9:04 PM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
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Japers' Rink 7 hours ago

Re-thinking Zone Starts

It's not as simple as "start offensive players in the offensive zone and defensive players in the defensive zone." Most NHL teams not only match lines, but also (to an extent) match zones. That is, at five-on-five, certain players are sent out for more offensive-zone faceoffs than defensive-zone draws, and vice versa. While most teams aren't yet as extreme as the classic example of Vancouver from a few years ago — the Sedin twins started over 70% of their non-neutral shifts in the offensive zone with Manny Malhotra handling much of the D-zone duties — they're slowly progressing in that...
J.p. / Japers' Rink 9 hours ago

The Noon Countdown: Brouwer Power

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look back at a big year for a secondary scorer 43 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ... Troy Brouwer's career-high point total, set in 2013-14. Brouwer also set career marks in goals (25), power-play goals (12), shots on goal (161) and ice time (18:51 per night), and will be counted on to provide some secondary scoring going forward.
Japers' Rink 10 hours ago

The Capitals' Top 25 Under 25: 2014-15, Part I

A look at the top 25 players in the Capitals organization under the age of 25. When Brian MacLellan took over as the Caps' general manager earlier in the summer, he inherited a cupboard full of young players that would appear to be on the rebound after some relatively lean years. ESPN's Corey Pronman recently ranked the Caps as the 15th-best prospect pipeline in the League, noting that "[t]he depth in Washington's system isn't great, but the top of their pipeline can go head-to-head with some of the elite teams." How depth should be weighted relative to elite talent when evaluating and...
Becca H / Japers' Rink 14 hours ago
Wednesday Caps Clips

Wednesday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Kuznetsov gets the dirt on Trotz, breaking down the Caps' (old and new) blueliners and more. Your savory breakfast links: Given some new bodies on the blue line and a (hopefully) bounce-back season from Braden Holtby, just how many goals does it look like the Caps will give up in 2014-15? [Rink] Our own Rob Parker stops by at our pals over at The Cannon to weigh in on the offseason in DC and what lies ahead. [The Cannon] Nicklas Backstrom on his new bench boss: "having him as a coach can only be great." [Hockey Ramblings] Evgeny Kuznetsov got...
Japers' Rink Aug 26, 2014
How Many Goals Against Will the Caps Allow in 2014-15?

How Many Goals Against Will the Caps Allow in 2014-15?

The team should be able to cut down on shots against, but may not be able to improve its save percentage... and that would be okay. With the hiring of Barry Trotz and the signings of Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen, it looks like the Capitals will go into next season with a renewed focus on defense, a strategy that certainly makes some sense, considering the team ranked in the bottom-10 in the league in goals-against in 2013-14. On a simplistic level, goals-against is a function of shots-against and save percentage; while the former is largely at the mercy of systems and personnel, the ...
J.p. / Japers' Rink Aug 26, 2014

The Noon Countdown: Brouwer-Play Goals and More

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at the power play's supporting cast 44 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ...the number of power-play goals scored by Capitals other than Alex Ovechkin in 2013-14, led by Troy Brouwer's dozen and six apiece from Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson and Joel Ward. In other words, the Caps' power-play minus the League's biggest extra-man gun still posted as many goals as eight teams (including the Stanley Cup Champion Kings).
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 26, 2014
That Time When the Caps Played Musical Goalies

That Time When the Caps Played Musical Goalies

2014-15 marks the 40-year anniversary of the Washington Capitals' inaugural season, and with each year that passes, more and more stories from the early years get forgotten or otherwise lost. Let's try to change that. This is Throwback Tuesday... because who wants to wait 'til Thursday? If the Washington Capitals of the 1970s were some of the worst teams in NHL history, the 1970s Montreal Canadiens were among the League's best. Six of the franchise's Stanley Cups, and eight of their top-ten point totals, were captured during that decade; their roster boasted the likes of Guy Lafleur, Larry...
J.p. / Japers' Rink Aug 26, 2014
Tuesday Caps Clips

Tuesday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: The Caps' top line and the zones they enter, breakouts, workouts, flameouts and more. Your savory breakfast links: There's room for improvement for the Caps' top line in terms of how they enter the offensive zone at even-strength and what they do once there. [Rink] Five Caps who could be primed for breakout campaigns in 2014-15. [Stars & Sticks] Three options for fourth-line left wing that might bring a bit more to the party than Aaron Volpatti. [THW] Marcus Johansson ice-buckets himself (which is probably pretty close to what it would feel like...
J.p. / Japers' Rink Aug 25, 2014

The Noon Countdown: Close But No Cigar

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at how the Caps fared in one-goal games in 2013-14 45 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ...the number of one-goal games the Caps played in 2013-14, fourth-most in the League (New Jersey played 50, Calgary 49 and Winnipeg 46). Washington's .467 win percentage in those games (21-10-14) was 20th-best in the League, and their 21 shootouts (10-11) was tops on the circuit.
Japers' Rink Aug 25, 2014

Under the Microscope: The Capitals Top Line and Zone Entries

Could the Capitals be getting more out of their top line? [Note: The majority of the legwork for this post was done by Corey Sznajder, who is manually tracking all 1230 NHL games from last season. Read more about Corey here, and support his work here.] Back in June we took a look at how the Washington Capitals compared to the Nashville Predators with respect to zone entries, and what that might mean for the Capitals moving forward. Partially due to the limited number of games available, we kept our focus at a somewhat high level - lines and pairings - when analyzing zone entry patterns...
Japers' Rink Aug 25, 2014
Monday Caps Clips

Monday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Premiering Team P, the rookies get their showcase on, Jakub Vrana electrifies and more. Your savory breakfast links: Looks like those "#81 Orlov" sweaters are now collector's items. (And tough news for those of you holding out hope that the team would retire Mike Ribeiro's number.) [RMNB] Michal Pivonka, Pete Peeters, and Tom Poti are on point for Team P. [Peerless] Who ya got for best team enforcer? Choose wisely. [S&S] Don't sleep on these Caps for your fantasy teams... [CBS Sports, THS] ... and watch out for this potential bust. [CBS Sports] ...
Japers' Rink Aug 24, 2014

Sunday Open Thread

Nope, still not October yet.
J.p. / Japers' Rink Aug 23, 2014

Saturday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: The most impactful Cap (in fantasy and reality), a winger's masterpiece, some ex-Caps looking for work and more. Your savory breakfast links: We've reached the semis of our GIF Tourney, so go watch and vote and get angry at people who disagree with you. [Rink] And your #1 most impactful Cap for 2014-15 is... Alex Ovechkin, of course. [CSNW] Yahoo! is out with it's fantasy hockey player rankings and guess which Caps blueliner made the top-100. No, not that one. Or that one. But this guy. Sell. [Puck Daddy] Troy Brouwer shows off his artistry. Like,...
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 22, 2014
The Noon Countdown: Rookie Hazing

The Noon Countdown: Rookie Hazing

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at rookie workload over the years 48 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ...the number of rookies in franchise history to play in at least 41 games (i.e. half a regular season) in their rookie year). Five of them are currently active with the Caps - Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Dmitry Orlov and Tom Wilson.
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 22, 2014

GIF Tournament Conference Final: The Fantastic Four

Sixteen began, four remain as the GIF tournament rolls into the final rounds... Two rounds are in the books, and that means just four proud, victorious GIFs remain! They'll battle it out right here in the Conference Finals, all for a chance at glory and the first-ever Stanley Cup of GIFs... So who made the cut? Without further ado, here are your four finalists: WALES CONFERENCE FINAL AN APPLE FOR THE ROOKIE (3) vs. SWEDE DISH (1)Vote now! **** CAMPBELL CONFERENCE FINAL MOJO BRINGS THE OVERTIME MOJO (4) vs. OVECHKIN JUGGLES THE PUCK (4)Vote now! Voting for the Conference Final round will...
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 22, 2014

Friday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Brooks Orpik dismisses the haters, Coach Trotz and Joe B go for a dip and more. Your savory breakfast links: Just how bad will the Caps' fourth line be next season? An answer to that and other burning mid-August questions in the Japers' Rink Mailbag. [Rink] Nicklas Backstrom: the guy with the second-biggest potential impact on the Caps in 2014-15. Only one remains... but who could it be??? [CSNW] As the long offseason continues, a look back at the very first offseason, when players and fans alike tried to recover from that eight-win season....
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 21, 2014

The Noon Countdown: Points A-Ward-ed

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at Joel Ward's awesome season. 49 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ...the number of points accumulated by Joel Ward in 2013-14, topping his previous career high of 34 which he set back in 2008-09. Ward's 24 goals and 25 assists were both also career highs. 37 of Ward's 49 points were scored at even strength, second-highest on the Caps and just two shy of Alex Ovechkin's team-leading 39 even-strength points.
J.p. / Japers' Rink Aug 21, 2014

Japers' Rink Mailbag: The Fourth Line, The Bird and More

Taking a closer look at the bottom-three, Winter Classic angst, how many goals an average Joe might give up and more in this week's edition of "you ask, we answer." So our pal Dave Lozo said something on Twitter that ended up inspiring a question via email (which we'll let Rob answer): How bad will the Caps fourth line be in the upcoming season? Shouldn't we expect it to at least improve? How much will new systems under Trotz help that line? As well as by changing some of its personnel: in lieu of Volpatti maybe Bissonnette, but more likely the younger guys, such as Latta and Brown, down at...
Japers' Rink Aug 21, 2014

Thursday Caps Clips

Daily Washington Capitals news and notes: Centermen in the spotlight, productive forward/d-man pairings, developing Jakub Vrana and more. Your savory breakfast links: Should Marcus Johansson be worried? [Rink] At the very least he should come to Kettler prepared to do battle - centermen will be the center of attention at camp. [Yoush's Take] Perhaps there will be a new forward joining Matt Niskanen at the top of this list next year (with bonus Flash sighting). [HB] Evaluating playoff potential by goal differential. Intriguing. [Pro Ice Hockey] Prospect watch: Jakub Vrana won't know...
Becca H / Japers' Rink Aug 20, 2014

The Noon Countdown: Ready, Aim, Fire!

Counting down the days until the 2014-15 season with a look at a couple of half-century shot totals. 50 - Number of days remaining until the Caps open the 2014-15 season. But it's also... ...the Caps' highest single-game shot total in the 2013-14 season. They actually achieved that shot total twice, first on November 23 against the Leafs (with Toronto firing 28 shots on the Caps' net), and then again on December 29 against the Sabres, whom they outshot by 33. Both games ended as 2-1 losses in the shootout.

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