Monday, February 28, 2011

Caps Make a Splash in the Trade Pool

The calculating GMGM should be relaxing in a leather recliner enjoying a cold adult beverage of choice right now after a long day at the office. George McPhee was hard at work making several key trades at today's deadline to fill in the missing pieces on the Caps' roster. As our Eastern Conference rivals the Bruins, Flyers and the Penguins, bolstered their benches in early trading, GMGM waited until the waning minutes to pick up veteran center Jason Arnott.

The beauty of today's actions on the part of GMGM is that he didn't give away the farm (literally, considering all the talent the team has housed in Hershey) and only traded one roster player (popular face off guru David Steckel). Yet he still made the moves he felt necessary to take the boys deep into the Cup race by plugging the second-line center hole and adding another defense man in the form of former Bruin and Panther Dennis Wideman.

While Tom Poti is still on the injured list, Mike Green's head injury may keep him out of action for longer than was initially thought. Thus the pick up of Dennis Wideman (who played in Boston with another new Capital, Marco Sturm), provides some added insurance on the blue line and will hopefully help resuscitate the ailing power play. Wideman was brought in as part of a trade that sends prospect Jake Hauswirth and a third round draft pick to the Sunshine State. Wideman, 27, is a seven-year NHL veteran who has played for the St. Louis Blues, Boston Bruins and the Panthers. The 6’, 200-pound defenseman has appeared in 439 career NHL games, recording 55 goals, 143 assists and 325 penalty minutes. This season, he has 33 points (nine goals, 24 assists) and 33 penalty minutes while playing in 61 games for the Panthers.

Wideman, who will wear No. 6 with the Capitals, set career highs in assists (37), points (50) and tied his career-high in goals (13) during the 2008-09 campaign with the Bruins. He also registered a career-high +32 rating and helped lead Boston to first overall in the Eastern Conference.

Of course the other big news of the day was the addition of veteran center Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils. The bad news is that the team had to part with fan fave David Steckel as part of this deal (in addition to a second round pick in 2012). Arnott, who is in the twilight of his career, brings veteran leadership and lots of playoff experience to a young Capitals team. This big guy (6’5’’, 220-pounds) is a 19-year league vet with 1,161 career NHL games under his belt. He's recorded 369 goals, 501 assists and 1,208 penalty minutes during regular season games throughout his career. In addition, he has collected 66 points (30 goals, 36 assists) and 74 penalty minutes in 106 career playoff games. A two-time NHL All-Star (1997, 2008), he won the Stanley Cup with the Devils in 2000, scoring the game-winning goal in the second overtime period. This season, Arnott has 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists) and 32 penalty minutes while playing in 62 games for the injury-depleted Devils.

I for one can't wait to see the newest additions hit the ice tomorrow against the Islanders and am hoping these moves bring the consistency and energy this team has been lacking thus far this season. Welcome to Washington boys!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Trade Deadline Eve - What will the Caps Do Tomorrow?

HM is finally sitting down to write after a whirlwind weekend that marked our final two games of travel hockey. I got to watch Friday night's blowout at the hands of the Rangers (unfortunately, I might add), while I listened to the Caps/Islanders game en route home from a rink more than two hours away.

While the boys walked away with the "W" last night, they still struggle with consistency (5 shots in the first period, really!?) and the power play is just plain dreadful. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. marks the end of the NHL's trade deadline and Caps fans are waiting with baited breath to see what GM George McPhee will do. He made his first move yesterday by putting enforcer DJ King on waivers, while claiming Marco Sturm from the Los Angeles Kings. So who is Marco Sturm?

The German-born winger is a 14-year veteran of the league and has scored 20-or-more goals in each of his last seven full NHL seasons. He played in 17 games with the Kings this season, collecting nine points (four goals, five assists) and 17 penalty minutes. He began the season with the Boston Bruins and missed the first 32 games of the year (27 games with Boston, five games with Los Angeles) while recovering from a lower body injury. Sturm has appeared in 872 games with San Jose, Boston and Los Angeles, registering 475 points (238 goals, 237 assists) and 415 penalty minutes. In addition, he collected 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 52 career playoff games.

Is the acquisition of Sturm the first of several? Mike Vogel shared his thoughts on the trade deadline as it relates to the Caps over at Dump n'Chase. Either way, the hours leading to the 3 o'clock deadline are sure to be action-packed as the experts track player movement and deal-making around the league! HM will have her ears to the ground for sure!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Matt Hendricks Signs Two-Year Extension with Capitals

While we still haven't seen any movement in the trade realm, Caps fans got some great news today as the team announced the extension of gritty Matt Hendricks to a two-year contract extension for $1.6 million. The former member of the Colorado Avalanche quickly gained a rep as a fan fave with his gregarious personality, ability to score and his willingness to drop the gloves at a moment's notice to take care of business. I for one am thrilled to pieces to see this guy sticking around for awhile - he is the epitomy of a heart and soul team player. Cheers to you, Hendy!

Here's the official release from the team:

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have signed forward Matt Hendricks to a two-year extension, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In keeping with club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Hendricks, a 6’0’’, 215-pound native of Blaine, Minn., has recorded a career-high 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) and 84 penalty minutes in 57 games this season with the Capitals. He also registered 121 hits this season, which ranks third on the team and second among forwards. Hendricks, 29, registered nine goals, seven assists and 74 penalty minutes in 56 games for the Avalanche during the 2009-10 NHL season.

Hendricks, who made his NHL debut in 2008, has appeared in 117 career NHL games with Washington and Colorado, posting 35 points (16 goals, 19 assists) and 171 penalty minutes. He also appeared in six postseason games with the Avalanche during their 2010 playoff run.

Hendricks played for Capitals’ head coach Bruce Boudreau as a member of the Capitals’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Hershey Bears in 2006-07. He recorded 18 goals and 26 assists for a total of 44 points in 65 regular season games that year. Hendricks also appeared in 19 AHL playoff matches that season, scoring eight goals and registering four assists.

Hendricks, who was invited to the Capitals’ training camp on a tryout basis and signed a one-year deal on Sept. 27, 2010, was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the fifth round (131st overall) of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is GMGM Going to Make a Move Soon?

As we see more Eastern Conference foes (including the dirty birds we saw last night) make a move prior to next week's NHL trade deadline, GMGM is sitting on his hands for now.

More on that later, but first things first:

Because you can never see enough of THAT! Fans around the league certainly tipped their hat to Professor Bradley after he annihialated uber-villain Matt Cooke last night.

Back to the trade deadline.

For hockey fans, the weeks preceding the annual NHL trade deadline set off more rumors than the latest cover of the National Enquirer. Several Eastern Conference rivals have already made a splash with pre-deadline trades, including the Bruins, Flyers, Lightning and most recently the Penguins, with the trade of Alex Goligoski for former Dallas players James Neal and Matt Niskanen. We’re now less than one week and counting until the official trade deadline, which will mark the end of all trade activity for the season. Whether rebuilding with young players or wheeling and dealing for grizzled vets to aid a deep playoff run, all teams must have their trades in place by 3 p.m., Monday, February 28.

Caps fans are following the latest hockey happenings to see if GMGM makes any moves prior to the deadline. The rumors regarding potential trade targets and current Caps players at risk of being dealt are flying around like cherry blossoms in a March wind storm - HM has heard rumors of Semin, Laich, Perreault and others on the trade block. The majority of Capitals fans agree that despite the talent of youngsters Marcus Johansson and Mathieu Perreault, the team has an obvious need for an experienced second line center. Another veteran who’s got a Stanley Cup under his belt would also be a welcome addition. The Capitals currently have a max cap hit of approximately $6.3 million, so there is some room to trade for the right piece(s) that will get this team closer to the Cup. So as we sit and wait to see if (or even when) the Capitals may make a move, you may want to follow TSN’s Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) and Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) on Twitter for the up-to-the-minute trades and rumor-busting - and happy shopping George McPhee!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mid Week Musings: Caps Face Another Tough Test in Cali

First to all my readers, my apologies for no live blogs this week during the Caps' West coast swing. The late start times just don't work with my crazy, 6 a.m. wakeup, boys to school and me to work, sports, etc. schedule. I was able to catch most of Monday's game against Phoenix, but truth be told, I needed toothpicks to hold my eyelids open because once again, the boys just played yet another uninspired game. The Caps face another roadblock when they face the Anaheim Ducks tonight, and they'll do so without the services of Mike Green. Green is still having inner ear issues resulting from the puck to the ear he took against the Pens. But on the other end, the Ducks will be without their starting net minder, Jonas Hiller. Hiller is dealing with recurrent lightheadedness, which is a little concerning.

Maybe if I don't watch tonight, the Caps will miraculously dig up their power play from whatever rock it's been hiding under since last season. Caps Nation is one divided these days, as the team continues to struggle. Some fans and media think a personnel shake up of some sort is in order (HM is among those who think the team needs to make some moves before the February 28 trade deadline) while others are content to wait until the playoffs to see if the boys can ramp it up. My other opinion, for what it's worth, is that there should be NO optional practices as long as the spark remains missing in action. And in his role as captain, Ovechkin should be at all practices unless he's injured or sick. Don't even get me started on Alex Semin taking the "option" - the hardest worker on the assembly line he is not. For cripes sake, I've watched my boys do "bag skates" (also dubbed 30-second drills) after losses, and they aren't playing hockey for a living.

Here are just a few items of discourse regarding the current state of the Capitals that I found interesting, and am very much in agreement with much of OFB's assessment:

So even though things aren't going as planned, we need to keep things in perspective and find a way to smile (even through tears). Well, several of the Caps brought smiles to the faces of disabled children through Hockey for Hope last Friday at Kettler Capitals Iceplex as they took to the ice with the kids for a hockey clinic. USA Hockey also had a feature on this extraordinary program.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Kings Rule Caps on Home Ice

On the joyous occasion of my twin boys 15th birthday, we cheered on the Caps with high hopes of a big win on home ice in today's matinee showdown. The Caps came out with a spark with Ovi schooling L.A.'s Drew Doughty and sniping a rocket top shelf over Jonathan Bernier 66 seconds into the first period. Though we didn't see anything like the epic line brawl of last night’s Penguins/ Islanders buffoonery, DJ King did have a first period bout with the Kings' Kevin Westgarth. HM is certain that the hulking Caps enforcer would've been the victor had he not had an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction. The Caps held on to a 1-0 lead at the end of first, outshooting L.A. 8-4. Unfortunately the boys were taking too many of those shots from the perimeter and didn't light the lamp for the remainder of the first or into the second.

The Kings tied the game at 10:41 in the second period as Anze Kopitar broke out of a 20-game scoring slump with some help from his pal Wayne Simmonds. Varly got caught low and couldn't recover while his help apparently lost all sight of the puck. Though the second period saw no additional scoring, the hitting ramped up with both teams tallying 22 hits by the period's final horn. L.A.'s Dustin Brown found out what it's like to run into a brick wall when he attempted to hit Ovechkin and was bounced off rudely by the Russian Machine. The boys ended the period shorthanded as Mike Green took a roughing penalty against Wayne Simmonds, knocking off his lid in the process.

The Caps killed off the penalty opening the third period but the Kings scored again minutes later at even strength. The Kings eluded the Caps' defense and Kyle Clifford had a direct path to Varlamov's crease. Varly made the quick save but was unable to hold onto to the rebound. Andrei Loktionov made haste of swooping in and beat Varlamov to give the visitors a 2-1 lead.

The boys had two more power play chances, but in the end were 0 for 4. There are still no solid answers for the Caps' lack of success with the man-advantage despite being blessed with the same players that led the league last year. And any gusto that was evident in the first period flew out the doors of the Verizon Center with two more unanswered goals from the Kings. Michal Handzus lit it up at 13:28 while Jarett Stoll tallied a mere two minutes later. Bruce Boudreau was not pleased to say the least about his team's effort- or lack of- in the final stanza, and sat Brooks Laich and Alex Semin for the last six minutes.

Final score: Kings 4 - Caps 1

The Caps now head off on a long road trip in which they'll face the feisty Coyotes, the sizzling Flames, the always physical Ducks, the streaking Sharks, the Ryan-Miller led Sabres and of course our good pals the Penguins. The boys gathered for a players-only meeting after the game in hopes of regrouping and creating some much-needed synergy ahead of the crucial stretch run.

Let's hope that everyone got to speak their piece and we see the urgency and effort in what looks to be a tough stretch ahead.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hockey for Huggies

As a mom of twins (who will be 15 on Saturday - eegads, when did that happen), I can attest to how expensive diapers are - times two. So of course Hockey Mom is loving the new Hockey for Huggies initiative and I encourage my fellow Caps fans to join me in helping the team collect diapers during the game against the L.A. Kings this Saturday.

The team will be collecting new packages of diapers in the concourse of section 119 at Verizon Center, where Huggies will have a booth. Here fans can play games like Plinko by donating $10 or diapers to Hockey for Huggies to win Capitals prizes including hats, player autographed items and other fun items.

All of the diapers collected will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank, in partnership with the Washington, D.C. Diaper Bank, who will distribute them throughout the Washington, D.C., area. One in three American mothers struggles to provide diapers for their babies so let's help keep those little tushes clean and dry while chipping in for those in need!

Fans can also text CAPS to 501501 to donate $5 to babies in need in the area or visit CLICK HERE to watch the Caps Hockey for Huggies PSA with Karie Erskine, wife of Capitals defenseman John Erskine.

About Huggies Every Little Bottom
Huggies Every Little Bottom has a single mission – to help get diapers to babies in need in the U.S. and Canada. The program was developed in response to a groundbreaking new study commissioned by Kimberly-Clark that revealed the critical issue of diaper need. Diaper need is the struggle to provide babies with diapers. Today, one in three American and one in five Canadian mothers struggle with diaper need, and have had to cut back on basics – food, utilities such as heat or electricity, or even childcare – in order to provide enough diapers for their babies. With the support of partner organizations, grassroots efforts and moms across the country, this program will build awareness of the issue and work to create a long-term solution.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Brawl Night in Boston

Hockey fans were taken back to the days of old time hockey and bench-clearing brawls last night as the historic rivalry between the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens reached the boiling point. I was listening to the game as I drove home from a work function and tuned in to an all-out fracas that saw the officials dole out a mind-blowing 13 fighting majors, three misconducts and four game misconducts.

Even the netminders got into the act, with Carey Price and Tim Thomas dropping the mitts. Puck Daddy has the video of each of the bouts, with the Habs' Tom Pyatt getting the worst of the beatdown doled out by Gregory Campbell, who of course happens to be the son of the NHL's top disciplinarian dog, Colin Campbell.

Speaking of Colin Campbell, he's been a busy bee, handing down a couple of key suspensions this week. Caps fans will rejoice in the news that repeat offender Matt Cooke finally got a bit of a hand slap with a four-game suspension for a nasty hit from behind on Fedor Tyutin. With the league's emphasis on banishing head hits, this is a step in the right direction but I think it's going to take much more for Cooke to get the message (he who directly contributed to Marc Savard's current season-ending concussion troubles). On the topic of concussions, Sidney Crosby still has no concrete date for a return. While we as Caps fans love to diss on the Penguins' captain, Crosby is a huge draw for the game and no one wants to see a player suffer permanent injury, no matter what team you cheer for. And though the hit on Crosby from David Steckel was an unintentional collision, we are still seeing too many hits to the head this season that do carry intent to injure. And Matt Cooke is a poster boy for such malice - next time, the league needs to throw the book at him.

Busy Few Off-Days for the Caps

As the Capitals prepare for a rare meeting with the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, many players will be busy off the ice as well. Last night  D.J. King, Mathieu Perreault, Tyler Sloan and Semyon Varlamov joined more than 200 enthusiastic female hockey fans for yet another sold-out Hockey ‘n Heels at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

DJ King demonstrates shooting technique at Hockey n' Heels.

The current Caps joined former Capitals Paul Mulvey and Alan May on the ice to show the ladies how to shoot a slapshot and assistant coach Dean Evason demonstrated the finer points of how to take a faceoff. Meanwhile, Varly showed the women some of his many goal tending tricks to help them try to stop Perreault’s shot in net. While waiting for their turn on the ice, participants were able to see and try on different hockey equipment. Hockey ‘n Heels used both sheets of ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, giving the women an opportunity to spend more time on the ice.

The second session featured Caps’ strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish explaining the fitness routines the players go through. After the explanation, Nemish had the ladies doing lunges and taught them the proper way to do squats. Feel the burn, ladies, feel the burn...ouch.

The third session was a “chalk talk” with Caps alumni Alan May with Mix 107.3’s Chilli Amar serving as moderator. The ladies had lots of questions for the current Comcast SportsNet analyst.

The fourth and final session was head coach Bruce Boudreau’s famous film talk. As always, the chatty Gabby helped the women understand how to dissect and analyze different aspects of the game. The head coach used this current season’s game videos and put the ladies through a typical video session. At the end of the session participants were able to ask the coach questions about the game and the team. A good time was had by all!

To learn more about Club Scarlet, the Capitals’ female fan club, go to

Matt Bradley, Tom Poti, David Steckel and coaches Bruce Boudreau and Bob Woods will be at Kettler tomorrow from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m to work with Dreams for Kids (DFK) for Extreme Recess Hockey. The players and coaches are surely looking forward to this chance to help children with physical and developmental disabilities and give them the opportunity to play hockey, many for the first time. HM is sure there will be lots of beaming smiles on the faces of these great kids as they learn about the wonderful game of hockey from the pros!

The clinic is completely free for participants and is organized by the volunteer staff at DFK, which consists of young adults, all under the age of 25, who are working to empower youth of all abilities in our nation’s capital. There will be 75 children and their families along with 75 volunteers – one volunteer to each child – giving the children more hands on experience.

Extreme Recess allows this often isolated group of children to engage in the types of physical activities that other children their age experience daily. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, children with physical and developmental disabilities will have the opportunity to be the sports stars. The empowerment and self-respect learned at the clinic will carry over into the children’s lives at home, in the classroom, in the community and will help them realize that their disability need not hinder them from reaching their dreams. Extreme Recess celebrates the unique ability in all children and helps them turn the adversity in their lives into opportunity. With more than 12,000 children currently living with disabilities in D.C. and similar stats for surrounding counties, it is vital that we spread awareness about the importance and power that athletics can play in the lives of children with disabilities.

About Dreams for Kids
Dreams for Kids is an international youth organization and 501(c) (3) children’s charity, with a mission to empower young people of all abilities through dynamic leadership programs and life-changing activities. By helping others find their dreams, they can realize their own. For more information about Dreams for Kids DC, visit

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Win-Win Weekend for the Capitals

Prior to Friday night's game against Tampa Bay, many Caps fans - myself included- were wondering when the boys would find their scoring touch to compliment their much improved defensive work and their stellar 86.3 percentage on the PK. Turns out, this weekend was a winner if you tend to sport Capitals' red, white and blue as Washington stunned the Lightning on Friday and shut out the hated Penguins in a Winter Classic rematch (and a bloody messy one, at that).

In Friday's fisticuff-filled 5-2 win against the Lightning, Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom found their mojo with both players recording four-point games. The joyous occasion marked the first time that both players had four points in the same game. Caps fans (my little brother included - he was sitting directly behind the Bolt's penalty box in his #8 Caps sweater) were also treated to something we haven't seen in far too long - a Brooks Laich crash-the-net lamp lighting. Semyon Varlamov and the multitude of Capitals players clogging the neutral zone stymied the Lightning's offense and made for a miserable night for Steven Stamkos and pals. Of course this rivalry wouldn't earn up to its name without a bout between Matt Hendricks and Steve Downie - those two duked it out as did Matt Bradley and Adam Hall. The role player that he is, Hendricks got under the skin of Dwayne Roloson by invading his space in a big way, and Roly proceeded to pound Hendricks in the back of the head in frustration. At the end of the night, Roloson was still frustrated as he and his mates could not contain the Caps rejuvenated offense.

Friday's win was key for a team that has struggled to find the back of the net lately and all were hoping they'd carry that regained confidence into today's Super Bowl Sunday showdown with the Penguins. Of course the Pens were without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (who suffered a torn ACL and MCL) but they've been winning their games without their scoring leaders. Brooks Laich got the party started with second goal in as many games - tallying late in the first period. It was your typical gritty, get in the goalie's grill type goal that we've always seen from Laich and it's nice to see him back on the score board! The first period lead came at a price though, as Mike Green was hit in the head and bloodied by a Brooks Orpik shot that went high - glad to report that Green seems to be okay despite not returning to the game.

Marcus Johansson scored a beautiful shorty in the second period to give the Caps a 2-0 lead. Mike Knuble, who has now scored a total of 30 goals - including today's empty netter- against the Penguins, took a high stick to the face (which drew no call) and returned the ice bloody but determined. History repeated itself in the third period when things between these two enemies turned even uglier. David Steckel dropped the gloves against recent AHL call-up Tim Wallace, most likely in direct regards to Steckel's unintentional hit on Crosby on January 1. And Matt Cooke was being the typical - well, Matt Cooke- meaning that I can't say what I truly mean on this family-friendly forum. In his usual thugnasty manner, Cooke went straight for Ovechkin near the end of the period and sent the Great8 flying with a thunderous knee-on-knee hit. The resulting free-for-all saw Ovi, Backstrom and Shultz go after #24 and HM is sure there would have been mass chaos had the refs not gotten control so quickly.
Thankfully it was the Caps who got the last word in where it mattered - on the board- as the grizzled Mike Knuble nailed it down with the empty net goal. A big day for Michal Neuvirth as well who recorded 22 saves and notched the shut out! So the boys can now relax and enjoy a few cold ones as they take in tonight's Super Bowl - a nice end to a winning weekend for the Caps.

On another note, check out this fun interview of yours truly on a new blog from a fellow hockey mom, Sylvia, who is still digging out from last week's snow in the Windy City!

Finally, a sad farewell and best wishes to the Capitals' Media Relations Director Nate Ewell, who is leaving this week for a new post within the College Hockey ranks. He will be truly missed by all in the mainstream and new media alike and his shoes will be hard to fill!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Another Fight Night in the NHL

Things got nasty in more than one game last night as the Maple Leafs went head-to-head with the Carolina Hurricanes and the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins kickstarted their bout with three fights in four seconds!

Another thing that riled up Dallas players was this illegal head hit on the part of Boston's Daniel Paille on Ray Sawada. Word was just handed down that Paille recieved a four-game suspension for this ugliness. HM was appalled to hear Bruins coach Claude Julian defend this hit (while Paille's team mate Andrew Ference boldly proclaimed the hit as a "bad hit"). Meanwhile, Bruins forward Marc Savard is still undergoing tests related to several hits he recieved a few games back that may have resulted in further concussion damage and may prematurely end his career. You'll recall that Savard's initial concussion was a result of the same type of blindside hit blow dealt by Pittsburgh's Matt Cooke. Personally, I am in agreement with Ference when it comes to calling it both ways regarding dirty head shots. Here's what he had to say about the issue (with a little dig at Sidney Crosby):

“It’s a bad hit, right?" said Ference. "You hear it from every player after they do it, they feel bad, and same thing, I talked to Danny [Paille] and he feels bad.

“You can’t be a hypocrite about it, though. I’ve thought about this a lot and had plenty of time to put things in perspective over the last year. Sidney Crosby has been very vocal about the head shots and blindside hits since he suffered one in the Winter Classic, but what did Crosby say after Cooke hit Savvy last year? Nothing.

“I thought a lot about that. You want to be a good teammate, but you shouldn’t be a hypocrite about it.”

Here's the hit:

Meanwhile, I'd like to see the Capitals come out against the Lightning with a lot of piss and vinegar tonight. Who knows if a few fisticuffs at the opening face off may provide that much-needed spark? HM isn't sure what the lack of spark can be attributed to, but Storming the Crease says the team needs a culture change if they want to recapture last season's winning ways.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Things Get Ugly on the Island: Goalie Brawl

Now HM loves a good, old-fashioned goalie brawl a la Ron Hextall, and former Capital net minder Brent Johnson (now over on the dark side) started one of his own last night when he dropped the mitts with Isles goalie Rick DiPietro. The person behind the initial fracas was (hold your breath people), none other than Matt Cooke...

Check it out (stick tap to

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Caps Have Tough Road Ahead with Bolts and Pens Looming

A busy work schedule, kids' hockey road game and lacrosse tryouts kept me from blogging about most of the All-Star festivities, but I got back in the groove and caught the Caps as they faced the Montreal Canadiens for their second meeting this season. And for the first 20 minutes, it seemed like the Caps finally found their groove as they saw two lovely first period goals from Mathieu Perreault and Mike Knuble. Today is officially Groundhog Day, but the second and third periods of last night's game seemed like Groundhog Day to the legions of weary Caps fans, witnessing yet another disappointing Washington loss. Brooks Laich earned himself a penalty trifecta (though one of them was most questionable on the part of the dudes in stripes) and miscues on the part of the Caps' defense allowed the speedy Habs captain, Brian Gionta, to light the lamp twice on breakaways. As we've seen too many times this season, the boys took their foot off the gas and dropped yet another game in a shoot out loss. Other than a pretty solid effort on the part of Semyon Varlamov, one of the few highlights of the game was this epic hip check from Ovi on the smack-talking rookie PK Subban:

Well fasten your seat belts boys because the road ahead is gonna be tough with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday and the hated Penguins paying a visit on Sunday. The Lightning "lit up" the Eastern Conference leading Flyers on Tuesday in a 4-0 whupping. Bolts' veteran goalie Dwayne Roloson continues to flabbergast offensively-loaded teams, making 38 saves against a hot Flyers club. HM's brother will be seated second row center at St. Pete Times Forum on Friday, rocking the Ovechkin jersey he just got for his birthday. So yet another selfish reason to hope the boys can shake off their malaise and for Pete's sake, put together a solid 60-minute performance.

Of course I don't have to tell you who's rolling into the Phone Booth for a Super Bowl Sunday matinee. While the Penguins have been without two of their top scorers with Geno Malkin and Crysby on the injured list, they've won their last four outings (and are beating the Isles as we speak) - they are as dangerous as ever.

So will getting Alex Semin back on the bench jumpstart the Caps' offense? No telling - as Sasha is as streaky as cheap drugstore mascara. While I'm not sure that a coaching change is the answer to the Capitals' woes, something's got to give this incredibly talented squad a square kick in the bum. My hopes are to see a new face or two in the room after the free agent deadline passes at the end of this month...Jason Arnott anyone? Speaking of the trade deadline, TSN's Darren Dreger is a must-follow is you're not already and he's just introduced his new daily Dreger Report this week. Check it out with your morning cuppa joe!