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Capitals breakdown: Troy Brouwer


Capitals breakdown: Troy Brouwer Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: Troy Brouwer

Troy Brouwer
Position: Right Wing
Age: 26
HtWt: 6-3, 213
Games: 82
Goals: 18
Assists: 15
Points: 33
Penalty minutes: 61
Plus-Minus: Minus-15
Average Ice Time: 17:10
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, 4.7 million contract 2.35 million cap hit; UFA in 2013

Strengths: At 26, Brouwer is a hard-hitting, shot-blocking, straight-talking forward in the prime of his career. A durable right wing who has missed just seven games in his past three NHL seasons, Brouwer can play in all situations and spent much of this season as a defensive safety valve on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and either Brooks Laich or Marcus Johansson.

Weaknesses: Brouwer tied with defenseman John Carlson and right wing Mike Knuble with a team-worst minus-15 but probably deserved better. Although he spent much of the season on the Caps top line he seemed to be most effective on a checking line with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle. To be a legitimate top-line forward, Brouwer will need to work on his finishing skills.

Memorable Moment on the ice: On Jan. 13, two nights after leading the Capitals with a season-high 11 hits in a win over Pittsburgh, Brouwer recorded his first career hat trick, scoring on the power play, at even strength and into an empty net. He also delivered a crushing check on Marty St. Louis that resulted in a double minor and sparked a Lightning comeback that fell one goal short.

Memorable Moment off the ice: As one of just two Capitals with a Stanley Cup ring, Brouwers voice carried significant weight in the locker room and he had no problem challenging his more famous teammates. Following a series-opening 3-1 loss to the Rangers, Brouwer challenged Ovechkin to create more scoring opportunities by becoming less predictable. Hes gotta learn, Brouwer said. You see all the time he comes down the left side and those D-men are standing right up on him and he doesn't have much of a play. Hes got to learn hes got to come back into the defensive zone and give himself a little more space, a little more speed, and hell have more scoring opportunities.

2012-13 Expectations: With the ice time he receives Brouwer could be a 25- to 30-goal scorer and if hes able to hit those numbers next season hell be rewarded with a hefty contract. The Capitals would be wise to lock up Brouwer for the next three or four years, but as a potential UFA the challenge will be convincing him to stay in Washington beyond next season

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Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.