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Capitals breakdown: John Erskine


Capitals breakdown: John Erskine Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in alphabetical order. Today: John Erskine
John Erskine
Position: Defense
Age: 31
HtWt: 6-4, 220
Games: 28
Goals: 0
Assists: 2
Points: 2
Penalty Minutes: 51
Plus-Minus: Plus-3
Average Ice Time: 12:05
Contract Status: 1 year remaining on 2-year, 3million contract 1.5 million cap hit in 2012-13

Strengths: A tough-as-nails veteran, Erskine is willing to defend teammates at the drop of a hat and although he is a part-time player he has no problem holding teammates accountable. A hard hitter, Erskines biggest asset is his ability to keep opponents away from the front of the net.

Weaknesses: After playing 73 games in 2010-11, Erskine was a part-time player under both Bruce Boudreau and Dale Hunter. His lack of mobility makes him a defensive liability, especially in todays game.

Memorable Moment on the ice: On Dec. 1, in Arron Ashams first game against the Capitals since knocking out Jay Beagle in a lopsided Oct. 13 fight, Erskine sought retribution just 5: 27 into the game. Erskine, who was not in the lineup on the night of Oct. 13, took a hard punch to the face before finishing off Asham, who had set up a Penguins goal 6 seconds earlier, with a flurry of punches. I saw it happen, Erskine said of Ashams knockdown of Beagle, but that didnt really have much to do with it. We went down 1-0 and I wanted to get the crowd back into it.

Memorable Moment off the ice: After Jan. 18, when Erskine was hit with six minutes in penalties on one play a double-minor for high sticking and two for elbowing Montreals Matthieu Darche the burly defenseman dressed for just four more games the remainder of the regular season. During his time in Dale Hunters doghouse, Erskine was asked if the coach told him what he needed to do to get back in the lineup. Who? Dale? He hasnt talked to me one little bit, Erskine replied. I talk to (assistant coaches) Deano (Evason) and Jimmy Johnson here and there, but thats about it.

2012-13 Expectations: Its hard to imagine Erskine fitting into the Capitals plans for next season. If another team is looking to add some gritty depth to their blue line, the Caps likely would take a low-round draft pick for Erskine. If not, theyll keep him around as a defensive insurance policy.

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Caps attempt to address blue line depth by trading for defenseman Michal Kempny


Caps attempt to address blue line depth by trading for defenseman Michal Kempny

Facing serious questions about their defensive depth, the Caps took a step towards addressing that depth by trading for Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny. Chicago will receive a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 draft in exchange.

Washington has played the majority of the season with two rookie defensemen in the lineup in Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos. The team is giving up 2.98 goals per game which ranks 20th in the NHL. If there was one weakness the Capitals absolutely needed to address, it was defense.


Kempny, 27, has played in 31 games for Chicago this season tallying one goal and seven points. He is a left-shot defenseman who carries a cap hit of $900,000. His contract expires at the end of this season.

For his career, Kempny has played in 81 NHL games, all with Chicago, Kempny has scored a total of 15 points.

The Capitals have two third-round draft picks in 2018 after acquiring Toronto's third-round pick in the trade that sent Marcus Johansson to New Jersey. Chicago will receive the higher of the two picks at season's end.


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2018 Olympic Hockey Results: U.S. Women back in the gold medal match

2018 Olympic Hockey Results: U.S. Women back in the gold medal match

GANGNEUNG, South Korea -- The Americans played their way back into the only women's hockey game that matters: a showdown with Canada for the Olympic gold medal.

The Americans are back in the title game for a third straight Olympics after shutting out Finland 5-0 on Monday in the semifinals. They will face their arch-rival, which beat the "Olympic Athletes from Russia" 5-0 a few hours later, on Thursday. They Americans will be trying to win their first gold since 1998 when women's hockey made its debut in the Olympics.

And yes, the Americans understand the United States-Canada playing for gold is what everyone expects to see.


"Definitely the rivalry has been there since I think I was born, so everyone's looking forward to that," said 22-year-old Dani Cameranesi.

This will be the third opportunity at gold for six Americans: captain Meghan Duggan, Hilary Knight, Gigi Marvin, Kacey Bellamy and twin sisters Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson.

"It's honestly a dream come true," Knight said. "This is the world's biggest stage. This is the game that you want. This is the game we've been dreaming of and to have another opportunity to get back here, it's huge."

Olympic newcomer Cameranesi scored two goals and added an assist to lead the Americans over Finland. Marvin started the scoring, and Lamoureux-Davidson and Knight both scored during a 5-on-3 34 seconds apart in the second period. Maddie Rooney made 14 saves for the shutout.

Finland remains winless in eight games against the Americans at the Olympics. The Finns, ranked third in the world last year, will try to take home the bronze medal for the first time since 2010.

"We're got one thing on our mind, and that's to get a medal," said goaltender Noora Raty, who made 33 saves. "They're the best in the world (U.S. and Canada). We just need to get more girls involved so we have more to choose from."

The Americans opened these games a 2-1 loss to Canada wrapping up pool play.

"This was really a gold-medal preparation for us because they're a darn good team, and we had to be ready to play," U.S. coach Robb Stauber said of Finland.

The Americans wasted no time getting on the board. Captain Meghan Duggan found Marvin alone in the slot, and she beat Raty stick-side for the easy goal just 2:25 into the game.

Finland lost defenseman when she had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room after a knee-on-knee collision with Duggan. She was knocked off balance before crashing face-first into the boards, snapping her head back. When play resumed without a penalty, some fans booed. Savolainen returned in the second period.


Stauber said the referee immediately came over and said it was a collision. Duggan said she was really happy Savolainen got up and that any decision about a potential suspension was out of her control.

"There's been some other plays that haven't been put into question, and so I can't imagine that there would be any disciplinary action just based on other things that have been let go," Duggan said.

Cameranesi put the United States up 2-0 with 1:22 left in the period, taking the puck away from Susanna Tapani and skating into the left circle before beating Raty's blocker with a wrist shot top shelf.

Lamoureux-Davidson's slap shot from the left circle came with 2 seconds left on the 5-on-3 at 13:21 of the second period, and Knight got her first goal of this tournament by redirecting a shot from Sidney Morin with 5 seconds left on the man advantage for the 4-0 lead. Cameranesi padded the lead as she scored from the slot over Raty's glove off a pass from Hannah Brandt.

"We're super excited to be in this position again," Lamoureux-Davidson said. "We worked four years to put ourselves in position to compete for a gold medal and we'll enjoy this for a little bit, but we know that this isn't what we came here for. We're ready to go to battle in a couple days."