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John Carlson will make his preseason debut Tuesday, but Devante Smith-Pelly will not

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USA TODAY Sports

John Carlson will make his preseason debut Tuesday, but Devante Smith-Pelly will not

A lower-body injury kept defenseman John Carlson out of the first few days of training camp and has thus far kept him out of preseason action. On Tuesday, however, as the Capitals head to St. Louis to take on the Blues, Carlson will be in the lineup for his preseason debut.

Carlson was held out of Friday’s game as a precaution, but head coach Todd Reirden said he was “really close” at that point to returning. He will play with his normal partner Michal Kempny.

Carlson enters the season on a new eight-year contract that he signed in the offseason. This is a big year for him to prove to the team that his career year in 2017-18 (15 goals, 53 assists, 68 points, all career highs) was a reflection of his true value and not simply the result of a motivated player playing for his next contract.

While Carlson is set to make his debut, forward Devante Smith-Pelly still will be held from the lineup.

Tuesday’s game will be Washington’s fifth preseason game out of seven and Smith-Pelly has yet to play in any of them.

Reirden would not go into specifics as to why Smith-Pelly is not in the lineup. When asked Friday, Smith-Pelly called it a “coach’s decision” and said he was not dealing with any injury.

Reirden had no real update to offer on Monday regarding the winger’s status.

“It’s something that we’re going to continue to monitor every day and get him close to playing,” Reirden said.

While no one is expected to play every preseason game, Smith-Pelly is rapidly running out of time to get any playing time in before the start of the regular season. If he is not ready to play yet in the preseason, it is fair to wonder just how far away he may be from suiting up when the games actually start to matter.

Missing Tuesday’s game means there are only two chances left to get Smith-Pelly into the lineup with games on Friday and Sunday.

When asked how many games Smith-Pelly would need to prepare for the season, Reirden said, “Ideally, I'd like to have him ready for as many as possible. As soon as he's ready to play, he'll play.”

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It’s official, Tom Wilson’s puppy Halle now has an Instagram account

It’s official, Tom Wilson’s puppy Halle now has an Instagram account

You should be used to seeing Capitals’ winger Tom Wilson’s puppy Halle by now, but you’ll be seeing a lot more of her in the future. 

The black lab mix officially has an Instagram account and it’s the cutest thing that you’ll ever see.

Her favorite things are pine cones and digging holes and the account features some adorable content.

From the first day that Halle met her momma Taylor Pischke. 

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The day I met my new fur momma ❤️

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To what looks to be one of her first baths.

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Instagram vs. Reality #nationalpuppyday

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And even serving two minutes in time out. C'mon just look at those puppy eyes. 

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Serving two minutes in the sin bin #unsportsmanlikeconduct

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The Instagram account is run by her furparents of course. 

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How former Capital Joel Ward helped Brenden Dillon adjust to life in the Washington area

How former Capital Joel Ward helped Brenden Dillon adjust to life in the Washington area

When trying to adjust to life in a new city, it can be nice to have a familiar face around to help you. That’s exactly what Brenden Dillon had after he was traded to the Capitals in Joel Ward.

Dillon was acquired by Washington on Feb. 18. In just his third game with the team, former Cap and San Jose Shark forward Joel Ward participated in the ceremonial puck drop prior to the Capitals Black History Game on Sunday, Feb. 23.

Dillon and Ward were teammates in San Jose for three seasons from 2015 to 2018. Dillon credited Ward for helping him get acclimated to Arlington, Va. and the Washington area.

“There's a bunch of great restaurants and walking around areas,” Dillon said in an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Brodie Brazil. “I was pretty fortunate when Joel Ward actually did the drop the puck for I think it was either my second or third game as a Capital. He kind of gave me a bit of the lay of the land while we were out here, showing me some of his little hidden gems from when he played. Obviously Wardo and I have a great relationship so it was nice to have a familiar face for the first few days.”

Ward spoke glowingly of Dillon following his puck drop so it should come as no surprise that he was willing to help out his former teammate.

“He's a true pro,” Ward said of Dillon. “He's an unbelievable human being. I think he's probably one of the nicest guys I've come across in my hockey days, to be honest with you. He's just a humble guy that wants to work and learn.”

The extra help in finding the right places to eat has certainly paid off. Dillon remained in the hotel in Arlington with the season on pause until just this past week and had to rely heavily on take out.

“I've been walking around and grabbing some to go,” Dillon said. “If you ever need good pick up options in Arlington, Va. or the D.C. area for food, I'm your guy.”

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