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New season, new ideas - looking at those who have started out hot (and those who have stumbled), that infernal Martin Erat question and more. Debate, discuss, enjoy! I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick this off with a mention o...
New season, new ideas - looking at those who have started out hot (and those who have stumbled), that infernal Martin Erat question and more. Debate, discuss, enjoy! I’d be remiss if I didn’t kick this off with a mention of Mikhail Grabovski, whose legend has already begun to grow. Why? Oh, no reason, unless you consider 7 points in 3 preseason games impressive. Or the fact that he followed that opening act with a (credited) hat trick and a bonus assist in the season opener against Chicago, and an assist on a game-tying goal plus a shootout tally the following game. The points are nice (…seriously, they’re really nice) but in his brief time here he’s also shown a knack for going to the net, a beautiful skating stride and the ability to get walloped in the face by Zac Rinaldo and keep on truckin’. If that second line ever clicks... watch out. Speaking of clicking, the Caps' top line certainly has been so far, as Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson have all come out of the gate hot. They're putting up points, and while they haven't been producing at even strength (just like everyone else) they're still maintaining possession at five-a-side and getting their chances - the even-strength points will come. In the meantime, they've looked like a cohesive trio, clearly comfortable with one another and capable of breaking out some dazzling moves. We've seen how this trio can drive the direction of the team; if they keep it up, the rest will (hopefully) fall into place. It'll be interesting to see how long Connor Carrick sticks with the team, as each game brings him that much closer to the magical ten-game mark. The decision to send Carrick back to the OHL or the AHL would seem to be a fairly easy one on the surface - give him as much experience as possible without burning a year of his contract. But with Jack Hillen now out for 4-6 months, can the team afford to be without an extra body on the blue line, especially with most of their reserves requiring a trip on the waiver wire? One hopes something like that wouldn't be the reason to keep a kid who, while improving every game, is probably not NHL-ready just yet... (Bruce Bennett / Getty Images) Hard not to feel a little bad for Martin Erat - this is a guy accustomed to playing top-six minutes with top-six linemates, and instead he's relegated to less than ten minutes a night with a grinder at center and a rookie on his opposite wing. I can't really imagine a scenario in which he remains on that line, whether he's moved up to another line or simply moved, but it really does bring up the question that pretty much everyone is asking: why? Is it something Oates is seeing in him (or rather not seeing) that is keeping him on the outside? Is he simply on the fourth line to provide stability and defensive consciousness to a rookie learning the ropes? Or is it really just a matter of having too many bodies and not enough ice time to give? It's confusing, particularly given how clear-cut most of Oates's decisions have been in the past. One of the bigger issues for concern with the Erat situation, though, is the fact that early on it didn't sound like Oates had even communicated a plan or a reason to Erat (although it appears that this has since changed). Combine this with what Mathieu Perreault said shortly before being shipped to Anaheim: "You're wondering a little bit if they're trying to find another guy to play in my spot. I don't know what's their mindset, what they're trying to do." Until now Oates has been billed - and seemed to have lived up to the reputation - as a great communicator, but to listen to Erat and Perreault, it sounds more like the days of Dale Hunter than anything else. Does this communication only extend to those who are "his guys"? There's nothing about this Erat situation that doesn't stink. And while debate and discussion is always a good thing and is part of being a fan, am I the only one tired of
about 4 hours ago
7 - Number of third period power play opportunities for the Caps through the first three games, tied with Philadelphia and San Jose for the most in the League (although the Flyers have played one more game). The Caps have scored three ti...
7 - Number of third period power play opportunities for the Caps through the first three games, tied with Philadelphia and San Jose for the most in the League (although the Flyers have played one more game). The Caps have scored three times in those seven opportunities. Six teams in the NHL have as many or fewer power play opportunities total as the Caps have in the final twenty minutes.
about 6 hours ago
Was just looking up some old Caps this morning, and we put together a Caps active alumni group that looks something like this...As a group, this team has nine goals so far. Well, so do the Caps. This group has six players in plus-terri...
Was just looking up some old Caps this morning, and we put together a Caps active alumni group that looks something like this...As a group, this team has nine goals so far. Well, so do the Caps. This group has six players in plus-territory. The Caps have one. This group has a goalie who is top-five in goals against and save percentage. The Caps have a number one goalie who is on the second page of the NHL.com statistics in both.Truth be told, though, would you like the long term prospects of that first line, one that might need a map and a flashlight to find their own end of the ice? And at this point, ditto for that first defensive pair (which, by the way, as primarily "offensive" defensemen has combined for no points so far). And the backup goalie is out!Just another way of saying to Caps fans, "stop whining!" Oh, and to the Caps..."stop sucking (at even strength)!"It's early...It's early.
about 8 hours ago
Leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I’ll be checking in with players from around the NHL to see where they fit into the grand scope of the games and how this Olympic year affects their season. Jamie … Continue reading ...
Leading up to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, I’ll be checking in with players from around the NHL to see where they fit into the grand scope of the games and how this Olympic year affects their season. Jamie … Continue reading →
about 8 hours ago
Your savory breakfast links: We take a look at the Caps' ongoing even strength woes and how Eric Fehr's and Martin Erat's current roles might be effecting them... [Rink] ...and then break down a few, well, breakdowns in recent games ...
Your savory breakfast links: We take a look at the Caps' ongoing even strength woes and how Eric Fehr's and Martin Erat's current roles might be effecting them... [Rink] ...and then break down a few, well, breakdowns in recent games that proved costly to the Caps. Now with special snazzy GIF power! [Rink] Your Capitals Minute for today. [Capitals Voice] News and notes from out at Kettler: In general. [Monumental video (Oates, Rinkside Update/Fehr)] That second line may not have clicked just yet, but all involved are convinced it's merely a work in progress... and Adam Oates is willing to be patient. Even if we're not. [WaPo, CSNW, NBC4] The Caps recalled center Michael Latta from Hershey to reward him for strong play... [Caps, Patriot-News] ...and to fill in during practice for Nicklas Backstrom, who was off the ice for the birth of his first child, a baby girl. Mazel Tov! [WaPo, CSNW] New blueliner Alexander Urbom is expected to make his Caps' debut during the upcoming homestand. [WaPo, CSNW] While less visible than the even strength or power play efforts, the Caps' penalty kill has had some decent success so far by combining chemistry with an aggressive attack. [Dump 'n Chase] Fehr, Troy Brouwer and Marcus Johansson could all be poised for a breakout season in 2013-14. [WashTimes] Oates's usage of Erat thus far is one of the early-season surprises... hear that? "One of". We're not alone! [ESPN ($)] Things to worry about and questions to ask... both of which are common pastimes of Caps fans. [THW (and again)] Tales from around the SB Nation network: Looking at how the Caps' success with the 1-3-1 power play makes it a good fit for the Canadiens. [EotP] A member of our SBN family was recently in a serious car crash - leave her some get well wishes (and perhaps a little something else, as well). Heal up quick, SK! [Anaheim Calling] As the debate over fighting and its place in today's game continues on, get the perspective on it from one who knows a little about dropping the gloves - Steve Oleksy. [Too Many Men] Held up against three-game stretches of historically good possession teams, this rough start might not be as big a deal as we think it is. [RLS] With the promotion of Craig Berube to the head coach of the Flyers, the NHL's coaching ranks are suddenly full of players from the Caps' Cup Final team of 1997-98. [RMNB] Fantasy poolies take note: Alex Ovechkin seems to have picked up where he left off at the end of last season, and Grabo is fabbo. [NHL.com, THN] The captain checks in with one of opening week's top plays. Naturally. [PHT] The season may have gotten off to a rocky start, but there's nothing but optimism and confidence in the Caps locker room. [Talk the Red] Sittin' at the end of the bar, because what else do we have to do? [Peerless] Checking in with how the Caps' prospects have fared over the last week... [THW] ...including Chandler Stephenson, who is off to a career start and is hoping his success translates to team success. [Leader-Post, WHL (h/t sk84fun_dc)] No surprise to anyone, Ted Leonsis thinks that Nationals Park would be a natural spot for the 2015 Winter Classic. Yes, please. [Bog] Finally, some pics from last night's Season Ticket Holder's event out at Six Flags. [Capitals Outsider] More from Japers' Rink: Capital Moments that Mattered: Defensive Breakdowns Cost the Caps in Dallas The Noon Number: Special Delivery Shuffling the Deck: Eric Fehr, Martin Erat and the Caps at Even Strength
about 11 hours ago
Your place to talk about whatever it is you want to talk about.
Your place to talk about whatever it is you want to talk about.
about 12 hours ago
Nothing better on a another shutdown morning than curling up with a cup o' bee... uh, cup o' joe and the NHL news. Well, lookee here...-- No Capital defenseman is “plus” through three games. Only John Carlson is “even.”-- John Carlson ...
Nothing better on a another shutdown morning than curling up with a cup o' bee... uh, cup o' joe and the NHL news. Well, lookee here...-- No Capital defenseman is “plus” through three games. Only John Carlson is “even.”-- John Carlson is “even.” Why? Because despite only being on ice for one goal against in more than 61 minutes of even strength ice time, the Caps have scored only one even strength goal.-- Did you have Marcus Johansson tied for second in the league in assists? Twice as many as Sidney Crosby!-- Only 26 out of 386 forwards have fewer shots on goal than Marcus Johansson. Fewer than Spencer Abbott! Fewer than Zac Rinaldo!! As many as… Michael Latta!!!-- Two players in the NHL are averaging at least one minute per shift…Mike Green (1:02) and Alex Ovechkin (1:00).-- So far, defensemen have one even strength assist for the Caps, and that belongs to, drum roll, please… Karl Alzner!!!-- So far, defensemen for the Caps have one even strength goal, and that belongs to, drum ro… ah, #@$% it… Connor Carrick!!! Who happens to be tied for the league lead in goals among rookie defensemen.-- Last season, Mike Green finished tied for 85thamong defensemen in blocked shots. So far this season…tied for fifth.-- Last season, Mike Green had 14 takeaways in 35 games. He already has four in three games so far.-- Eric Fehr is fifth in the league in faceoff winning percentage. He has taken 32 draws this season (21-11; 65.6 percent). In his previous nine seasons he took a total of 25 draws (5-20, 20.0 percent).-- Mikhail Grabovski and Alex Ovechkin are a combined 7-for-31 in shooting (22.6 percent). The rest of the team is 2-for-66 (3.0 percent).-- Only three goaltenders having faced at least 30 even strength shots have a save percentage worse than Braden Holtby. Two of them are Roberto Luongo and Martin Brodeur.-- Filip Forsberg has played in one game, taken one shot, and scored one goal for the Nashville Predators; Mathieu Perreault has two goals on six shots and is tied for the team lead in points for the Anaheim Ducks.All of what you’ve just read just means it’s early.
about 17 hours ago
Matt Million Dollar Insider? I can’t believe I’m writing another review, about another Binary options program, this one called Million Dollar Insider. This program claims to make you money easily (highly doubt that) because I...
Matt Million Dollar Insider? I can’t believe I’m writing another review, about another Binary options program, this one called Million Dollar Insider. This program claims to make you money easily (highly doubt that) because I know nothing comes easy… There are many similarities to this program and others like secret method, and Wall Street exposed just to name a couple that have come out lately. They all look similar in...
about 19 hours ago
During the preseason, Brooks Laich and Mikhail Grabovski would sit in their stalls after practice at the Capitals’ practice facility in Arlington and diagram plays with their fingers using a Gatorade bottle to represent the net. The pant...
During the preseason, Brooks Laich and Mikhail Grabovski would sit in their stalls after practice at the Capitals’ practice facility in Arlington and diagram plays with their fingers using a Gatorade bottle to represent the net. The pantomime continues even … Continue reading →
1 day ago
On Saturday, the Caps traveled to Dallas to take on the Stars looking for their first regulation win of the season, and looking to stem some defensive bleeding after letting up nine goals (empty netter excluded) in the first two game...
On Saturday, the Caps traveled to Dallas to take on the Stars looking for their first regulation win of the season, and looking to stem some defensive bleeding after letting up nine goals (empty netter excluded) in the first two games. The Caps did a better job, letting in only two goals, but a closer look shows they've got a long way to improve if they want to start collecting standings points. With the game tied in the second period (shortly after Nicklas Backstrom's goal was dubiously disallowed and after an earlier breakdown put the Stars on the board), the Stars headed through the neutral zone with a three-on-two odd man rush. A couple quick passes and a rebound shot later, the Stars scored what stood as to be the game-winning goal. Odd man rushes are tough for any defense or goalie to handle, but even granting that, the Caps skaters could have and should have played that situation much better. Here's the full replay: The Stars have numbers from the red line in, but the Caps have a couple of backcheckers in Jay Beagle and Martin Erat. The Stars take the puck wide, and Alex Chiasson slows down to make himself available as the high man (the standard posture for the third man on a rush into the offensive zone). Chiasson's coasting gives the Caps an opportunity to catch up to him, but both Beagle and Erat inexplicably stopped skating when they cross the blue line. It's questionable whether Erat could have caught Chiasson, but Beagle definitely could have with a couple more hard strides: Caps fans may be used to seeing one of their players with the number "8" gliding in on a backcheck, but unlike the other Caps forwards with an "8" on their jersey, Jay Beagle isn't going to make up any value in the offensive zone. He's a defense-first, defense-only player. For Beagle to let up on the backcheck in that situation is inexcusable. Compounding the lack of effort from Beagle and Erat, John Erskine lets Cody Eakin and Alex Chiasson play their two-on-one (it became a de facto two-one-one when Steve Oleksy neutralized Ray Whitney driving to the net) like it was a two-on-none. Ideally, you'd like the defenseman to take the pass on a two-on-one, letting the goalie focus on the shooter. With the puck passing across Erskine twice, that clearly didn't happen. If the defender can't take the pass, they should try to limit the shot, or at least force a poor-angle shot. That also didn't happen. Eakin got an open shot on net from just below the faceoff dot: Braden Holtby did an admirable job getting in front of Eakin's shot, but he put the rebound straight into the slot, which is literally the last place you want to put a rebound. It's difficult to control the rebound in those circumstances, but you have to think Holtby wishes he could have done anything else with that shot. All told, some poor defensive positioning, effort, and execution combined to put the Caps down a goal at the midway point in the game. Unfortunately, this time the Caps weren't able to score their way out of the hole they dug, and they ended up taking zero points in a game that was there for the taking. GIFs by B. Sheridan/@capitalshill. More from Japers' Rink: The Noon Number: Special Delivery Shuffling the Deck: Eric Fehr, Martin Erat and the Caps at Even Strength Isolating The Capitals' Even-Strength Problems Tuesday Caps Clips: First Stars and Failing Strength
1 day ago