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Live by the Power Play, Die by the Power Play, Part 2: Revisisted

Photo: Steve BabineauPhoto: Steve Babineau

At the end of October we made a post detailing the relationship (or lack thereof?) between wins and losses and power play success and failure for the Caps through the first month of the season (October). Now that the season is nearing its end, we’ve decide to take a second look at the relationships (if any) between the Caps power play and the team’s win/loss record.

The stats that follow include all regular season games from October 1, 2013 (first game of the season) to April 1, 2014 (most recent game played at the time of this post). At this time the Caps held a record of 34-29-13. All stats used come from the Capitals official website.

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Live by the Power Play, Die by the Power Play

185376384_slideWell this is awkward… (Photo by Patrick Smith)

At the conclusion of the month of October, the Washington Capitals have earned a measly record of 5-7-0. Through these 12 games played by the Caps so far this season, the team has shown glimpses of brilliance, but have also showed signs of total disaster.

The Noon Number today on Japer’s Rink revealed to all those who dared to read it that through the first 60 games of both Dale Hunter’s and Adam Oates’s coaching career with the Capitals, both coaches collected 67 points in the NHL standings. This stark reality might lead some to feel hopeless about where the Caps stand today with Oates behind the bench versus two seasons ago when Hunter did his whatever he did as the Caps bench boss, but the folks at Japer’s provided a bit more insight to show that it’s not all same old same old, providing a quote from one of their posts from last week:

“[…] despite Dale Hunter giving Jay Beagle more ice time than Alex Ovechkin at times, and despite Adam Oates guiding Alex Ovechkin back to Rocket Richard level acclaim, it’s the success of Oates’s power play that has separated him from his predecessor, overall. In fact, by the numbers, it is just about the only thing that has separated him to this point… apart from a considerable advantage in the realm of dapper wardrobe selection.”

Ah yes, this brings us to what we want to talk about today, the power play.

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Preview: Caps host Habs, look to avoid 0-3 start to shortened season (1/24/13)

Ovechkin Upends SubbanMaybe this is why Subban still hasn’t re-signed with the Habs – Photo by Clyde Caplan,

Previous season’s match ups:

Game 1 (1/18/12) Game 2 (2/4/12) Game 3 (2/24/12) Game 4 (3/31/12)
@ Habs @ Habs vs Habs vs Habs
Win: 3-0 Win: 3-0 Win: 4-1 Win: 3-2

Still in search of the team’s first win of the season, the Washington Capitals play host to the Montreal Canadiens tonight. After a sloppy start in Tampa Bay on Saturday that resulted in a loss, things got even sloppier Tuesday night in another loss for the Capitals, this time during their home opener. It’s not time to throw in the towel yet, but it sure will feel like it if the Caps can’t come away with a win in this one. Winners in their last game played, will the Canadiens go for their second win in a row or will the Caps finally record their first win of the season?

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Preview: Capitals host Jets in home opener (1/22/13)

Photo by Clyde Caplan, clydeorama.comPhoto by Clyde Caplan,

Previous season’s match ups:

Game 1 (11/17/11) Game 2 (11/23/11) Game 3 (12/15/11) Game 4 (2/9/12) Game 5 (3/16/12) Game 6 (3/23/12)
@ Jets vs Jets @ Jets vs Jets @ Jets vs Jets
Loss: 4-1 OT Win: 4-3 Win: 1-0 SO Loss: 3-2 Loss: 3-2 OT Loss: 4-3

After dropping game one of the season Saturday night in Tampa Bay, the Washington Capitals aim to even out their overall season record with a win at home against the visiting divisional opponent Winnipeg Jets. However, the Caps won’t be the only team in this game searching for their first win of the season. Winnipeg already has two losses in as many games played, the first coming on Saturday in Winnipeg against the visiting Ottawa Senators and the second coming just last night in Boston against the Bruins in a shootout. Despite looking very rusty on Saturday in Tampa Bay, the Capitals should have a bit of an upper hand on the Jets seeing as this is the Jets’ second road game in two days, not to mention the Caps will surely have a soldout Verizon Center rocking the red in their favor.

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Capitals caught playing catch up in first game of the season

Do yourself a favor and just mute this video to spare yourself from the ESPN commentating…”Martin Saint Louie”…really?

Believe it or not, the NHL made its return today. The Washington Capitals started the season off on the road against its division rival Tampa Bay Lightning, hoping to spoil the season opener in the sunshine state.

The Lightning took an early lead just over six minutes into the game after Eric Brewer lit the lamp for the home team. The Caps would respond with a goal from Joel Ward on a delayed penalty, but Tampa Bay was able to respond with a goal of their own courtesy of Vinny Lecavalier just under a minute later. The Caps continued to play goal-for-goal catchup through the first two periods, never letting the Lightning gain more than a one goal lead, but also never gaining any sort of lead over the Lightning at any point. The Caps second and third goals came from Ward and Wojtek Wolski, respectively. After two periods the score was an even 3-3.

Following the same pattern of the first two periods, the Lightning took the lead yet again just under five minutes into the third period off of a goal from St. Louis. Though, unlike the pattern of the first two periods, the Caps would not match the Lightning’s fourth goal. Martin St. Louis, Cory Conacher, and Eric Brewer would get the final three goals for the Lightning, making the final score a 6-3 victory in favor of the home team.

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Will Holtby live up to the expectations?

DSC_0250Photo: Tim Horsey

We all remember how great Holtby was last postseason, but is he the real deal? Honestly, I’m not sold.

Remember that time that a young Russian netminder by the name of Semyon Varlamov came up from Hershey to bail out the Caps in a best of seven series in the first round of the playoffs against the New York Rangers? If so, then remember how the Caps eventually lost game seven in round two of the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins?

Or how about that time that a promising young goaltender by the name of Michal Neuvirth earned a full time roster spot with the Caps after coming off of winning back-to-back Calder Cup championships in the AHL, even winning playoff MVP one of those years? Yeah, the one that, like Varlamov, helped the Caps eliminate the Rangers in round one of the playoffs. Then, again similarly to Varlamov, Neuvy and the Caps were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs after they were swept, repeat SWEPT, by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

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Ovechkin: “What I have in Washington I miss it”

A few weeks ago, Alex Ovechkin did an interview with Russia Today in which he touched on his life in the KHL and his feelings about the NHL lockout.

After some personal investigating, I’ve concluded that either this interview is old news and I look like an idiot because I’m just really behind on things due to my apathy caused by the lockout, or this is new-news to the masses and deserves to be talked about. Whatever the case might be, the interview is still interesting and shines light on Ovechkin’s true feelings about returning to the NHL, a topic that has taken a recent twist.

As for life in the KHL, Ovechkin says that gameplay in the KHL is different than gameplay in the NHL due to the rink size, which leads to a different speed of the game and less hits than in the NHL. He also comments on the fact that it is easier to score from the blueline in the NHL than it is in the KHL.

Next, Ovechkin gives a bit of a new perspective on the lockout. “The only problem is what I have in Washington I miss it,” Ovechkin said, much different words from the Capitals captain than what Caps fans have been hearing for the much duration of the lockout so far.

Ovi finishes the interview talking about growing up as a player and learning from mistakes…or something like that.

The bottom line: Ovechkin seems to be ready to return to DC and is ready for business.

Remember to follow @NEWSfromtheNB on twitter for all the latest Caps and NHL coverage from News from the Nosebleeds….or at least just give us a follow for some semi-funny tweets…or just pretend you didn’t read any of this.

Problem Kuznetsolved? – Is Kuznetsov’s reasoning to stay in the KHL justified after all?

(Photo courtesy of Elena Rusko)

Photo by Elena Rusko

Somewhere, Capitals’ top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov is chuckling to himself.

Kuznetsov, the 20-year-old Russian drafted by the Caps in the first round of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, pissed off Caps fans when he made headlines this past spring for deciding to spend at least an additional two years in the KHL rather than making the jump to the NHL.

One main contributing factor to his decision has been said to be the Sochi Winter Olympic Games, which start in just two years. Basically, Kuznetsov was afraid that by leaving Russia to play in North America, he might have to spend some time playing in the AHL before getting a full-time roster spot in the NHL. Further, Kuznetsov believed that by playing in the AHL instead of the KHL or NHL, he would have less of a chance of making the Russian Olympic team…and there’s no way that he would want to miss out on a chance to represent his country in the Olympics, especially when they’re being held in his home country. As a result, he took what he thought was the safest option and stayed in the KHL.

Many have trashed Kuznetsov’s reasoning for staying in Russia…and mostly for good reason.

For example, fellow countryman Dmitry Orlov made the jump to North America and was able to find a permanent place in the Capitals dressing room about halfway through his first season that he was eligible to play in the NHL.

Sure Kuznetsov and Orlov are different players, but that doesn’t mean that a similar scenario couldn’t happen with Kuznetsov. Further, some would even argue that Kuznetsov would spend little to no time in the AHL anyways.

Regardless, today it seems like Kuznetsov might have made the right decision after all.

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Marcus Johansson the Winger?

Photo by Clyde Caplan,

Yesterday morning, DC radio legend Elliot Segal, host of DC101’s Elliot in the Morning, brought Capitals General Manager George McPhee on the air to be interviewed on all things regarding the hiring of Adam Oates, the recent NHL Entry Draft, and his luck so far in the trade market. While discussing trades, the Mike Ribeiro trade specifically, another current Capitals player came up briefly – Marcus Johansson.

Discussing the positive effects of finally having a solid second-line center in Mike Ribeiro, Elliot suggested that Johansson now has more time to develop and isn’t just thrown into the role of the second-line center, or as was the case last season, the first-line center while Backstrom was sidelined due to a concussion. After Elliot said this, McPhee quickly shifted gears on his view on Johansson.

“Marcus plays really well on the wing with Nicky Backstrom,” McPhee said, “they’ve got some chemistry.”

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