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Philipp Grubauer remains the starter for Game 2

Philipp Grubauer remains the starter for Game 2

The Caps are sticking with goalie Philipp Grubauer for Game 2, Coach Barry Trotz announced following Saturday's practice.

Grubauer allowed four goals on 27 shots in Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss to Columbus Thursday. Afterward Trotz said he needed to “reevaluate” the goals that were permitted and talk things over with his assistants before naming a starter for Sunday’s pivotal game on home ice.

“I thought he was fine,” Trotz said following an hour-long session at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. “There was nothing in that game that you’d say, ‘why [don’t] you make a change?’”


Two of the three goals Grubauer allowed in regulation were scored on the power play. And Artemi Panarin’s overtime winner? That was a world-class shot by a world-class sniper.  

“Going into overtime, you’re a shot or a breakaway away,” Trotz said. “All that being said, it was a special play by Panarin. There’s very few people who can make that shot. And he made that shot.”

It was a difficult defeat for a team that was desperate to get off to a strong start in its own building. But this ‘L’ wasn’t about goaltending. It was about taking pointless penalties at the wrong time—and the Blue Jackets taking advantage of those avoidable miscues.

In fact, one could argue that Grubauer was the Caps' best player in the second period as Panarin and Co. peppered him with high-quality scoring opportunities.


As much of a gut-punch as the loss was, however, Grubauer said he and his teammates must turn the page. And quickly.

“You've got to be able to do that because nobody's walking through to the Stanley Cup with no losses,” he said. “You lose one and you learn from that and maybe you guys realize, ‘OK we've got to do something different.’”

Grubauer added: “It's not as easy as it is in the regular season. It basically is like an overtime game in the regular season for 60 minutes. That's what it is. When you lose a game—you want to win the game—but you've got to learn from it and you've got to take some positives out. In order to be better, you need to see the negatives and you need to make mistakes and hopefully get better and learn from it.”

Sure, Grubi's .852 save percentage in Game 1 sounds ugly. But there were mitigating circumstances on each of the goals. And, based on Trotz’s comments, it doesn’t sound like there was a whole lot of hand-wringing as the coaches reviewed the tape and mulled whether to go back to Grubauer or make a change and start Braden Holtby.

“I’m going to go back with Grubi,” Trotz said flatly. “I have a lot of confidence in him.”

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page