With the Caps suddenly dealing with multiple injuries, could the Caps be considering making a big trade? As Chuck Gormley reported, the team has at least discussed whether they need to bring in someone to shore up their depth at center because of the injury to Jay Beagle. But what about the defense?
While John Carlson is expected to return during the Caps' current road trip, Brooks Orpik has yet to resume skating. As he is one of the team's top defensemen, he leaves on obvious hole on the blue line.
According to TSN's Elliotte Friedman, the Caps at least have interest in a big name defenseman to take his place. In his 30 Thoughts column, Friedman writes, "With Brooks Orpik’s health situation uncertain, a couple of sources indicated to check Washington’s interest in Dustin Byfuglien. There’s logic to this, as their cap hits are within $300,000 of each other."
Friedman also notes that this is unlikely to happen given that Orpik's injury is not expected to be season ending. Therein lies the rub. According to General Fanager, Orpik's cap hit is $5,500,000 while Byfuglien's cap hit is $5,200,000. That's a lot of money to try and fit into the caps and far too much if Orpik returns. Byfuglien is set to become a free agent at the end of this season, making him an ideal rental for the Caps if and only if Orpik and his salary remain off the books.
This isn't a move the Caps are going to make anytime soon, but file Byfuglien's name away for future reference if something should happen to Orpik.
Orpik is traveling with the Caps on their road trip and is expected to begin skating soon, meaning he is finally making progress. Should he regress or suffer another injury later that knocks him out for the season, look for these rumors to spring up again.
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CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.
The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.
Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.
Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.
“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”
The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.
February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.
Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.
Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.
Here are the three stars of the game.
1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.
Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.
2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.
Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.
3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.
Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.