October 31, 2014

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

Washington Capitals 2014-15 Season Roundtable Part III: Projections for Ovi

We’re a little late to the party here, but District Sports Page conducted a roundtable with staff writers and friends of the site to discuss pertinent issues surrounding the 2014-15 Washington Capitals.

Our panelists: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief; Katie Brown, Staff Writer; Eric Hobeck, Staff Writer; J.J. Regan, Contributor; Abram Fox, former contributor, Harry Hawkings, Editor at Rock the Red.

Part I: Grade the Caps offseason and their biggest acquisitions
Part II: What is your single biggest area of concern?

Part III: What do you expect out of Alex Ovechkin this season? [Read more...]

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: Caps survive in shootout win over Florida

The Washington Capitals continued their  strong start to the 2014-15 season on Saturday night at Verizon Center with a 2-1 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.

Justin Peters made his first start of the young season in goal for the Caps, stopping 20 of the 21 shots he faced, and looked ready to be a solid backup to Braden Holtby.

“That’s some nice run support,” said Peters, the game’s first star, on his teammates’ 1-2-3 scoring effort in the shootout. “We’ve got a lot of skill and I see those guys in practice every day, so it’s nice to see them score because they do that to me.”

Nick Backstrom scored the deciding goal in the shootout, and Alex Ovechkin iced it in the top of the third round with his first shootout tally of the season.

It was Backstrom’s 500th NHL game, and the Swedish pivot sits at 499 career points.

“He’s exceptional,” coach Barry Trotz said of his No. 1 center. “The hockey IQ, the professionalism, the stick skills, all those things. You know what you’re going to get night in and night out. That’s part of being a pro, and that’s part of being a great pro.

He’s done it at a high level for 500 games and he was good tonight. He had a couple looks himself and he set a couple guys up that sort of whiffed on a couple chances. He’s a pleasure to coach and a pleasure to watch.”

Jason Chimera was the best player on the ice not wearing goalie pads Saturday night, and he opened the scoring late in the first period. Chimera was in front of the net and received a nifty pass from Eric Fehr. Chimera deked Florida goalie Al Montoya out of position and deposited his first goal of the season on the backhand.

“It was nice to get the goal and get the team going, for sure. You want to win as much as possible and if you can help your team win, that’s what you’ve got to do,” Chimera said.

The Panthers tied it on the power play early in the third period to make things interesting, as Brad Boyes scored his first goal of the season.

The win puts the Capitals’ record at 3-0-2 ahead of next week’s road trip at Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver.

CAPS NOTES:

  • Washington has posted a 10-0-1 record in its last 11 games against Florida and has won nine consecutive home games against the Panthers.
  • The Capitals outshot the Panthers 28-21.
  • Washington was 4 for 5 on the penalty kill tonight and is 18 for 20 (90.0%) on the penalty kill this season.

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.

Washington Capitals Game 4 Recap: 6 Caps score in trouncing of Devils

OVECHKIN SCORES 5TH OF THE SEASON IN CONVINCING WIN

Just three games into the 2014-15 campaign, the Washington Capitals had already fallen in shootouts twice. They made sure to avoid that distinction Thursday night, scoring early — and often — trouncing the previously unbeaten New Jersey Devils 6-2.

Six different Caps players scored, handing the Devils their first loss of the season. New Jersey entered play 3-0-0.

It didn’t take long for the Caps (2-0-2) to get engaged in this one. In fact, it took just 34 seconds for Alex Ovechkin to gather a loose puck and snap one past Cory Schneider for the quick 1-0 lead. Kind of ridiculously, it was only the sixth fastest goal Ovechkin has scored in his career.

Ovechkin has scored in three straight games, amassing five goals in that timeframe.

New Jersey answered a little past the midway mark of the frame. The Devils did a good job creating traffic in front of Braden Holtby, and defenseman Damon Severson’s wrist shot got through a maze of bodies to tie it up.

But a lackadaisical Devils turnover on the next shift was corralled by Brooks Orpik near center ice. He tossed to Mike Green, who moved the puck ahead for Chris Brown on the right wing. Brown fired on Schneider essentially to trigger a line change, but slap shot got past the New Jersey goalie for a 2-1 Caps lead.

With 3:24 left in the period, the Devils tied it again on another shot by Severson from the point through traffic. It’s the second consecutive game the Caps have given up a two-goal period to a defenseman.

Marcus Johansson broke the tie 6:18 into the second period as he took a pass from Brooks Laich off the half-wall and beat Schneider with a wrist shot for his second goal of the season.

The Caps got an insurance goal 56 seconds into the third. Matt Niskanen fired from the point and Nick Backstrom redirected the slap slot while camping out in the low slot to make it 4-2.

Moments later, Joel Ward fired one in from the blue line that bounced off the back wall, off Schneider’s back and into his skates. The goalie fell trying to cover and pushed the puck into the net to give the Caps a 5-2 lead. Schneider was promptly lifted in favor of Scott Clemmensen.

The Caps added insult to injury later in the third. With Jaromir Jagr off for tripping, Andre Burakovsky sniped the top glove corner on Clemmensen from the right wing dot to provide a four-goal cushion.

Braden Holtby was spectacular in the first period, despite the two screened goals. He was rarely tested after and made 26 saves in total for his second win of the season.

Washington Capitals Game 3 Recap: Caps earn point against Sharks despite 3-0 hole

OVECHKIN SCORES TWICE TO LEAD CAPS IN THREE-GOAL COMEBACK

Despite trailing one of the best teams in the Western Conference 3-0 after the first period, and facing a two-goal deficit with 5:51 left in the game, the Washington Capitals earned a point by forcing overtime on Troy Brouwer’s late third period goal.

Unfortunately, the Caps were shut out in the shootout, and fell to the San Jose Sharks 6-5. But considering the start, it could end up being one of the biggest points the Caps earn all season.

The Caps found themselves in an early hole. Just 1:23 into the contest, Joe Thornton won a draw in the left wing faceoff circle to defenseman Matt Irwin, who blasted a long-range shot past Braden Holtby for a 1-0 Sharks lead.

Moments later, fourth-liner Michael Latta was called for elbowing. Though the Caps did a credible job killing the advantage, San Jose struck again with two seconds remaining in the infraction, as Irwin lifted a backhander past Holtby. Irwin was a healthy scratch in the Sharks’ first tow games.

Things got out of hand with just over 10 minutes left in the first, as John Scott — known primarily for beating people senseless — snuck a shot past Holtby on an odd-man rush as Brooks Orpik got caught out of position.

Just like that, the Caps trailed 3-0 and Holtby found a seat on the bench, in favor of Justin Peters making his Capitals’ debut.

“The first period I didn’t like at all,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I just didn’t like our commitment. We were a pass-first team in a shoot-first league in the first period. You’re not going to give a team like the Sharks a three-goal lead and expect to come back.”

The Caps got on the board at 2:51 of the second period. With Tomas Hertl off for interference, the power play put on an impressive passing clinic, with Troy Brouwer feeding Alex Ovechkin at the high point, to John Carlson on the wing, back to Ovechkin and finally to Marcus Johansson, who was camped on the right post.

After a battle for the puck. Johansson tapped it past Antti Niemi for the first goal against the Sharks in three games this season.

San Jose killed the momentum at 14:33, as a harmless looking shot bounced off Eric Fehr and past Peters to make it a three goal game again. Joe Pavelski, who took the initial shot, was credited with the goal.

But as quickly as that came about, the Caps righted the ship. Following an odd-man rush, Mike Green collected the puck in the corner, played keep-away until he could settle into a good shooting spot in the center of the ice, and whipped a wrister past Niemi to make it 4-2.

Moments later, Ovechkin took a pass from Nicklas Backstrom in the high slot and did what only Ovi can do: make a world-class goalie look bad, as he rifled a shot through Niemi to cut the deficit to one at 4-3.

But San Jose made it a two-goal game less than two minutes into the third. Chris Tierney broke up a Caps rush at the Caps’ blue line and fed Tommy Wingels streaking in all alone on Peters. Peters made the save on Wingels’ first shot, but the Sharks winger got another whack at it and snuck it through.

The Caps got another power play with 6:15 left and made good on it, as Ovechkin registered his second of the game and fourth of the season with a wicked wrister from the left wing circle, bringing the Caps within one at 5-4 with 5:51 remaining in the game.

“We had some big efforts,” Trotz said. “I thought [Ovechkin] was the best player on the ice today. He had a couple goals. He’s blocking shots. He’s running over people. He was a beast out there.”

Brouwer tied it just over a minute later, as he took an outlet pass from Green, faked out Irwin who fell, and beat Niemi high glove side to even things up.

Overtime came after a few nervous moments as Backstrom took a high-sticking penalty with less than two minutes left in the third period.

CAPS NOTES:

  • With his assist tonight, Ovechkin passed Mike Gartner (392) for second place on the Capitals’ franchise assists list. Ovechkin now sits 26 assists shy of passing Michal Pivonka (418) for first place on the Capitals’ assists list.
  • Andre Burakovsky earned an assist, extending his point streak to three games (10/9-10/14: 1g, 3a). Burakovsky is the first Capitals player to start his career with a three-game point streak since Alex Ovechkin started his career with an eight-game point streak in 2005.
  • Liam O’Brien earned an assist, marking his first NHL point.
  •  The Capitals scored two power-play goals for the second consecutive game.
  • Washington outshot San Jose 34-23 and outhit the Sharks 26-13.

Three Stars: Washington Capitals vs. San Jose Sharks 10/14/14

Despite trailing 3-0 in the first period to the San Jose Sharks, the Washington Capitals rallied and tied the game late in the third, but fell in the shootout, 6-5. John Scott scored on the Capitals. At least they came away with a point.

First Star: Alex Ovechkin

The Captain scored two goals and logged one assist and eight shots on goal in the Capitals’ shootout loss against San Jose, his 87th career multi-point game. Four goals in two games (one each at even strength and on the power play) is a great start to the season for Ovechkin.

Second Star: Mike Green

In his first two games, Green has notched three points, two of those (1g, 1a) against San Jose. No sign of injury slowdown, and hopefully for the Caps he stays that way. He might be technically a third pairing defensemen on the depth chart, but for skill, there’s probably not a defenseman on the roster that can match Green.

Third Star: Troy Brouwer

Brouwer scored the equalizer that sent the game to overtime, nearly completing the Capitals’ comeback. While Antii Niemi should have probably stopped it, the goal Brouwer scored Tuesday night is the kind of goal the team needs him to score.

Honorable Mention:

Nicklas Backstrom: He finished the night with 2 assists, both dishes to Ovechkin on his two goals.

Liam O’Brien’s tongue: Good thing John Scott only picks on people his own size, or at least he did Tuesday night. Probably because he scored a goal for once.

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...]

CAPS: Alex Ovechkin Surprises 10-Year Old Girl with a Date

Ovechkin Surprises 10-year-old Washington Ice Dogs Player, Asks Her on a “Date”

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain high fives 10-year old Ann as forward Nicklas Backstrom signs her jersey. As part of her date with Ovechkin Ann met numerous Capitals players in the locker room, including defenseman Mike Green (center). (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin poses with his “date,” 10-year-old Ann, following the Capitals game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ann asked Ovechkin on a date during a skate he hosted at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sept. 11 and Ovechkin surprised her by granting her request during the Capitals’ final preseason game. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and 10-year-old Ann high-five during a sushi date at Verizon Center on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin. During the session, Ann skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin surprised 10-year-old Ann and asked her on a date during the Capitals’ game versus the Carolina Hurricanes on Oct. 5. Ovechkin and Ann, a native of Laurel, Md., met on Sept. 11, during an American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) skate with 60 children and adolescents hosted by Ovechkin at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the official training facility of the Capitals. During the session, Ann, who has the genetic disorder Downs Syndrome, skated to Ovechkin and invited him on a sushi date. Ovechkin granted her request during the Capitals final preseason game at Verizon Center.

The day began with Ann and her parents arriving at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, where they were given a tour of the Capitals locker room. During the tour of the facility and with Ann sitting in Ovechkin’s stall, the Capitals captain entered the locker room, surprising Ann with his appearance. He presented a personalized jersey and flowers to Ann to accept her date invitation and drove Ann to Verizon Center.

At Verizon Center Ann watched warmups from the Capitals bench sat in the Ovi’s Crazy 8’s seating section along with her family to watch the Capitals game. Following the game, after meeting numerous Capitals players and head coach Barry Trotz in the locker room, she and Ovechkin continued their date with a post-game meal of sushi in the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Owners Club.

“I was pretty surprised when Ann skated over and asked me out during our skate,” said Ovechkin. “I thought it was a good idea and decided to take her up on it. It was great to see a smile on her face. She is a terrific and funny kid. She seemed to have a lot of fun and I was very pleased to spend some time with her.”

The Sept. 11 ASHA event during which Ovechkin met Ann marked the first of many community initiatives he will continue to support throughout the 2014-15 season. Ovechkin created Ovi’s Crazy 8s in 2006, a program through which he purchases and donates eight Capitals season tickets to Most Valuable Kids, allowing fans who normally wouldn’t have access to tickets the opportunity to attend games. Ovechkin also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation®, having most recently granted the wish of Washington, D.C., native Ellie Carney.

For a video recap of the date click here.

For a photo gallery of the date click here.

Washington Capitals Game 2 Recap: Alex Ovechkin scores twice as Caps blank Bruins

After a less-than-encouraging start to the 2014-15 season on Thursday, the Washington Capitals rebounded with a resounding 4-0 road win over the Boston Bruins on Saturday night. Captain Alex Ovechkin scored twice in the first period to give the Caps an early advantage that they didn’t give up.

[Read more...]

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