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Brouwer on trade to Blues: 'I had absolutely no clue'

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Brouwer on trade to Blues: 'I had absolutely no clue'

Before packing his bags for St. Louis, former Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer stopped at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday morning to say goodbye to coach Barry Trotz and the Capitals’ training staff and thank them for their time and efforts during his four-year stay in Washington, a stay that ended abruptly on Thursday when he was informed he had been traded to the Blues in a multi-player trade involving T.J. Oshie.

In an exclusive interview with CSNwashington.com, Brouwer discusses the shock of being traded, his time in Washington and the pressures of replacing a fan favorite in St. Louis:

On his original plans for the summer:

I’ve been here all summer. I left last weekend to go to Justin Peters’ wedding, but other than that I’ve been in town. With a baby on the way [a boy due Sept. 4 to join 2 1/2 year-old sister Kylie] we thought this summer, since we’ve moved every year, we’d stay in one spot, have the baby here and start the season. But it looks like we’ve got other plans now. We’re going to spend a couple weeks here while we look for a place there, but at some point we have to go out there and get Carmen an OB/Gyn, find a hospital, get situated, and in the beginning of August head out.

On hockey business getting in the way of family business:

Yeah, me and Carmen were talking about it last night. It’s tough to kind of pick up everything you know and all your friends and move on. From a player’s perspective it’s part of the business and we know that it could happen at any time. I give a lot of credit to Carmen. She knows what she signed up for when she got married to a hockey player. The certainty of being in one area for a long time is very rare. She knows this is all part of this and you have to take it in stride when it comes.

On the importance of stopping at Kettler to thank the coaching and training staffs:

For me it’s very important. Fans and outside people always see just the players and what they contribute to the team, but what gets overlooked a lot of times is those trainers. When we get off the planes and get to go home to our beds or to our hotel rooms those guys are always up a couple more hours unpacking and doing laundry and doing things that aren’t always the most fun things to do and you develop a great relationship with them because you see them all day every day at the rink. I wanted to thank those guys and wish them well and wish them the best. They’re friends. They’re not just people you work with and I hope those relationships continue even though I’m headed to St. Louis.

On if he was aware a trade was in the works:

I had absolutely no clue. I was talking to Barry in the morning while I was working out and we were talking about [Justin] Williams and how it was going to affect the team and how it was going to affect me within the team and the game plan going forward, whether we were going to try to pick up a few more players. As a player you always have an idea that something could arise, but I figured I was pretty well situated here and that I wasn’t really in play unless something came up that the team thought they couldn’t refuse. I was doing crafts, actually, with Kylie. I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize. Normally, I don’t pick up those phone numbers. I figure if it’s important enough they’ll leave a voice mail. But I picked it up and right away I heard [Brian MacLellan’s] voice and I knew something was up. It’s exciting for me and I get to go to another really good hockey team and have a chance to succeed as a team and as an individual. It’s a good move forward, but I’m definitely going to miss what I had here in Washington.

On the parallels between the Capitals and Blues:

The teams aren’t exactly similar in their makeups, but the struggles they’ve had over the past couple of seasons, [unable to] break through in the playoffs. Similar situations but I haven’t followed them too terribly much because they’re out West, but it’s a team that has a lot of good elements, very well skilled, very well coached and play a good, tough, hard game. They’re just looking to try to get to the next level and hopefully, I can help them do that.

On replacing fan favorite T.J. Oshie and if he saw the video of the 5-year-old girl crying over his departure:

I did, it was heart-breaking. But I haven’t really thought too much about it. Fan favorites are created because he’s been around for a long time and he’s been a great player for their organization. But I’m not going in trying to fill Oshie’s shoes or be the fan favorite that he is. I want the fans to enjoy the way I play and how I carry myself as a person, but I want to be my own person, my own player, and have the fans cheer for me because of my style of play and what I do on and off the ice for the fans and in the community.

On how he would describe his four years in Washington:

It was great. When I got traded to Washington I had never been traded before, whether it was in junior or the NHL, so it was a new experience for me going to a new organization, seeing how things are done. You can see the parallels, the similarities and differences, and it was a lot of fun to come meet more new players, play in the East, expand and evolve your game and get better as a player. I was given so much responsibility and such a big role as far as power play, penalty kill, being a guy that’s looked up to by the young guys. I’m really thankful for everything the organization and city has done for me over the past four years. The community embraced me amazingly. Even my neighbors have been phenomenal for us. They look after the house and look after my family while I’m gone on trips. The fans have been phenomenal for me cheering me on every step of the way. Obviously, they’re going to be upset with players at certain times, but I hope the fans enjoyed watching me as much as I enjoyed playing in front of them.

 

MORE CAPITALS: MacLellan's message to Caps fans: Win now

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NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: A rough week

The Caps are coming off of one of, if not the worst week of their season. Washington has now lost three of four games and all three of those losses came in devastating fashion.

On Feb. 11, the Caps hosted a scuffling Detroit Red Wings team and saw the Wings build a 4-1 lead in the second period, a period in which the Caps were outshot 17-2. Washington battled back to tie the game, but ultimately lost in overtime. Tuesday in Winnipeg the Caps held a 3-1 lead in the third period, but allowed the Jets to mount a comeback and tie the game with just 15 seconds remaining in regulation before losing in overtime. Then, of course, there was Saturday's 7-1 blowout at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, a team that had lost eight straight coming into that game.

SEE THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS HERE

To make matters worse, the Pittsburgh Penguins keep on winning and now hold a one-point lead over Washington. So yeah, things were not great.

The bad news is that, with the recent surges of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and even New Jersey, the Caps have to figure things out fast or they could continue to fall in the standings fairly quickly.

The good news is that they still remain in a relatively good position should they rebound. The Penguins do hold a one-point lead in the standings, but the Caps remain very much in the driver's seat of the division with three games in hand.

Four games separate Washington from the Feb. 26 trade deadline. The Caps will play in Buffalo, host Tampa Bay, play in Florida and host Buffalo. Winning three of those four games, especially if they can beat the dominant Lightning, will go a long way towards putting last week in the rearview mirror. Another tough week, however, could force the hand of general manager Brian MacLellan to make an unanticipated move at the trade deadline in order to keep a playoff season from falling apart.

After a week like that, it's no surprise to see Washington fall in this week's NHL Power Rankings. You can see the full rankings here.

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Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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USA TODAY Sports

Game 59: Capitals at Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: KeyBank Center, Buffalo, N.Y.

When: 3:00 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Sabres will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Sabres game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (33-18-7) take on the Sabres (17-31-11) Monday, February 19 at 3:00 p.m. ET in Buffalo.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 2:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 2:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 6:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 7:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

2:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
2:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
3:00 p.m. — Capitals at Sabres
5:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
6:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
7:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

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

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Taylor Chorney

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Sabres game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.