Posts Tagged ‘Braden Holtby’

SI.com NHL fan misery rankings: No. 4 Washington Capitals

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Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin remains a cornerstone, but is he right for the Capitals’ future? (Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

By Allan Muir

Sometimes it’s just plain awful to be a fan.

We’re not talking about the occasional emotional bump and bruise, the kind fans get from a devastating last-second loss or a disastrous season-ending injury — or even when they watch their favorite team bow out in the conference finals, one round shy of a shot at the Stanley Cup. We mean years of suffering at the hands of a club that almost seems to delight in tormenting those who freely give to it their hearts, minds, time and money.

This is the seventh in our series on the 10 NHL franchises that take an ongoing toll on their fans, the teams that suggest that their devoted followers are either bottomless wells of hope or certified masochists — or perhaps just a touch crazy. Today we look at the Washington Capitals, who have mastered the dark art of inflating great hopes and cruelly crushing them.

TEAM 10: Winnipeg Jets | 9: Dallas Stars | 8: Columbus Blue Jackets | 7: Vancouver Canucks
6:
Florida Panthers | 5. Edmonton Oilers | 3. Buffalo Sabres | 2. New York Islanders1. Toronto Maple Leafs

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  • Published On Mar 19, 2014
  • Ray Emery’s beatdown of Braden Holtby won’t help end fighting in the NHL

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    By Allan Muir

    What a great day it was for the anti-fighting brigade.

    On Friday, Flyers goalie Ray Emery chummed the waters with his vicious assault on Capitals goalie Braden Holtby. The one-sided bout sent the small but vocal group (mostly media-based) that is opposed to brawling into a frenzy of grandstanding and virtual ink spilling, not just about the beating, but also about the NHL’s inability, or unwillingness, to sanction Emery for his dirty deed.

    The indignation pretty much leapt off of pages. On Twitter, Kevin Dupont, of The Boston Globe wrote, “NHL Player Safety has made huge strides last 2 yrs. It cannot allow Emery to skate on his Holtby beatdown. Travesty.”

    “I love hockey, but the disgrace in Philly last night is a perfect example of why, to millions of people, the NHL is not a serious pro sport,” offered Steve Maich, the publisher and editor of Sportsnet.

    They’re right to be appalled by this incident, of course. As far as optics go, watching one man pummel an entirely unwilling opponent is about as bad as it gets. Even a fighting advocate like myself is not conflicted on this point.

    GALLERY: Wild NHL goalie fights

    Emery vs. Holtby wasn’t what Brian Burke would have called a good fight. It wasn’t about accountability or The Code. It was about one frustrated man who had allowed four goals on 15 shots taking out his embarrassment on another player who wanted no part of it.

    So yeah, it was a “bad” fight. And it might even precipitate a rule change, much the way Matt Cooke’s head shot on a defenseless Marc Savard led to new guidelines dictating where a player can and cannot be hit.

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  • Published On Nov 04, 2013
  • Top Line: Ray Emery vs. Braden Holtby fight sparks rules talk; more links

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    Ray Emery fights Braden Holtby

    Ray Emery’s beatdown of Braden Holtby was one of the more lopsided goalie bouts of recent years. (Tom Mihalek/AP)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Gary Bettman danced around a question about Ray Emery’s beating of Braden Holtby of Friday night, but not before suggesting that it was something the league’s general managers would look at. Could a rule change be on the horizon?

    • Mike Russo says that the Wild could definitely use more scoring, but adds that with a promising group of kids on the roster, and in the pipeline, they may have more pressing needs than Islanders’ winger Thomas Vanek next summer. Maybe Russo is just throwing a little cold water on a rumor . . . or maybe Minnesota is hoping to send out a message that it’s not sitting around waiting for Vanek with bags of money.

    • Sabres enforcer Patrick Kaleta cleared waivers on Sunday. Now what?

    • Nazem Kadri has always wanted to be the go-to guy for the Maple Leafs. With forwards Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out indefinitely, Kadri finally has his chance.

    • Toronto GM Dave Nonis admits that the Maple Leafs are fortunate to be 10-5-0, and also discusses what lies ahead for the team in this interview with Mike Zeisberger.

    • Great goaltending and a star player channeling his inner Jonathan Toews have made the Lightning the surprise team in the East.

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  • Published On Nov 04, 2013
  • Top Line: Varlamov sharp in return; nasty business in Philly; more links

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    Braeden Holtby fight

    The fight between Braeden Holtby and Ray Emery will be a hot talking point this weekend. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • An exceptional third period performance by Semyon Varlamov in a controversial starting role helped the Avs beat the Stars 3-2 in OT. Here were my quick and dirty thoughts from late last night on his performance. That link is worth clicking if only to see the Save of the Year candidate posted by Kari Lehtonen. Amazing.

    The Denver Post secured a neutral translation of Evgenia Vavrinyuk’s Thursday press conference in which Varlamov’s accuser told her side of the story. There are a few interesting differences from the original translation provided by her lawyer that seem to suggest more than simple nuance was in play here.

    • The great Mike Heika saw the Budweiser Clydesdales outside the AAC last night and used their legendary teamwork to call attention to the plight of Lehtonen, Dallas’ standalone star.

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  • Published On Nov 02, 2013
  • Goalie fight! Flyers’ Ray Emery squares off against Capitals’ Braden Holtby

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    By Eli Bernstein

    It’s been a tough season so far for the Flyers. An 0-3 start led to the (probably overdue) firing of coach Peter Laviolette in October, but the shakeup on the bench hasn’t resulted in a turnaround. Thanks mostly to an anemic offense and hit-or-miss defense, Philadelphia is currently sitting on six points, good for last place in the entire NHL.

    The Flyers’ offense wasn’t exactly its usual moribund self, and actually got off 30 shots against Caps netminder Braden Holtby. Not one found the back of the net though, and so after Ward scored 5:23 into the third period to make the score 7-0, the hosts decided to make some fireworks with their fists instead.

    The brouhaha began after Philadelphia’s Wayne Simmonds leveled Caps defenseman Steve Olesky with a check near the Washington blue line. Tom Wilson immediately came to his teammate’s defense, and as the refs watched the two tangle, Flyers goalie Ray Emery rushed down the ice, intent on going mano-a-mano with his counterpart Holbty.

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  • Published On Nov 01, 2013
  • Top Line: Latest on Varlamov’s arrest; Hawk to skip White House; more links

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    Semyon Varlamov was arrested on domestic violence charges

    Semyon Varlmov is reportedly being held in a jail cell alone because of his celebrity. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Here’s the latest on the Semyon Varlamov arrest from the Denver Westword blog. Pretty disturbing allegations.

    • In a bizarre sideshow, a Russian official is accusing the U.S. of an Olympic plot in the arrest of Varlamov.

    • Adrian Dater reminds everyone that the Avalanche have been through this before and survived. His final line is key.

    • From the Department of Unfortunate Timing: This feature on Varlamov and the influence of coach Patrick Roy on his breakthrough season hit the wires about two hours before his arrest became public knowledge.

    • Roy’s former coach, Bob Hartley, explains why the Hall of Famer has been so successful behind the bench.

    • A prominent member of Chicago’s 2013 Stanley Cup-winning team has announced that he’ll skip the White House ceremony honoring the Blackhawks next week. Another political stand . . . or something more sinister? Or maybe not such a bad reason at all.

    • The Hawks are riding a wave of enthusiasm provided by their high-energy kiddie corps.

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  • Published On Oct 31, 2013
  • Worth a shot: what to watch for this weekend in the NHL

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    Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon at

    Friendly rivals/top draft picks Seth Jones and Nathan MacKinnon meet in the NHL for the first time. (Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    • Friday night in Denver, it’s Seth Jones vs. Nate MacKinnon in a battle of the season’s two highest profile rookies. It probably won’t go down as a career-defining event on the scale of two recent meetings — Jones helping Team USA dismiss Team Canada at the 2013 World Juniors and MacKinnon’s Memorial Cup Finals hat trick while leading his Halifax Mooseheads over Jones’ Portland Winterhawks — but it’s still a measuring stick contest inspired as much by their longstanding friendship as Jones’ desire to prove that the Avs did, or didn’t, make the right call with their first-overall pick in June.

    • Will we see a kinder, gentler Patrick Roy behind the bench this weekend? I think Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs was right on the money when he suggested that Roy’s $10,000 fine was actually an investment in his relationship with his young team. Now that the point’s been made, there’s no reason for another round of histrionics, right? Aw, who are we kidding. It’s Patty Roy. He’ll probably hop the boards to take a swing at Rich Clune for looking at him funny.

    • Ville Leino’s injury opens the door for Buffalo’s golden boy, Johan Larsson, to make his Sabres debut Friday against the Senators. The 21-year-old center, acquired from the Wild in the 2013 trade deadline deal that sent Jason Pominville to Minnesota, will skate on the third line with Steve Ott and Tyler Ennis. He plays a high energy, two-way game that will make him an effective plug-in on the checking unit. The jury’s out on his ability to finish at this level, but he’s a creative playmaker and could put some points on the board.

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  • Published On Oct 04, 2013
  • Kovalchuk supports Russian anti-gay law; Crosby, other stars opposed

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    Ilya Kovalchuk

    Former Devil Ilya Kovalchuk is toeing his homeland’s party line for Sochi. (Martin Rose/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    Here’s a shocker: another high-profile Russian athlete has come out in support of their country’s controversial anti-gay propaganda law.

    “I agree, of course,” said Ilya Kovalchuk. “I’m Russian and we all have to respect that. It’s personal and, like I said, it’s a free world, but that’s our line. That’s our country, so everybody has to respect that.”

    I’m guessing that Kovalchuk, who was speaking to TSN, might have a different understanding of the phrase “free world” than most people.

    To be fair, though, he’s got more skin in this game than any of us. Maybe that is the way he feels. Maybe that’s the way he was told to feel. Doesn’t much matter. It’s pretty clear now that this is the sort of stock answer you should expect whenever a Russian is asked to speak in public about this particular law.

    The same question was posed to several players at Team Canada’s orientation camp in Calgary on Sunday, and while what they said didn’t exactly come across as an outpouring of support for the gay community, it’s clear that their views are a little different.

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  • Published On Aug 26, 2013
  • NHL playoffs: Washington Capitals down New York Rangers 1-0 in overtime

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    Winning goal-scorer Mike Green is one many options the Capitals have on the power play. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

    By Sarah Kwak

    The key to the Washington Capitals’ success in this series was always going to be patience in the face of New York’s stifling defense and goalie Henrik Lundqvist. On Saturday, after 68 minutes of trying to get a shot past the Rangers’ Vezina Trophy winner, the Caps finally broke through on a power play. Set up at the point, Caps defenseman Mike Green took a feed from Mike Ribeiro and whipped a one-timer that barely caught Rangers center Derek Stepan before hurtling past Lundqvist for a 1-0 overtime win at the Verizon Center that gave Washington a 2-0 series lead.

    It was yet another demonstration of this team’s power play prowess. Though the Rangers had been much better about staying out of the box than they were on Thursday night, a delay of game call in OT proved to be their undoing. Here are some more observations from Game 2:

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  • Published On May 04, 2013
  • Top Line: Eric Gryba’s hit on Canadiens’ Lars Eller stirs debate; more NHL links

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    Canadiens center Lars Eller left the game on a stretcher

    Ottawa’s Eric Gryba faces a hearing for sending Lars Eller off the ice on a stretcher. (Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    An annotated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • Canada’s Sun newspaper chain has never been a paragon of journalistic virtues, but this is an execrable decision. Shame on them.

    • Sean Gordon looks at the two sides of the frightening hit on Lars Eller.

    • Fascinating how many former players jumped on Twitter to pin the blame for the play on Montreal defender Raphael Diaz. I like the way Witt put it best.

    • Allan Maki wonders why the NHL doesn’t take out the guesswork and make every incident of head contact illegal. Think you’ll find this concept gaining steam in the media over the next few days, but I don’t see it catching on with the league. The speed of the game conspires with uniquely sized players to make some head contact inevitable. There has to be some room for interpretation, backed up with a greater awareness of safety among players.

    • Hard not to focus on Eller and his health after this one, but the Habs have to ask themselves how they failed to put this one away in a second period where they outshot the Senators 27-7.

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  • Published On May 03, 2013


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