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Surprised by how things ended in Calgary, Chiasson hopes to catch on with the Caps

Surprised by how things ended in Calgary, Chiasson hopes to catch on with the Caps

The Caps are looking for a couple of wingers.

Alex Chiasson is looking for a job.

Can they help one another out? Training camp is just a couple of days old, but it already looks like a strong possibility. 

“He’s got really great size,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “You can tell he’s a pro. He’s got really good hands. He seems to have a good net front presence at times, and he gets around the ice really well.”

The Caps signed Chiasson to a professional tryout agreement (PTO) on Sept. 9 – two-plus months after Calgary did not extend a qualifying offer to him.

Asked if he was surprised by the Flames’ decision to cut him loose after he posted 12 goals and 12 assists in 81 games, Chiasson said, “A little, yes.”

His agent had conversations with a few teams but no contract offers were made.

“It’s frustrating as a player but then you just got to turn the page,” he said. “You have to accept that that’s the way it is. I’m still fairly young and I know I can play in this league for a number of years.”

He added: “I got an opportunity to come here on a PTO and there are some spots open on the team. I still believe in my ability to be an impact player on a team and in the league. I want to show that I belong here.”

Chiasson, a right shot, is competing for one of the two open wing spots on Jay Beagle’s line. Others in the mix include: Devante Smith-Pelly, Anthony Peluso and prospects Nathan Walker, Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd, Riley Barber and Liam O’Brien.

Chiasson hopes his experience—the 320 games he’s played for the Stars, Senators and Flames are the most among his competitors—as well as his ability to help on the penalty kill will give him an edge. Last season, he skated on the Flames’ third penalty kill pair with Sam Bennett and averaged 55 seconds of shorthanded ice time per game.

The Montreal native also has the ability to slide into a top-six role if injuries strike. And then there’s his size. At 6 foot 3, 205 pounds, he’s as tall as any forward who has a legitimate shot at earning a spot on the opening night roster.

The final roster isn’t due for a few more weeks, and a lot can happen between now and then. But Chiasson seems to have established himself as an early favorite.

“I have a lot of experience in the league,” he said. “I know the players. I know what makes me successful, as well. All I can do is focus on my play and the rest will take care of itself.”

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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.