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Capitals acquire a 'heart and soul' defenseman


Capitals acquire a 'heart and soul' defenseman

On Monday, defenseman Mike Weber joked with Buffalo reporters that players like to pack extra clothing in their suitcases prior to the NHL trade deadline.

Weber didn’t say he was one of those players, but one day later the “heart and soul” blue liner is on his way to Washington as the newest member of the Capitals.

The Caps acquired Weber, 28, on Tuesday in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. The Sabres have retained 50 percent of Weber’s expiring contract, which carries a $1.66 million cap hit. Weber's signing also gives the Caps 50 players under contract, which is the NHL limit. If they plan on adding any more players to their roster before Monday's 3 p.m. trade deadline, a contract has to go the other way.

“We are pleased to welcome Mike to our organization,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “Mike is a stay-at-home defenseman, who plays a physical game and is respected by his teammates. We felt it was important to add depth to our blue line by adding another quality veteran defenseman.”

Weber had played his entire NHL career with the Sabres. In 35 games for them this season he recorded five points (one goal, four assists) and 32 penalty minutes.

“He’s a passionate guy,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told reporters on Monday, referring to Weber as a “heart and soul” player. “He wears his heart on his sleeve as a person and as a player. That’s how he plays the game. It was evident from afar. I saw it playing against him. Undoubtedly, he’s showed it this year with the way he’s played.”

It will be interesting to see where Weber fits into the Capitals’ defensive rotation. He could serve as a seventh defenseman ahead of Taylor Chorney and serve as insurance in the event Brooks Orpik gets injured at any point in the regular season or post-season.

However he is used, Weber is going from one of the worst teams in the NHL to one of the best. And he’ll probably want his wife, who is expecting the couple’s second child any day, to join him.

“My younger days, I think you worry a little bit too much about what’s going on upstairs,” Weber said on Monday. “As you get older and you mature in this league, you don’t worry about that, you just try to worry about … the guys you’re battling for every night.”  

Since he entered the NHL as a teenager in 2007-08, the Pittsburgh native ranks first among Buffalo skaters in hits (917) and blocked shots (666).

Weber has registered 53 points (nine goals, 44 assists) and 409 penalty minutes in 341 career NHL games with Buffalo. He was drafted by the Sabres in the second round, 57th overall, in the 2006 NHL Draft.

Weber also has one assist in seven career playoff games. He led the Sabres with 16 blocked shots during the 2010-11 postseason.

RELATED: Updates on Johansson, Beagle and ... chasing history

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NHL Power Rankings: A rough week


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.


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


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!).


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


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


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

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

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


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).


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.