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Capitals Lockout Gang down to four

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Capitals Lockout Gang down to four

The Capitals Lockout Gang started at about a dozen strong back on Sept. 17.

But as hopes of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement diminish with each passing day, so do the number of Capitals who have spent every weekday morning skating at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

With Nicklas Backstrom reuniting with Alex Ovechkin as the newest member of the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow and Matt Hendricks returning to his home in Minnesota, the Lockout Gang was down to four on Friday – forwards Jason Chimera and Jay Beagle and defensemen Mike Green and John Carlson.

“Every person that goes it’s more money out of our pockets,” Chimera said with a laugh.  “We’re scrounging meal money together to get some ice. And it’s not cheap ice here in Arlington [$360 an hour].”

Chimera said he’s talked to some former teammates in Columbus and is considering skating there for a few days next week. If not, he may take a drive to Philadelphia, where a handful of locked-out Flyers are skating in Voorhees, N.J.

“With four guys out here you’re certainly not getting better,” he said. “Some guys are looking for some different options. Everyone is so different. Some guys have no kids, some guys have kids, some guys are in places where a lot of NHLers are and they’ve got good skates going, too.”

Mike Ribeiro is one of the other Capitals still living in the area and he’s been skating with his son’s hockey team.

Beagle said he and Carlson plan on using the ice at Kettler through at least next week, when they are scheduled to work with Jeff Halpern’s power skating coach, Wendy Marco.

“Six guys, three guys, it doesn’t make much difference,” Beagle said. “We wanted to try it out today and see how the skate would go. I actually thought it was a little better just because we didn’t play 3-on-3 or 2-on-2 at the end. Me and Hendy aren’t big fans of the 3-on-3 or the 2-on-2 half ice. It gets a little old.”

Beagle, who is from Calgary, said he’s staying in the area because he’s actually encouraged by the progress made by the owners and players this week, even though both sides failed to accept each other’s proposals.

“If talks weren’t going on I’d probably go back to Calgary,” Beagle said. “But with what happened this week it kind of makes you hopeful again. I hopefully think something’s going to get done soon. It’s a far way to go all the way back to Calgary for maybe a week, maybe two weeks and come back.”

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Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals Extra Podcast: Trade deadline story time with Alan May

Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.

Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.

This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.

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NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

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USA TODAY Sports

NHL Awards tracker: Where would the Caps' offense be without Ovechkin?

The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?

Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.

That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).

Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.

SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!