Just Wanna Have Puck podcast. You can follow Katie on Twitter @katie_brown47.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings 10/29/14

Unfortunately for the Capitals, the Red Wings took home two points tonight. The Caps got a break due to a phantom goalie interference call in the first period, and outshot the Wings for a lot of the game, but they weren’t able to do a whole lot with their power play, and coughed up the puck quite a bit.

Caps lose 4-2.


First Star:

Andre Burakovsky.

He’s had three assists in his last four games. Who knew back in training camp when he assumed the position of center that he’d adapt so naturally to it? Barry Trotz, probably. He skated the first part of the game on the first line with Ovechkin and Ward, but Trotz shook up the lines throughout the game. No telling where he’ll be next game. He does seem to have good chemistry with Johansson and Brouwer, so it would make sense to deploy that line as such.


Second Star.

Troy Brouwer.

Brouwer snapped his scoreless streak with a snipe from the Ovi spot on the power play. The P1 and P2 as designed by Trotz is working out rather nicely,


Third Star.

Braden Holtby.

The Wings had 4 power plays, and Holtby assisted capably in killing all but one, where Pavel Datsyuk let off a shot that you wouldn’t blame any goaltender for not being able to stop. Holtby didn’t have answer for the cause of the team’s turnovers, obviously, but did comment to reporters that it’s his job to cover for the mistakes made by his teammates, and that he’d wished he’d done a better job of that.

Honorable mention:

Jason Chimera’s nose. Seriously. It was gross. http://t.co/N42aYir10x

Washington Capitals Game 9 Recap: Capitals lose 4-2 to Red Wings, turnovers galore

It was an eventful night at Verizon Center, where the Washington Capitals returned from a not-so-fun roadie to take on the Detroit Red Wings, who were missing Johan Franzen, but still had Pavel Datsyuk up their sleeve. Detroit handed the Caps a 4-2 loss,their second straight, and third in four games.

The first period featured a phantom goalie interference call on Luke Glendening, which waved off a goal and gave the Caps a power play. The Caps outshot the Wings for the first half of the game, but turned the puck over unnecessarily, which led to goals-against that could have been avoided. They had a winnable game in front of them, but couldn’t seal the deal. Instead, Pavel Datsyuk’s wicked shot put the game away for the Wings in the third period.

There were a few bright spots, however. Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his first goal of the season, and Troy Brouwer snapped his four-game goalless streak. Andre Burakovsky continued his reign of terror with an assist, his second in as many games and his third in four games.

Brouwer had a lot to say about how the Caps played, and what they need to do to avoid the type of game they had Wednesday:  “We’ve got to go back to our base, which is a five-man forecheck, five-man d-zone. Come up the ice together, play together. When we start getting individual, that’s when we get ourselves into trouble because we aren’t predictable anymore. We don’t know what guys are doing on the ice. And when you do have a turnover, guys are out of position because they don’t know exactly what’s going on. We’ve got to continue, right to the end of the game, whether we are winning or losing, to be predictable. Play the way we are supposed to play. Those are the games we won.”



  • The Red Wings’ first goal was waved off for “goalie interference.” Huge break. It was a bad call, and should have been an actual goal, as Holtby was clearly not interfered with. He skated out to play the puck, and tripped of his own accord as he re-entered the crease.
  • Jason Chimera’s nose did this, it was grotesque, choose your poison: https://twitter.com/RegressedPDO/status/527608573753561089 http://t.co/N42aYir10x
  • Evgeny Kuznetzov scored his first goal of the season, and Braden Holtby earned a secondary assist. Goalie assists are the best assists.
  • Bad: lots of turnovers, and not the yummy kind.
  • Andre Burakovsky played on the first line, and got another assist. He’s good.
  • Troy Brouwer, who was held without a point for four games, finally broke that streak with an Ovi-like snipe from the circle on the power play.

Washington Capitals Power Rankings Week 3

To summarize: Mike Green is having The Best Week Ever, and the Caps escaped from western Canada with a 1-2 record. They’re still 4-2-2 on the season, so it’s not as bad as it looks. The Caps looked great in Edmonton, but hockey isn’t fair, so no points there. In Calgary, they worked hard and grabbed a few points. Vancouver is the new San Jose for the Capitals, because they just can’t win there. They looked a bit tired, but three games in 4 nights tends to tire one out.

There are a couple guys that I think are due for a goal or two, so maybe they can get that out of the way this week. The Caps play 3 of their next 4 games at home.


Rank Player The whatfor 
1 Mike Green Green leads the team in scoring with 8 points (3g, 5a). Though he was held scoreless during the Caps 3-1 win over the Flames on Saturday, Green already has 3 multi-point performances through 7 games. The only defenseman in the NHL with more points than Green is San Jose’s Brent Burns.
2 Marcus Johansson The Swede has already equaled his even-strength goal total (3) from last season, and it took him 72 fewer games to do it.
3 Andre Burakovsky Burakovsky skated with the second line for most of the three games this week, but was bumped to the third line during Sunday’s game in Vancouver, centering Jason Chimera and Joel Ward. His 2 assists this week are good enough to tie Nicklas Backstrom for a total of 7 points on the season.
4 Braden Holtby He allowed 3 goals in the loss to the Oilers, but finished with a .952 save percentage in the 3-1 win over the Flames. Not a bad week. He sits at .922 SV% through 5 starts this season.
5 Nicklas Backstrom He added a goal in Calgary and an assist in Edmonton. He failed to register even a shot on goal in the loss to the Canucks.
6 Joel Ward One half of the third line “twins,” Ward scored 2 goals in Saturday’s win in Calgary.
7 Brooks Orpik The other Brooks logged 10 hits and an assist in Calgary, and pretty much hit anything that moved in Western Canada.
8 Alex Ovechkin No goals this week for Ovechkin, after 3 games played, and he’s been scoreless since the Caps’ 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on 10/16. Oh, and he should probably cut back on the shot-blocking thing.
9 Justin Peters He’s only gotten 3 starts this season, but his performance in the Caps’ loss to the Canucks on Sunday kept the game much closer than it looked.
10 Eric Fehr Though he was momentarily separated from the top line for a bit, Fehr has spent the majority of the season skating with Backstrom and Ovechkin. He’s logged just 2 assists in 8 games. One of those points came while he was reunited with the third line.
11 Evgeny Kuznetsov Kuznetsov is another player who is due to get off the schneide any time now. He briefly centered a line with Johansson and Brouwer on Sunday, and I suspect his lack of production has more to do with his linemates and ice time than anything else.
12 Nate Schmidt This young defenseman hasn’t made an impact on the scoreboard, but he’s logging quite a few minutes with partner Mike Green and is averages 14:26 TOI.
13 Karl Alzner Alzner assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s 3rd period goal against the Calgary Flames. He took a penalty against Vancouver that led to a flurry of scoring – 3 goals in less than 2 minutes.
14 Troy Brouwer Brouwer hasn’t scored a point since 10/16 against the Devils. He was credited with 4 hits in the 4 games since, but there’s opportunity for him to produce a bit more if he’s skating on the first and second lines as he did this week and getting power play time.
15 Jason Chimera Not an exciting week for Jason Chimera. He’s registered just 2 points in 8 games.
16 John Carlson Carlson scored a power play goal in the loss against Edmonton, but didn’t contribute to the offense on the road trip otherwise.
17 Matt Niskanen One assist this week, and a whole lot of penalty killing.
18 Liam O’Brien Pretty nice week for O’Brien. He scored his first NHL goal in Vancouver, and got punched in the face by Matt Hendricks in Edmonton.
19 Michael Latta Not a remarkable week for the center, other than an assist on Joel Ward’s second goal in Calgary, which was Latta’s first point of the season.
20 Jay Beagle Made his return to the lineup in Edmonton. He had an otherwise uneventful week.
Brooks Laich Still out with an “upper-body” injury, per the team.
 – John Erskine Sidelined due to neck surgery. I’m doubtful he’ll crack the lineup any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti IR. Still.
 – Jack Hillen Scratched this week.
 – Tom Wilson His return to Hershey could signal an appearance in a Caps sweater sometime soon.
 – Chris Brown Scratched this week.
 – Dmitry Orlov Yup, still on IR.


Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Calgary Flames 10/25/14

In honor of Jay Beagle’s grand homecoming to Calgary, the Washington Capitals pulled out a 3-1 win over the Flames.

Joel Ward started the scoring for the Caps in the first, then Dennis Wideman (yeah, that Dennis Wideman) tied things up before intermission. Ward got past Kari Ramo again for the lead, and the Caps never looked back. Nicklas Backstrom’s tally made it 3-1, and suddenly the road trip started to look pretty good.


First Star:

Joel Ward.

Last year, this guy locked himself in a bathroom stall and broke his career goal and points record. This year, he has 4 goals and 1 assist through 7 games, and it’s looking like another good year for him. The remarkable thing about his 2-goal performance against the Flames was that he wasn’t skating with his twin, Jason Chimera, or Eric Fehr. In an effort to shake up the lines a bit after a frustrating night in Edmonton, Trotz bumped Fehr up to the first line, and Ward to what is ostensibly the fourth line with Liam O’Brien and Michael Latta, and Chimera skated with Jay Beagle, the hometown boy, and that other Russian guy, Evgeny Kuznetsov.


Second Star:

Braden Holtby.

He didn’t see a whole lot of action, but answered when called upon. He had a couple “yeah-my-teammates-really-needed-this-save” moments in Edmonton, and rectified those mistakes with a nearly perfect performance in his 20-save win.


Third Star:

Nicklas Backstrom.

One goal, a breakaway, and an overall stand-up guy earns Backstrom a spot on this list (again). He is only really here because he scored his 3rd period goal with 19:19 remaining in the period and I wanted an excuse to post this video:

Honorable Mention

Brooks Orpik, who should actually be the third star but there isn’t a dated music video to accompany his team-high 10 hits.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Vancouver Canucks 10/26/14

Three games, one win and two losses, two out of six possible points on the road. Not ideal, but the Capitals are sitting on a 4-2-2 record after 8 games, which is actually pretty good.

Add Vancouver to the list of places the Caps can’t seem to win in. They haven’t won a game in Vancouver since 2001, when the Sedins were practically babies.

Marcus Johansson scored his third goal of the season off a neat feed from Andre Burakovsky in the second period, then the Canucks added three goals in less than two minutes. The Capitals took a bunch of penalties and then rookie Liam O’ Brien scored his first career NHL goal in the second period, but a Vancouver empty-netter with a minute left in the third snuffed any hopes of a tie. Canucks win 4-2.


First Star:

Marcus Johansson.

Johansson is actually shooting (i.e. not passing up shots) and looks more confident than ever on the ice. Andre Burakovsky’s nifty pass to Johansson was one of two that got past Ryan Miller all night, and was #90’s third goal this season, which is equal to his even strength goal total from last season. Johansson began the night skating with Burakovsky and Troy Brouwer, but lines were shuffled and he ended up with Evgeny Kuznetsov as his center. Who knows if that will stick, though.

Second Star.

Justin Peters.

He may not have come up with the win, but Peters was a key component to keeping the Canucks off the board in the first period. The penalty kill wasn’t stellar tonight for the Caps, and Peters covered for the rest of the team’s defensive lapses capably. His last few starts haven’t been the best, but you can’t fault him for the losses.

Third Star.

Liam O’Brien.

The surprise rookie put himself on the map for something else besides face-punching. This is a facet of his game that he hopefully will put to use more often. He finished the night with 5 shots on goal and TOI of 8:04. O’Brien and Latta seem to have a bit of chemistry, so maybe Trotz will keep them together amidst the shuffling of lines of late.


Capitals participating in Hockey Fights Cancer campaign during month of November

Per a press release from the Washington Capitals, the Caps will wear purple jerseys during warmups beginning with their home game October 29th and extending through the month of November as part of the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign. Capitals goalies Braden Holtby and Justin Peters will sport lavender goalie masks throughout the campaign as well.

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals are teaming up with the National Hockey League October through November to educate the hockey community about cancer. Hockey Fights Cancer is a league-wide initiative founded by the NHL and NHL Players’ Association and is dedicated to raising awareness for national and local organizations involved in cancer care and research.

The Capitals will host Hockey Fights Cancer Awareness Night during the game against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, Oct. 29. Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) Foundation is hosting a jersey auction to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s National Capital Area Chapter. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. The organization funds research to advance more breakthrough therapies for blood cancer patients, and serves as the voice for these patients, working to ensure access to treatments for all.

During warmups, players will wear purple Capitals jerseys with a Hockey Fights Cancer patch. The jerseys will feature players’ names and numbers in white twill backed in lavender with ribbon cutouts on the numbers. Lavender is the official color the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, as it represents all forms of cancer. Braden Holtby and Justin Peters will also wear Hockey Fights Cancer-themed goalie masks during the game.

These autographed, practice-worn jerseys and goalie masks will be auctioned off at the MSE Foundation table located on the main concourse at section 104 of Verizon Center during the Capitals game against the Detroit Red Wings. Bidding will start when doors open at 6:30 p.m. and will conclude when the second intermission ends. MSE Foundation donated more than $35,000 to the LLS National Capital Area Chapter last year through the 2013 jersey auction. To view a photo gallery of the masks visitMonumentalNetwork.com.

During the game, management, coaches and broadcasters will wear the lavender official Hockey Fights Cancer tie.

Eleven-year-old Bethesda, Md., native and local wish kid Ryan Darby will participate in a ceremonial puck drop on behalf of Make-A-Wish® Mid-Atlantic. Make-A-Wish Mid Atlantic is the beneficiary of a $5,000 grant distributed by the NHL to the Washington Capitals in support of a local cancer organization. Make-A-Wish grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic serves children who reside in central and southern Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Founded in 1983, the Mid-Atlantic chapter has granted more than 8,200 wishes in the Mid-Atlantic region since its inception. For more information, please visit: www.midatlantic.wish.org.

In addition a portion of proceeds from tickets purchased through the Capitals special Hockey Fight Cancer linkwww.msesales.com/caps/hfc will be donated to LLS. Use the promo code HFC to activate the discount and donation when purchasing through the link.

Hockey Fights Cancer is an initiative founded in December 1998 by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association to raise money and awareness for hockey’s most important fight. To date, through the NHL’s U.S. and Canadian charitable foundations, more than $12.8 million has been raised under the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative to support national and local cancer research institutions, children’s hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations. The Hockey Fights Cancer program is also a component of the NHL’s “Biggest Assist Happens Off the Ice” campaign – the League’s long-standing tradition of addressing important social issues in North America and around the world.

The Hockey Fights Cancer program is supported by NHL Member Clubs, NHL Alumni, the NHL Officials’ Association, Professional Hockey Trainers and Equipment Managers, corporate marketing partners, broadcast partners and fans throughout North America.


Photos courtesy of the Washington Capitals.

HFC Jersey Peters Mask Holtby Mask

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Edmonton Oilers 10/22/14

Read the recap of tonight’s game in Edmonton here: http://wp.me/p1QLZd-6Rr

They may have lost to the Oilers, but there were a lot of good things to take away from the Capitals performance in Edmonton, including but not limited to the power play (which is pretty good), and controlling play at even strength. They out-attempted Edmonton 66-36 through 3 periods.

First Star: Mike Green

He missed the home opener, but he has 6 points in five games since his season debut against Boston. When he’s allowed to play like he’s supposed to, he really gets it done. Whatever Barry Trotz is doing agrees with him.

Second Star: Nicklas Backstrom

He is a Steady Eddie if there ever was one. Six points in 6 games, and his assist on John Carlson’s power play goal was his 500th career point.

Third Star: Andre Burakovsky

Despite the fact that he was playing on a line with Jay Beagle all night, he dished the puck to Mike Green and earned a primary assist on the goal. He has 6 points in 6 games (2g, 4a). Let’s hope that line pairing doesn’t last.

Washington Capitals Game 6 Recap: Capitals lose 3-2 in regulation to Oilers

On the first stop of their road trip to western Canada, the Washington Capitals parked in Edmonton for the night to visit former Capitals Boyd Gordon and Matt Hendricks.

The Oilers struck first, John Carlson answered on the power play, and Mike Green’s wrister gave the Caps the lead, but 20 seconds later, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins struck for the Oilers. Tie game. Late in the second Nikita Nikitin scored the go-ahead goal for Edmonton. The Capitals lobbed everything they had at Ben Scrivens, but he was figuratively on fire, and had a fine crew of shot-blockers in front of him. Caps lose for the first time in regulation, 3-2.

  • Power play looks pretty good, and the Oilers defense makes it look even better.
  • Jay Beagle made his first start of the season against Edmonton. He was really excited. Trotz had him on the ice with 1:30 left, which is puzzling, to say the least. He played on a line with Marcus Johansson and Andre Burakovsky, which is ostensibly the Capitals’ second line.
  • Two consecutive shots on goal in the second period by Karl Alzner. Adam Oates wouldn’t have allowed that to happen.
  • Mike Green scored a beauty, but the Caps allowed a goal against 20 seconds later. Some habits are hard to break, I suppose. Last season, the Caps gave up a buttload (scientific term) of quick response goals, and it helped them lose a lot of games.
  • Former Capital Matt Hendricks fought with new Capital Liam O’Brien. It was weird.
  • Alex Ovechkin didn’t have a shot on goal until the third period, but he’s been terrific otherwise this season. Everyone has their off nights.
  • How’s this for a fancy stat: after Wednesday’s game, the Capitals held their opponent to less than 30 shots on goal for the sixth time this season, the first time they’ve done that since November 2010.
  • The Capitals had 66 shot attempts to the Oilers’ 36, but still couldn’t find the back of the net. The Oilers were shot-blocking machines, and Ben Scrivens was pretty good too.
  • Nicklas Backstrom assisted on John Carlson’s first period power play goal, his 500th point in his 501st game.

Washington Capitals Power Rankings: Weeks 1 & 2

Each Monday this season, District Sports Page will rank the active roster of the Washington Capitals “power ranking” style. The criteria for rankings will be questionable and highly subjective, so don’t think too hard about them.

Note: this list actually covers weeks 1 & 2, since the Capitals only played 5 games during that timespan.

Rank Player The whatfor
1 Alex Ovechkin Six points in 5 games, and he looks great at even strength. Fun times.
2 Mike Green I think he’ll outlast Brooks Laich in the injury sweepstakes. If there was any worry about how he’d fit into the updated defensive corps, thats gone now. He’s thriving.
3 Andre Burakovsky Five points in five games. He seems to be adjusting to his role as a center. It’s like he was born to be a 2C.
4 Troy Brouwer He got bumped up to the first line against Florida when Fehr moved back to the third line, and scored the equalizing goal against San Jose that sent the game to OT.
5 Nick Backstrom Mr. 500 is kind of a big deal ’round these parts. Just ask Barry Trotz.
6 Braden Holtby Two wins, a shutout in Boston, not a bad start to the season for Holtby (aside from that one time he was pulled less than 10 minutes into the game against San Jose.)
7 Jason Chimera This guy was all over the ice Saturday night, and he definitely worked on his moves during the offseason.”)
8 Marcus Johansson Part of the “Swedetrick” against the Devils, and has 2 goals through 5 games. He’s shooting more and looks pretty confident on the ice.
9 Eric Fehr He’s already been bumped from the first line to the third with Chimera and Ward, and it’s moderately unfortunate for a player who can skate as well as he can to be stuck at center, but there’s still a lot of time left for things to change.
10 Justin Peters He’s only gotten one start, but it was a good one, and has subbed in capably when needed.
11 Evgeny Kuznetsov Three points in 5 games, which is not bad, but he’s still being shuffled around the lineup a bit.
12 Nate Schmidt If Nate Schmidt ever stops smiling, the world will probably stop turning and the sun will cease to shine. Besides that, he looks more like an NHL defenseman every day.
13 Karl Alzner Karl is as Karl does. No surprises here.
14 Joel Ward This.
15 Brooks Orpik Orpik, usually paired with John Carlson, looked good, aside from the first period of the Sharks game, where everyone was struggling.
16 John Carlson Four points in four games for Carlson, and he’s seeing a lot of power play time as well.
17 Matt Niskanen He’s eating up a lot of minutes, and seems to be meshing well with partner Karl Alzner.
18 Liam O’Brien Probably the sassiest guy on the team. Not many people his size would dare taunt the mountainous John Scott.
19 Brooks Laich Laich has one point in 5 games, and it looks like he’s going to miss some time with an upper-body injury. Say it with me: at least it’s not the groin.
20 Chris Brown He’s done pretty much what is expected of him as a fourth line winger, and scored a goal, too.
21 Michael Latta Healthy scratch for 3 of 5 games this season, only seeing action against Boston and San Jose thus far.
 – John Erskine Healthy scratch. Not a great probability we’ll see him dress for a game any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti Still on IR for the foreseeable future.
 – Jack Hillen Healthy scratch since his one start in the home opener. Probably won’t be seeing much of Hillen this season.
 – Tom Wilson Still on IR, but Trotz has hinted that he may see a rehab stint in Hershey fairly soon.
 – Jay Beagle Not in the doghouse, but still on IR. He practiced Monday morning, so he might be back soon.
 – Dmitry Orlov Yup, still on IR.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers 10/18/14

The Panthers aren’t divisional rivals anymore, which is weird, but the Capitals still kind of beat up on the new kid like the old days. Jason Chimera scored a weird goal, and the Panthers got one back on a power play, but the Capitals were perfect in the shootout and won 2-1.

First Star: Jason Chimera

The Ice Cheetah was everywhere on the ice against the Panthers tonight. Since the re-addition of Eric Fehr, the third line has been abuzz, including Joel Ward scoring a weird goal against the Devils Thursday night. Chimera’s goal was as fancy as they come. He was clearly working on his finesse in the offseason. He had another great scoring chance on Al Montoya later in the game, and had a team high 5 shots on goal.

Check it.

Second Star: Justin Peters

In his first start with the Caps, Peters effectively brought home the bacon for the Capitals, stopping 20 of 21 shots, and stopped Jussi Jokinen in the shootout for the Caps’ win. It was his first start since December of 2013, when he was a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s a super solid No. 2 goalie. And he has great hair. What more do you want?

Third Star: Alex Ovechkin

Ovechkin was the third shooter in the shootout lineup, and scored the winning shot with the prettiest shootout goal he’s made in years. He had two shots on goal and seven hits in the 2-1 win.

Honorable mention: Nicklas Backstrom

He finished with three shots on goal and did not register a point, but Mr. 500 is still one of the best. Congrats on 500.

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