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Capitals' Kevin Shattenkirk discusses the play that led to his suspension

Capitals' Kevin Shattenkirk discusses the play that led to his suspension

Kevin Shattenkirk said he takes responsibility for the hit that led to his two-game suspension and feels fortunate that Los Angeles defenseman Kevin Gravel was not injured.

“I have to take responsibility for the hit,” said Shattenkirk, who was assessed a charging minor. “I made a bad read. I thought he was coming in at a different angle and I’d have a cleaner hit, and he went another route. It’s on me at that point to adjust or slow up and not make that hit.”

“More than anything,” the Caps defenseman continued, “it’s fortunate that [Gravel] is not out and it wound up being more of my fault and no one else had to suffer for it, really, other than my team, which for me hurts the most.”

Shattenkirk served the first game of the ban Sunday against Anaheim and will miss the second game Tuesday night when the Western Conference-leading Wild visit Verizon Center.

It’s the first time in Shattenkirk’s seven year career that he’s been disciplined by the league.

Shattenkirk said he explained his position in a brief conference call with representatives from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Sunday afternoon. Then, about an hour later, he received a call from Caps General Manager Brian MacLellan, who delivered the bad news.

“They have a formula that they have to stick to and some boxes that get checked off on certain hits,” Shattenkirk said. “Unfortunately, my hit checked off a few too many boxes in the criteria that they use to judge those situations.”

He added: “Looking at a lot of the other suspensions that have been handed out, that’s kind of a similar amount to what’s been done before.”

With regard to the hit, Shattenkirk indicated that he probably was trying to do too much.

“We didn’t have any sort of altercations earlier in the game,” Shattenkirk said of Gravel, who was stunned by the high hit but remained in the game. “Really, it was me just trying to make an aggressive play on my dump [in]. Just dumping the puck and having four minutes left [in a one-goal game], I wanted to try to make a difference and try to go make an offensive read.”

Shattenkirk, who also forfeited more than $47,000 in salary, is eligible to return Thursday against Nashville. He said he hopes to pick up where he left off as continues to adjust to a new team.

“It’s certainly not ideal,” he said of losing two games in that process. “I was really starting to get into a groove with these guys. And it’s a tough time for the team right now, so I wish I was more a part of it.”     

MORE CAPITALS: Power Rankings: Caps go cold

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Caps' Barry Trotz forced to change up defense lineups

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Caps' Barry Trotz forced to change up defense lineups

Lars Eller did not practice on Monday, and coach Barry Trotz shuffled his injury-depleted defense corps.

Here’s how everyone lined up:

Forwards

Burakovsky – Backstrom – Oshie

Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Vrana

Connolly – Graovac – Wilson

Smith-Pelly – Beagle – Chiasson

Walker

Defense

Orpik – Bowey

Djoos – Carlson

Orlov – Chorney

Ness

Goalies

Holtby

Grubauer

RELATED: Caps destroyed by Flyers in lopsided road loss

Some notes, quotes and observations from KCI:

  • Trotz said Eller showed up sick and was sent home to recover and avoid spreading whatever he’s got. Trotz also isn’t sure whether the veteran center will be able to suit up against Toronto on Tuesday. “I don’t know,” he said. “I can’t answer that right now. We’ll see where his energy level is.”

 

  • The coaching staff shuffled the D-pairs with speedy Toronto coming to town. But Trotz also cautioned not to read too much into the tandems, since they’re likely to change throughout Tuesday’s game. Trotz even hinted that a final decision on which six D-men will suit up had not yet been made. “They’re going to be shuffled from now until we get people back,” Trotz said, referring to the injured Matt Niskanen, who is week-to-week with an upper body injury. “There are pairs for practice. There are pairs for parts of games. It’ll be a little bit situational.”

 

  • If defenseman Taylor Chorney does get back into the lineup, he knows that he needs to make a positive impression after sitting out the last three games as a healthy scratch. “I’ve been through this quite a bit over the last couple of years, but at the same time you probably want to make a little bit of a statement,” he acknowledged. “So for me, if I do get the opportunity to play, it would be a big game.”  

 

  • Speaking of the Leafs, they’re off to a 4-1-0 start with Auston Matthews (5 goals, including two OT winners) leading the way. Overall, Toronto is averaging a league-leading 5.2 goals per game. As you might imagine, Trotz had a lot of praise for last season’s first round opponent in general and Matthews specifically. “If he was playing 20 years ago, we’d be saying he’s Mario Lemieux-like,” Trotz said. “He’s six-foot-[three]. He skates great. He’s got unbelievable hands. And a hockey I.Q. and he’s strong on the puck.”  

 

  • As Washington attempts to turn the page from Saturday’s 8-2 clunker in Philly, Trotz said one area he’d like to see shored up is the number of shots the Caps have been allowing. Through six games, they’re yielding 34.5 shots on goal per game (tied for ninth most). Last year, they allowed 27.8 (fourth best). “We’re not as structured defensively,” Trotz said. “We haven’t put as big an emphasis this year as we did last year. We’ve put a little more emphasis on trying to replace some of the goals that we lost. But right now we have to get a little more balance. …We have to get that back into balance; we practiced some of that today.”

 

  • As you may remember, Madison Bowey’s father, Will, jumped on the first flight out of British Columbia that he could find in the hopes of catching his son’s NHL debut Saturday night at Wells Fargo Center. As it turned out, though, he experienced a couple of travel delays and didn’t make it. Dad will, however, be in attendance Tuesday night.

 

MORE CAPS: Nicklas Backstrom shines among NHL's top stars

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Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom named one of NHL's 3 stars for standout week

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Capitals' Nicklas Backstrom named one of NHL's 3 stars for standout week

Nicklas Backstrom has been the Capitals’ best player so far this season, according to coach Barry Trotz. And he was recognized for his play on Monday when the NHL named him third star of the week.

No one had more points over the past week than the Caps’ star center, who racked up three goals and six assists in four games.

Trotz praised Backstrom for his point production — and his play on the other side of the puck.   

“He’s been really good,” Trotz said. “Nick has been all business. He’s playing very well. He’s been our best player, no question, with balance in his game. Nick’s balance in his game is really good—on my soap box again—and that’s what makes him one of the best two-way centermen in the National Hockey League. ”

RELATED: Andre Burakovsky's first NHL fight

Last season, Backstrom didn’t get his third goal until the 16th game (en route to a 23-goal campaign). In six games this season, the 29-year-old has three goals and eight helpers.

First star of the week was Winnipeg winger Nikolaj Ehlers (five goals, two assists), while Toronto center Auston Matthews (four goals, including two OT winners) received second star honors.

On Tuesday at Capital One Arena, it’ll be second star versus third star as Matthews and the Leafs take on on Backstrom’s Caps.

MORE CAPS: How the Caps flopped in Philly