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This time, Capitals ready to meet Trotz's demands


This time, Capitals ready to meet Trotz's demands

A year ago, Barry Trotz was a lot more ready for the Washington Capitals than they were for him. Players had heard he was demanding, but didn’t know how much.

They heard his fitness test on the first day of training camp would push them to the limit, but even Joel Ward, who had played for Trotz in Nashville, suffered the humility of falling short on a skate test and having his head coach literally push him from behind.

Today, behind closed doors at Kettler Capitals Iceplex, the Capitals will participate in off-ice fitness tests that will measure how much effort they put into summer workout programs specifically designed to strengthen their weaknesses.  

“I think when I was 20 years old I could do 10 jumping jacks and I was ready for the season,” said Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen, who at 28 is beginning his ninth NHL season. “It doesn’t work that way anymore. Not that I’m old, but it takes more to get into on-ice conditioning.”

RELATED: Capitals invite 64 players to training camp

Niskanen spent his summer strengthening his upper body with the desired result of moving opponents out of the crease and off pucks in the corners.

“I guess we’ll see in testing,” he said. “You don’t really know until you start playing exhibition games and you’re pushing people in the corners and in front of the net.”

At 209 pounds, Niskanen said he weighs the same as he did at the end of last season but feels much stronger on the ice. He’ll get an idea just how strong when the Caps open their seven-game exhibition season on Monday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

While most of the Capitals know what to expect in Year 2 under Trotz, newcomers Justin Williams and T.J. Oshie will be participating in their first training camp under the 53-year-old coach, who is entering his 18th year as an NHL bench boss.

“It’s on our shoulders to prepare the newer guys for what’s coming,” said defenseman Brooks Orpik, who is starting his 13th NHL season. “Those guys have been around. It’s not like they’re rookies coming in naive.”

Orpik said Williams and Oshie should find Trotz’s honesty refreshing.

“He can be hard at times and demanding most of the time, but I think the one thing guys like about him is there are no secrets,” Orpik said. “You know exactly what he expects out of you and you know exactly where you stand.

“He doesn’t play mind games with anybody. He’s pretty straightforward and as an athlete you want that. At times it’s not all that fun, but I think he knows when to push us out of our comfort zones. It’s not always the most pleasant, but he’s pretty honest about his evaluations.”

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals to play three preseason games with 3-on-3 OT

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Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

USA Today Sports

Game 72 Capitals at Flyers Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pa.

When: 5:00 p.m. ET

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

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


The Capitals (41-23-7) take on the Flyers (36-25-11) Sunday, March 18 at 5:00 p.m. ET in Philadelphia.


The Capitals-Flyers game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 6:00 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 10:00 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 11:00 p.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

4:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
4:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
5:00 p.m. — Capitals at Flyers
7:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
8:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
9:00 p.m. — Caps in 30


The Capitals-Flyers 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.


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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Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

USA Today Sports

Evgeny Kuznetsov considered day-to-day, will miss Sunday's game in Philadelphia

Evgeny Kuznetsov has been declared day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury, the Caps announced Saturday afternoon.

He will not play Sunday against the Flyers, marking the first time in four seasons that the durable 25-year-old center will have missed a game.

Kuznetsov, the Caps’ assists leader and first line pivot over the past week, was injured in the second period of Friday’s 6-3 win over the Islanders. On the play, he slashed on the arm by New York defenseman Thomas Hickey before he tumbled awkwardly into the end boards.


Kuznetsov did not return to the contest.

The Caps did not practice on Saturday as they made their way to Philadelphia, where they'll look to extend their winning streak to five games.  

The team, per usual, did not elaborate about the extent or nature of Kuznetsov’s injury. But it does seem to be a good sign that he was not listed as week-to-week—the designation the Caps typically reserve for more severe injuries. And with a two point lead on Pittsburgh in the Metro Division standings—and a game in hand—they can actually afford to be cautious with one of their most important players.


The injury does, however, come at a time when Kuznetsov appeared to be hitting his stride. Including the two assists he had racked up prior to leaving Friday’s game, Kuzy has amassed five goals and 11 assists in 10 games.    

Without Kuznetsov on Sunday, Nicklas Backstrom, Lars Eller and Jay Beagle will be the team’s most experienced centers. Travis Boyd and/or Chandler Stephenson figure to be deployed as the fourth pivot.

Coach Barry Trotz is expected to meet with reporters prior to Sunday’s game. It’s possible he’ll shed some more light on Kuznetsov’s outlook at that time.

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