Capitals

Quick Links

Barry Trotz has some tough words for the Caps' defensive prospects following Friday's loss

usatsi_10298248.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Barry Trotz has some tough words for the Caps' defensive prospects following Friday's loss

From the outside looking in, there wasn’t much on the line in the Capitals’ preseason game on Friday against the St. Louis Blues. Washington’s 4-0 loss won't hurt them in the standings, it won't hurt their playoff or Stanley Cup hopes.

But for many of the players, especially several of the defensive prospects, Friday’s game mattered a whole lot. That's what made it so disappointing.

“We didn’t have a lot of skin in the game there,” Barry Trotz told reporters following the loss.

RELATED: TYLER GRAOVAC IS THE SILVER LINING IN AN UGLY LOSS TO BLUES

Assuming the Capitals keep seven defensemen on their roster this season, there are two open spots on the blue line that players are competing for. Friday’s game offered Lucas Johansen, Christian Djoos, Aaron Ness and Tyler Lewington, who played with veterans John Carlson and Taylor Chorney, a chance to take the lead in the roster competition.

But they, along with the rest of the team, ultimately fell flat.

“It's one of those things where you come out flat in first two periods, you can't really expect to win a hockey game,” Ness said. “Your goalie's trying to make so many saves … it’s kind of unexcusable [sic] to do that to them in the first two.”

It was a rough game and a missed opportunity.

When asked if any of the defensemen had separated themselves, Trotz slowly shook his head and said, “No, not really.”

When asked if that was disappointing, he said, “Depending which way you look at it, I guess. Some guys have separated themselves in a positive way a little bit more than others and some more of a negative way. They'll figure it out. It plays out, we're just watching. I'm not too happy with our effort tonight. … I thought [the] group that was in Montreal was pretty solid. They came to play. Tonight we just didn't.”

That’s a damning statement considering Montreal’s game featured other defensemen competing for a spot such as Madison Bowey, Connor Hobbs, Jyrki Jokipakka, Jonas Siegenthaler and Colby Williams.

Clearly Wednesday's squad left an impression on Trotz. Friday's team left a much different, more disappointing one.

MORE CAPITALS:  LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW THE DEFENSE DID AGAINST ST. LOUIS

Quick Links

When will T.J. Oshie return to the Caps' lineup?

oshie_capture.png
USA TODAY Sports

When will T.J. Oshie return to the Caps' lineup?

T.J. Oshie will miss a sixth straight game when Washington hosts Anaheim on Saturday night.

The Caps’ star winger, however, continues to make progress in his recovery from the upper body injury he suffered Dec. 4 against San Jose.

On Friday, he joined his teammates for the first half of practice while wearing a non-contact jersey. He left the ice, though, once the more vigorous work began.

RELATED: BRUINS COACH TAKES ISSUE WITH TOM WILSON COMING TO THE DEFENSE OF DMITRY ORLOV

Coach Barry Trotz said Oshie’s early departure was planned.

“He skated today [but] until he does a full practice he will not play,” Trotz said. “He’s going through the protocols and all that.”

The Caps are not scheduled to practice on Sunday so the next opportunity for Oshie to complete a full session will be on Monday morning prior to the team leaving for a three-game road trip that will make stops in Dallas, Arizona and Las Vegas.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Assuming Oshie receives medical clearance in the coming days and there are no further injuries, Trotz will have a tough choice to make once No. 77 is ready. Someone has to come out. But who? Chandler Stephenson? Devante Smith-Pelly? Someone else?

“That’s what you want; you want internal competition,” Trotz said. “I don’t know who would come out yet when T.J. does come in. But they’ll let me know.”

Quick Links

Bruins coach takes issue with Tom Wilson coming to the defense of Dmitry Orlov

tom-wilson-ustat.png
USA TODAY Sports

Bruins coach takes issue with Tom Wilson coming to the defense of Dmitry Orlov

Tom Wilson is one of those players people love to have on their team, but others hate to play against.

An incident in the second period of Washington's 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday has once again drawn the ire of an opponent.

With the Bruins attacking, a deflection by Patrice Bergeron hit off the post and out of play. As the puck was going out, Brad Marchand gave a cross-check to the back of Dmitry Orlov.

Orlov took exception. So did Wilson.

You can see the replay here.

RELATED: 4 REASONS THE CAPS BEAT THE BRUINS

With Orlov and Marchand engaged in a shoving match, Wilson comes in to defend his teammate. That did not sit well with Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“Well, I voiced my opinion at the end of the period. I think it’s wrong and to me, to just put two guys into the box in that situation when a third guy comes in, there should have been an additional call,” Cassidy said after the game, per Bruins Daily.

“That’s the way I felt about it, they didn’t see it that way. Clearly, two guys, Orlov and Marchy [Marchand] were battling and for him [Wilson] to come in is unnecessary, to say the least in that situation. But their job is to police it on the ice, and in that particular instance, that’s the way the saw it and that’s the way it went.”

CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST: RECAPPING ANOTHER FIVE-GOAL GAME

Perhaps Cassidy was just fishing for an extra minor to Wilson, but it is probably no coincidence he said "a third guy comes in" when referencing the play.

There is a rule in the NHL against a "third man in" that states that a misconduct penalty will be assessed on "any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress," but the term "altercation" falls under the terms of fighting in the rule book. Orlov and Marchand were assessed matching minors for cross-checking. The fact that the referees determined no fight was in progress means there was no "altercation" and the third man rule does not apply.

Marchand and Wilson were not done with each other and both players were assessed 10-minute misconducts late in the third period, but by then the game was already well in hand for Washington.