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Teammates support Ovechkin signing

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Teammates support Ovechkin signing

They wont come right out and say it because, well, they're not permitted to do so.But its a safe bet Capitals owner Ted Leonsis, generalmanager George McPhee and head coach Adam Oates are not embracing the idea oftheir captain, Alex Ovechkin, playing for Dynamo Moscow of the KontinentalHockey League.Do they want their 27-year-old franchise player to stay inshape? Yes. Do they want him to skate? Yes. Do they want to see him throwinghis body all over the ice and risking injury?Of course not.But if you ask Ovechkins teammates how they feel about theircaptain playing overseas, they overwhelmingly support it.I do, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom said afterparticipating in an hour-long skate at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. If he wantsto play there thats perfect. Thats his hometown and his home team, so thatsperfect.Backstrom returned to the Washington area two weeks ago and is hopefulthe Swedish Elite League drops its provision of signing NHL players to one-yearcontracts that do not allow players to return to the NHL in the event of a laboragreement.I think theyre keeping us locked out, too, Backstromsaid.Capitals left wing Jason Chimera said that if NHL team ownersare concerned about their players getting injured overseas they should get to thebargaining table and hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.The owners are not too concerned because theyre not tryingto get a deal done, Chimera said. Guys want to play hockey. Were not onstrike; were locked out.You risk getting an injury driving to the rink today moresothan playing hockey. There are more bad drivers out there than bad skaters.Guys want to play and thats the bottom line.Earlier this week, Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth agreedin principle to a contract with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga. Thatcontract is expected to be finalized in the coming days, allowing Neuvirth to practicewith his former team. Once that contract is finalized Neuvirth will join Ovechkinas the two Capitals who have committed to play in Europe.That number is expected to grow in the coming weeks.The longer were locked out the more of a chance there isthat more players are going to go play, Capitals forward Matt Hendricks said. Forus to sit out and not play an entire season is crazy. We cant afford to dothat. We need to keep playing this game. We love the game; itspart of who we are. The longer this continues the more guys I suspect will bejumping over the pond.

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Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Tarik's 3 stars: Caps come up empty on an emotional night in Florida

Vincent Trocheck scored on the power play with 18.7 seconds remaining and the Panthers escaped with a 3-2 victory on an emotional night in Sunrise, Fla.

Trocheck’s goal was Florida’s second in the final four minutes…and the Caps were left to lament yet another incomplete performance. Washington has now lost three of its last four games and fell to 4-5-2 in February.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Vincent Trocheck, Panthers

Trocheck did what Trocheck does in the third period: The Florida forward scored a clutch goal in the final seconds, redirecting a Jonathan Huberdeau shot through Brooks Orpik’s legs and past Braden Holtby.

Eller was in the penalty box when Trocheck scored his 13th third period goal of the season.

2-Andre Burakovsky, Capitals

After losing a goal to Eller in the first period, Burakovsky made sure he didn’t go home empty-handed. No. 65 scored on the power play in the second period to put the Caps ahead 2-1.

It was Burakovsky’s third goal in six games. He also earned a secondary assist on Eller’s redirection score.   

3-Braden Holtby, Capitals

Following a handful of un-Holtby-like performances lately, Holtbeast roared Thursday night at BB&T Center. He made at least one game-saving stop in each period: an arm save on Trocheck in the first period; a pad stop on Denis Malgin in the second and another extended pad stop on Evgenii Dadonov in the third. Holtby finished with 30 stops.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

4 reasons why the Panthers beat the Caps

The Caps looked like they had the win in hand as they led 2-1 late in the third period, but things went off the rails in the final four minutes in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers

Here's how the Caps lost.

An emotional start for Robert Luongo

Before the game, Roberto Luongo took the mic during an emotional tribute to the victims of the tragic Stoneman Douglas school shooting. As a writer, it was hard to get into the game after that. I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for Luongo to focus to actually play in the game. But he did. He started off very well, making several strong saves in the first period. Washington scored late in the opening period after an offensive cycle of over a minute that completely wore out the Panthers' skaters. Otherwise, Luongo was brilliant turning aside 13 of the 14 shots he faced in the opening 20 minutes.

Another shaky start for Braden Holtby

This was the best game we have seen from Braden Holtby in a while as he made a number of phenomenal saves in the second and third period. In the first, however, he continued to struggle. Maxim Mamin scored his first career NHL goal and point as a puck trickled through Holtby and Mamin was able to slam it home. Holtby was dealing with a screen, but reacted late to the initial shot and late to Mamin.

Aleksander Barkov splitting Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson

With a 2-1 lead late in the third, the Caps looked like they had control. But with less than four minutes remaining, Aleksander Barkov was able to split Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson to set up Nick Bjugstad for the game-tying goal. Ovechkin was backchecking, Carlson stepped up on him and then...nothing. It looked as if both players thought the other would take Barkov and Ovechkin let up at the same time Carlson skated past giving Barkov a lane to the net.

A late penalty to Lars Eller

With the game tied late, the Caps were exerting their will in the offensive zone with the cycle that had been dominant all game long...and then Lars Eller tried to set a pick on Bjugstad, knocking him to the ice. It was an obvious interference call with just 42 seconds remaining in the game. Florida would score 22 seconds later to deny Washington not only the win, but a point as well.