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Capitals Mailbag Part 1: What conclusions can we draw from a crazy postseason?

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Capitals Mailbag Part 1: What conclusions can we draw from a crazy postseason?

It’s time for a new Capitals mailbag! Check out Part 1 below. Have a Caps question you want to be answered the next mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com.

Nathan S. writes: Do you see replay being expanded given all the bad calls and do you see this including penalties like in college hockey where they review headshots and other major penalties?

The Competition Committee recommended expanding video review and coach’s challenge on Tuesday which is the first step.

At the start of the Stanley Cup Final, even Gary Bettman was very candid about the need to expand video review saying “What I thought was it would be good if I kept my head from exploding” when asked about the hand pass that led to the San Jose Sharks’ overtime victory over the St. Louis Blues.

The fear is expanding it in a way that slows the game down to a crawl and allows too many calls to be reviewed. You cannot simply allow for all calls to be reviewed.

To me, the model the NHL should try to follow is soccer. Soccer gets it right by both limiting the situations in which review can be used, but also essentially not limiting what is being reviewed in those situations at all. What the NHL needs to eliminate are the obvious blown calls. Everyone can see that Gustav Nyquist was guilty of a hand pass.

To this day, no one has shown me a definitive view of whether Gabriel Landeskog was offsides or not.

Obvious can mean different things to different people, but I believe the league can find a solution in which plays like Nyquist’s can be quickly reviewed and overturned while plays like Landeskog’s will not even register as worthy of review.

If I had to predict, I would say we will see some sort of expanded replay for all goals and major penalties.

Unfortunately, I don’t think this will mean the end of the offside review, as terrible as it is. Since we have concluded we need more review, the NHL does not seem interested in getting rid of a review that is awful, unnecessary and everybody hates.

Nathan S. writes: The Stanley Cup Final has been very physical. Do you see this as another move away from the speed game that the Pittsburgh Penguins perfected back in 16-17 and back to a hard-hitting style of game or do you see NHL trying to curtail this level of physicality given the injuries that have resulted from it?

Every year when a team wins the Stanley Cup, everyone tends to make sweeping conclusions about what it means for the league. When the Penguins won back-to-back Cups, many took that to mean the NHL was a speed league and everyone had to get faster.

There is no question Pittsburgh won in large part because of their speed. But is it as important as we thought? At their core, the Capitals are a heavy team. They play a physical style of game and they were very successful doing that in 2018. That was especially evident in the conference final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. When facing a better team, Washington still managed to come out on top because they manhandled the Lightning.

It was no surprise to me to see Tampa Bay play the Caps so physically in the regular season in 2018-19 because they wanted to send a message that they were not going to get pushed around this year. Now let’s look at the 2018 results. There’s simply no way to describe the St. Louis’ Blues’ speed other than slow. They do not play a fast game at all, but they do not need to. They have gotten this far by being an extremely physical team and it has them within one win of the Stanley Cup.

After seeing the success teams like the Caps and Blues have had, will teams respond by trying to bulk up?

Regardless of who wins the Stanley Cup or how, the NHL is never going to revert back to the hard-hitting days of the past. That does not mean there will not be big hits or physical play, but from what we know of the affects these hits have on the brain and the body, the game is never going to completely go back to the way things were even if physical play does become trendy.

Referees are going to ref the game differently than they did then and the NHL is going to react to those hits differently than they did in previous years. To me, I do not see view size to be more important than speed or vice versa.

It is easy to come to that conclusion given how the postseason has turned out plus the fact that Penguins general manager Jimmy Rutherford took a team that won two Cups with speed and skill and decided to make them more physical. When the general manager who won with speed decides to bulk up, it is hard to argue against him. Since then, however, Rutherford has made a number of head-scratching moves that have actually made Pittsburgh worse all in the name of “physicality” so perhaps he is not the guy teams should be modeling their strategies after.

Here’s what this postseason tells me: Physical play is why the playoffs are so different from the regular season. If you are a physical team, it is hard to play that way for 82 games. It wears you down and the players will admit as much. They are willing to go through that physical punishment for four seven-game series, but they cannot play that way for a full season.

This also shows you why Tom Wilson is such an effective and important player for the Caps.

The NHL is definitely getting faster, but, there is still value in the physical game. Having a player as big and physically imposing as Wilson who has the skill to play on the top line and who can skate well to boot is a valuable commodity. As for the style teams should pursue, at the end of the day a team can win playing almost any way they want.

They just have to have the right players to pull off whatever style they hope to play, a coach capable of implementing that system and they have to play their system better than the opponent can play theirs.

Jimmy H. writes: Do you think Alex Ovechkin will get a statue of him in DC or at the practice facility after he retires?

I expect Ovechkin is going to get the full star treatment once his career is over: Hall of Fame, number retired, statue, etc. I would not be surprised if MedStar Capitals Iceplex becomes the MedStar Ovechkin Iceplex, or something like that.

The team owes him a great deal and he will be an ambassador for life. There’s not a whole lot of room on the sidewalks around Capital One Arena for a statue so my prediction is that they put it on Gallery Place Way next to the Clyde’s. There is a walkway there that leads to the mall on the side of the arena.

You might as well clear that space now. And for any young hockey fans with aspirations of one day playing for the Caps, I hope you don’t have your heart set on wearing No. 8. Ovechkin will be the last Cap to every wear that number.

Thanks for all your questions! Part 2 of the mailbag will be coming on Thursday. If you have a question you want to be read and answered in the next mailbag, send it CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com or use #CapsMailNBC on Twitter.

 

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Capitals vs. Ducks Game 23: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

Capitals vs. Ducks Game 23: Time, TV Channel, Live stream, how to watch

It is Week 10 of the hockey season.

The Capitals are sitting at 15-2, having just added another win after their last game against the Boston Bruins, a dramatic 3-2 shootout victory. 

The Capitals will be hosting the Anaheim Ducks at the Capital One Arena Monday night. Currently, the Ducks have a 10-9 record, just beating the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Saturday. 

Now, here is all the information you need to know in order to watch Monday night’s game.

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS HOW TO WATCH:

What: Washington Capitals vs. Anaheim Ducks

Where: Capital One Arena

When: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: The Capitals vs. Ducks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Ducks on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, SiriusXM Channel 91, Streaming 920

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live

6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live

7:00 PM: NHL: Anaheim Ducks @ Capitals

9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live

10:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live

10:30 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals:

C Nick Dowd, upper body, out

LW Carl Hagelin, upper body, out

Ducks:

D Hampus Lindholm, undisclosed, injury reserve

RW Ondrej Kase, jaw injury, day-to-day 

CAPITALS vs. DUCKS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Capitals:

John Carlson, D: John Carlson's eight goals make him the team's highest-scoring defender, and his 24 assists lead the Capitals.

Alex Ovechkin, LW: Ovechkin leads the team with 14 goals this season. Ovechkin also is in fourth on the team with 10 assists.

Ducks: 

Jakob Silfverberg, LW: Team-leader in goals made this season racking up nine goals. Tied for the most assists, with eight. 

Rickard Rakell, C: Contributed 14 points, the second-most on the Ducks, and shares the tie with eight assists. 

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Caps finally solve Halak for improbable shootout win

Caps finally solve Halak for improbable shootout win

The Capitals needed a goal from T.J. Oshie with less than a minute remaining to force overtime on Saturday where they would go on to defeat the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout.

It looked like Jaroslav Halak would once again pull off a miraculous win as he turned aside 42 shots, but the Caps kept up the pressure late to tie the game and get back in the win column.

Saturday's win is now Washington's 15th in the last 16 contests against the Bruins.

Here is how the Caps won.

Boyd makes the most of his opportunity

On Friday, Travis Boyd was a Hershey Bear. With Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin both injured but without enough money under the cap for Boyd, the Caps recalled Tyler Lewington on Friday and skated seven defensemen and only 11 forwards against the Montreal Canadiens. On Saturday, the team sent Lewington and Ilya Samsonov to Hershey and recalled Vitek Vanecek and Boyd. The extra cap space the team gained from Vanecek taking Samsonov's spot allowed them to recall Boyd and skate four full forward lines. The impact of Boyd's addition was felt in the first period when Boyd scored a deflection to beat Halak and get the Caps on the board.

In seven games with the Caps this season, Boyd has one goal and four assists.

Caps get their power play setup on 6-on-5

For much of the night, the Caps just could not figure out Halak. They poured on the shots, but he was there each time and looked like he would be able to lead his team to the narrow victory. Late in regulation, the Caps pulled Braden Holtby for the extra attacker and the Caps gave Boston a power play look.

Washington had its top power play unit on the ice plus Tom Wilson. The goal looked like one right out of the power play's playbook with Evgeny Kuznetsov behind the goal line feeding Oshie in the slot. Oshie is great at getting those quick shots away from in close and he finally beat Halak with 59 seconds remaining.

Oshie was instrumental in setting up the goal as well as he blocked a clearing attempt from Zdeno Chara with his glove to keep the puck in the offensive zone just seconds before Kuznetsov set him up for the goal.

Backstrom and Vrana deliver in the shootout

Washington scored only twice on the shootout, but that would be all they needed.

The normally automatic Oshie was stopped on his shootout attempt putting Washington behind early on.I n a score-or-go-home situation for Nicklas Backstrom, he managed to sneak a shot in between the glove and the pad of Halak to force extra rounds of the shootout. Then Jakub Vrana pulled off one of the nices shootout goals you will ever see.

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