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Posted at 12:11 PM ET, 12/29/2010

Jay Beagle's 'great bid' to stay with the Capitals

By Katie Carrera

Jay Beagle (No. 83) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Devils on Dec. 21. (Toni L. Sandys/ The Washington Post)


With 16 minutes and 20 seconds gone from the first period against the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night, the Capitals took a lead on one of the prettier goals in recent memory for a club that's been adapting to a more defensive style.

The goal -- a nifty backhand shot -- was scored by Jay Beagle, on recall from the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears, in his seventh contest with the Capitals this season. It was his second goal in four games and the reward for a mucking effort by some of Washington's grinding forwards, Beagle included, down below the goal line.

After the contest, Coach Bruce Boudreau said Beagle was "making a great bid" to remain in Washington. The Capitals recalled Beagle on Dec. 15 prior to Washington's contest against Anaheim. He didn't play much in his first two contests (less than 15 minutes combined) and was a healthy scratch against Ottawa, but in the four contests since then, he's consistently brought energy and added spunk to the Capitals' attack.

When Matt Bradley suffered a broken finger in the middle of the eventual 5-1 win over New Jersey, it presented an opportunity not often available to Beagle since he joined the organization in 2008 -- a chance to make the lineup on a regular basis.

"It's a real deep team on forward and D; we're deep everywhere, and it's been a really good team ever since I've been in the organization," Beagle said. "So to crack the lineup is really hard but it gives you something to work for and get better for every day... I'm just trying to be kind of like a power forward, grind it down low and get energy and things going from there."

In addition to the goal against Montreal, Beagle and his linemates -- Jason Chimera and Eric Fehr -- seemed to spend a good chunk of their time in the Montreal zone. They embraced the dump-and-chase mentality displayed by the Capitals last night and worked diligently to scrape pucks into their possession along the boards, or for faceoff wins.

On a night where the Capitals' centermen won 36 of 52 faceoffs, Beagle won 7 of 11 in 9:52 of ice time. Beagle also earned the team's hard hat after the victory, as his contributions have not gone unnoticed by the rest of his teammates.

It's been a steady progression for Beagle since he was recalled, and over the past few games it's also become clear that the right wing/center has earned the trust and confidence of the Capitals' coaching staff. One of the regular penalty killers for the Bears, Beagle has played at least 1:37 while shorthanded in each of the past three games for the Capitals. He skated 2:46 while killing penalties in a high-pressure game against the Penguins last week.

"We knew he could do the job," Boudreau said earlier this week of putting Beagle on the penalty kill. "I t's just a matter of putting him in and letting him get confidence doing the job. He's got a really good stick, he's determined, he's tireless and he blocks shots, so there are a lot of good things about him and he takes direction really well."

Beagle said he is content to do whatever is asked of him, but he takes particular pride in being among those entrusted to kill penalties.

"It definitely feels good. That's what I've been working on in the minors," Beagle said. "I kill a lot down there, so it's something that I'm comfortable with. It's obviously a little bit different killing against [Sidney] Crosby and [Evgeni] Malkin, but it's something that I look forward to and the challenge -- it's a good learning experience. It definitely makes you better."

By Katie Carrera  | December 29, 2010; 12:11 PM ET
Categories:  Jay Beagle  
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Next: Winter Classic lineup planning creates a headache for Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau

Comments

is that steve case in the front row? C'mon ted hook a brother!

Posted by: mekongplease | December 29, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

too bad about gordo . . .

Posted by: mekongplease | December 29, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

The AHL callups and the 3rd/4th line guys have really sparked the turnaround the past 4 games.

Mike Green has stepped up offensively but the other top 3 scorers on this team can't seem to do much more than shoot into an empty net at the end of the game.

It's ironic on a team with all this talent that it's the kids and the muckers/grinders from Hershey that are leading the way.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | December 29, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

One of two things will happen for the remainder of the year -
1. The stars will get their games back. The team will continue to benefit from the confidence gained by the grinders during the stars' slumps and the increased emphasis on defense, and the team will have real success through the playoffs; or
2. The stars will have season-long slumps. The efforts of the grinders and the enhanced defense won't be enough to carry the team through the playoffs.

I have no clue as to which one will occur.

Posted by: zmega | December 29, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Katie, Bradley got hurt against New Jersey right before Beagle scored to give the Caps a 2-1 lead in the second period.

Posted by: jcreech1 | December 29, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

I think Option #1 is more likely, given the Law of Averages. Ovi, Backstrom, Semin, and Laich can not ALL stay in a slump for the remainder of the season. One of them might remain mired in a slump for the rest of the year but the odds are against that entire group remaining there. At least Ovi is showing signs of breaking out.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 29, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

A solid and very satisfying 60-minute win last night. My thoughts:

--Sure, the sputtering power play is a cause for concern, but...

--Lack of grit? I'm not so sure. Knowing when to fight is just as important (if not more so) as the fighting itself. If Subban runs our goaltender or one of our stars, then I say yes a response is mandatory. Otherwise, for what? So you can give the other team a power play? Although seeing Subban "run" Chimera was certainly disturbing, it also unmasked Subban--not as a genuine "tough guy", but rather as a low-rent version of Sean Avery (a.k.a Maximum DB of the Galaxy).

Now, I enjoy a good donnybrook as much as the next guy--no Damian Cox am I!--but the smart response to a would-be agitator is sometimes not to respond at all.

Also I think Subban may be suffering from Roid Rage--League needs to drug test him ASAP.

--The Penalty Kill was again outstanding--very well-done against one of this year's top Power Play units.

--Varly = money.

--Sweet helper by B├Ąckis on the goal by Green--maybe he is getting his mojo back as a playmaker...

--Schultz/Erskin pairing much better than anyone expected. Welcome back Mr. Nasty!

--Also liked the way the Caps repeatedly clogged the nuetral zone against MTL attacks.

--Even more fun to see the look on Jacques Martin's face as BB did back to him what was done to the Caps in Game 7...and the only "adjustment" poor Jacques was able to make was to pull Price as time ran out BWAHAHAHAHA! Man definitely needs more fiber in his diet...

Of course, for the BB/GMGM-haters and other "never win a Cup" naysayers, it's always something...I say unto them:


DON'T YOU PEOPLE GET IT!?!?!?

We WON.
We gave up ZERO (0) GOALS AGAINST.
Penalty Kill was PERFECT 5 for 5.
Besides the Power Play ills, what's not to like?

Since ending the schneid Caps have earned 9 of a possible 10 points...not bad at all.

Now let's go forth and humiliate the Enemy on their own pond!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 29, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

My new favorite player is Matt Hendricks.
Love this guy.

I hope he sticks around for a while.

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | December 29, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Gratified the team won yesterday, in a defensive struggle.

The PP is still a mess at this point. It may be time for BB to start putting some of our more productive "grinders" on the PP, such as Beagle.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 29, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

85 and 90 are both practicing today with the team at Chevy Chase.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

Are you there to watch today? Or are you receiving the news via Twitter. If the former, how are they looking?

Posted by: CapsFan75 | December 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Not deep enough at center...none of these guys are legit second line centers. All I want in the New Year is a trade for a second line center.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 29, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@CapsFan

just on twitter. Had to work today.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Regarding Hendricks. The guy is a monster, plain and simple, and he is also quickly becoming one of my favorite players.

I sit higher up in Section 112. Repeatedly, during breaks in the action last night, he would skate over to the boards in front of us and give kind of a angry growl/scream to the first few rows, and then skate away smiling. The entire front of the section would jump up and scream and howl back. It not only got the crowd really pumped, but I think it got him going as well.

It was fantastic.

Posted by: SameOldCaps | December 29, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

Lack of grit? I'm not so sure. Knowing when to fight is just as important (if not more so) as the fighting itself. If Subban runs our goaltender or one of our stars, then I say yes a response is mandatory. Otherwise, for what? So you can give the other team a power play? Although seeing Subban "run" Chimera was certainly disturbing, it also unmasked Subban--not as a genuine "tough guy", but rather as a low-rent version of Sean Avery (a.k.a Maximum DB of the Galaxy).

-Rhino

agreed! Even on HBO Bylsma was upset that Malkin seemed to confuse standing up for your team and taking dumb and unecessary penalties...and thats the team with the most fights.

@sameoldcaps

just curious, but were you guy at the Pitt game last week that was screaming at the guy in the suite taunting Fluerry? b/c I was high up in 112 for that game and was just wondering.

Posted by: capscoach | December 29, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

All I want in the New Year is a trade for a second line center.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 29, 2010 1:20 PM
-------------------------------------------
Rolston is on re-entry waiers today and can be had for 2.5M/yr thru next yr. No prospects, no picks just $. Which is now about 1.25M for the rest of this yr & 2.5 next. Pretty sure there's more than enough room.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 29, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

@capscoach:

Thank you!

Posted by: Rhino40 | December 29, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

Rolston is more of a Winger and not a 2C. That coupled with the fact $1.25 would push us mighty close to the cap due to all the call ups we have had. We'd still have room but the cap space and the fact Rolston is not what we need that wont be happening.

Rolston to TB is my prediction.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

A player like Rolston IS EXACTLY what we need. He is a very "good" 2C who can play wing as well. We have plenty of cap room.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 29, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Rolston is on re-entry waiers today and can be had for 2.5M/yr thru next yr. No prospects, no picks just $. Which is now about 1.25M for the rest of this yr & 2.5 next. Pretty sure there's more than enough room.

Posted by: pokerface1208

I brought this up yesterday, but it seems as though most people on this board want to pass on Rolston.

I'm sort of on the fence on this. I think he could be a valuable addition on the 2nd line(allowing Laich and Knuble to play on the checking line) and would provide good veteran leadership.

However, it may prevent or hinder the Caps ability to acquire a 2nd line center.

Also, there would be a huge overload at wings/forwards on the Caps roster, so some sort of secondary move would have to be made(some wing would have to be moved. No idea who though) for it to work.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 29, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

currently with all the call ups we have, we have less than $1.25 in cap room. That goes up when all the players are sent down I know, but we dont have as much cap room as you think. And "very good 2C", I just disagree with you on that.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@ Rhino40.

I was at the ganme last night, watched Subban mucking it up with Chimera, and during the ensuing face off, watched as he continued to try to egg Chimera on.

What needs to be pointed out, however, is that Subban, instead of playing smart, wanted to take a run at Chimera on the next - or second time - the two of them were out there, missed him completely at center ice and fell down, leaving himself totally out of position on the Green goal.

Posted by: Dave28 | December 29, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@Capscoach

Hendricks has been fantastic...agreed. He plays his butt off everynight.

Posted by: lylewimbledon | December 29, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

ThePat & SGM - when thinking of Rolston, a big factor in the whole deal is giving up assets (picks, prospects) etc. In this case we have to give up NONE so it's just the $. When you don't have to give up anything but $ and you have it, and the player improves your team, why wouldn't you do it?

Is MJ or MP gonna be better come playoff time? This can be debated for sure. My opinion has been to go with the youth but in this case I'll take a proven champion.

2nd line would be Semin-Rolston-Laich/Fehr.

It won't happen as I'd be surprised if he even gets to us but if he did to me it's a nobrainer.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 29, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

I dont disagree that we need a 2C, I just dont think Rolston is the answer. For this team to get to the promised land they are going to have to give up the picks and prospects to get a legit 2C. Rolston hasn't been that good the last 2 years.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Rolston isn't a center.

Posted by: underpants2 | December 29, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

"ThePat & SGM - when thinking of Rolston, a big factor in the whole deal is giving up assets (picks, prospects) etc. In this case we have to give up NONE so it's just the $. When you don't have to give up anything but $ and you have it, and the player improves your team, why wouldn't you do it?"

@pokerface1208

That is a very good point and would be a large factor in determining whether to go for Rolston. However, I always thought of Rolston as a winger first and not a center(I could be wrong).

If the Caps staff felt that Rolston can play center without having to make any adjustment to playing center(i.e. Flash) then it becomes a better idea.

With the Caps few wins the last couple of days they were pushed down the line for waiver wire claims. Although if Rolston was put on re-entry waivers yesterday, the Caps would pick before Tampa.

The reason not to go after Rolston would be because it would hinder the Caps ability to acquire a 2nd line center later on(due to less cap space).

Posted by: sgm3 | December 29, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Beagle's backhand, blind shot, goal was a thing of beauty of no equal in my lifetime. Recently big Cap goals have come from AHLers hailing from Nova Scotia, Quebec and Alberta. Where have been the great Cap Scandinavian and Russian salary cap busters this year? Out to lunch counting their dollars I suspect! Now some guy named Jaffe, bet he was a great hockey player back in the day like Bettman lol, is making the Caps open in Stockholm next year. Caps should open in Drummondville Quebec or Halifax Nova Scotia if they want to reward a non NHL city for sending talent to the Caps. Where's Don Cherry and Clarence Campbell when we need them!

Posted by: dull | December 29, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

you are correct, like I and underpants stated Rolston is not a C. Maybe he has played it a few games or at times, but he is by no means the 2C this team need. Its like going through the Flash experiment all over again with an older player basically. No Thanks.

Posted by: ThePat | December 29, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

How bout if you could get Rolston and then trade Chimera for a pick? That is pretty close to cap-neutral. He obviously doesn't have Chimera's speed but do people think Rolston would bring more to the team?

Rhino40: I agree it was nice to beat the Habs last night but really it doesn't wipe out the playoff loss in Game 7. On a scale of 1-10, winning last night was a "1" and BB losing Game 7 at home to Martin was a "100."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | December 29, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

IMHO Beagle should have made the roster in October. He is more versatile than most of our 'role player' guys. I also believe he's a better fighter than Hendricks and Bradley. He may not look for it like the other two but he has at least one KO on his fighting ledger. Fighting to get your team pumped up fails if your guy(s) get hammered everytime they drop the gloves.

Posted by: FLDave | December 29, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

One other thing to note on Rolston is that he had sports hernia surgery earlier this year. So his health could be a cause for concern.

On Chimera, if the Caps had another player with top notch speed, then him and his contract would be expendable. But I think having at least one guy with top notch speed on the bottom two lines is very valuable. It allows the Caps players to just chip the puck up and have Chimera gain possession(allowing for offensive zone time). He also gets a few breakaways and/or gets a few penalties drawn because of his speed.

Posted by: sgm3 | December 29, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Rolston is a center as well. Tom - Rolston is probably just as fast if not faster than Chimmer. Seriously man Rolston has got some wheels that people flat don't realize. That's why he plays so much short handed and almost always is on a break. He would be a solid addition.

Posted by: pokerface1208 | December 29, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

IMHO Beagle should have made the roster in October. He is more versatile than most of our 'role player' guys. I also believe he's a better fighter than Hendricks and Bradley. He may not look for it like the other two but he has at least one KO on his fighting ledger. Fighting to get your team pumped up fails if your guy(s) get hammered everytime they drop the gloves.

Posted by: FLDave | December 29, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe that people are discussing Rolston as a solution at 2c. Get serious, the guy is washed up, he sucks. We don't need another old, mediocre player; either use this time to develop our young guys, or trade one or two of them for someone who is actually GOOD NOW. A guy who was good 5 years ago doesn't help us today.

Posted by: ssweeney | December 30, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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