Alexander Ovechkin

What controversy? Caps blowout Canes


When we last saw the Washington Capitals on the ice, Bruce Boudreau was benching (nor not), Alex Ovechkin was yelling, and Nicklas Backstrom was snipping in an OT victory over the Anaheim Ducks. There was plenty said after the victory—but very little of it had anything to do with the win. So the question tonight was: how would Ovechkin and the Caps respond?

The answer: Well. Very well. After giving up an early goal, Washington rattled off five unanswered goals and blew the Carolina Hurricanes out of the RBC Center by a 5-1 score. If this is how the Caps are going to respond to adversity, Boudreau should start benching his captain more often.

It was a mixed bag for Ovechkin. Boudreau put him out on the ice for over 20 minutes of play and the superstar captain produced three shots and a pair of assists. For those who expected to see Ovechkin take his game to a new level, they would have been disappointed. For the majority of the game he was looking to set up teammates and consistently passed up open shots in favor of making the extra pass. It was very un-Ovechkin like.

At the end of the day, Ovechkin had two points and the team had one of their best results of the season. In fact, he’s produced five points in Washington’s last three games. No matter what anyone thinks of Ovechkin’s play individually, the team responded with a dominating performance when they needed to get back on track.

In the meantime, we’ll keep our eye on Ovechkin. Just a hunch, but if they keep beating every opponent by a 5-1 score, no one is going to worry about Ovechkin, passing, or getting benched.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
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As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
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Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.