Quick Links

Caps have nothing but praise for their Stadium Series hosts


Caps have nothing but praise for their Stadium Series hosts

When he came to the podium for the postgame presser, Barry Trotz did not even wait for the first question to be asked before he began praising the Naval Academy for the job it did in hosting the Stadium Series.

"Before you ask me a question, I just want to thank the Navy, the NHL, and special thanks to all the guys who are working on the rink," he said. "The conditions were excellent considering the wind and all that the last few days."

Conditions were a concern leading up to the game as heavy winds had forced the teams to cancel Friday's practices and Saturday's morning skates. That meant the first time either team had an opportunity to skate on the playing surface was in pregame warmups.

For the actual game, however, neither the weather nor the playing surface had any negative impact.

"Conditions were great," Matt Niskanen said. "I don't think the wind was really a factor that much. Ice was awesome."


When comparing the ice to his previous outdoor experiences, Nicklas Backstrom had only good things to say.

"I honestly thought this ice was the best I've played on. It was really good and wasn't any cracks in it or anything."

But the ice alone was not what made Saturday special.

WIth the Naval Academy as the venue, the entire event had a military theme to it which the NHL fully embraced. The field was decorated so that the ice surface lay on the deck of an aircraft carrier. The Maple Leafs were introduced behind the pipes and drums of the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group playing "The Maple Leaf Forever." The Caps, meanwhile, were led by the United States Naval Academy Pipes and Drums who were playing the theme song to the movie Top Gun.

"I heard it this morning and I think I'm not too young for that movie," Tom Wilson said. "I've seen that numerous times and it's a classic so that definitely gets the feels going."

While the event provided a unique experience for the fans, it was also very different for the players as well.

Outdoor games are typically a celebration of the sport, hearkening to a player's days as a kid playing the game outside. Saturday's Stadium Series for the players, however, was more about celebrating the hosts.

"Right at the start the anthem and the planes going over and seeing some of our service people," Trotz said, "Obviously all the Midshipmen all around the rink, and you're looking at these young men who serve us and give us the privilege to do what we get to do, the freedoms that we have.

"And today my coaching moment was actually not on the ice but underneath when I was running into some of those Midshipmen and asking where they were or where they're from, what they were -- what areas of the Navy they were sort of focused in on. That was probably my greatest moment today is meeting some of the young people who are serving our country."

"To be a part of the tradition and for them to welcome us and the Navy to host us, it's something you'll always remember," Wilson said.

"Those are the people that are going to be serving and protecting our country and all the tradition," he added. "It's awesome for them to let us be a part of it for a night and it's nice to get a win for them and hopefully they had a good time as well."

In addition to celebrating the military, the gold-medal winning men's curling team and women's hockey team were also honored at the game.

There were only two blights on what was otherwise a spectacular evening. First, the stadium was not filled to capacity. Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium can hold 34,000, but the announced attendance was less than 30,000. Second, at the 10-minute mark in the third period when both teams were switching sides of the rink, the stadium lights suddenly lost power.


Play was delayed for about 15 minutes until the lights were brought back on. What could have been an embarrassing moment, however, turned into one of the more memorable scenes of the night as fans pulled out their cell phones to light the stands. Music continued playing and the remaining fans celebrated with an impromptu dance party.

Besides the two minimal blips, the entire event was a phenomenal experience for fan and player (and media) alike.

"They put on an amazing show for everyone and they're phenomenal hosts," Wilson said. "It was our home game, but it kind of felt like we were visitors too. They made us feel at home and that's a pretty special feeling, standing there with the bagpipes and the jet going over and the anthems. I think everyone had a smile on their face and it's something you'll never forget."

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


Quick Links

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.