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IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics; hockey participation still unclear


IOC bans Russia from 2018 Winter Olympics; hockey participation still unclear

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) made a stunning announcement on Tuesday, declaring the suspension of the Russian Olympic Committee and the banning of Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The action was taken due to the findings of the Schmid Report, led by the former president of Switzerland, Samuel Schmid.

The report confirmed “the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved.”

The IOC did create a path for clean Russian athletes to participate in PyeongChang, but they will compete under the name of “Olympic Athlete from Russia” with a uniform bearing that name and under the Olympic flag. The Olympic Anthem would be played in place of the Russian anthem in any ceremony.

The decision will have far-reaching consequence for every sport, but particularly in hockey. Given that the NHL already decided not to participate in the 2018 Olympics, the KHL looked to be the premier league from which athletes could be taken.

When it was clear an Olympic ban was a real possibility, however, the KHL began discussing the possibility of not participating either. Most players in the KHL are Russian and — as the second best hockey league in the world — an Olympic tournament without NHL players would have made Russia the clear favorites to win.

With Russia now banned, the KHL has no incentive to allow athletes from other countries to participate.

Russia could still compete in the hockey tournament as a neutral team, but it is unclear whether they will go that route.

For the U.S. and Canada, a KHL ban would further limit the players in which they could choose for their teams.

There are still minor leagues like the AHL, though players in the AHL with NHL contracts are also barred from participating, as well as junior leagues and the NCAA. There are also several other European hockey leagues such as those in Sweden and Switzerland.

Alex Ovechkin was an outspoken critic of the NHL’s decision not to participate in the Olympics and even went so far as to declare he would participate for his native Russia regardless, though he later backed down from that declaration.

The IOC’s ban means now that he won’t be missing out on the opportunity to represent his home country, though it is doubtful he will find any consolation from Tuesday’s stunning news.

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NHL Power Rankings: A heck of a race is developing in the Metropolitan Division


NHL Power Rankings: A heck of a race is developing in the Metropolitan Division

Four points separate first place from second place in the Pacific Division. Four points separate first place from second place in the Central. Three points separate first place from second place in the Atlantic. In the Metropolitan Division, however, five points separate first place from…sixth place.

About a third of the way into the season, one division stands out with a traffic jam atop the standings. The Columbus Blue Jackets sit in first place with 39 points, the New York Rangers are in sixth with 34 and in between are the Washington Capitals (37), New Jersey Devils (36), New York Islanders (35) and Pittsburgh Penguins (35).

No other division in the NHL comes close to how crowded things are in the Metro.


Given the way Washington started the season, the fact that they have been able to climb all the way back into second place by early December is a testament to just how good they have been of late.

The good news for the Caps is that, because of how tight the division is they were able to climb the standings fairly quickly even after a tough start. The bad news is that now there is little margin for error.

Washington enjoyed sitting atop the division for a handful of minutes on Friday before Columbus retook the top spot. The Devils have been one of the biggest surprises of the season, but three losses in four games has dropped them from first place to third. The Rangers have won seven of their last 10 games and that has them sitting only in sixth.

Having so many teams battling for supremacy of the division should make for a compelling race all season long. The only thing is no team better get down for too long. Otherwise, there are five other teams ready to leave you in the dust.

The Capitals have won eight of their last ten games to climb to second place in the division. Where did they climb in this week’s Power Rankings? Find out here.

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Game 31: Capitals at Islanders Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 31: Capitals at Islanders Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Islanders

Where: Barclays Center, Brooklyn, N.Y.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Islanders will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Islanders game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).


The Capitals (18-11-1) take on the Islanders (16-10-3) Monday, December 11 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Brooklyn.


The Capitals-Islanders game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Capitals GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington following the game for Caps Extra, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Islanders
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Islanders game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).


Here are the Caps' projected lines:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Alex Chiasson
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - John Carlson
Christian Djoos - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: T.J. Oshie (upper-body injury), Taylor Chorney


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.