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Orpik hopes to be back for preseason after late surgery


Orpik hopes to be back for preseason after late surgery

As training camp begins, two notable players will not be joining their teammates in practice and instead will be skating together on their on. One is Nicklas Backstrom who underwent hip surgery soon after the season ended. The other is a surprise, mid-summer addition to the injury report, Brooks Orpik.

Orpik underwent wrist surgery in late July, which came as a surprise not just because of the timing, but because there was no prior indication that anything was wrong with his wrist. Said Orpik, it was a situation that developed throughout the season.

"It was something that just progressively got worse and worse," Orpik said, "but it wasn't one time where I remember doing anything."

Orpik thought surgery wouldn't be necessary until the summer when it "pulled off the bone." Not surprisingly, that's not the kind of thing you can just fix on your own.

Now the veteran's availability for the start of the season is in some jeopardy because of the late surgery. So why did he wait so long before getting the procedure done?

"I think people just think we're like robots," Orpik said. "You just get operated on whenever you want. Surgery's always your last option. You try to rehab it as much as you can."

The original timetable Oripk was given after his surgery was eight weeks. It will be eight weeks as of Tuesday. That is not a timetable for when he will be ready to play, however, but a timetable for when the wrist will be healed.

There's still a long way to go before the wrist is ready for the rigors of an NHL season. Orpik still needs to build up his strength and range of motion. He also is hoping to be back for the preseason.

"It's a possibility. I would love to."

When's the last time you heard a professional athlete say that?

"I think it's tough to jump right into regular season games whenever you're out with an injury, especially at the beginning of the year. [Playing in the preseason] would be ideal, but at the same time, I'm not going to be stupid with it and push it any further or faster than I have to."

Check here for updates all throughout media day.

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3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres


3 reasons why the Caps beat the Sabres

You may think this was an ugly four-game road trip for the Caps, but with a 3-2 win in Buffalo on Monday, Washington managed to earn five out of a possible eight points.

Here is why the Caps beat the Sabres and managed to save the road swing.

A missed high-stick (maybe) from Ovechkin

Ovechkin scored the first goal of the game in the second period as he deflected a high-shot from Christian Djoos down past goalie Chad Johnson. But did the deflection come on a high stick? The play was reviewed and the goal was ultimately upheld. According to the NHL, it was determined that "video review supported the Referee's call on the ice that Alex Ovechkin's stick was at or below the height of the crossbar when he tipped the puck into the Buffalo net."

NBC Sports Washington analyst Alan May broke the play down during the second intermission and made his case for why the NHL actually got the call wrong.

Was that a high stick? I don't know. As compelling an argument as May made, it still looks inconclusive which means the review made the right call. What surprises me is that the referee did not disallow the goal on the initial call.

Whether the review is truly inconclusive or flat out wrong, Washington was fortunate to walk away from this sequence with the goal.


A centimeter of ice

Hockey is a game of inches and it took less than an inch to put Washington up 2-0. When an Evgeny Kuznetsov shot hit off the boards and bounced back to the front of the net, it sparked a scrum next to goalie Chad Johnson. Eventually, John Carlson was able to get a swipe on the puck sending it trickling to the goal line, but Kyle Okposo was there waiting and appeared to kick it out to safety just before it crossed. A review triggered by the Situation Room, however, revealed that the puck had just barely managed to cross the goal line before Okposo got to it.

Here's the view the NHL released after the review:

Philipp Grubauer's third period

After dominating the first 40 minutes of the game and taking a 2-0 lead, Buffalo predictably made a late push in the third period with two goals to pull within one. Washington outshot the Sabres in the first and second periods, but Buffalo reversed that trend in a big way in the third as they outshot the Caps 17-6. Grubauer turned aside 15 of those shots and was impressive after barely being tested in the first two periods.


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3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres


3 stars of the game: Caps knockout the punchless Sabres

Coming off an ugly 7-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks, a Buffalo Sabres team missing star Jack Eichel was just what the doctor ordered for the Caps to get back on track. Washington dominated the first two periods and then survived a late surge from Buffalo for the 3-2 win.

After battling to a scoreless first, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson spotted Washington a 2-0 lead in the second. They then held on in the third period as Buffalo began to tilt the ice in their favor, with Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring the empty-netter to put this game out of reach. Evander Kane would pull Buffalo within one, but with only three seconds left it was too little, too late.

Here are the three stars of the game:

1. Alex Ovechkin: Ovechkin opened up the scoring in the second period as he deflected down an innocent shot from Christian Djoos past Chad Johnson. Ovechkin also set a physical tone as he battled with defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen all game long. After taking a high elbow from Ristolainen early in the game Ovechkin skated up to Ristolainen prior to the faceoff on his next shift and let him know that it was on. 

2. John Carlson: Carlson had a hand in both of Washington's goals on Monday. He recorded a secondary assist on Ovechkin's goal as he made a blue line pass to Djoos which Djoos fired on net and Ovechkin deflected. Carlson then managed to hit the puck past the goal line in a scrum next to Johnson. It looked initially like Kyle Okposo had managed to kick out the puck just before it crossed, but Carlson was awarded the goal as a review showed the puck had completely crossed the line.

3. Philipp Grubauer: A Sabres team that ranks last in the NHL in scoring and that was also without its leading scorer did not test Grubauer much in the first two periods. Facing a 2-0 deficit, however, Buffalo made a third period push to try to tie the game, but Grubauer was up to the task as he turned aside 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes. He finished with 32 total saves on the night.