September 22, 2014

Washington Capitals “40 Greatest Caps”

The Washington Capitals recently announced voting for the “40 Greatest Caps” to commemorate their 40th anniversary season this year. The voting is for 10 additions to the “30 Greatest Caps” they did 10 years ago.

Here’s the entire ballot.

Here’s how the District Sports Page staff voted. Each person could vote for up to 10 players on the ballot: [Read more...]

Washington Capitals announce season-long celebration of franchise’s 40th anniversary

For the Washington Capitals and its fans, opening night of the 2014-15 regular season will hold more than just the excitement of beginning another year of hockey. When they host the Montreal Canadiens on October 9, it will mark the 40th anniversary of the very first game played by the Capitals on October 9, 1974 against the New York Rangers. To mark the occasion, Capitals legends (to be announced) will participate in a ceremonial puck drop, and the Capitals will wear their white alternate sweaters for the game.

The Capitals announced Wednesday that all players will wear a commemorative patch on their jerseys throughout the season, which features the Capitals weagle and a six stars logo. All game pucks will also feature the anniversary graphic (seeOPE below).

Caps_40th

Press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will celebrate the team’s 40th anniversary season during the 2014-15 NHL campaign with several season-long initiatives in honor of the team’s history, players and fan base.

The Capitals 40th anniversary season celebration includes a commemorative logo, featuring the Capitals weagle and six stars in honor of the history of the Capitals. The logo will be worn as a patch on the team’s jerseys throughout the season and displayed on all home game pucks.

The Capitals’ Opening Night at Verizon Center presented by GEICO against the Montreal Canadiens on Oct. 9 marks the anniversary of the franchise’s first game at the New York Rangers on Oct. 9, 1974. To commemorate the occasion, Capitals legends will participate in a ceremonial puck drop, and the Capitals will wear white alternate uniforms during the home opener.

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations, Caps fans will have the opportunity to vote for 10 additions to the 30th team, building upon fans’ selection of the 30 best Capitals in 2004 to create the 40 Greatest Caps. Voting begins on Wednesday, Sept. 10, on WashingtonCaps.com and continues through the pre-season, with the first of the 40 Greatest Caps acknowledged during the regular season home opener on Oct. 9. Over the course of the season the Capitals will honor the 40 Greatest Caps by recognizing members during Capitals home games.

In addition an enhanced history section will launch on WashingtonCaps.com, featuring infographics, in-depth features on Caps alumni, profiles on the original Caps 30th anniversary team, vintage photo galleries and statistical overviews of all Capitals seasons.

The 2014-15 season also will include a number of special events and promotions, including a 40th anniversary schedule magnet giveaway on Opening Night at Verizon Center presented by GEICO on Oct. 9 and an Alex Ovechkin bobblehead giveaway featuring the commemorative patch on Jan. 20. Additional promotions will be announced at a later date.

 

 

Capitals Winter Classic jerseys will be unveiled September 23 at Nationals Park

Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Capitals announced that the 2015 Winter Classic venue is indeed Nationals Park in DC. The Washington Post’s Alex Prewitt reported September 6 that a deal had been reached between the NHL and Nationals Park, confirming reports swirling since last September, when Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis announced that the Capitals would be hosting the event in 2015.

Additionally, the Capitals’ Winter Classic jerseys will be revealed at a special event to be held at Nationals Park on September 23.

Press release:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will host the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic on Jan. 1, 2015, at Nationals Park, the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals and the Washington Nationals announced today. In addition, the Capitals NHL Winter Classic uniforms will be unveiled during a special event at Nationals Park on Sept. 23 at 12 p.m.

“The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® has made New Year’s Day a highlight of the season for NHL fans everywhere,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. “Nationals Park provides an ideal setting for all the excitement, entertainment and fun as the Blackhawks and Capitals bring our outdoor tradition to historic Washington, D.C.”

“We are thrilled the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic will be played at Nationals Park as we welcome the Chicago Blackhawks and their fans to our nation’s capital,” Capitals majority owner Ted Leonsis said. “We are delighted the D.C. area and our great fan base will have an opportunity to experience the Winter Classic, and we know that Nationals Park will provide an incredible backdrop for the game.”

Nationals Park is located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol, adjacent to the Navy Yard. The 41,546 seat venue opened in March 2008 and is home to the Washington Nationals.

“We are honored to have been selected to host the NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park,” said Mark D. Lerner, one of the Washington Nationals Principal Owners and Vice Chairman. “The Classic is one of North America’s premier sports events, and we look forward to sharing our ballpark and our city with NHL fans from around the world.”

In celebration of the much-anticipated outdoor game, the Capitals will unveil their NHL Winter Classic uniforms during a special event at Nationals Park on Sept. 23 at noon. Commissioner Bettman, Leonsis, Lerner, along with Capitals president Dick Patrick, general manager Brian MacLellan, Blackhawks president and CEO John McDonough, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby, will attend the event and will be available to the media following the ceremony.

The 2015 game will mark the seventh Winter Classic, an annual game that Forbes magazine called the best new sporting event of the last decade. It will mark the second time in history the Capitals will play an outdoor game. Washington defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-1 in front of 68,111 fans at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2011.

The 2014 NHL Winter Classic on NBC tied the highest-rated NHL regular-season sell out game in nearly four decades and became the second-most watched game in 39 years (4.4 million average viewers). The five previous NHL Winter Classics have produced the five most-watched NHL regular-season games in the past 39 years (average viewers). The Blackhawks will appear in the Winter Classic for the second time. Chicago hosted the Detroit Red Wings at Wrigley Field in the 2009 Winter Classic. Washington is 24-15-5-1 all-time at home against Chicago, including a 4-0 win over the Blackhawks on April 11 at Verizon Center.

The 2015 event also will feature a Spectator Plaza that offers hockey-themed attractions, music and fun for fans of all ages. Further details on the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, including ticketing information and uniform design for each team, will be released in the coming weeks. Every Washington Capitals full-season ticket member, partial plan member and group leader will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket members, partial plan holders and group leaders when they become available.

 

Washington Capitals to host 2015 NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park

According to numerous reports, the Washington Capitals will play host to the 2015 NHL Winter Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. The news was first reported on Twitter by Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post.

The game will be played on Jan. 1 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

This will be the second appearance in the popular event for both teams. The Blackhawks hosted the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field in 2009 and lost to the Detroit Red Wings 6-4. The Capitals visited Pittsburgh in 2011 and beat the Penguins 3-1 at Heinz Field.

This is the seventh edition of the game, and the fourth to be played at a baseball stadium. The last one held at a baseball stadium was in 2012, as the New York Rangers beat the Philadelphia Flyers on the road at Citizen’s Bank Park.

Washington Capitals rookie camp scheduled to begin September 11

A week from now, a fresh squad of rookies will take the ice at Kettler Iceplex for the Washington Capitals annual rookie camp starting September 11, the Capitals PR confirmed today. As mentioned below, several of the players participating in rookie camp will also be invited to training camp to compete for a spot on the final roster.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 3, 2014

Capitals Announce Rookie Camp Schedule; Training Camp Begins Sept. 19

Capitals and Flyers Rookies to Face Off in Philadelphia on Sept. 16

ARLINGTON, Va. – The 2014 Washington Capitals Rookie Camp will begin on Thursday, Sept. 11 and will run through Tuesday, Sept. 16, when the Capitals rookies face off against the Philadelphia Flyers’ rookies at 3 p.m. at Flyers Skate Zone, the official practice facility of the Philadelphia Flyers, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today.

All on-ice workouts at Kettler Capitals Iceplex are open to the public and free of charge. Select participants in rookie camp will be invited to join veteran players in training camp, which begins Friday, Sept. 19 (first on-ice session). Like rookie camp, all training camp on-ice workouts are open to the public.

Among the Capitals rookies scheduled to participate in the camp will be forwards Andre Burakovsky, Jakub Vrana, Chandler Stephenson and goaltender Pheonix Copley. A complete roster will be released at a later date.

Washington Capitals Rookie Camp Schedule

 

Day                                         Time                                                    Event

Thursday, Sept. 11                   3 p.m. – 4 p.m.                                    Practice (Capitals Rink)

4:15 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.                          On-ice testing (Capitals Rink)

Friday, Sept. 12                       10 a.m. – 11 a.m.                                 Practice (Arlington Rink)

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.                                Conditioning Test (Capitals Rink)

Saturday, Sept. 13                    9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.                         Practice (Arlington Rink)

10:15 a.m. – 11 a.m.                            Practice (Capitals Rink)

Sunday, Sept. 14                      9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.                         Practice (Arlington Rink)

10:15 a.m. – 11 a.m.                            Practice (Capitals Rink)

Monday, Sept. 15                    9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.                         Practice (Arlington Rink)

10:15 a.m. – 11 a.m.                            Practice (Capitals Rink)

Tuesday, Sept. 16                    3 p.m.                                                  Capitals at Flyers (Flyers Skate Zone)

Washington Capitals have challenging decision on line combinations

Alex Ovechkin -Practice April 27(Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Alex Ovechkin -Practice April 27(Cheryl Nichols/District Sports Page)

Everyone’s favorite offseason activity is analyzing the roster and playing around with the line combinations. By now, Washington Capitals fans have realized no help is coming at center.

The hole left in the lineup by the departure of Mikhail Grabovski will have to filled by someone already on the roster. Brad Richards will not be coming to the rescue like a knight in shining armor, there will be no miraculous trade for Ryan O’Reilly; the Caps will have to make do with what the have.

In an interview with NHL.com, Barry Trotz was asked about his thoughts on the second line center.

“I’m going to let them play through the camp,” he said,” but my vision is that [Marcus] Johansson will play in the middle and [Evgeny] Kuznetsov or [Andre] Burakovsky will play in the middle and one will have to move to the wall. In today’s game, the more options you have the better off you are.” [Read more...]

What to do with Mike Green

The Washington Capitals overhauled their defensive core this offseason and many are wondering where that leaves Mike Green. With the additions of Matt Niskanen and Brooks Orpik, is there still room for the former Norris Trophy candidate?

With trade rumors flying, the team was quick to declare that Green was still a part of the Caps’ future plans. The Caps would not be the first team to change their minds on a player, however, so let’s explore whether Green should be on the trading block. [Read more...]

MacLellan distances himself from McPhee with free agent signings

Anybody miss George McPhee yet?

No one really knew what to expect from Brian MacLellan when he was promoted to general manager; with no track record, he was an unknown commodity. The amnesty buyout period came and went with no movement and fans began to fear the had traded one complacent general manager for another. [Read more...]

Capitals overpay to rebuild defensive corps in NHL free agent frenzy

When I first heard the deal the Washington Capitals handed 33-year-old (34 before opening night) defenseman Brooks Orpik, I was as apoplectic as anyone else. Well, almost anyone else.

My initial reaction: the Caps drastically overpaid — in dollars and years — for an aging, slowing, one-dimensional defenseman that doesn’t drive play. While I can appreciate the element Orpik will contribute to the team, what crusty old Canadians refer to as “snarl”, in no way is that worth $5.5 million over a five year term. Let alone, to a player that will be 39 at the end of the deal.

The analysis stands. My emotional response to the deal has mellowed a bit though.

Yes, the Caps drastically overpaid. There’s no possible way Orpik returns value on the length of the contract. With luck, the salary cap will continue to go up and he’ll be less of a burden in the later years.

He’ll add very little to the offensive side of the game. He makes a decent outlet pass, that’s about it. There’s lots of video of more talented skaters turning him inside out, and that’s going to continue.

As Caps GM Brian MacLellan pointed out, Orpik’s primary responsibility was starting in his own end and getting the puck out of it. Corsi’s not going to be kind to a player like that.

But the Caps have very precious little muscle on the back end. And that’s where Orpik can still contribute. Essentially, Orpik will be the player the Caps hoped John Erskine could continue to be. It’s debatable how long Orpik will be able to continue in that role, but we’ve got the next five years to watch it.

The next deal that the Caps made, bringing in fellow former Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen, sort of helps put the Orpik deal in perspective.

Niskanen signed a market-value seven-year deal for $40.25 million — the largest contract doled out on frenzy day. Niskanen was probably the best defenseman available on the free agent market. He’s 27, coming off his best season, and in the prime of his career. He’ll “just” be 34 at the conclusion of his current contract.

Signing Niskanen gives the Caps not just another top-four defenseman, it gives them a top pair blue-liner. Whether Niskanen plays with Karl Alzner, Orpik, John Carlson, or even Mike Green or Dmitry Orlov, it slots every one down a spot. The Caps added not one, but two top four defensemen, something we advocated in this column before the conclusion of last season.

They are now deep, talented and tough on the back end, with impressive defense coaches to guide them.

Yes, the Caps spent a lot of money on two NHL caliber defensemen. But they needed to. After the parade of journeymen and teenagers last season, the Caps now boast a legitimate NHL defensive corps.

The team has been pretty good at drafting and developing puck moving defensemen, but you can’t teach size and toughness. As much as some of us (myself definitely included) like to point to possession and skill, this game still needs an element of toughness and defensive reliability on the backline.

The Caps have failed miserably to develop anyone to fill that role, so they had to pay for it.

The Caps are banking on the idea that while Alex Ovechkin is in his prime, they have to take every opportunity to “go for it.” Tuesday proved that this “refresh” is no rebuild. Damn the future, MacLellan’s directive is obvious: patch together a team that if it makes the playoffs, will at least have a puncher’s chance in the tournament.

The addition of Niskanen and Orpik, at an exorbitant cost, prove beyond a shadow of a doubt the organization — and ownership – thinks it should be competitive.  Maybe they are deluding themselves. Maybe they know more than we think. Maybe they are chasing fool’s gold. Maybe they are just trying to pull the wool over our eyes.

Maybe in three year’s time they’ll be looking for another general manager.

But for know, the Caps were the most active team in the free agent market. That means that they have at least acknowledged that problems existed. There will still probably be dominoes to fall. When all is said and done, we can — and will — judge.

Orpik’s deal is bad. He’s aging quickly, his skating isn’t great, and he doesn’t drive play. The last couple of years of this contract are going to be painful to watch. But, at least, at the end of the day we could see a semblance of a plan, where taken at face value and on its own it looked like unmitigated and indefensible disaster.
__________________

Dave Nichols is Editor-in-Chief of District Sports Page. He is credentialed to cover the Washington Nationals, Washington Capitals, Washington Wizards and Washington Mystics. Dave also works for Associated Press, covering Major League Soccer, college football and basketball out of its Spokane, WA college sports desk. Previously, he wrote Nats News Network and Caps News Network and spent four years in commercial radio covering the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland football and basketball teams.  Dave is a life-long D.C. sports fan and attended his first pro game in 1974 — the Caps’ second game in existence.  You can follow him on Twitter @DaveNicholsDSP.

%d bloggers like this: