Quick Links

Capitals sign Lucas Johansen, Colby Williams to entry-level contracts

Capitals sign Lucas Johansen, Colby Williams to entry-level contracts

Just three days removed from trading away their first-round pick in the 2017 draft, the Washington Capitals have signed their top pick from 2016. The team announced the signing of prospects Lucas Johansen and Colby Williams to entry-level contracts on Thursday beginning in the 2017-18 season.

Johansen's deal is for three years, Williams' is for two.

Washington's first round selection in the 2016 draft, Johansen, 19, has tallied 36 points this season with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. He currently ranks second among Kelowna defensemen in points, goals (6) and assists (30).

Williams, 22, is currently playing in the AHL with the Hershey Bears and has earned 13 points in 49 games. As a member of the Regina Pats of the WHL in 2015-16, Williams suffered nerve damage after a severe laceration to his arm. He was strong in his return for Regina, however, with 12 points in 19 games for the Pats. That success has carried over to this year in his first professional season.

Both players will remain with their respective teams for now. Johansen is projected to be with Hershey in 2017-18.

UPDATE: The Capitals also announced Wednesday the signing of free agent forward Mason Mitchell to a two-year, entry-level contract starting in the 2017-18 season. In 31 games with the University of Alaska-Anchorage, Mitchell registered 14 points. The 22-year-old will join the Hershey Bears on tryout.

RELATED: Caps get one player back for Thursday, news hopeful on other injuries

Quick Links

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

Blackhawks fans tossed after directing racist remarks at Washington's Smith-Pelly

CHICAGO—Four fans were ejected from United Center on Saturday night for taunting Devante Smith-Pelly as the Capitals’ winger sat in the penalty box.

The fans, according to a team spokesman, yelled “basketball, basketball, basketball” at Smith-Pelly, who is black. Smith-Pelly was in the box for fighting in the third period of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks.

The taunts were confirmed by an off-ice official, the spokesman said, and the fans were subsequently removed from the arena.

Smith-Pelly did not speak with reporters after the game but is expected to address the incident at the team’s next media availability. The team is scheduled to practice Sunday at KeyBank Center in Buffalo.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz did not hold back when asked about the fans' comments.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism,” Trotz said. “I think it’s disgusting, and there’s no place for it. …It just shows ignorance.”

The Blackhawks responded on Twitter with an apology to Smith-Pelly, who is one of roughly 30 black players in the NHL.

February is Hockey is For Everyone month in the NHL.

Quick Links

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

3 stars of the game: Caps suffer ugly loss to scuffling Blackhawks

Just about everything that could go wrong did for the Capitals on Saturday in a 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Caps were coming off a strong 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, but none of that carried over in the trip to Chicago. The Caps took on a Blackhawks team that had lost eight in a row, but Chicago quickly took control in the first period and never looked back.

Washington gave up 21 shots on goal in the first period and found themselves down 3-1 after the opening frame. Things did not get much better from there as they gave up another three goals in the final four minutes of the second.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Jonathan Toews: Toews opened up the scoring in the first period with a quick shot from the corner that caught Braden Holtby by surprise.

Later in the first, he recorded an assist as his pass sparked a breakout that led to Brandon Saad's deal that gave Chicago back the lead. The Caps tried to make a game of it in the second period, but Toews intercepted a pass from Brooks Orpik that led to a 2-on-0 with himself and Patrick Kane that Kane netted to give the Blackhawks a 4-1 lead and signaled to everyone that the rout was on. Saturday was only the second three-point night of the season for Toews.

2. Patrick Kane: Toews helped the Blackhawks take control early, but Kane helped provide the knockout punches in the second period. A bad pass from Orpik was intercepted by Toews that led to a 2-on-0 with Kane. Holtby made the initial save on Toews, but Kane was able to knock in the rebound for the goal.

Kane also added an assist on Artem Anisimov's power play goal which extended Chicago's lead to 6-1.

3. Tom Wilson: Before this one got out of hand, it looked like Wilson had erased the tough start for the Caps as he deflected a shot from Matt Niskanen into the net to get Washington on the board.

Saturday's tally was his third goal in two games and his 10th of the season, marking the first time in his career he has reached double digits in goals.