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Capitals Mailbag Part 2: What does the pause mean for Braden Holtby's future?

Capitals Mailbag Part 2: What does the pause mean for Braden Holtby's future?

It’s time for a new Capitals Mailbag! You can read Wednesday’s Part 1 here.

Check out Part 2 below.

Have a Caps question you want answered in the next mailbag? You can submit your questions here at the Capitals Mailbag submissions page on NBCSportsWashington.com.

Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.

Stella writes: Considering how the season ended for both Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov, does that open the door for a possible return for Holtby next season?

No.

With what money? The previous cap projection put out by the NHL of between $84 and $88.2 million is now gone.  While I don't see the cap lowering next season, I don't think it is going to rise either given the season pause. Even with a big boost in the salary cap, there were a lot of reasons why a return for Holtby seemed remote. With the salary cap unlikely to rise, money just became a big factor once again.

I get it. Samsonov is still a question mark given his lack of experience and the Caps are going to be taking a pretty significant gamble by making him the No. 1, but I don't really see how the team can make a return for Holtby work because of the money, Seattle and the role Holtby would be expected to play. It just does not make sense for either the team or the player.

Alex E. writes: Will having bad ice at Capital One arena (as voted on by players) give the Caps any advantage against their potential playoff opponents as the season likely gets pushed further into the summer months?

Because the players will be used to it? No. Bad ice is bad ice and if both teams are subject to it, I do not see it as being an advantage, especially for a Caps team that sometimes can rely too much on skill and over-passing. That really doesn't work that well in slush.

The ice issue is going to be a major factor in the summer for buildings as the season could potentially get pushed deeper into the summer than ever. This is going to be an issue for every building, not just Capital One Arena.

Hamilton C. writes: How many sticks does the average player go through in a single season?

The number is quite a bit higher than you may think. I don't know that there is a definite average out there, but Detroit Red Wings equipment manager Paul Boyer was asked this in 2012 and his answer was six to 10 dozen sticks per season. Some players use a new stick every game so that's at least 82 right there, plus however many the break in a game or during practice. The budget for teams for sicks is in the hundreds of thousands.

Emily D. writes: Would Wilson’s puppy Halle also be a power forward in the DHL (Dog Hockey League)? She seems to have some serious tenacity and speed.

But does she have the size? She's a black lab mix and black labs typically grow to be about 55 and 75 pounds. I could see her being a grinder, but I am not sure she is going to be big enough to consistently deliver that kind of punishment.

Brooks W. writes: Who would you rather own your team: Dan Snyder, James Dolan or Eugene Melnyk?

James Dolan is easily the worst owner in sports. It's not close. Say what you want about the other two, but Dolan is the worst.

Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be answered in the next mailbag, you can submit it here at the Capitals Mailbag submissions page on NBCSportsWashington.com.

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Alex Ovechkin among players contributing to CCM Hockey's donation of surgical masks

Alex Ovechkin among players contributing to CCM Hockey's donation of surgical masks

With surgical masks in short supply because of the coronavirus pandemic, different companies are stepping up to provide masks to the people who need them the most, the healthcare workers. CCM Hockey is among those companies and announced on Wednesday that they will be donating 500,000 surgical masks to healthcare workers.

Several NHL stars are contributing to the donation including Alex Ovechkin.

“By teaming up with our roster of CCM athletes, we will be able to play a role in the collaborative effort to get past this crisis,” CCM CEO Rick Blackshaw said in a statement on their website. “We focused on the best use of our network and our resources to have the quickest impact. Sourcing greatly needed equipment through our established supply chain partners in Asia is the most efficient way for us to support and keep our real heroes safe."

Ovechkin is listed among the players who contributed to the CCM donation.

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The other players listed are Mat Barzal, Patrice Bergeron, Brock Boeser, Dani Cameranesi, Brandon Carlo, Thomas Chabot, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Sidney Crosby, Melodie Daoust, Alex Debrincat, Brianna Decker, Matt Duchene, Matt Dumba, Marc-Andre Fleury, Filip Forsberg, Jake Gardiner, Miro Heiskanen, Filip Hronek, Jonathan Huberdeau, Seth Jones, Nathan Mackinnon, Charlie McAvoy, Connor McDavid, Artemi Panarin, Carey Price, Vladimir Tarasenko, and John Tavares.

“The CCM Pros are men and women of action," Blackshaw said. "It troubles them to feel helpless as they witness the devastating effects of this pandemic. At the core of this great sport, hockey is about courage, commitment to a higher goal, as well as to one another. It is exactly these player qualities and beliefs that will allow us to emerge stronger from this challenge.”

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Capitals coach Todd Reirden is preparing to play Hurricanes in playoffs, if they occur

Capitals coach Todd Reirden is preparing to play Hurricanes in playoffs, if they occur

As hockey fans and players alike mourn what would have been the beginning of the Stanley Cup playoffs on Wednesday, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden has been preparing his players for what could be a jump right into the postseason when play resumes. 

Checking in with players virtually, working with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish to curate at-home workouts and meeting with the coaching staff, Reirden has been prepping to play the Carolina Hurricanes. A rematch of last year's first-round series is currently how the matchups would fall if the NHL were to go right to the playoffs upon return.

“Obviously it’s a team that we’re familiar with from last year," Reirden said on The Sports Junkies on Thursday. "Obviously, it would be a good one for us to go against if that was the case. We feel we owe them one after last year.”

The defending champion Capitals were knocked out of the playoffs by the Hurricanes last season, which came down to a decisive Game 7. This season, the Hurricanes took the first two games, outscoring the Capitals 9-6 until Reirden put Ilya Samsonov in net, who got the Caps the last two wins.

“That's a team that we do know we did better as the year went on against them," Reirden said. "Finding a different way of making some systematic adjustments, a little bit of our style of play and more of the intricacies of looking at the power play, penalty kill, special teams, late-game situations against them with the way things that they want to do.”

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But preparing for the playoffs without players being able to get some ice time poses a huge problem.

"That’s the one thing that you just can not simulate, the fact that these guys have not been on the ice and the chance of ramping it up right to playoff speed I think will be very difficult on their bodies and hard on some of the muscles that you’re not able to train by not being on the ice," Reirden said. "There’s some you can simulate but there’s nothing like getting out on the ice.”

While coronavirus has forced the world to take things one day at a time, Reirden says he, along with many others, just wants hockey back.

“To me, the big thing is I just want to play hockey again because that means that our world is in a better place than it was a month ago.”

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