Capitals

Quick Links

Brouwer angered by Hamrlik, Neuivrth

hambro.jpg

Brouwer angered by Hamrlik, Neuivrth

We all knew the NHL lockout would create some serious friction between the league’s owners and players.

Now, the two-month-old work stoppage is dividing locker rooms – in particular the one in Washington.

Earlier this week Caps 38-year-old defenseman Roman Hamrlik told iSport.cz that he was “disgusted” with the way negotiations have been handled by union chief Don Fehr.

“We have to push Fehr to the wall to get the deal,” Hamrlik said. “Time is against us.

“We lost [one quarter of the] season, [about] $425 million. Who will give it back to us? Mr. Fehr? There should be voting between players for questions – YES or NO – then count it. If half of players say let’s play, then they should sign new CBA. If there is no season [Fehr] should leave and we will find someone new. Time is our enemy.”

It marked the first time a player has publicly questioned the leadership of Fehr and when fellow Czech Michal Neuvirth “100 percent” agreed with Hamrlik --  telling TVA Nova Sport, “This lockout is not about majority of players, I think. It is about several superstars with big contracts,” -- it rubbed Troy Brouwer the wrong way.

“How am I going to trust them as a teammate now?” Troy Brouwer told the Washington Post. “…It’s going to be tough to want to back those guys from now on.”

Brouwer isn't the only NHL player upset with Hamrlik's comments. Dallas Stars forward Ray Whitney questioned Hamrlik's decision to speak out against Fehr when he's sitting at home in the Czech Republic.

"Obviously he’s frustrated, but I don’t think it’s fair for him to be making those comments from the other side of the ocean," Whitney told ESPN.com. "He should be over here in the meetings if he wants to know what’s really happening.

"But I also know you’d hear comments like that from the other side too, from owners, if it wasn’t for the gag order. They’re equally frustrated. It’s frustrating for everybody."

It should be noted that Brouwer is the Capitals’ alternate player representative for the NHLPA and has been a staunch supporter of Fehr and the union’s stance against taking paycuts in a new CBA.

Brouwer also sits directly across from Hamrlik in the Capitals’ locker room at Kettler Capitals Complex.

Their first exchange as reunited teammates should be an interesting one. So too will be the relationship between Neuvirth and goaltender Braden Holtby, whose stalls are positioned beside one another. Remember, it was Neuvrth who told a Czech newspaper that Holtby was his "weakest competition” since arriving in Washington.

Whenever this lockout ends, Capitals coach Adam Oates may need to pass out olive branches on the first day of training camp.

Quick Links

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

usatsi_10847404.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

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

Quick Links

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

MORE CAPITALS STORIES: