August 20, 2019

Building a lineup out of the Caps’ castaways

Mike Ribeiro addressing media during Washington Capitals Development Camp Day 6 Scrimmage at Kettler,  7/14/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Mike Ribeiro addressing media during Washington Capitals Development Camp Day 6 Scrimmage at Kettler, 7/14/2012. (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

After seeing Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro torch the Washington Capitals last Saturday, fans in the Verizon Center were left wondering, what if?

What if former general manager George McPhee had held onto the team’s top prospect in Forsberg and found a way to re-sign Ribeiro? Would those players be producing at the rate they are now for the Nashville Predators? How much better would a Caps’ team that lacks secondary scoring look with Forsberg’s 59 points and Ribeiro’s 60?

Those are the questions that will keep fans up at night. [Read more…]

Washington Capitals Game 5 Recap: Varly returns, Capitals blown out 5-1 at home

Coming into Saturday night’s tilt at Verizon Center, the second of a five-game homestand, the Washington Capitals, 1-3 in four games this season, knew they were facing a tough opponent: the undefeated Colorado Avalanche with former firecracker goalie Patrick Roy behind the bench. Unable to find any rhythm on either end of the ice, the Caps helped the Avalanche’s record remained unstained, falling 5-1 to their Western Conference opponent.

Eric Fehr was the lone Capital to score in between multiple Avalanche tallies. Alex Tanguay scored two goals, No. 1 overall 2013 draft pick Nathan MacKinnon scored his first career goal (the second the Caps have seen in three days, Elias Lindholm of the Carolina Hurricanes scored his Thursday), with Jamie McGinn rounding out the Avalanche scoresheet.

The Capitals lacked jump right out of the gate and the Avalanche fed on that the entire game. Roy told reporters he thought the damage was done after the first period, when the Avs went up 2-0 before intermission. Fehr’s goal lent the Caps some tiny hope, and though they outshot the Avalanche 41-28,  they never mounted anything close to what could be called a rally.

“We jump at them right from the start,” said Roy. “I think we had a really good start. I think the damage was made after going up 2-0. They bounced really strongly in the second period.”

It was a homecoming of sorts for former Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was traded to Colorado in 2011. He made 40 saves on 41 shots in his first appearance at Verizon Center since the trade.

“I think it’s so special for the goalie to beat the old team. I am excited today. We win three games on the road, we get our points and right now we are pretty happy,” said Varlamov.

While the vistor’s locker room was a jubilant place, the home locker room was dismal. The Caps have lost three straight games, and while it may not be time to panic yet, something needs to change and the players know it.

“It’s early in the season, and we can start fixing it now,” Martin Erat told reporters. “We have to just fix mistakes that we make – when it’s one mistake we can’t get another.”

Fehr agreed. “It starts on our end. We’ve got to be stronger; we’ve got make sure pucks get out,” he said.

“I think we need to want the puck a little bit more. We have to win puck battles, whether it’s in our end or their end. We need to play physical, and we need to want the puck.”

Caps Pick Up Ribeiro, Say Goodbye to Eakin in Draft Day Deal

For the second year in a row, the Washington Capitals addressed a major roster need at forward in a draft night deal, picking up center Mike Ribeiro from the Dallas Stars in exchange for forward Cody Eakin and the 54th overall pick in this year’s Entry Draft.

In Ribeiro, General Manager George McPhee hopes to have finally found an answer to Washington’s absence of a second-line center. The 32-year-old Montreal native, with 10 NHL seasons under his belt, has recorded at least 51 points in his past eight campaigns, including a career high 27 goals and 56 assists for the Dallas Stars in 2007-08. Last season, Ribeiro recorded 18 goals and 45 assists in 74 games, ranking 17th overall in the NHL in points and 11th in assists among centers. His 63 points would have put him second in the Capitals last year, behind only Alex Ovechkin. [Read more…]

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