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Capitals breakdown: Keith Aucoin

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Capitals breakdown: Keith Aucoin

CSNWashington.com 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: Keith Aucoin
Keith Aucoin
Position: Center, Right Wing, Left Wing
Age: 33
HtWt: 5-9, 187
Games: 27
Goals: 3
Assists: 8
Points: 11
Penalty minutes: 0
Plus-Minus: Plus-4
Average Ice Time: 11:03
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent 512,500 cap hit in 2011-12

Strengths: Despite being the smallest player on the Capitals roster Aucoin played in 22 of the Capitals final 23 games of the regular season and all 14 playoff games. He did not commit a single penalty for the Caps in the regular season and took just one in the playoffs. Aucoin is a creative playmaker who is defensively responsible.

Weaknesses: Aucoin has put up big numbers in his AHL career 777 points in 672 games but has been far less productive in the NHL 37 points in 102 games. He tries to make up for his lack of size by using an unusually long stick, which measures about 5-foot, 4 inches.
Memorable Moment on the ice: On March 13 in Uniondale, N.Y., Aucoin recorded a career-high three assists to help erase a three-goal deficit and lead the Caps to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Islanders.

Memorable Moment off the ice: On Feb. 29 Aucoin and his wife, Maureen, welcomed their first child into the world. Aucoin, who was renting an apartment in Arlington, received a 5:30 a.m. wakeup call from his wife, whose was in labor 10 days before her due date and was living in their home in Hershey, Pa. I broke a lot of speed limits on the way there, Aucoin said. I think I made a lot of people mad cutting them off. I hit a bunch of traffic and I was just trying to get there because I didnt know when it was going to come. Aucoin arrived at Hershey Medical Center in plenty of time to see the arrival of Brayden Michael at around 8 p.m.

2012-13 Expectations: Aucoin becomes a free agent on July 1 but without a new Collective Bargaining Agreement he may not receive any offers until closer to training camp. The Capitals could do worse than to sign the veteran to a two-way contract at the NHL minimum salary and use him as a depth forward in the organization, but they are more likely to move in a younger direction for their fourth line.

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Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after pulling even atop Metro Division

Blue Jackets troll Capitals on Twitter after pulling even atop Metro Division

The Columbus Blue Jackets threw some serious shade at the Caps Tuesday night after their 7-2 blowout loss to the Predators.

The Jackets are now tied for the Metro lead after the Caps lost their third straight game, and they let them have it on Twitter.

That's a bold jab coming from the team that lost to the Caps in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs...

The GIF comes from Saturday night's overtime loss to the Jackets where Columbus celebrated Artemi Panarin's game-winner with Evgeny Kuznetsov's signature bird celly.

When asked about the copycat celebration last Saturday, Kuzy said, "That's fine. It's nice to get some people that think about me, same as in April last year.”

The Capitals meet the Blue Jackets again Feb. 12 where the only bird celly should come from Kuzy.

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Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

Caps suffer third straight loss as they get rocked in Music City

The final score of a game can often be deceiving, but that was certainly not the case on Tuesday. The Capitals lost 7-2 to the Nashville Predators in a game every bit as one-sided as the score indicates. Viktor Arvidsson scored a hat trick and Nick Bonino added another two goals in a game that was well in hand before the end of the second period.

Here are three reasons the Caps lost.

Viktor Arvidsson

Arvidsson came into this game with 14 goals this season and 21 points in 23 games. He is one of the best players in the league that no one talks about and that was certainly on display in this game. He wasn’t a one trick pony either. His first goal came on the breakaway, his second was a deflection and his third was a shorthanded breakaway.

Arvidsson’s third goal

As one-sided as the game was, there was a moment in the second period when it looked like Washington was going to claw its way back into it. Down 3-0 in the second period, Nicklas Backstrom scored on the power play to make it 3-1. Less than five minutes later, T.J. Oshie drew a tripping call from Calle Jarnkrok. Suddenly it looked as if the Caps had a chance.

But once again, Washington had no answer for Arvidsson.

Backstrom tried to carry the puck into the offensive zone, but he was met and challenged by Arvidsson. Backstrom lost the puck and Arvidsson took off while Ryan Johansen grabbed the puck in the neutral zone. Johansen fed Arvidsson for the breakaway and he delivered the knockout punch.

Washington was eyeing a 3-2 game, but instead they suddenly found themselves down 4-1 and the rout was on.

Poor decisions

Give all the credit to Nashville for dominating this game, they dominated and deserved to win. Having said that, the Caps were clearly their own worst enemy in Nashville.

Tom Wilson carried the puck into the offensive zone in the first period. With no open passing lane, the only real option he had was to dump and chase or drive himself and pass back to the blue line. Instead, he forced a pass to Ovechkin who had to stop and reach back to grab the puck. He was also being covered by two players so it was no surprise when he turned the puck over. The resulting breakout led to a breakaway and Arvidsson’s first goal.

In the second period, Andre Burakovsky had the puck and looked like he had a lane to shoot or dive to the net. Instead, he pulled up and tried to cross the puck. The pass was easily picked off and Rocco Grimaldi was off in the other direction. He would finish off the play with a highlight-reel spin-o-rama goal, but it all started with a poor decision.

This game was full of those moments. Bad decision by the Caps and the puck was off in the other direction. The uglier the game got, the more Washington’s system and hockey sense went out the window. Two of Nashville’s goals came on the breakaway and one came on a two-on-one. Those type of odd-man breaks happen because of breakdowns.

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