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Barry Trotz heaps praise on Sidney Crosby in wake of World Cup win

Barry Trotz heaps praise on Sidney Crosby in wake of World Cup win

One of the interesting dynamics of a tournament like the World Cup of Hockey is seeing different players and coaches come together on new teams. Teammates become opponents and opponents become teammates. That was the case for Barry Trotz as he joined the coaching staff of a Canadian team led by captain Sidney Crosby.

Crosby is of course the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that ended the Caps' Presidents' Trophy winning season in the second round. It was the second time the Caps had to watch Crosby hoist the Stanley Cup after losing to him in the playoffs.

But Trotz had nothing but good things to say about Crosby upon his return to Washington after the World Cup.

"There’s a reason that Sidney Crosby is considered the best player on the planet," Trotz said. "He showed that in this tournament, that he was the best player."

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It's hard to argue with that assessment given that Crosby led all players in the tournament with 10 points in just six games. But it was what Crosby did off the ice that impressed Trotz the most.

"My son was in for a day," Trotz said, "Just sitting there playing an iPad and Sid went down and sat with him and played on the iPad for a minute with him and stuff like that. He didn’t have to do that. He just did. I’ve got a lot of respect for guys like that."

While they may have been a part of the same team for the World Cup, however, that doesn't mean Trotz wasn't also scouting Crosby.

As the defending Cup champions, the road to the East likely runs through Pittsburgh. If the Caps hope to finally overcome the playoff hurdle, they will have to beat the Penguins.

So did Trotz learn any secrets on how to beat Crosby?

“I don’t know if it’s secrets," he said. "It’s a real awareness of what he really can do and what you don’t want him to do. So you try to find ways for him to not do what he does."

As the Caps have learned, that's easier said than done.

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Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

The Capitals may have won the game Friday against the New York Islanders, but now they will wait to see if they also suffered a significant loss.

Kuznetsov left the game in the third period after taking a slash from Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey which sent him sliding head-first into the boards. The team labeled the issue as “upper body” when it was announced he would not return to the game.

Head coach Barry Trotz was tight-lipped afterward on Kuznetsov’s status.

“They're going to re-evaluate him tomorrow and we'll have some clarity hopefully tomorrow,” he said.


You can see the play here:

When Kuznetsov is first slashed he immediately reacts. His feet then catch the stick of goalie Jaroslav Halak which sends him tripping and sliding hard into the boards. He sat on the ice for several minutes afterward and was looked at by the trainer before getting to his feet and slowly making his way to the locker room.

When asked after the game what he felt about the slash, Trotz said only, “Hockey play.”

One of the Capitals’ biggest strengths as a team is their depth down the middle. Any injury to a center, considering it is arguably the most important skating position on the ice, would be significant. An injury to the team’s top-line center would be even more costly.

Kuznetsov leads the team with 28 assists and ranks second in both goals (21) and points (69).

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3 stars of the game: Caps win brutal rematch to sweep home-and-home with Islanders

3 stars of the game: Caps win brutal rematch to sweep home-and-home with Islanders

The Caps rocked the green in warmups, the red for the game and left a bit black and blue after a brutal 6-3 win over the New York Islanders.

Based on how things went in Brooklyn on Thursday, odds were that there would be some bad blood when the two teams met Washington on Friday. One night after giving up seven goals, the Islanders gave up another six in Washington and frustrations over a rough season boiled over all game long.

Ross Johnston was ejected for continuing to fight Tom Wilson even after the referees intervened, both teams combined for 56 PIMs and Evgeny Kuznetsov left the game in the second period after a slash from Thomas Hickey as he went headfirst into the boards.

The sting of the rough night was mitigated somewhat, however, by the 6-3 score as the Caps won their fourth straight.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Chiasson: Playing in his first game since March 8, Chiasson made the most of his opportunity with a three-point night. Jakub Vrana did the legwork as he drove the net with the puck. Jaroslav Halak stuck out his stick catching Vrana which spun the netminder around and out of the crease. Chiasson came up behind for the easy layup.

He would repay the favor with an assist for Vrana's goal later in the third. Chiasson's first assist on the night came in the second period as his initial shot was saved, but he stayed in the face of Halak long enough to prevent him from making the save on Matt Niskanen's goal.

2. Nicklas Backstrom: When things were getting ugly, Backstrom made the Islanders pay with a power play goal on the two-man advantage.

After Johnston lost his marbles and Cal Clutterbuck was called for interference on Oshie, the Capitals needed to take advantage and put the Islanders away or watch New York build momentum. That was the critical juncture of the game. Backstrom also added an assist on the two-point night.

3. Braden Holtby: The recent struggles of Holtby have been well documented. After yielding the crease to Philipp Grubauer the last four games, Holtby got the start on Friday and played very well in the winning effort. The defense in front of him certainly helped allowing only 13 shots in the first two periods, but the Islanders were buzzing in the third period. New York battled back to make it 5-3 and Mathew Barzal had a breakaway opportunity with a chance to cut the deficit to one. Holtby made the save to deny Barzal and shut the door on the comeback attempt.

In all, Holtby turned aside 22 of the 25 shots he faced.