By Stu Krantz
Salutations. This is a new feature we’re going to be starting here. We all know hockey has the best traditions of any sport so we’re going to be taking one of said traditions, the 3 stars, and applying it to everyday DC sports life. We’ll be doing the 3 stars for DC sports weekly. It transcends the normal restrictive boundaries of 1 sport. If you play any of the 4 major sports in DC (football, hockey, basketball, baseball) for a professional team, you’re eligible for this prestigious prize. Let’s get on with it.
1st Star: Nick Backstrom, center, Washington Capitals: Backstrom was the focal point of another very good week of Caps hockey. Last Tueday, playing at home vs. Anaheim, Backstrom tied the game at 4 with less than 45 seconds left in regulation, then won it less than 2 and a half minutes in to OT. He tallied 2 assists in the Caps next game (5-1 win at Carolina) and also in their last game of the week, a 5-3 loss on Long Island to the Islanders, giving him a total of 6 points (2G, 4A) in 3 games this week.
2nd Star: Cody Eakin, center, Washington Capitals: Eakin played in his first career NHL game against Anaheim after being called up from the AHL (Hershey). He logged 13 minutes of ice time and had 3 SOG. Then, in his second career game, he scored his first NHL goal on a real nice shot and also tallied his first assist in the same game. He wasn’t given a chance to repeat that, as Boudreau made him a healthy scratch against the Islanders (a loss. Coincidence? I think not.) Eakin is a great offensive prospect for the Caps, something they already have in abundance. But hey, the more the merrier.
3rd Star: Roy Helu, running back, Washington Redskins: I almost feel impure putting a Redskin in here the way they played. But Helu merits the 3rd star. The rookie, who had logged just 29 carries all year, carried 10 times for 41 yards and also caught an obscene 14 passes for 105 yards. I have felt all year that Helu is just a better back than Ryan Torain, and he was given the chance to prove it against what is probably the best defense in the League. Helu looks to be the recipient of an absurd amount of checkdown passes from John Beck and probably Rex Grossman going forward. Barring injury, he probably established himself as the Redskins’ starter for the rest of the year with his play last Sunday.
Honorable mention: Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington Capitals: After a slow start, Ovie looks like he’s starting to heat up. He had a really nice goal off a one-timer in the Islanders game.
Ryan Kerrigan, LB, Redskins: Kerrigan played like an animal (in a good way) yesterday. The rookie and Rocky McIntosh absolutely crushed Alex Smith on a sack early on in the game.
Dishonorable mention: John Beck, QB, Redskins: There’s been a lot of talk since the end of the game yesterday about to what degree of the blame can be placed on Beck. Yes, they have injuries, a questionable defense and absolutely no offensive talent, but Beck sucks. Come on now. He missed wide-open receivers and was just generally bad. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a moron.
Tomas Vokoun, goalie, Capitals: Vokoun had a pretty bad week, giving up 4 goals in Anaheim and then being in between the pipes for the 5-3 loss to the Isles. He stopped a total of 41 of 49 shots, a .836 SV %. Neuvy is also back now, so you figure Vokoun’s workload will decrease slightly.
Play of the Week: A real nice snipe from Cody Eakin for his first NHL goal. Nice pass from Semin too (goal around 1:40 mark):
Not Play of the Week: I won’t even revisit the Redskins game. Instead, Mr. Eakin gets a nice pie in the face here from his captain, which you can see here at Russian Machine Never Breaks (Having trouble embedding NHL vids, sorry).
And that’s your week in DC sports. See ya soon.
Follow Stu on Twitter @puckschmuck. All the cool kids and Matt are doing it.