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Round table: How will Caps get under NHL salary cap?


Round table: How will Caps get under NHL salary cap?

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan sat down with a handful of media members at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday and discussed a wide variety of topics surrounding the Capitals, who own the NHL’s best record (44-11-4) through 59 games with four days remaining before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

In Part Three of our five-part transcription, MacLellan discusses roster moves necessary with the impending return of Jay Beagle, the haunting memories of the Filip Forsberg trade and where he stands with pending RFAs Dmitry Orlov and Marcus Johansson:

On whether the Capitals intend to keep Jay Beagle (hand surgery) on long-term injury reserve until after Monday’s trade deadline:

I think he’s projected next week to get in the lineup, so that would be past the deadline, but you’ve got to be under the cap by the trade deadline. (The Caps currently are roughly $80,000 over the cap, according to

On having 24 healthy players (once Beagle returns) with only 20 allowed to dress:

I think it is (a good problem to have) and I think it keeps it competitive, too. I think there’s a little bit of an onus on the players to accept roles, too, for the benefit of the team. ‘Maybe I need to sit out a game. Maybe I need to accept that I didn’t play well last game and I’m being held accountable.’ There’s all those situations and I think individual players have to be OK with that.

On his evaluation of Brooks Laich:

I think he’s been OK. I think he’s done a good job on the penalty kill. Our penalty kill (4th in the NHL at 84.5 percent) has done well this year and he’s been a big part of that group. He’s done well that way. Again, we’d like to see more production from him (1 goal, 6 assists, minus-6) and it hasn’t come. But as far as penalty killing, he’s been good.

On if the 2013 trade of Filip Forsberg for Marty Erat and Michael Latta, executed by former general manager George McPhee, still haunts him:

No, it doesn’t. I mean, I’d love to have Forsberg. I think you’ve got to move on. You make a mistake, you move on. You can’t keep living in it. It happened, it’s over. Learn from your mistakes and we move on.


On if the Caps will wait until after the season to negotiate with UFAs and RFAs:

Yeah, I think so. We’re going to have some decisions to make. (Recently signed defenseman) Taylor (Chorney) has done a great job in his role. He’s filled in, he’s got a good attitude, everybody likes him and he’s comfortable with his role. We’re going to have Marcus (Johansson’s) contract, we’re going to have Chimmer (Jason Chimera) and (Dmitry) Orlov. So we’re going to have to balance out how much money we have and what the priority is.

On whether Chimera’s 17-goal season will make those UFA negotiations interesting:

Yeah, especially at his age (36). He’s had a great year for a guy his age. I don’t think that happens very much. It’s pretty incredible to be producing like that at his age.

On what the NHL salary cap, currently at $71.4 million, might be in 2016-17:

I can’t remember the exact number but I think they’re expecting it to go up a little bit, but not much. I think most of the reasoning has been the Canadian dollar and the price of oil and the effect that is going to have on it.

On Dmitry Orlov’s season:

He’s evolving still as a player. Missing a year (to a broken wrist) set him back. I think he’s had games where he’s looked really good and he’s had games where he’s struggled. Lately there’s been more consistency. There’s been more good than bad and I guess he’s trending in the right direction and we’re optimistic he’s going to be the player we thought he was going to be.   

On Marcus Johansson:

I think he’s made strides in some of the areas. I think he’s evolving, too. He’s becoming more of an all-around player. Some of the things the coaching staff has stressed with him he’s following through and we like the progress he’s made this year over last year.      

On Johansson fitting in with Jason Chimera and Tom Wilson:

The games that they’ve played together looked really well. You know, Barry has options I think with Richards and Marcus, that he can change it to a more offensive or he can change it to a more checking line depending on what he wants to do. So it’s good options for the coaching staff. 

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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).


The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.


The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney


The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.

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NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart


NHL Awards tracker: How Malkin is helping Ovechkin's case for the Hart

A week by week look at where the race for the major individual NHL awards stands and which Caps could be in contention.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have been red-hot as of late and so has Evgeni Malkin. In his last nine games, Malkin has tallied a whopping 11 goals and 17 points. His current run has some people talking about him contending for the Hart Trophy as the league's most valuable player.

But if you want to talk about Malkin for the Hart, you have to talk about Alex Ovechkin as well.

Malkin has 66 points this season, Ovechkin has 65. Even with his impressive goal run of late, Malkin still trails Ovechkin in the goal-scoring race 34-32. What's more, Ovechkin's Capitals still hold a three-point lead over Pittsburgh with two games in hand in the Metropolitan Division.

Granted all of this could change by next week. Perhaps Malkin will pass Ovechkin in goals or the Penguins will pass the Caps in the standings which will change the conversation. Until then, however, there's no way to push Malkin's Hart candidacy without thinking about Ovechkin. What he is doing at the age of 32 with a Capitals team in which no one really knew what to expect is more impressive than what the 31-year-old Malkin is doing with players like Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby with the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:

John Carlson

In contention for: Norris

Carlson is third among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With two rookies on the blue line and an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.


Braden Holtby

In contention for: Vezina

Holtby is on pace to be a 40-win goalie for the fourth consecutive season. He would be the first goalie in NHL history to accomplish that feat.

Alex Ovechkin

In contention for: Hart

If Malkin is a Hart candidate, so is Ovechkin who has done more with less in Washington this season.

Barry Trotz

In contention for: Jack Adams

The Caps still hold a three-point lead in the Metropolitan Division despite having two rookies on the blue line, dealing with more injuries than they have seen in years and down offensive years for some of its top players. Trotz deserves a lot of credit for that.

Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!