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Taylor Chorney knew his team would have to face the Caps in the playoffs

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USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Chorney knew his team would have to face the Caps in the playoffs

Taylor Chorney knew this was going to happen.

Heading into the final day of the regular season, there were still three possible opponents for the Caps for the first round of the playoffs. There were so many scenarios for which team would finish where in the standings, it was hard to keep track of them all.

But Chorney knew his Columbus Blue Jackets were ultimately going to end up playing the Caps.

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“I started seeing the way things were going to shake up and I just kind of figured it was going to happen,” Chorney said after practice on Saturday. “I knew that the way it was working out and we were playing well, there was only a couple teams we could face and I figured, why not play these guys just the way it's been going so far? It's just sort of the way it worked out.”

Less than two months ago, Chorney was a member of the Washington Capitals. The trade for Michal Kempny forced the team to place Chorney on waivers, however, where he was claimed by Columbus.

Now as the Blue Jackets face Washington in the first round, Chorney finds himself representing the visitors against the team he signed with back in 2015.

“It's a little bit weird coming into the rink for that last game,” Chorney said. “The time of the year, it's springtime. You've experienced that before coming up to the rink where it's nice outside, everyone's got the jersey on.”

“The hard part, you've got some good buddies over there that it's tough,” he added. “Maybe you see yourself playing with them a little bit longer, but there's a great group of guys here too. They've been super welcoming.”

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Considering he was with Washington just a few weeks ago, however, Chorney’s new teammates have been probing him to see if there is any inside info he can give them to help them in this series.

“Guys have wanted to know and even some of the coaches, just some little tendencies and stuff,” he said. “But everybody watches so much video nowadays and it's not like I've got any secrets that are going to swing the series one way or the other.”

Chorney has a similar role in Columbus as he did in Washington as a depth defenseman. He has only played in one game for the Jackets and it seems unlikely he will suit up against the Caps unless there are injuries on the blue line.

Playing against his former teammates would be about the only thing that could make this series weirder for Chorney. If called upon, though, he would be ready.

“You hate to be too cliche, but it really is kind of just part of the business. You've got to be able to take your time or you kind of process it and try to turn the page as quick as you can.”

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

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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