Quick Links

Carlson returns to practice Thursday, Oshie sits out


Carlson returns to practice Thursday, Oshie sits out

Updated 2:02 p.m: Capitals coach Barry Trotz said T.J. Oshie (flu) would not make the trip to New Jersey to face the Devils and John Carlson looks ready to return after a 13-game absence due to a lower body injury.

Capitals defenseman John Carlson rejoined his teammates for practice at kid-friendly Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday and took several shifts alongside Nate Schmidt.

Carlson has missed the past 13 games with a lower body injury and Caps coach Barry Trotz said last week his veteran defenseman might return Friday night when the Capitals visit the New Jersey Devils.

If he does, it will be interesting to see how the Caps’ defensive pairings will look. 

On Thursday Carlson spent the second half of practice with Schmidt, while Brooks Orpik and Dmitry Orlov. Matt Niskanen remained on pairing with Karl Alzner,  while Taylor Chorney and Mike Weber made up the Caps’ fourth pairing.

Meanwhile, forward T.J. Oshie missed practice because he was sick, prompting a forward line shuffle that looked like this:

Alex Ovechkin – Nicklas Backstrom – Justin Williams 

Marcus Johansson – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Andre Burakovsky 

Jason Chimera – Jay Beagle – Tom Wilson 

Stan Galiev – Mike Richards-  Daniel Winnik

Michael Latta

MORE CAPITALS: Richards quietly having an impact on Capitals

Quick Links

Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?


Can Pittsburgh's past be a goalie rotation blueprint?

It’s happened. The Caps no longer seem to have a No. 1 goalie anymore, they have a No. 1 and 1a.

That’s right, we have a goalie rotation in Washington.

“There's no sense riding one,” Barry Trotz said after practice on Monday. “[Braden Holtby] is coming back and looking better every game and [Philipp Grubauer] played pretty well for a long stretch so why not have both of them going?”

Grubauer got the start Sunday in Philadelphia and Holtby is slated to get the start Tuesday against the Dallas Stars. After that we will have to wait and see.


Trotz has no layout for which goalie he wants to start and when in the remaining ten games. He is not thinking about each goalie splitting five games or which one he wants to use more.

Nope. Trotz has just one thing on his mind. It is all about who starts the next game, that’s it.

“I think you just go with a guy that's hot at the time and your team feels comfortable with and go from there,” Trotz said.

So where does this leave the goaltending situation when it comes to the playoffs? A goalie rotation is all well and good in the regular season, but he has to have one starter for the postseason, right?

Not necessarily.


When Trotz was asked if he philosophically believed in having one starter for the playoffs, Trotz initially said he would not answer, but then said, “Why don't you ask Mike Sullivan what he thinks.”

Sullivan, of course, is the head coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins who has led his team to a Stanley Cup in each of the past two seasons despite turning to both goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray in both seasons.

While Pittsburgh’s goalie rotation was largely based on injury, however, it still provides an example of how using both goalies can work in the playoffs and that seems to be the path the Caps are headed on at the moment.

Said Trotz, “You just have to go with your gut who you think is going to get the job done.”

Quick Links

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

USA Today Sports

NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

We are down to the home stretch. Only 10 games remain in the Capitals' regular season. Those 10 games will ultimately decide if the Caps finish in first place in the Metropolitan Division and who they will play in the first round of the playoffs.

Washington currently sits in first place in the division, two points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and four points ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers. Of those 10 remaining games, only three come against teams currently in playoff position. The most critical of these comes on April 1 when the Caps travel to Pittsburgh in a game that could ultimately decide the division.

The Caps still hold a narrow lead in the standings, but where do they stand in the rankings? See this week's updated NHL Power Rankings here.