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Beagle reveals his 'dream job' with the Capitals


Beagle reveals his 'dream job' with the Capitals

Jay Beagle is a back-woods, no-frills kind of guy, so it should come as no surprise that the 29-year-old center was in a motor home, vacationing with his family in the Alberta mountains, with no cell service, when his agent, Wade Arnott, tried reaching him to get final approval on a three-year $5.25 million contract with the Capitals.

“I had missed my agent’s calls for almost a day, where he had left me four or five messages leading up to this,” Beagle said Monday on a conference call with reporters. “I also had about five messages on my phone when I got cell reception, so I figured I’d better stop and get this thing done.”

Beagle and his family stopped at a kiosk in the town of Canmore, Alberta, where he printed out an email, signed it, and faxed his acceptance back to Arnott and the Capitals.

Beagle will make $1.45 million next season, along with a $300,000 bonus, and $1.75 million for each of the final two years of the deal, giving him a palatable cap hit of $1.75 million. He said getting the third year of the deal was the most important piece to him.

“One of the things I said to [Arnott] is I’d love to have more years than anything,” Beagle said. “My wife loves it there and I have a kid now. We love it there and I want to stay there as long as I can. I just told him years are important and just left it at that.”

Beagle’s signing leaves the Caps with roughly $18.5 million in cap space. Much of that will go toward contracts for restricted free agents Braden Holtby, Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who together figure to eat up in the neighborhood of $12 million.

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What Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan does with the remaining $6.5 million remains to be seen, but it appears none of it will go toward unrestricted free agents Mike Green, Joel Ward and Eric Fehr, who plan on testing the free-agent market at noon on Wednesday.

Beagle, who was also a pending UFA, has spent parts of seven seasons with Green, parts of six seasons with Fehr and the past four seasons with Ward.

“It’s always tough,” Beagle said. “You kind of forget that it is a business until something like this does happen. That’s why I’m very blessed to be back with this organization.

“I obviously want all the guys to come back. I’ve had such great relationships with them and fought alongside them and battled with them. It’s always tough when guys move on and you see them in another jersey. That makes me put in perspective how lucky and how fortunate I am to come back to this organization.”

If the Caps are unable to re-sign Fehr, Beagle could inherit his role as the Caps third-line center. Coming off a career-high 10 goals and 10 assists, Beagle said that’s been his dream job since he first turned pro.

“My goal for next year is to have a bigger role on the team and get better and win the Stanley Cup with this team,” Beagle said.

“I don’t really see myself as a fourth-line guy. As an athlete and as a professional hockey player I want to get better every year and have a bigger role every year. I think that’s what makes a team succeed, when everyone continues to get better and continues to have a bigger role.

“I think this last season I kind of showed I can play in all situations. If they need me on the fourth line, I’m definitely there. But I don’t see myself as a fourth-line guy. I’ve always told people my dream job is that checking-line center position.”

Physically, Beagle said he feels as strong as he ever has in his career and plans on spending this summer working on his puck-handling skills, faceoffs and his explosiveness.

“I want to come back into training camp looking better than I did last year,” he said.


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Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

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.

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3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

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.