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Trotz taking defensive approach to overtime


Trotz taking defensive approach to overtime

If there is anything we are learning about Barry Trotz and 3-on-3 overtimes it’s that he is taking a conservative approach, confident that his skill players and goaltender can get the job done in a shootout.

For the second time this season Trotz began overtime with two defensemen – Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner -- and a two-way forward – Nicklas Backstrom.

Fifty second later he followed with the explosive trio of forwards Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman John Carlson, then worked in forwards Justin Williams, Jay Beagle, T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson and defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt.

The Caps generated four shots to the Maple Leafs’ three in the 5-minute overtime, then won it in a shootout when Ovechkin netted the only goal.

“I’m OK with it,” Trotz said of the 3-on-3. “It’s still a work in progress. I like the 3-on-3 better than I like the shootout because it’s a little more team-like.

“I know it’s tough on the top players. It gets wide open and guys are diving and at some point, your top players who are playing big minutes are the ones that have to pay the price. At some point someone’s going to get hurt from being fatigued or having to make a desperation play.”

Ovechkin took two long shifts totaling 2:15 in the overtime period, while Kuznetsov logged 2:20 and Carlson logged 2:26, each in two shifts. Trotz has said his ideal shift is between 35 and 45 seconds but understands it’s hard for players to get off the ice in overtime.

“It’s very entertaining for the fans but teams are learning to hang onto the puck and it’s sort of keep-away until somebody gets tired or makes a mistake,” Trotz said. “As we grow with it I think we’ll either like it more or we won’t like it as much because guys will learn to play it a little better. We started with two D. We’ll defend first and then we’ll take our chances with our depth.”

Clearly, the fans enjoyed Saturday night’s 3-on-3 play, which included a soccer-style drop pass from Backstrom to Braden Holtby, but Trotz believes coaches may start instructing players to stall their way to a shootout.  

“I think the fans had fun and that’s the bottom line,” he said. “Us coaches’ and players’ opinions don’t matter because the fans pay the bills.”

Speaking of ice time, fourth-line center Michael Latta (10 shifts, 5:15) did not see the ice in the third period, while Tom Wilson (12 shifts, 6:28) took just two in the third.

Trotz said he thought the Caps’ new third line of Jason Chimera, Jay Beagle and Justin Williams was the Caps’ best line of the night, followed by the all-Swede line of Johansson, Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky. 

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin's big night fuels Caps to win over Leafs

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.


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Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital


Caps prospect watch: Boyd dedicates 4-goal performance to daughter after week in the hospital

It would have been understandable if Travis Boyd struggled this past week. Something more important was on his mind.

Boyd spent the week in the hospital with his daughter, Hayden, who had been experiencing pain in her throat. He spent the enitre week in the hospital, not leaving until Hershey's game against Laval.

Boyd turned this trial into something incredible as he scored four goals Friday in Hershey's 6-3 win.

Boyd spoke about the ordeal with Zach Fisch of the Bears Radio Network (transcription via RMNB).

“It actually started after the game last Sunday against Rochester," he said. "I went straight from the rink to Urgent Care and then from Urgent Care to the ER. Never left the hospital until Friday morning. We had a successful surgery on Thursday night. Basically just a bad infection in her throat that had to be surgically removed. They had to surgically go in and kind of remove the bacteria and drain out the fluids. Everything went well. She’s doing well.”

Following the game, Boyd dedicated his performance to Hayden.

A four-goal game at the AHL level would have been an incredible accomplishment on its own. The fact that it came during such a trying time for him makes this a truly inspirational story.

You can watch highlights of the game including all four of Boyd's goals here:


Other prospect notes:

  • In the Bears' game Friday against Laval, Riley Barber dropped the gloves with Markus Eisenchmid.  Barber was given an extra minor and game misconduct for instigating the fight in the final five minutes of the game. That penalty carries with it an automatic one-game suspension which Barber served Saturday. Here's a look at the fight.

  • Liam O'Brien had a pair of two-goal games over the week, scoring twice against Laval Friday and then two more against Toronto on Monday. Of his four goals, three of them were empty netters.
  • As the Capitals prepare for their Stadium Series game in Annapolis on March 3, Annapolis mayor Gavin Buckley—a native of Perth, Australia—made a plea to see Nathan Walker recalled for the game.  “I’ll have to put a quick shout out to the one Australian that’s playing for the Caps now, Nathan Walker. If you could just bring him up for this game, that’d be great. Because an Australian being in a hockey game is like a Jamaican bobsled team. It doesn’t happen very often.”

  • Brian Pinho was honored Friday in Providence College's Senior Night. He has served as captain of the team this season and as an assistant captain in his junior year. He spoke with The Cowl on what being a leader on the team means to him. "I think being a leader of this team is a great honor, but also a huge responsibility. I try to keep everything fun at the rink, while also bringing some intensity and competing hard every day.” You can read the full story here.
  • Goalie Adam Carlson, who was on loan to the Indy Fuel of the ECHL, was reassigned to the Kansas City Mavericks also of the ECHL. He started two games for his new team and turned aside 42 of the 48 total shots he faced.

Who are the Caps' top 10 prospects? Find out here in his week's updated rankings.