Category Archives: NHL

Why blaming the medical staff is nonsense

Dmitry Chesnokov wrote today that Semyon Varlamov is headed to the KHL. Chesnokov spoke with the young Russian’s agent who, when asked about “the stereotype that Varlamov is often injured”, implied that the Washington Capitals’ medical staff was responsible for the amount of time Varly was sidelined throughout his time in Washington.

However, being an expert and all, I am calling shenanigans.

That implication is ridiculous. In all seriousness, I was an athletic training student last year. While I don’t know everything there is to know about the rehabilitation processes, I did observe in every training room at the University of North Dakota for a total of about 105 hours. During those hours, you see the how athletes talk with the certifieds when they come in with an injury or are going through the stages of rehabbing. Several times I heard some version of “I’m not ready” if someone felt like they needed more time until they felt 100 percent. By Varlamov’s age, athletes know their body. They know how much they can push themselves.

I once heard a conversation between a trainer and athlete discussing the latter’s condition. The trainer asked how the athlete was feeling. They responded that it was still acting up a little but they wanted to play so bad, but then immediately, they said that they understood that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s best not to go. They knew that they could risk a worse injury than they already had, which brings me to my next point.

During rehabilitation, the athlete is just as responsible as the trainers, therapists, and doctors. If they don’t cooperate by not doing their exercises and or not communicating, no one is going to benefit. Obviously, none of us outside of the organization know how Varlamov was treated or if he was fully cooperative. Considering his attitude over the years, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he didn’t comply with what  he was told do because he didn’t deem it necessary for his rehab.


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DEVELOPMENT CAMP: Identify Group A players

With so many players, it can be hard to indentify who’s who, especially with so many invites. There are a few you can identify by faces, and then of course, you can name them if you’ve got their number or nameplate in your picture. Here are a few ways that can help you figure out which player is which (by lines). Numbers, most names, and line combos courtesy of @takingnames.

#50 Cody Eakin – #75 Phil DeSimone – #91 Sean Wiles

-Eakin is easily identifiable by his ginger hair. Even if you can recognize him by his face, that red hair is sticking out of the sides of his helmet. He’s also a lefty, uses an Easton stick, and wears Warrior gloves.
-DeSimone has short dark hair that isn’t too visible. He’s a lefty, uses a Nike Bauer stick with black tape (or no tape?) on the blade, and wears Reebok gloves. His skates are black and the tongues are floppy.
-Wiles is the only righty on the line. He wears Reebok gloves, RBK pants, and uses a Nike Bauer stick with white tape on the blade. He’s also the tallest on this line at 6’4.

#9 Patrick Cullen – #18 Chris Forfar – #48 Evgeny Kuznetsov

-Cullen has somewhat long hair that sticks out of his helmet a little bit. He wears Reebok gloves and pants and uses a Reebok stick that has black tape on the blade and tan/white tape on the shaft. He’s a lefty.
-Forfar wears greyish skates and Bauer gloves. He’s a righty and uses a Bauer stick that is white on the top half and black on the bottom half and has tan/white tape on the shaft and blade.
-Kuznetsov is a lefty and wears Bauer gloves and pants. He uses an Easton stick with tan/white tape on the shaft and blade. His skates have a tiny hint of yellow on the side/back.

#77 Jake Hauswirth – #84 Stefan Della Rovere – #87 David deKastrozza

-Hauswirth is the tallest on the line at 6’5. He’s a lefty, wears RBK pants and Reebok gloves, and uses either a Reebok or Bauer stick with black tape on the blade and white tape on the shaft. He leaves his skate tongues out and floppy.
-Della Rovere is probably the shortest on the line. He’s a lefty, wears Reebok gloves and pants, and uses a black Reebok stick with black tape on the blade and white on the shaft. His skates are completely black.
-deKastrozza is a righty, wears Reebok gloves, and uses a black Reebok stick.

#34 Brendan Woods – #94 Anton Gustafsson – #86 Andrew Cherniwchan

-Woods is a lefty. He wears Warrior gloves, RBK pants, and grey skates. He uses a Warrior stick with yellow and blue details and black tape on the blade and red on the shaft.
-Gustafsson is a lefty and uses a black CCM stick that has red detail at the top and black tape on the shaft and blade. He wears Bauer gloves and pants.
-Cherniwchan is a righty. He wears RBK gloves and has a Nike Bauer stick that is black with a little grey where it says “Bauer” and has white tape on his blade.

#59 Joe Finley – #81 Dmirti Orlov

-Finley is probably the easiest guy to pick out. He’s the tallest out of all of the campers at 6’8. He wears Bauer gloves. He’s a lefty and has a black Reebok stick has black tape on the blade and white on the shaft.
-Orlov is probably one of the few guys I’ve seen with a CCM helmet. He’s a lefty and uses a black Bauer stick with white tape on the blade and black on the shaft. He wears Bauer gloves and Reebok pants.

#17 Chris Bond – #29 Brett Flemming

-Bond is a lefty with a blue Easton stick that has black tape on the blade and white on the shaft. He wears Bauer gloves and Easton pants.
-Flemming has major hockey hair sticking out of the back of his helmet. He’s a righty and uses a blue Easton stick with black tape on the blade. He wears Reebok gloves and RBK pants.


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The Caps 2010-2011 Regular Season Schedule!


Oct. 8 at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 9 New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 11 Ottawa, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 13 N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 16 at Nashville, 8:00 p.m.
Oct. 19 Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 21 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 23 Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 27 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Oct. 28 at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m.
Oct. 30 at Calgary, 10:00 p.m.
Nov. 3 Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 5 Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 Philadelphia, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 9 at N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 11 Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 13 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 14 Atlanta, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 17 Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 19 at Atlanta, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 20 Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 22 at New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 24 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Nov. 26 Tampa Bay, 5:00 p.m.
Nov. 28 Carolina, 5:00 p.m.
Dec. 1 at St. Louis, 8:00 p.m.
Dec. 2 at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 6 Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 9 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 11 Colorado, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 12 at N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 15 Anaheim, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 18 at Boston, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 19 at Ottawa, 5:00 p.m.
Dec. 21 New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 23 Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Dec. 28 Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 1 at Pittsburgh, 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 4 Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 8 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 11 at Florida, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 12 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 16 Ottawa, 3:00 p.m.
Jan. 18 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 at N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 22 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 24 N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 26 at Atlanta, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 1 Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 4 at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m.
Feb. 6 Pittsburgh, 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 8 San Jose, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 12 Los Angeles, 12:30 p.m.
Feb. 14 at Phoenix, 9:00 p.m.
Feb. 16 at Anaheim, 10:00 p.m.
Feb. 17 at San Jose, 10:30 p.m.
Feb. 20 at Buffalo, 3:00 p.m.
Feb. 21 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 25 N.Y. Rangers, 7:00 p.m.
Feb. 26 at N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 1 N.Y. Islanders, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 3 St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 6 at Florida, 5:00 p.m.
Mar. 7 at Tampa Bay, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 9 Edmonton, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 11 Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 13 Chicago, 3:00 p.m.
Mar. 15 at Montreal, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 16 at Detroit, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 18 at New Jersey, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 22 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 25 at Ottawa, 7:30 p.m.
Mar. 26 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 29 Carolina, 7:00 p.m.
Mar. 31 Columbus, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 2 Buffalo, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 5 at Toronto, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 6 Florida, 7:00 p.m.
Apr. 9 at Florida, 7:00 p.m.

I can’t wait to find free feeds online while I’m at college :D If only there was a team in Winnipeg, I could go to a lot more NHL games…Someone bring the Jets back!

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Completely Pointless Facts About Game 4 Officiating

Tonight’s officials are Dan O’Rourke and Tim Peel. Here we go:

Dan O’Rourke
The Caps saw O’Rourke five times during the regular season (four at home, once on the road).

O’Rourke has seen the Caps go 3-1-1 under his officiating. He has reffed with both Game 3 officials, Kelly Sutherland and Kevin Pollock.

Twice the Caps have received more penalties, twice the opponent received more, and once both teams were even in penalties.

The lone road game O’Rourke officiated was a 6-3 win at Mellon Arena. The Caps had twice as many penalties as the Penguins.

The back-to-back games he officiated versus Detroit and at Pittsburgh were part of the 14-game win streak (the 4th and 5th).

One-tenth of the Capitals 20 fights were when O’Rourke was officiating.

Tim Peel
The Caps saw Peel just three times (all at home).

The Caps are perfect at 3-0-0 when Peel is reffing.

Only once, the Caps were called for more penalties than the opposition.

The back-to-back games he reffed against Atlanta and Pittsburgh were during the 14-game win streak. They were actually the last two of that run, the 13th and 14th wins.

Again, one-tenth of the Caps 20 fights happened with Peel officiating.

In the end…
The Caps record was 6-1-1 and 1-0-0 on the road when either man reffed.

The Caps have a GF/G of 4.25 and a GA/G of 2.75.

One-fifth of the Caps fights occured under these two officials combined.

I’ll go ahead and call a 5-3 Caps win with one fight between Matt Bradley and someone.

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Completely Pointless Facts About Game 3 Officiating

Before the last game of the regular season, I decided to go through every single Caps game to try and find patterns of certain referees after reading Tim Leone’s blog about the Bears’ records with certain officials. I wrote everything down, but never got around to going through the “data.” But after plenty of whining from mainly the media about officiating of Game 2 between the Caps and the Habs, I decided to look at it for the first time.

The officials for Game 3, via @Habsinsideout1, will be Kevin Pollock and Kelly Sutherland.

Kelly Sutherland
The Capitals saw Sutherland six times during the regular season (five at home, once on the road).

With Sutherland, it’s evenly split; three times, the Caps have received more penalties and three times, the opposition has received more penalties.

Our record with Sutherland is 5-1-0 and includes two of the three shutout posted by Caps goalies this year.

The only away game that he reffed was a 3-0 shutout win in Tampa.

Kevin Pollock
The Capitals only saw Pollock twice during the regular season (both on the road).

With Pollock, the Caps always had more penalties than their opponents (which, in the Penguins series, was the case anyway).

Our record with Pollock is a perfect 2-0-0. Both wins came during the 14-game winning streak (the 5th and 11th wins).

Both were road wins.

In the end…
Between the two referees, the Caps were perfect at 3-0-0  on the road with one shutout, 4.33 GF/G, and 1.33 GA/G.

Through those three games, penalties against the Caps vs. penalties against opponents were 18-16 and twice the Caps took more penalties than the opponent.

Of course, it’s the second season and nothing from the first 82 means much now…

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Day after…Round 1, Game 1 vs Montreal

 (click to enlarge)

Caps lost to the Habs in OT last night.

It was my understanding that these were the NFL playoffs and one loss means the season is over.

I am convinced this is the only solution for next year.

Well, actually…you can change that to just “Trade Ovechkin.”

Since, y’know, he has disappeared like Joe Thornton every April.

See you all next season.

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Oh, Statistics

With a run-and-gun offense like the Washington Capitals’, it is so easy to say that their weakness is their team defense. (You know it’s actually the penalty killing.) Well, I wanted to see if it really was that horrible. So instead of doing my real AP Statistics homework, I decided to play with some Caps stats regarding categories that typically display how sound a team is in their own end.

If you look at flat out goals against per game, the Caps are clearly mediocre. They land right in the middle of the pack at 16th with 2.77. Three other teams in the playoffs (Colorado, Pittsburgh, and Ottawa) are lower than the Caps in GA/G, but I haven’t heard as much criticism about their defense (but maybe that’s because I don’t pay them close attention).

When you change it to 5-on-5 play, the Caps shoot all the way up to fifth with a total of 136 goals against, just five behind League leading Phoenix.

Just how bad does the lackluster penalty kill (ranked 25th at just 78.8%) make the overall team defense look?


When you watch NHL on the Fly or read any blog, you usually just hear or read how many goals against a team has; it is never really broken down. Because of that, the goals from man down situations influence people to believe that, at full strength, a team is weaker than they really are.

Looking at how big of a difference total GA/G and 5-on-5 GA/G was, I wanted to figure out how the Caps goals against would look if they had an average penalty kill.

I chose to try two different ways. The first:

Since there are no outliers in the data, I figured that taking the mean of power play goals against would work fine. That average is ~55 PPGA.

215 goals against (2.62 GA/G) would be good for 11th in the League. Would our team defense still be harped on as much? Don’t know, but that’s clearly an improvement with an average PK.

A little more realistic, the second method I used was taking the average PK% (~81.6%). I found how many penalties the Caps would kill with the League average PK. And here we go: 

It’s about the same and still puts them at about the 11 spot with exactly the same total goals against as St. Louis, Vancouver, and Montreal.

In conclusion, with an average penalty killing percentage, the Caps would be in about the upper third of the League in goals against in stead of the very top of the lower half.

You can do with that what you will. I really don’t know what I just proved or if I did…

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