Washington Capitals

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Boudreau Tabs Holtby to Start on the Island

By Scott Lowe The Washington Capitals, who had started showing signs of returning to the more consistent winning ways they enjoyed a season ago before stumbling a bit of late, are staring at a pair of road contests that they should win - and that they need to win if they are going to remain a serious contender for the top spot in the East. So, what does head coach Bruce Boudreau do? With rookie netminder Michael Neuvirth sidelined yet again by a lower body injury, Boudreau selects recent Hershey recall Braden Holtby to start tonight against the New York Islanders. Maybe this is a reward for Holtby being the good soldier and shuttling back and forth between D.C. and Pennsylvania without s...

Caps' Work in Progress: Will it be a Masterpiece?

By Scott Lowe There seems to be a lot of concern throughout the D.C. area and around the NHL – at least among the so-called experts and alarmist fans – about the Washington Capitals’ offensive “woes.” If memory serves, it was about this time last year that pundits and rival fans said that a Caps team on the way to near record-breaking offensive numbers and their first President’s Trophy was not committed enough to a grind-it-out, two-way style to make a deep run in the playoffs. We can’t have it both ways can we? Tonight the Caps reached an interesting crossroads as they faced a Philadelphia club that has replaced them atop the Eastern Conference standings. The end ...

Boston a Big Stage for Caps' Center Hopefuls

By Scott Lowe Everyone wants to know who will start the season as the Washington Capitals' centers - at least on the second, third and fourth lines. The problem is that the guys fighting for those spots are all stepping up to the challenge. Usually in these situations coaches have their minds made up long before they tell the media and public what their plan is, and Bruce Boudreau rarely is forthcoming with his personnel decisions. This time, however, Boudreau may not be playing cat and mouse with us. Given a chance to play on the first line with Alex Ovechkin and Mike Knuble in place of banged-up Tomas Fleischmann Tuesday night in the Caps’ first preseason home game against Boston,...

Hendricks No Surprise to Boudreau

By Scott Lowe Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau gave the world a heads up about Matt Hendricks at training camp on Tuesday, but his comments didn’t get much play in the media, and apparently the Columbus Blue Jackets didn’t get the hint. When asked if anyone had surprised him at camp without getting much attention, Boudreau replied, “I really love the way Matt Hendricks plays. I’ve been a big fan of his for about the last five years. He played on a team in Colorado that nobody thought would go anywhere and they ended up with 100 points and in the playoffs. He’s come in here to earn a spot on the team, and so far he’s pushing guys. He’s done a great job.” Those c...

A New Sheriff in Town?

By Scott Lowe It looks as though Bruce Boudreau may have learned a valuable lesson from last year’s disappointing playoff experience. During the Washington Capitals’ 2009-2010 run to the franchise’s first Presidents’ Trophy, Bourdreau rarely took his foot off the gas pedal. The team literally came to play every single night, using its free-wheeling offensive style to amass a club-record 14-game win streak and run away with the top seed in the Eastern Conference. There’s something to be said for a team that plays hard and entertains fans on a daily basis in this day and age of millionaire pro athletes who admit taking games off or not giving their all every time out. And, no ...

Centers of Attention

By Scott Lowe The math is simple for the Washington Capitals. They have five players competing for three center spots. Breaking it down even further, you have two players competing for the second-line center position, with Tomas Fleischmann being given a long early look and the inside edge by Coach Bruce Boudreau, two players competing for the third-line pivot slot and two players competing to be the fourth-line centerman. Two plus two plus two … that’s five right? Wait, maybe the math’s not so simple, especially for this state school journalism major. One of the main concerns among the Caps’ fanbase and media contingent this offseason was, along with solidifying the def...

Rookies Johansson, Eakin and Finley Impress

By Scott Lowe With two days of rookie camp in the books, it’s not hard to tell who is catching the eye of Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau. Boudreau has mentioned first-round draft picks Marcus Johansson, Cody Eakin and Joe Finley following each day’s workout. Each player has his own interesting story and timeline. Johnasson, a Swede who has played both center and wing, has average size, but is mature with good speed and skill. He is one of the youngsters mentioned by some as a possibility to fill the open No. 2 center spot for the Caps this year. While on the surface it would seem to be a longshot for a soon-to-be 20-year-old (Oct. 6 birthday) to become the second-line ...

Fleischmann to Stay Put and Other Preseason Notes

Fleischman’s Status and Other Caps Notes By Scott Lowe You can put an end to the Tomas Fleischmann trade rumors, at least according to Washington Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau. The offensively gifted young winger, who may find himself shifted to center and battling for a spot as the second-line pivot, has been rumored to be on the trading block since a sub-par playoff performance against Montreal that ended up with an unceremonious Game 7 benching. Yesterday, in a short story published on SportingNews.com, Boudreau put an end to the trade speculation, stating that he expects Fleischmann to have a “breakout year.” Boudreau thinks Fleischmann will improve upon last year’s 23 goa...

Caps in Enviable Position Despite Lack of Moves

By Scott Lowe Followers of the Washington Capitals probably didn’t think that as training camp approached they’d be talking about offseason acquisitions such as D.J. King, Brian Willsie and Danny Sabourin. Instead the talk after a premature postseason exit, as it always seems to be, focused on solidifying the defensive corps with a top-four d-man such as a Volchenkov, Mitchell, Hamhuis or Martin and bringing in a true second-line center such as a Lombardi, Cullen, Koivu, Plekanec or even a Modano. The Caps were involved in the Willie Mitchell sweepstakes until his recent signing with Los Angeles, but now with camp right around corner the Caps’ strategy seems very clear: With...

Caps Free Agent Analysis: Fine Tuning for a Playoff Run

Washington Capitals Free Agent Analysis at a Glance By Scott Lowe Caps’ UFAs – Eric Belanger, Scott Walker, Joe Corvo, Milan Jurcina, Brendan Morrison, Shaone Morrisonn, Quintin Laing, Jose Theodore Caps’ RFAs – Eric Fehr, Boyd Gordon, Tomas Fleischmann, Jeff Schultz Caps’/Hershey RFAs – Jay Beagle, Chris Borque, Andrew Gordon, Alexandre Giroux All RFAs have been extended qualifying offers. Looking for a Shot: Giroux, Matthieu Perreault, Keith Aucoin, Boyd Kane, Marcus Johansson, Michael Neuvirth, Beagle, Borque, A. Gordon On the Block?: Tomas Fleischmann, Alexander Semin Needs: Second-line center, mobile/stay-at-home defenseman, big/physical forward, enfo...