Tag: Brooks Laich

Alex Ovechkin

Pressing Playoff Question: Is this finally Alex Ovechkin’s time?


What a difference a year makes.

Around this time in 2014, Alex Ovechkin experienced a season so rotten his hair literally turned gray. The Caps missed the playoffs, people obsessed over his plus/minus rating and the Russian Olympic hockey team crashed and burned in Sochi.


Some paint Barry Trotz as the wizard who finally got Ovechkin to play along. Others say No. 8’s scoring stats really aren’t that different from 2013-14. Wherever you land in that specific argument, the tenor is far more positive regarding the Ovechkin this year than it was the last.

Much of sports writing revolves around praising or lambasting a star player when his team wins or loses — yet the dirty secret is that success or failure often boils down to the supporting cast.

So the biggest reason why this might be Ovechkin’s year isn’t because he stopped “gliding.” It’s because the Caps are the most competent and stable they’ve been since the happy days of the Bruce Boudreau era.

“This is a different team compared to the last couple years,” Ovechkin said, per CSN Washington. “A mature team, an experienced team.

“It’s a lot different.”

Simply put, Ovi’s getting a lot more help.

source: AP
Source: AP


Braden Holtby’s put together a borderline Vezina season; while Semyon Varlamov showed flashes of brilliance with Washington, the bottom line is that Holtby’s the best net option the Capitals have had since Ovechkin first put on that goofy eagle sweater.

The Capitals also invested big-time in their defense this offseason, and it’s paid off. Matt Niskanen is starting to feel it, with 11 of his 31 points pouring in since March. John Carlson’s enjoying easily the best season of his career, and Mike Green hasn’t been too shabby as he chases a new deal, either.

Washington’s offense isn’t as explosive as it once was, yet there’s reason to think that they can survive a slow night or two from their big guns. Ten different players scored at least 10 goals this year; 17 skaters scored at least 17 points. Marcus Johansson found the back of the net a career-high 20 times, and Troy Brouwer tied a personal best with 43 points.

Caps GM Brian McLellan says the club’s secondary scoring behind Ovechkin (and Nicklas Backstrom) could be vital for a successful Cup run.

“That’s going to be the key, I think, to winning a lot of the games,” he said, per CSN Washington. “Goals scored by third and fourth line guys at the right moment. A rebound goal, a traffic goal. I don’t think it’s total numbers, I think it’s more impact goals than it is anything else for those guys.

“We’re going to need all those guys to chip in – [Jason] Chimera, [Joel] Ward, Brooks Laich, [Curtis] Glencross – we’re going to need big goals from those guys to be successful.”

Overall, the Capitals have the most forward depth, best goalie and best defensive group since Ovechkin came to DC. They also have an experienced head coach in a wide-open Eastern Conference.

Will that be enough for Ovechkin to finally break through at the team level after all those years of frustration? A lot of things can happen in the postseason, obviously, but it’s been a long time since Ovechkin’s outlook was this optimistic.

PHT Morning Skate: Former NHLer Warren Peters delivers a devastating hit in a Danish league game

Minnesota Wild v Toronto Maple Leafs

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Former NHLer Warren Peters is in some hot water following a devastating hit in a Danish league game. Peters, who appeared in 94 career NHL games with the Flames, Wild and Stars, hit Lasse Bang with a blindside hit. Bang suffered a concussion on the hit while Peters was slapped with a six-game suspension. (Bar Down)

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St. Louis Blues’ defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk talks about the elite blue liners he’s played against during his six seasons in the NHL. (The Players’ Tribune)

The Hockey News looks at five trades made at the March trade deadline currently paying off. (The Hockey News)

Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich displays his best Loyd Christmas impersonation after chipping a tooth.


Kristina Rutherford visits with one of the newest members of the Buffalo Sabres, Evander Kane. (Sportsnet)

Ovechkin, Chimera help Caps add to wild card lead

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera each scored twice as the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Rangers 5-2.

For the time being the Capitals trail the New York Islanders by just one point for the third seed in the Metropolitan Division. Washington also has a five-point lead on the first wild card seed in the Eastern Conference.

Marcus Johansson added an empty netter while Braden Holtby made 23 saves for the win.

One of Holtby’s bigger saves on the afternoon came midway through the first when he robbed Kevin Hayes.

With the pair of goals, Ovechkin now has a league-leading 49 on the season. He is one goal shy of his sixth career 50-goal season.

Chimera’s pair of goals snapped a 20-game drought.

Washington improves to 5-2-0 in their past seven games. New York has lost two straight in regulation for the first time since Jan. 27 and Jan. 29.

Eric Fehr and Brooks Laich each had two assists in the win.

New York, who got goals from Hayes and Derick Brassard, led 2-1 after the first period.

Cam Talbot made 26 saves in the loss.

Video: Sandwich hit not delicious for Devils’ Gelinas


It’s painful enough to get checked by one NHL player, especially a guy as big as Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Things only escalate when more than two bodies get involved.

That’s what happened on Thursday when Wilson and Brooks Laich caught New Jersey Devils defenseman Eric Gelinas with a “sandwich” hit, ranking as one of the least enjoyable sandwiches to experience:

On the bright side, the early word is that Gelinas appears OK. Apparently this isn’t the only time Wilson has been involved in a mismatched mash, either:

‘Banged up’ Ovechkin questionable for Caps versus Wild

Alex Ovechkin

Alex Ovechkin is questionable for tonight’s Capitals home game versus Minnesota.

From CSN Washington:

Capitals coach Barry Trotz was vague when discussing Ovechkin’s injury, saying he is one of “a couple guys who are banged up right now.”

Trotz said Ovechkin will test himself during warmups to determine if he can play.

The Caps have called up forward Andre Burakovsky as a possible first-line replacement. If Ovechkin is able to play, Burakovsky is expected to be a healthy scratch.

Ovechkin, the NHL’s leader with 43 goals, has scored four times in his last two games.

In other lineup news, veteran forward Brooks Laich is expected to return to action after missing Tuesday’s game versus Columbus as a healthy scratch, while forward Michael Latta is expected to miss tonight’s game with an upper-body injury.