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Five Caps signings that went under the radar


Five Caps signings that went under the radar

While the Caps were busy making headline news by signing three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams and trading for Olympic sensation T.J. Oshie, general manager Brian MacLellan was also fortifying the club’s depth by signing three forwards and two defensemen to two-way contracts.

Forward Chris Bourque, the son of former Bruins great Ray Bourque, returned to the organization by signing a two-year contract, while forwards Carter Camper and Sean Collins and defensemen Mike Moore and Aaron Ness inked one-year deals. All are expected to play for the AHL Hershey Bears next season.

Here is a little more information on each player:

Chris Bourque, 29, left wing

Bourque has eight points (two goals, six assists) and 18 penalty minutes in 51 career NHL games with Washington, Pittsburgh and Boston. The 5-foot-8, 174-pounder appeared in 13 games with the Capitals from 2008-10, scoring one goal. He was originally drafted by the Caps in the second round [33rd overall] in the 2004 NHL Draft.

In 2014-15, Bourque earned 66 points (29 goals, 37 assists) and 68 penalty minutes in 73 games with the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack. The Boston native led Hartford in goals, points and assists last season and ranked fifth in the AHL in points and tied for fifth in goals and power-play goals (11). Bourque played 392 games for the Bears from 2005-12 and ranks 25th on the club’s all-time games played list.

He won three Calder Cups with Hershey (2006, 2009, 2010) and earned the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as playoff MVP in 2010. Bourque has registered 499 points (171 goals, 328 assists) and 374 penalty minutes in 510 career AHL games with Hershey, Providence and Hartford.

Carter Camper, 26, center

Camper has one goal in three career NHL games with the Boston Bruins. The 5-foot-9, 176-pounder recorded 52 points (15 goals, 37 assists) and 16 penalty minutes in 75 games with Binghamton (AHL) in 2014-15.

Camper finished the season ranked second among Senators skaters in assists, fourth in points and sixth in goals. The Cleveland native has earned 200 points (56 goals, 144 assists) in 264 career AHL games with Providence, Springfield and Binghamton.

Sean Collin, 26, left wing 

Collins tallied two assists in eight games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last season. The 6-foot-1, 198-pounder made his NHL debut on Feb. 18, 2013, at Anaheim and earned his first NHL point with an assist against the Capitals on Nov. 12, 2013. Collins has earned three assists in 19 career NHL games with Columbus.

The Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native registered 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 64 games with the Springfield Falcons (AHL) in 2014-15 and ranked tied for first on the team in goals, third in points and tied for fifth in assists. In 203 career AHL games with Springfield, Collins has recorded 113 points (45 goals, 68 assists).

Mike Moore, 30, defenseman

Moore has one goal and seven penalty minutes in six career NHL games with the San Jose Sharks. He recorded 14 points (three goals, 11 assists) and 47 penalty minutes in 41 games with Hershey last season and served as an alternate captain for the Bears.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound defenseman was named Hershey's Man of the Year for his community contributions in 2014-15, marking the fourth time he has earned the honor (Worcester in 2008-09 and 2009-10 and Providence in 2013-14). Moore has registered 123 points (29 goals, 94 assists) in 419 career AHL games with Worcester, Milwaukee, Providence and Hershey.

Aaron Ness, 25, defenseman

Ness has three points (one goal, two assists) in 29 career NHL games with the New York Islanders. The 5-foot-10, 187-pounder earned 45 points (eight goals, 37 assists) and 62 penalty minutes in 74 games with Bridgeport (AHL) last season. Ness served as captain for the Sound Tigers in 2014-15 and finished the season ranked second on the team in assists and third in points. The Roseau, Minn., native has earned 123 points (23 goals, 100 assists) and 179 penalty minutes in 280 AHL games with Bridgeport.

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Brooks Orpik undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his knee, will miss another 4 to 6 weeks


Brooks Orpik undergoes arthroscopic surgery on his knee, will miss another 4 to 6 weeks

Brooks Orpik underwent an arthroscopic surgical procedure on his right knee and is expected to miss four-to-six weeks, the Capitals announced Tuesday. Orpik last played on Oct. 27 against the Calgary Flames, but has not participated in practice since due to what the team has called a lower-body injury.

Why did it take so long to have the surgery when he could have been recovering and nearing a return at this point? The specific nature of the injury is not known, but what typically happens in cases such as these is that the player and the team will wait to see if surgery is necessary. No professional athlete likes going under the knife and most will try to avoid it at all costs.

It could also be a case in which the severity of the injury was not known as is evidenced by the fact that he was initially labeled “day-to-day.”

With Orpik out, that will likely mean more time for Madison Bowey who has looked like one of the most improved players overall on the roster this season. It also likely gives an opportunity for Jonas Siegenthaler to get more games at the NHL level.

Siegenthaler has been with the Caps since getting recalled from the Hershey Bears on Nov. 9. He has played in two games. Originally, it looked like the young Swiss defenseman would make the Caps’ roster out of training camp with Michal Kempny dealing with a concussion, but the team had to get creative with the salary cap after Tom Wilson was suspended and the acquisition of Dmitrij Jaskin forced Siegenthaler to the AHL.

In his two NHL games, Siegenthaler has not looked out of place at all at the NHL level.

If he remains with the team, it seems likely he will get into the lineup again sooner rather than later. As a young prospect the team hopes can be an NHL player, they will be loath to keep him in Washington another four to six weeks just to sit up in the press box and not play. Young players like him need the playing time.

With Orpik out possibly until the calendar turns to 2019, however, do not be surprised if the Caps elect to recall a player like Aaron Ness and send Siegenthaler back to Hershey. Ness is a veteran AHLer who the team can be more comfortable scratching from the lineup for a long period of time. If they don’t, then expect to see Siegenthaler crack the lineup again in the coming days.


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Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

Alex Ovechkin, Carey Price put on a show with superstar showdown in Montreal

The best of the NHL was on display Monday in Montreal where the Capitals edged the Canadians 5-4 in overtime. Within the game, a superstar matchup emerged as the top goal scorer of his generation locked horns with arguably the best goalie in the world in an incredible bout that lived up to all the hype that surrounded the game.

”It’s great for the fans, great for everything,” Brett Connolly said. “It’s good to see two really good players go at it like that.”

Throughout his career, Alex Ovechkin has tormented Montreal goalie Carey Price. In 24 regular season games, he has scored on Price 18 times. On Monday, Ovechkin added two more goals to that total.

In the first period, Tom Wilson delivered a blistering pass through traffic right to the tape of Ovechkin who tipped it in past a helpless Price who had been waiting for the shot. He would add a second goal in the third period from the office with the Caps on a two-man advantage.

At that point, a hat trick seemed like a foregone conclusion, but that’s when Price began to battle back.

Price robbed Ovechkin of goal No. 3 with not one, but two brilliant saves in the third period to help force overtime.

With the puck on the left wall, Ovechkin charged the net from the right midway into the third period. Connolly managed to find him with the pass and Ovechkin delivered a one-touch shot that Price snared out of the air Statue-of-Liberty style. Somehow Price managed to get over from post to post to snag the puck with the glove and he made sure to put some extra flair on the save.

With the score still tied at four, Ovechkin made one final push to win the game in regulation.

This time it was Wilson on the right with Ovechkin setting up for the one-timer on the left. Wilson delivered the pass and Ovechkin fired what would have been a buzzer-beater goal with just two seconds left in regulation. Price slid to cover the cross-ice shot, but could not get completely over in time to block the shot. He lifted his blocker up in desperation and just managed to catch the puck and send it out of play.

“Obviously Alex made a great shot, hit the knob of his stick,” Braden Holtby said. “It’s one of those unlucky things. It just happens.”

It was a spectacular save the brought that Montreal faithful to their feet and even drew recognition from Ovechkin himself.

Ovechkin’s initial reaction was one of disbelief, but he soon began applauding along with the crowd and skated over to give the netminder his due.

“It was a pretty cool moment, pretty beautiful save and the fans was cheering for him,” Ovechkin said. “I was kind of same.”

The Caps would get the last laugh with the overtime winner, but this was a rare occasion in which the result of the game as largely overshadowed by the drama that unfolded between two players.

Ovechkin finished the game with two goals against Price, while Price finished with 29 saves including two third period beauties to deny Ovechkin his hat trick.

Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was effusive of his praise of both players after the game.

“It’s stars like that that put on performances like they both did tonight that just make it worth every dime that it costs to come to the game and worth the price of admission tonight for certain with those two."