The 'All-American' Caps lineup: Defense/Goalie

The 'All-American' Caps lineup: Defense/Goalie
July 4, 2013, 11:15 pm
Share This Post

When the Capitals reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998, the team was led by a group of players that probably could have staged a United Nations meeting in their dressing room. 

The Capitals had a Slovak as its leading scorer (Peter Bondra), a Canadian as its captain (Dale Hunter), a Swede as its No.1 defenseman (Calle Johansson), a German as its starting goalie (Olie Kolzig) and an American as its head coach (Ron Wilson).

More recently the Capitals have been led by a Russian in Alex Ovechkin, a Swede in Nicklas Backstrom and a Canadian in Mike Green. 

Throughout the Capitals history though, Washington has also been home to some talented Americans and on this Fourth of July weekend, we are looking at back at the top U.S. players to have skated with the Capitals.

Below is Part One which includes the Capitals' All-Americans on defense and in goal. 

DEFENSE: ROD LANGWAY (1982-93)

While Langway is the only player in NHL history to be born in Taiwan, the former Capitals captain was born into an American military family based overseas. The Langways eventually returned to the U.S. with Rod developing his hockey skills in suburban Boston.  

As a professional, Langway was a key cog in helping the Capitals contend for the Patrick Division throughout the 1980s and he remains the only player in franchise history to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman (Langway won in back-to-back seasons in 1982-83 and 1983-84).

The 'Secretary of Defense' appeared in 726 career games with the Capitals and captained Team USA at the 1981, 1984 and 1987 Canada Cup tournaments.

Langway was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1999 and into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2002. He is one of four Capitals (and the only American) to have his number retired at Verizon Center. 

DEFENSE: KEVIN HATCHER (1984-94)

Hatcher was the Capitals' first pick (17th overall) at the 1984 NHL Draft and went on to play ten seasons with the organization.

The bruising defenseman ranks third all-time in both scoring and penalty minutes among franchise blueliners and his 34 goals during the 1992-93 season remain a single-season franchise high for a defenseman.  

Hatcher represented the Capitals at three consecutive NHL All-Star Games (1990-92) before being traded to the Dallas Stars in 1994.

Hatcher won a gold medal with Team USA at the 1996 World Cup and also represented the U.S. at the 1987 and 1991 Canada Cup tournaments and at the 1998 Winter Olympics. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2010. 

GOALIE:  JIM CAREY (1995-97)

Jim Carey's time with the Capitals was brief, but the 'Net Detective' made the most of it. The Capitals' second-round pick (32nd overall) in the 1992 NHL Draft, Carey was named to the NHL's All-Rookie Team in 1995, and became the first player in franchise history to win the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie in 1995-96.

Carey has the lowest goals-against-average in franchise history (2.37 GAA in 139 games), and his nine shutouts during the 1995-95 campaign remain a season-high for a Capitals netminder.

Carey posted a 70-48-15 record with the Capitals but was eventually traded to the Boston Bruins as part of a six player deal that saw Adam Oates and Bill Ranford land in Washington.