10-29-14: Washington lost two out of three on their Western Canadian road trip this past weekend. Alex Ovechkin is currently on pace for 318 shots, which would be the second fewest in his career over the course of an 82 game season. Rookie Swede Andre Burakovsky has been a surprise for Barry Trotz and the Capitals thus far.
10-22-14: Washington was the only team last season to finish in double digits in wins and losses in the shootout. Through five games this season, the Capitals already have seen three games go into the shootout. The upside is that Washington has three wins and has picked up points in both of its losses. The Caps offense is flourishing under Trotz and Alex Ovechkin looks to be having fun again, which is good for the NHL, but terrifying for opposing goalies and defenders.
10-15-14: The Caps paid a lot of money to Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen to upgrade their blue line in the offseason. They hired defensive minded Barry Trotz to be their head coach. Through two games, the signings have not made a difference as Washington has allowed only eight goals through three gams. The biggest question I have surrounding Washington early on is how Alex Ovechkin will adjust to Barry Trotz’s style of playing?
10-10-14: The Washington Capitals dropped their season opener 2-1 to the Montreal Canadiens in a shootout. Washington scored seven minutes into the game and held that lead until midway through the third period. The game went to a shootout and needed two additional rounds to settle the game. Each team was successful twice in the original three shooter lineup, but both of Washington’s additional shooters failed to score before Montreal’s Brandon Gallagher was able to put a puck past Braden Holtby in the second half of the fifth round for the win.
4-14-14: The Caps finish as first runner-up to the playoffs in the East. Remarkably, only the Sabres, Panthers, Islanders and Oilers had fewer non-shootout victories than the Capitals this season. Alex Ovechkin will take home the Rocket Richard Trophy once again this season as the leagues top goal scorer. Ovechkin collected 51 goals this season, but finished the year with a horrible minus-35 rating, which was good for third to last in the entire NHL.
4-7-14: What a disaster of a season for the Capitals. A year which started out with high expectations is almost certainly going to end without a trip to the postseason. They stopped the bleeding of a five game losing streak by rallying to beat the Islanders this past Saturday. Still, their hopes for the playoffs are all but dead at this point. Alex Ovechkin will win the Rocket Richard Trophy once again as the NHL’s leading goal scorer, but does that even matter?
3-31-14: The Capitals could be one of the biggest disappointments this season. They have one of the best players in the world in Alex Ovechkin, but they cannot stop or defend anyone. If the playoffs began today, Washington would be on the outside looking in. They sit ninth in the East two points behind Columbus and four points behind Detroit. The Caps are sixth points behind the Flyers for third in the Metropolitan Division.
3-25-14: The Capitals went West and kept their season alive by getting five out of six points on the road against San Jose, Los Angeles and Anaheim. They face the Kings and Bruins this upcoming week and the schedule gets a lot easier after that for the Caps. Washington currently sits one point back of Toronto and Detroit for the final playoff spot in the East. Alex Ovechkin’s 46 goals lead the NHL.
3-17-14: Much has been said about the Washington’s tough schedule down the stretch. They did beat a lowly Vancouver squad, but if the Caps hope to make the playoffs they are going to have to beat some good teams. Two straight losses to rival Pittsburgh doesn’t help either. But, the craze right now in Washington is about the arrival of Russian prospect Evgeny Kuznesov? Kuznetsov had three assists this past weekend and look comfortable playing on a line with Alex Ovechkin.
3-10-14: A late comeback against the Coyotes is the only thing that kept the Caps from sliding further down the standings after losing twice to Philadelphia and getting shut out against Boston. Russian prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov can't come fast enough for a team that is in a real need for a spark. The problem is that Kuznetsov, like Jaroslav Halak and Dustin Penner, don’t address this team's real problem which is defense. Until they fix that, there's a pretty low ceiling for how far they can go.
3-3-14: The Caps loss Sunday was a disaster. They let a 4-2 lead vanish in the final eight minutes before losing in overtime to the Flyers, a team Washington is chasing for a playoff spot. The Caps did win their first two games after the break. It seems as if things are trending downwards for Washington. This team has all the talent in the world but can never seem to find a winning streak. A veteran defenseman would help the porous Washington blueline.
2-10-14: The Caps went 3-1-0 before the break to give themselves a better chance at tracking down a playoff spot when the NHL resumes play in two weeks. Washington won two of their final three games despite going 0-of-14 on the power play. Like many teams, the Caps will be active come the trade deadline. Do they sure up their goaltending woes and trade for a Ryan Miller? Or do they try and improve their woeful defense? All of these questions remain to be seen.
2-3-14: To me, there is couple of ways to look at the Capitals. The one thought is that Washington has won three of its last five games, which is good. The other thought is that Washington has won one regulation game in its last dozen. I think the latter reflects the team's current performance. When will the Capitals brass step up and trade for goaltender? With all due respect to Braden Holtby, he can’t hack it right now for Washington.
1-27-14: The Capitals have played themselves out of a playoff spot as a result of their seven-game losing streak. They did snap it with a convincing 5-0 win against Montreal this past Saturday. Despite the brutal past two weeks, somehow the Caps are within two points of a playoff spot. Washington lives and dies with their power play, which is 1-of-32 over the past eight games. I think it’s time for GM George McPhee to go.
1-20-14: The Caps have lost five straight games and their recent losses have them slipping down the standings. Washington is tied with Columbus for the final postseason berth, but they have played one more game and have just 14 regulation/overtime wins. Mikhail Grabovski's been one of the Capitals' most dynamic offensive weapons this season, but his scoring is off as of late. He had 29 points in the season's first 35 games, but just a single goal and four points in the last 12.
1-13-14: An overtime loss to the Sabres this past Sunday snapped a two-game win streak but gave the Caps points in three straight games. They've been surviving on loser points of late, going 5-4-4 in their past 13 games. Washington is sitting in a playoff spot in the East. They have 14 regulation wins in 45 games, tied with the New York Islanders. The Caps penalty kill has been brutal in January, as they have allowed six power-play goals in their last 18 times shorthanded.
1-7-14: Washington has a single win its last seven games played, a stretch that includes losses to Buffalo, Ottawa, Carolina and most recently a slumping Minnesota Wild team. Despite a terrible run of hockey, the Capitals are in good shape because they play in the Metropolitan Division. The club is currently tied with the Flyers for second but sits in third thanks to the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker. The Capitals' 12 regulation/overtime wins tie them with Edmonton for 26th in the league.
12-30-13: The Captials are 1-1-1 over this past week and 6-3-3 in the month of December. While the Metropolitan Division has improved somewhat, Washington should still be optimistic about its playoff chances. The Caps' streak of six consecutive playoff berths will likely be extended this season. After scoring eight goals in six games, Alex Ovechkin has cooled off a bit and has gone without a point in his last three outings. However, he still has a lead over the rest of the NHL with 30 goals.
12-23-13: The Capitals have gone win-loss-win-loss for six straight games now. Washington seems to have established themselves as the Metropolitan Division's other formidable opponent behind the Penguins They hold a comfortable lead in the standings on seeds three through eight but still sit well back of Pittsburgh. Alex Ovechkin's pursuit of 50 goals in 50 games remains something worth watching. With four goals in his last four games, including his 400th career goal, he's doing just fine.
12-16-13: The Capitals have won four out their last five games and six of eight, launching them into second place in the Metropolitan. With three games this upcoming week against teams below them in the division, the Capitals can really pull away and cement their No. 2 spot. Alex Ovechkin has 27 goals in 31 games. He can't score 50 goals in the season's first 50 games, as he missed two games due to injury, but he could join Jari Kurri, Mario Lemieux, Cam Neely and Alexander Mogilny in the unofficial 50-in-50 club.
12-9-13: Washington posted convincing wins over the Rangers and Predators last week with their lone blemish coming against Carolina. The Caps needed strong performances from its goalies in both wins. Braden Holtby made 34 saves against the Predators and Philipp Grubauer stopped 30 of 31 shots he faced versus the Rangers. Mikhail Grabovski has 25 points in 30 games this for the Caps, putting him just back of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom despite considerably less ice-time.
12-2-13: The Capitals won two of the three games it played this past week, but things are still not 100 percent in Washington. The Caps allowed 39, 37 and 40 shots respectively in their three games this past week. Thanks to Braden Holtby, or the Caps wouldn’t have won any games at all. Washington currently sits second in the horrible Metropolitan Division only seven points behind the Penguins. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that Washington could still end up winning the division crown, if the Pens falter.
11-25-13: If it wasn’t for how bad the Metropolitan Division is this year, then the Caps would have no chance at making the playoffs. Nevertheless, Washington had a tough week losing games in regulation to Pittsburgh and Montreal, and dropping a shootout contest to Toronto. Alex Ovechkin’s 20 goals lead the NHL. The Caps power play is third in the league clicking at 23.4 percent and penalty kill ranks in the top 10 as well running at an efficient 85 percent rate.
11-18-13: The Capitals had a good week winning all three games they played. Alexander Ovechkin continues to play like the star forward he is. The Russian dynamo scored four goals in three games this week and is tied for the NHL goal-scoring lead with Alex Steen. Both players have scored 17 times this season. However, Ovechkin has fired 110 shots to Steen's 67. The Caps have overtaken the Penguins for the Metropolitan Division lead. Washington has an impressive 8-3-0 record at the Verizon Center.
11-12-13: The Capitals secured five of a possible six points this week in three games played. Brooks Laich has been struggling this year. He has just three points through 18 games. If the playoffs started today, Washington would be in despite their so-so record. When will Mike Green score a goal? He does have 10 assists in 18 games, but he’s called upon to light the red lamp for Washington. The Capitals do have the league’s best powerplay clicking at 26.7%.
11-5-13: The Capitals managed to go 2-0 in games without Alex Ovechkin. The highlight of the week for the Caps was their 7-0 beatdown of the Flyers Friday night. The Caps 90.7% rating on the penalty kill is good for second in the NHL. The Capitals have a .966 save percentage when on the penalty kill. The Metropolitan Division is so bad that Washington is currently in a playoff spot even with a .500 record. Yikes!
10-29-13: Alex Ovechkin has been flat out awesome for the Capitals this season. His 10 goals and 15 points lead the team. He has also taken an astounding 72 shots on net. The rest of the Capitals forwards combine have only registered 156 shots. Braden Holtby was solid in the Caps wins over Winnipeg and Edmonton. However, they got pounded by the Flames in Calgary. Is this the real Capitals team we see right now? Or will the Capitals turn it around in the second half?
The Capitals continue to struggle early on. Their 4-1 victory over the Blue Jackets was a step in the right direction for a team that has had problems with secondary scoring. They need to be better overall in all three zones and goalie Braden Holtby must be better or he’ll lose his job. Coach Adam Oates finally decided to utilize Martin Erat and he delivered with three assists versus Columbus. This team must get it together quickly or GM George McPhee may lose his job.
10-14-13: A team like Washington, with so much offensive firepower and talent, should not be struggling. Their lone victory was a shootout win over Calgary back on Oct. 3rd. The Caps can’t buy a goal 5-on-5 and their goaltending has been subpar at best early on. The one bright spot for the Caps has been Alex Ovechkin who seems to have regained his form from his 50-goal seasons. The Caps are primed for a breakout and I would not be surprised if this happens soon.
10-7-13: The Capitals can score with anyone in the league, but they’ve had trouble keeping the puck out of their own net. Alex Oveckin leads the NHL in goals and points early on. Newcomer Mikhail Grabovski has fit in nicely registering five points in his first three games. If Braden Holtby continues to struggle, do not be shocked to see the Capitals trade for a goalie.
8-22-13: The Washington Capitals will get a clean slate when the 2013-14 regular season opens on Oct. 1 versus the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Goaltender Braden Holtby needs to prove to head coach Adam Oates that he’s the number one guy or it could be a long season in our nation’s capital. The Capitals longest road trips are from Oct. 22-Nov. 1 and Jan. 24-31 both are five games long. Former head coach Bruce Boudreau makes his first in person appearance on Dec. 23 at the Verizon Center since 2011.
Capitals 2013 NHL Draft Summary:
Pick #23: Andre Burakovsky, LW
Pick #53: Madison Bowey, D
Pick #61: Zachary Sanford, LW
Pick #144: Blake Heinrich, D
Pick #174: Brian Pinho, C
Pick #204: Tyler Lewington, D