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Brian MacLellan: Capitals and Brooks Orpik still talking about reunion

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Brian MacLellan: Capitals and Brooks Orpik still talking about reunion

The Caps remain open to bringing back Brooks Orpik, but a reunion is far from guaranteed, general manager Brian MacLellan said on Tuesday.

MacLellan dealt Orpik ahead of last month’s draft to Colorado as a way of dumping the 37-year-old’s untenable $5.5 million salary for next season.

The Avalanche subsequently bought out the final year of Orpik’s contract, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Now, MacLellan is interested in re-signing the veteran at a (significantly) reduced rate.

“We're talking with Brooks,” MacLellan said following Todd Reirden’s introductory news conference at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

It’s unclear what exactly the Caps and Orpik’s camp have discussed, but MacLellan would seem to have enough cap space to a get a deal done.

The Caps are $8.26 million under the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly, with only restricted free agents Tom Wilson and Madison Bowey left to sign.

MacLellan indicated that the decision now lies with Orpik, whose steady play and leadership was essential for the Caps during their run to the Stanley Cup.

“He’s making some decisions himself, and hopefully we might be able to work it out,” MacLellan said.

Translation: if he gets a better offer elsewhere he could take it; if he doesn’t, there’s a good chance he’s playing in Washington again next winter.

The Caps already have five of their six blue liners—John Carlson, Michal Kempny, Matt Niskanen, Dmitry Orlov and Christian Djoos—from last year’s championship roster under contract. And because Bowey is an RFA, he’s virtually assured to return, as well.

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Capitals' T.J. Oshie brings new meaning to the term 'tarps off'

Capitals' T.J. Oshie brings new meaning to the term 'tarps off'

Athletes in every sport develop their own lingo. Every action, piece of equipment, and player has at least one nickname, and every athlete who plays each sport is fluent in its particular language.

That is as true in hockey as it is in every other sport, a fact Capitals star T.J. Oshie highlighted in a recent video released by the NHL.

Oshie explains where the term “tarps off” comes from in the video. It is not, as guessed by a fan on the street, a reference to how teams treat their ice. In fact, it has nothing to do with actual tarps at all.

According to Oshie, “tarps off” is the hockey version of taking one’s shirt off.

It makes sense that Oshie, of all people, would understand this term. He has become quite famous for being quick to remove his own shirt on a number of occasions.

During the 2018 Stanley Cup parade, he quite famously drank beer through his jersey during the rally. He also was happy to encourage the Washington Nationals going “tarps off” during their zamboni ride around the rink after their own world championship.

Of course, he’s also notorious for it in his own house. By Oshie’s own admission, his wife has told him on several occasions that he is too old to go “tarps off” anymore.

But if you’re ever lucky enough to be a guest at the same wedding as T.J. Oshie, it sounds like chances are still good you’ll get to see “tarps off” in action.

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Ilya Kovalchuk dominates as Caps slice Sabres in simulated game

Ilya Kovalchuk dominates as Caps slice Sabres in simulated game

Ilya Kovalchuk provided three points, including the game-winning goal, in the Capitals 7-2 blowout of the Buffalo Sabres in Monday's NHL 20 simulated game.

Result: Caps 7, Sabres 2

1st period

1-0 Caps goal: Nick Jensen from Dmitry Orlov and Braden Holtby

2-0 Caps goal: Garnet Hathaway from Radko Gudas and Nic Dowd

2-1 Sabres goal: Henri Jokiharju from Jake McCabe and Jack Eichel

2-2 Sabres goal: Wayne Simmonds from Jeff Skinner and Curtis Lazar

3-2 Caps goal: Ilya Kovalchuk from Lars Eller

2nd period

4-2 Caps goal: Alex Ovechkin from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Michal Kempny

5-2 Caps goal: Nic Dowd from Ilya Kovalchuk and Nick Jensen

6-2 Caps goal: Richard Panik from Nic Dowd and John Carlson

3rd period

7-2 Caps goal: Lars Eller from Ilya Kovalchuk

How the Caps won

1. The first period tiebreaker

Scoring two early goals in the first period doesn't matter all that much if you give two goals right back. Jensen and Hathaway gave Washington the 2-0 lead, but Buffalo struck right back with Jokiharju and Simmonds. The difference was that Kovalchuk was able to break the tie late in the first, which not only sparked him for a big night, but the entire team as well.

The Sabres would not score the rest of the game and Kovalchuk's first period tally proved to be the game-winner.

2. The second period

Kovalchuk made sure the Caps held a one-goal lead heading into the second period and that is when Washington took control.

The Caps scored three unanswered goals in the middle frame to break the game wide open. Ovechkin snapped a short goal drought with a brutal wrister to beat Carter Hutton. Soon after, Dowd made it 5-2 as he crashed the net and Kovalchuk put the puck right on his stick on the doorstep. Dowd then provided an assist of his own setting up Panik for a one-timer.

3. Ilya Kovalchuk

This was his best game as a Cap. Not only did Kovalchuk provide the game-winning goal, he also provided two assists, was great with the puck on his stick, played a physical game and contributed just a dominant overall performance. One of his assists was to Eller who scored to make it 7-2. Somewhere, Brad Marchand must be very upset.

Next game

The Caps were scheduled to play the Toronto Maple Leafs at home on Tuesday. The game will be simulated with NHL 20 on NBC Sports Washington at 7 p.m.

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