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Wilson criticizes Schenn, hopes he didn't 'wake up' Simmonds

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Wilson criticizes Schenn, hopes he didn't 'wake up' Simmonds

Capitals right wing Tom Wilson has a little message for Flyers left wing Brayden Schenn, who recorded a game-high seven hits in the Capitals’ 2-0 series-opening win Thursday night at Verizon Center.

Keep your skates on the ice and, while you’re at it, keep your eyes on the game clock.

Wilson had a positive impact on the Capitals’ victory, taking top-line right wing Wayne Simmonds off the ice for the final 6:51 of Thursday night’s game after the two received fighting majors, plus two-minute minors. (More on that in a minute).

But it was a pair of hits by Schenn that bothered Wilson most. The first game when Schenn rocked veteran center Mike Richards with an open-ice hit.

“I kind of looked over and saw his feet were like 10 feet off the ice,” Wilson said of Schenn. “I just went over, I put my hand in his chest and he just went down like a sack of potatoes. There was really nothing there, that’s why the ref didn’t blow the whistle or anything. He was obviously trying to draw a penalty in that situation.

“You know what? Give him credit. He was launching himself into everyone last night. He was playing high energy, but obviously you’re supposed to keep your skates on the ice.”

Wilson said as soon as  he tried stepping in between Schenn and Richards, he was brushed away.

“Richie kind of yelled at me and said, ‘I’m all good. Just stay away.’ I’ve got to realize the time of the game. As long as Richie is all right, there’s really no need to do anything, just kind of let them know we’re not happy.”

Like at the end of the game. With time running out, Caps goaltender Braden Holtby stopped a shot by Claude Giroux and everyone waited for the final horn. Everyone but Schenn, who railroaded Alzner.

“Because it was loud and I couldn’t quite hear the horn I thought it was already over at that point,” Alzner said. “Once the puck hit Holts, I wasn’t expecting it. But, I mean, it’s fine. It’s not like it was from behind into the boards or anything. It was a pretty clean hit from what I saw. I had no issue. I was just off-balance and he caught me off-guard.”

Maybe, but Wilson thought it was unnecessary.

“Obviously, it was a little bit – I don’t want to say unsportsmanlike – but there’s zero seconds on the clock and he comes in with a huge hit. Not to say we wouldn’t do the same thing, as long as you go whistle to whistle. The buzzer hadn’t gone yet, so he’s finishing his check. It’s playoffs and every check matters. He’s an energy guy and kudos to him for playing until the end of the buzzer. But we’re gonna stick up for each other. It’s kind of an unwritten rule. You’re down two goals you don’t run a guy with .1 seconds left on the clock. We’re just going to forget about that.”

As for the third-period fight with Simmonds, it came after Wilson slammed Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald into the boards near the Flyers bench. Wilson received a boarding minor for the hit, but Simmonds got an extra roughing minor and both were forced to watch the rest of the game their locker rooms.

“Honestly, I didn’t think the hit (on MacDonald) was that bad,” Wilson said. “A lot of the noise was kind of from my body hitting the boards. I tried to work my way around him as much as possible. He didn’t go in very hard. It was a big noise and obviously Simmonds is an emotional guy and one of their best players and he came over. The hockey aspect of it took over. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Ironically, Wilson and Simmonds are good friends off the ice. They are both from Toronto and have worked out with the same trainer for the past five or six years.

“He’s a real awesome guy,” Wilson said. “Off the ice he’s played a huge role in kind of where I’ve gotten to. He’s always been there in my workout group. He’s been kind of a mentor for me, but none of that matters right now. I’m sure he won’t be too happy with me. We’ve gone at it a couple times and that’s the beauty of the game. You can battle it out and leave everything on the ice and go back and kind of have a good relationship after the game. That’s what the hockey community’s all about.”

Wilson, who scored a career-high seven goals this season, said he would like to develop into the offensive catalyst Simmonds is in Philadelphia, where he led the Flyers with 32 goals.

“I can take a huge page out of his text book,” Wilson said. He’s probably the best guy in the league in front of the net. He almost single-handedly got them into the playoffs based on his power and his leadership. He’s the X factor for them and I hope I didn’t wake him up. He’s going to come out in Game 2 flying like the rest of their team. They’re going to be chomping at the bit to get another crack at us. We’ve just got to be ready for it.”

RELATED: 5 stats that tell the story of Caps' Game 1 win over Flyers

 

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

RELATED: TRADE DEADLINE STORY TIME WITH ALAN MAY

Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

MORE CAPITALS: IS IT TIME FOR GRUBAUER TO START IN PLACE OF HOLTBY?

For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

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Game 62: Capitals vs. Sabres Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Buffalo Sabres

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

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

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

WHEN IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals (34-20-7) take on the Sabres (18-32-11) Saturday, February 24 at 7:00 p.m. ET in Capital One Arena.

WHAT CHANNEL IS THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME ON?

The Capitals-Sabres 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)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
6:30 p.m. — Caps GameTime
7:00 p.m. — Capitals vs. Sabres
9:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
10:00 p.m. — Caps Overtime
11:00 p.m. — Caps in 30

WHAT ARE THE PROJECTED LINES FOR THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Sabres game:

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Brett Connolly - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Chandler Stephenson - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Devante Smith-Pelly - Jay Beagle - Alex Chiasson

Defensemen
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Michal Kempny

Philipp Grubauer starts with Braden Holtby as backup

Scratches: Alex Chiasson, Madison Bowey, Jakub Jerabek

WHERE CAN I STREAM THE CAPITALS-SABRES GAME?

The Capitals-Panthers 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.

CAPITALS-SABRES OPEN THREAD

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.