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It's not crazy to think Tom Wilson can score 20 goals

NBC Sports Washington

It's not crazy to think Tom Wilson can score 20 goals

When you play on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov, your offense is going to jump. That’s exactly what happened with Tom Wilson who set career highs in goals (14), assists (21) and points (35) last season.

But it wasn’t just because of his linemates.

Wilson proved to be a productive wing on the top line, working in the dirty areas and winning board battles to generate more offense. He also provides balance on the top line in the defensive zone.

The Capitals signed Wilson to a six-year deal worth $31 million in the offseason. That’s not the kind of deal you sign to a fourth line goon. Clearly, expectations are high for Wilson to produce.

But can he reach the 20-goal mark?

While most people know Wilson more for his hits, don’t forget that he was a first-round draft pick of the Caps in 2012. He is a player with a lot of offensive skill and, at 24 years old, there’s still plenty of upside.

Wilson did not enter the 2017-18 season as a top-six player. In fact, he was forced to sit out the first four games due to his first career suspension. Yet, he was still able to double his previous career-high in goals with 14.

Now as an established top line player who is still improving on the offensive side of the ice, 20 goals looks like a very attainable number.



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'I look so damn good': Beninati, Laughlin humbled, thrilled by their bobbleheads

NBC Sports Washington

'I look so damn good': Beninati, Laughlin humbled, thrilled by their bobbleheads

The legendary duo of Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin will soon be immortalized with their very own bobblehead on Saturday as part of a giveaway for a blood drive being held at MedStarCapitals Iceplex. You can get a good sense of the personalities of the two from their reaction when they first heard about the bobblehead.

"I think it's incredible, I'm totally flattered by it," Beninati said.

"About time," Locker said. "Everyone else has one, I figured I've got longevity here. I thought I would've had one sooner."

"Just kidding," he quickly added.

It's that sense of humor and contrasting personalities that has endeared the duo to Capitals fans for so long. Beninati and Laughlin have been paired together on NBC Sports Washington's Capitals game broadcast since 1994.

Because of their place within the Caps community, it is perhaps no surprise to see them get the notable honor of a bobblehead. Despite the initial jokes, both broadcasters were incredibly honored when approached with the idea.

"It's cool that we were asked to have one," Laughlin said. "I think it's very cool if you get a bobblehead. I thought all the players had got one so I thought maybe someway in the years to come we might have a chance to get one."

Both have enjoyed the process as well.

"The cool thing is I've seen it change from like a clay formation to an early mockup to, ok let's put some paint on it," Beninati said. "I had no idea that these things change so radically from the original first blush look to the finished product."

Both Beninati and Laughlin were shown various iterations of the bobblehead and offered their critiques. The bobblehead was then updated each time leading to the final product which will be given out to participants at Saturday's blood drive.

"It's very tough to get realistic," Laughlin said. "It's a mold, they're doing different things, we went back and forth, I said well I hold my mic in this hand so they changed that, I'm sure Joe had a lot of changes to his."

Beninati indeed had a few suggestions, but not just for his own visage.

While both were thrilled with how the bobblehead began to develop, Beninati could not help but notice just how...young Laughlin looked.

"I was the one who was critiquing his side of the bobblehead the whole time," Beninati said. The biggest question he had: "What are you doing with Locker's hair?"

"It's probably me when I played back in the playing days, but I like it," Laughlin said.

There's a lot of brown hair on that bobblehead which...may not be the most accurate depiction of Laughlin's current look.

"He's laughing because it's Locker minus 30 years which is what he will lord over me and continue to razz me about for the rest of time," Beninati said. "He'll look at it and he'll just start laughing and that's enough, that's what he does."

"I think I look so damn good, so young, way better than Joe B. and that's why I want a single of myself," Laughlin said. "I'm going to cut mine in half."

Regardless of how many years it may have shaved off of Laughlin, it's all in good fun and for a great cause.

The blood drive will be held on Saturday at MedStar Capitals Iceplex from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. At the time of writing, every appointment for whole blood, double red cell and platelet donations was full.

"We've been blessed for a long, long time.," Beninati said. "The fans have treated us very, very well. Most importantly, I'm hoping that the blood drive is extremely successful. It's something obviously that's needed."


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Carlson cannot be stopped, Ovechkin gets out the blowtorch and Siegenthaler impresses

Carlson cannot be stopped, Ovechkin gets out the blowtorch and Siegenthaler impresses

The legend of John Carlson is growing as he added two goals to his already incredible season on Wednesday in a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

Check out the game recap here.

Observations from the win

Just give Carlson the Norris already

Sometimes it can be hard to recognize or understand the magnitude of a player's performance over the course of the season. If you don't recognize yet that we are seeing a special season from Carlson, then you need to get on board.

With 11 goals and 31 assists in 30 games, Carlson is statistically off to one of the best starts by a defenseman ever. More on those numbers below.

It's not just his offensive play, Carlson has been very good defensively. That narrative that he is only good offensively and is a defensive liability in his own end is ludicrous.

At this point, you can start engraving Carlson's name into the Norris Trophy now. He is playing well in his own end and he is having one of the best seasons ever for a defenseman offensively. There's no debate.

Hagelin's real return

Hagelin returned from injury for Tuesday's game against San Jose, but you could not see the real impact of his return until Wednesday. The Caps did not take a single penalty against the Sharks, but took three against the Kings. Penalty killing is where Hagelin's game really excels and that was evident in this game as he led the team with 3:55 of shorthanded ice time and was a major factor in the Caps stifling the power play.

Don't forget about Siegenthaler

Carlson is going to steal all the headlines, but Jonas Siegenthaler put together one heck of a game and was named the second star. He recorded a game-high four blocked shots, but his real highlight came in the second period as he defended a 2-on-1 by the Kings.

The responsibility of a defenseman on a 2-on-1 is to defend the pass. Siegenthaler got into the passing lane and timed his slide exactly right, getting down on the ice at just the right time to block the puck. It was exceptionally well played and prevented Los Angeles from even getting a shot off.

Turn off the blowtorch, Ovi!

During a stoppage in play, Alex Ovechkin was on the bench taking a blowtorch to his helmet. He then handed the still lit blowtorch off to head equipment manager Brock Myles.

Come on, man. Turn off the blowtorch before you hand it off.

Turning point

Carlson's second goal of the game first period proved to be the game-winner and established that this was going to be his and the Caps' night.

Play of the game

Carlson's 100th career goal was a pretty one and very fitting. The defenseman who does it all did it all on this play, getting the steal in the defensive zone, taking it himself down the ice and firing the wrister to beat Jonathan Quick on the far post.

Stat of the game

It's Carlson's world, we're all just living in it.

Quote of the game

Ovechkin has spent much of his career leaving his teammates speechless. Now Carlson has done it to him.

"I don't know what to say right now; he's the hottest guy out there. You can see two highlight-reel goals again. He's good."

Fan predictions

This was pretty darn close.

The Caps are now 4-0-1 this season on the second leg of a back-to-back.

Well, you got the two for Carlson right.

I love this bit. Keep trying guys.