August 14, 2022

CAPS: Hockey ‘n Heels Update

As previously announced on DSP Beyond the Game, Hockey ‘n Heels is back for a second time this season. The November event was a success so it is no surprise that the Monday, Jan. 23 event is SOLDOUT.









Details have been released for the event.

MIX 107.3 radio personality Chilli Amar will kick off the event, which runs from 6-9:15 p.m. with check-in beginning at 5:30 p.m. The annual event features instructional lessons and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals’ female audience. Once again this year’s event was only open to members of Club Scarlet, the Capitals’ female fan club.

The evening will be divided into six sessions, with the popular on-ice demonstrations featuring instructions from Dmitry Orlov, Tomas Vokoun and Dennis Wideman. The two on-ice sessions will include the ladies learning how to shoot the puck with defensemen Orlov and Wideman, with Vokoun on the other end of the ice teaching the ladies how to stop the puck in the net.

The third session will be the picture station, a new addition to Hockey ‘n Heels this season. This event will feature Alexander Semin taking pictures with each Hockey ‘n Heels attendee. The photos will be emailed to the attendees after the event.

The fourth session will be a question and answer sit down with Caps assistant coach Jim Johnson and former Capital and Comcast SportsNet analyst Alan May. The two will discuss the rules of hockey and take questions from the group. The fifth session features Caps’ strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish explaining to the ladies what fitness routines the players go through.

The sixth session will give the ladies a tour of the Capitals locker room courtesy of head equipment manager Brock Myles. During the tour Myles will explain the different equipment the players wear and how he arranges the locker room in order to get ready for a game. Have you ever wondered what type of flavor gum Mike Knuble likes? Myles knows. He has the inside scoop for the ladies.

All sessions and players are subject to change.

WHO: Washington Capitals Dmitry Orlov, Alexander Semin, Tomas Vokoun and Dennis Wideman along with assistant coach Jim Johnson, strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish and head equipment manager Brock Myles as well as former Capital Alan May

WHAT: The annual event features instructional lessons and on-ice demonstrations targeted towards the Capitals’ female audience.

WHEN: Monday, Jan. 23, 2012 6- 9:15 p.m.

WHERE: Verizon Center, 601 F Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004

GAME 41 RE-CAP: Long homestand starts with win over depleted Pens

Alzner, Hendricks and Carlson were first to congratulate Vokoun (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The game was missing some of its biggest stars.  The play on the ice for much of the night was ragged.  The two best players on the ice were the two goalies.  Still, two points were on the line between a Washington Capitals team that has struggled all season to find an identity and a Pittsburgh Penguins team that is wounded to its very core.  After a lackluster and sloppy 55 minutes that featured more turnovers and missed entry passes than highlights — for either team, the homestanding Caps held on at the end for a 1-0 win, leapfrogging their arch-rivals to gain eighth place in the Eastern Conference. [Read more…]

Game 39 Re-CAP–Sharks 5, Caps 2: Bitten Again

Tomas Vokoun allowed four goals on 38 shots Saturday night in San Jose (Stock Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

A night that began with promise ended familiarly — with the Washington Capitals losing a road game to the San Jose Sharks, as has now happened 11 times (with a single tie thrown in for good measure) since October 30, 1993.

Not content simply to have the Caps fall to a disappointing defeat, the hockey gods saw fit to throw an extra wrench into whatever optimism Washington might have been feeling entering Saturday night’s game. Mike Green, so recently returned from a prolonged absence with a groin injury, did not return to action after taking a hit from Andrew Desjardins behind Washington’s net early in the second period. In all Green could only managed 7:11 of ice time, and only nine shifts. [Read more…]

PHOTOS: Caps Fan Flames; Green Returns

Here are a few photographs from pre-game warmups and Calgary Flames v. Washington Capitals game on Jan. 3 at Verizon Center. Caps won 3-1 (Game 38 Re-Cap). Former Capitals Scott Hannan and Brendan Morrison returned to DC wearing Flames sweaters. Mike Green played in his first game since Nov. 11. All photos taken by Cheryl Nichols (@cnichols14). [Read more…]

Caps Morning Skate: Green returns; Semin out

Coach Dale Hunter said after practice this morning that defenseman Mike Green will indeed dress for the first time since Nov. 11, a stretch of 29 games, against the Calgary Flames at Verizon Center tonight.  Green was limited to 49 games last season with a variety of injuries.  Hunter also said the team will dress seven defensemen, leading to thoughts that in his first game back, at least, Green will be used as an offensive-zone specialist and on the power play, to minimize the potential to aggravate any injury and ease him back into the lineup.

The other roster decision from this morning revolves around winger Alexander Semin, who is listed as day-to-day with an unannounced upper body injury.  Reports over the weekend indicated Semin incurred a cut on his arm in the game against Columbus New Year’s Eve.  Semin practiced briefly today before leaving the ice ahead of his teammates.

Tomas Vokoun was the first goalie off the ice at practice and should start in goal for the Capitals.  Vokoun has started in net for the Caps last three games — all wins — allowing just four goals over that span.

It appears Jeff Schultz and Mathieu Perreault will be healthy scratches for tonight’s game against Calgary.

Game 36 Re-CAP: Ovechkin Restores Order, Caps Slam Sabres, 3-1

Alex Ovechkin during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Just before the end of the Washington Capitals’ home schedule for the calendar year 2011, Alexander Ovechkin restored a little bit of order to the team’s individual statistics list. The captain’s breakaway goal with 5:50 remaining sealed a solid 3-1 win for the Caps over the Buffalo Sabres, and propelled Ovechkin past Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera into the team lead in goals scored with 14.

The goal was Ovechkin’s second of the night, his sixth in the last 10 games, and gave the Capitals (19-15-2) and their fans some belief that maybe, just maybe, the highest-paid player on the team might be back to his old high-scoring ways.

“We just have to play it simple,” Ovechkin said after the game. “We made pretty plays by our simple plays.”

Ovechkin’s first goal came just 1:42 into the game on the simplest possible play in hockey. With Washington on a power play after Drew Weber was sent off for boarding Jason Chimera 27 seconds after the opening face-off, Ovechkin threw the puck at the net from the half-boards to the left of Sabres goalie Ryan Miller. The shot hit the stick of well-meaning Buffalo defender Christian Ehrhoff and ricocheted over Miller’s shoulder and into the net for a 1-0 Washington lead.

The Capitals should have added at least two more to their advantage by the end of the first 20 minutes (they outshot Buffalo 11-2), but they were plagued by bad luck and poor finishing. What the Capitals lacked in goals, they made up for in physicality. Chimera, upset that Weber had only been sent off for two minutes instead of five for boarding him earlier in the period, took matters into his own hands (quite literally), and the two sparred for a few seconds before Weber pinned Chimera to the ice. Less than four minutes later, Troy Brouwer and Ehrhoff, long on opposite sides in the Western Conference with Chicago and Vancouver, respectively, renewed acquaintances with a brief scrap that ended with Brouwer driving Ehrhoff’s head dangerously close to the ice. Ehrhoff later left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return.

The Sabres (17-17-3) came back into the game in the second period, gradually applying more and more pressure on Tomas Vokoun. But they were caught on the break early in the second period as the Caps completed a beautiful passing play. Alexander Semin intercepted a pass intended for Robyn Regehr in Washington’s defensive zone and dropped the puck back to Ovechkin in neutral ice. Ovechkin found Roman Hamrlik at the left point. Hamrlik sent a pass back across to Semin, who held the puck as long as he could before quickly flipping a pass to a streaking Backstrom, who no one on Buffalo had bothered to pick up as the Swede came steaming down the slot.

The goal was Backstrom’s 100th in the NHL and made the score 2-0 at 3:52 of the second period.

The Sabres heightened their efforts and were rewarded at the 15:02 mark of the second after a long period of offensive zone pressure. Jochen Hecht got his stick on a loose puck before any of the Capitals could clear it and popped the only Buffalo goal of the night past a sprawling Vokoun. The goal was a just reward for the 15 shots the Sabres put on Vokoun in the second period and suddenly, the game was back in the balance after 40 minutes.

The Sabres pressed for a tying goal in the third period and almost got one in bizarre circumstances when Marcus Johansson inadvertently shot the puck dangerously close to Vokoun’s net. But for the final seven minutes of the period, the Caps slowly re-took control, and Ovechkin’s clinching goal was the final triumph for the reunited line of Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Semin, all of whom had two-point nights.

“They’re very good players,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said, “and they’ve played together before and we put back a checking line together (Hendricks-Beagle-Knuble) and we put a scoring line together. So, it’s just that combination, I guess.

“We have been struggling a little bit,” Backstrom said, ” and finally we get the stuff going and we’re moving the puck pretty good, we’re shooting and I think we are creating a lot of good chances. That’s what we gotta do. Then you have to make sure you play good defense and I think we are all doing that the last two games.”

The Capitals close 2011 Saturday night with a 7:00 p.m. road game against Columbus.

Caps Recall Eakin, Put Green on Injured Reserve

After Friday night’s game, the Capitals announced that Cody Eakin had been recalled from Hershey of the AHL and would join the team in Columbus. To make space for Eakin on the roster, the Capitals placed defenseman Mike Green (groin) on the injured reserve list retroactive to November 11. Dale Hunter announced before the game that Green would travel with the team to Columbus and might return to the lineup next week.

PHOTOS: Caps Dominate NY Rangers

Here are a few photographs from pre-game warmups and NY Rangers v. Washington Capitals game on Dec. 28 at Verizon Center. Caps won 4-1 (Game 35 Re-Cap). All photos taken by Cheryl Nichols (@cnichols14).


Alex Ovechkin during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Brooks Laich during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Marcus Johansson during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Troy Brouwer during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Matt Hendricks during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Tomas Vokoun during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Fans are happy to see Jay Beagle return to Verizon Center ice (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Alexander Semin during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Karl Alzner during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Jason Chimera during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Alex Ovechkin during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)
Jay Beagle during warmups at Verizon Center (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom made up more than half of the team's shots (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

It was nice to see Caps in front of goal (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Matt Hendricks and Brandon Prust had words (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Alex Semin shot at end of third period could have been a hat trick (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Alex Ovechkin celebrates goal by Alex Semin, Caps fourth goal of the night (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

GAME 35 RE-CAP: Semin tallies twice to lead Caps to 4-1 win over Rangers

Alex Ovechkin celebrates goal by Alex Semin, Caps fourth goal of the night (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

The New York Rangers came to town, HBO 24/7 cameras in tow, with a five-game winning streak, perched atop the Eastern Conference.  Their opponent, the Washington Capitals, were 4-5-1 in their last ten games, coming off an embarrassing 4-2 loss on the road in Buffalo where they gave up the first three goals in the first ten minutes of the game.  Twelve points separated the two teams in the standings, and they appeared to be going in different directions.

Amazing the difference one game makes.

The Caps got two goals from mercurial sniper Alexander Semin, killed off all five Rangers power plays — including two back-to-back late in the third period, and Tomas Vokoun stopped 31-of-32 shots, as Washington defeated their once-and-future division rivals from New York, 4-1, before another sell-out crowd at Verizon Center.

The Capitals, 4-1-0 in their last five home games and 12-5-1 overall at home, have not surrendered a power play goal in their last seven home games.  They inched closer to respectability in the East, pulling to within one point of Winnipeg and Ottawa for eighth place and just three points behind New Jersey, who own the sixth seed in the conference.

It was a much-needed performance after Monday’s dispiriting effort against the Sabres.  The Caps used a heavy forecheck early, with hits being doled out by captain Alex Ovechkin and forward Jay Beagle, in his first game back after missing 31 games with concussion symptoms, to strike first.  Marcus Johansson picked up a fumbled puck by Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto and left a drop pass for Jeff Halpern.  Halpern let go a hard, low shot that Rangers goalie Martin Biron (19 saves) kicked right to Johansson, who deposited the puck in the open net for the 1-0 lead.

Brandon Dubinsky tied the game with less than three minutes in the frame, snapping a shot over Vokoun’s catching hand on a two-on-one, after John Carlson fell trying to defend the offensive blue line.  The game remained knotted until mid-way through the second.  Carlson redeemed himself for the fall, keeping a puck in this time at the blue line, and unleashed a hard shot that hit Brouwer — perfectly stationed at the top of the crease — and deflected past Biron.

All that was left was for “Good Sasha” to take over the game.

Less than three minutes after Brouwer broke the tie, Semin got a great long feed from center Nick Backstrom, raced down the right wing, crossed of front of Biron and beat him easily with a backhand.  The play started with Ovechkin levelling Brad Richards, who had delayed at the blue line waiting for teammates to get onsides.

It was the perfect example of what coach Dale Hunter has been preaching since he took the reigns of this team; defensive responsibility will breed offensive chances.

The final goal came at 17:25 of the third, when Ovechkin gained the offensive zone and carved up the New York defense, hitting a cutting Semin in stride on the right wing with a cross-ice pass, and Semin delayed, then flicked a wrist shot past the outmatched Biron.

“He’s a sniper and he can score, but he played the right way,” Hunter said of Semin’s performance. “He was back-checking and he created opportunities because of good defense and that whole line and that’s what we needed from them.”

The fourth goal was icing on the cake at that point, but it came after the Capitals killed off two successive bad penalties as time was winding down.  Dennis Wideman was whistled for an obvious elbow attempt along the boards; that he didn’t really land the blow was immaterial.  The second that penalty expired, Brouwer batted a puck that was flying through the air into the stands, causing a delay-of-game call.  Backstrom and Mike Knuble did most of the heavy lifting on the second kill, as they were stuck on the ice for almost three-quarters of the second call.

“It’s just commitment by the guys, blocking shots,” Hunter said.  “You saw the blocked shots out there. The puck does hurt and they committed to it and that’s why we killed two off late. They had a good power play and good players on it, but you saw guys going down and blocking shots and that’s commitment to win.”

This was a big win after the debacle Monday night. “Getting the first goal and getting the lead is huge in this league,” Hunter said after the game.  “We came out playing the right way and the guys put together a good 60 minutes.”

It was big, too, since it was on national television and the Rangers have been playing well.  And of course, the spectre of the hidden HBO cameras, following the Rangers around for the “Road to the Winter Classic” program, added a whole different context to the contest.  The Caps had to know that a lot of people — some who have already pronounced the demise of this version of the team — would be watching the results of this game.

So we’re back to this, the Caps defending their home ice, looking now to build a winning streak and get on a roll.  The Sabres come to town Friday, and the Caps will look to avenge Monday’s defeat.  Then they’ll move on to Columbus on New Year’s Eve to face one of the worst teams in the league before having a couple of days off.  Would be nice to be sitting on a three-game winning streak during those days off.

CAPS NOTES:  Washington outhit New York 22-15 and blocked 20 shots to the Rangers 18.  The Caps won 55 percent of the faceoffs.

Jay Beagle returned to action and played nine shifts (5:55 TOI).  He contributed two hits, one shot, and won 3-of-4 faceoffs.

Fans are happy to see Jay Beagle return to Verizon Center ice (Photo by Cheryl Nichols)


GAME 34 RE-CAP: Caps Fall to Sabres in Dismal 4-2 Performance

The last visit the Caps paid to First Niagara Center in Buffalo ended in an embarrassing 5-1 rout, one which ultimately ended up being the last stand for former head coach Bruce Boudreau. In the early stages of tonight’s game, it appeared to be déjà vu all over again. And though the final score last night was not quite as embarrassing, the performance was no better than that of Boudreau’s swan song, as the Washington Capitals fell to the Sabres 4-2, before a sold-out crowd roaring their approval at every opportunity.

With the win, Buffalo leapfrogs the Caps in the standings and Washington plummets to 11th in the conference.

Roman Hamrlik put the boys short-handed as he took a delay of game penalty seconds after puck drop which led directly to a Sabres’ power play goal from Jason Pominville. Unfortunately, Hamrlik’s errant ways set the ugly tone for the first period and things went quickly downhill from there.

Whether they indulged in too much holiday cheer or just flat-out weren’t ready to play, tonight’s performance was perhaps one of the ugliest we’ve seen thus far this season. At 3:10 of the opening period, Matt Ellis scored again for Buffalo. The Capitals caught a break at 8:11 when bad boy Patrick Kaleta headed off for tripping but the resulting power play proved fruitless with only one mere shot on goal, a disturbing trend during this malaise period for the Capitals.

The Capitals slogged through the first period and the night was especially unkind to goaltender Michal Neuvirth. Former Vancouver Canuck defenseman Christian Ehrhoff gave the Sabres a 3-0 lead midway through the period with a wicked wrist shot that marked the end of the evening for Neuvy, who allowed three goals on six shots. Tripping seemed to be the penalty of choice for the night and Alex Ovechkin went guilty as charged to the box at 12:39, leading to a Sabres power play that led to their fourth goal of the game. The Capitals trudged off to the dressing room, leaving a plethora of unanswered questions and flabbergasted faithful, after a dreadful and uninspired 20 minutes of play.

Though they didn’t see any more scoring, the second period momentum still swung in Buffalo’s favor.

The hit of the night belonged to Robyn Regehr, who had a rare and bone-jarring check on Alex Ovechkin into the boards. With less than 20 seconds left the in the period (and well after many a Caps fan switched channels to catch the World Juniors), it was the Capitals’ fourth line that finally got them on the board. Crash-creaser Matt Hendricks tipped the puck into the net with an assist from Mathieu Perreault.

The third period saw a more consistent effort by the Caps (albeit too little, too late) and a nice showing by Tomas Vokoun, which included a stonewall stop on a Drew Stafford breakaway. As mentioned earlier, tripping was the call of the night and it was Patrick Kaleta’s second tripping penalty of the game that led to the Caps’ second tally. As Brooks Laich screened Ryan Miller, Alex Ovechkin blasted the puck past Miller for a 4-2 score.

Alas, that would be all the offense the Capitals could muster on a night they’d like to quickly forget. After an offseason arrival of a few fresh faces and a mid-season coaching change, there seem to be no quick fixes for the inconsistent play and lack of jump that is ailing this team. Tonight’s loss places the Caps at the 11th spot in the Eastern Conference, a lowly rank they haven’t seen in the past few years. They don’t have much time to regroup until they meet the Conference’s first place New York Rangers on Wednesday – with a gaggle of HBO cameras in tow.

Just another post about what’s wrong with the Capitals

Everyone and their brother has a blog post out about “What’s wrong with the Capitals?”  Seems like we should do one here too.  One need not look too deeply to understand why the Capitals are struggling.  It’s not the coaching, though many wanted to scapegoat Bruce Boudreau and hoped that Dale Hunter would ‘light a fire’ underneath these supposedly coddled all-stars.  It’s not some mysterious lack of leadership.  And though you certainly could if you wanted to, it doesn’t really take any #fancystats to figure it out either.

 1)  The Alexes aren’t living up to their standard.  Alex Ovechkin is 75th in the NHL in scoring with nine goals and 12 assists and is minus-10 so far this season.  Since Dale Hunter took over behind the bench, the ‘Great Eight’ has amassed a whopping one goal and three helpers and is minus-3 in seven games.  In fact, he’s scored two goals total since Nov. 12, spanning 15 games.

Alexander Semin ranks 238th in the league in points with just 11 (five goals, six assists) in 26 games.  He has one point on the power play.  He has one assist in five games since Hunter took over, playing to a minus six in those five games.  Semin has never shot lower than 14.1 percent over a season since his rookie year; he sits at 8.9 percent today.

Some people think Ovechkin’s nagging thumb/wrist injury is more of a concern than anyone lets on, but then he puts on a display like that goal he scored the other night against Ottawa and you think, “There’s the real Ovi.”  But then he disappears like he did in Tuesday’s home game against rival Philadelphia, where he managed just three innocuous shots and two hits. 

Semin doesn’t even have a whisper of injury to muddle the situation.  He’s just been absent, or more likely, in the penalty box with yet another offensive zone stick foul, the result of reaching for a puck or player instead of skating hard.  He’s played his way out of even being a valuable trade commodity, even with his expiring contract.

2)  Inconsistent goaltending.  You can’t put it any more clearly or succinctly as my friends over at Japers’ Rink put it in their “Noon Numbers” post:  When the Caps get even mediocre goaltending this season, they win.  The problem is they haven’t even been getting that often enough. 

.786 – Caps winning percentage (11-3-0) in games in which their team save percentage is .895 or better. As that save percentage drops below .895, the win percentage drops to .267 (4-10-1). 

For the season, Tomas Vokoun has a save percentage of .906, which ranks 26th out of goalies that qualify for the league lead.  But as with the first and fifth goals last night will attest, he’s had a proclivity for allowing soft goals, and he’s been very stand-up about accepting responsibility.  In his introductory press conference, he mentioned how it would be refreshing not having to play in 2-1 games every single night.  But as it stands now, if the coaches had any confidence in the back-ups, Vokoun might not be playing with as much regularity to begin with.

Therein lies the problem: Michael Neuvirth (3.73 GAA, .875 SV%) hasn’t been any better than Vokoun, and Braden Holtby has been languishing in Hershey, perhaps partly due to his belief that he should be with the big club after his successes last season.  There certainly have been enough cries in the social media over the last couple of weeks to give Holtby another try, but the Caps have to get Vokoun and Neuvirth straightened out first.  They are both better than they’ve shown.

3)  Mike Green’s injury.  Published reports has Green joining the team on the upcoming road trip to condition with the team, but there is still no timetable on his return  as he continues to sit, recovering reportedly from groin and ankle injuries. 

In a twitter debate I had with The Washington Times Stephen Whyno Thursday, the beat reporter made a solid point that Green’s injury shouldn’t derail the team.  He’s right.  It shouldn’t.  But it unquestionably has.  Green is singular talent from the blue line in this league and the Caps base a lot of what they do off his ability to clear the defensive zone.  They also build much of their power play around Green’s deft passing and big shot from the point, which has been missing since the eighth game of the season.

Green’s absence is not unlike a baseball team missing its cleanup hitter.  It forces all the other players in the lineup, in this case his fellow blue-liners, one spot up in the order and reduces the team as a whole.  None of the other defensemen have Green’s skill set, so everyone is one spot out of place right now.  The Caps acquisition last year of Dennis Wideman and this year of Roman Hamrlik were supposed to take the heat off the Caps should the Caps sustain injuries to key defensemen like in last year’s playoffs, but Hamrlik has been a complete disappointment thus far (one goal, no assists, minus-11) and Wideman, though moderately productive scoring (5 G, 15 A), has looked lethargic and uninterested in his own end on too many occasions.

Are there other factors that are affecting the Capitals right now?  Sure.  They aren’t getting much production from Marcus Johansson.  Same with Cody Eakin and Matthieu Perreault, who looked smaller than normal out there against Philadelphia Tuesday.  The whole team is trying to adapt to Hunter’s (and new defensive coach Jim Johnson’s) tweaks in the systems.  But if the team’s best players aren’t playing like it, the Caps are going to continue to struggle.  The offense is far from the most pressing problem though, as the Caps sit sixth in the league in goals per game.

It’s not even Christmas yet, but it’s right around the corner.  This is the time when NHL GMs really start looking at their rosters, trying to decide if they’re true contenders, playoff also-rans, or building for the future.  The Caps really could settle into any of those three categories right now unless they get their act in gear, and you have to figure that GM George McPhee won’t go on too much longer without making some sort of personnel moves.

Against Philly, the Capitals were flat-out beaten by a better team.  They played well the first ten minutes, but after the first goal trickled past Vokoun, they were beaten.  They were handled physically, subjected to tossing 30 foot wrist shots in Ilya Bryzgalov’s general direction.  There was no traffic.  There were no screens.  There were no second chances.  Those things aren’t about talent.  Those things are about desire, and the Caps didn’t show any of it against a fierce rival.

The Caps have a long way in the standings to get back to where they want to be.  They aren’t out of anything… yet.  There’s still time to right the ship.  But as Yogi Berra might say, it gets late around here early.  The Capitals just can’t have any more efforts like the one against Philadelphia, shutting down at the first sight of trouble.  It’s okay to get beaten giving full effort.  It’s completely something different giving up.

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