Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The Caps will have to go through a tougher division to make the playoffs and then to reach the East finals. They won the Southeast Division five of the past six seasons but went 8-10-2 against the Penguins, Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Flyers and Hurricanes this year.
In 16 games since Johansson began skating with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin going into Thursday night at the Ottawa Senators, the 22-year-old Swede had four goals and 12 assists.
The Caps recalled Philipp Grubauer to serve as Braden Holtby's backup Sunday night at the Philadelphia Flyers, and the training staff will keep an eye on Neuvirth.
Wolski broke his 11-game goal drought Tuesday, scoring at a crucial time in the Washington Capitals' victory over the Boston Bruins. But it was his all-around performance that kept the forward in the lineup for Thursday night's game against Florida.
Hamrlik will find out at noon Wednesday whether he's going to another NHL team or staying with the Caps. The 38-year-old has played just four games this year, a healthy scratch for the past 11.
Mike Green reported progress Friday, but the injured Washington Capitals defenseman remained questionable for Saturday afternoon's game against the New Jersey Devils.
Aggressive forechecking resulted in goals. They stayed out of the penalty box, for the most part. Defenders deftly navigated the Panthers' forecheck. And goalie Braden Holtby jumpstarted the offense with a superb pass that resulted in a goal.
He changed up his lines again Wednesday in preparation for Thursday night's game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. This time Marcus Johansson joined Nicklas Backstrom and Troy Brouwer on one line, while Alex Ovechkin remained on right wing alongside Wojtek Wolski and Mike Ribeiro.
He got chances with the Washington Capitals, including last season, but now Aucoin isn't just a call-up. Claimed off waivers by the Islanders, he has three goals and an assist in six games this year and is starting to show the kind of offense he can provide at the NHL level if given the chance.
Oates made it well-known to his players when he arrived that the Caps were a team of opportunity. "He's an honest coach. He said that from Day One that hard work's going to pay off around here," Matt Hendricks said. "Do the systems correctly, work hard at what you do and you'll be rewarded."
When the Washington Capitals are on, they're a thing of beauty to watch.
If Braden Holtby hasn't done enough to lock down the No. 1 goaltender job and lock it down hard, one can only wonder what people were watching the last time hockey was actually played.
Brooks Laich has made it well-known that while he's fine with protocol and trainers doing their job, he'd rather fight through an injury than be forced out of a game. The Washington Capitals forward hasn't missed one since March, 30, 2010.
George McPhee saw the landscape of unrestricted free agency and the dangers it entailed. It was a players market, with not a lot of talent available and plenty of teams with money to throw around.
Wojtek Wolski isn't a player worth just above the league minimum. At least he shouldn't be.
"I had a game in Philly where I could've been better on the boards, I think, and a couple games before that I struggled a little bit," Wolski said. "I think [I need to be] executing and making sure I'm good with the puck coming out of our zone."