The Washington Capitals host the high-flying New Jersey Devils tonight at Capital One Arena, with puck drop set for just after 7PM ET. The team will then practice again on Friday before departing for New York in advance of their tilts with the Islanders on Saturday and the Rangers on Tuesday.
The Capitals held an “optional” gameday morning skate Thursday morning at 10:30 AM at MedStar Capitals Iceplex.
Nick Jensen and Martin Fehervary both donned regular (full contact) jerseys at morning skate. Jensen was wearing a blue non-contact jersey yesterday and Laviolette said he’d most likely miss tonight’s game. John Carlson also skated again in a non-contact jersey.
The Capitals forward lines and defensive pairs at Wednesday’s practice:
Alex Ovechkin — Evgeny Kuznetsov — Anthony Mantha
Sonny Milano — Nicklas Backstrom — Tom Wilson
Conor Sheary — Dylan Strome — T.J. Oshie
Aliaksei Protas — Nic Dowd — Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Rasmus Sandin — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Alex Alexeyev – Martin Fehervary
Matt Irwin – Gabriel Carlsson
Extras: Vinny Iorio, John Carlson, Nick Jensen
Craig Smith returned from his quick trip to Boston to fetch his belongings and figures to be in the lineup tonight.
The Capitals host the New Jersey Devils tonight at Capital One Arena for the third of four meetings between the teams this season. Washington (1-1-0) and New Jersey (1-1-0) have split the season series to date, with the Capitals defeating the Devils 6-3 in Newark on Oct. 24 and the Devils topping the Capitals 5-1 on Nov. 26.
Akira Schmid is in the starter’s net at Devils morning skate in Washington.
Vitek Vanecek is in other net.
Obviously, nothing official, but doesn’t look right now like the Vitek will play in his DC return.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 9, 2023
The Capitals have a record of 26-4-3 (.833 points percentage) in their last 33 games against New Jersey dating back to the 2015-16 season and have earned at least one point in seven-straight home games versus the Devils (6-0-1). [MORE HERE]
STAT OF THE DAY – DIFFERENCES IN EXPECTATIONS
Today’s stat of the day plots the Capitals rolling expected goals differential (xGF – xGA) for the season so far. (65 games).
After the well-documented but hard to explain, poor start to the season, the Capitals rebounded and crossed into the positive in early December and have remained in the positive ever since. However, the last two games has seen the Capitals positive differential cut in half.
[The statistics used in this post are courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck and the NoVa Caps Advanced Analytics Model (NCAAM). If you’d like to learn more about the statistical terms used in this post, please check out our NHL Analytics Glossary]
DOWN ON THE FARM
Ethen Frank sat for an extended interview with Allie Berube of ABC27. The full interview, well worth the 10 minutes for any ‘Frankophile’, can be watched HERE.
Ethen Frank leads @TheHersheyBears in goals scored, named an AHL All-Star & earned a two-way contract with the Caps in just his first full AHL season.
Check out our one-on-one interview with the rookie ⬇️@HersheyBearsBC | @efrank_98https://t.co/6fOKPaB4yy pic.twitter.com/4KDLnMdq15
— Allie Berube (@allieberube) March 9, 2023
The National Collegiate Hockey Conference (NCHC) announced its 2022-23 All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, with five different teams represented on the six-man squad. Capitals defensive prospect Joaquim Lemay and fellow Nebraska-Omaha blueliner Jacob Guevin were the two defensemen selected to this years team. [MORE HERE]
- Elliott Friedman’s 32 Thoughts. [Sportsnet]
- According to David Pagnotta, the NHL games in Australia in Sept are moving ahead. An announcement is expected soon. The Bruins will be going to play pre-season games with LA, which will take place at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
- Ottawa Senators sale draws nine bids, some north of $900 million [Sportico]
Alexyev -VL/GC that may be quite good unit which will also show what those show what youngsters are capable of.
But it is more than clear that both VI and GC are going down as soon as Marty and Jens are back and we will keep Irwin. And if John ( unlikely for me) manages to come back i AM afraid we would keep Irwin over AA as well.
I agree. Looking forward to watching this group grow. No G. Carlsson though. He was good defensively at Hershey, but he can’t deal with the speed in the NHL, and handles the puck like a grenade. At best he’s a 7thD, and should sit in the press box modeling a sharp suit for weeks on end.
It’s amazing how a week or so ago it all seemed so bleak. Then BMac pulls off what might turn out to be an absolute heist, and some sportswriters are calling one of the under the radar trades of this deadline, and everything is bright and sunny again. Do we still have BMac haters? I’m not trolling, I’m sincerely asking, for discussion purposes
I agree with you on the keeping of Irwin and that is one of the reasons that I would like the HC gone. We have young player who need ice time not coach favorites and older players. But this is the life that a Cap fan has in that the ego of the owner is more important than having younger players gain experience.
One other, several actually, that I would like to see made involves all the centers on the team and a couple of forwards. Move Strome to the 1st line, Kuzyto the 2nd line and insert Smith as the 3rd line Center; then place Wilson on the 1st line at RW, Oshie moves to the 2nd line as RW and Backy moves to the 3rdline as RW. As for Mantha he is a healthy scratch until either someone gets hurt or the GM is willing to say the season is lost and play Mantha to see if he has anything that might be of interest to someone over the summer.
There is one rule change that I would like to see the NHL adapt: being able to carry 2 extra forwards on game day that are dressed and on the bench. Every other sport has reserves but hockey. If a player goes down and is out of the game in other sports the team does not play a man short. This would be great for younger players and guys like Mantha to be able to get playing time in blowout games. Just a tough and I know tradition and all that but frankly there is just to much money to be made or lost to have teams play a player short. This also would give teams a chance to rest older players in blowout games.
Jon, we need a poll. Who agrees with druid that Ted is the issue here with wanting to see Ovi get the record here in DC. Druid takes shots at Ted for no wanting younger players to play, which clearly makes no sense since plenty of young players have played the last couple of years….But, even if that is what Ted wanted because that keeps Ovi happy – if so, I am all for it. I want Ovi to break the record and if he does so I want him to do so with the Caps – AND he wouldn’t have stayed here if Ted didn’t promise to continue to “go for it.”
Who agrees with Druid that doing this is a bad idea?
Lincoln kept changing his generals because they all just wanted to play safe and not lose. Ted says he wants Ovi to set the record here. GM and HC (and Patrick I suppose) then interpret that as “don’t take chances.”
To me, the best thing they could do would be the old magician’s sleight of hand — get loads of people shooting and scoring and take their eyes off Ovi. A scheme of Always Give Ovi the Puck does Ovi no good. But changing what has worked before involves risks. So they play it safe.
Which is why I believe that if Lavi wants to stay, he will stay.
NHL games in Australia?!? Crikey mate, put a shrimp on the barbie for me! (you’re as old as me, if you get that reference). One of the teams has to be St. Louis, since our favorite Aussie Nathan Walker is with them. Walker still leads our team in playoff scoring by an Aussie.
Agree, YOU GOTTA HAVE G’DAY NATE IN THE GAME!
It’s often forgotten, but our beloved Aussie had one of the most important assists in team history. He was behind the net in Game 6 against the Penguins, and passed out front to Chiasson, who threaded the needle. Without that goal, we don’t get to Kuzy’s OT game winner, and if we go to Game 7…….(shudder). I’ll always have a soft spot for that cobber, and Chia too
This is one thing that I am still upset with the Caps about. “Walker did not qualify to have his name on the trophy as he did not meet the games-played requirement.” Yes, he helped the Caps win the Stanley Cup but does not have his name on the Cup.
Doesn’t the team vote on the final couple of players, if they get a share, name on cup, etc.?
That’s a crime. I’ve always been of the belief that teams can petition the NHL to have players who don’t qualify have their names put on the Cup. I might be wrong, but I think it’s been done. The Caps should have done this. Both Nate and Chia should have their names on it
Could be, that’s my recollection, but…I’m no expert at winning the Stanley cup (unfortunately 🙄)
I think you’re correct Jon, but I also believe it’s correct that teams can petition the NHL (or perhaps the two Cup trustees) to have names added after the engraving has taken place, or have spelling errors corrected.
I always tell people that the coolest job ever belongs to Phil Pritchard. How awesome would it be to do nothing but take the Cup places, AND get paid to do it? I’m gonna assassinate Phil, and reluctantly offer my services, as his replacement.
Just kidding……a little
Met Phil at Amalie when the Bolts had the Cup. Asked to take his picture. He said why? I told him he was as famous as the Cup. He gave me a “You’ve got a screw loose buddy” look but he did pose.
Each team is allowed a certain number of names, so coaches, owner, etc. can be added to those players who qualify. One guy added his father and it was later XXXed out since he had nothing to do with the team. It frosted me at the time that the Caps didn’t add Walker and it still rubs me the wrong way today. Darn it, he did contribute.
Phil is famous, he can’t possibly not know this! I would have taken my picture with him. I’d be more impressed meeting him than any big name Hollywood actor, or singer. He did that Mastercard commercial, 20, 25 years ago. His hair was still blonde.
I once met Ralph Strangis, former PxP for the Dallas Stars. I told him I was more impressed meeting him, than the players. He looked taken aback, and quite flattered, then recovered and said “of course!”
“Each winning NHL team gets to place up to 52 names on the Stanley Cup. This can include players, coaches, and management along with other staff members for the franchise. There are multiple rules for who can have their name added that a team must follow. However, a team can go to the length of petitioning for a name to be added to the cup even if it doesn’t meet the criteria.”
But they can’t go over that 52 limit.
According to some outfit called NoVaCaps, “The players who made it on the Stanley Cup include captain Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Madison Bowey, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Alex Chiasson, Brett Connolly, Christian Djoos, Lars Eller, Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby, Michal Kempny, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Brooks Orpik, T.J. Oshie, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, and Tom Wilson.” 22 players
“The ownership, management, and coaches that made the cut included Ted Leonsis, Dick Patrick, Brian MacLellan, Ross Mahoney, Kristen Wagner, Christopher Patrick, Steve Richmond, Rob Tillotson, Barry Trotz, Todd Reirden, Blaine Forsythe, Lane Lambert, Brett Leonhardt, Tim Ohashi, Scott Murray, Mitch Korn, Mark Nemish, Jason Serbus, Michael Booi, Brock Myles, Craig Leydig, David Marin, Steve Bowman, Jason Fitzsimmons, Ed McColgan, Martin Pouliot, Brian Sutherby, and Olie Kolzig. Vice president of communications, Sergey Kocharev, also got his name on the Cup.” 29 other
That comes up to 51. So either I can’t count, the Caps only went with 51, or a name is missing from that list. Let’s see, Harrison wrote that article. Maybe he knows.
Thanks for the work, Fyre! I’m always interested in knowing facts about the Cup. The coolest trophy in North America, at least, if not the world.
Coolest. Second to me is Borg Warner (Indy 500) because again, its history is on the trophy. America’s Cup comes third.
Rewatched that MC commercial. It was good. I forget about it.
I always remember his Discover Card one.
Are we rooting for prospect playing time or hopes for a win?