Beninati: Remarkable Halak

Beninati: Remarkable Halak

Monday, April 26, 2010 11:21 pm

By Joe Beninati

Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and wonder how in the world one player performs at such a remarkable level. Jaroslav Halak was the overwhelming reason why Montreal earned 4-1 decision over Washington tonight.He made a ridiculously good stop on Alex Semin in the first minute of the game and never looked back. As soon as he made two more stellar stops, shortly there after I was worried that he may be unbeatable tonight. But his effort managed to exceed my wildest imagination. That was one of the best goaltending performances I have seen in many moons.Michael Cammalleri scored twice on Semyon Varlamov before the game was ten minutes old. The first goal was a pretty snap shot. His second goal appeared to glance in off Boyd Gordon and underneath Varlamov. It was almost unimaginable to think the Caps would be in another two goal deficit when honestly I thought that they had a much better start tonight then the dismal opening to Game 5 at home.Once the first period was complete the Capitals dominated the remainder of regulation. The game was so one-sided it was hard to fathom that Halak could manage to compete at such a high level. Joe Corvo, Mike Green, Alex Ovechkin, all of them had golden scoring opportunities that were thwarted by the Montreal goalie.When Halak wasn't robbing someone, he would benefit from a great break on shots that hit the post. The Canadiens have managed to nullify the Capitals power play. Washington is a putrid 1-for-30 with the man advantage. Part of that is their own doing, but tonight Halak was the team's best penalty killer. And when he helped squash a 5-on-3 man advantage for over a minute, all the Caps could do is tip their caps.So this series comes down to a one game winner-take-all on Wednesday. Right now Montreal has the momentum and the all important super hot goalie. Sorry if I am a bit stunned that Washington's 3-1 lead in the series has gone up in smoke. You could make the argrument that the Caps didn't deserve that lead in the first place, but now they have to dig deep and summon all their talent and team chemistry just to survive round one.

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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