November 21, 2017

CAPS: Hockey ‘N Heels 2013 (Photos)

THROWBACK THURSDAY: Hockey ‘N Heels, November 2013

The Washington Capitals hosted the sold-out Hockey ‘n Heels on Nov. 13, at Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, Va.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The event was held exclusively for Club Scarlet members in partnership with 97.1 Wash FM and featured instructional sessions and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals female audience.

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Attendees including Miss Washington DC (middle) – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

The first half of the night was divided into three sessions of on-ice demonstrations from current and former Capitals players and coaches. Defenseman Steve Oleksy, forward Tom Wilson and former Capital/current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed participants on shooting skills. Assistant coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on face-offs while defenseman Alexander Urbom and former Capital Paul Mulvey covered stick handling and passing skills. Attendees also had the opportunity to take a photo with defenseman Karl Alzner during the event.

Defensemen Steve Oleksy  high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy high-fives attendee after she made a shot into the goal – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Defensemen Steve Oleksy and forward Tom Wilson instructed participants on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Assistant Coach Blaine Forsythe instructed women on faceoffs – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Capital and current Comcast analyst Alan May instructed women on shooting – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom  instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing -  Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alexander Urbom and Former Cap Paul Mulvey instructed participants on skills including stickhandling and passing – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Defenseman Karl Alzner posed for photographs with participants – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

 

Off-ice presentations included a Q & A with head goaltender coach Olie Kolzig, along with May.

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Players Olie Kolzig and Alan May answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Former Caps Goalie Olie Kolzig answering fan questions – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Video coach Brett Leonhardt conducted a video session to provide attendees a peek into how the team prepares for upcoming games by watching game footage.

The head equipment manager Brock Myles discussed equipment worn by the team during an equipment session in the Capitals locker room. Women were able to try on an official helmet and see equipment up close.

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans checking out equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Fans trying on equipment in Caps practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps Head Equipment Manager Brock Myles instructing fan Miss Washington DC how to press numbers onto knit caps – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room - Washington Capitals Hockey 'N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Caps gear ready to go in practice locker room – Washington Capitals Hockey ‘N Heels, 11/13/2013 (Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

“It was great to see such an interest in hockey from our female fan base,” said Wilson. “We had a lot of skilled participants out tonight, and we enjoyed sharing the game with them.”

Founded in 2009, Club Scarlet is a fan club for women designed to provide more information, events and networking opportunities for the team’s population of female fans.

To learn more about Club Scarlet visit http://www.scarletcaps.com/.


Washington Capitals Game 41 Recap: Capitals lose third straight game, 4-3 in overtime to Hurricanes

Image credit: Patrick McDermott

Image credit: Patrick McDermott

 

In their first game of 2014, at home against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Washington Capitals came out swinging, but were down a goal before the first period ended. After a flurry of goals during the second period, and a scoreless third, Jeff Skinner completed his hat trick in overtime, and the Canes won 4-3.

On December 29, the Washington Capitals lobbed 50 shots at Buffalo Sabres goalie Ryan Miller (to his team’s 17), but only had one goal to show for it, and lost in the shootout. The next day, December 30, they were narrowly outshot by the Ottawa Senators, but lost 3-1 in regulation. Thursday night’s game was one where the Caps actually had goals to show for their efforts, but not a win.

It was the Capitals’ third straight loss, five in their last six games, and six of their last eight games. Through 41 games, the Capitals have only 10 wins in regulation.

“We had 40 shots. We did a lot of good things; we outshot them 10-0 at the start of the game,” said Adam Oates.

“Then we get a too-many-men penalty and then they get a 5-on-3 and score. We only had one power-play in the game which I was surprised at, but we did a lot of good things in the game.”

In the second period, five goals were scored within 3:45, three of those belonging to the Capitals. But they did what they’ve done 21 other times this season: allowed quick response goals against almost immediately after one of their own.

Brooks Laich called it “sort of embarrassing.”

“We know how to respond when we do score. We can’t let that continue to happen. That’s a problem that we have to fix,” said Steve Oleksy, who scored a goal in Thursday’s game, his first in 10 games.

“I think everyone in this dressing room, everyone that is a part of this team and this organization all know that we have to play better hockey,” Oleksy continued.

“We are not playing our best hockey, but we are finding a way to get some points in the mix. Obviously, we have had some games that we probably should have had two points, but you are still getting some valuable points. At the end of the day, we know that we have a lot more to give, and we are going to figure it out and we are going to turn it around here.”

Washington Capitals Game 6 Recap: Capitals best Oilers, 4-2

Three games deep in a losing streak, winning one game out of the last four, the Washington Capitals were starting to look a little hungry. Thankfully, they stumbled upon an opponent ripe for the picking – the Edmonton Oilers (1-3-1), who were basically in the same boat as the Capitals coming into Monday night.  The Capitals won 4-2, despite a poor start, and managed to hold on to a three-goal lead for most of the game.

“They [Edmonton] came out hard, played a solid first period and shut us down in the neutral zone,” said Mike Green. “We didn’t have much. It was just a matter of regrouping after the first and making sure we do the simple things to get pucks to the net, and we ended up doing that and they were going in.”

The Capitals have had trouble going on the attack right out of the gate and that was no exception tonight.  Oates is still trying to figure out how to get better starts out of the team. “I’m taking suggestions,” he said after the game. Troy Brouwer also told reporters that he thought turnovers were a huge problem tonight and have been throughout the season.

  • The Capitals hadn’t held more than a one-goal lead in any game this season, but rolled out to a 4-1 advantage in the second period after going into first intermission tied at 1-1.
  • Marcus Johansson scored his 100th career point thanks to his assist on Alex Ovechkin’s second period goal.
  • Brooks Laich, Joel Ward, and Troy Brouwer all scored their first goals of the season.
  • The Capitals were 2-for-3 on the power play, with exactly zero of those goals scored by Ovechkin.
  • Steve Oleksy has been quietly good, notching two assists in his last three games, one of which led to Laich’s tally in the first period.
  • Nicklas Backstrom also had an understatedly successful night, tucking away three assists, his 22nd career multipoint game. Joel Ward complimented Backstrom’s pass on the power play that led to Ward’s first goal of the season. “I just had to put my stick down and take a crack at it. Nicky gave me a pass that almost felt like one of those drills at the end of practice with a wide open cage.”

NEXT GAME: Wednesday, 10/16 vs. New York Rangers, in their first meeting since being blown out in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Caps Quick Take: Game 6 vs. Oilers

In the third of a five-game homestand, the Washington Capitals finally put some things together, looked cohesive and organized, and won a game in regulation, beating the Edmonton Oilers 4-2. The Caps got first goals of the season from Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer and Joel Ward and Alex Ovechkin’s sixth of the season, and Braden Holtby earned his first win of the year, stopping 30-of-32 shots faced. The win moves the Caps to 2-4-0 with the suddenly hapless New York Rangers on tap Wednesday at 8:00 pm.

1) The Caps scored three times on three shots in the space of 3:55 in the second period to effectively end the competitive portion of the evening’s activities. On the first, Nick Backstrom (three assists) hit Ward in Ovi’s spot in the left wing circle and Wardo made no mistake on it, beating Jason LaBarbara before the goalie could slide across the crease on a 4-on-3 power play. Backstrom’s saucer pass through Justin Schultz was a thing of beauty.

2) Brouwer’s power play marker was assisted by Backstrom and Mikhail Grabovski, much like last season with Grabbo playing the part of Mike Ribeiro. The rapid succession of passes and Grabovski’s pinpoint slap pass to Brouwer had the shot off before the Oilers could react. Tic-tac-goal, indeed.

3) The offensive fireworks in the second period came after another sluggish start. The Caps were held shot-less by Edmonton in the game’s first 6:14 and the young Oilers were buzzing through the neutral zone and owning much of the play. Old friend Boyd Gordon put this current team on the board first with his team-leading fourth goal of the season, and the Caps were pretty lucky not to be down more than that by the time Laich tied it at 13:41 with his first goal of the season. The second line really needed this one tonight after looking particularly awkward against Colorado. Major props to Steve Oleksy, who kept the puck in the offensive zone (off a lazy exit pass by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and found Laich all alone in the slot.

4) Oleksy, and his partner rookie Nate Schmidt, both had terrific games and looked like a cohesive pair in the third group. Schmidt had a particularly nice sequence midway through the third, where he blasted a shot from the point, then walked in from the blue line on the rebound to get into position for another good shot opportunity when the puck swung around to the other side then back to him. That’s real good “hockey instinct” from the much sought-after former college defenseman.

5) Braden Holtby easily had his best game of the season, turning away 30-of-32. He was the Caps star in the first period, withstanding the Oilers onslaught until his teammates finally found their legs. Holtby seemed composed and relaxed all game, which you can’t really say for any of his previous starts. This is a big year for him and how he follows this effort up on Wednesday against the Rangers will say a lot about the young netminder.

Overall, a sold performance against a young Edmonton squad. The Caps have a chance to continue to wash out the bitter taste of their first five games with the 1-4-0 Rangers in town in two days, then Columbus on Saturday before going out on their tour of Western Canada next week.

Washington Capitals Media Day Audio

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

Thursday was the Washington Capitals annual media day, where all the players were made available to tell the media they were in the best shape of their lives (except, of course, for Brooks Laich, who left practice with a strained hip flexor) and that they are looking forward this season to competing for the Stanley Cup.

Below you can find the raw audio from many of the Caps players from media day today. In addition, this season once again courtesy of Sky Kerstein, District Sports Page will have the largest online library of raw audio from Caps practices, games and postgame press conferences.

 

09-12-13 Alex Ovechkin Practice RAW

09-12-13 Brooks Laich Practice RAW

09-12-13 Karl Alzner Practice RAW

09-12-13 Mike Green Practice RAW

09-12-13 Nicklas Backstrom Practice RAW

09-12-13 Steve Oleksy Practice RAW

09-12-13 Troy Brouwer Practice RAW

Washington Capitals End-of-Season Roundtable, Part V: How would you rate the defense?

With the conclusion of Washington Capitals season, too early yet again, it’s time for appreciation, evaluation and critique. In this seven part series, the Caps staff at District Sports Page, and a few friends, will be taking an in-depth look at what went right, what could be better, suggest some changes and grade out the team position-by-position.

Our panel: Dave Nichols, Editor-in-Chief of DSP; Abram Fox, Caps Team Editor of DSP; Katie Brown, Caps Beat Writer for DSP; Sky Kerstein, 106.7 The Fan and DSP contributor; Ted Starkey, SBNation.com and DSP contributor, Adam Vingan, NBCWashington.com; and Harry Hawkings, RocktheRed.net.

PART I: What was the Capitals’ biggest accomplishment this season?

PART II: What was your biggest disappointment about the Caps this season?

PART III: What single adjustment would you advocate for next season?

PART IV: How would you rate the offense this season?

PART V: How would you rate the defense this season?

DAVE: D. I thought, pretty clearly, the blueline was the Caps’ biggest problem this season. In the very beginning everyone was a liability, including the normally stalwart Karl Alzner. I don’t know if it was adjusting to Adam Oates’ system, or the layoff from the lockout (remember, not a single member of the defensive corps played competitively during the lockout), but until about 25 games in, everyone was just getting in each others’ way, pucks were bouncing off skates into their own goal almost every night, and breakouts died in the neutral zone because no one knew what to do with the puck.

When Mike Green came back from his yearly injury absence, things got much, much better, but that because there was nowhere else to go. Green ended up leading the NHL defensemen in goals scored, but teams still keyed their forecheck on clobbering Green any chance they could. John Carlson ended up in the top five in the league in blocked shots, but according to most of the fan base he should have been a candidate to be sent back to the minors early in the season. Pundits wondered for a while, without irony, if Carlson did indeed peak in juniors. Alzner rebounded from his slow start to put together another solid defensive season and even insinuated himself in the play more often this season, and was tied for third on the in shots on goal in the playoffs. Not that Karl being third on the team in shots on goal is a good thing.

The others? A hodgepodge of has-beens, journeymen and never-weres. Tom Poti proved to the team — and probably the league — that his career has come to an unceremonious conclusion. John Erskine enjoyed something of a renaissance, but was completely exposed during the playoffs. Roman Hamrlik, employed by the Caps for a good chunk of the season, was sent packing to sit in the press box at Madison Square Garden instead of Verizon Center. The #fancystat folks loved Jack Hillen’s contribution, but it was really hard to see that translate to success on the ice, and his lack of physical stature left him open to punishment. Steve Oleksy provided some depth, but he’s a career minor league journeyman for a reason, and those reasons were evident if willing to look for them.

Dmitri Orlov and Tomas Kundratek were banished to Hershey, and for the life of me I don’t understand why, especially in Orlov’s case. But both should see plenty of time with the Caps next season.

About the only thing that was legitimately encouraging on defense this season is that Jeff Schultz, finally, took his proper place in the press box after about mid-way through the season. I fully expect the Caps to try to trade the 6’6″ liability, if not simply buy him out under the amnesty clause in the CBA.

ABRAM: 6/10. The defense gets the same rating as the offense, even though they weren’t as good, because Washington’s D corps was working with much less talent. Steven Olesky, a career minor-leaguer, became a stalwart on the back line, and Jack Hillen and John Erskine both earned a great deal more ice time than a putative playoff team would prefer. The Caps were in the bottom half of the league allowing 2.71 goals/game, and allowed a deflating 32.3 shots/game. In the playoffs the defense made a marked improvement, cutting the scoring down to 2.29 goals/game, and limited shots as well, cutting that number down to 29.3/game, fifth best in the league (though it should be noted that five of the top eight teams in that stat were also eliminated in the first round). Notably, the team’s penalty kill stepped it up in the playoffs, finishing the playoffs with a 92.9% kill rate after ending the regular season in the bottom of the league at 77.9%.

KATIE: Aside from Mike Green, Karl Alzner and John Carlson, the blue line was not stellar this season. John Erskine, who signed a contract extension this year, seemed a step or two behind or looked lost for as many times as he blocked a shot or jumped in the crease to save a flying puck. Jack Hillen rebounded from injury and proved to be reliable, and Steven Oleksy, called up from Hershey earlier in the season, provided an inspirational story and a little bit of grit. Overall, the defense wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either, so mediocre with flashes of brilliance should sum it up.

SKY: C.

TED:B. Defensively, the Capitals are thinnest, with the top two of Mike Green and Karl Alzner being reliable, but John Carlson was wildly inconsistent this season. John Erskine and Jack Hillen weren’t really the answer, either. While Dmitry Orlov was in Hershey, the bottom end of the Capitals’ defense was part of the breakdown in the series against the Rangers.

ADAM: I’m not sure if I can simply give an entire defensive corps a grade, but I was impressed by the team’s depth. Twelve defensemen played over the course of the regular season, which at one point was a league-high. Karl Alzner and John Carlson continued to grow, while Mike Green looked like his old self again near the end of the season. Jack Hillen was solid when he wasn’t injured, and Tomas Kundratek, Dmitry Orlov, Cameron Schilling and Steven Oleksy proved that the Capitals’ blue line pipeline is strong.

HARRY: I give the defense a B-minus this year.  Mike Green, Karl Alzner, Steve Oleksy (seriously) and John Carlson all had good seasons individually but the bottom half of the defense, like Jack Hillen, John Erskine, Tom Poti, and Jeff Schultz were all inconsistent or downright bad.  The Capitals’ d-zone play never looked right all season; it seemed as though they were running around constantly and their penalty kill was 27th in the NHL at 77.9% and showed little improvement through the season.  In short, there was always an issue with the defense despite the solid play of some individuals, and unlike the offense, it didn’t get noticeably better as the year progressed.

First Take Game 3: Rangers hold on late to hold serve in Game 3

They say a series hasn’t really started until a home team loses. Well, we still don’t have a series. The New York Rangers edged the Washington Capitals, 4-3, to win Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

Some thoughts:

– Alex Ovechkin was whistled for a roughing penalty less than two minutes into the game. Ryan Callahan took one a couple of minutes later. Both calls were weak, most likely the result of officials trying to manage the contact in the game after the fiasco that the Montreal-Ottawa game the other night turned out to be. Neither team was successful on the resulting power plays.

– Steve Oleksy had a great stick lift on Callahan on one of the Rangers three power plays in the first period, most likely preventing a goal. He’s really surprised many with his play this season, joining the team as an unheralded journeyman but developing into a trusted blueliner for Adam Oates, Calle Johansson and the Caps.

– Backstrom’s tip for the Caps first period goal was a tremendous feat of hand-eye coordination, and a good job by John Carlson for getting the puck headed toward the net on a broken play.

– Braden Holtby lost the post on Brian Boyle’s short-side tally for the Rangers, but Mike Green didn’t do Holtby any favors on how he tried to play defense on the play. Green kind of squatted in Boyle’s passing lane, but wasn’t in any position to react when Boyle went hard to the post. It left Holtby trying to play the shot and the pass. His defender has to take away one of those options for the puck-carrier.

– The Rangers had the better of play early in the second, thanks to three straight Caps penalties, and their power play goal by Brassard was a result of it. But the Caps withstood most of the Rangers good play, then once they got back to even strength got the better of the Rangers, using good old-fashioned board work. Eric Fehr and Jason Chimera winning the puck along the boards out to Mathieu Perreault, who found a streaking Green for his second goal in as many games.

– Twice in the third period the Rangers took advantage of the Caps not being able to get out of their own end. Two extended periods of puck control and the Caps defense was eventually going to break down. It did.

– In that last power play as time expired, the Caps could not manage a shot on goal in 1:54 — playing 6-on-4.

– Though they got the last man-advantage, the Caps took six minor penalties. That’s way too many, plain and simple, regardless of the dubious nature of a couple of them. Caps outshot Rangers 30-18 at even strength, so they pretty much owned play at even strength. You can be sure Adam Oates will emphasize that point the next couple of days.

– Henrik Lundqvist, despite giving up three goals, led the Rangers in this win. He made several remarkable saves when the Caps were buzzing.

Game Four is Wednesday at 7:30 pm from Madison Square Garden.

Washington Capitals Practice Update & Audio for May 3: Oleksy talks puck to the face

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein.

The Washington Capitals, still basking in the glow of their 3-1 win over the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, practiced at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Friday morning.

Steve Oleksy talked after practice more about the puck he took off his face than the beauty assist he had. “It seems like pucks and sticks are attracted to [my face],” Oleksy joked. “To be honest, it didn’t hurt when it happened. This morning there was a little more swelling. When I first woke up it was a little tough to talk, but it’s fine.”

For more practice audio, please click the links below.

05-03-13 Adam Oates Practice RAW

05-03-13 Alex Ovechkin Practice RAW

05-03-13 Nicklas Backstrom Practice RAW

05-03-13 Mike Green Practice RAW

05-03-13 Karl Alzner Practice RAW

05-03-13 Steve Oleksy Practice RAW

Washington Capitals Game 20 Postgame Audio: Oates, Ovechkin, Holtby & more

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

The Washington Capitals found themselves in a 3-0 hole to the Boston Bruins before the end of the first period but weren’t really being outplayed by all that much. The team found the resiliency that has been missing much of the season and capped a solid, furious comeback when Wojtek Wolski scored with 6:05 left in the game, forcing overtime.

Just 37 seconds in, Eric Fehr knifed through the Boston defensive pair and beat goalie Tuukka Rask to give the Caps a 4-3 win before a frenzied crowd at Verizon Center. Washington scored four un-answered goals and the three-goal deficit was the largest deficit the Capitals have overcome in a victory this season.

Rookie defenseman Tomas Kundratek scored his first NHL goal and Steven Oleksy made his NHL debut, adding an assist on Mike Ribeiro’s second period goal.

Head coach Adam Oates spoke of his team’s character after the big win. “If we’re going to get back [in the game], it’s going to take 40 minutes. Boston isn’t going to give us any easy ones, so don’t try to win it in five minutes. You’ve got to chip away and play. It shows character, that they believe in it and that they can do it.”

“We needed this,” Wolski said of the team effort. “There have been so many times in the beginning of the season where we gave up leads. I think tonight is a big step for us. We had a great effort from the young guys that came in. They did a good job, the goaltending was great and we’re happy to get the win.”

For the rest of Oates’ comments, plus those of Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby, Eric Fehr and Steven Oleksy, please click the links below.

03-05-13 Adam Oates Postgame RAW

03-05-13 Alex Ovechkin Postgame RAW

03-05-13 Braden Holtby Postgame RAW

03-05-13 Eric Fehr Postgame RAW

03-05-13 Steve Olesky Postgame RAW

Washington Capitals waive Roman Hamrlik

The Washington Capitals have begun the process of trimming the dead weight from the roster by placing veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik on waivers. Hamrlik, 38, has played in just four contests for the Caps this season and was leapfrogged by yet another younger player this week for playing time, as the Caps signed and recalled Steven Oleksy from AHL Hershey. Oleksy will make his NHL debut, at 27, against the Boston Bruins Tuesday night at Verizon Center.

Hamrlik signed a two-year, $7 million deal in July 2011. Should another team claim him on waivers, the Caps would be alleviated of the rest of his contract against their salary cap. If he is not claimed, the Caps could try to send him to Hershey, release him or just let him sit in limbo.

Hamrlik was the first player chosen in the 1992 NHL draft and was the NHL’s leader among all active players in career games played with 1,383.

Head coach Adam Oates indicated Oleksy was called up because he was a right-handed shot. Oates strongly believes in pairing right and left-handed shots on the blue line. Oates explained, “As I’ve said all along, I really believe in balance. And having three righties included in that piece is very important to me. Boston is a team that comes down the walls, and they don’t give you many second chances so you need that first play to be a good one.”

“Having [Oleksy] in Hershey, he knows the system and he helps us with the boards.”

Oleksy is expected to add some toughness to the Caps rearguards. He has accumulated 151 penalty minutes in 55 games this season for AHL Hershey, including 11 fights.

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