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End of season review: Curtis Glencross

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End of season review: Curtis Glencross

Throughout the coming weeks, CSNWashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2014-15 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Curtis Glencross

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left

Age: 32 [turns 33 Dec.  28]

Ht/Wt: 6-1, 197

Games: 71

Goals: 13

Assists: 22

Points: 35

Penalty minutes: 45

Plus-Minus: Plus-2

Average Ice Time: 15:38

Playoff games: 10

Goals: 1

Assists: 0

Points: 1

Penalty minutes: 2

Plus-Minus: Minus-5

Average Ice Time: 10:25

Contract Status: UFA [2014-15 salary: $2.5 million; cap hit: $2.55 million]

Strengths: Acquired from the Calgary Flames at the trade deadline for a second- and third-round pick in the 2015 draft, Glencross arrived with a bang, recording four goals and two assists while averaging over 13 minutes of ice time in his first seven games. But he went dry after that, managing just one assist in his final 11 games with the Caps and being made a healthy scratch four times in the playoffs, including Game 7 against the Rangers when Eric Fehr returned from injury to replace him. “It was a little bit of a roller coaster,” Glencross said. “Coming in it was good early. We had some injuries and things shuffled around and stuff like that. You come in used to playing bigger minutes [16:40 with Calgary] and it’s a change not playing the minutes [12:36 with the Caps]. “But we had a great hockey team this year and it’s disappointing because we felt we had a team hat could push for the Cup. It’s a great group of guys, a great hockey club and a great organization. I had a great time here. The guys made it real comfortable for me coming in and the coaching staff and their video and preparation was as top-notch as I’ve seen.” Glencross also had a chance to play in the playoffs for the first time since 2009. “There’s nothing like playoff hockey, he said. “That series against he Islanders was probably one of the roughest and rugged series that’s gone on in years. It was great hockey and the Rangers series was the same thing. We figured we should have won that series and it’s a tough way to finish the season.”

[MORE CAPITALS End of season review: Tim Gleason]

Room for improvement: Glencross  admitted that learning a new way of playing under Trotz, where playing positional hockey is a must, was difficult for him and probably led to him being a healthy scratch after being a minus-5 in the playoffs. “When you’re here for two months rather than seven or eight months you tend to go back to your comfort zone and what’s worked all year and for a new person to come in and fill certain spots, it’s hard, not only on the players but on the coaching staff,” he said.   “Coaches tend to stick with what’s comfortable. It could have been a completely different situation coming in earlier.”

Memorable Moment: There were two and, well, you know when they were. Glencross scored his biggest goal as a Capital – and possibly his career – when he gave the Caps  a 1-0 lead with 9:06 remaining in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Rangers, putting his own rebound past Henrik Lundqvist. But after the Rangers forced overtime with a goal by Chris Kreider with 1:41 remaining in regulation, Glencross’ neutral zone giveaway led to Ryan McDonagh’s game-winner 9:37 into overtime, keeping the Rangers’ playoff hopes alive. “He came in, scored some goals for us early, then some things went on that he kind of lost his game a little bit and I don’t think we had time to wait around for him to find it again," Caps general manager Brian MacLellan said. "There’s a good player in there. We saw a little bit of it. I made the point to the coaches, if we win that [Game 5] 1-0 when he scored that goal, it's a great trade. That’s the fine line.”

Quotable: “I’ll never look back at this and say it was a mistake.” – Glencross on breakup day

2015-16 Expectations: In all likelihood Glencross has played his final game for the Caps. As an unrestricted free agent he said he will test the market on July 1 and weigh his options. “Whatever’s meant to be is meant to be,” he said. “You have to wait and see what’s going to happen. Come free agency on July 1 we’ll see what’s out there and go from there. You never know until that time comes.” Glencross said he would be interested in staying with the Caps if they were interested in keeping him. “It’s a great team and I feel it’s a team that’s going to win the Cup here in the next few years. … That’s not up to me. There are a lot of other UFAs on this team as well and it’s going to come down to what they feel the right fit is. … There are a lot of good things coming here [to Washington] in the next couple years.”

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

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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.

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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."

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