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Barry Trotz isn't happy about the 'soccer mentality' creeping into the NHL or his team's lack of power plays

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Barry Trotz isn't happy about the 'soccer mentality' creeping into the NHL or his team's lack of power plays

Barry Trotz says the Capitals are frustrated by the low number of power plays they've been awarded and the way some opponents have gone about drawing penalties this season.

“I despise diving, and our guys know it,” Trotz said. “We don’t try to go down easy. We’re not getting any penalties. …We’ve got to keep our legs moving, which will help. But we’re getting a little bit frustrated because some of the soccer mentality is back in our league a little bit—go down easy.”

A moment later, Trotz cracked: “All of the soccer fans will be happy about that one. …It’s a sell. Some guys sell it better. We’ve got to stay out of the box and draw some more penalties.” 

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The Caps’ power play unit has been good though 12 games, clicking at a 21.6-percent rate. But Nicklas Backstrom and Co. are just 25th in power play opportunities (37), including a grand total of two over the past two games (none in Edmonton and two in Calgary).

For comparison’s sake, the Wild is dead last (29) and the Blackhawks are first (55). Twenty teams, meantime, have been on the man advantage 42 or more times.

In addition to resisting the urge to dive, Trotz said, the Caps have also been hurt by their own game. As he noted, his players can draw more whistles by possessing the puck more, generating longer shifts in the offensive zone and keeping their feet moving when engaged with opponents—all of which tend to lead to trips, hooks and holds.  

“We’ve been pretty good the last couple of years at extending shifts and drawing those 'tired' penalties on teams,” Trotz added. “We haven’t been able to do that as much. That’s partly on us, partly on our game.”

MORE CAPITALS: JAY BEAGLE IS STILL CONFIDENT IN THE CAPS, KNOWS THE TEAM IS 'BUILDING TOWARDS SOMETHING'

The power play has converted on eight of its 37 opportunities. Backstrom has the most points (7), while T.J. Oshie and Ovechkin are first and second in goals with 4 and 3, respectively.

So it’s going okay. The Caps just need to find a way to get the unit more time on the ice.

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

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Nicklas Backstrom is trying really hard not to get frustrated with lack of goals

Nicklas Backstrom has made a career out of setting up other players, but what many forget is that he is a pretty darn good scorer in his own right. Just not these days.

Backstrom had three goals in the first six games of the season, but since then he has been held scoreless. His last goal game on Oct. 14 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

RELATED: LISTEN TO THE LATEST CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST ON THE CAPS' WIN OVER MINNESOTA!

Offense, in general, has been hard to come by for the veteran center who also underwent a career-long seven-game pointless streak.

While Backstrom has managed to get back on the score sheet with three assists in his last five games, he still can’t seem to get a goal.

“Obviously you want to score,” Backstrom said. “That's a no brainer, but at the same time you've just got to stick with it. I mean, at least I created chances tonight.”

While the goals may not be there, however, the chances are. For Barry Trotz, that’s an encouraging sign.

“Backy was on the bench, I gave him a little tap I said you know the hockey gods will even that out,” Trotz said. “You probably could have had three tonight and he'll probably get one of those leaky lizards go through the legs or through the arms and one from a bad angle. They'll even it out for him.”

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN GETS STITCHES AFTER GETTING HIT BY PUCK, BUT REMAINS INDESTRUCTIBLE

With Backstrom taking on a more defensive shutdown role this season, his offensive numbers have taken a hit. The Capitals, however, do not have the same scoring depth as in recent years and need Backstrom, still arguably their best center, to produce offensively in order to be successful. He is just too good of a player to not produce.

But given his recent play, Trotz is not all that concerned and believes the goals are coming. Backstrom seems to agree.

“The sun goes up the next day anyway even if I don't score,” he said, “So you've just got to stick with it, work hard and hopefully you'll get rewarded.”

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

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Alex Ovechkin gets stitches to the lip after getting hit by puck, but he remains indestructible

It's always scary when you see a player get hit in the head with a puck. It's even scarier when you're a fan of the Caps and that player is Alex Ovechkin.

But there's is one thing you should always remember before you worry about the Great 8: He is not built like a normal human being.

Ovechkin was struck in the face by a puck in the second period of Saturday's game against the Minnesota Wild. It was a scary moment made scarier by the pool of blood he left behind on the ice as he made his way to the locker room.

RELATED: 4 REASONS WHY THE CAPS BEAT THE WILD

"Anybody who takes a puck to the face, you hope that they're not hurt badly," Barry Trotz said after the game. "Anytime you get hit to the face there's usually pretty good leakage. I saw, I knew he got hit in the face and in the mouth area and there was pretty good leakage around our bench and he went off and we were just hoping that it's not too serious."

Remarkably, it wasn't serious. Ovechkin missed the remainder of the second period, but returned for the third. After the game, there were a few stitches in his lip, but otherwise there appeared to be no serious damage.

Ovechkin said that after he had been hit he "Just tried to feel my tooth and it was fine. Just moving a little bit, but it's fine. It's hockey."

The fact that no serious damage was done turned what was a scary moment into one both players and coach could laugh at afterward.

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"He's a big strong man and he's got a few zippers so he's a lot better looking now that they fixed him up and all that," Trotz said. "It's when you get stitched up, that's the great thing about medicine, they can make you look great."

"It can be much worser," Ovechkin said when asked if he was scared in the moment. "I could lose my teeth."

Nicklas Backstrom had the same thought many of you are probably asking yourself right now: "Does he have any more teeth?"

It was just another reminder that Ovechkin is truly a machine. You know what they say, "Russian Machine...never gets broken."

I think that's how the saying goes.