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Capitals Mailbag Part 2: Why Todd Reirden has a lot to say about the Wilson-Brind-Amour situation

Capitals Mailbag Part 2: Why Todd Reirden has a lot to say about the Wilson-Brind-Amour situation

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 to be answered in the next mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to

Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.

Mary B. writes: Are there any trade rumors?

I would not be surprised if the team was looking to move Christian Djoos. While Djoos has been reassigned to Hershey, $175,000 of his $1.25 million cap hit is still counting against Washington's salary cap. That's because the maximum amount that can be buried off the cap is $1.075 million, so whatever remains still counts.

It all comes down to why the Caps waived Djoos in the first place: was it more a factor of not being able to afford his cap hit or did he just not play well enough to warrant trying to keep him? If they don't think he's good enough, then it makes sense to try to trade him and clear out that remaining $175,000.

Pheonix Copley, who cleared waivers on Thursday, is in a similar but very different position. He counts $25,000 against the cap ($1.1 million cap hit minus the $1.075 million maximum), but I don't think the team will be in a rush to try to move him until Ilya Samsonov gets a few good games and shows there is no reason to keep a second backup.

Nathan S. writes: I’m concerned about Tom Wilson getting suspended and/or spending too much time in the penalty box for a first liner. Seems he showed a lapse in discipline/judgment the other day in Carolina by getting a ten-minute misconduct penalty and possibly risking hitting an official and then getting a roughing penalty immediately upon coming back into the game after the ten-minute misconduct.

The reason I’ll give Wilson a pass for Sunday is clearly he was taken aback by a head coach chirping him from the bench. That never happens. John Tortorella once yelled at Alex Ovechkin from the bench and actually apologized for it.

“That’s my fault,” Tortorella said. “I thought he dove, and I signaled to him. I thought he dove, and he took exception. I have no business making any gesture or saying anything to a player. So that’s not on him. That’s just stupidity on my part.”

That's how taboo this is.

Todd Reirden does not say much after games, but he was as forceful as I have ever heard as he slammed Rod Brind-Amour after the game and he hasn't stopped slamming him since. Clearly, this is a ... unique situation that Wilson and the Caps now have to be ready for next time they play Carolina.

Overall, however, I get your point. Wilson is now a bonafide top-line player. The team needs him on the ice. That’s why I think the additions of Garnet Hathaway and Radko Gudas are important. Those two will be able to take some of the physical pressure off Wilson.

Steve W. writes: After watching the Caps 6-0 domination of the Blackhawks I was intrigued by how Garnet Hathaway reminded me of Carl Hagelin. He led the Caps in hits, second in blocked shots and played really well on the PK. He was clearly the fastest (or at least the quickest) player on the ice. What line will he fit into?

Hathaway is part of the team’s revamped fourth line and the penalty kill. I like his energy and toughness and I think he will be a good addition there. The Caps want to be a team that other teams hate to play against and Hathaway certainly adds that agitator element which was evident in Wednesday's season opener.

I see him as a high-end fourth line player, low-end third line so I don’t want to see him move past the fourth. As long as he’s there, however, I love what he brings.

@OrcusFire on Twitter writes: With McMichael tearing up in you see him in a Caps uniform this season?

It’s doubtful. There are a lot of players the team can turn to in Hershey if they need help before they consider McMichael. Clearly he is brimming with talent, but the best thing for a player is to have time to develop and you do that by playing. The Caps would need a number of injuries to their top-six to the point where they need to plug in someone who can produce. McMichael is better served at this point in his career playing top-line minutes in junior than third-line minutes in the NHL against players who are a whole lot bigger than he is.

@NathanSprenger on Twitter writes: What tweets or comments will be/are the most tiresome? Fans calling for Todd Reirden to be fired after a few losses, demands to trade Braden Holtby or fans obsessing about the Penguins? How soon do you expect to see them?

My job is to inform people so when fans are ready to jump off the cliff and trade/fire everyone, it is my job to explain to them why the team is or is not going to do that. As you noted, there are plenty of people who thought and still think the Caps should trade Holtby, but the team isn't going to do that because they think they are Cup contenders and will need Holtby for another run. Until they believe otherwise, Holtby is not going anywhere. I don’t mind having to explain that to people (even if I have to do it repeatedly) because it's my job.

I get the mean/nasty stuff on occasion, but you just block those people and move on. Some opposing fans can get tiresome because they equate Capitals media with Capitals fans so every bit of analysis is instantly meant with resistance and scorn. In my experience, Winnipeg has the most sensitive fans by far.

If there is one thing that annoys me on Twitter more than anything else, it is when people comment/argue against an article I wrote in a way that makes it clear they just read the headline and not a single word of the article. If you’re going to argue with me, if you’re going to tell me I’m wrong and that I have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s fine. I love a good debate, but at least do me the courtesy of reading the article and learning why I think something before you trash it. You might actually learn something.

Mary B. writes: What the heck happened to the ribbon at the bottom of the screen that showed score updates?

The ribbon or ticker as it is called is now gone. It’s a sign of the times. Most channels are going away from it because if there is a game you really want to know what’s going on, you have a handy little device in your pocket where you can look it up. Yes, I know ESPN still has their's but it is bascially advertising at this point. All updates news alerts come from their own reporters and a bunch of those games they are updating are being broadcast by some ESPN channel/affiliate. In today’s age, more people dislike the ticker than want it so it is gone and it’s not coming back...until the next dramatic shift in media.

Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be answered in the next mailbag, send it to or use #CapsMailNBC on Twitter



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In a sport in which silence is the norm, Braden Holtby continues to be a voice for change

In a sport in which silence is the norm, Braden Holtby continues to be a voice for change

The phrase "stick to sports" is one often uttered by angry fans who don't want politics to bleed into their past time, who want sports to remain an escape from every day life. No sport has taken those words to heart in recent years more so than hockey where players very rarely come out and discuss political or social topics. Braden Holtby, however, has been a notable exception.

With the country locked in political unrest after the senseless murder of George Floyd, Holtby tweeted out an impassioned statement on Wednesday with his thoughts.

"I don't think this time is a time to sugarcoat anything," Holtby said Friday in a video conference. "I think it's a time to look at ourselves in the mirror and really find how we can be better and how we can take responsibility for the past and learn from that to move forward."

Holtby has been an outspoken advocate for human rights, particularly those of the LGBTQ community, for several years. Many hockey players have been outspoken in the wake of the protests currently gripping the country representing a shocking shift from the norm of silence we typically see in hockey from such issues.

Holtby, however, has never been shy about giving his thoughts.

"I don’t know why it’s been kind of taboo to speak your mind or stand up for what you believe in," Holtby said. "Obviously, there’s always this divide from sports to social issues. You want to be educated, you want to make sure that you know what you’re talking about [and] you’re not just using your platform to try and be popular or something like that."


Quick reactions on social media are easy and often without substance. Holtby, however, who professed that he actually dislikes social media and does not like to use it all that much, stressed the need for everyone, including himself, to educate themselves on the important issues facing the country before and in addition to speaking out.

"It wasn't until I moved here that you really understand what racial injustice is in this country," Holtby said, who is originally from Lloydminster, Saskatchewan. "In Canada, we have indigenous rights and racism that way. I grew up around that, but this is different so I needed to educate myself and still need to. I believe how my parents did the right thing in teaching us in our situation. I learned a lot from them and Brandi as well and now we're just trying to take our knowledge we've learned in a different culture and try to teach our kids that way."


But not everyone is open to hearing Holtby's thoughts on the matter.

When you speak out on these types of issues, you are bound to get plenty of backlash. Holtby has gotten such reaction from many who have decided that because he is a professional hockey player, he is for some reason no longer entitled to have a voice. There are also those who do not want to hear the opinion of a Canadian on America despite the fact that Holtby has been living in America since 2009.

"I think we all have our professions," Holtby said. "Everyone does. I don't know if any of us have -- unless your job is to fight racial inequalities or any sort of social issues that way, we're all just trying to be humans. And we just happen to have a following based on our job where people see us and it's easier to see us. It's crazy to think that that's an argument. We play hockey on the ice. We live our lives just as humans off of the ice and try to do our part that way. The second part about the Canadian thing is I've lived here for over 10 years now, so we call this home. This is my kids' home. My kids are both American. I feel like I'm fortunate to have been in both countries and be a part of both countries. I've said this a long (time): Canada follows America in a lot of ways. If you go from Canada to America, you don't see a ton of difference. The northern part of the states are very similar to Canada, and I believe when you try to make changes in one [it affects the other]."

But when the issues are important enough, it's easy to tune out the naysayers.

"I'm just trying to learn how I can do my part and my family's part to help people out," Holtby said. "I'm really hoping and I really believe that this is going to change the world in a lot of ways."

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Watch Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei work on his slap shot

Watch Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei work on his slap shot

The future looks bright for the Capitals with Alex Ovechkin’s son Sergei as an up-and-coming star.

Ovechkin’s wife Nastya captured an adorable moment on her Instagram story Thursday afternoon when Sergei practiced his shot and found the back of his miniature net on six consecutive attempts – just like his father would.

Nastya praised her 1-year-old, saying “Bravo!” after every goal scored, before he celebrated in classic Ovechkin fashion.


While Ovi's eldest son has been occupied with his new role as a big brother as of late, he makes sure to leave plenty time to work on his slap shot and practice his celly, too, of course.

It looks like the young star is already on track to catch his father at 700 and make his debut in the 2038 NHL season.