Capitals

Quick Links

Caps camp is underway—and here's how they're lined up

usatsi_9750137.jpg

Caps camp is underway—and here's how they're lined up

As Capitals training camp begins in Arlington, here are the initial forward combinations and defensive pairs—plus a few observations about how Coach Barry Trotz has everyone lined up.

  • The young defensemen the Caps want to get a good look at are all paired with veterans. Lucas Johansen is playing alongside John Carlson; Madison Bowey is with Dmitry Orlov; Christian Djoos is with Matt Niskanen; Connor Hobbs is with Brooks Orpik; and Jonas Siegenthaler is with Taylor Chorney. It's probably worth noting that Johansen opens in the vacant spot to the left of Carlson.   
  • The spotlight in the coming weeks will shine brightest on Jakub Vrana, who is starting on the best line. The 21-year-old winger is skating on the right side of Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky.
  • Alex Chiasson, who is on a PTO, is being centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov. Again, you never want to read too much into camp lines on Day 1, but it appears they want to get a good look at the potential bottom-six winger.

RELATED: WHY BRADEN HOLTBY IS THE CAPS' MOST IMPORTANT PLAYER

Here are the groupings in their entirety:

WHITE

Forwards

Ovechkin – Eller – Marthinsen

O’Brien – Beagle – Peluso

Bau Hansen – Pilon – Oshie

Riat – Gustafsson – Gazley

Jeannot

Defense

Orpik – Hobbs

Djoos – Niskanen

Zaitsev – Williams

Goalies

Grubauer

Copley

RED

Forwards

Burakovsky – Backstrom – Vrana

Smith-Pelly – Stephenson – Simpson, W.

Malenstyn – Sill – Wilson

Mitchell, M. – Simpson, M. – Elgestal

                                                     Collins

Defense  

Orlov – Bowey

Siegenthaler – Chorney

Bindulis – Lewington

Goalies

Holtby

Vanecek

BLUE

Forwards

Albert – Kuznetsov – Chiasson

Walker – Graovac – Barber

Connolly – Boyd – Mitchell, G.

Baillargeon – McGauley – Bourque

Semchuk                               Devito

Defense

Johansen – Carslon

Hughes – Ness

Jokipakka – Labrie

Goalies

Milner

Carlson

Morrison

MORE CAPITALS: OVECHKIN CONCEDES HE WILL NOT PLAY IN 2018 OLYMPICS

Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

Like what you hear? Be sure to subscribe on iTunes and AudioBoom and give us a good review! Have a question you want answered on the podcast? Send us your questions to CapitalsFaceoff@gmail.com. Maybe we'll even read it on the air.

Quick Links

Caps work on team building by fighting each other in FBI training

capsfbi.png
@Capitals Twitter

Caps work on team building by fighting each other in FBI training

How much better would your work environment be if you had a chance to pin a coworker or get them in a chokehold? Probably a lot. That's what the Caps are banking on.

The team visited the FBI Academy on Wednesday in a team building exercise that included raming doors and, of course, hand to hand combat.

Let's break down some of these wrestling matchups.

Braden Holtby appears to be thanking John Carlson for playing 27:33 on Tuesday.

It seems dangerous to pit a goalie against a defenseman. Carlson spends all of his time on the ice trying to protect Holtby. Just how hard was Carlson really trying to take down Holtby?

It's no surprise seeing Tom Wilson enjoying himself with the hand to hand combat. Whoever went up against him (it looks like Jay Beagle) certainly drew the short straw.

And then there's this.

Nicklas Backstrom is having way, way too much fun. Maybe Andre Burakovsky was getting a bit chesty in the locker room after his first NHL fight. Well, it seems Backstrom certainly put him in his place.

Quick Links

There are no moral victories, but Caps see a defensive effort they can build on in Tuesday's loss

usatsi_10353436.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

There are no moral victories, but Caps see a defensive effort they can build on in Tuesday's loss

The Capitals probably deserved a better result on Tuesday than a 2-0 loss at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coming into that game, the Leafs were averaging 5.20 goals per game and had scored no fewer than three in any of their five games to start the season. Yet, a Capitals team fresh off an 8-2 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers managed to hold Toronto’s offense to only one goal, the second coming only after Braden Holtby had been pulled for the extra attacker.

“There's a lot of improvements from our game in Philadelphia, that's for sure,” Barry Trotz said following the game.

Aside from a flurry of chances from Toronto early in the first, the game was largely even between the two sides until Connor Brown put the Leafs up 1-0 in the third period.

RELATED: EVGENY KUZNETSOV COULD HAVE CHANGED TUESDAY'S GAME, HERE'S HOW

Despite their effort, however, do not take this game as proof that Washington has solved all of its blue line issues. Tuesday was just merely a step in the right direction.

“We did some things better [Tuesday],” Braden Holtby said. “The outcome could have been a little worse if luck wasn't on our side today on a few plays. We've got to keep a realistic mindset on that too.  But we did a lot of good things [Tuesday]. Our defense did a really good job at handling their speed and their size.”

Surprisingly, it was not the defense that cost Washington the game, but the offense. When the Caps needed a goal, they simply could not generate one against goalie Frederik Andersen.

Yes, the team needs to find more of a balance and get a full 60-minute effort on both ends of the ice, but there was also hope in the locker room on Tuesday that if they continue to improve in their own zone, it will ultimately lead to more offense in the other end.

“Everything is developed from the defensive zone,” Holtby said. “That's the way we've always had success scoring goals. If you're taking risks offensively, that's not a consistent way to play. You might win some games, but you're not going to win games consistently. That's what our foundation of our team is built around, our breakout, especially on our goal line and that what creates a lot of our offense.”

MORE CAPITALS: WHO STOOD OUT IN TUESDAY'S DEFENSIVE BATTLE?

What the first seven games of the season has shown is that the Capitals’ fate rests on its blue line. Yes, they need more depth scoring from their third and fourth line, but this team’s weakness is its defense. How they respond to their early struggles will determine the fate of the season.

“We'd be kidding ourselves if we're not going to have some growing pains along the way,” Holtby said of the team. “It's just how we handle them and what we do with them. How do we fight through them and get better?”

Tuesday’s game may have ended in a loss, but it was an effort the defense can build around. That is the silver lining. If they do build on this game, the Capitals still have a playoff caliber roster. If they do not, well, there is no telling how far Washington can sink.