Capitals

Kastles face rival Sportimes in semis

823801.png

Kastles face rival Sportimes in semis

The Washington Kastles look to hoist the Billie Jean King cup for the second year in a row this weekend at the 2012 World Team finals.Despite the momentum of their 30 match winning streak, they'll have to dismantle their rivals, the New York Sportimes, en route to the finals. The Kastles opened with a win over the Sportimes, but it was a close contest as Washington edged New York just 20-18 aided by the clutch play of, Bobby 'The Closer' Reynolds, in the final match.Reynolds, along with veteran and doubles specialist, Leander Paes, were instrumental in the Kastles victory capturing both men's singles and doubles, as well as mixed doubles.The Kastles other sister act, Anastasia and Arina 'Hot Rod' Rodionova, however struggled versus the Sportimes, dropping both events.This time around, reigning Wimbledon and Olympic doubles champion, Venus Williams, will be suiting up for Washington as they face the Sportimes.When Venus joined the Kastles in New York on July 21st, she defeated another former World No. 1 Martina Hingis 5-1. Williams was victorious in both overtime games and didn't drop a point during the 7 point Supertiebreaker leading the Kastles to a 21-20 win. Earlier this week, Coach Murphy Jensen noted that the Kastles success isn't the result of one superstar's 'herculean' effort, but rather the cohesiveness of the squad. But it can't hurt to have Williams' massive serve on the Kastles side of the net.If the Kastles capture the Eastern Conference title to advance to the finals, they'll face the Sacramento Capitals who swept all 5 sets to beat the Orange County Breakers, 25-15 Friday night. The Kastles know it won't be easy taking down the Capitals, whom they survived in the regular season 21-19. But luckily for the Kastles, the Caps will be without marque player Sam Querrey, who is representing the U.S. team in Davis Cup action. Meanwhile, both Reynolds and Paes opted to play in the WTT Finals this weekend versus representing their respective countries in the Davis Cup.Paes's decision caused a stir in his native India, and he said of his decision, "We come together as a team; as a community. I love playing on the Kastles team. This week the Indian Davis Cup team is playing New Zealand back in India, but the fact that I am here to support the ideals of what were trying to doshows how much I care for this team."

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

usatsi_10423140.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

It's always scary when you see a player get hit in the head with a puck. It's even scarier when you're a fan of the Caps and that player is Alex Ovechkin.

But there's is one thing you should always remember before you worry about the Great 8: He is not built like a normal human being.

Ovechkin was struck in the face by a puck in the second period of Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild. It was a scary moment made scarier by the pool of blood he left behind on the ice as he made his way to the locker room.

RELATED: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE WILD

"Anybody who takes a puck to the face, you hope that they're not hurt badly," Barry Trotz said after the game. "Anytime you get hit to the face there's usually pretty good leakage. I saw, I knew he got hit in the face and in the mouth area and there was pretty good leakage around our bench and he went off and we were just hoping that it's not too serious."

Remarkably, it wasn't serious. Ovechkin missed the remainder of the second period, but returned for the third. After the game, there were a few stitches in his lip, but otherwise there appeared to be no serious damage.

Ovechkin said that after he had been hit he "Just tried to feel my tooth and it was fine. Just moving a little bit, but it's fine. It's hockey."

The fact that no serious damage was done turned what was a scary moment into one both players and coach could laugh at afterward.

MORE CAPITALS: WHO WERE THE 3 STARS OF THE CAPS' WIN OVER MINNESOTA?

"He's a big strong man and he's got a few zippers so he's a lot better looking now that they fixed him up and all that," Trotz said. "It's when you get stitched up, that's the great thing about medicine, they can make you look great."

"It can be much worser," Ovechkin said when asked if he was scared in the moment. "I could lose my teeth."

Nicklas Backstrom had the same thought many of you are probably asking yourself right now: "Does he have any more teeth?"

It was just another reminder that Ovechkin is truly a machine. You know what they say, "Russian Machine...never gets broken."

I think that's how the saying goes.

Quick Links

4 reasons why the Caps beat the Wild

usatsi_10423139.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

4 reasons why the Caps beat the Wild

The Capitals snapped an ugly two-game losing streak as they returned home to defeat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Saturday.

Here's how they won.

A better start

It did not take long in Washington's loss to Nashville or Colorado for you to know the Caps were in trouble. Nashville hit the post in the first minute of the game, while the Avalanche scored 17 seconds in. Washington left both periods down 2-0. That was not the case on Saturday. The Caps showed a lot more energy right from the drop of the puck against Minnesota. This time instead of chasing the game, Washington took control and earned a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.

Holtby’s impossible save

Protecting a 2-1 lead in the second period, Holtby kept the Caps ahead with an impossible save. After stopping a shot from Joel Eriksson that looked like it caught him in the collarbone, there was a battle for the rebound. Brooks Orpik tried to muscle Eriksson out, but Eriksson knocked into Holtby. Pinned by Orpik, Eriksson could not get away which left Holtby pinned against the right post. A trailing Kyle Quincey ended up with the puck and had half the net to shoot on so he smartly tried to tuck the shot just inside the left post. Somehow, some way, Holtby managed to stretch the glove out to get in front of the puck and keep Washington ahead.

Jason Zucker shut down

Minnesota forward Jason Zucker came into Saturday's contest with a five-game goal streak in which he has scored eight goals. That streak ended on Saturday as Zucker got a heavy dose of Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen on the blue line and the forward combo of Chandler Stephenson, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie. They held the Minnesota forward to just two shots on goal.

Just enough from the penalty kill

No one will mistake the Caps' penalty kill as a shutdown unit and they again allowed a power play goal on Saturday, the fourth they have allowed in three games. But the PK unit always seems to be at its best when the game is on the line. After giving up a goal on Minnesota's first opportunity, the Caps clamped down and killed off Minnesota's three other power play opportunities. In what was a tight game from start to finish, a goal in any of those three chances would have changed the course of the game dramatically.