Tag Archives: Capitals

Longtime Bruins captain Zdeno Chara inks 1-year deal with Capitals

Longtime Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara signed with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, a stunning move less than a week before most NHL teams open training camp.

Chara agreed to terms on a one-year contract worth $ 795,000 US.

The 43-year-old defenceman posted on Instagram that the Bruins have decided to move forward with younger players. He had been Boston’s captain since 2006 and was the second European captain to win the Stanley Cup.

“We are extremely pleased to have Zdeno join the Capitals organization,” general manager Brian MacLellan said. “We feel his experience and leadership will strengthen our blue line and our team.”

The 6-foot-9 Chara is a seven-time all-star who won the Norris Trophy as the league’s top defenceman in 2009. He led the Bruins to the Cup in 2011 and trips to the final in 2013 and 2019.

Chara and his camp had been in talks with the Bruins since before free agency opened in October. It seemed likely the native of Slovakia would return to Boston unless he decided to retire.

Instead, he starts a new chapter uniting with Alex Ovechkin as each star looks to win the Cup for a second time.

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Henrik Lundqvist won’t play with Washington Capitals this season due to heart condition

Star goalie Henrik Lundqvist will sit out the upcoming NHL season because of a heart condition, he said Thursday, about two months after he joined the Washington Capitals following 15 years with the New York Rangers.

Calling it “a pretty tough and emotional day” in a video posted on social media by the Capitals, Lundqvist said he has been taking various tests on his heart “for several weeks.”

“And after lots of discussions with doctors around the country, and finally receiving the last results earlier this week, I unfortunately won’t be able to join the team this year,” Lundqvist said.

“It’s still very hard for me to process all of this,” Lundqvist said. “And kind of shocking, to be honest.”

The 38-year-old from Sweden was bought out by the Rangers and signed a $ 1.5 million, one-year deal with Washington in October to try to earn his first Stanley Cup — and try to help Alex Ovechkin win a second.

“The Washington Capitals are supportive of Henrik’s decision to step away from hockey at this time due to his heart condition. Our players’ health is of the utmost importance, and we stand behind Henrik’s decision,” the club said in a statement. “We want to wish him and his family all the best moving forward.”

The plan had been for the longtime face of the Rangers to share goaltending duties for Washington with 23-year-old Ilya Samsonov. Washington added Lundqvist to take the spot of 2016 Vezina Trophy and 2018 Stanley Cup winner Braden Holtby, who left to sign an $ 8.6 million, two-year deal with the Vancouver Canucks.

Lundqvist has appeared in 887 NHL regular-season games, plus another 130 in the playoffs, and he came close to a championship in 2014, leading the Rangers to the Cup Final. He lost post-season series to the Capitals in 2009 and 2011, then eliminated them in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

But he hadn’t participated in the playoffs with New York since 2017 until two games in the qualifying round of the expanded, 24-team playoffs this past summer.

“The risk of playing without remedying my condition is too high,” Lundqvist wrote Thursday on Twitter, “so I will spend the coming months figuring out the best course of action.”

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Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic apologizes after ‘inappropriate and offensive’ comments go public

Washington Capitals forward Brendan Leipsic is apologizing after a private group chat that included misogynistic comments was leaked on Wednesday.

Screenshots from the chat featuring Leipsic, who is from Winnipeg, were published on the Instagram account @angelszeee2020. That account has since deleted them, but they continue to circulate on social media.

In a statement on Twitter, Leipsic said his friend’s account was hacked and acknowledged he was part of those conversations.

“I fully recognize how inappropriate and offensive these comments are and sincerely apologize to everyone for my actions. I am committed to learning from this and becoming a better person by taking time to determine how to move forward in an accountable, meaningful way. I am truly sorry,” Leipsic said.

‘Unacceptable and offensive’

In a statement to CBC Sports, the Capitals said they were investigating the situation.

“We are aware of the unacceptable and offensive comments made by Brendan Leipsic in a private conversation on social media. We will handle this matter internally,” the statement read.

Jack Rodewald, a 26-year-old also from Winnipeg, who has played 10 games with Ottawa Senators since 2018, was also involved in the group chat.

The NHL later released a statement saying it would address the “inexcusable conduct moving forward.

“The National Hockey League strongly condemns the misogynistic and reprehensible remarks made by players Brendan Leipsic and Jack Rodewald…. There is no place in our league for such statements, attitudes and behaviour, no matter the forum,” the statement read.

Leipsic, 25, has played parts of four seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings and Capitals.

Mocks women, teammates

In one instance of messaging in the group chat, Leipsic posted a photo of a former teammate’s wife and wrote “look how fat” she “is lol.”

Leipsic also refers to women as pigs and makes light of other women’s weights in various other messages.

He also insults other NHL players.

In one, he reposted a picture of Canucks forward Jake Virtanen on vacation with friends, calling it “easily the worst crew in the world.”

He also posted a picture of Capitals teammates with the comment “f–k they’re losers.”

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Hurricanes bounce reigning champ Capitals with double-OT win

Justin Williams returned to the building that was the scene of his only Game 7 loss and left the ice relieved and redeemed after knocking off his old friends and defending Stanley Cup champions.

The man who earned the “Mr. Game 7” moniker shook Alex Ovechkin’s hand after the Carolina Hurricanes’ stunning 4-3 double-overtime victory over the Washington Capitals and beamed with pride in his upstart team’s latest triumph that added another piece to one of the craziest first rounds in recent NHL history.

Each conference’s top seed, all four division champions and the teams that met in last year’s Cup Final are all out, and the pesky Hurricanes are storming on to face the New York Islanders in the second round.

“You can kick the snot out of each other and look each other in the eye and say, ‘Man that was a great series, you really pushed us,”‘ Williams said. “We pushed each other.”

WATCH | Hurricanes outlast Capitals in double OT:

Brock McGinn scored the winner in the second overtime period to give Carolina the 4-3 win in Washington, sending them to the second round. 2:16

Carolina pushed Washington out of the playoffs by erasing a two-goal deficit and dominating two overtime periods in the third-longest Game 7 in NHL history. Unheralded forward Brock McGinn, who dived to prevent a Capitals goal late in regulation, redirected Williams’ shot past Braden Holtby 11:05 into the second overtime to send his teammates into a wild celebration and the heavily favoured Metropolitan Division champions home early.

The Hurricanes outshot the Capitals 18-6 in the overtimes, and it was clear Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and the big guns were gassed after each surpassing 30 minutes of ice time.

“Both teams were [tired],” said Ovechkin, who had a series-high nine points. “Players played a lot of minutes.”

‘It’s tough right now’

The Capitals played a lot of hockey over the past year in winning the first title in franchise history, enduring a midseason seven-game losing streak and still finishing first after 82 games. But they missed an opportunity to close out the Hurricanes in Game 6 on the road Monday, coughed up a lead in the seventh game and bowed out in the first round for the first time since 2013.

It’s the first time in NHL history all four division winners were eliminated in the first round. Unlike Presidents’ Trophy winning Tampa Bay, which got swept, or Western Conference top seed Calgary that got bounced by Colorado in five games, this was right there for the Capitals with a series lead and a two-goal advantage in Game 7 before it slipped away.

“It’s tough right now,” Backstrom said. “It’s tough. Double overtime. Tough one for us. We were up 3-1. Looking back at that, we need to find a way to shut them down there or keep them out of the score sheet there when we got a 3-1 lead. We gave it to them.”

Ovechkin looks skyward after Mrazek stones him on a slap shot from the slot in overtime. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

In just as many ways, the Hurricanes took it. Undaunted by an early deficit, they got second-period goals from Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen and tied it early in the third on Jordan Staal’s third of the series. Petr Mrazek finished off an inconsistent round by stopping 34 of 37 shots and got bailed out by McGinn when he saved a would-be Capitals go-ahead goal with two minutes remaining in the third period.

“It’s just a reaction,” McGinn said. “I don’t know if it had enough steam to cross the line, but I don’t think I was taking that chance.”

First home loss of series

In a weird series where the home team won the first six games, there were plenty of chances to end it before McGinn’s goal. Washington’s Jakub Vrana, who was demoted to the fourth line by first-year coach Todd Reirden, hit the post in the second overtime, and the Capitals couldn’t cash in on a power play for a Hurricanes delay of game penalty.

“Every opportunity missed is devastating, really,” Capitals defenceman John Carlson said. “When you don’t do well, it is more than just we were up in the series or the game. It is everything. It hurts.”

Staal celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Washington fell to 4-8 in Game 7 in the Ovechkin and Backstrom era and 5-12 all-time, including 3-9 at home. The Capitals had the opportunity to face former coach Barry Trotz’s Islanders in the second round after they swept the Penguins, but now the opportunity belongs to the Hurricanes.

“This is just another step,” said Williams, who is 8-1 in his career in Game 7 with an NHL record 15 points. “It’s wide open for us. It’s wide open for every team. There’s eight left and we’re going to keep pushing to see how good we could be.”

The Capitals joined the Predators and Penguins as teams that all won at least one series each of the past three years but failed to get out of the first round in these playoffs. They were hurt by a season-ending torn left hamstring to defenceman Michal Kempny and a broken collarbone on winger T.J. Oshie, whose appearance in the final minutes of regulation fired up the crowd but wasn’t enough to spark an OT win.

“It’s kind of situation where the season is over and you understand that,” Ovechkin said. “We fight through 82 games and in Game 7, they score one goal and it’s a kind of situation where you’re disappointed, you’re frustrated, especially after last year.”

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Habs’ playoff hopes take serious hit with loss to Capitals

The playoff fate of the Montreal Canadiens is out of their hands — for now.

Carey Price made 29 saves as Montreal fell to the Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals 2-1 on Thursday night as the Canadiens post-season hopes dwindle with one regular-season game to go. The Capitals, meanwhile, clinched the Metropolitan Division title.

Despite beating other division leaders in their last two games, Montreal entered Thursday behind Columbus for the second and final wild card due to the regulation/overtime wins tiebreaker.

Even on points, the Blue Jackets now have a game in hand, while the Carolina Hurricanes clinched at least the top wild card with their win over New Jersey.

Shea Weber scored for the Canadiens (43-30-8), who will be eliminated if the Blue Jackets win on Friday at the New York Rangers. The Habs host the rival Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.

“Hopefully we’re still alive after tomorrow night and give ourselves a chance to stay in the race,” said Montreal coach Claude Julien. “I don’t sweat too much over things I can’t control. So we’ll wait and see.”

NicDowd put Washington ahead for good early in the second period, BradenHoltby made 33 stops and Washington secured its fourth straight division title. Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals.

WATCH | Highlights from Washington’s win:

The Canadiens now need help from Columbus to make the playoffs after losing 2-1 in Washington. 1:30

After sealing its fifth playoff appearance and 11th in 12 seasons last week, Washington enters the post-season having won five of six. The Capitals have allowed only one goal in three of those victories, and on Thursday did so against a team desperate to boost its own post-season chances.

“I think we did the right things at the right time,” Holtby said. “If we were under duress in our end, at least someone came up with a big play, flip it out or something. Live to fight another day. At the blue lines we were a lot better, a lot like we need to be in the playoffs and I thought the guys had a high-level commitment to winning.”

The Capitals’ goals resulted directly from turnovers by the Canadiens.

Eller opened the scoring late in the first from from directly in front of net, after Carl Hagelin won the puck deep off a Canadiens player behind the goal line and fed Brett Connolly, who provided the final pass.

Weber tied it on the power play less than a minute later, but the Dowd put the Caps in front again less than three minutes after the first intermission, this time after Andre Burakovsky forced a giveaway.

For Dowd, who was not a part of the Capitals’ championship run last year, it was another important goal after also scoring the winner in their playoff-clinching win at Carolina.

“I guess I don’t think about it as those two individual things, but as a whole this season’s been great,” said Dowd, who spent his three previous NHL seasons with Los Angeles and Vancouver. “Obviously a great group of guys, and I’ve learned a lot coming to a new organization. It’s a real privilege to be a part of it, and I’m excited for playoffs.”

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Auston Matthews continues torrid pace as Leafs top Capitals

Auston Matthews' scoring has helped carry the Toronto Maple Leafs early this season.

The Leafs' defence and depth were the difference Saturday against Washington.

Fourth-liner Josh Leivo scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, Frederick Andersen made 25 saves and the Maple Leafs beat the Capitals 4-2.

Watch highlights from the Leafs' win:

Auston Matthews scored his tenth goal of the season, and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended their four-game road trip undefeated after defeating the Washington Capitals 4-2. 2:06

Moments after Andersen made several solid saves to preserve the lead, Matthews scored an insurance goal with 1:39 to play, his NHL-leading 10th of the season.

Kasperi Kapanen had a goal and an assist and third-line winger Par Lindholm also scored for Toronto, which has won four straight to complete a perfect four-game road trip. Jake Gardiner had two assists.

"Obviously, it's great that our big guys got off to a real good start because I think having them feeling good is so important," Toronto coach Mike Babcock said. "I've been saying that part of the reason we're going to have success is because we have real good depth."

Matthews, who added an assist, has scored a goal in all six games this season and has multiple points in each. He also has four assists and joined Sweeny Schriner (1944-45) as the only Maple Leafs to score a goal and have multiple points in the first six games of the season.

Andersen steps up

Toronto tied the game late in the second and controlled play for much of the final 20 minutes.

"I think Freddie kept us in the game with some big saves," Matthews said. "I think the third period we just played in their end for the most part. Had them hemmed in and made some plays."

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored his fourth goal of the season for Washington and added an assist. Chandler Stephenson also scored and Alex Ovechkin had two assists.

Washington unleashed a sustained flurry late in the third period but couldn't get the equalizer.

"We had a lot of quality opportunities," Capitals coach Todd Reirden said. "You know 3-4 minutes to go there we make a real good push and [Andersen] makes a number of saves and the puck stays out of the net. They were pushing at the end there and they end up being able to convert on a bit of a bounce that went their way."

Braden Holtby made 24 saves for Washington.

Leafs respond to early Caps goal

It took Washington just 18 seconds to take a 1-0 lead. Kuznetsov carried in 2-on-1 with Stephenson and Andersen made the initial save on Kuznetsov, but Stephenson poked home the rebound for his first goal of the season.

Toronto had several chances to tie in the first. Holtby made big saves on Zach Hyman and Kapanen, both alone in front, and the Maple Leafs hit the post twice.

The Maple Leafs tied it at 3:30 of the second period when Kapanen deflected Ron Hainsey's shot from the left point through a crowd and past Holtby.

Just 69 seconds later, Kuznetsov fired a tough-angle shot over Andersen's shoulder from the bottom of the right circle for a power-play goal.

Lindholm tied it when he redirected Gardiner's pass by Holtby with 67 seconds left in the period for his first career goal.

"I really liked our first two periods," Reirden said, "keeping a dangerous hockey team to some limited chances."

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Hockey Night in Canada: Maple Leafs vs. Capitals


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Johnny Hockey extends points streak to 10 in Flames' win over Capitals

Johnny Gaudreau would rather talk about anything other than his offensive production. He’s just making it impossible to avoid.

Gaudreau had a goal and an assist to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games and lead the Calgary Flames to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Monday night. Gaudreau, nicknamed “Johnny Hockey,” has eight goals and 11 assists, and the Flames are 7-3-0 in that time.

Game Wrap: Johnny Gaudreau leads Flames to win over Capitals1:26

“It’s cool,” Gaudreau said. “Coming into games, we’re excited to find a way to find the net there. It’s an exciting time right now. We’re playing well. But you go through ups and downs throughout the season and right now it’s going well for us, so hopefully we can keep this going and keep playing well.”

Gaudreau scored and assisted on Sean Monahan’s goal, one of two on the power play for Calgary, which has won four of its past five. Mikael Backlund and captain Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who got 29 saves from Mike Smith.

Monahan had a goal and an assist after a power-play hat trick in a comeback victory Saturday at Philadelphia. Calgary’s top line is clicking, and everyone knows Gaudreau is the catalyst.

“He’s making something happen every shift,” Monahan said. “To be able to play on his line, it’s a lot of fun right now. That confidence is hard to take away from a guy like that, so he’s going to continue to do that.”

Coach Glen Gulutzan sees confidence oozing from the 5-foot-9, 157-pound winger from Carneys Point, New Jersey. His goal tied the score at the 4:49 mark after Lars Eller struck first for the Capitals about a minute in, but Gaudreau’s play in the defensive zone also stood out.

“What a coach likes more is his backcheck on [Alex Ovechkin] that lifted the stick,” Gulutzan said. “I know he’s going to get points because he’s just that gifted, but his commitment to winning just shows itself night in, night out. I love that he’s on the roll. You want him to stay on the roll. But I thought that line again had a tough matchup and they did well.”

Caps need to learn ‘tough lessons’

The Capitals took five minor penalties and lost for the third time in four games.

“It’s going to be tough sledding for us this year,” defenceman Matt Niskanen said. “We’re going to have to work really hard to be consistent because it’s not going to be easy for us. We’re going to have to learn some tough lessons along the way.”

Goaltender Braden Holtby, who stopped 35 of 39 shots, thought he should’ve stopped Gaudreau’s off the rush but also allowed third-period goals to Backlund and Giordano.

“I need to make some saves,” Holtby said. “There’s some stoppable pucks there, and that’s the difference.”

The Flames’ power play was officially 2 of 5 with Giordano’s goal coming 1 second after ex-Calgary forward Alex Chiasson’s penalty expired. The Capitals’ power play went 0 for 3, a win for Calgary’s NHL-worst penalty kill.

“They did a great job tonight, especially with the Caps’ power play,” Gaudreau said. “They did a great job cleaning that up, and it was a big reason why we won tonight was the PK.”

That was a big reason, but so was the play of Gaudreau, Monahan and Micheal Ferland, who have a fan in 45-year-old legend Jaromir Jagr.

“They’re our top guys,” said Jagr, who had an assist in what could be his final visit to Washington, where he played parts of three seasons. “They play unbelievable. The way they play every night is the reason why we have the record we have.”

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Andersen gets the shutout as high-flying Leafs down Capitals

Connor Brown made the most of his move up the lineup to keep the Toronto Maple Leafs’ hot start rolling.

Brown scored the game-winning goal in the third period as the Maple Leafs beat the Washington Capitals 2-0 Tuesday night in a rematch of their first-round playoff series last spring. Toronto, which handed Washington its second consecutive loss since losing top defenceman Matt Niskanen to injury, has won five of its first six games.

“We feel good about our team,” said Brown, who poked a rebound past Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby with 14:07 left for his second goal of the season. “We’re really excited about what we have. We feel like we’re getting better defensively and I think we’ve got a lot of options that can score goals. That helps you win night in, night out.”

Game Wrap: Andersen shuts out Capitals in Leafs win1:29

Frederik Andersen stopped all 30 shots he faced as the Maple Leafs shut out the Capitals on the road for the first time in 73 regular-season meetings. Nazem Kadri added an empty-netter with 22 seconds left to seal the victory.

“These are the big games, the good teams you get up for,” Andersen said. “You want to kind of measure yourself a little bit, especially since they beat us last year in the playoffs. I think it’s fun for us to come down here and get a little bit of revenge.”

Brown moved up to the third line alongside James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak and scored when he corralled the rebound of Morgan Rielly’s point shot and beat Holtby.

“I liked that Brownie worked hard, he was good on the penalty kill and he got to the net when they got the puck there,” coach Mike Babcock said. “It was great to see him get to the net and be rewarded.”

The Capitals leaned on Holtby to make a handful of his 28 saves in the first few minutes as the Maple Leafs dominated. Their defence was better than in an 8-2 loss at Philadelphia on Saturday, but the power play went 0 for 3 and Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Washington’s top stars couldn’t cash in on limited opportunities.

“It’s pretty hard to play without puck right now,” Kuznetsov said. “We have to work harder away from the puck.”

Forcing defenceman John Carlson to play 27:33 with Niskanen out until at least Nov. 7 with an upper-body injury, the Capitals couldn’t muster the kind of offensive firepower they’ve been known for in previous seasons. Carlson thought the team effort was better, but the results simply weren’t there.

Hip Check: Sidney Crosby’s hockey IQ is over 10000:44

“We gave up a lot of chances — too many from what we’re used to,” Carlson said. “I think we’ve got to score goals. You’re not going to win if you don’t score.”

Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs didn’t score at their NHL-leading pace, something Babcock would like to fix moving forward. But a young team that lost in six games to the Capitals in last year’s playoffs will take victories in tight games however they can get them.

“When it’s crunch time and you’re getting close to the end of the year like we were last year, we were right in the mix, you look back on these kind of close games and you think about the value that’s in these points,” Rielly said. “To get these ones and to get a good feeling in our room and get rolling a little bit is a great feeling. But it’s only six games. We’ve got a long way left to go, but those points do feel good.”

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