Washington Capitals v New York Rangers - Game Four

Washington aims for a zen-like approach up 3-1 in their series with New York

Last season when the Capitals held a 3-1 series lead against eighth seeded Montreal, things went south fast when they headed home for game 5.  The Canadiens and Jaroslav Halak took it to the Caps and shut them down the next three games to win the series in seven leaving the Capitals to wonder about what could have been given how things shook out in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Fast forward to this season, the Caps are in the same position up 3-1 in the series against New York and after a host of games that were tight scoring with two that went to overtime, the Capitals realize that they’ve got to keep it going until it’s over. If you’re thinking that last season’s failure is hanging over them this season, think again.

CSN Washington’s Ryan O’Halloran tells us about how the Capitals are looking to make their own memories rather than let the past haunt them. Captain Alex Ovechkin says it plainly with what he thinks about last year.

“I don’t remember nothing,” captain Alex Ovechkin said. “I forget about it. … It is new year, new series, new team. If you remember everything bad, then it’s going to be bad for you.”

There’s an odd sort of zen quality to what Ovechkin says there. You might think of him as a modern day Yogi Berra for it, but his approach makes sense. History doesn’t matter to this team and it shouldn’t. Letting the past get you down means you’re not improving for the present.

One guy to listen to about that would be Jason Arnott. The veteran wasn’t with the Capitals last year but his perspective is one that should be listened to as O’Halloran found out.

“It’s done and over with,” center Jason Arnott said. “We have to think about moving forward, and that’s tomorrow afternoon.”

“To finish a team off is very hard,” Arnott said. “They’ll be playing with every emotion, and we have to match that or be better. We can’t get too overconfident or overanxious. We have to play relaxed, play our system and play hard.”

Playing hard is something the Caps haven’t lacked at all, especially in their Game 4 double overtime win that saw them comeback from being down 3-0 in the third period to tie and then win. For the Rangers to upset the Capitals, they’ll have to find a way to sustain that pressure for 60 minutes and make the Capitals feel uncomfortable. With the way coach Bruce Boudreau has his team going now, though, that might be the toughest thing to do yet.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
1 Comment

For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.

Diaz could leave Rangers for Europe

Raphael Diaz, Mike Sislo
Leave a comment

Could Raphael Diaz be on his way back to Switzerland?

We’ll know in a month.

Diaz, who lost out on the Rangers’ final blueline spot in training camp, has reported to the club’s AHL affiliate in Hartford but doesn’t seem pleased with his current situation, per the Post:

The 29-year-old Diaz, who cleared waivers last Saturday after the Blueshirts opted to keep rookie Dylan McIlrath as the club’s seventh on the blue line, is interested in the European option if he is not in the NHL.

The Blueshirts have told Diaz they will revisit the situation at the end of October, but have not promised to release him or assign him to a European team at that point.

If Diaz, a Swiss native who represented Switzerland in the 2014 Olympics, does play in Europe during the season, he would have to go through waivers in order to return to the NHL.

Diaz’s agent, Ritch Winter, told the Post that Diaz signed a one-year, $700,000 deal with the Rangers “to play with the Rangers.”

And it’s understandable if Diaz — a journeyman offensive defenseman — isn’t happy with this situation.

While some believe McIlrath earned his roster spot on merit, some think it’s because of his contract status. McIlrath, who’s only 23 and a former first-round pick, would’ve needed to clear waivers to go back to Hartford, and it’s believed he would’ve been claimed by another club.