Can Nicklas Backstrom become the highest-scoring Swede of all-time?

Ken Campbell
Nicklas Backstrom. (Photo by Patrick Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that Nicklas Backstrom quietly scored his 500th career point against the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night.

He did it quietly because Backstrom does everything quietly. That has something to do with the fact that he’s Swedish and, remarkably like almost all his countrymen, is singularly unimpressed with himself. It also has something to do with the fact that he plays alongside Alex Ovechkin, a larger-than-life figure who is comfortable in the spotlight. Backstrom is more than happy to allow Ovechkin to soak up all the adulation, and have to handle the pressure that comes with being an NHL superstar. Read more

Is Barry Trotz a magic man? Early Capitals’ advanced stats say yes

The Hockey News
Barry Trotz (Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Dom Luszczyszyn

It’s still too early to make any meaningful judgments, but so far it looks like the Washington Capitals’ biggest problem has been solved.

The Caps have been a notoriously abysmal defensive team for a while now, and missing the playoffs last season meant changes had to be made to the former powerhouse. The biggest one was bringing in coach Barry Trotz, arguably the most reputable defensive coach in the game.

While changing the coach isn’t always the right call, it was clear that Adam Oates wasn’t getting the most out of his players, specifically his best one, Alex Ovechkin. The same can be said for Trotz, who was well past his expiration date in Nashville. Washington and Trotz were a perfect fit. Read more

Getting To Know: Jim Thomson

Jim Thomson (http://www.jimthomsonsdreams.com/)

Status: NHL right wing from 1986-1993 with Hartford, Washington, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Anaheim and Ottawa.

DOB: December 30, 1965 In: Edmonton, Alberta

First Hockey Memory: “I borrowed a pair of skates. I grew up in a mobile house park, Westview Village in Winterburn, Alberta. I was six years old and one of my friends lent me his dad’s skates. They were too big but I skated around and couldn’t stop. I fell in love with it.” Read more

Huberdeau dazzles in shootout with homage to Swedish legend

Jared Clinton
Jonathan Huberdeau (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In a game that involves the Florida Panthers and Washington Capitals going to a shootout, you’d expect the highlight of the night to be something off the stick of Alex Ovechkin. Not tonight.

The former Southeast Division rivals battled to a tightly contested 1-1 draw through regulation and overtime. Both teams saved their scoring touches for the shootout.

After Evgeny Kuznetsov gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead in the shootout with a quick flick of the wrists, Jonathan Huberdeau evened the score by paying homage to one of the most iconic goals of all-time: Peter Forsberg’s one-handed goal from the 1994 Olympics. It was an absolutely beautiful goal from the 2012-13 Calder Trophy recipient.

Originally used by Kent Nilsson, Forsberg made the goal famous when he slipped it past Canadian goaltender Corey Hirsch in the ’94 Olympics Gold Medal game in Lillehammer. It would prove to be the winning tally in the shootout.

Unfortunately for Huberdeau and the Panthers, his marker couldn’t do the same. Ovechkin got the last laugh for the Capitals as he outwaited Florida goaltender Al Montoya for the shootout winner.

All may not be lost for Huberdeau, though. If he waits long enough, he might get on a stamp. Read more

Watch John Scott score a goal on purpose. This is weird

Matt Larkin
John Scott's goal Tuesday night was the third of his career. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

This is a public service announcement. It’s safe to climb out of your fallout shelters. Apologies if you dipped into your tomato soup reserves.

Turns out the world did not explode last night. Nothing melted. The walking dead do not roam the Earth. The oceans did not engulf major cities. Hmpf. A little surprising. John Scott scored a goal, after all. Figured that meant the End of Days.

Not only did the Sharks professional caveman enforcer light the lamp, he actually did it with panache. Check out this video, which was hilariously easy to find (Google John Scott goal, and there aren’t many competing results):

Read more

Ask Adam: Jerseys, jinxes, OT changes & more

Adam Proteau
Mike Green (Getty Images)

Hello again, and welcome to a special edition of the Ask Adam mailbag, last seen around these parts a few months ago after a long and spirited run. The process has remained the same – you question, I answer – but the questions were solicited exclusively via Twitter tonight. I’m rested, rejuvenated and happy to engage with those kind enough to submit something, so let’s have at it.

Adam, why can’t the home team choose what color jersey they wear? The NFL does it. Seems like good marketing to me.
Ethan Wittig

Ethan,

Time for this annual question, I suppose, so it’s good to get it out of the way early. The NHL switched to home dark jerseys and white jerseys on the road in the 2003-04 season, but they do permit teams to make requests to wear either white jerseys at home or special third jerseys on occasion. So there is some choice, but clearly, the league prefers it this way, and not enough teams feel differently to force a change.

Adam, the AHL test of overtime looks good so far. How does NHL/NHLPA feel about it?
Mike Flannery

Mike,

You’re right, the AHL adopting 3-on-3 overtime has been a success, at least in limiting the number of games that go to a shootout: through Monday, all six games that went beyond regulation ended before a shootout was necessary. And the tweak – extending overtime to seven minutes, playing the first three minutes 4-on-4, and switching to 3-on-3 following the first whistle after the four-minute mark – hardly is radical.
Read more

Capitals’ Eric Fehr writes anti-bullying book for kids

Matt Larkin
Eric Fehr hopes his book can get through not just to bullying victims, but to bullies. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

From the files of “Awwwww…” comes Washington Capitals right winger/center Eric Fehr, who has revealed himself as a budding author. His new children’s book. The Bulliest Dozer, drops Oct. 9.

What’s the book about? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It tells the tale of a bulldozer who happens to be a bully. Bo Dozer is embarrassed because he can’t skate, and he’s nervous about an upcoming holiday performance on ice at school, so he takes out his frustration by bullying other students. That doesn’t work out so well for Bo. The book teaches kids the perils of bullying and why it’s better to rely on friends. Atta boy, Mr. Fehr. Here’s the cover:

 

Read more

Alex Ovechkin makes 10-year-old fan’s wish come true on dream date

Adam Proteau
Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin has made a lot of fans based on what he does on the ice. But this weekend, he did something off of it that is sure to endear him to people beyond the Washington Capitals’ fan base.

Following through on a promise he’d made to a 10-year-old Capitals fan weeks earlier, Ovechkin arranged to meet with her several times Sunday: first before the team’s practice, then before their pre-season game against Carolina, and finally, for a sushi dinner after the Caps’ 5-2 win. See photos of their time together here, and video here.
Read more