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Capitals breakdown: Marcus Johansson


Capitals breakdown: Marcus Johansson 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: Marcus Johansson
Marcus Johansson
Position: Center
Age: 21
HtWt: 6-1, 205
Games: 80
Goals: 14
Assists: 32
Points: 46
Penalty Minutes: 8
Plus-Minus: Minus-5
Average Ice Time: 16:48
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 3-year, 2.7 million entry level contract 900,000 cap hit

Strengths: Johansson is arguably the Capitals fastest player, although some would take Jason Chimera in a rink race. Johansson has all the tools to be a great offensive player size, speed, soft hands and a good, hard shot and his offensive totals jumped from 13 goals and 14 assists as a rookie to 14 goals and 32 assists in his second NHL season. And hes just 21.

Weaknesses: Dale Hunter gave Johansson plenty of ice time in the playoffs 19:35 but Johansson did little with it, recording one goal, two assists and a minus-6 rating in 14 playoff games. Johansson lost several board battles, coughed up pucks in the offensive zone and was ineffective in a second-line role. That should be of great concern for a team that is likely to lose Alex Semin as one of its top six forwards.

Memorable Moment on the ice: Angered at being a healthy scratch in the Caps season opener, Johansson had a goal and an assist in a wild 6-5 shootout win over the Lightning on Oct. 10. Johansson scored his first goal of the season by digging the puck from under the glove of Dwayne Roloson, fighting off a pair of defensemen and stuffing a wraparound into an open net. Heres a guy that sat out and just said, Ill show them, former coach Bruce Boudreau said. Thats the attitude youre hoping for.

Memorable Moment off the ice: In the midst of a long scoring slump in December, Johansson was asked if there were things needed to do to play better. Why, you dont think Im playing good? Johansson replied. Actually, no, I dont, a reporter told him. At least not like you were playing at the start of the year. Johansson grew angry and said, Well, if you say so, I guess I have to play better. A few games later, after netting two assists, the same reporter told Johansson he was playing much better. Thanks to you, he said with a smile.

2012-13 Expectations: First, the Capitals need to decide whether to hold onto Johansson or include him in a trade package to land a top six forward or top four defenseman. If they decide to keep him, Johansson will need to start making better decisions all over the ice and a nice start would be stopping hard in front of opposing nets and hunting for rebounds instead of making big circles around the net. If Johansson can develop better habits, he can be a solid 25-goal, 45-assist player next season.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...


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Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

Stanley Cup Final 2018: X-factors that could swing the series

The Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights have met only twice in their history. Neither team was expected to get to this point so you can go ahead and throw away the stats, the matchups, the data and the history. A new story will be written in the Stanley Cup FInal.

Who will ultimately win the Cup? Here are four factors that could ultaimtely swing the series.

1. Goaltending

The Caps have faced elimination only twice in the playoffs and Braden Holtby did not allow a single goal in either game. He enters the Stanley Cup Final having not allowed a single goal in 159:27. Andrei Vasilevskiy began to take over the series with his performance in Game 3, Game 4 and Game 5, but Holtby outplayed him to finish off the series in Washington’s favor.

Marc-Andre Fleury, meanwhile, has been the best player in the playoffs. Not the best goalie, the best player.

Through 15 games, Fleury has a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. As good as Vegas has been this postseason, Fleury has stolen several games for the Golden Knights.

Both of these goalies are certainly capable of stealing away a series for their respective teams. Which one will outplay the other?

2. Time off

Rust is a real thing in hockey. Just any team when they come off a bye week. When the Caps and Golden Knights take the ice on Monday, May 28, it will be the first game for Vegas since May 20. That’s over a week off.

Yes, getting rest at this time of the year is important, but too much rest leads to rust and that should be a major concern for Vegas, especially for a team that was playing so well and has so much momentum.

In the Eastern Conference Final, the Caps stunned the Tampa Bay Lightning by winning both Game 1 and Game 2 in Tampa. Could they do it again with a rusty Vegas team? Will the long layoff cost the Golden Knights one or even two home games to start the series?

3. The McPhee factor

Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee was the Caps’ general manager for 17 years starting with the 1997-98 season. He was fired in 2014, but was ultimately responsible for building the core of the Washington team that is now headed to the Stanley Cup Final.

But that also means he knows those players very, very well.

Nicklas Backstrom, Travis Boyd, Andre Burakovsky, John Carlson, Christian Djoos, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Tom Wilson, Braden Holtby, Philipp Grubauer and of course, Alex Ovechkin were all drafted by McPhee. Jay Beagle was also signed by as an undrafted free agent.

A general manager does not sign or draft anyone without knowing a good deal about the kind of player they are. Does that give McPhee a bit of an edge when it comes to facing the Caps?

4. Speed

The Golden Knights are fast. When the expansion draft was all said and done it was clear McPhee had targeted two things specifically: defensemen and speed. The result is an exceptionally fast Golden Knights team that no one has been able to keep up with so far.

Vegas' speed mixed with the goaltending of Fleury has proven to be a lethal combination. Their mobility makes it hard to get the puck from them or even keep it in the offensive zone. Once they get it, it’s going down the ice very quickly and you better keep up with them or it's going to end up in the back of the net. Once they build a lead, it is very difficult for teams to dig their way out as evidenced by their 10-1 record this postseason when scoring first.

Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh were both fast teams as well and the Capitals were able to combat that with strong play in the neutral zone. The 1-3-1 trap has given opponents fits and generated a lot of odd-man breaks for the Caps. Will it be as effective against a speedy Vegas team?