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'Beast mode' Ovechkin finally scores elusive goal No. 484


'Beast mode' Ovechkin finally scores elusive goal No. 484

The Caps may have lost 3-2 to the Dallas Stars, but Thursday night was one of those rare games in professional sports in which the outcome of the game was very much secondary to the accomplishments of one of the players. With his third period goal, Alex Ovechkin finally became the NHL’s leader in career goals by a Russian-born player with 484.

"I knew he was going to score today," Barry Trotz said. 

"Sooner or later I knew it was going to go," Ovechkin said. Until it finally did, however, there were times when it felt like fate was working against him.

Ovechkin had come tantalizingly close to the record-breaking achievement over the last four games, but goal No. 484 still eluded him. He actually scored twice since tying Fedorov's mark at 483, but saw both goals waved off after coach's challenges.

For much of Thursday's game, destiny continued to tease the Great 8 and the Caps faithful.

In the first period, Ovechkin came oh so close with when Nicklas Backstrom tried to feed Ovechkin in front only to see the puck bank into the net. Ovechkin was battling with Dallas defenseman Jordie Benn, but replays showed the puck clearly hitting off Benn and not Ovechkin.

RELATED: Ovechkin nets 484th goal, becoming Russian king of NHL

The second period provided no relief as Ovechkin once again flirted with the record, but saw a wrist shot that beat Dallas netminder Kari Lehtonen hit off the inside of the post and out.

"Of course you get a little frustrated when you have good chances go, especially in the second [period] when I hit the post," Ovechkin said.

On this night, however, Ovechkin would not be denied.

With the Caps trailing 2-1 in the third period, Ovechkin charged the goal as T.J. Oshie collected a deflection in the left corner. Oshie tried to send it cross-ice to John Carlson, but the puck got lost in a cluster of Dallas defensemen blocking the passing lane and bounced to Backstrom to the right of the Lehtonen. Backstrom sent a backhand no-look pass to Ovechkin who was there to send it into the back of the net. Finally.

This time, there was no coach's challenge.

The Verizon Center erupted into hysteria that was barely loud enough to drown out the relieved bellow Ovechkin unleashed as he bear hugged Backstrom.

"It was only fitting," Trotz said, "I though Ovi played his best game probably in the last five. I thought he played, I sort of call it 'beast mode,' where he's playing hard and he's just a beast out there to handle."

The cheers began anew moments later when a video message of Fedorov appeared on the screen congratulating Ovechkin.

"I would like to congratulate Alex on this achievement," said Fedorov via a statement released by the Caps. "What he has accomplished thus far in his career has been nothing short of remarkable. I had a great opportunity to play with Alex in Washington and have seen first-hand the respect, passion and enthusiasm he has not only for the game of hockey but for his country as well."

A mark that took Fedorov 1,248 career NHL games to achieve was surpassed by Ovechkin in only 777.

Unfortunately for the Caps, the euphoria of the moment was short-lived as Jason Spezza struck just over four minutes later to put the Stars up for good. Still, there was no feeling of disappointment after the game.

"I think he wishes too that we won the game," Bakstrom said, "but obviously a huge accomplishment. I'm really happy for him."

Even Trotz, always critical after a loss, would not dampen the mood.

"Everybody was excited," Trotz said. "You'll see me jump about four feet...actually about four inches. It was pretty exciting for everybody because they knew that that was a little bit of history."

With goal No. 484 out of the way, now it's on to 500.

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin sets record but Caps fall to Stars

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Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

Capitals place Taylor Chorney on waivers, which could signal something, or nothing

When the Capitals acquired defenseman Michal Kempny on Monday, that put the team at the maximum of 23 players on the roster including eight defenseman.

Another move seemed likely and the Caps made it on Tuesday by placing veteran blueliner Taylor Chorney on waivers.

Teams now will have 24 hours to potentially claim Chorney. Should he clear at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, it is expected that he will be sent to the Hershey Bears of the AHL. Whether he is claimed or sent to Hershey, his entire $800,000 cap hit will no longer count against the Capitals' salary.

One important thing to note, however, is that placing Chorney on waivers was not required in order for Washington to remain under the salary cap.

Having eight defensemen would mean scratching two every game — assuming the team does not dress seven and after that failed experiment in last year's playoffs, why would they — which means it would be a struggle to make sure everyone gets consistent playing time in the final weeks of the season.

Perhaps placing Chorney on waivers is the team trying to get him more playing time to keep him sharp in case the team suffers injuries on the blue line and he is called upon in the playoffs.

Or perhaps it could mean something else.


Chorney played on Feb. 15, but that was during the mentor's trip. Barry Trotz's policy for those trips is to get everyone in at least one of those two games. Before that, Chorney had not played since Jan. 2. It certainly seems like the team was comfortable with him being the designated No. 7 and was not all that concerned about getting him regular playing time before now.

When asked if the Kempny trade would mean any roster moves, Trotz said Monday that he was not sure and hinted that perhaps more moves could be coming from general manager Brian MacLellan. Moving Chorney's salary off the books does not clear much cap room, but it does clear some.

Perhaps MacLellan has another move up his sleeve before Monday's trade deadline.

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Michal Kempny excited to move from last place Chicago to first place Caps


Michal Kempny excited to move from last place Chicago to first place Caps

On Sunday, Michal Kempny was a defenseman struggling for a spot in the lineup for a team poised to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. On Monday, he became potentially an important piece on the roster of the first place Capitals.

The last few days have been quite the whirlwind for Kempny who tallied an assist for Chicago on Saturday in a 7-1 blowout against what is now his current team. While the Blackhawks may have gotten the better of Washington that night, Kempny is excited about the postseason opportunity that now lies in front of him.

"Nobody knows what's happening in Chicago, but I'm really happy and I'm really glad that I can be here," Kempny told reporters on Tuesday after his first skate with the team. "There is option of play a playoff and I'm very happy for it."


The 27-year-old Czech defenseman played only 31 games for the Blackhawks this season, but considering Washington's need to shore up its defense before the trade deadline and the team's willingness to give up a third-round pick to acquire him, it is likely he will have a much more significant role with the Caps.

"I thought that I [was] going to get more space on the ice and more ice time, but I didn't play more than half games," Kempny said of his decision to originally sign with Chicago. "But now I'm here and I'm really glad that I'm here. Washington is amazing city and great organization and I hope I will get a chance to access myself on the ice more than in Chicago."

Kempny will not play in Tuesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, but did say he expects to play Thursday when the team visits the Florida Panthers.

When he does get into the lineup, it is unclear just how big a role he will play initially or how the team foresees utilizing him going forward. He is a left-shot defenseman and did tell reporters he prefers to play on that side. It seems unlikely the team would acquire him just to put him on his offside.

As of now, however, everything regarding his role in Washington is up on the air.

"I need everything settle down a little bit," he said. "New teammates, new people around here."