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Caps Start 2013-14 With High Expectations Once Again

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Caps Start 2013-14 With High Expectations Once Again

Posted on 29 September 2013 by Ed Frankovic

It is awfully difficult to win a championship in professional sports but heading into 2013-14 that is once again the goal of the Washington Capitals, who have yet to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup since their inception in 1974. The Caps, who have made the playoffs the last six years, have another quality team as they prepare to open their season against the defending champs, the Chicago Blackhawks, in the Windy City on Tuesday night at 8pm on NBCSN.

On Sunday, Caps General Manager George McPhee made several moves to help put some clarity to the opening night roster culminating with a trade of center Matheiu Perreault to the Anaheim Ducks for a 4th round pick and AHLer John Mitchell. In addition, several players were sent to Hershey, including defenesemen Tyson Strachan and Dmitry Orlov. For now, here is what the Caps roster looks like:

Goalies (2): Braden Holtby, Michal Neuvirth

Defensemen (7): Mike Green, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, John Erskine, Jack Hillen, Steve Oleksy, and Connor Carrick

Forwards (14): Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Mikhail Grabovski, Brooks Laich, Troy Brouwer, Martin Erat, Tom Wilson, Eric Fehr, Joel Ward, Jay Beagle, Jason Chimera, Aaron Volpatti, and Michael Latta

The move of Perreault was predicted here last week and makes sense from a hockey and salary cap standpoint. This Caps team needed to get bigger and more powerful up front and Wilson’s outstanding camp made keeping him up with the main club, rather than shipping him back to a weaker league (OHL), an easy decision. The 19 year old, who was the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NHL entry draft, brings a dimension that this Washington team needs more of in the post season: size and the ability to score the tough goals in close. Six months with Coach Adam Oates and some highly talented teammates is what is needed for Wilson to continue his development, the OHL is just not going to help him get any better.

As for the rest of the squad, the strengths appear to be in goal and up front. Braden Holtby has established himself as a number one goalie and has the chance to move into the elite category with a very strong season. As McPhee told the media last Tuesday, to win the Stanley Cup you have to have great goaltending. #70 is the guy being counted on to deliver that, but Neuvirth is a more than capable net minder and will be needed to play well so that Washington can qualify for the post season in a very competitive Metropolitan Division.

At forward, the Capitals have some serious depth on the wings but still aren’t sure who is going to be the third line center. Backstrom has the first line locked up with Grabovski manning the second unit. The club could go with Beagle as the 3rd line center and Latta pivoting the 4th to start the season, but that depends on the health of the others, primarily Laich, who has been battling a hip flexor issue. Right wing is just loaded up with Ovechkin, Brouwer, Fehr, Wilson, and Ward. Both Fehr and Erat were tried at center this preseason by Oates with some success, so the head coach has lots of options. Johansson could play 3rd line center at some point too. The Caps have not had as talented a crew of forwards to start the season in many years and with the players they have there is lots of room for flexibility.

On defense, the top three is awfully good with Green, Alzner, and Carlson. After that, it gets dicey. Erksine was super last spring in the regular season but is he really a top 4 d-man? #4 will have a chance to prove it starting this week. Oleksy came out of seemingly nowhere to take a 3rd pair spot in the spring and Hillen overcame an early season injury to play a lot of quality minutes last year. Carrick was the biggest surprise of training camp, has great offensive skills and his hockey IQ is high. Learning to play defense in the NHL is harder than any other position so Washington has to be careful to not put too much on the 19 year old, who has incredible potential. The organization still has high hopes for Orlov, but given his injury situation last season, starting him in Hershey made too much sense. The 2009 2nd round pick will play top pair minutes in the AHL and can hone his craft for what appears to be an inevitable jump back to the NHL at some point during the 82 game season.

Special teams will be an important component of Washington’s success. Last season the Caps were #1 in the NHL with the power play (26.8%). You can expect it to remain at least top 5 and Oates and assistant coach Blaine Forsythe will continually be tweaking things to counter opposition tactics. As for the penalty kill, Laich stated on Tuesday that is one of the areas this Capitals club will have to improve in if they want to do well in the regular season and playoffs. The PK has been one of the team’s weaknesses the last few years and it was 27th out of 30 in 2012-13 with a success rate of only 77.9%.

In summary, the expectations are high for this Capitals team. The playoffs are not a given, but if this club can stay relatively healthy, then they have the talent to compete for the division title. Every team in the Metropolitan Division has its issues. The Penguins are the pick of many but their goaltending and team defense certainly has its question marks. Will the Rangers respond positively to a new coach in Alain Vigneault? How will the Devils do with the departure of Ilya Kovalchuk? The Flyers added Vinny Lecavalier but will Ray Emery or Steve Mason step up and be a top goalie in a pressure packed Philly market? Are the Islanders ready to take the next step up the ladder or was their playoff run last spring a one time deal? Is Columbus going to play like the team that nearly qualified for the post season last spring or the cellar dweller crew that started 2013? Finally, will Cam Ward returning in net for Carolina propel them to a winning season? Nothing is set in stone heading into the season and in the salary cap era every team has holes and/or issues. What is important is that the Capitals get off to a good start since coming from behind in the standings is not going to be as achievable as it was in the Southeast Division.

 

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Capitals to open season at Cup champion Blackhawks October 1

Posted on 19 July 2013 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Hockey League today announced the 2013-14 regular-season schedule for its 30 member clubs. The Washington Capitals will open the season against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Tuesday, Oct. 1, with the first home game of the campaign set for Thursday, Oct. 3, against the Calgary Flames at 7 p.m. at Verizon Center.

Effective this season, the NHL will operate under a new divisional alignment and scheduling matrix that ensures all 30 teams play in all 30 arenas at least once each season. In creating more geographically-appropriate groupings, the NHL now has two eight-team divisions in the Eastern Conference and two seven-team divisions in the Western Conference. The Capitals will be in the Metropolitan Division with Columbus, Carolina, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

The NHL will pause from Feb. 9-25, 2014, while NHL players comprise the majority of the rosters of the national teams competing in Sochi for Olympic gold.

The Capitals will host the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings at Verizon Center on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 2 at 12:30 p.m. It will mark the fourth time in the past five years that the Capitals will play on Super Bowl Sunday.

Washington has six homestands of at least three games on the schedule, the longest being a five-game stretch at Verizon Center from Oct. 10-19. The Capitals have five stretches of at least three straight road games and two season-high five-game road trips from Oct. 22-Nov. 1 and Jan. 24-31, respectively. In addition, the Capitals will have 17 sets of back-to-back games.

Nearly half of the Capitals’ 41 home games at Verizon Center fall on weekends, which includes six games on Friday, eight on Saturday and seven on Sunday. The schedule features holiday home games on Columbus Day (Oct. 14 vs. Edmonton), the day before and the day after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27 vs. Ottawa; Nov. 29 vs. Montreal) and Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 2 vs. Detroit).

Television broadcast plans will be released at a later date. All Capitals games can be heard on Caps Radio Network and WashingtonCaps.com.

Home dates to remember:
•    Oct. 3 – Home opener at Verizon Center versus the Calgary Flames.
•    Oct. 14 – A Columbus Day tilt versus the Edmonton Oilers.
•    Oct. 16 – The New York Rangers make their way to Verizon Center for the first time since the ECQF.
•    Nov. 20 – The Pittsburgh Penguins make their first visit of the season to D.C.
•    Jan. 2 – The Capitals kick off 2014 when they host the division rival Carolina Hurricanes at Verizon Center.
•    Feb. 2 – On Super Bowl Sunday the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings make their way to D.C.
•    Mar. 10 – Washington hosts Pittsburgh for the second and final time of the regular season.
•    Apr. 11 – Washington welcomes the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.
•    April 13 – Washington concludes the regular-season home schedule at Verizon Center versus Tampa Bay.

 

OCTOBER JANUARY
Tue, Oct. 1 at Chicago 8 pm Thu, Jan. 2 Carolina 7 pm
Thu, Oct. 3 Calgary 7 pm Sat, Jan. 4 at Minnesota 8 pm
Sat, Oct. 5 at Dallas 8 pm Thu, Jan. 9 at Tampa Bay 7:30 pm
Thu, Oct. 10 Carolina 7 pm Fri, Jan. 10 Toronto 7 pm
Sat, Oct. 12 Colorado 7 pm Sun, Jan. 12 Buffalo 3 pm
Mon, Oct. 14 Edmonton 7 pm Tue, Jan. 14 San Jose 7 pm
Wed, Oct. 16 N.Y. Rangers 7:30 pm Wed, Jan. 15 at Pittsburgh 8 pm
Sat, Oct. 19 Columbus 7 pm Fri, Jan. 17 at Columbus 7 pm
Tue, Oct. 22 at Winnipeg 8 pm Sun, Jan. 19 at N.Y. Rangers 7:30 pm
Thu, Oct. 24 at Edmonton 9:30 pm Tue, Jan. 21 Ottawa 7 pm
Sat, Oct. 26 at Calgary 10 pm Fri, Jan. 24 at New Jersey 7 pm
Mon, Oct. 28 at Vancouver 10 pm Sat, Jan. 25 at Montreal 7 pm
Tue, Jan. 28 at Buffalo 7:30 pm
NOVEMBER Thu, Jan. 30 at Columbus 7 pm
Fri, Nov. 1 at Philadelphia 7 pm Fri, Jan. 31 at Detroit 7:30 pm
Sat, Nov. 2 Florida 7 pm
Tue, Nov. 5 NY Islanders 7 pm FEBRUARY
Thu, Nov. 7 Minnesota 7 pm Sun, Feb. 2  Detroit 12:30pm
Sat, Nov. 9 at Phoenix 8 pm Tue, Feb. 4 N.Y. Islanders 7:30 pm
Sun, Nov. 10 at Colorado 8 pm Thu, Feb. 6 Winnipeg 7 pm
Tue, Nov. 12 Columbus  7 pm Sat, Feb. 8 New Jersey 7 pm
Fri, Nov. 15 at Detroit 7:30 pm Thu, Feb. 27 at Florida 7:30 pm
Sun, Nov. 17 St. Louis 6 pm
Wed, Nov. 20 Pittsburgh 7:30 pm MARCH
Fri, Nov. 22 Montreal 7 pm Sat, March 1 at Boston 1 pm
Sat, Nov. 23 at Toronto 7 pm Sun, March 2 Philadelphia 12:30pm
Wed, Nov. 27 Ottawa 7 pm Wed, March 5 at Philadelphia 8 pm
Fri, Nov. 29 Montreal 5 pm Thu, March 6 at Boston 7 pm
Sat, Nov. 30 at N.Y. Isles 7 pm Sat, March 8 Phoenix  7 pm
Mon March 10 Pittsburgh 7 pm
DECEMBER Tue, March 11 at Pittsburgh 7:30 pm
Tue, Dec. 3 Carolina 7 pm Fri, March 14 Vancouver 7 pm
Sat, Dec. 7 Nashville 7 pm Sun March 16 Toronto 3 pm
Sun, Dec. 8 at N.Y. Rangers 7 pm Tue, March 18 at Anaheim 10 pm
Tue, Dec. 10 Tampa Bay 7 pm Thu, March 20 at Los Angeles 10:30 pm
Fri, Dec. 13 at Florida 7:30 pm Sat, March 22 at San Jose 10:30 pm
Sun, Dec. 15 Philadelphia 3 pm Tue, March 25 Los Angeles  7 pm
Tue, Dec. 17 at Philadelphia 7:30 pm Sat, March 29 Boston 12:30pm
Fri, Dec. 20 at Carolina 7 pm Sun, March 30 at Nashville 8 pm
Sat, Dec. 21 New Jersey 7 pm
Mon, Dec. 23 Anaheim 7 pm APRIL
Fri, Dec. 27 N.Y. Rangers 7 pm Tue, April 1 Dallas 7 pm
Sun, Dec. 29 at Buffalo 5 pm Fri, April 4 at New Jersey 7 pm
Mon, Dec. 30 at Ottawa 7:30 pm Sat, April 5 at N.Y. Islanders 5 pm
Tue, April 8 at St. Louis 8 pm
Thu, April 10 at Carolina 7 pm
Fri, April 11 Chicago 7 pm
Sun, April 13 Tampa Bay 3 pm
All Times Eastern*

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NBC’s Roenick says fatigue critical in Boston’s Stanley Cup demise

Posted on 25 June 2013 by WNST Audio

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 18 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Mixed Martial Arts-Bellator MMA (Wednesday 8pm from Thackerville, OK live on SpikeTV); Boxing: Paulie Malignaggi vs. Adrien Broner (Saturday 9pm from Brooklyn live on Showtime), Friday Night Fights: Rances Barthelemy vs. Fahsai Sakkreerin (Friday 10pm from Minneapolis live on ESPN2); WNBA: Washington Mystics @ Phoenix Mercury (Friday 10pm from Phoenix live on Monumental Network/NBA TV); MLL: Chesapeake Bayhawks @ Charlotte Hounds (Saturday 5:30pm from Charlotte live on CBS Sports Network); Motocross: Red Bull Budds Creek National (Saturday 1pm live on FUEL TV 3pm live on NBC 4pm live on NBC Sports Network. All motocross from Budds Creek Motocross)

10. The Postal Service/Ra Ra Riot (Tuesday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Zac Brown Band (Saturday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Bruno Mars (Saturday 8pm Verizon Center), Rolling Stones (Monday 8pm Verizon Center); Melissa Ethridge/Eric Hutchinson (Tuesday 8pm Wolf Trap), Billy Idol (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); Umphrey’s McGee (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), Fitz and the Tantrums (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Live); Josh Krajcik (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Molly Hatchet (Sunday 8pm Rams Head Center Stage); Rancid (Wednesday 7:30pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Courtney Love (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Wale (Sunday 8:30pm Howard Theatre); Dawes (Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club), Dwight Yoakam (Friday 8pm 9:30 Club); Travis Tritt (Monday 7:30pm Birchmere); Harry Connick, Jr. (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Buddy Guy (Sunday 8pm State Theatre); Kanye West “Yeezus” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

Drew Forrester and I are big Ra Ra Riot fans. For good reason.

I’ll be at ZBB Saturday night. I hope he does this again.

The smartest thing the Stones have EVER done is (apparently) hire Gary Clark Jr. to join the band. He’s the best. Ever.

I haven’t begged for FATT tickets yet, but I will. They’re the other best. Ever.

9. Daniel Tosh (Friday 7pm & 9:30pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); Seth Meyers (Friday 8pm Warner Theatre); Carlos Mencia (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); Monsters University” and “World War Z” out in theaters (Friday); Baltimore Dragon Boat Challenge (Saturday 8am Tide Point Marina)

After hanging out with Jay Pharoah last week, I sorta feel like part of the SNL family. Oh wait, did you not hear? I hung out with Jay Pharoah last week…

And Seth Meyers is hilarious. Hilarious.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 11 June 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: WNBA-Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 2pm from Verizon Center live on Monumental Network); MLL: Denver Outlaws @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 6:30pm from Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium live on CBS Sports Network); Boxing: Bryant Jennings vs. Andrey Fedosov (Friday 8pm from Bethlehem, PA live on NBC Sports Network), Arash Usmanee vs. Art Hovhannisyan (Friday 10pm from South Orange, NJ live on ESPN2), Mikey Garcia vs. Juan Manuel Lopez (Saturday 10:45pm from Dallas live on HBO)

10. Sting (Wednesday 8pm Pier Six Pavilion), Darius Rucker (Saturday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); Of Monsters And Men (Tuesday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), The xx/Grizzly Bear (Sunday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Alice Cooper/Marilyn Manson (Monday 5:30pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); The Go-Go’s/The Psychaelic Furs (Thursday 8pm Wolf Trap); The Dan Band (Friday 8pm Power Plant Live); Cold War Kids (Tuesday 8pm Rams Head Live); Cris Jacobs Band (Friday 8pm 8×10 Club), Rebirth Brass Band (Sunday 8pm 8×10 Club); The Zombies (Monday 8pm Rams Head on Stage); Aaron Lewis (Tuesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Hanson (Saturday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Animal Collective (Tuesday & Wednesday 7pm 9:30 Club); Kings of the Mic feat. LL Cool J, DJ Z-Trip, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, De La Soul (Wednesday 8pm Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric); The Olms (Wednesday 6pm U Street Music Hall); David Byrne & St. Vincent (Thursday 8pm Meyerhoff Symphony Hall); Mac McAnally (Friday 9pm State Theatre); KC & The Sunshine Band (APG Federal Credit Union Arena); Mike Doughty (Thursday 8pm Sixth & I Historic Synagogue); Black Sabbath “13″, Jason Isbell “Southeastern”The Lonely Island “The Wack Album”, Goo Goo Dolls “Magnetic” and Jimmy Eat World “Damage” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

I’ve posted this video of Darius Rucker doing “Wagon Wheel” with Old Crow Medicine Show before, but just to remind everyone that I’m a Rucker guy-I’m posting it again. It’s the type of thing that doesn’t suck.

For not being remotely American, there’s quite a nice amount of Americana about Of Monsters And Men…

You may remember Rebirth Brass Band from their performance at the Howlin’ Wolf as part of WNST.net’s massive purple parties in New Orleans. I vividly remember the weekend as “The Greatest Weekend of My Life”…

Everything Kevin Van Valkenburg says is more important than everything I say. Kevin Van Valkenburg wants you to listen to Jason Isbell. For what it’s worth, so do I.

9. Bill Cosby (Saturday 8pm Wolf Trap); Frank Caliendo (Thursday-Sunday DC Improv); George Wallace (Saturday 8pm Lincoln Theatre); Jay Pharoah (Friday-Sunday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Oz The Great And Powerful” and “House of Cards Season One” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); This Is The End (Wednesday) and “Man of Steel (Friday) out in theaters

You know Bill Cosby and I are close personal friends, right? Because we are. Almost as close as Caliendo and I…

Also, I would like to see “This Is The End”. It’s a comedy that might actually be funny. In 2013. Just cancel the awards shows.

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