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Bowey, Chiasson left off Caps' official 23-man roster, but Thursday's lineup is far from set


Bowey, Chiasson left off Caps' official 23-man roster, but Thursday's lineup is far from set

The Capitals submitted a 23-man roster as required by the NHL at Tuesday's 5 p.m. deadline and Madison Bowey and Alex Chiasson were not on it. 

Heading into Tuesday, the Capitals' roster officially had 24 players. Forward Chiasson was not considered officially part of the roster as he was with the team on a professional tryout and not under contract. That means the team still had to cut one player from its roster.

The waiver deadline came and went on Tuesday and the team stood pat, signaling that they would have to move a player who is waiver exempt in order to get to the required 23. Bowey was that player.


Here is the 23-man roster the team submitted:

Forwards: Nicklas Backstrom, Jay Beagle, Andre Burakovsky, Brett Connolly, Lars Eller, Tyler Graovac, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie, Alex Ovechkin, Devante Smith-Pelly, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Nathan Walker, Tom Wilson

Defensemen: John Carlson, Taylor Chorney, Christian Djoos, Aaron Ness, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov, Brooks Orpik

Goalies: Philipp Grubauer, Braden Holtby

But Tuesday's roster does not signal Bowey will not be in the lineup for Thursday's opener in Ottawa.

Barry Trotz was asked earlier on Tuesday if whoever the Caps moved before the roster deadline could still play in the first one or two games of the season.

"Yeah, absolutely," he said. "It's very possible."

A team official further clarified after the deadline had passed that the roster submitted will not necessarily be the roster for Thursday's game.


Why the uncertainty so close to the season?

First, we do not yet know if Wilson is going to be suspended for his hit Sunday on Sammy Blais. Depending on how long that suspension is, it may determine whether the team wants to initially carry a 14th forward to start the season. Second, general manager Brian MacLellan told reporters on Tuesday that he was working on a contract with Chiasson. Should the team sign him, that adds one more player to the roster meaning another player would have to go.

In short, the Capitals do have a 23-man roster, but it is still too early to tell what their roster for Thursday's opener will be.

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Caps work on team building by fighting each other in FBI training

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Caps work on team building by fighting each other in FBI training

How much better would your work environment be if you had a chance to pin a coworker or get them in a chokehold? Probably a lot. That's what the Caps are banking on.

The team visited the FBI Academy on Wednesday in a team building exercise that included raming doors and, of course, hand to hand combat.

Let's break down some of these wrestling matchups.

Braden Holtby appears to be thanking John Carlson for playing 27:33 on Tuesday.

It seems dangerous to pit a goalie against a defenseman. Carlson spends all of his time on the ice trying to protect Holtby. Just how hard was Carlson really trying to take down Holtby?

It's no surprise seeing Tom Wilson enjoying himself with the hand to hand combat. Whoever went up against him (it looks like Jay Beagle) certainly drew the short straw.

And then there's this.

Nicklas Backstrom is having way, way too much fun. Maybe Andre Burakovsky was getting a bit chesty in the locker room after his first NHL fight. Well, it seems Backstrom certainly put him in his place.

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There are no moral victories, but Caps see a defensive effort they can build on in Tuesday's loss


There are no moral victories, but Caps see a defensive effort they can build on in Tuesday's loss

The Capitals probably deserved a better result on Tuesday than a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coming into that game, the Leafs were averaging 5.20 goals per game and had scored no fewer than three in any of their five games to start the season. Yet, a Capitals team fresh off an 8-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers managed to hold Toronto’s offense to only one goal, the second coming only after Braden Holtby had been pulled for the extra attacker.

“There's a lot of improvements from our game in Philadelphia, that's for sure,” Barry Trotz said following the game.

Aside from a flurry of chances from Toronto early in the first, the game was largely even between the two sides until Connor Brown put the Leafs up 1-0 in the third period.


Despite their effort, however, do not take this game as proof that Washington has solved all of its blue line issues. Tuesday was just merely a step in the right direction.

“We did some things better [Tuesday],” Braden Holtby said. “The outcome could have been a little worse if luck wasn't on our side today on a few plays. We've got to keep a realistic mindset on that too.  But we did a lot of good things [Tuesday]. Our defense did a really good job at handling their speed and their size.”

Surprisingly, it was not the defense that cost Washington the game, but the offense. When the Caps needed a goal, they simply could not generate one against goalie Frederik Andersen.

Yes, the team needs to find more of a balance and get a full 60-minute effort on both ends of the ice, but there was also hope in the locker room on Tuesday that if they continue to improve in their own zone, it will ultimately lead to more offense in the other end.

“Everything is developed from the defensive zone,” Holtby said. “That's the way we've always had success scoring goals. If you're taking risks offensively, that's not a consistent way to play. You might win some games, but you're not going to win games consistently. That's what our foundation of our team is built around, our breakout, especially on our goal line and that what creates a lot of our offense.”


What the first seven games of the season has shown is that the Capitals’ fate rests on its blue line. Yes, they need more depth scoring from their third and fourth line, but this team’s weakness is its defense. How they respond to their early struggles will determine the fate of the season.

“We'd be kidding ourselves if we're not going to have some growing pains along the way,” Holtby said of the team. “It's just how we handle them and what we do with them. How do we fight through them and get better?”

Tuesday’s game may have ended in a loss, but it was an effort the defense can build around. That is the silver lining. If they do build on this game, the Capitals still have a playoff caliber roster. If they do not, well, there is no telling how far Washington can sink.