Tag Archive | "Bruins"

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Caps Beaten by Beasts of the East

Posted on 29 March 2014 by Ed Frankovic

The Boston Bruins are one heck of a hockey team.

The “Beasts of the East” are clearly the team to beat in the Eastern Conference this year and possibly the club with the best shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup given the easier route to the finals in the Eastern Conference. They don’t appear to have any weaknesses, and this is a club that lost top 4 defensemen Dennis Seidenberg earlier in the year to season ending injury. But they have lots of depth.

So with the Caps having to face a club that came in to Saturday’s matinee on a 13-0-1 streak one would think they would be ready to compete right out of the gate.

They weren’t.

They didn’t skate well.

Their passing was atrocious and they didn’t pay the price to win the one on one battles in the first 30 minutes.

If not for Braden Holtby’s goaltending, a 3-0 deficit could’ve been at least six or seven. #70 was really good in the crease, but his teammates didn’t help him out.

You can’t do that when your playoff chances are on the line and especially not against a club as strong as Boston.

Washington’s line of Jason Chimera, Eric Fehr, and Joel Ward had their usual strong game and they scored late in period two after Mike Green, who was another bright spot, made a great rush up the ice. The Capitals then threw the kitchen sink at Bruins goalie Chad Johnson (31 saves) in the third period, but he was too good and then a terrible charging call on Alex Ovechkin took away any momentum the Caps had built to that stage.

The Bruins would score on that tally, and they scored on one other power play to go 2 for 4 on the game while Washington was 0 for 3.

Boston’s fast start and the special teams were essentially the difference in the game.

Make no mistake about it, the Bruins deserved to win this contest. They played better over the course of the 60 minutes.

But anyone who thinks that the officiating in this contest was decent is smoking some serious stuff. I’ve tried to give the zebras more of a break this season and for the most part, they’ve been better overall. However, the job that Tim Peel and Frederick L’Ecuyer did today in a critical game for Washington was disgraceful.

Of Boston’s four power plays, three were not even penalties. John Erskine’s delay of game hit the glass before exiting the rink (shown clearly on replay), Jason Chimera’s slashing call was a joke and at worst, Johnny Boychuk should’ve gone off with him if that stuff is going to be called. Finally, as mentioned above, the Ovechkin charge was an absolute mirage of a penalty.

In addition, during the Caps power play, right before the Ovechkin “charge” call, a clear trip on the Gr8 was missed that would’ve put Washington on a 5 on 3 advantage.

Simply put, Peel and L’Ecuyer should not get paid for their work today.

Also, why are some of these calls not reviewable by replay? The NFL has it and so does NCAA college basketball. Pucks going over the glass is an easily reviewable event!

But enough on the zebras and league policy, because complaining about those things is pretty much like talking to a brick wall.

This was an important game for Washington and they didn’t come out with the intensity they needed against a super Boston team.

Once again, make no mistake about it, the Bruins deserved the win.

The Caps do go 2-1-2 during a stretch that looked nearly impossible a few weeks ago, so they can take pride in this run against some of the NHL elite.

But now they need to get down to business and find ways to win down the stretch. They have eight games left and likely need 12 or 13 points to get in the post season dance.

Tomorrow night in Nashville against the Predators they desperately need a win.

Coming out with intensity from the opening draw, and getting pucks and bodies to the front of the opponents’ net like Caps Comcast analyst Alan May repeatedly calls for, would be a really good way to start.

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Bruins Best Caps in Shootout in Baltimore Hockey Classic

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Bruins Best Caps in Shootout in Baltimore Hockey Classic

Posted on 17 September 2013 by Ed Frankovic

On a night with former all time great Capitals Rod Langway, Bengt Gustafsson, and Peter Bondra in attendance, the Washington Capitals lost to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Boston Bruins in a shootout, 3-2, in the Baltimore Hockey Classic. Boston won the gimmick in the eighth round after the B’s rallied from a late two goal second period deficit to force overtime. Tom Wilson and Casey Wellman tallied for Washington.

Here are my thoughts, observations, and analysis of the Caps third preseason tilt, all of which have gone to a shootout (Caps are now 2-1):

- Wilson continues to impress and seems a better than 50% chance to make the Capitals this season. He is big, skates well, hits like a freight train, and has a nice scoring touch. He has all of the makings of a good NHL power forward. When GM George McPhee and Director of Amateur Scouting Ross Mahoney selected the winger out of the Ontario Hockey League with the 16th pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, some of my sources from around the league felt that the Caps hit a home run with this player. He’s still only 19, but boy does he look the part.

- Braden Holtby received the start in net and in his 30 minutes of action was stellar. He made numerous quality stops and his poise and confidence in the cage continues to rise. He just looks to be on the verge of moving into the upper echelon of NHL goalies. Goaltending is a clear strength on this hockey team with Michal Neuvirth backing up and Philipp Grubauer third in line. Goaltending coach Olie Kolzig has to like coming to work each day with this crew of netminders.

- The birthday boy, Alex Ovechkin (28), didn’t score but he was all over the ice. He broke through the Bruins defense and skated in alone on B’s goalie Niklas Svedberg late in the contest but the young goalie denied the Gr8 of the game winning tally. Ovi did beat Svedberg in the shootout. Outside of nearly getting cut by a broken pane of glass, it was a good night of work for the reigning NHL MVP.

- Choppy ice made passing and handling the puck difficult but Washington’s power play was still able to do some good things. The Caps rode the man advantage to many victories last season and it will be interesting to see how opponents adjust to what made Washington successful last season and then how Coach Adam Oates and assistant coach Blaine Forsythe react to opposition adjustments. With the talent and skill Washington has, my money is on the Caps to continue to have a high ranked power play.

- Of the guys in the pipeline that still need development time, forward Nathan Walker and defensesmen Nate Schmidt made positive impressions once again after strong play in Saturday’s tilt against the Jets. Walker is not tall at 5′ 8″ but he isn’t afraid to go into tight spots. He skates well and has a knack for the puck. He set up Wilson’s first goal after stealing the biscuit on the left wing boards. Walker, who is only 19, is from Australia but played in the United States Hockey League last season notching 27 points in 29 games. He also had 63 penalty minutes. As for Schmidt, the Minnesota native is a smart hockey player who is excellent in the offensive end of the ice. It takes time to learn how to play in your own end at the professional level so going to Hershey and playing this season will be good for the 22 year olds development.

- After this group played on the big Olympic ice on Saturday, it was good to play a contest on a regular sized rink against a physical team like Boston. The Bruins are one of the elite teams in the NHL and having a game where you know you are going to get hit each time you have the puck is super preparation for the regular season.

Overall, it was a positive night in Charm City for the Caps and their fans, who got their money’s worth with the eight round shootout. After a day off tomorrow, the Caps will practice on Thursday at Kettler IcePlex and then they play their first preseason game at the Verizon Center on Friday night against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. Saturday brings the Caps Convention, which is a big event for Capitals fans (check out washingtoncaps.com for details).

 

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 17 September 2013 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Soccer: MLS-DC United @ New England Revolution (Saturday 7:30pm from Foxborough, MA live on MLS Direct Kick); College Soccer: Navy @ UMBC (Tuesday 7pm Retriever Soccer Park), UMBC @ Loyola (Saturday 7pm Ridley Athletic Complex); WNBA Playoffs: Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream (Game 1 Thursday TBD from Atlanta live on ESPN2 Game 2 Saturday 7pm from Atlanta live on Monumental Network/NBA TV Game 3 if necessary Monday TBD from Atlanta live on TBD)

10. Willie Nelson & Family (Sunday 7pm Pier Six Pavilion); Imagine Dragons/The Neighbourhood (Friday 6pm Merriweather Post Pavilion), Virgin Mobile FreeFest feat. Robin Thicke/Vampire Weekend/MGMT/City & Colour/Avett Brothers (Saturday 12pm Merriweather Post Pavilion); Michael Buble (Sunday 8pm Verizon Center); Steely Dan (Friday 7:30pm Jiffy Lube Live); Robert Randolph & The Family Band (Wednesday 8pm Rams Head Live), J. Roddy Walston & The Business (Friday 9pm Rams Head Live), Scotty McCreery (Saturday 8pm Rams Head Live), Local Natives (Monday 8pm Rams Head Live); Pepper (Wednesday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage), Mickey Hart Band (Friday 8pm Baltimore Soundstage); Hed PE (Sunday 6pm Baltimore Soundstage); Dan Deacon (Saturday 9pm Ottobar); Mint Condition (Thursday 7:30pm Rams Head Center Stage); Yellowcard (Wednesday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Michael Franti & Spearhead (Friday 8pm Fillmore Silver Spring), Jamey Johnson (Sunday 7pm Fillmore Silver Spring); Alt-J (Wednesday & Thursday 7pm 9:30 Club), Stereophonics (Sunday 7pm 9:30 Club); Pet Shop Boys (Thursday 8pm Strathmore); Montgomery Gentry (Saturday postgame Nationals Park); MGMT “MGMT”, Elvis Costello & The Roots “Wise Up Ghost” and Jack Johnson “From Here To Now To You” available in stores/on iTunes (Tuesday)

You may recognize Imagine Dragons as the band that performs EVERY SONG YOU’VE HEARD IN 2013.

I’ve lost so many hairs on my arms to Robert Randolph shows over the years. I could share any number of his songs, but I just learned that he once did “Up On Cripple Creek” with Joe Walsh so that will be the play.

J. Roddy Walston and The Business are the Biz. Ness.

Wait. Elvis Costello and THE ROOTS? Elvis Costello and The Roots.

9. Maryland Wine Festival (Saturday & Sunday Carroll County Farm Museum); Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention (Thursday-Saturday Hunt Valley Wyndham); The Gathering: Food Truck Rally (Friday 5pm Penn Station); Maryland Renaissance Festival (Saturday & Sunday RennFest Fairgrounds); Prisoners” out in theaters (Friday); Erik Griffin (Thursday-Saturday Baltimore Comedy Factory); Dave Attell (Friday-Sunday DC Improv); World War Z” available on Blu-Ray/DVD (Tuesday); Grand Theft Auto V” available for XBox360/PlayStation3 (Tuesday)

Is Erik Griffin not coming to you? Are you a Workaholics fan? If not, you should be.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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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.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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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.

(Continued on Page 2…)

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Green Leads Caps over Bruins, Next Up: The Rangers

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Green Leads Caps over Bruins, Next Up: The Rangers

Posted on 28 April 2013 by Ed Frankovic

Caps Coach Adam Oates made it pretty clear on Wednesday that he intended to play the last two regular season games to win to try and keep Washington’s second half of the season momentum going into to the postseason. The Capitals faced a desperate Ottawa club that needed two points to make the playoffs on Thursday but lost in overtime and on Saturday night, against a Bruins squad that needed a win to keep pace with the Montreal Canadiens in order to win the Northeast Division, they scored three power play goals to rally for a 3-2 victory in overtime, as well.

The win against Boston came against one of the East’s best teams and certainly makes Oates’ decision to not rest guys seem like the right choice. No Caps player came out of the game injured and Washington showed that they can handle a physical club, even when they really didn’t have anything to play for. It is very encouraging, especially since Washington will now face the physical New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs, which will likely start on Tuesday at the Verizon Center (full schedule to be released on Sunday night at 11pm on the NHL Network).

Saturday night was a lesson to teams that if they take penalties, and the referees actually call them, then they are likely to pay the price. The Capitals have the NHL’s best power play and they went 3 for 5 on Saturday night. Mike Green bombed in two man advantage goals and then his shot on a 4 on 3 OT power play went off of Tuukka Rask’s chest and Eric Fehr backhanded it home from the top of the crease.

The win ended the Caps 48 game campaign at 27-18-3 for 57 points. Pretty impressive considering they were 2-8-1 (5 points) after 11 games.

It was a year that started very poorly and took a long time to get rolling. But a healthy lineup and the play of Alexander Ovechkin and Green was so key to the turnaround. The Gr8 didn’t add to his NHL leading goal total of 32, but he had two assists. Ovechkin locked up the Richard Trophy on Saturday night for his goal scoring title and #52′s two markers gives him the NHL goal scoring lead for defensemen, despite missing 13 games. As I said on WNST last week, Green is the “straw that stirs the drink” for the Capitals on the back end. When he is healthy, this is a totally different hockey team.

Speaking of different, the games get that way now. Penalties are typically called at a lower rate and the physical play amps up. I’d bet every dollar I have that Rags Coach John Tortorella is trying to find a way to get some clean shots on Green to disrupt Washington’s attack. Therefore it will be key that Oates continues to make sure Green doesn’t take the big hits like has happened in previous seasons. Clearly the ability of Braden Holtby (34 saves) to play the puck helps minimize that and defensive partner Karl Alzner has done a good job of handling more of the corner play to prevent Green from getting run.

It will be a very difficult series as these clubs face each other in the postseason for the fourth time in five seasons.

I’ll have more on the matchup on Sunday and Monday night, but the fact that the Capitals were able to win again, despite having little to play for, tells me that this team is ready for the postseason.

And they have momentum.

Notes: Washington killed off both Boston power plays on the evening…shot attempts were even at 65 each but the Caps won the faceoff battle, 33-25…Mike Ribeiro had two assists in a solid game. His only major blemish was losing a defensive zone faceoff that led to Milan Lucic’s goal to open the scoring…the Caps signed goalie Michal Neuvirth to a two year contract extension on Saturday morning ($2.4M in 2013-14 and $2.6M in 2014-15)…the Capitals announced that the 2013 Baltimore Hockey Classic will be played at 1st Mariner Arena on Wednesday, September 17th against the Boston Bruins.

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Caps/Bruins to face off in 2013 Baltimore Hockey Classic

Posted on 26 April 2013 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals will face the Boston Bruins in the second Baltimore Hockey Classic on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2013, at 7 p.m. at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Capitals general manager George McPhee, 1st Mariner Arena/SMG general manager Frank Remesch and president of the Baltimore City Council Bernard C. “Jack” Young announced today.

“Baltimore is a great hockey market with a long hockey tradition and we are excited to make our return to 1st Mariner Arena next season,” said Capitals president Dick Patrick.

The inaugural Baltimore Hockey Classic, which featured the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals kicking off the Capitals’ 2011-12 preseason schedule, sold out as the capacity crowd of 11,082 fans enjoyed the first professional hockey game played in Baltimore since 1997.

Every Washington Capitals full season-account holder will have the opportunity to purchase tickets for the Baltimore Hockey Classic beginning Wednesday, May 1, at 10 a.m. Details on ticket availability and pricing will be sent to full season-ticket holders when they become available. All other fans interested in attending the event are encouraged to purchase their tickets when they go on sale on Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m.

Following their 5-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday the Capitals clinched their sixth-straight playoff berth and their fifth Southeast Division title in the last six seasons. The Capitals six straight playoff appearances are tied for the fourth-longest active playoff streak in the NHL and they are one of only two teams (Vancouver) to have won five division titles in the last six seasons. In addition, the Capitals playoff streak marks the longest streak of playoff appearances in franchise history since their 14-straight postseason trips from the 1982-83 season through 1995-96.

The Capitals are led by captain Alex Ovechkin who currently leads the league with 32 goals this season, marking the eighth consecutive season that Ovechkin has tallied 30 or more goals. Ovechkin is the only player in the NHL to have recorded 30 or more goals in each season since 2005-06 and is one of just nine players in NHL history to score 30 goals in each of his first eight seasons in the league.

The Washington Capitals called Landover, Md., home from 1974-1997. They played their home games at the Capital Centre before moving to downtown Washington, D.C., for the 1997-98 season.

From 1981-1993, Baltimore was home to the Skipjacks, a minor league affiliate that began in the Atlantic Coast Hockey League and then moved to the American Hockey League. The Jacks were affiliated with the Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals before moving to Portland, Maine, after the 1992-93 season. Former Capitals legends Don Beaupre and Olie Kolzig, to name a few, spent some of their minor league careers in Baltimore. The Baltimore Bandits, AHL affiliate of the Anaheim Ducks, played at 1st Mariner Arena from 1995-97.

The 1st Mariner Arena, formerly the Baltimore Arena, is Baltimore’s largest indoor venue and entertainment facility and has long been considered an anchor that contributed to the growth and prosperity of Baltimore. The arena opened in 1962 and was the cornerstone of the Baltimore Inner Harbor redevelopment. It hosts an average of 130 events and more than 800,000 guests come through the turnstiles annually.

For more information on The Baltimore Classic or 1st Mariner Arena, please visit www.WashingtonCaps.com or www.1stMarinerArena.com.

 

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Caps Have The Right Coach in Adam Oates

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Caps Have The Right Coach in Adam Oates

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Ed Frankovic

Wow, now that was an entertaining hockey game.

The Washington Capitals spotted the Boston Bruins three first period goals then roared back with two in the middle frame, the tying tally with 6:05 to go in regulation, before winning the game, 4-3, with Eric Fehr’s top shelf wrister just 37 seconds into overtime. It was a contest that saw exciting plays and odd man rushes at both sides of the rink. There also was lots of physical play and some huge saves at both ends. No doubt anyone who paid to watch it received their money’s worth.

In addition, it was a win the Caps needed to keep their Southeast Division title hopes alive and they have won seven of their last 10 games to improve their record to 9-11-1 (19 points). It also was their most impressive victory of the season because it came against the team that likely is the best and most complete club in the Eastern Conference. Boston is 14-3-3. They have four good lines, three solid defensive pairs, and a good goalie (Tuukka Rask). Just two springs ago they won the Stanley Cup and are serious contenders once again in 2013.

So to give a quality team like the Bruins a three spot in the opening frame and come back and win says a lot about the Caps and their progress since their 2-8-1 start. This club, weak in talent in some key areas, is starting to play some good and inspired hockey.

In my book, the credit for that goes to Coach Adam Oates.

In Tuesday night’s victory, Washington actually came out and played a decent first period despite the early hole on the scoreboard. They were working hard and generating chances with a ferocious forecheck. But their special teams let them down in the first 20 minutes yielding a shorthanded goal on a penalty shot and a power play marker. Many teams might have packed it in and some coaches might have yelled at their club and likely ended any chances of a comeback.

But Oates didn’t do that. The Caps I talked to after the game, Fehr (1G, 2A), Steve Oleksy (1A), and Braden Holtby (30 saves), all to a man said it was the coach’s message between periods that allowed the Capitals to stay focused on the task at hand.

The Hall of Famer told the team that they did a lot of good things in the first period and to stick to their system. Oates’ troops did exactly that and Washington was able to chip away at the Bruins lead.

Much has been made of the Caps coaching system over the last 18 months. The popular and gregarious Bruce Boudreau did a lot of super things for the Caps but was let go in November of 2011. Bruce is a very good coach, as evidenced by what his Anaheim Ducks are doing so far this season, but his time had run its course in Washington. In came Dale Hunter and while he earned the players respect and nearly produced a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals, the organization didn’t like his defensive system. So all last spring the talk around the team was that owner Ted Leonsis and GM George McPhee needed to hire a hybrid of the two coaches. One who had an aggressive system like Boudreau but also one who had a calm demeanor and would command respect, like Hunter.

Guess what? Oates is exactly a combination of the good of both Boudreau and Hunter. He REALLY knows hockey from a technical and tactical standpoint. But he also knows people and players too. He is calm and doesn’t get too high or low. When Washington was struggling early on he preached patience and adherence to the system. He cautioned it would take time but he was not afraid to point out individual or team shortcomings. He’s a straight shooter.

So when Oates came in to talk to the media after a thrilling victory, it was no surprise that he conducted his press conference in the same fashion as he did after a loss or during the early season struggles. He was honest, forthcoming, and it is clear he wasn’t too high about things even though his team is on a roll right now. He talked about continuing to work hard and about going over some of the things they were doing wrong that led to too many chances for Boston, which fortunately did not come back to haunt them on this night. He talked about players keeping their emotions in check. He talked about the thought process in deciding to keep Holtby in the game after allowing three early goals. Basically he said all of the things you’d expect from a good coach.

And that is what the Capitals have right now, a good hockey coach, who will only get better.

Management definitely needs to make some player moves to get this team back to the elite level, and making trades during a winning run certainly puts an organization in a stronger position to do that. So McPhee and Leonsis have that going for them, which is nice.

But one thing they don’t have to worry about is looking for a head coach again. The way this club works and reacts to their bench boss certainly justifies one thing for me:

They got the coaching decision absolutely right in choosing Adam Oates.

Notes: Washington lost the face off battle 36-32, primarily because Mike Ribeiro went 1-9 from the dot. However, the Caps second goal, scored by Tomas Kundratek, came directly off of a Nicklas Backstrom (3 assists) win from the dot…Alex Ovechkin had a wild night with an assist, two penalties, 13 attempted shots, three takeaways, three hits, and two blocked shots in 23:19 of ice time. He also crashed into the Bruins goal three times. He was up and down the ice on both offense and defense and it was clear he was on a mission to get a Caps victory…Defensemen Roman Hamrlik was put on waivers on Tuesday…Mike Green (groin) and Troy Brouwer (illness) both missed the game…Oleksy played just over 10 minutes in his NHL debut and had an assist and was +2. He was paired with Tom Poti on defense.

 PROGRAMMING NOTE: I will be on WNST 1570 AM at 7:45 am on Wednesday morning talking Caps hockey with Drew Forrester. Listen Live via WNST.NET

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Capitals announce preseason schedule

Posted on 12 June 2012 by WNST Staff

ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals have released their 2012 preseason schedule, vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. The schedule features seven games against four opponents and includes three games at Verizon Center. The Capitals will face-off against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second-annual Baltimore Hockey Classic at 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore on September 26.

Washington will open the preseason on Tuesday, Sept. 25 (7 p.m.), at Verizon Center in a rematch of the 2012 Eastern Conference quarterfinals vs. the Boston Bruins. The Capitals will begin their preseason road schedule on Sunday, Sept. 30 (5 p.m.), at Detroit versus the Red Wings.

The team’s preseason home schedule includes the Nashville Predators on Friday, Oct. 5 (7 p.m.), and Detroit on Sunday, Oct. 7 (5 p.m.). In addition, Washington will play exhibition games on the road against Columbus on Monday, Oct. 1 (7 p.m.), and at Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 3 (7 p.m.).

The Capitals were 3-3-1 in the preseason last year, and their all-time preseason record is 143-115-29-10.

Each preseason game will be broadcast live on WashingtonCaps.com. The complete 2012-13 NHL regular season schedule will be released at a later date.

2012 WASHINGTON CAPITALS PRESEASON SCHEDULE
DATE VISITOR HOME TIME (ET)
TUES., SEPT. 25 BRUINS CAPITALS 7 PM
WED., SEPT. 26** BLUE JACKETS** CAPITALS** 7 PM**
SUN., SEPT. 30 CAPITALS RED WINGS 5 PM
MON., OCT. 1 CAPITALS BLUE JACKETS 7 PM
WED., OCT. 3 CAPITALS BRUINS 7 PM
FRI., OCT. 5 PREDATORS CAPITALS 7 PM
SUN., OCT. 7 RED WINGS CAPITALS 5 PM

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