November 19, 2019

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…]

CAPS: 2015 Caps Canine Calendar

Members of the Washington Capitals players participated in the 2015 Capitals Canine Calendar photo shoot to benefit Homeward Trails Animal Rescue at Potomac Regional Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia.

A limited number of 2015 Caps Canine Calendars will be available for $20 beginning Tuesday, Dec. 2, when the Capitals host the Vancouver Canucks. The Caps Better Halves will help sell the calendars during the month of December at the MSE Foundation table located at section 104 on the main concourse. In addition the calendar will be available for purchase at the team stores at Verizon Center and Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The online sales are closed.

Players being photographed include Karl Alzner, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, John Carlson, Jack Hillen, Matt Niskanen, Brooks Orpik, Justin Peters, Aaron Volpatti, and Joel Ward with their dogs and Braden Holtby, Michael Latta, Alex Ovechkin, Dmitri Orlov and Tom Wilson with shelter dogs.

Last season $34,044.99 was donated to Homeward Trails through the sale of the 2014 Capitals Canine Calendar.

How could you resist a calendar with your favorite hockey players and adorable dogs? Here are a few of the photos posted on Twitter and Instragram.

 

@backstrom19 gets some puppy kisses after his shoot. #capscaninecalendar

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

#CapsCanineCalendar shoot with Braden Holtby and Hogan from Homeward Trails Animal Rescue

A photo posted by MSE Foundation (@msefoundation) on

Comparing lineups: have the Caps gotten better?

Caps during National Anthem - Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps during National Anthem – Washington Capitals home opener against Montreal featuring 40th Anniversary cermony, 10/09/2014 (Photo by Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The Brian MacLellan and Barry Trotz era has officially begun for the Washington Capitals as the team looks to put a lackluster 2013 campaign behind them.

MacLellan began that process in the offseason with several key acquisitions. The opening night roster is about as close as you can get to seeing a general manager’s vision as there are fewer injuries and politics that dictate shifts in line combinations. To see if the teams has improved and by how much, let’s compare this season’s opening night roster to last season’s. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 11 Recap: Win streak ends as Caps can’t find footing against Flames

The Washington Capitals had been playing their best hockey of the year, winning three straight, including the first two games of a five-game trip through western Canada. But Saturday night in Calgary, that good play came to a screeching halt as the Caps were outplayed much of the night by the Flames, and fell 5-2 before a full house at the renovated Saddledome.

With the loss, the Caps fall back below .500 at 5-6-0.

Braden Holtby was pulled less than 13 minutes into the game, while Jason Chimera and Aaron Volpatti were the only Caps to score. That right there should tell you something about the Caps’ fortunes in this one. [Read more…]

CAPS/WIZARDS: Washington Capitals and Wizards Players Team Up with KaBOOM to Build New Playground

Volunteers put the final touches on a Monumental Sports themed playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a design day event in July and will provide more than 1,200 children with a place to play. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Volunteers put the final touches on a Monumental Sports themed playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a design day event in July and will provide more than 1,200 children with a place to play. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals and Wizards Players Team Up with KaBOOM! to Build New Playground
at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals forwards Jay Beagle, Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson and Washington Wizards guards Bradley Beal and Glen Rice, Jr. joined more than 250 volunteers from Eagle Academy Public Charter School and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, organizers from KaBOOM! and residents of the Congress Heights neighborhood on Thursday, Sept. 26, to build a new playground at the Eagle Center at McGogney.

The new playground’s design is based on drawings created by children who participated in a Design Day event in July. Since the school reopened, students have been playing indoors or on a field with no play structure. The new equipment will provide more than 1,200 children in the neighborhood with a safe place to play.

Volunteers including the Capitals and Wizards players completed the build in six hours, including moving 160 cubic yards of mulch, mixing more than 1,500 pounds of concrete and assembling the play structure.

“The new playground offers kids a great place to be active,” said Beagle. “It was nice to see so many people come together for a cause, and we hope the children enjoy playing outside on the equipment.”

“I am glad to see all of the ideas from the kids from Design Day come to life,” said Beal. “The participation of the volunteers and the excitement of the students made it a great day.”

The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. MSE Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500.

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti, Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti, Tom Wilson and Jay Beagle assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. The playground is the first built by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, but the third built with the assistance of the Washington Capitals. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals forwards Aaron Volpatti and Tom Wilson assist with constructing a playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Monumental Sports and Entertainment Foundation served as the funding partner for the playground, which cost $83,500. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Wizards players Bradley Beal (L) and Glenn Rice, Jr. help paint a table near the playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Earlier this summer, Beal assisted the students with the design of the playground. The build is the first joint effort by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Wizards players Bradley Beal (L) and Glenn Rice, Jr. help paint a table near the playground at Eagle Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. Earlier this summer, Beal assisted the students with the design of the playground. The build is the first joint effort by KaBOOM! and Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. (Photo Courtesy of Monumental Sports)

Washington Capitals 2013-14 Position Preview: Left Wing

Positionally, forwards are not an area in which the Capitals are lacking. There are 33 forwards still on the roster at the Washington Capitals training camp held at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, VA, which began on September 12 and will run through September 30. The roster will be pared down to 23 total players by that date, and it doesn’t appear there are any front runners to unseat any current roster players, aside from right winger Tom Wilson, who impressed coaches enough to allow him a chance to play in the Capitals last two playoff games in their series against the New York Rangers earlier this year, and has continued to earn accolades from the coaching staff in development camp, held in mid-July; rookie camp, held the week before this year’s formal training camp started; and training camp.

Marcus Johansson:

Coach Adam Oates told reporters he’d like to see the young forward play left wing alongside Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, rather than center, based on their success together last season. Oates added that because of his speed, he’d rather see Johansson utilize it as a winger, rather than center, where speed isn’t necessarily as crucial.

Johansson struggled early in the 2013 season before he was diagnosed with concussion symptoms He returned in March, around the time Ovechkin settled in to his switch to right wing, and finished the season with 22 points (6g, 16a). Expect Johansson to spend most of his time on the top line, but that could always change. Martin Erat could just as well see some time with Backstrom and Ovechkin.

Martin Erat:

Erat played in only nine games as a Capital after he was traded from the Nashville Predators with Michael Latta for top Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg at the trade deadline in April. A solid top-6 player for Nashville, the most likely scenario for Erat may be playing alongside newly signed center Mikhail Grabovski and right wing Troy Brouwer. He is listed on the Capitals roster as a right wing, but shoots left-handed. Oates has a preference for pairing left and right handed shooters on the same line, much the way he is fond of left–right defensive pairings. Erat playing at left wing is also a departure from his role in Nashville, where he played right wing.

Brooks Laich:

Once upon a time, post-Mike Ribiero, Brooks Laich was the Capitals’ second-line center. Then Mikhail Grabovski happened. Now, it looks like he’ll be relegated to the left wing, though he is listed as a center on the Capitals roster. Who he’ll be playing with or even if he’ll be playing early in the season remains to be seen. He’s been promised top-six minutes in the past, but Laich is a utility player, adaptable and willing to face any task set before him.

Laich is a leader in the locker room, too, as Ovechkin stated earlier this week. Adam Oates said he felt the Capitals were at their best last season when Laich was in the lineup, but injury once again makes things look murky for him, with straining his left hip flexor (unrelated to his groin issues last season) on the first day of training camp. He is currently day-to-day. There are still a few weeks until the regular season starts, so that may be sufficient time for him to heal and find his way back to the ice.

Jason Chimera:

After scoring a career-high 20 goals in 2011-12, Chimera had a tough year in 2013, finishing with only three goals and fourteen points. He may have lost his scoring touch, but he can still torch an opponent in a puck race. He’ll likely continue to see time on the third and fourth lines, where he’s paired well with players like Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, and Mathieu Perreault.

Aaron Volpatti:

Once ranked second in fighting majors on the Vancouver Canucks, Volpatti is a known pugilist, but since being claimed off waivers from the Canucks in February, he only tallied 7 PIMs in 17 games after joining the Capitals. Oates seems to like players like Volpatti – tough guys he can turn into gritty, pesky players who don’t have to drop the gloves to get their job done.

He signed a two-year contract extension with the Capitals in April, but was a healthy scratch during the 2013 playoffs. Most of his minutes were spent on the fourth line with Jay Beagle and now former teammate Matt Hendricks, aside from a weird turn of events that led to him playing on the first line for a game in March, while the Capitals were struggling to figure things out.

CAPS: Happy Birthday, Aaron Volpatti

HAPPY 28th BIRTHDAY AARON VOLPATTI!

The Washington Capitals forward was born on 05/30/1985 in Revelstoke, BC, Canada.

Happy 28th Birthday to #24.

Aaron Volpatti - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Aaron Volpatti – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

 

 

CAPS: Current and Former Capitals Signing Autographs

AUTOGRAPH OPPORTUNITY FOR CAPS FANS!

Several current and former Washington Capitals will be heading out to the Dulles, Virginia on Friday, April 26, 2013 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Autograph tickets are available for purchase. See information below for amount per autograph. Now is your chance to get that something special signed by your favorite Caps.

Braden Holtby – ($65)
Troy Brouwer – ($40)
Jack Hillen – ($20)
Wojek Wolski – ($20)
Aaron Volpatti – ($20)
John Erskine – ($30)

CAPS ALUMNI: (Autographs are FREE with Purchase-see site)

Bryan Watson
Ken Sabourin
Paul Mulvey
Al Hangsleben

See link for more information.

Where: 21100 Dulles Town Circle, Suite #162, Dulles, VA 20166

Jack Hillen - Captials practice at Kettler, September 14, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Jack Hillen – Captials practice at Kettler, September 14, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

Washington Capitals Game 20 Recap: Caps “Dr. Jekyll” breaks out in win over Jets

In the “Jekyll and Hyde” story of the Washington Capitals 2013 season, Dr. Jekyll (the good one) showed up at MTS Centre in Winnipeg, as the Caps put together their most complete road game to date, beating their Southeast Division rival Jets 3-0.

Braden Holtby, pulled in the second period in Thursday night’s debacle in Philadelphia, registered his third shut out of the season making 35 saves along the way.

The first period was not kind to the Caps everywhere but the scoreboard. They were fairly dominated by the Jets, being outshot 15-5 overall and 14-4 at even strength. The Caps were downright lucky to still be tied at that point.

But with 2:10 left in the frame, newcomer Aaron Volpatti mixed it up with Jets bruiser Anthony Peluso, a man three inches taller and 30 pounds heavier. While Peluso got the (much) better of the fight, the fracas seemed to give the Caps a lift.

The Capitals maintained that momentum into the second period. They came out on fire, peppering Jets goalie Ondrj Pavelec with shot after shot. Pavelec was up to the task for a while, including stoning Jason Chimera at point-blank, extending the winger’s season long scoring slump.

They finally got to Pavelec at 10:56 of the second, as Matt Hendricks, playing on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro, deflected Ribeiro’s pass behind a defenseless Pavelec to break the ice. It was the only goal of the stanza, but the Caps asserted themselves, maybe the best they have all season on the road. The Caps outshot Winnipeg 13-4 in the second period — without a power play — indicative of their stellar play.

Washington poured it on in the third period. Goals by Troy Brouwer (9) and Mike Ribeiro (7) in the first 4:16 of the frame pretty much sealed Winnipeg’s fate. All that was left was for Holtby to keep turning away shots, which he did all period as the Jets threw 16 shots his way in the final frame. Holtby, though, was up to the task.

After the embarrassing loss in Philly earlier in the week, the Caps really needed a performance like the one they put up Saturday. It’s only the Caps’ third road win of the season, but it was a critical game in the crowded Southeast Division, with all five teams now separated by just four points top-to-bottom.

The Caps are now off until Tuesday, when they host the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins, which will be another strong litmus test the Caps will have to face if they want to get back into the playoff discussion in this lockout-shortened season.

Washington Capitals claim Aaron Volpatti off waivers; assign Grubauer and Wellman to Hershey

The Washington Capitals took the day off from practice on Thursday, but they were active on the transaction front. The team announced their claim of winger Aaron Volpatti off waivers from the Vancouver Canucks and reassigned G Philipp Grubauer and F Casey Wellman to AHL Hershey.

Volpatti, 27, has recorded one goal and 28 penalty minutes in 16 games with Vancouver this season. The native of Revelstoke, British Columbia, ranked second on Vancouver in penalty minutes this season and has collected three goals, one assist and 81 penalty minutes in 54 career NHL games with the Canucks.

Volpatti plays much bigger than his 6’0″, 215-pound frame. He’s a willing checker — his 42 hits rank second among Vancouver forwards despite limited playing time — and he’s more than willing, and able, to tangle with fighters out of his weight class. He should bring an added element of toughness to the Caps fourth line. He is expected to join the team for practice on Friday.

Grubauer goes back to Hershey after recording 14 saves in Wednesday night’s relief appearance of Braden Holtby in the Caps’ 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Wellman practiced with the team as insurance but did not make an appearance while with the team.

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