Washington Capitals v Nashville Predators

Caps GM says Green is still in team’s plans


Despite some huge investments on the first day of free agency, Mike Green remains the highest-paid Washington Capitals defenseman, cap-hit wise. The question is: should that previous sentence include the phrase “for now”?

You never really know when it comes to “vote of confidence” quotes, but new Capitals GM Brian MacLellan said that the divisive defenseman is still part of the team’s future, as CSNWashington.com’s Chuck Gormley reports.

Still, it becomes a complicated picture when you consider the impact of former Pittsburgh Penguins defensemen Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen. Niskanen, in particular, seems to bring similar perceived strengths and weaknesses as Green.

Green, 28, only has one year left on a contract that carries a $6.08 million cap hit. That leaves his longer-term future in doubt and also makes him easy to move in a deal.

Still, he isn’t that far removed from the days when he was lighting scoreboards on fire. Green scored 31 goals and 73 points in 2008-09 and generated a career-high 76 points in 2009-10. Considering his age, the turmoil in Washington and how much the Capitals have invested in him over the years, it might be tough to cut the cord.

Then again, maybe it’s all a work in progress, really. How Orpik will fit in seems pretty open-ended at the moment:

Meanwhile, MacLellan seemed to make some not-so-forward-thinking comments defending Orpik, only to clarify in a way that should make stats-leaning Caps fans a bit more optimistic:

One more interesting note, especially if you enjoy pondering trade scenarios: MacLellan explained that Washington allowed Mikhail Grabovski to walk because they ultimately chose to add two defensemen rather than one center and one blueliner in free agency. MacLellan said he’s still looking for a center, so if that interest in keeping Green isn’t so genuine, perhaps that might be the type of asset that can pry Green loose?

A lot is in the air in this situation, whether Green is really primed to stay or not. Then again, it wouldn’t be the Caps if there wasn’t a little bit of unpredictability, right?

Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

1 Comment

When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?

1 Comment

You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
Leave a comment

If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.