Braden Holtby won’t win the Vezina Trophy this season. Plainly, barring some sort of catastrophic incident, the award is going to go to Montreal’s Carey Price. But earning the nod as a top contender might be enough to legitimize just how far Holtby has come under coach Barry Trotz.
Trotz, known leaguewide as a coach with an aptitude for defensive hockey and one who has made a career of it, brought his style with him to Washington this summer and over the course of 71 games has changed the fortunes of not only the Capitals, but his starting goaltender, as well. Read more
The playoffs are almost upon us in major junior, while the NCAA conference tournaments are in full swing. Since some teams have already been eliminated, early signing season has begun too, with Brandon Montour leaving UMass for Anaheim and Ben Hutton ending his career in Maine to ink a deal with Vancouver. More are sure to come, but until then, here’s a look around the world of prospects.
The NHL spotlight shines hotter for goaltenders than it does any other position player in the league, and while that pressure can be a burden, it can also produce some incredible feel-good stories.
Setting aside the typical injuries and starter/backup drama we see every season, there’ve been some pretty amazing goalie stories this year. Here are five goalies who you can’t help but feel happy for.
The New York Rangers are one of the NHL’s hottest teams of late. And that’s the case not just because they bulked up at the NHL trade deadline in anticipation of a deep playoff run, but also because they’re getting tremendous effort from throughout the lineup – including backup goalie Cam Talbot, who reached behind him Wednesday night against Washington to rob Capitals star Nicklas Backstrom of what looked like a sure goal.
The 27-year-old Backstrom took a brilliant cross-crease pass from right winger Joel Ward for the host Caps and had a wide-open Rangers net to shoot at, but not for long; the 27-year-old Talbot stretched back toward the goal line and caught the puck at the last moment: Read more
Hockey players are notoriously finicky about their equipment, but it’s going to be hard to trump Mike Green’s love affair with a stick that was discontinued close to a decade ago.
From Washington Capitals blog Russian Machine Never Breaks comes the incredible story of Green and his love of the Easton Stealth CNT stick. Some may recall that during Green’s incredible 31-goal season he used the same stick for several games in a row while on a record goal scoring streak. His ten goals, which came in eight straight games, broke the record for a goal-scoring streak by a defenseman, previously held by Mike O’Connell. At the time, Green told the Associated Press that the Hockey Hall of Fame wanted the stick but he, “wasn’t going to give it up.”
Well, he eventually did. And then his next Stealth CNT broke. And then another. Eventually, by the time the 2009 postseason rolled around he was out of the model and had to switch to the Easton S17. That was, at least, until the Capitals put the record-setting Stealth back in his hands. Read more
When Alex Ovechkin buried one of his signature goals Tuesday night – a one-timer from the top of the circle on the power play – and it held up as the game-winning goal, he set the NHL record for most seasons of 10-plus game winners with five.
That alone would be enough for some to call him the greatest clutch scorer of all time. The problem is, however, that the game-winning goals statistic is flawed. For example, in a 10-1 beatdown, the player who scored the second goal would be credited with the game winner, even if that goal were scored two minutes into the contest. While technically speaking it does make it the game winner, it doesn’t necessarily mean the goal came at a time when it was absolutely critical.
And while that’s not the case when Ovechkin scored his latest game-winner, a goal that Washington needed as an insurance marker, you can be certain he’s scored a handful of game-winners that came early enough that they weren’t so much clutch scoring as they were Ovechkin doing what Ovechkin does.
So what, then, makes the Washington Capitals superstar a hero when his team needs him most? Read more
After seven seasons as a Calgary Flame, unrestricted free agent-to-be Curtis Glencross is heading to Washington.
TSN’s Darren Dreger reported early Sunday afternoon that the Capitals have acquired the two-time 20-goal man in exchange for second- and third-round picks in the 2015 draft. Glencross, 32, has nine goals and 28 points this season in 53 games with the Flames, and could find his fit in Washington’s top-six as soon as tomorrow.
Earlier in the season it appeared Calgary and Glencross would work toward a new deal, but news came as the Monday trade deadline approached that the winger had submitted a list of teams that he would be willing to accept a trade to and the Flames would look to move him. Read more
With the trade deadline days away, everyone has taken the time to reflect on the deadline deals that were blockbusters, those that changed a team’s fate or gave them a boost on their road to the Stanley Cup and even looked back at who won long-term.
But what about those deals that looked big at the time but ended up being colossal flops? Not every deal can be a gem and, for one GM in particular, there have been quite a few that looked like they could have made an impact at the time but turned into absolutely nothing.
What constitutes a deadline day flop? The trade has to involve a number of moving parts because, let’s be honest, while a player-for-player deal with two stars is fun, a five- or six-player deal can be much more interesting. In addition, a flop means the trade didn’t work out for either squad, or the team that was supposed to be the buyer, getting the player they believe will put them over the top, has to have the deal backfire badly. Read more