On June 4th, 1998, Joe Juneau scored the biggest goal in Washington Capitals history, pushing a rebound past Buffalo Sabres goaltender Dominik Hasek 6:24 into overtime. The goal sent the Capitals to the Stanley Cup Final for the first and only time in franchise history.
I was 13-years-old then. When Juneau scored, I remember jumping up and down, screaming at the top of my lungs. I ran up and down our upstairs hallway. When I got bored with that, I ran up and down the stairs of my parents’ home in Frederick, Maryland, until I couldn’t do it anymore.
It was one of the few things I vividly remember from my childhood. It makes me emotional just thinking about how much hockey meant to me then. Look at me now, right? Hockey is my life. I don’t know if this is sad, but watching the Juneau goal happen live was one of the happiest moments of my life.
But tonight, I want a new favorite hockey memory.
If, this weekend, Columbus beats Nashville, Philadelphia beats New York, and Ottawa beats Pittsburgh, then the Washington Capitals would play the Pittsburgh Penguins in the first round.
That’s fine. I want it. I don’t even care. Do it. DO IT.
Every year around this time, it seems like the hockey community has the same boring conversation. Should the Hart Trophy go to the league’s best player or the player who is most valuable to his team? Can a Hart come from a non-playoff team? What does value mean anyway? It’s a repetitive, punishing retread of a tired debate, and it always misses the point.
Luckily, this year Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has a great case for winning the Hart. Nonetheless, in the interest of fairness, I’ll compare Ovi’s bonafides to the other big-name Hart contenders so we can end this silly prattle.
Thursday morning, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis participated in the team picture. He also conducted an interview with the press to speak about Alex Ovechkin’s upcoming 1,000th game.
While holding court with reporters, Leonsis was asked about the future of Barry Trotz, now in the final year of his contract. The Capitals have won nine of the last ten games and sit first in the Metropolitan Division, but the team’s underlying play has suffered. Meanwhile, Trotz has been unable to change the team’s postseason fate; under his leadership the the Capitals have suffered three consecutive second round exits.
With 41 games in the bank and the season’s back half sprawling out ahead of us, I asked two good, good RMNB boys, Brendan Doyle and Pat Holden, to hang out with me for an hour and unpack the past, present, and future of the 2017-18 Washington Capitals. Below is our chat transcript.
Happy Thanksgiving, the most beautiful and American of holidays, which is also to say it is the holiday with the most sad and bloody irony at its heart. Still, in the spirit of goodwill and gratitude that animated the very first Thanksgiving, let us now give thanks for all the hockey things that are good in the hockey world.
Thursday, Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas brutally slashed former Capitals forward Matheiu Perreault in the head in an incident that made its way around the hockey world. Gudas was assessed a five-minute major and a game misconduct and Sunday, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handed down its verdict on supplemental discipline for Gudas
Gudas was suspended 10 games without pay by the DOPS. He will lose over $400,000 in salary.
After Thursday’s morning skate, Capitals head coach Barry Trotz announced that Jakub Vrana would be a healthy scratch for the first time this season in tonight’s game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Skating on a line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Alex Ovechkin, Vrana started the 2017-18 season strong with five points in six games. Since then, Vrana has just two points (both goals) in his last thirteen contests, and he’s spent time with the first and third lines.
After several years of good fortune in regards to injuries, the Washington Capitals have been bit by the injury bug early in the 2017-18 season. Matt Niskanen has missed substantial time in the opening month of the season due to an upper body injury and his absence on the backline has been harrowing. The team’s injuries at forward have also challenged the team’s overall depth. Nicklas Backstrom, Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly, and Tyler Graovac have all missed time due to injury or sickness.
Considering that context, Barry Trotz’s decision to scratch Nathan Walker lately is all the more confounding.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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