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Capitals begin training camp at Kettler


Capitals begin training camp at Kettler


Can Tom Wilson be more than just a fighter? We should find out this season because he won't be buried on the fourth line anymore.

Caps project Wilson to be third-line wing this season


When Nicklas Backstrom returns to the ice, how will the Caps' forward depth play out? Ice time may be at a premium for Derek Roy, Brooks Laich and Jason Chimera when that happens.

Roy, Laich, Chimera set to battle for ice time with Backstrom out


What's next for Alex Ovechkin? Winning the Stanley Cup of course.

Next on Ovechkin's bucket list: Stanley Cup ring


The Caps will be without a key piece to their power play this season with the loss of Mike Green. John Carlson knows he needs to step up on the man advantage this season.

Carlson ready to make up for loss of Mike Green


Brooks Orpik underwent surgery in late July to the surprise of pretty much everyone. Now he tells us why it took so long:

Orpik hopes to be back for preseason after late surgery


Have you ever gotten a ship for your birthday? Ovechkin did. Or was it a sheep?

Ovechkin reveals a rather odd 30th birthday gift


Nicklas Backstrom did not take part in practice, but did skate earlier in the day. Afterwards, he stopped to talk to the media about his recovery from hip surgery:

Backstrom's return remains uncertain

11:00 AM

Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Capitals arrived at Kettler Capitals Iceplex bright and early on Friday for the first – and possibly most grueling – day of training camp.

Ovechkin, Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuzetsov and Jay Beagle, defenseman Nate Schmidt and goaltender Braden Holtby were among the Caps veterans in the first group (Group Blue) to hit the ice.

Center Nicklas Backstrom (offseason hip surgery) and defenseman Brooks Orpik (offseason wrist surgery) were not assigned to groups and are not expected to be available for the start of the Caps’ seven-game preseason schedule, which begins Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

A 45-minute practice was followed by a fitness skate that had players hunched over in agony. Ovechkin started strong in the fitness skate, but fell back to the pack, while Beagle, a fitness enthusiast, led wire to wire.

Barry Trotz’s fitness test is one of the most difficult in the NHL, requiring players to do hockey’s version of basketball suicides – length of the ice, goal line to offensive blue line, goal line to center ice, goal line to defensive blue line – within a mandatory time frame. Players who cannot make the desired times must do the entire skate again.

The Capitals’ Group White squad, consisting of T.J. Oshie, John Carlson, Marcus Johansson, Derek Roy, Michael Latta and Andre Burakovsky, is scheduled to hit the ice at 11 a.m.

Group Red, with  Matt Niskanen, Brooks Laich, Jason Chimera, Karl Alzner, Tom Wilson and Philipp Grubauer, is slotted to begin its skating session at12:30 p.m.  

Stay here for continued coverage of today’s first day of training camp.

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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz


Why the suggested tweak to the goalie interference rule makes sense to Barry Trotz

Goalie interference has become one of the most controversial calls in hockey and that has led to the general managers calling for a tweak to the rules before the playoffs.

As the general managers wrapped up their meetings in Florida on Wednesday, they issued a recommendation to the league’s Board of Governors that the final decision for all coach’s challenges for goaltender interference come from the Situation Room in Toronto where a retired referee will be included in the process.

If approved, the change will be enacted for the start of the playoffs.

The issue with goalie interference is consistency. It is an inherently subjective call so on any given night, it is hard to know how the rule will be officiated. That is a problem considering these calls can take goals off the board. The hope is that by requiring that all calls be made by the Situation Room, it will bring more consistency.


The news was met by skepticism from Capitals goalie Philipp Grubauer.

“I can't tell you right now at this point if that's going to change anything,” he said. “If they still communicate with the linesmen, I'm sure they do, but in the end it's a grey area and it's been a grey area for a bunch of years now.”

One issue with the change is that while the Situation Room will make the final call, it will not always have the same personnel for each game and the retired referee to be included will not always be the same individual. Saying the Situation Room will make the call sounds great, but if the calls are still being reviewed by different people every night, will that really lead to greater consistency?

Head coach Barry Trotz thinks so. He applauded the change Wednesday explaining that different factors can weigh on a referee when he is the one making the call.

“Some referees who are more established and more sure of themselves, they won't reverse their calls,” Trotz said. “They just almost say, that's the way I saw it and that's the way it is and live with it. Others get swayed by what they see or maybe the crowd or another coach or how the game is going. It's no different than the student marking their own papers. Let's have a non-emotional person who has no skin in the game and is not in an emotional environment to make those calls and I think you'll find it'll be more consistent.”


If the main issue of the goalie interference was the referees being made to judge their own calls, then yes, this new rule change will go a long way towards fixing the consistency problem.

But perhaps it is unreasonable to expect calls to ever be black and white on a play and a rule that never is.

“Every situation is different,” Grubauer said. “There's no situation that's the same. Did he get bumped in? Was it intentional? Was the goalie intentional making contact? All points they have to look at and it happens so fast. I hope it's going to get better and I hope they will get a foundation down for it.”