The Washington Capitals made it clear weeks before the start of the free agent period that they intended to enter the 2014-15 campaign with Braden Holtby as their number one goaltender. They proved that to him though when they decided to sign Justin Peters over some of veteran alternatives with experience as a starter.
“We talked about that a lot,” Capitals GM Brian MacLellan told CSN Washington. “A lot of it was we wanted to send the right message to Holtby.
“… I mean, if you bring in an older, experienced guy it’s going to cost us more money and it might have been a little more pressure on Holtby. We wanted to send a message to Holtby that he’s our No. 1 guy.”
MacLellan argued that he still got a good backup in Peters, who had a 2.50 GAA and .919 save percentage in 21 games with Carolina last season, but there’s no goalie controversy going into the season. That’s a bold move after Holtby struggled last season, which led to rookie call-up Philipp Grubauer stealing time from him and prompted the Capitals to acquire Jaroslav Halak.
Holtby felt his struggles were partially due to former head coach Adam Oates desire to have him play deeper in the crease and MacLellan has echoed that sentiment. Now the general manager is betting heavily on the idea that Holtby can bounce back.
Alex Ovechkin won’t play for the Washington Capitals on Tuesday because of personal reasons, the team confirmed.
He entered the building considerably later than usual, but his presence at least opened the door for the possibility of No. 8 suiting up against the San Jose Sharks.
Instead, the Capitals will face the hot-starting Sharks without Ovechkin (personal reasons) and Nicklas Backstrom (injury).
That’s a tall order, yet it’s also an opportunity for Barry Trotz to prove his system is a difference-maker … and that the Capitals have the young players to take up the mantle when the big stars are out
This is how Washington’s forward lines may look tonight:
No, the Capitals have not shared details regarding what his “personal reasons” might be, by the way.
Lower-level defense is not the biggest of many worries for the Boston Bruins, yet it might be another in a series of headaches.
CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty points out that Joe Morrow has been placed on IR while AHL stalwart Tommy Cross was called up.
With a -3 rating and negligible offensive impact so far, few will really be missing Morrow (pictured). From the way Haggerty describes Cross, it’s a pretty cool story if he gets into the lineup:
Cross was named captain of the Providence Bruins this season, and actually had a strong training camp as the hard-hitting, tough stay-at-home defenseman he’s developed into during his five years in the B’s minor league system. The 2007 second round pick was a highly regarded potential puck-moving defenseman when he was drafted prior to his Boston College career, but a series of knee injuries negated some of his speed and puck-moving capabilities.
Granted, the Bruins would prefer a sure-thing improvement over a feel-good story right now, as this 0-3-0 start marks their worst beginning in some time.
Injuries have been an issue in general, too, with Zdeno Chara‘s slow start mixed with Dennis Seidenberg on the mend and Brad Marchand in limbo.
The Bruins’ next game comes against the Avalanche in Colorado. Maybe they’ll start to mend things on the ice?