The Washington Capitals were up with a solid lead again last night in their game against the Montreal Canadiens and, once again, they gave up the lead. Fortunately, the Capitals prevailed in the shootout on the strength of goals by Matt Hendricks (despite his “Paralyzer” shootout move doing nothing for him) and Alexander Semin while Michal Neuvrith didn’t let anything by him.
While there were many stories of the game last night like the Capitals blowing another lead, the team scrapping that much closer to getting into the playoffs despite themselves, a continuing powerless play, and it saying “Fan Appreciation Day” on the ticket, the only thing that really seemed to matter (and was a big enough gift back to fans) was the return of Nicklas Backstrom. Well, the playoff thing matter a little bit, too. And that power(less) play could be a real problem if they get there. It was great seeing Backstrom get right back into the groove.
It was also cool to see Semin roughing someone up. I know some up in the press box called it a weak call, and perhaps it was from that view, but from my view (which you can see in one of the photos below), Semin gave some elbow and cared enough to finish with an extra little bit.
To read more about the game and all that it means, check out Ed Frankovic, Russian Machine, Japer’s Rink and On Frozen Blog. My photos are below and on flickr.
The Washington Capitals played a pretty good game against the Winnipeg Jets for almost 58 minutes last night. Then, like Mike Damone in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” said, “I woke up in a great mood. I don’t know what the hell happened.” (All that’s new is old again or something not like that at all.) Everything was under control until a weenie penalty was called on Brooks Laich for playing the puck with a broken stick when the Capitals were already on the penalty kill. With Jets goalie Ondrej Pavalec on the bench for a sixth skater, the Jets got one back to cut the Capitals lead to one. Twelve seconds later, Dustin Byfuglien was dumping the puck into the Capitals zone from the redline when it deflected off Karl Alzner’s stick and went the wrong way into the back of the Capitals net. Nothing going in the overtime and all of the sudden the Capitals lost in the shootout.
Sometimes it’s tough to be a Capitals fan.
Read some more from Ed Frankovic, On Frozen Blog, Russian Machine, District Sports Page and Japer’s Rink. See my photos below or on flickr.
The Washington Capitals lost another one at Verizon Center last night, this time in the gimmick. Both the Capitals and their opponents for the second consecutive day, the New Jersey Devils looked like they wanted to play the entire game as both teams looked like they were running on fumes by the middle of the second period. At least the Capitals got to start the game with six natural defensemen playing D and all six of them were still taking regular shifts at the end of the game. Oh wait. That didn’t happen. If there was a bright spot, it looks like Brooks Laich could actually play defense if the Capitals really need it. But, if they need it, that’s not good.
If you really want to read about this game, try the usual places like Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine, District Sports Page, and On Frozen Blog.
Also, read Stephen Whyno’s blog entry at the The Washington Times about Roman Hamrlik’s injury. He was checked into the boards in front of the Devils bench by Vladimir Zharkov and was doubled over in pain on the Capitals bench less than 30 seconds later. Photos of the check and Hamrlik on the bench shortly after are included in the photos below and on flickr.
Even if you couldn’t enjoy the game, I hope you enjoy the photos.
It was the second Monday in October in Washington, DC and there was drama aplenty in a close decision. The Washington Capitals beat the Tampa Bay Lightning in a shootout to cap a game that ended overtime 5-5. Those five Capitals goals would have been helpful being spread out over their most recent 4 games against the Lightning, but oh well. You can read more about the game in the regular place like Russian Machine Never Breaks, Japer’s Rink, Ed Frankovic’s blog, and District Sport Page. Capitals Outsider has something up, too, but I didn’t see a box score.
It was kind of like a return to Capitals Hockey circa 2009, which felt right because my photos are kind of like a blast back to 2009, too. Before I explain why, does anyone remember Mr. Owl asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I now know how many shutter clicks it takes to get to the end of the useful life of a Nikon D300’s shutter mechanism. That would be about 2 years and 124, 951 shutter actuations. So, as I wait patiently for Nikon to release some new bodies (hopefully by Thanksgiving) to replace the old one, I had to go back to the camera I first used to shoot Capitals games, a D200. Wow, it sucks in comparison. I guess I had forgotten just how much. I think I’ll be sending the D300 up to Nikon in Melville to get fixed, but in the meantime, I’ll be turning up Frank Turner on my headphones to drown out the D200’s noise. Hope you enjoy the photos anyway either here or on flickr.
UPDATE: Now With Lyrics!
“The Ballad of Braden Holtby”
(Sung to the tune of The Clash’s “Lost in the Supermarket“)
I’m all lost with this shootout gimmick
I can no longer save happily
I came in here for a special offer
A chance to play in the big time league
I didn’t lose so much as I lost out
My team forgot to score for me
We had a team that used to score at will
But those days seem so long ago
I heard the people who paid for their tickets
Scream and chant so loud for me
Hearing that noise just made me play better
That’s how it was all through the game
I was tuned in, I saw all the shooters
I saved pucks from back of the nets
I’ve got my big strange goalie routines
I flip my bottle and I feel a bit free
In overtime I kept holding the line
And took the team to shootoutville
Came the shinny dekes on a rookie goalie
And the silence makes me lonely
And it’s not here
I’m shootout lost
Three games, three goals against…and then there was a shootout. The Washington Capitals helped out rookie goaltender Braden Holtby in the first two games of his most recent call up from the Hershey Bears by scoring a few goals in each game and allowing Holtby’s stellar play to stand on its own without buts, excuses, or caveats of any kind. This time, he was thrown into the deep end of the shootout after Matt Hendricks was the only Capital that found a way to solve New York Rangers goalie Martin Biron in 65 minutes of regulation and overtime. Holtby was easily deked and solved in the shootout by Rangers shooters Wojtek Wolski, Mats Zuccarello, and Artem Anisimov. If there wasn’t a shootout book on Holtby before this game, there will be next time. Hopefully, Holtby can bounce back with Capitals goalie coach Arturs Irbe’s assistance and render that book out of date when someone tries to use it. Still, it’s the same old story we’ve been seeing for some time…a little offense goes a long way, but too little doesn’t go far enough.
Japer’s Rink and Russian Machine have great write ups and Capitals Outsider has the box score you need to read. Look at photos below or on flickr.
The Washington Capitals played hard against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night, but couldn’t quite close. The first lead they had was after the first shooter in the shootout, but promptly lost that lead when the Penguins first shooter, defenseman Kris Letang, got one past Michal Neuvirth. Six rounds later, it was over with the Penguins heading home as winner in the Winter Classic preview.
There is nothing useful I can say about this game, which is fine, because Japer’s Rink, Russian Machine Never Breaks and others have and will say plenty better than I could anyway. I took some photos and you can see them below or on flickr.
If 65 minutes of NHL hockey could be summed up in a single photography, this would be it. Washington Capitals forward Matt Hendricks (#26) falls after being tangled up with Toronto Maple Leafs forward Clark MacArthur.
The Washington Capitals game against the Toronto Maple Leafs was eerily similar to the last time these two teams met at Verizon Center. Once again, the Capitals got out to a big lead in the first two periods and then took their skates off the Leafs’ collective neck in the third period. The most meaningful difference was that they Capitals couldn’t get the extra point back, losing in the shootout.
There were bright spots, though. Mathieu Perrault scored two goals in the first game of his second recall from Hershey this year. The first two periods were very good hockey for the Capitals and they seemed to have learned their lesson from Saturday’s loss to the Thrashers. They crashed the net and got second chances on shots from the outside. See Perrault’s first goal: Perrault, Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich were on Maple Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavsson’s doorstop, between him and the Leaf defenders and Perrault scored on a tip in from a shot by Tom Poti at the point. Yeah, that’s how that works. Mike Knuble scored on his own rebound later in the first period. It was beautiful.
Then came the third period and I had that Damone from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” feeling: “I woke up in a great mood; I don’t know what the hell happened…” Anyone else hoping to get some kind of different insight than the expected post game interviews when HBO’s 24/7 premieres next week?
I seem to have written a bunch of words up there. Whoops. Check out the regular blogs like Japer’s Rink and Russian Machine Never Breaks for words that go together better. In fact, I think On Frozen Blog’s lede says it best: “Still a Work in Progress: Skating With Killer Instinct.” Look at my photos here and on flickr.
Washington Capitals mascot Slapshot points to the camera between bangs on the drum in the upper bowl of Verizon Center during an NHL ice hockey game.
The Carolina Hurricanes tied the Washington Capitals at 2 with 3.0 seconds left in the third period and eventually forced a shootout. The Capitals won as Alex Ovechkin finally got the puck past Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward after Ward stopped 7 Ovechkin shots in regulation and overtime. Ovechkin still seems to be living in an alternate reality making up for his lack of goals with assists. It’s a weird world, but Caps fans can live with it as the Caps keep winning. I have nothing else to say tonight that wasn’t already said better at Japer’s Rink, The Peerless, Russian Machine and the all the other regulars.
I do have some photos (no, really, I do) that you can see here or on flickr. Occasionally, I’ll take a photo at the same time one of the pro photogs with strobes shoots which normally blows out my photo beyond hope. Sometimes, though, my photo is salvageable or even turns out kind of cool. Tonight, there were a few that I thought were kinda nice. I also spent some time experimenting and I may have gotten away with it. Hope you like the photos!
WASHINGTON, DC – November 3, 2010: Washington Capitals goalie Michal Neuvirth (#30) follows the puck after making a save against the Toronto Maple Leafs during their NHL ice hockey game at Verizon Center.
In an uneven performance against the skidding Toronto Maple Leafs, the Washington Capitals scraped out a shootout win Wednesday night. After a 3 goal outburst in the second period, the Capitals gave it all up and more in the third before Alex Semin scored a nifty powerplay goal to tie it all up at 4…and then he scored the shootout clincher after overtime.
Something I haven’t seen mentioned elsewhere yet (I could have missed it) was how Tomas Fleischmann’s stick went flying into the crowd in the first period. During the TV time out that followed, linesman Brian Murphy assisted Fleischmann exchange another stick with the fan for the one that went flying. Flash scored with that stick in the second period. Maybe Fehr should take some notes?
It may also be worth noting that Colton Orr looked like he was having too much fun during his prolonged fight with DJ King. Or maybe he just likes fighting so much he can’t help but smile?
You don’t want to read about the game here. Many others like Russian Machine Never Breaks, Japer’s Rink, On Frozen Blog and all the usual suspects have already done it…and probably done a better job than I could do right now.As long as you’re here, and probably the only reason you’re here, is to look at the pretty pictures. See them below or on flickr.