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Doughty recalls Williams' Knute Rockne speech


Doughty recalls Williams' Knute Rockne speech

Kings defenseman Drew Doughty shared a lot of fond memories with former teammate Justin Williams during their seven years together in Los Angeles.

None was more lasting than the locker room speech Williams gave prior to the Kings’ Stanley Cup-clinching game against the New Jersey Devils in the 2012 Finals.

“The one thing I remember (Williams saying was), ‘We want to be remembered as a (championship) team. I want to remember each guy on this team as a winner and as a Stanley Cup champion and as a brother that way,” Doughty recalled.

“It worked.”

The Kings routed the Devils 6-1 in that game, clinching their first of two Stanley Cups in three years. Now a member of the Capitals, Williams is hoping for a similar opportunity in Washington, which is yearning for its first Stanley Cup parade.

“He kind of waits for the right moment and then he’s going to speak up and say something,” Doughty said. “When a guy like that who’s won three Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe says something, everyone is going to listen.

“He’s a smart man and he knows the right things to say at the right time. It was huge for our team.”

So far, Williams has done a pretty good job of letting his stick, which happened to be his nickname in Los Angeles, do the talking. In 54 games Williams is second on the Capitals with 18 goals and is on pace for 57 points, his highest total since that 2012 Stanley Cup season.

Tonight also marks Mike Richards’ first game against the Kings since they terminated his contract in September.

Kings coach Darryl Sutter was less than loquacious when asked about his team facing two instrumental pieces of their Stanley Cup teams.

“They’re on the other team tonight,” Sutter said. “They won two Cups with us. They’re great memories. We don’t have to share them publicly, do we?”

Doughty, who played four seasons with Richards and saw him sent to the minors last season, said he was happy to see the 31-year-old center sign with the Caps.

“How can you not root for a guy like that?” Doughty said. “He was a great teammate of ours and a huge part of our success in the last few years. It was weird not seeing him in any lineups and sitting at home for a little bit. So I’m happy for him, I’m happy that he found a home here in Washington and I think that he can help them a lot.”

Doughty said he heard that Williams jokingly said he’d like to pick a fight with him when they finally played against each other and said he’s probably keep his gloves on if he did.

“I haven’t been too successful in my previous fights,” Doughty said. “'Stick' would always be on my side. He’d always be pulling for me. He always had my back.”

MORE CAPITALS: Orpik to make his return to the lineup Tuesday against Kings

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Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

Kuznetsov to be evaluated Saturday after leaving Islanders game with "upper body" issue

The Capitals may have won the game Friday against the New York Islanders, but now they will wait to see if they also suffered a significant loss.

Kuznetsov left the game in the third period after taking a slash from Islanders defenseman Thomas Hickey which sent him sliding head-first into the boards. The team labeled the issue as “upper body” when it was announced he would not return to the game.

Head coach Barry Trotz was tight-lipped afterward on Kuznetsov’s status.

“They're going to re-evaluate him tomorrow and we'll have some clarity hopefully tomorrow,” he said.


You can see the play here:

When Kuznetsov is first slashed he immediately reacts. His feet then catch the stick of goalie Jaroslav Halak which sends him tripping and sliding hard into the boards. He sat on the ice for several minutes afterward and was looked at by the trainer before getting to his feet and slowly making his way to the locker room.

When asked after the game what he felt about the slash, Trotz said only, “Hockey play.”

One of the Capitals’ biggest strengths as a team is their depth down the middle. Any injury to a center, considering it is arguably the most important skating position on the ice, would be significant. An injury to the team’s top-line center would be even more costly.

Kuznetsov leads the team with 28 assists and ranks second in both goals (21) and points (69).

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3 stars of the game: Caps win brutal rematch to sweep home-and-home with Islanders

3 stars of the game: Caps win brutal rematch to sweep home-and-home with Islanders

The Caps rocked the green in warmups, the red for the game and left a bit black and blue after a brutal 6-3 win over the New York Islanders.

Based on how things went in Brooklyn on Thursday, odds were that there would be some bad blood when the two teams met Washington on Friday. One night after giving up seven goals, the Islanders gave up another six in Washington and frustrations over a rough season boiled over all game long.

Ross Johnston was ejected for continuing to fight Tom Wilson even after the referees intervened, both teams combined for 56 PIMs and Evgeny Kuznetsov left the game in the second period after a slash from Thomas Hickey as he went headfirst into the boards.

The sting of the rough night was mitigated somewhat, however, by the 6-3 score as the Caps won their fourth straight.

Here are the three stars of the game.

1. Alex Chiasson: Playing in his first game since March 8, Chiasson made the most of his opportunity with a three-point night. Jakub Vrana did the legwork as he drove the net with the puck. Jaroslav Halak stuck out his stick catching Vrana which spun the netminder around and out of the crease. Chiasson came up behind for the easy layup.

He would repay the favor with an assist for Vrana's goal later in the third. Chiasson's first assist on the night came in the second period as his initial shot was saved, but he stayed in the face of Halak long enough to prevent him from making the save on Matt Niskanen's goal.

2. Nicklas Backstrom: When things were getting ugly, Backstrom made the Islanders pay with a power play goal on the two-man advantage.

After Johnston lost his marbles and Cal Clutterbuck was called for interference on Oshie, the Capitals needed to take advantage and put the Islanders away or watch New York build momentum. That was the critical juncture of the game. Backstrom also added an assist on the two-point night.

3. Braden Holtby: The recent struggles of Holtby have been well documented. After yielding the crease to Philipp Grubauer the last four games, Holtby got the start on Friday and played very well in the winning effort. The defense in front of him certainly helped allowing only 13 shots in the first two periods, but the Islanders were buzzing in the third period. New York battled back to make it 5-3 and Mathew Barzal had a breakaway opportunity with a chance to cut the deficit to one. Holtby made the save to deny Barzal and shut the door on the comeback attempt.

In all, Holtby turned aside 22 of the 25 shots he faced.