Beninati: Caps Deserve Plenty Of Praise

Beninati: Caps Deserve Plenty Of Praise

Saturday, December 26, 2009

By Joe Beninati
Capitals Play-By-Play

You have to be impressed with the total team performance tonight. The Capitals stayed focused from the first face off to the last and that's the type of concentration necessary to beat an elite team like the Devils with an all-world goalie like Martin Brodeur.

I thought Michal Neuvirth was the sharper net minder in the first five minutes. The caps young apprentice is playing so well these last three games that it allows the Caps to not have to worry about rushing Semyon Varlamov back from his injury. Neuvirth's rebound control was excellent, he rarely put himself in any trouble by leaving loose pucks near the crease.

His defenders were also top notch throughout the night. D.C.'s blue liners won a ton of board battles in this contest and that physical edge helped the home team win for the first time in four tries vs. New Jersey.

The Verizon Center crowd was amazing tonight. While they kept up the holiday spirit in the stands, the Caps came out roaring in the first period.

Nick Backstrom, Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin are all working so well together. Enemy defenders have to be on full alert. Ovechkin and Backstrom put up three points a piece.

Nicklas has to be strongly considered for the NHL's first star in December. His backhand goal on Brodeur was done with one silky move, the kind of play a player makes when he's extremely confident in what he's doing.

There were so many positives in this game. The penalty killers shut down the Devils on four straight power plays to keep things secure. David Steckel won 15 of 21 face offs. Chris Clark made at least three fine defensive plays. Mike Green and Matt Bradley chipped in with goals.

All-in-all, it was a first rate victory for a team anxious to claim first place standings in its conference. The Caps deserve plenty of praise tonight.

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: What happens in Vegas....

It's almost here.

After a lengthy break between the conference finals and the Stanley Cup Finals, the Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights are set to meet on Monday for Game 1.

Who will hoist Lord Stanley's Cup?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir give their keys to the series and their predictions for the Stanley Cup Final. Plus, JJ speaks with several member from the local media to get their insights and predictions.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

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Need to Know: A look at the Redskins' key 2019 free agents

Here is what you need to know on this Sunday, May 27, 16 days before the Washington Redskins start minicamp.  

Note: I am vacationing in the Outer Banks this week. In this space, I’ll be presenting some of the most popular posts of the last few months. I hope you enjoy these “best of” presentations and I’ll see you folks when I get back. 

Here is my sunrise view from this morning:

Looking at next year’s free agents

This post was originally published on March 18. 

There is still work that the Redskins can do in free agency and they still have some of their own players they want to retain. But with a lot of the player movement already in the books, we can take a look forward some of the key Redskin who currently are set to be free agents when the 2019 league year opens. 

QB Colt McCoy (Week 1 age 32)—Lots of questions here. Will the Redskins want to keep him around for another year as Alex Smith’s backup? Or will they want a younger and cheaper backup? Will McCoy want to move on rather than back up another QB who doesn’t miss many games?

OL Ty Nsekhe (32)—The Redskins gave him a second-round restricted free agent tender this year so it’s possible that he could be gone or on a long-term contract in Washington. If he is a free agent, his value and the difficulty of retaining him could depend on if he ends the season as a reserve tackle (easy) or as a starting guard (hard). 

OLB Preston Smith (25)—As we saw with Trent Murphy (three years, $21 million with up to $30 million), pass rushers get paid. Smith also makes big plays. Since Smith came into the NFL, he is the only player with at least 20 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles. If the Redskins can’t reach a deal on an extension with him this year the franchise tag is a distinct possibility. 

WR Jamison Crowder (25)—This year the supply of quality receivers both as free agents and in the draft sent contract prices skyrocketing. To guard against that happening next year, the Redskin should start talking to Crowder about an extension soon. 

ILB Zach Vigil (27)—As I noted here, Vigil went from being cut in September to a very valuable reserve in November. Both Zach Brown and Mason Foster will still be under contract, but the Redskin still should make an effort to retain Vigil for special teams and as a capable backup. 

Other Redskins who are slated to be UFA’s next year are DL Ziggy Hood and ILB Martrell Spaight. 

It’s also worth noting that WR Maurice Harris and DE Anthony Lanier will both be restricted free agents next year. Both positions were pricey in free agency this year, so both could require at least second-round tenders, which likely will increase to about $3 million in 2019. 

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler