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Tom Wilson fined, but not suspended, for hit on Conor Sheary

Tom Wilson fined, but not suspended, for hit on Conor Sheary

Capitals right wing Tom Wilson has been fined, but not suspended for his knee-on-knee hit on Penguins left wing Conor Sheary in the third period of the Caps’ 4-3 overtime victory Thursday night at Verizon Center.

Wilson was fined $2,403.67 for the hit, the maximum allowable under the CBA.

“I looked at it today,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “Sheary gives a little shimmy and it was really a shin on shin. We leave everything to the league. You’ve got to respect what they do with the Department of Player Safety. It’s not the easiest job, I know that.

“I thought (the hit) was OK, but it wasn’t really necessary probably.” 

Penguins right wing and former Capitals teammate Eric Fehr was the recipient of one of Wilson’s six hits in Game 1 and acknowledged his knee-on-knee hit on Sheary was a topic of conversation in the Penguins dressing room. Sheary missed a few shifts but returned to finish the game.

“We’re not going to get into any detail about it,” Fehr said Friday following an optional skate at Kettler. “We’ve just got to play hockey. We’re trying to score goals and make plays and if he’s going to come take runs at us we’ve just got to move pucks by him and try to create odd-man rushes. That’s the best way to make him pay for that.”

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan seemed unfazed by the news that Wilson had been fined and not suspended. 

“We’re just going to play,” he said. “The league’s going to do what they do. We’re going to do what we do. We’re gonna play and the refs are going to call the game the way they see it and we’re just going to focus on playing hockey.”    

Wilson, 22, delivered six hits in Game 1 and now has 29 hits in seven playoff games, second on the Caps behind Alex Ovechkin’s 35. He also had some animated conversations with the Penguins bench. Trotz said he was actually complimented by the referees in Round 1 for the growth in Wilson’s game.

“Tom is a young player who’s evolved as not only a physical force, but a good penalty killer,” Trotz said. “He’s grown his game. His first mentality as a young guy was to run you right through the boards. I think we’ve refined his game. We don’t want him to hit (from behind) on the numbers and we don’t want him to hit on the head, but clean physical hits are OK.”

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Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The Hershey Bears

Capitals are shaking up the coaching staff in Hershey

The contracts of Hershey Bears head coach Troy Mann and Bears assistant coach Ryan Murphy will not be renewed for next season, the Capitals announced Wednesday. Hershey finished in last place in the Atlantic Division and did not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

“Troy is a dedicated and hard-working coach and we appreciate all he has done for the Hershey Bears,” said Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan. “At this point, we feel a fresh approach and a change in leadership is needed in order for us to continue to develop our young players towards the next level and for success at the AHL level. We also want to thank Ryan for his contributions to the Hershey Bears and wish him all the best.”

Just two seasons ago, the Bears under Mann were playing the Calder Cup Finals where they lost in four games to the Lake Erie Monsters. Mann served as an assistant coach for Hershey from 2009-2013 and was hired as the head coach in 2014. He led the Bears to a record of 162-102-22-18 during his tenure, good for sixth all-time among Hershey coaches in wins.

Mann coached several current Capitals players in Hershey including Travis Boyd, Chandler Stephenson, Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos and Philipp Grubauer, among others. Hershey also currently boasts several of the Caps' biggest prospects such as Lucas Johansen, Connor Hobbs, Riley Barber and Jonas Siegenthaler.

Murphy was with the Bears for all four years of Mann's tenure. He started in video development in Mann's first season and was promoted to assistant coach the following year.

“We’d like to thank Troy Mann and Ryan Murphy for their contributions to the Hershey Bears organization,” said Hershey vice president of hockey operations, Bryan Helmer. “While we are looking to move our hockey club forward, today is certainly an emotional day. I had the pleasure of working with both Troy and Ryan behind the bench for two seasons, and consider them to be great people. We wish both all the best in future endeavors.”

Coaching in the AHL is a tough job as coaches are expected to bring the team success while also developing their NHL club's prospects. There are times when the two goals do not necessarily line up which can make it a difficult balance.

Considering how important it is to develop talent from within, AHL coaches are very significant parts of an organization. Getting the right guy in charge of Hershey won't just boost the AHL team, but will help the Caps down the line with developed players.


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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: And so we meet again

We all knew this was coming, right?

The Capitals will face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the playoffs for the third consecutive season and for the 11th time in franchise history. Washington has only beaten Pittsburgh once in their previous 10 series. This season gives them the opportunity to get over the second round and Pittsburgh hump once and for all.

Will this year be different? Will the Caps finally take down their arch nemesis? Will they finally advance to the conference final?

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps-Penguins matchup in the Capitals Faceoff Podcast.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page