October 21, 2014

NHL Free Agency: Washington Capitals leaving dance card open as veterans depart

Friday is the first day NHL GMs can start signing free agents, and the Washington Capitals have already seen three of their prominent free agents take employment elsewhere.

Mike Ribeiro, the long-awaited No. 2 center, signed a four-year deal with the Arizona (nee Phoenix) Coyotes and fan favorite winger Matt Hendricks got his own four-year deal with the Nashville Predators. D Jeff Schultz, who was waived earlier in the week, signed a one-year deal for $700,000.

Good for all, bad for the Caps.

Hendricks’ deal with Nashville will pay him $7.4M over the length of the contract ($1.85M per annum), while Ribeiro will make $22M on his contract, a $5.5M cap hit each season.

The Caps simply could not afford either player for their market value.

It leaves George McPhee in an interesting place, especially with his team poised to join a more competitive division next season. The team is still negotiating with RFA Karl Alzner, but sources indicate that negotiation could end up in arbitration.

One the Caps spots that could use bolstering is another top defensive contributor on their blue line to push John Erskine into more of a third pairing/situational seventh defenseman spot. They do have several youngsters that will compete for playing time on the back end, but most are the puck-moving variety.

Up front, Ribeiro’s exit once again creates a gaping hole at 2C.

The Caps expect Brooks Laich to enter camp completely healthy, but he’s much more suited to wing on the second line or center on the third line. His versatility is one thing the Caps really like about Laich, but he’s just not offensively gifted enough to be counted on as a playmaker on a scoring line, such as Ribeiro was. The Caps once hoped Marcus Johansson would be that player, but his ineffectiveness in the face-off circle and lack of presence on the defensive end makes him more suited to play wing, which we saw him do primarily last season.

To make matters worse, unlike with the defenseman, there are no prospects waiting in the wings to push veterans for playing time at center within the organization.

Many expected (hoped) the Caps would re-sign Ribeiro, eliminating the need to look outside the organization for that 2C as they have so often in the past. Now that Ribeiro has moved on to greener pastures officially, the Caps hand is finally forced. But among the free agent candidates, there are no logical solutions. The only player on the market that really suited their needs at the position is the one that just left.

The Caps will probably have Martin Erat skate with Nick Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin on the top line next season. If the Caps don’t make a push and sign a free agent –or make a trade — to bolster that second line, it will be formed from a mish-mash of Troy Brouwer, Brooks Laich, Eric Fehr, Jason Chimera, Marcus Johansson and Mattieu Perreault, with the leftovers joining the third line with Joel Ward. Two-thirds of the the fourth line looks pretty set with Jay Beagle and Aaron Volpatti.

A third line of Brooks Laich centering Chimera and Ward is a line with a purpose — defensively responsible with speed on a wing, with two of the three also poised for lots of penalty kill time.

But unless the Caps are willing to get creative and make some deals, they won’t have that luxury. With the road to the playoffs that much more congested, it’s a bad time for the roster to be in such a state of flux.

CAPS: Happy Birthday, Matt Hendricks

HAPPY 32nd BIRTHDAY MATT HENDRICKS!

The Washington Capitals center was born on 06/17/1981 in Blaine, Minnesota, United States.

Happy Birthday to #26. Follow Hendy on Twitter and wish him a happy birthday.

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

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

Matt Hendricks during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Matt Hendricks fans during warmups at Verizon Center, May 2, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Matt Hendricks and Craig Adams dropped the gloves early in the game, January 12, 2012 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Washington Capitals Game 46 Recap: Caps Clinch Southeast Division Title with 5-3 over Winnipeg

In a crucial late-season game for the Washington Capitals, facing the potential of clinching the Southeast Division or slipping behind the Winnipeg Jets and almost out of playoff position, the Caps put together a playoff-caliber effort in Tuesday night’s 5-3 home victory over the desperate Jets.

Spearheading Washington’s efforts were Matt Hendricks, Jason Chimera, Nicklas Backstrom, Mathieu Perreault, and Alexander Ovechkin, who each scored a goal in the victorious effort to sew up the franchise’s fifth division title in six seasons. Braden Holtby made 24 saves in the process of earning his 22nd win of the season. [Read more...]

PHOTOS: Washington Capitals Practice, March 28

Dave and I are back in DC for a visit so we went over to Kettler Iceplex on Thursday, March 28 to watch the Washington Capitals practice. The last time we saw the Caps on the ice in person was in September before the lockout. We’re looking forward to seeing a few games at Verizon Center in the next couple of weeks!

There was a scary moment when Alex Ovechkin left the ice after catching a puck with his chin. He didn’t return to practice and tweeted photos from the doctor’s office before and after the 22 stitches. Ouch.

Here are a handful of photos from practice. It was great to take hockey photos again! As always, please feel free to comment on the post. I really appreciate feedback. Thanks.

This is what hockey fans do on their spring break! - Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

This is what hockey fans do on their spring break! – Washington Capitals practice at Kettler, 3/28/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

[Read more...]

Washington Capitals Game 33 Postgame Reaction: Oates, Ovechkin & More!

WASHINGTON–The Washington Capitals fell to the New York Islanders 3-2 at Verizon Center and fell back in the playoff race as they try and claw themselves back into it.

“Tonight we just didn’t play the system the way we had to to make it a simple hockey game, we made it difficult on ourselves,” Caps forward Matt Hendricks said.

Hendricks added,  “I don’t think we came out with the fire that we needed, with the intensity that we needed.”

The Islanders scored two goals in the first eight minutes, only to see the Caps score two in the second period to tie it up.  But in the third, miscommunication between Mike Green and Brooks Laich cost them as Matt Moulson took the puck away from Green and found John Tavares who buried the game winner.

“I could certainly make a better play to help Mike [Green] out there,”  Laich said.

Laich added that he apologized to Green.

Capitals Head Coach Adam Oates said it was on both of them and said “It was a tired play”.

The Caps will have plenty of time to think about this one as they don’t play again until Saturday.

“The guys need rest,”  Oates said.  “They need rest mentally and then we need some practice time. We haven’t been able to practice in two weeks.”

Listen here to what Adam Oates, Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Braden Holtby, Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks & Joel Ward had to say following the loss.

Adam Oates Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Adam Oates Postgame RAW

Alex Ovechkin Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Alex Ovechkin Postgame RAW

Brooks Laich Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Brooks Laich Postgame RAW

Braden Holtby Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Braden Holtby Postgame RAW

Mike Ribeiro Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Mike Ribeiro Postgame RAW

Matt Hendricks Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Matt Hendricks Postgame RAW

Joel Ward Postgame Audio

03-26-13 Joel Ward Postgame RAW

Washington Capitals Game 27 Recap: Caps bruised and bloodied in Boston in 4-1 beatdown

In an ugly, physical, brawling game — exactly how the Boston Bruins want to play — the Washington Capitals were beat up in every sense of the word. The Bruins owned the scoresheet, the fight scorecard, and the decision — handily — beating the Caps 4-1 before a raucous TD Garden St. Patrick’s weekend crowd.

Boston’s top line of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton were called out by their coach recently for their spate of poor play. Apparently, the trio took it to heart and took it out on the Caps, as the line was on the ice for all four Boston goals today, and even scored the lone Washington goal, as Krejci tried to defend a pass by Marcus Johansson and instead deflected the puck off the boot of defenseman Johnny Boychuk into the Bruins goal for the Caps lone tally.

Johansson got credit for the goal, and it makes sense the way his season has gone that his second goal of the season would be awarded on a play where he didn’t intend to shoot the puck. [Read more...]

CAPS: Carlson, Crabb, Hendricks and Hillen Skate for Courage Caps

Washington Capitals forward Joey Crabb poses with children assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The event kicked off the 2012-13 Courage Caps, presented by SKYDEX technologies. 100% of proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps and T-Shirts will benefit TAPS. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals forward Joey Crabb poses with children assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The event kicked off the 2012-13 Courage Caps, presented by SKYDEX technologies. 100% of proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps and T-Shirts will benefit TAPS. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson skates with children and adults assisted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. For the second-consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps, team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning March 10, when the Capitals host the New York Rangers. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson skates with children and adults assisted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. For the second-consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps, team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning March 10, when the Capitals host the New York Rangers. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

 

 

Capitals Host Courage Caps Skating Party
at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for TAPS

Event kicks off 2012-13 Courage Caps presented by SKYDEX Technologies, on sale March 10

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals American-born players John Carlson, Joey Crabb, Matt Hendricks and Jack Hillen hosted more than 150 children and adults assisted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a skating party and lunch at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on March 3.

The event kicked off the 2012-13 Courage Caps campaign, presented for the second season by SKYDEX Technologies. Courage Caps are team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning March 10, when the Capitals host the New York Rangers.

For the second-consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. TAPS will receive 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps.

Skating party attendees participated in an hour long skating session with Carlson, Crabb, Hendricks and Hillen.

“We’re proud to be supporting TAPS through Courage Caps,” said Crabb. “A lot of the families have been through some rough things, and it was great to see the kids having fun out here.”

Funds raised will provide peer-based emotional support, regional seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, grief and trauma resources and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for bereaved military families.

Courage Caps and Courage T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. There will also be a limited number of autographed Courage Caps and T-shirts available for sale at WashingtonCaps.com and at the community relations table located behind section 103/104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center.

For $60 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green or Alex Ovechkin; for $40 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by any other individual Capitals player. Fans will be able to order hats or T-shirts signed by any rostered player online.

A select number of autographed hats will be on sale at the community relations table at section 103/104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center. When the Capitals host the New York Rangers on March 10, fans may purchase hats signed by Backstrom, Green or Ovechkin for $60 each and by Karl Alzner, Troy Brouwer, Carlson, Hendricks, Braden Holtby, Mike Ribeiro or Joel Ward for $40 each.

Since the initiative launched in 2007, the Courage Caps campaign has set a new record each year, raising a total of nearly $322,000 through the sale of nearly 8,000 Courage Caps in five years and more than 3,000 Courage T-shirts in three years. Nearly 2,500 Courage Caps and 2,000 Courage T-shirts were sold last season, raising more than $105,000 for TAPS.

TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, good grief camps for children, case work assistance and a 24/7 resource helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces, regardless of the location of the death or the circumstances of the death. Services are provided free of charge. For more information about TAPS, visit www.taps.org or call the toll-free help line at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).

SKYDEX, a privately held technology company headquartered near Denver, is the industry leader in developing innovative protective materials that mitigate shock, vibration and/or energy forces for the most demanding military, commercial and industrial applications. Its technologically advanced innovations include blast-mitigating flooring for combat vehicles, padding for military helmets, vibration-attenuating seating for both ground vehicles and helicopters and shock absorbing decking for high speed boats. SKYDEX is a leading supplier to armed forces around the world. To learn more about SKYDEX Technologies, visit www.skydex.com.

Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks skates with an adult assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The event kicked off the 2012-13 Courage Caps, presented by SKYDEX technologies. Courage Caps and Courage T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks skates with an adult assisted by Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors during a skating party at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va. The event kicked off the 2012-13 Courage Caps, presented by SKYDEX technologies. Courage Caps and Courage T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. (Photo Courtesy of Washington Capitals)

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.

CAPS: Washington Capitals to Host Courage Caps Skating Party for TAPS

Will the Capitals finally get to use all these game pucks in 2013? (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

(Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Capitals to Host Courage Caps Skating Party
at Kettler Capitals Iceplex for TAPS

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals American-born players John Carlson, Joey Crabb, Matt Hendricks and Jack Hillen will host more than 150 children and adults assisted by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) for a skating party and lunch at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Sunday, March 3, from 11 a.m. to noon.

The event kicks off the 2012-13 Courage Caps campaign, presented for the second season by SKYDEX Technologies. Courage Caps are team-issued branded hats and T-shirts that will go on sale beginning March 10, when the Capitals host the New York Rangers.

For the second consecutive season, TAPS is the beneficiary of Courage Caps. TAPS is a nonprofit organization that provides comfort and care for anyone who is grieving the death of someone who died while serving in the military. TAPS will receive 100% of the proceeds raised through the sale of Courage Caps.

Funds raised will provide peer-based emotional support, regional seminars for adults, Good Grief Camps for children, case work assistance, grief and trauma resources and a 24/7 resource and information helpline for bereaved military families.

Courage Caps and Courage T-shirts will be sold for $20 online at WashingtonCaps.com, at the Washington Capitals Team Store at Kettler Capitals Iceplex and at the Team Store and at stands throughout Verizon Center during Capitals home games. There will also be a limited number of autographed Courage Caps and T-shirts available for sale at WashingtonCaps.com and at the community relations table located behind section 103/104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center.

For $60 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by Nicklas Backstrom, Mike Green or Alex Ovechkin; for $40 fans can purchase a Courage Cap or T-shirt signed by any other individual Capitals player. Fans will be able to order hats or T-shirts signed by any rostered player online.

A select number of autographed hats will be on sale at the community relations table at section 103/104 on the main concourse at Verizon Center. When the Capitals host the New York Rangers on March 10, fans may purchase hats signed by Backstrom, Green or Ovechkin for $60 each and by Karl Alzner, Troy Brouwer, Carlson, Hendricks, Braden Holtby, Mike Ribeiro or Joel Ward for $40 each.

Since the initiative launched in 2007, the Courage Caps campaign has set a new record each year, raising a total of nearly $322,000 through the sale of nearly 8,000 Courage Caps in five years and more than 3,000 Courage T-shirts in three years. Nearly 2,500 Courage Caps and 2,000 Courage T-shirts were sold last season, raising more than $105,000 for TAPS.

TAPS is the national organization providing compassionate care for the families of America’s fallen military heroes. TAPS provides peer-based emotional support, grief and trauma resources, seminars for adults, good grief camps for children, case work assistance and a 24/7 resource helpline for all who have been affected by a death in the Armed Forces, regardless of the location of the death or the circumstances of the death. Services are provided free of charge. For more information about TAPS, visit www.taps.org or call the toll-free help line at 1.800.959.TAPS (8277).

SKYDEX, a privately held technology company headquartered near Denver, is the industry leader in developing innovative protective materials that mitigate shock, vibration and/or energy forces for the most demanding military, commercial and industrial applications. Its technologically advanced innovations include blast-mitigating flooring for combat vehicles, padding for military helmets, vibration-attenuating seating for both ground vehicles and helicopters and shock absorbing decking for high speed boats. SKYDEX is a leading supplier to armed forces around the world. To learn more about SKYDEX Technologies, visit www.skydex.com or view the SKYDEX online press kit here.

WHO: Washington Capitals American-born players John Carlson, Joey Crabb, Jack Hillen and Matt Hendricks

WHAT: Skating party with surviving military families assisted by TAPS to launch Courage Caps

WHEN: Sunday, March 3, 2013
11 a.m. to noon

WHERE: Kettler Capitals Iceplex
627 N. Glebe Road
Arlington, Va. 22203

Washington Capitals Practice Update for March 1: Green Re-Injured Groin

ARLINGTON, VA–The Washington Capitals (7-11-1, 15 points, last in the Eastern Conference) held practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex today before they head to Winnipeg tomorrow to play the streaking Jets, winner of their last three and five of their last six, and end their two-game road trip.

Mike Green (groin) did not practice today after playing the last two games and is not going on the trip.

“It’s just not quite feeling right,”  Oates said.  “We’re taking a step back until he heals, 100 percent.”

Green was second in time on ice against Carolina at 21:54 and led the team against the Flyers at 22:14.

“We’ll see how he is when we come back,”  Oates said on Green.  “Maybe a couple treatments and he feels that much better.”

Watch for Tomas Kundratek to be with Karl Alzner on the top defensive pairing tomorrow.

The Caps also shuffled their lines, Matt Hendricks was moved to the number one line, Jason Chimera to the third line and Wojtek Wolski to the fourth line.

“A change. Give someone else a shot there,”  Oates said on moving Hendricks to the number one line.  “Kind of by committee right now until I feel that there’s a real guy who can be entrenched there.”

The Caps forward lines at practice today looked like: Hendricks-Ribeiro-Ovechkin, Fehr-Backstrom-Brouwer, Chimera-Perreault-Ward, Wolski-Beagle-Crabb.

Marcus Johansson (upper body, on injured reserve) worked in with the fourth line.  He has missed the past eight games and has not been cleared for contact.  Aaron Volpatti, who the acquired off waivers yesterday from the Vancouver Canucks, will meet the team in Winnipeg and will be on the fourth line tomorrow.  If he plays, Wolski could be the odd man out.  Volpatti, who is a grinder/fighter, has played in 16 games for the Canucks this season and has one goal, zero assists and 28 penalty minutes.

“He’s a good hard nose guy, works hard,”  Caps forward Troy Brouwer said on Volpatti.

Braden Holtby (6-7-0, 3.26 GAA, .899 Save pct.) will start his ninth straight tomorrow.

Brooks Laich (groin) didn’t practice and hasn’t practiced with the team since February 16th.  Oates had no update on Laich.

Listen here to what Adam Oates, Alex Ovechkin, Troy Brouwer, Mike Ribeiro, Matt Hendricks & Eric Fehr had to say following practice today.

Adam Oates Practice Audio

03-01-13 Adam Oates Practice RAW

Alex Ovechkin Practice Audio

03-01-13 Alex Ovechkin Practice RAW

Troy Brouwer Practice Audio

03-01-13 Troy Brouwer Practice RAW

Mike Ribeiro Practice Audio

03-01-13 Mike Ribeiro Practice RAW

Matt Hendricks Practice Audio

03-01-13 Matt Hendricks Practice RAW

Eric Fehr Practice Audio

03-01-13 Eric Fehr Practice RAW

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