Jul 12, 2014, 3:20 PM EST
As a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins, defenseman Matt Niskanen had his fair share of experience playing against the rival Washington Capitals, but he was also watching them for a different reason.
“Really my whole career, I’ve always kind of kept an eye on the Caps, because of (Alex) Ovechkin, so it’s just a fun team to watch and has been for a long time. So I’ve been pretty familiar with the people here and how they play,” Niskanen said, per the Monumental Network.
The Capitals’ core of forwards is a big part of what convinced him that this team was capable of competing for the Stanley Cup despite their previous shortcomings.
The fact that they hired head coach Barry Trotz and assistant coach Todd Reirden also peaked his interest. He already had experience working with Reirden in Pittsburgh and Niskanen felt continuing that relationship would be the best way for him to continue his growth after recording 46 points last season.
“That was a big factor, familiarity with (Reirden) … what he’s done for my career, building my confidence, helping me become a better player,” Niskanen said.
Niskanen obviously didn’t have the same kind of relationship with Trotz, but after talking to the bench boss, he was left with the impression that he’ll work well in Trotz’s system.
He also got a chance to speak with Ovechkin and is looking forward to playing alongside him. Niskanen is already used to dealing with star forwards on the ice from his time with Pittsburgh and his goal will be to get the puck to Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom as quickly as possible.
“(Ovechkin)’s a force. If he keeps going, if (Trotz) gets everyone on the same page, I think he’ll have another outstanding year,” Niskanen said.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:45 PM EST
The 452nd of his career.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:47 PM EST
Watch some hockey before a certain big game.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:39 PM EST
Andrei Vasilevskiy gets recalled in his place.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:18 PM EST
Pittsburgh continues to navigate injury challenges.
Feb 1, 2015, 11:50 AM EST
Time to hit the brakes on that rumor?
Feb 1, 2015, 10:37 AM EST
St. Louis is 9-0-1 in its last 10 games.
Feb 1, 2015, 9:37 AM EST
A big hip check and three assists from the defenseman.
Feb 1, 2015, 1:41 AM EST
Got a little help, too. Quick whistle on Toews chances.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:55 AM EST
Stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win.
Feb 1, 2015, 12:07 AM EST
No call. Got a little testy out there after that hit.
Jan 31, 2015, 11:17 PM EST
Boston maintaining their hold on a Wild Card spot.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:23 PM EST
Maybe February will be better?
Jan 31, 2015, 9:44 PM EST
Battle of Alberta isn’t what it used to be.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:57 PM EST
Scary moment, but he has stayed in the game.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:27 PM EST
Goal No. 715 of his career.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:14 PM EST
Short-handed, too! *Thumbs up*
Jan 31, 2015, 7:43 PM EST
Starting Sunday, these teams will play each other three times in 16 days.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:16 PM EST
Obviously not smart.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:46 PM EST
Allowed five goals on 20 shots.
Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST
Two losses in a row for the Islanders.
- Ovechkin becomes fifth player to start career with 10 straight 30+ goal seasons 0
- End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov 0
- Leafs scoring slump hits historical low 21
- Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck 10
- Zamboni driver arrested for DUI, allegedly cleaned ice surface while drunk 16
- Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL 14
- Price leads Habs past Caps with second straight shutout 10
- Report: Rob Blake would be Brendan Shanahan’s first choice to replace Dave Nonis 5
- Bettman would be ‘kicking and screaming’ before NHL jerseys have ads 27
- Comparing the records of all 30 teams in the last two months 61