Quick Links

2015-16 Capitals in Review: Mike Weber

2015-16 Capitals in Review: Mike Weber

With the Capitals’ 2015-16 season now in the rearview mirror, we continue with our numerical player-by-player roster analysis.

No. 6 Mike Weber

Age: 28 (turns 29 on Dec. 16)

Games: 45 (10 with Caps, 35 with Buffalo)

Goals: 1 (with Buffalo)

Assists: 4 (with Buffalo)

Points: 5

Plus-minus: Plus-2 (minus-1 with Caps)

Penalty minutes: 60 (28 with Caps)

Time on ice: 15:28 (13:58 with Caps)

Playoff stats: 2 games, 0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM, 9:51

Contract status: Unrestricted free agent ($2 million salary in 2015-16)

Mike Weber will remember his short stint in Washington as one of the best experiences of his NHL career. Caps fans may not.

Acquired from the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft, Weber’s final act as a member of the Capitals was a crushing one.

It came in Game 4 in Pittsburgh, a game in which the Penguins were without suspended defenseman Kris Letang and the Capitals were one win away from tying the series. With 2:34 gone in overtime, Conor Sheary threw a puck toward the net. Weber blocked it on his backhand, but as the puck trickled away from him he jabbed at it, sending it right onto the stick of Patric Hornqvist. The Penguins’ right wing snapped a shot between the legs of Braden Holtby to give the Penguins a 3-2 win and a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Weber, who appeared in only one other playoff game for the Caps – a series-clinching Game 6 win in Philadelphia -- never played another shift for the Capitals. And as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, there’s a good chance he never will again.

But that didn’t stop Weber from raving about the Capitals and how close he thinks they are to winning the first championship in team history.

“Obviously, it’s a pretty special group,” Weber told reporters on breakup day. “We didn’t accomplish what we wanted to accomplish, but for myself, being in a situation where I was somewhere for so long and to come in and be welcomed by this group was pretty special.

“What this group was able to do and accomplish while I was here before (the playoffs,) it was a record-setting year. But obviously it’s disappointing that we’re talking to you guys right now.”

Weber spent his entire eight-year NHL career in Buffalo before coming to the Capitals in a trade deadline deal. He played in 10 of the Capitals’ final 24 games of the regular season and just two of their 12 playoff games, filling in admirably as a no-frills, 6-foot-2, 212-pounder. It was during his two months with the Capitals that Weber saw something he had never experienced in his eight years with the Sabres.     

“You don’t say this too often,” he said. “I’ve played on teams where guys haven’t been close and you know some guys aren’t going to battle every night. You’ve got some guys on board and you’ve got some guys not.

“Coming in here and seeing the way this locker room is – there was stuff away from the scenes that (media) don’t really get to see. This is a special group, and a good thing going forward is a lot of this group is going to be together and can hopefully get it done in the future.

“But again, I felt privileged and honored that I was able to wear a Washington Capitals jersey this year and be able to play some games for this team and try to do what I can when I did.”

The Capitals have six defensemen under contract for next season – John Carlson, Matt Niskanen, Karl Alzner, Brooks Orpik, Taylor Chorney and Nate Schmidt – and another (Dmitry Orlov) they expect to re-sign as a restricted free agent. With prospects like Tyler Lewington, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Jonas Siegenthaler knocking on the door, it’s pretty clear Weber will hope to catch on with another NHL team through free agency. July 1 will mark his first time as an unrestricted free agent.  

“I’ve done my job, I’ve played,” He said. “I’ve got a body of work and now it’s time to kind of let the pieces fall. I’d love to be back in Washington. I’d love to be back playing here with this group of guys, but it’s a business and you’ve got to accept that and be patient and see what the summer brings.”

From a personal standpoint, Weber said he was excited to be reuniting with his family in Buffalo, from where he left shortly after his wife gave birth to the couple’s second child in late February.

“I’ve got a great family and two great kids that I get to go home to this summer and make sure I’m ready to play, wherever that may be,” Weber said. “I’m looking forward to getting home. Obviously, it is under terrible circumstances, but it’ll be nice to get home to the kids and my wife.”

Quick Links

Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

USA Today Sports

Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Quick Links

Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

USA Today Sports

Who ya got? Trotz faces tough choice in net after Holtby's strong return

Braden Holtby has made Barry Trotz’s weekend very difficult, but in a good way.

Back-to-back games against the New York Islanders offered the Capitals an opportunity to play both Philipp Grubauer and Holtby. Grubauer stayed hot earning another win for Washington. On Friday, Holtby got his first start since March 6 and played very well.

“A win is good,” Holtby said after the game. “I felt pretty comfortable. Some things to build off of and things that I want to get better at. It was a step in the right direction.”


A 22 save effort on Friday was bookended by two big saves. The first shot Holtby faced was a turnover on the power play that led to a dangerous shorthanded scoring opportunity for John Tavares early in the first period. Then in the third, with the Capitals leading 5-3 and the Islanders trying to mount a comeback, Holtby turned aside a breakaway opportunity for star rookie Mathew Barzal.

“I thought he was pretty solid,” Trotz said. “He looked really confident.”

“I felt a lot better,” Holtby said. “Not that I was feeling horrible before, it's just you get refreshed. It's like anything, you have a week off work, a holiday or something, you come back a little refreshed.”

And that brings us to Sunday.

On Sunday, the Capitals play the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers are a team in playoff position in desperate need of points after seven of their last eight games.

When asked on Wednesday who he thought would start Sunday’s game, Trotz said, “We're in a result business and we need some results so we'll see who is looking the sharpest and gives us the best chance to win.”

Both Grubauer and Holtby were impressive in their starts over the Islanders. You can’t argue Holtby is suddenly the hotter hand after one win considering how well Grubauer has played of late, but if Holtby remaisn the team’s No. 1, shouldn’t he get the next start after a strong winning performance?


Trotz was asked after the game who would start on Sunday after Holtby’s win.

“They're both playing well so I can't even answer that right now to be honest with you,” he said. “I do know that we have a number of games this week and whatever way go, obviously I'm going to sit down with the coaches and whatever way we go, I think they're both going to get some time this week.”

“I think you have to take it game-by-game,” Trotz added. “Bottom line is that you've got to make a decision and go with it and if your decision is that goalie A is a little hotter or you've just got a gut feel then you go with it and you have to live with it good or bad.”

So for now, it sounds as if we will see a rotation in net as Trotz continues evaluating which netminder gives the team the best chance to win in the playoffs. It is a tough position for the Caps’ bench boss, but, if both goalies continue to perform, having to choose between a hot Grubauer and a resurgent Holtby is a good problem to have and much preferable to having to choose between backup Grubauer and slumping Holtby.

NBC Sports Washington is on Apple News. Favorite us!