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Ravens-Redskins: Inactives and pre-game notes

Posted on 29 August 2015 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — The dress rehearsal for the 2015 season has finally arrived as the Ravens welcome the Washington Redskins to Baltimore for the all-important third preseason game of the summer.

With starters expected to play the entire first half in a final tuneup before the season opener in Denver on Sept. 13, head coach John Harbaugh hopes to see a crisp performance after last week’s poor showing in Philadelphia. Most starters will not play in Thursday’s preseason finale in Atlanta as has been the custom in Harbaugh’s eight summers at the helm.

The Ravens will be without three key starters as left tackle Eugene Monroe (forearm), left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), and cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring) are all dealing with injuries. Ryan Jensen, John Urschel, and Rashaan Melvin are expected to start at their positions, respectively.

Normally, James Hurst would have drawn the start at left tackle in place of Monroe, but he was dealing with a concussion and missed extensive practice time this week. Hurst was suited up, but the second-year tackle was not doing much during full-team warm-ups.

Sidelined for nearly three weeks, Webb went through a rigorous pre-game workout on the M&T Bank Stadium field and appeared to be moving well, a strong indication that he’s close to returning. In Webb’s absence, Melvin has received extensive opportunities on the outside with veteran Kyle Arrington continuing to work inside at the nickel position.

Out with a sprained knee suffered on the first day of training camp, rookie wideout Breshad Perriman was on the field catching passes from receivers coach Bobby Engram two hours before the start of the game. For what it’s worth, the 2015 first-round pick did not do any running as he caught passes in a stationary position, another good indication that he will miss the entire preseason.

Rookie tight end Maxx Williams will also sit out Saturday’s game after practicing in a red non-contact jersey all week in Owings Mills.

Wide receiver Michael Campanaro was the first Ravens player on the field a few hours before kickoff, working on stretching and agility drills. Harbaugh has described the injury that’s sidelined him for more than a week as a “soft tissue” ailment, but he did not go through team warm-ups.

Asa Jackson was expected to start the game as the primary returner, but DeAndre Carter, Aldrick Robinson, Tom Nelson, Buck Allen, and Terrence Magee also fielded kicks prior to the game.

The referee for Saturday’s game is Terry McAulay.

The Ravens are wearing purple jerseys with white pants while Washington dons its white tops with gold pants.

Baltimore is 47-30 in all-time preseason play and 20-10 under Harbaugh. The Ravens and the Redskins are meeting in the preseason for the ninth time with Baltimore holding a 6-2 record.

Teams are not required to release a list of inactive for preseason games, but below is an unofficial list of Ravens players on the 90-man roster who were suited up to play on Saturday night:

WR Michael Campanaro
WR Breshad Perriman
CB Lardarius Webb
G Kelechi Osemele
OT Eugene Monroe
TE Maxx Williams
LB Steven Means
CB Tramain Jacobs
RB Lorenzo Taliaferro
OT Darryl Baldwin
OT De’Ondre Wesley
TE Dennis Pitta
TE Allen Reisner
S Matt Elam
DE Brent Urban

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Ravens-Redskins preseason primer: Five players to watch

Posted on 28 August 2015 by Luke Jones

The Ravens see the regular-season light at the end of the tunnel as Saturday’s preseason game represents the final dress rehearsal for the 2015 regular season.

Starters are expected to play the entire first half as head coach John Harbaugh will get a final look at most of his starters. Baltimore has rarely played its full starting units in the preseason finale, and that trend isn’t expected to change next Thursday in Atlanta.

Of course, the Ravens want to make a better impression after taking a 40-17 beating at the hands of Philadelphia, but the third preseason game is more about looking ahead than dwelling on what happened against the Eagles — no matter how ugly it was.

“I think it is really important — nothing to do with the second game — but more so just so we can go into Week 1 and have as high a level of confidence as we possibly can,” said quarterback Joe Flacco, who threw two interceptions in last Saturday’s loss. “You don’t want any doubt to be able to creep into anybody’s mind. You want all of the coaches and all of the players to have 100-percent confidence that we’re going to go in there and light it up. I think for that reason, we want to go out there and play the best we can just so we feel that extra energy going into the first week.”

Of course, competition remains at various positions, and Saturday marks the final game before the organization will pare the roster from 90 players to a maximum of 75 by Tuesday afternoon.

Saturday marks the ninth time that Baltimore will play Washington in the preseason. The teams are playing each other for the fifth time in the Harbaugh era.

The Ravens are 6-2 against Washington in the all-time preseason series and are 3-2 against them in their regular-season history. They are set to meet again in the 2016 regular season, a game that will take place at M&T Bank Stadium.

Unofficial (and largely speculative) injury report

The Ravens are not required to release an injury report like they do for regular-season games, but I’ve offered my best guess on what the injury report would look like if one were to be released ahead of Saturday night’s game against Washington.

Most of the players ruled to be out will come as no surprise, but the status of a few will come into question. This list, of course, will not include any veterans who may be held out of the preseason opener due to the coaching staff’s preference.

Again, this is not an official injury report released by the Ravens:

OUT: WR Breshad Perriman (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (hamstring), G Kelechi Osemele (Achilles), LB Steven Means (groin), TE Dennis Pitta (hip), S Matt Elam (biceps), DE Brent Urban (biceps), TE Allen Reisner (ankle)
DOUBTFUL: OT Eugene Monroe (forearm), WR Michael Campanaro (soft tissue injury), OT Darryl Baldwin (undisclosed)
QUESTIONABLE: S Terrence Brooks (knee), OT James Hurst (concussion), TE Maxx Williams (undisclosed), OL Blaine Clausell (undisclosed)
PROBABLE: OT Rick Wagner (foot), OT Jah Reid (back), G John Urschel (concussion), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (undisclosed), OL Ryan Jensen (undisclosed)

Five players to watch Saturday night

CB Asa Jackson

The Ravens are waiting for someone — anyone — to emerge as the return specialist while acknowledging there being few opportunities for authentic evaluation in the preseason, but Jackson appears to be the leader in the clubhouse and will return kickoffs and punts to begin Saturday’s game. The fourth-year cornerback hasn’t done much to stand out, but with Michael Campanaro again injured and rookie free agent DeAndre Carter muffing two kicks in two weeks, who else is there at this point? The Ravens want to avoid using Steve Smith and Lardarius Webb, their “aces in the hole” in the return game during the regular season, but you have to wonder if they’ll ultimately need to look elsewhere for a returner.

WR Kamar Aiken

With it appearing more and more likely that Breshad Perriman will bring a limited impact at the start of the season, the Ravens need Aiken to play like a starting receiver as he is set to lineup opposite veteran Steve Smith. The 26-year-old had an excellent spring and a strong start to the summer, but he’s been quiet in the preseason, catching only one pass for 13 yards in two games and not putting forth an impressive effort on the deep ball from Flacco that was intercepted in the first quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Eagles. Aiken shows the potential to be a solid short-to-intermediate receiver, so you’d like to see some success for him against Washington on Saturday.

CB Cassius Vaughn

Third-year cornerback Quinton Pointer garnered more attention early in the summer, but Vaughn has quietly put together two strong preseason performances. It’s fair to point out that the six-year veteran has matched up against second- and third-team offenses, but he has still been the Ravens’ highest-rated defensive player this summer, according to Pro Football Focus. At 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, Vaughn doesn’t over overwhelming size, but he’s played well enough to garner consideration for one of the final spots on the roster. Strong performances in the final two preseason games would go a long way for his chances of landing on the right side of the bubble.

RB Terrence Magee

The MCL sprain suffered by Lorenzo Taliaferro has created a golden opportunity for Magee or Fitz Toussaint as the Ravens will likely want to carry a third healthy running back behind starter Justin Forsett and rookie Buck Allen to begin the year. An undrafted rookie from LSU, Magee was never the man in Baton Rouge, but he’s shown good vision and a burst when given opportunities this summer. The 5-foot-9, 215-pound back led the Ravens in rushing with 44 yards on 11 carries against Philadelphia, so it will be interesting to see how the workload is split between him and Toussaint. It would be wise for the Ravens to give a couple carries to each in the first half to see what they can do behind a better line.

LB Brennen Beyer

Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome spoke throughout the offseason about the potential of outside linebacker Steven Means, but a groin injury has sidelined him for more than two weeks, opening the door for Beyer to put himself in the conversation with a strong finish to the preseason. A smart player who had a solid career at the University of Michigan, the 6-foot-4, 256-pound Beyer remains a better candidate for the practice squad with four outside linebackers — Terrell Suggs, Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw, and Za’Darius Smith — already locks for the roster, but he received a nice endorsement from former Ravens defensive coordinator and Michigan assistant Greg Mattison before he was signed in the spring.

 

 

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monroe

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Monroe out for third preseason game with forearm bruise

Posted on 27 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are likely to be without the starting left side of their offensive line for Saturday’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins.

Left guard Kelechi Osemele was already expected to miss the all-important third preseason contest as he’s been in and out of practices with an Achilles injury for the last three weeks, but head coach John Harbaugh confirmed left tackle Eugene Monroe would not play on Saturday. Monroe injured his right forearm in last Saturday’s preseason loss in Philadelphia and hasn’t practiced all week.

“Eugene’s got a pretty serious bruise there on his forearm,” Harbaugh said on Thursday. “He’s not cleared to practice this week with that. There’s no fracture or anything like that — as far as I know. I’ll put everything with a caveat there. But it should be no problem for the regular season.”

Despite Monroe being sidelined, the Ravens received good news on Thursday with the returns of reserve offensive linemen James Hurst (concussion) and Ryan Jensen to the practice field. In addition to Monroe and Osemele, rookie offensive linemen De’Ondre Wesley and Darryl Baldwin remained sidelined.

Wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (soft tissue injury), cornerback Lardarius Webb (hamstring), linebacker Steven Means (groin), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) were also absent from Thursday’s practice.

Cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin and Tramain Jacobs returned to the practice field after missing workouts earlier this week.

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Suggs on being road villain: “You’re not supposed to like me”

Posted on 26 August 2015 by Luke Jones

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — With many still discussing his controversial hit on Philadelphia quarterback Sam Bradford, Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is taking the criticism from Eagles players and fans in stride.

In fact, it’s the kind of role the 32-year-old has embraced throughout his 13-year NFL career.

“I think you’re naturally the villain when you go into an opponent’s stadium anyway,” Suggs said. “You might as well not shy away from it. You might as well just bask in it and enjoy it. I’m not supposed to be the opponent’s favorite player. You’re not supposed to like me. I don’t play for you. I represent Ravens nation, so I just enjoy it.”

Though the NFL announced this week that Suggs should not have been penalized for the first-quarter hit on Bradford in Saturday’s preseason loss to the Eagles, many still took exception to him hitting the Eagles signal caller’s knees after he suffered left ACL injuries in each of the last two years.

Asked to respond to Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett’s harsh words about the league’s protection of its quarterbacks, Suggs was diplomatic while taking a playful jab at his own general manager’s prominent role in making decisions regarding the rules.

“Those guys get a lot of our sponsors,” said Suggs of quarterbacks. “A lot of those guys are good-looking guys, so you don’t want to damage them too much. It’s still the most valuable position on the field, so you’ve got to protect them.

“But if we’ve got anybody to blame, it’s all on Ozzie Newsome. He’s on the competition committee, so he kind of helped put the rules in. Probably have to talk to Ozzie about that.”

Suggs says he’s had plenty of dialogue with Newsome about the subject, but he admitted not wanting to see his own quarterback, Joe Flacco, in harm’s way.

“He said the quarterback keeps a lot of people employed, so we’ve got to protect them,” said Suggs about Newsome’s thoughts. “I understand — I wouldn’t want my guy getting mistreated.”

Offensive line in flux

Six offensive linemen remained sidelined during Wednesday’s practice, including starting left tackle Eugene Monroe (arm) and starting left guard Kelechi Osemele (Achilles tendon).

The problem is further compounded with both James Hurst (concussion) and Ryan Jensen (undisclosed) missing the workout after both saw time at left tackle against Philadelphia. Should none of the aforementioned players be available to play in the third preseason game against Washington on Saturday, the Ravens could be forced to move backup right tackle Jah Reid to the blind side.

Would an unsettled line situation impact how much Flacco plays against the Redskins?

“If something happens in the game, it possibly could,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “But the way we’re going into the game, we’re comfortable with the guys that are going to play and start on the offensive line. [We think] that they’ll do a great job.”

Rookie offensive tackles De’Ondre Wesley (knee) and Darryl Baldwin were also missing from Wednesday’s practice while fellow rookie Blaine Clausell returned to the field.

Injury report

In addition to the six offensive linemen, the Ravens were without cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (hamstring), Rashaan Melvin, and Tramain Jacobs, wide receivers Breshad Perriman (knee) and Michael Campanaro (soft tissue issue), linebacker Steve Means (groin), and running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (knee) on Wednesday.

Melvin has now missed three straight practices, but the Ravens coach wouldn’t specify exactly what the ailment is.

“He’s got a soft-tissue issue that he’s working through — probably a typical training camp thing — so we’ll see,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know if he’ll be there or not on Saturday. I’ve got my fingers crossed.”

The third-year cornerback missed two practices at the beginning of the month with a hamstring strain.

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Sure, it's a short drive from Baltimore to Washington for a National League but why in the world would you bother?

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MLB #GiveASpit Ballpark Ranking: No. 27 Washington Nationals

Posted on 15 August 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

Let me start by saying, “Screw the Washington Nationals.” Hands down, the worst people I dealt with in Major League Baseball. And the stadium isn’t much better. It’s a Philadelphia knockoff and that’s really not saying much. The neighborhood around the place isn’t getting any better as a destination for games. Most Nats fans thought the good news was that the team was going to be decent with a clear commitment to winning. But, then July happened to them in the NL East standings. But the stadium has a plastic feel and kinda makes me want to snooze off. The vibe is reminiscent of everything that went wrong when the Orioles moved from 33rd Street and recruited the wine and cheesers and readers of The Washington Post back in the 1992. Major League Baseball left Washington twice during the decade of my birth and the only thing that brought it back was the ineptitude of ownership in Montreal, combined with the despair and greed of the MLB owners. And a decade later, all of the money is in the pockets of Peter G. Angelos in Baltimore. Mr. Angelos has made $2 billion off MASN and the Orioles since the birth of the Nationals. And the stadium is nothing special, not a place anyone would say you need to see in your lifetime. The only time I’ll enter that place is when the people who mistreated me are fired or gone – or maybe when Bruce Springsteen puts the band back together again and decides to play this place that made Peter Angelos even wealthier. Or maybe if Billy Joel or the Caps come back to play a game. But, the Washington Nationals are dead to me. Looks like they’ll be golfing in October, too. And that won’t hurt my feelings. Hey, I’ve had no problem disliking the Washington Redskins over the past three decades, right? Oh, and their stadium sucks, too…

***

On Sept. 8-9-10, I will be releasing an extensive essay documenting my 30-30 MLB #GiveASpit journey of 2015. You can read it and all of my work here: http://wnst.net/author/nestoraparicio/

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The Caps score with 1.3 seconds remaining to grab a 1-0 series lead over the Rangers

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Alex Ovechkin Delivers in Caps Game 1 Victory

Posted on 30 April 2015 by Ed Frankovic

All hail Alexander Ovechkin!

The Gr8, after scoring the Caps first goal on the power play on a laser of shot that was so hard you had to watch the replay to see it go in, set up Joel Ward’s game winning tally from behind the Rangers net with 1.3 seconds remaining to give Washington a 2-1 victory and a 1-0 series lead.

The pass by Ovechkin came after he was hauled down by Dan Boyle, which allowed Boyle to gain possession of the puck in the corner. Boyle tried to run the clock out but was hit hard and clean by Nicklas Backstrom to jar the puck loose to Ovi. Ovechkin skated behing the net and then centered a sweet pass into the slot where Ward, who had hit the post earlier from the doorstep, shot it by Henrik Lundqvist (27 saves). Game over.

Wow, what a hockey game!

The Rangers won the Presidents’ Trophy this season for obvious reasons and they have a fast skating team, but also some players with good size too.

Braden Holtby (31 saves) kept Washington in it early until the Caps finally got their legs going around the eight minute mark of period one.

Ovechkin’s power play marker at 18:13 of the first period looked like it might hold up as the game winner, but Washington struggled for long stretches in the final frame before Jesper Fast deflected Kevin Hayes shot by Holtby with 4:39 remaining.

The Caps did generate 11 shots on net in the final frame but they were not able to get a consistent forecheck going and that allowed the Rangers to use their speed and get the Washington defense on their heels. Sitting back is not a strategy the Capitals want to employ and Coach Barry Trotz commented afterwards that he didn’t think the Caps played well on Thursday (h/t @alexprewitt).

But Holtby was super in net and the Caps did a good job of keeping New York to the outside.

To beat the Rangers, the Capitals will need big performances from their star players and Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Holtby more than delivered in game one. Brooks Orpik and John Carlson were strong on the back end too.

Up front, the line of Brooks Laich, Curtis Glencross, and Tom Wilson did a solid job of putting pressure on the New York defense. Wilson (5 hits in 10:07), especially, had an excellent game.

Afterwards, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault was incensed thinking Backstrom should have been whistled for a penalty on Boyle. Perhaps he should be more upset at Boyle for not moving the puck quicker? I’ve watched the replay several times and I’ve yet to see a penalty. Backstrom glides into Boyle, who turns and ducks his head, keeps his elbow down and hits Boyle on the right shoulder. But Vigneault has a history of whining to the officials and I’m sure the NY Post, who has already gone out of their way to “vilify” Tom Wilson and the Caps as dirty players, will likely have a field day Friday trying to help their home town team influence the NHL and the referees.

Hopefully the referees are smart enough to ignore the complaining that no doubt will come from the NHL’s “darlings.”

But back to hockey, as Trotz noted, the Capitals have a higher level they can get to in their play. They will need to do that on Saturday if they want to win game two. The biggest thing is to get their legs moving more and generate pressure on the New York defense. When the Caps buried the Rangers in their only regular season victory, they did so with a relentless forecheck.

Relentless are what the Capitals will have to be on a consistent basis to defeat a very fast and talented team.

Notes: Shot attempts were 65-60 for New York…Ovechkin had 12 shot attempts, Backstrom had five and Ward four as the Capitals top line was dominant…the Rangers won the face off battle, 34-27…Carlson led the Caps in ice time at 23:10 and Orpik logged 22:54.

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Caps getting 18-1 odds to win Stanley Cup

Posted on 14 April 2015 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV)

Odds to win the 2015 Stanley Cup

New York Rangers 11/2

Chicago Blackhawks 8/1

St. Louis Blues 8/1

Anaheim Ducks 9/1

Minnesota Wild 9/1

Montreal Canadiens 9/1

Tampa Bay Lightning 10/1

Nashville Predators 12/1

Pittsburgh Penguins 16/1

Vancouver Canucks 16/1

Detroit Red Wings 18/1

New York Islanders 18/1

Ottawa Senators 18/1

Washington Capitals 18/1

Calgary Flames 20/1

Winnipeg Jets 25/1

Odds to Win the 2015 Eastern Conference

New York Rangers 9/4

Montreal Canadiens 9/2

Tampa Bay Lightning 9/2

New York Islanders 8/1

Pittsburgh Penguins 8/1

Detroit Red Wings 9/1

Ottawa Senators 9/1

Washington Capitals 9/1

Odds to Win the 2015 Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks 15/4

Anaheim Ducks 4/1

St. Louis Blues 4/1

Minnesota Wild 9/2

Nashville Predators 6/1

Vancouver Canucks 8/1

Calgary Flames 10/1

Winnipeg Jets 12/1

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Exact Matchup

New York Rangers vs Chicago Blackhawks 14/1

New York Rangers vs St. Louis Blues 15/1

New York Rangers vs Anaheim Ducks 15/1

New York Rangers vs Minnesota Wild 16/1

New York Rangers vs Nashville Predators 20/1

New York Rangers vs Vancouver Canucks 28/1

New York Rangers vs Calgary Flames 33/1

New York Rangers vs Winnipeg Jets 40/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Chicago Blackhawks 22/1

Montreal Canadiens vs St. Louis Blues 25/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Anaheim Ducks 25/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Minnesota Wild 28/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Nashville Predators 33/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks 45/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Calgary Flames 55/1

Montreal Canadiens vs Winnipeg Jets 66/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks 22/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs St. Louis Blues 25/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Anaheim Ducks 25/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Minnesota Wild 28/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Nashville Predators 33/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Vancouver Canucks 45/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Calgary Flames 55/1

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Winnipeg Jets 66/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Chicago Blackhawks 33/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs St. Louis Blues 40/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Anaheim Ducks 40/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Minnesota Wild 45/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Nashville Predators 55/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Vancouver Canucks 75/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Calgary Flames 90/1

Pittsburgh Penguins vs Winnipeg Jets 100/1

Washington Capitals vs Chicago Blackhawks 40/1

Washington Capitals vs St. Louis Blues 45/1

Washington Capitals vs Anaheim Ducks 45/1

Washington Capitals vs Minnesota Wild 50/1

Washington Capitals vs Nashville Predators 11/1

Washington Capitals vs Vancouver Canucks 75/1

Washington Capitals vs Calgary Flames 100/1

Washington Capitals vs Winnipeg Jets 100/1

New York Islanders vs Chicago Blackhawks 40/1

New York Islanders vs St. Louis Blues 45/1

New York Islanders vs Anaheim Ducks 45/1

New York Islanders vs Minnesota Wild 45/1

New York Islanders vs Nashville Predators 55/1

New York Islanders vs Vancouver Canucks 75/1

New York Islanders vs Calgary Flames 90/1

New York Islanders vs Winnipeg Jets 100/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Chicago Blackhawks 40/1

Detroit Red Wings vs St. Louis Blues 45/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Anaheim Ducks 45/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Minnesota Wild 50/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Nashville Predators 11/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Vancouver Canucks 75/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Calgary Flames 100/1

Detroit Red Wings vs Winnipeg Jets 100/1

Ottawa Senators vs Chicago Blackhawks 40/1

Ottawa Senators vs St. Louis Blues 45/1

Ottawa Senators vs Anaheim Ducks 45/1

Ottawa Senators vs Minnesota Wild 50/1

Ottawa Senators vs Nashville Predators 66/1

Ottawa Senators vs Vancouver Canucks 75/1

Ottawa Senators vs Calgary Flames 100/1

Ottawa Senators vs Winnipeg Jets 100/1

I thought these odds may be of interest to you. They’re courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

Series Prices

Pittsburgh Penguins (Series Prices) 9/5 (+180)

New York Rangers (Series Prices) 5/11 (-220)

Ottawa Senators (Series Prices) 7/5 (+140)

Montreal Canadians (Series Prices) 5/8 (-160)

Detroit Red Wings (Series Prices) 17/10 (+170)

Tampa Bay Ligtning (Series Prices) 1/2 (-200)

New York Islanders (Series Prices) 6/5 (+120)

Washington Capitals (Series Prices) 5/7 (-140)

Winnipeg Jets (Series Prices) 7/5 (+140)

Anaheim Ducks (Series Prices) 5/8 (-160)

Minnesota Wild (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)

St. Louis Blues (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)

Chicago Blackhawks (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)

Nashville Predators (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)

Calgary Flames (Series Prices) 6/5 (+120)

Vancouver Canucks (Series Prices) 5/7 (-140)

Odds to win 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy as NHL Playoff MVP

Henrik Lundqvist (NYR) 19/2

Devan Dubnyk (MIN) 14/1

Carey Price (MON) 15/1

Ryan Getzlaf (ANA) 16/1

Pekka Rinne (NAS) 18/1

Sidney Crosby (PIT) 20/1

Rick Nash (NYR) 20/1

Brian Elliott (STL) 20/1

Frederik Andersen (ANA) 20/1

Alex Ovechkin (WAS) 25/1

Jonathan Toews (CHI) 25/1

Patrick Kane (CHI) 25/1

Corey Crawford (CHI) 25/1

Ben Bishop (TB) 25/1

Zach Parise (MIN) 25/1

Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) 25/1

Corey Perry (ANA) 25/1

Steven Stamkos (TB) 25/1

Andrew Hammond (OTT) 30/1

John Tavares (NYI) 30/1

Jaroslav Halak (NYI) 30/1

Henrik Sedin (VAN) 30/1

Eddie Lack (VAN) 30/1

Martin St. Louis (NYR) 30/1

Daniel Sedin (VAN) 35/1

Evgeni Malkin (PIT) 35/1

T.J. Oshie (STL) 35/1

Braden Holtby (WAS) 35/1

Alexander Steen (STL) 40/1

P.K. Subban (MON) 40/1

Max Pacioretty (MON) 40/1

Shea Weber (NAS) 40/1

Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 40/1

Pavel Datsyuk (DET) 40/1

Petr Mrazek (DET) 40/1

Patrick Sharp (CHI) 40/1

Nicklas Backstrom (WAS) 45/1

Thomas Vanek (MIN) 50/1

Mark Stone (OTT) 50/1

Marian Hossa (CHI) 50/1

Duncan Keith (CHI) 50/1

Jonas Hiller (CAL) 50/1

Henrik Zetterberg (DET) 50/1

Tyler Johnson (TB) 50/1

Ondrej Pavelec (WIN) 50/1

Radim Vrbata (VAN) 50/1

Bobby Ryan (OTT) 60/1

Filip Forsberg (NAS) 65/1

Erik Karlsson (OTT) 65/1

Kyle Okposo (NYI) 75/1

Kyle Turris (OTT) 75/1

Jiri Hudler (CAL) 75/1

Johnny Gaudreau (CAL) 75/1

Andrew Ladd (WIN) 75/1

Blake Wheeler (WIN) 75/1

Dustin Byfuglien (WIN) 75/1

Additional Props

How many games will the Stanley Cup winning team play in the 2015 NHL playoffs?

Over/Under 23.5

How many games will go to overtime in the 2015 NHL Playoffs?

Over/Under 20.5

Will any game go to triple overtime in the 2015 NHL Playoffs?

Yes -140 (5/7)

No EVEN (1/1)

How Many First Round Series will be decided in 7 games in the 2015 NHL Playoffs?

Over/Under 2.5

How Many First Round Series will be decided in 4 games in the 2015 NHL Playoffs?

Over 1.5 +150 (3/2)

Under 1.5 -200 (1/2)

How many goals will be scored by the goal scoring leader in the 2014 NHL Playoffs?

Over/Under 12.5

How many points will be scored by the point scoring leader in the 2014 NHL Playoffs?

Over/Under 26.5

What will be the most individual penalty minutes accumulated in the 2014 NHL playoffs?

Over/Under 43.5

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers

Pittsburgh Penguins (Series Prices) 9/5 (+180)

New York Rangers (Series Prices) 5/11 (-220)

Exact Result

Pittsburgh Penguins win 4-0 13/1

Pittsburgh Penguins win 4-1 9/1

Pittsburgh Penguins win 4-2 7/1

Pittsburgh Penguins win 4-3 13/2

New York Rangers win 4-0 13/2

New York Rangers win 4-1 7/2

New York Rangers win 4-2 4/1

New York Rangers win 4-3 7/2

Number of Games

4 17/4

5 11/5

6 2/1

7 9/5

Sidney Crosby 1st Round Points

Over/Under 6

Evgeni Malkin 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Patric Hornqvist 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

David Perron 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3

Rick Nash 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Derick Brassard 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Derek Stepan 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Martin St. Louis 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Ottawa Senators vs. Montreal Canadians

Ottawa Senators (Series Prices) 7/5 (+140)

Montreal Canadians (Series Prices) 5/8 (-160)

Exact Result

Ottawa Senators win 4-0 12/1

Ottawa Senators win 4-1 8/1

Ottawa Senators win 4-2 5/1

Ottawa Senators win 4-3 5/1

Montreal Canadiens win 4-0 15/2

Montreal Canadiens win 4-1 9/2

Montreal Canadiens win 4-2 4/1

Montreal Canadiens win 4-3 9/2

Number of Games

4 9/2

5 9/4

6 9/5

7 7/4

Erik Karlsson 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Kyle Turris 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Mark Stone 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Bobby Ryan 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Tomas Plekanec 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

P.K. Subban 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Andrei Markov 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

David Desharnais 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Detroit Red Wings vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Detroit Red Wings (Series Prices) 17/10 (+170)

Tampa Bay Lightning (Series Prices) 1/2 (-200)

Exact Result

Detroit Red Wings win 4-0 14/1

Detroit Red Wings win 4-1 19/2

Detroit Red Wings win 4-2 6/1

Detroit Red Wings win 4-3 6/1

Tampa Bay Lightning win 4-0 13/2

Tampa Bay Lightning win 4-1 7/2

Tampa Bay Lightning win 4-2 4/1

Tampa Bay Lightning win 4-3 4/1

Number of Games

4 9/2

5 11/5

6 9/5

7 9/5

Henrik Zetterberg 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Pavel Datsyuk 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Tomas Tatar 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Gustav Nyquist 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Steven Stamkos 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Tyler Johnson 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Nikita Kucherov 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Ondrej Palat 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

New York Islanders vs. Washington Capitals

New York Islanders (Series Prices) 6/5 (+120)

Washington Capitals (Series Prices) 5/7 (-140)

Exact Result

New York Islanders win 4-0 12/1

New York Islanders win 4-1 15/2

New York Islanders win 4-2 9/2

New York Islanders win 4-3 5/1

Washington Capitals win 4-0 9/1

Washington Capitals win 4-1 9/2

Washington Capitals win 4-2 9/2

Washington Capitals win 4-3 4/1

Number of Games

4 19/4

5 9/4

6 7/4

7 7/4

John Tavares 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Kyle Okposo 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Ryan Strome 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Josh Bailey 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Alex Ovechkin 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Nicklas Backstrom 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

John Carlson 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Marcus Johansson 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Winnipeg Jets vs. Anaheim Ducks

Winnipeg Jets (Series Prices) 7/5 (+140)

Anaheim Ducks (Series Prices) 5/8 (-160)

Exact Result

Winnipeg Jets win 4-0 131

Winnipeg Jets win 4-1 15/2

Winnipeg Jets win 4-2 5/1

Winnipeg Jets win 4-3 11/2

Anaheim Ducks win 4-0 15/2

Anaheim Ducks win 4-1 4/1

Anaheim Ducks win 4-2 9/2

Anaheim Ducks win 4-3 4/1

Number of Games

4 19/4

5 9/4

6 9/5

7 7/4

Andrew Ladd 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Blake Wheeler 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Bryan Little 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Dustin Byfuglien 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Ryan Getzlaf 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Corey Perry 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Ryan Kesler 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Minnesota Wild vs. St. Louis Blues

Minnesota Wild (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)

St. Louis Blues (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)

Exact Result

Minnesota Wild win 4-0 12/1

Minnesota Wild win 4-1 7/1

Minnesota Wild win 4-2 5/1

Minnesota Wild win 4-3 11/2

St. Louis Blues win 4-0 9/1

St. Louis Blues win 4-1 9/2

St. Louis Blues win 4-2 9/2

St. Louis Blues win 4-3 7/2

Number of Games

4 19/4

5 9/4

6 9/5

7 7/4

Zach Parise 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Jason Pominville 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Thomas Vanek 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Mikko Koivu 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Vladimir Tarasenko 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Alexander Steen 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

David Backes 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

T.J. Oshie 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators

Chicago Blackhawks (Series Prices) 20/29 (-145)

Nashville Predators (Series Prices) 5/4 (+125)

Exact Result

Chicago Blackhawks win 4-0 17/2

Chicago Blackhawks win 4-1 5/1

Chicago Blackhawks win 4-2 4/1

Chicago Blackhawks win 4-3 9/2

Nashville Predators win 4-0 12/1

Nashville Predators win 4-1 6/1

Nashville Predators win 4-2 11/2

Nashville Predators win 4-3 9/2

Number of Games

4 19/4

5 9/4

6 7/4

7 7/4

Jonathan Toews 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Patrick Kane 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5½

Marian Hossa 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Duncan Keith 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Filip Forsberg 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Mike Ribeiro 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Roman Josi 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3

Shea Weber 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks

Calgary Flames (Series Prices) 6/5 (+120)

Vancouver Canucks (Series Prices) 5/7 (-140)

Exact Result

Calgary Flames win 4-0 12/1

Calgary Flames win 4-1 7/1

Calgary Flames win 4-2 9/2

Calgary Flames win 4-3 5/1

Vancouver Canucks win 4-0 19/2

Vancouver Canucks win 4-1 9/2

Vancouver Canucks win 4-2 5/1

Vancouver Canucks win 4-3 15/4

Number of Games

4 19/4

5 9/4

6 7/4

7 7/4

Jiri Hudler 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Johnny Gaudreau 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Sean Monahan 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4

Dennis Wideman 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3½

Daniel Sedin 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Henrik Sedin 1st Round Points

Over/Under 5

Radim Vrbata 1st Round Points

Over/Under 4½

Nick Bonino 1st Round Points

Over/Under 3

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Ravens unveil 2015 preseason schedule

Posted on 09 April 2015 by Luke Jones

As we wait for the NFL to release the 2015 regular-season schedule later this month, the Ravens announced their preseason schedule for their 20th year in Baltimore on Thursday.

The slate of preseason contests features home contests against the New Orleans Saints and the Washington Redskins while the Ravens will travel to Philadelphia and Atlanta. Baltimore isn’t schedule to meet any of its exhibition opponents in the regular season.

After the teams played their preseason finale in New Orleans last August, the Saints will travel to M&T Bank Stadium to meet the Ravens to kick off the preseason on Aug. 13. This will mark the third time that the Ravens have played New Orleans in the summer, but this will be the first contest played in Baltimore.

The Ravens will take on the Eagles in their first road preseason game on either Aug. 21 or Aug. 22 at Lincoln Financial Field. This will mark the 12th time these teams will have played against each other in the preseason with the Ravens owning the 7-4 series advantage.

The all-important third preseason game will take place on either Aug. 28 or Aug. 29 when the Ravens host Washington. This is typically the game in which starters receive their most extensive playing time of the summer in preparation for the start of the regular season. This year will mark the ninth preseason meeting between the close neighbors with the Ravens owning a 6-2 edge.

Season-ticket holders already miffed by preseason prices can once again take solace in knowing that the painfully-dull final game will be played on the road for the seventh consecutive year when the Ravens travel to Atlanta on Sept. 3. Baltimore owns a 7-3 advantage in the preseason series as this will be the eighth one hosted by the Falcons

The Ravens are 46-29 in their preseason history and have compiled a 19-9 record during the preseason in the John Harbaugh era.

Times and final dates will be announced at a later time.

Week 1: Thursday, Aug. 13 vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 2: Friday, Aug. 21 or Saturday, Aug. 22 at Philadelphia Eagles
Week 3: Friday, Aug. 28 or Saturday, Aug. 29 vs. Washington Redskins
Week 4: Thursday, Sept. 3 at Atlanta Falcons

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Caps Lose Game & Season Series to the Flyers

Posted on 22 February 2015 by Ed Frankovic

1-2-1.

That is the Capitals final 2014-15 record against the Philadelphia Flyers following Sunday’s 3-2 defeat in Filthy.

That is unacceptable to Capitals fans, plain and simple.

The good news is despite the lousy and very lackluster efforts the Caps exhibited versus their despised rivals from up I-95, Washington will return to the post season this spring while Claude Giroux and company will most likely start slapping Titleist’s around once the regular season ends.

Still, Sunday’s effort was terrible, especially the first period. Perhaps the fact that some crazy Flyers fan pulled the fire alarm at the team hotel at 1:30 am messed the Capitals up today and caused them to play a sleepy game? Or maybe the Flyers match up well with the Caps? Or perhaps the line up that Coach Barry Trotz iced today caused the team to be out of sync?

I’ll go with questions number one and number three from above.

The Flyers are not a good team and their defense is weak. The Capitals should cream these guys assuming they stay out of the box.

There’s one big problem from Sunday, the Caps took too many early penalties and as a result the Flyers scored their first two goals on the power play, the second of which was on a five on three, to take a 2-0 lead.

As for the Washington power play, well it stunk to high heaven on Sunday going 0 for 5 against the 28th ranked PK unit in the league.  Assistant coach Blaine Forsythe has some work to do with that group because too many pucks were being forced to Alex Ovechkin when there were other openings. The team also needs to learn to just simplify and shoot with traffic. The 6 on 4 at the end of the game was absolutely putrid.

It also helps if you have your line up in sync and the one Trotz put out there on Sunday smelled like the city they were playing in. Out was Andre Burakovsky and in went Michael Latta. A top line that dominated on Saturday against the Islanders until the coaches stopped playing them late in regulation was transformed into one that started with Jay Beagle on right wing, but he took a penalty on the opening shift. Marcus Johansson, who was subpar on line number two on Saturday, then moved to the top unit thereafter and didn’t play well there either.

In addition, Cameron Schilling was put in on the third defensive pairing while Jack Hillen was scratched. Trotz told the media afterwards that they are evaluating depth options on defense in preparation for next Monday’s trade deadline (March 2nd). So I’m okay with that one, but the Burakovsky move and subsequent domino effect is a head scratcher.

In the last seven games that #65 has played the Capitals are 7-0-0 and he is a +8, with no minus games. Burakovsky has been strong on the puck and has the high end talent to play with the highly skilled Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. The analytics seem to support the value Burakovsky provides to the team’s puck possession statistics, as well. On the contrary, when Jason Chimera has been in the lineup the last six times the Caps are 3-3 and he is -2 with no plus games. Still, there we were late in the Flyers game down a goal and Chimera is out on the power play while Burakovsky is up eating nachos in the press box. In addition, Chimera had 1:27 of man advantage time while Eric Fehr received none. Makes little sense to me.

Thankfully there are only eight days until the trade deadline and then after that the Capitals hopefully finalize their roster and stop with this revolving door of a lineup. Washington needs to build some continuity and confidence over the last month plus of the season so they are ready for the playoffs in a wide open Eastern Conference.

On Sunday, they did nothing of the sort and Michael Del Zotto, who was key in the Rangers playoffs series wins over the Caps in 2012 and 2013, scored the game winner to send Washington with their tails between their legs on the train back to DC.

Trotz has done a lot of good things with this team in bringing them together, getting them to commit to the new system, getting Braden Holtby back on track, and solidifying the blue line, but when it comes to lineup choices and stability as well as late game decision making, that’s where he and his staff need to improve if the Capitals want to go deep in the post season.

Make no mistake about this, the Capitals are an infinitely better team than they were a season ago under the horrible Adam Oates experiment that was made worse by some terrible personnel moves by the departed George McPhee. Trotz and GM Brian MacLellan have done a super job of turning things around. Kudos to them for what they’ve done and the high expectations the fan base has are a result of their immediate success.

However, everyone can improve and there are still no Stanley Cup banners hanging from the Verizon Center ceiling. This team has the potential to make a run at the Cup but they have to properly use their assets. The coaching staff has done a lot of good things, but they can still be better. Hopefully they are learning what doesn’t work when leading, like shortening the bench and not playing Mike Green and Alex Ovechkin, who are top puck possessors. In addition, icing the best possible lineup is something that can be improved upon, which means putting skill players like Burakovsky in the top six and slotting the bottom six guys where they belong.

1-2-1 against the Flyers. I don’t like it at all.

But Wednesday they have a chance to go 4-0 against the Penguins. Doing that would make the fan base feel a lot better about their despicable performance against the Flyers this season.

Still, it’s all about the playoffs and that’s where the coaches need to be focused and improve in the aforementioned areas.

Notes: The Caps fall to 33-18-10 and back to 4th place in the Metropolitan Division…Ovechkin led the Caps in ice time with 23:46, but he and Backstrom were held pointless…Holtby made 25 saves and appeared to be interfered with on the game winning goal, but that was set up by a terrible Capitals line change that gave Del Zotto far too much room…shot attempts were even at 54 for this one but the Flyers had more on net, 28-23.

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Tough Weekend for Caps, But Not For Hershey

Posted on 18 January 2015 by Ed Frankovic

After going 4-0-1 in the first nine days of a seven games in 11 day stretch, it appears fatigue finally caught up with the Washington Capitals as they dropped two tough one goal losses to the Nashville Predators (4-3) and Dallas Stars (5-4) over the weekend on days 10 and 11. In both contests the Capitals fell behind early, two pucks in Music City and then a 3-0 deficit in Big D, expended tons of energy in rallying, before wilting late to lose two heart breakers.

The loss to the Predators, in Coach Barry Trotz’ return to Smashville, was especially disheartening since the Caps led 3-2 with five minutes to go. But a soft penalty call on John Carlson, a bad PK, and then a Matt Niskanen untimely turnover added up to a horrible defeat.

In Dallas, it was the bad start, too many penalties, and just awful defense that cost Washington the game. They turned the puck over too much and allowed a super fast squad to beat them in transition. In addition, the Capitals strong defensive zone play that we’ve come to expect under Trotz looked very Oatesian in the Lone Star State and, at times, in Nashville.

Washington gave up nine goals in two games and that is unacceptable. Looking at all of those tallies against, it’s hard to fault the goaltender (Braden Holtby on Friday and Justin Peters on Saturday) on any of them.

Back to back situations also seem to plague this Capitals team. They are now 1-6-1 this season on the second half of those and 0-5-1 when game two is on the road. Again, unacceptable and the team they are chasing for the division lead, the New York Islanders, is 6-2 in those same instances. That’s a nine point swing and the reason why New York currently owns a five point lead in the division race over the Caps (61 points to 56).

The good news is the Caps top line continues to sizzle and Alex Ovechkin (25 goals) is playing some of the best hockey of his career. In addition, the Caps have a game against the Edmonton Oilers at home on Tuesday before getting a week off for the NHL all star break. Boy do the Caps need some rest.

Along with the defensive zone issues, Washington’s second line continues to be wildly inconsistent. Evgeny Kuznetsov was downright terrible in Nashville and he, along with Marcus Johansson and Troy Brouwer just aren’t where this team needs their second line to be.

Barring some major injuries, you can pretty much bet the house that the Caps will return to the playoffs this spring. But just making it is not enough. Ovechkin is not getting any younger nor is Brooks Orpik and some others, so the Capitals need to seriously think about what they need to do over the remaining 37 games to prepare themselves to win in the post season. The Eastern Conference has many good teams, but there is no clear cut front runner. GM Brian MacLellan and Trotz need to figure out what to do about the forward line combinations, including determining if some trades are needed, and solidify them for April and beyond. The East is there for the taking so just being content with getting back in the dance should not cut it.

It’s been an encouraging season and a major turnaround for Washington thanks to off season defensive acquisitions along with bringing in a talented and organized coaching staff. As George Allen used to say, “The Future is Now.” The Caps have to think like that, unlike the words we used to hear from the former GM about just getting in and hoping to win. You have to be aggressive at the trade deadline in an attempt to plug any holes and build depth for the unexpected injury that could occur down the stretch and in the post season. It will be interesting to see what MacLellan does since the Caps have some holes that the kids on the roster (Tom Wilson, Andre Burakovksy, and Kuznetsov) have not been able to fill so far this season.

Speaking of kids, it was a super weekend for the Washington AHL team, the Hershey Bears. Coach Troy Mann’s squad won both weekend tilts to seize first place in the East Division. The Bears are also a strong defensive team but have had trouble putting the biscuit in the basket. Lately though, they’ve gotten hot offensively and have won five of six games.

On Sunday, I took in the Bears tilt against the despised Lehigh Valley Phantoms (Philadelphia Flyers AHL club) at the Giant Center and came away very impressed with the team game that Hershey plays. Phoenix Copley got the start in net and he was solid, allowing only two tallies on 30 shots. Hershey does a decent job of keeping opponents on the perimeter and they transition from defense to offense well. I was impressed with the speed of Dustin Gazley. Gazley did a good job of helping a penalty killing unit that was a perfect eight for eight on Sunday.

Stan Galiev has 13 goals and is really improving. He is showing he belongs in the AHL now after a couple of years of bouncing back and forth between “The A” and the ECHL. Connor Carrick was okay on defense for Hershey, as well. Both played big roles in a Bears five on three situation in period two. Carrick manned the point, like Mike Green does in Washington, while Galiev had the Ovechkin spot on the PP. They moved the puck well in that situation but Phantoms goalie Anthony Stolarz, who was very shaky in the first period, was super in the middle frame and shut the Bears down to keep his club in it. Late in period three the Bears would score and then add an empty net tally to close out the victory.

Overall, I like Hershey’s team and they are poised to do well come AHL playoffs time. However, I didn’t see anyone I thought must be called up to DC this season. That’s also a testament to the strong roster the Capitals have at the NHL level, too. If there is a call up that could play a factor in Washington down the stretch, I’d have to say it would be goalie Philip Grubauer. With Peters struggling to get wins, one has to wonder if the team has much confidence in him? Grubauer does have NHL experience and has shown the ability to steal a game at that level where Peters just hasn’t come close to doing so in 2014-15.

Notes: The Caps out shot attempted Dallas, 68-51, but the only thing that counts is the final score…Hershey is 3-2-1 against Lehigh Valley but they play SIX more times this season…Grubauer returned from injury and won, 5-4, versus Albany on Saturday night.

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