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Ovechkin, Trotz to lead NHL's Metro All-Stars


Ovechkin, Trotz to lead NHL's Metro All-Stars

Thanks to the overwhelming support of fan balloting, Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin has been voted captain of the Metropolitan Division for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game on Jan. 31 in Nashville.

Forwards Jaromir Jagr (Atlantic Division) of the Florida Panthers, Patrick Kane (Central Division) of the Chicago Blackhawks and John Scott (Pacific Division) of the Arizona Coyotes also earned enough votes to be named division captains.

Ovechkin, 30, has played in six previous All-Star games. He leads the Capitals and ranks fifth in the NHL with 21 goals.

The remaining 40 players who will comprise the four All-Star rosters – consisting of six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders per team – will be determined by the NHL Hockey Operations Department and announced on Wednesday, Jan. 6.

The head coach of the team with the highest points percentage (points earned divided by total possible points) in each of the four divisions through games of Saturday, Jan. 9 – the halfway point of the regular season – will guide the respective All-Star rosters. Since the Caps lead the Metro Division by 11 points, Barry Trotz will guide the Metro Division stars in what promises to be an emotional weekend in Nashville.

As part of the new format for the All-Star Game, the All-Stars will take part in a three-game tournament, played in a 3-on-3 format, and featuring four teams representing each NHL division.

From Dec. 1 through Jan. 1, fans around the world were able to cast their votes at and via a mobile ballot for one player from each of the four divisions, with the top vote-getter for each division earning an All-Star berth as division captain.

Fans were permitted to select as few as one player and a maximum of four players per ballot, without regard to position. The maximum number of ballots cast per day for each user was 10.

The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star celebration will mark the first time Nashville has hosted the NHL All-Star festivities, which will take place at Bridgestone Arena. Live television coverage of the League’s midseason showcase during the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition and 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will be broadcast by NBCSN.

The 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Skills Competition will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 30, and the 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game will start at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps announce Beagle hand surgery, recovery timeline

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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.”

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NHL Power Rankings: The home stretch

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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.