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Would Caps benefit from shortened season?


Would Caps benefit from shortened season?

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the NHL’s labor negotiations follow a similar path to last year’s NBA work stoppage, which ended around Thanksgiving and resulted in an abbreviated 66-game season.

Would a shortened 2012-13 season be beneficial or harmful to the Capitals?

The answer is both.

Among the benefits:

The chemistry of Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. OK, so Backstrom’s first choice would have been playing for Brynas of the Swedish Elite League. But by playing together with Dynamo Moscow, the Caps’ two most potent offensive weapons will have zero adaptation issues when/if the season resumes.

Preserving the old guys. Overall, the Caps are still a young team, with just six players 30 or over. But a shortened season would definitely benefit old salts Roman Hamrlik, 37, Jason Chimera, 33, and Mike Ribeiro, 32, who should have plenty in their tank in April and May.

Healing old wounds. Although they were all deemed ready for training camp, the extra time off has allowed Jay Beagle [foot], Mike Green [abdominal surgery] and Joel Ward [sports hernia] ample time to strengthen themselves.

Razor-sharp goalies. While everyone is excited to see how Braden Holtby will handle the role of No. 1 goalie in Washington, a little extra time in the minors can’t hurt the 23-year-old netminder. Michal Neuvirth’s decision to play in the Czech Republic was also a wise move and assures him the opportunity to compete against Holtby on an even playing field.

How might a shortened season hurt the Caps?

Coaching change. No one is being hurt more by the lockout than first-year coaches. Adam Oates, Tim Hunter and Calle Johansson formulated a demanding style of play that may take weeks to implement. And with each game having more significance in a shortened regular season, the Caps cannot afford a slow start.

Inactivity department. The longer this lockout goes, the longer it will take players to get into game shape. The Caps have 15 players -- Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, Jason Chimera, Matt Hendricks, Marcus Johansson, Mathieu Perreault, Mike Ribeiro, Joel Ward, Karl Alzner, John Carlson, John Erskine, Mike Green, Roman Hamrlik, Jack Hillen and Jeff Schultz – who are not playing regularly. That could take a physical toll when Oates ramps up the conditioning level it will take to play his puck pursuit style.

Your thoughts? Join the conversation below:


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3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

3 reasons the Caps beat the Stars

The Washington Capitals had not beaten the Dallas Stars at home since 2006, Alex Ovechkin's second season in the NHL. That streak ended on Tuesday in a 4-3 Caps win.

Here's how the Caps were finally able to down Dallas in Washington.

Oshie still hot

After going 19 straight games without a goal, T.J. Oshie has been red-hot of late with four goals in his last four games. He scored Washington’s first goal in what would become a three-goal period for the Caps as they battled back from a 1-0 deficit into a 3-3 tie through 40 minutes. Oshie also added an assist as he won a power play faceoff that John Carlson fed to Alex Ovechkin for the goal.


Ovechkin victimizing his favorite target

You knew Ovechkin would score given he was playing against one of his favorite targets. With his second period goal, Ovechkin now has 22 goals against Kari Lehtonen in his career, tied with Henrik Lundqvist for the most goals he has scored on any netminder. Lehtonen has not been in the Eastern Conference since the 2008-09 season. When he goes to sleep at night, Ovechkin is who he sees in his nightmares.

The Carlson-Klingberg duel

Carlson and John Klingberg entered Tuesday’s game each with 59 points, tied for the league lead in points among defensemen. Carlson downplayed the matchup both before and after the game, but it was clear that both players were playing at another level all game long. While both players tallied two points on the night, you have to give the win to Carlson as he had the most significant point, a game-winning goal in the third period.


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Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Tarik's 3 Stars: Ovechkin further cements his place in history

Alex Ovechkin further cemented his place in NHL history, John Carlson stayed hot and Braden Holtby was good when called upon as the Caps downed the Stars, 4-3, at Capital One Arena on Tuesday night.

The victory was Washington’s fifth in the past six games. It also marked the Caps’ first win over Dallas in D.C. since 2006.

Tarik’s three stars of the game:

1-Alex Ovechkin, Capitals

Ovechkin scored his 44th goal of the season and the 602nd of his career in the second period to give the Caps a short-lived 3-2 edge in the second period.

The goal put Ovi back atop the league as he seeks a seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy. It also pushed him past Jari Karri and into sole possession of 19th place on the NHL’s all-time list. Ovechkin has now victimized Kari Lehtonen 22 times, which is tied for the most goals he’s scored against a single netminder. (Henrik Lundqvist has also given up 22 goals to No. 8). Ovi also had a couple of secondary helpers.

2-John Carlson, Capitals

Carlson scored the game-winner 4:59 with left to play, blasting a one-timer past Lehtonen to put the Caps ahead 4-3.

Carlson also notched an assist, which allowed him to stay even with Dallas’ John Klingberg. Klingberg had two assists. Both players ended the game with 61 points—tied for the most among all NHL defensemen.    

3-Alexander Radulov, Stars

From his first shift, it was apparent that Radulov was determined to leave his mark on the game. And he did just that, recording a goal, an assist and boarding minor that bloodied Caps defenseman Michal Kempny. Radulov’s goal—a redirection of a John Klingberg shot—was his 26th and it evened the score, 2-2, in the second period.

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