Tag:Washington Capitals
Posted on: March 29, 2011 10:42 pm
 

Alexander Semin takes bad penalty, benched

WASHINGTON -- A message can only be lost in translation so long. 

Russian, English, Braille. For all the positives Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin brings to the team -- like a goal and an assist on Tuesday -- he never has decoded a very crucial message: cut out the ill-timed penalties.

“He was our best offensive player, but at the same time he's been doing the same thing he's done for the last five years,” Caps coach Bruce Boudreau bristled after his team's 3-2 shootout loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. “He took a dumb penalty with four minutes to go in the game. The refs didn't want to call the penalty, but they had to call it.”

Semin, who is as media shy as they come, did not talk to reporters after the game. The Caps successfully killed off Semin's hooking penalty, an infraction 'Canes rookie Jeff Skinner drew near center ice. 

Semin didn't take a single shift in overtime, either as punishment or fear that he'd take another bad penalty. Semin, the team's second-leading scorer with 27 goals, usually gets a fair dose of ice time in OT. He also was absent in the shootout, even though he's usually called upon there as well.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: March 29, 2011 7:04 pm
Edited on: March 29, 2011 7:33 pm
 

Ovechkin, Arnott back in lineup for Capitals

WASHINGTON -- Both Alex Ovechkin and Jason Arnott are in the lineup as the Washington Capitals take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. 

Ovechkin had missed the last three games with what Washington coach Bruce Boudreau called nagging injuries. Arnott has not played since March 13, missing the past six games with an undisclosed injury. 

Ovechkin and Arnott returned to practice in recent days. 

Follow the game on our GameTacker.

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: March 22, 2011 3:49 pm
Edited on: March 22, 2011 4:00 pm
 

Playoff Watch: Caps are in with win over Flyers




WHO CAN CLINCH: The Washington Capitals can clinch their fourth consecutive trip to the postseason a few different ways tonight. The Caps are in if they beat the Flyers, get an overtime or shootout loss combined with a Carolina Hurricanes loss (in regulation or otherwise) or if Carolina loses in regulation to the Ottawa Senators

ALREADY IN: The Vancouver Canuck and Philadelphia Flyers. 

GAME OF THE NIGHT: Washington Capitals (42-21-10) at Philadelphia Flyers (44-19-8), 7:30 p.m. ET (Versus)

If memories haven’t already faded about that eight-game slide the Capitals had in December, a victory tonight might just do it. A win by Washington would pull them even in the points department with the Flyers atop the Eastern Conference. The Flyer will remain in first no matter what happens, however, since they have two games in hand on the Caps, which results in a better winning percentage. Here's a look at our playoff tracker.

The Caps will be without Alex Ovechkin, who the team announced Monday would be out seven to 10 days with an undisclosed injury. Arguably the Flyers most recognizable player, defenseman Chris Pronger, will also be out of the lineup as he recovers from an injury to his right hand that required surgery. The Flyers announced Tuesday that enforcer Jody Shelley would be out four weeks due to a fractured orbital bone suffered in practice. He will undergo surgery on Thursday. 

There’s still plenty of players left to make one of the East’s better rivalries interesting to watch. The Flyers won two of the first three meetings this season and all went to at least overtime. 

ALTERNATIVE VIEWING: New Jersey Devils (34-34-4) at Boston Bruins (39-22-10), 7 p.m. ET 

The Devils are getting close to the point where they need to run the table to make the playoffs. Two teams and seven points stand between New Jersey and eighth-place Buffalo entering Tuesday night’s action. The Bruins won the first two meetings this season. 

GOLF WATCH: The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers won't get any new company tonight.  

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 21, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: March 24, 2011 1:29 am
 

Injury sidelines Caps' Ovechkin 7-10 days

ARLINGTON, Va. --- Words like “nagging injury,” “aches and pains” and “maintenance” were tossed around the practice rink to explain why Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin' will miss seven to 10 days.

Then Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was asked if Tuesday's game against the Philadelphia Flyers was a playoff contest -- not just one of 82 regular season games -- if his captain would play.

“Probably not,” Boudreau told reporters on Monday. 

The official word is that Ovechkin is sore. Not upper body. Not lower body. Just sore. 

“He's had some nagging injuries for a while now,” Boudreau said. “We only have one game in six days, so we thought this would be the best time to get him completely healed up.”

Ovechkin collided knee-on-knee with Detroit's Darren Helm last week and Ovechkin is also thought to have some sort of hand injury, but Boudreau refused to go into specifics. 

“He hasn't practiced with the team in a while,” Boudreau said. “He wants to feel better. He doesn't like waking up every moning and feeling like he's got to go through an hour of (treatment) to get ready for practice. He wants to play. The playoffs are important to him.”

Ovechkin has been a fairly sturdy player through the first six years of his career, including the last couple seasons where he's missed about as many games due to suspension and injury. 

But injury is just theory for his lack of production this season. Even before it was announced he'd be out of the lineup, Ovechkin was already on pace for career lows in goals. He has 29 goals and 48 assists this season, although he has seen a spurt in production of late. 

“I don't know what's wrong with him,” linemate Mike Knuble said. “Like anybody else, he's banged up a little bit. You never know the severity of it. . . . It's nothing season-ending by any means.”

The Caps were already without forwards Eric Fehr (shoulder) and Jason Arnott (undisclosed injury) along with defenseman Mike Green (concussion). Boudreau said Fehr is questionable for Tuesday. Arnott skated on his own before practice began and Boudreau said “he felt good,” but gave no indication when ether Arnott or Green would return. 

Washington just got center Nicklas Backstrom back Friday from a thumb injury that kept him out five games. 
-- A.J. Perez
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 11, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: March 11, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Playoff Watch: ‘Canes look to solve Caps



Carolina Hurricanes (31-26-10) at Washington Capitals (38-20-10)

Verizon Center, 7 p.m. ET

SEASON SERIES: Carolina 0-3-1; Washington 4-0-0

IMPLICATIONS: Carolina would pull into a tie with Buffalo and the New York Rangers at 74 points with a win. (The ‘Canes would technically be in eighth place since they have a game in hand.) The Caps would move to within two points of the East lead as Philly has the night off. Conversely, a loss coupled with a Tampa Bay win Friday would knock them out of the division lead since the Lightning would have a game in hand and, thus, a better winning percentage.

BREAKDOWN: This would be a good time for the Hurricanes to get their first victory of the season against their Southeast Division rivals. Other than a 3-0 tilt on Oct. 27, these games have all been decided in Washington’s favor by a single goal. 

The Caps enter on a six-game winning streak and a victory would give them the longest string of wins on the season. Braden Holtby, who earned his first career shutout against Wednesday against the Oilers, will get the start in net for Washington.  The Washington Post’s Katie Carrera reports No. 1 goalie Michal Neuvirth is healthy, although left this morning’s optional skate early. The Caps will again be without first-line center Nicklas Backstrom, who won’t get the cast that protects his injured left thumb removed for a few days. 

Cam Ward will be back in the Carolina net tonight after a one-game break. He had started the previous 24 games in a row for Carolina. He is 13-7-4 with a 2.58 goals-against average and three shutouts lifetime against Washington. 

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Carolina center Eric Staal vs. Washington ceter Marcus Johansson. Staal, one away from reaching the 30-goal mark, has a point in four consecutive games. Johansson, a rookie, has stepped into the No. 1 line after Backstrom went out after the second period of Monday’s game. The 20-year-old gets to play with Alex Ovechkin on one of his wings, so that’s never a bad thing. 

KEY STAT: 41. Number of games out of 55 the Caps have won at least  half of their faceoffs. 

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 10, 2011 2:15 am
Edited on: March 10, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Morning Skate: Pacioretty says Chara had intent



Count Max Pacioretty among those in and around Montreal miffed that Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara escaped a fine or suspension on Wednesday. 

The 22-year-old Montreal Canadiens forward told TSN’s Bob McKenzie exactly what he thought about the league’s decision: 

"I am upset and disgusted that the league didn't think enough of (the hit) to suspend him," Pacioretty told me. "I'm not mad for myself, I'm mad because if other players see a hit like that and think it's okay, they won't be suspended, then other players will get hurt like I got hurt.

"It's been an emotional day. I saw the video for the first time this morning. You see the hit, I've got a fractured vertebrae, I'm in hospital and I thought the league would do something, a little something. I'm not talking a big number, I don't know, one game, two games, three games...whatever, but something to show that it's not right."


Mike Murphy, the NHL’s Senior V.P of hockey operations, said in a statement Wednesday the league could “find no basis to impose supplemental discipline” against Chara. All Chara received for his check on Pacioretty that caused a severe concussion and a fracture bone in Pacioretty was a five-minute major for interference and a game misconduct on Tuesday. Here's a link to the video of the hit.

"I believe he was trying to guide my head into the turnbuckle. We all know where the turnbuckle is. It wasn't a head shot like a lot of head shots we see but I do feel he targeted my head into the turnbuckle."


The outrage was hardly limited to a patient room at Montreal General Hospital. Several fans called Montreal police to express their outrage, according to The Canadian Press

The calls demanding criminal charges began Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the NHL announced it would neither suspend nor fine Chara for a brutal hit on the Habs' Max Pacioretty.

While the league closed the books on the incident, and even Montreal Canadiens players remained tight-lipped, many of the team's livid fans demanded action.

Police say their emergency call center started getting flooded around 4 p.m. -- after the NHL announced its decision.


News of the inundation of emergency calls, also picked up by independent Bruins blog Stanley Cup of Chowder, is hardly surprising. Habs faithful took to Twitter to urge fans to “unfollow” the NHL’s official Twitter feed and cancel their Center Ice subscriptions. Canadian Sports Minister Gary Lunn urged the NHL needs to take such hits more seriously. Even Air Canada, a major corporate partner of the NHL, is threatening to withdraw its sponsorship dollars. 

While there is precedence for it, there’s unlikely to be a criminal complaint filed against Chara -- especially if Pacioretty doesn’t pursue charges. 

OVI BACK ON TRACK: He has points in six consecutive games. He finally scored his first power play goal at home this season. He seems to be his old jovial self on the bench.

Is Washington Capitals superstar forward Alex Ovechkin finally back on his game?

Ovechkin scored twice in the Caps' 5-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers at Verizon Center Wednesday night. Sure, the Oilers have the worst record in the league, but Ovechkin has played a role as Washington matched a season-best six game win streak.

“I can’t remember (the team) scoring five goals in a game (recently),” said Ovechkin, who has three goals and seven assists over the last six games. “It was a good night for us and a good night for the fans too.”

Ovechkin has 27 goals, so it's not out of the realm for him to reach 40 goals. It'd still be a career low, although he'd have some momentum heading into playoffs.

WEDNESDAY'S RESULTS

St. Louis 4, Columbus 3 (OT) 
Washington 5, Edmonton 0 
Atlanta 3, Carolina 2 (OT) 
Tampa Bay 4, Chicago 3 (SO) 
Los Angeles 2, Detroit 1 
Calgary 4, Dallas 3 (SO) 
Anaheim 5, NY Rangers
Playoff tracker

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:06 pm
Edited on: March 7, 2011 11:24 pm
 

Capitals lose Neuvirth, Holtby shines in releif

Washington Capitals rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth was knocked from Monday's contest after he absorbed a shot to his mask off the stick of Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nate Thompson

Neuvirth, making his sixth consecutive start and the leading candidate for the No. 1 job heading into the playoffs, had his mask knocked off on the shot from 25 feet out. Although the volley came 21 seconds into regulation, Neuvirth didn't leave the game until the first intermission.

Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau told The Washington Post's Katie Carrera that a piece of metel from Neuvirth's mask went into his eye, but he'd be OK.  Neuvirth's replacement, Braden Holtby, was more than capable as he stopped all 21 shots and turned away all three shooters in the shootout for a 2-1 victory over the Lightning as the Caps extended thier lead in the Southeast Division.

The Caps were already without Semyon Varlamov for about another week with what it thought to be a knee injury, never a fun injury to come back from when you're a butterfly goalie. 

Washington's injury troubles weren't just limited to goaltending. First-line center Nicklas Backstrom didn't come out for third period. He was playing through a broken thumb, which limited him in the faceoff circle. There was no immediate word on the injury. 

Boudreau told The Washington Post that Backstrom fell on his injured hand and should be fine. 

Coincidentally, Neuvirth and Backstrom are scheduled to visit St. John the Baptist School in Silver Spring, Md., Tuesday afternoon. (Assistant coach Dean Evason and the team's mascot, Slapshot, were also the roster.) The visit was scheduled to inlcude a Q & A and a skills demonstration.



Posted on: March 7, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: March 7, 2011 10:43 am
 

'History Will Be Made' campaign brought back

The NHL’s “History Will Be Made” campaign -- the league’s award-winning, but frequently spoofed promos -- will be back in time for the playoffs, the NHL announced Monday morning. 

And the commercials like the ones that asked “What if Broad Street didn’t fight back?” and “What if Bobby didn’t fly?” will have a wider reach this time. The campaign will go beyond the league’s broadcasts partners and will include online, radio, print, mobile, and, of course, social media platforms.

"Last season, the ‘History Will Be Made’ campaign, which celebrated some of the iconic moments that make the Stanley Cup Playoffs so special, elicited an overwhelming emotional reaction from our fans, Brian Jennings, NHL executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. “Fans brought handmade ‘History Will Be Made’ signs to games and shared their own versions of the campaign on YouTube.”

Many of the estimated 2,400 fan-produced spots came with tongue firmly planted in cheek, including:

“What Cloutier could stop a beach ball?” 

“What if Ron Hextall wasn’t crazy?”

“What if Dan Boyle knew what team he played for?"

Fans will soon be able to download the instrumental from the real commercials via the NHL’s Facebook page. 

Looking to do it’s best to woo the NHL as its contract is set to expire at season’s end, Comcast is going to put the new spots all many of its family of channels, including Versus, CNBC and MSNBC. No word on Bravo yet. 

New spots will be produced daily during the playoffs and the first of the new crop of commercials -- titled “Wish” and “Mess” -- will debut during NBC’s broadcast of the Chicago Blackhawks-Washington Capitals game on Sunday.

 
 
 
 
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