The Washington Capitals showed once again that they are one of the hardest working teams in the league. They may not be the most talented team, but they play hockey the way it should be played: all out, all the time. The Caps also proved that players not named Alex could score. To steal a phrase from Joe Gibbs, Washington fought their guts out and just came up short.
If there is one issue the team must address, it is penalties. The Caps led the league in penalties and penalty minutes last season, and they are showing the same penchant for costly penalties this year. Luckily, the penalty killing units are phenomenal, perhaps a sign that practice makes perfect. Penalties were probably the difference in this game, as well.
The first costly penalty was actually two penalties called on the Thrashers. The calls came in the second period, when Scott Mellanby and Steve Rucchin of the Thrashers were sent to the penalty box just 23 seconds apart. The Caps’ special teams were unable to take advantage of the two-man advantage. Then, at the 9:12 mark of the second period, Jim Slater got his stick up into the face of Mike Green, and was assessed a double minor (4 minute penalty) for the egregious offense. Just 9 seconds into the power play, Capitals captain Chris Clark was called for hooking, and just like that, the 4-minute power play was turned into a 4-on-4, and a major opportunity for the Caps was squandered.
The Caps were still able to bounce back and tie the game, losing in overtime on Ilya Kovalchuk’s long awaited first goal of the season.
To Coin a Phrase
The main story of the night was the presentation of the Calder Trophy to last year’s rookie of the year, Alexander Ovechkin. Just before the opening face of, Ted Leonsis and George McPhee rolled out the red carpet for Ovie and his parents. Once the trophy had been awarded, a highlight real of Ovie’s greatest hits – and goals, of course – were shown on the big screen, much to the delight of all in attendance. The biggest cheer was obviously for the replay of “The Goal.”
To commemorate the event, the Caps presented a collectible coin to all 11,595 people in attendance, and donated a few to THN. Anyone interested in winning one of these collectible coins should definitely make a point to attend the Pig Pen tailgate party Sunday, as the Redskins take on the Tennessee Titans.
Edit: This blog was archived in May of 2016 from our original articles database.It was originally posted by Scott Hurrey