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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

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

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'He barely hit him': Rod Brind'Amour finds a way to downplay T.J. Oshie injury

'He barely hit him': Rod Brind'Amour finds a way to downplay T.J. Oshie injury

The Capitals were incensed by Warren Foegele’s shove to the back of T.J. Oshie in Game 4 on Thursday that sent Oshie dangerously into the boards and knocked him out of the game. Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour, however, does not know what all the fuss is about.

“You see a lot of hits that are way, way worse than that,” Brind’Amour told the media after the game.

Oshie entered into the offensive zone with the puck and Foegele came in on the backcheck. Oshie had a good position on the puck, blocking Foegele out with his back. Foegele responded with a cross-check to the back of Oshie that knocked him over face-first awkwardly into the boards. Oshie appeared to strike the boards with his right shoulder and was doubled over in obvious pain as he slowly made his way off the ice.

Ovechkin was so angry that he followed Foegele and continued yelling at him after he went into the penalty box.

But Brind’Amour did not see it as a dirty play.

“I think [Oshie] just went in awkward,” Brind’Amour said. “I don't know the extent of the injury or whatever. Barely hit him I thought, really. He gave him a little shove, but it certainly wasn't what we've been seeing out here.”

In fact, Brind’Amour did not think a penalty was going to be called at all until Oshie stayed on the ice.

“There wasn't a penalty being called and then obviously he crashed into the boards hard and that's when the arm went up because he stayed down,” Brind’Amour said. “You don't like to see that, but I think more than anything he just was not ready for the hit.”

For those of you keeping track at home, Brind’Amour took issue with two consenting players fighting one another, but a cross-check to the back leaves a guy doubled over in pain and, well, he just was not ready for the hit.

Right.

Of course, you can file this away under, “What is he supposed to say?” It’s not as if Brind’Amour would come out and bury his own player for an illegal hit. He is going to defend his guy. Having said that, there were probably better ways to handle the injury of an opposing player rather than diminishing it quite as much as Brind’Amour seemed to.

“We've got way more injuries than they do,” Brind’Amour said. “I don't worry about their team.”

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T.J. Oshie injured in Game 4 after dangerous hit from Warren Foegele

T.J. Oshie injured in Game 4 after dangerous hit from Warren Foegele

As the series returns to Washington tied 2-2, the Capitals will have more concerns than just a blown series lead. T.J. Oshie left Game 4 late after a dangerous hit to the back from Carolina forward Warren Foegele sent him dangerously into the boards.

As Oshie entered into the offensive zone with the puck, Foegele came in on the backcheck. Oshie had a good position on the puck, blocking Foegele out with his back. Foegele responded with a cross-check to the back of Oshie that knocked him over face-first awkwardly into the boards. Oshie appeared to strike the boards with his right shoulder and was doubled over in obvious pain as he slowly made his way off the ice.

Alex Ovechkin was incensed after the play. He yelled at Foegele afterward and even followed him to the penalty box and continued to yell at him from outside the box.

Foegele was issued a two-minute minor for boarding.

The rules regarding boarding allow the referees a large degree of discretion when determining if a penalty is a minor or a major. Both penalties can be assessed at the referee’s discretion “based on the degree of violence of the impact with the boards.”

A reasonable argument could be made for either a minor or a major penalty in that situation. On the one hand, Foegele was back-checking and Oshie certainly knew he was there. The hit may have been illegal, but he was blocking out Foegele and not unsuspecting. On the other, the check sent Oshie to the boards with a tremendous degree of violence which is the only specific standard given for a major.

A major penalty in a one-goal game with just over five minutes remaining could have been a game-changer. Regardless, Washington had a power play with a chance to tie the game and failed. Now they will have to cross their fingers that when they take the ice on Saturday for Game 5, Oshie will be in the lineup and not out with an injury.

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