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Lars Eller and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

Lars Eller and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

ARLINGTON, Va. – Hockey players are just like us, they hate Monday’s too. While some of you may have had a pretty bad Monday, you probably didn’t have a worse day than Lars Eller.

Monday was media day for the Capitals, their first practice of the postseason. Eller was on his way to MedStar Capitals Iceplex when suddenly, his car broke down…in the middle of Glebe Road.

“Just all of a sudden I was pushing the gas and nothing was happening,” Eller said.

While being late to work can get you a stern talking to from your boss, being late to practice can carry serious repercussions such as a suspension. With time ticking away before Eller was supposed to report, he did the only thing he could. He left the car.

“I had to leave it in the middle of Glebe, in the middle lane in morning traffic,” Eller said. “Yeah so that was a first.”

Luckily for him, teammate Evgeny Kuznetsov saw Eller get out of the car and was able to give him a ride.

“Kuzy, right when it happened, he must have just been a couple cars behind me and saw me and he pulled up in front and gave me a ride the rest of the way,” he said.

Eller made it to practice on time and thought his troubles were behind him. He was wrong.

Eller suited up for practice and made his way onto the ice. Just a few minutes into practice, however, he skated off and did not return.

Head coach Todd Reirden said afterward that Eller was dealing with an upper-body issue and left practice for maintenance.

“Didn’t feel like pushing to making things worse and just rehab, rest today and taking care of it throughout the day yesterday and this morning and today,” Eller said.

So in the course of just a few hours, Eller’s car broke down and he had to leave it in the road and then his body broke down and he had to leave practice.

Now that’s a Monday.

The good news, however, is that there was a happy ending. Eller returned to practice on Tuesday and said he will be ready for Game 1 on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes.

“Back to normal, feeling good,” Eller said. “So that is not a worry anymore.”

As for the car, a team security official retrieved it out of the street and brought it to a nearby Mercedes dealer to get fixed.

For the superstitious out there, you may see this as a bad omen for the playoffs. Eller, however, took a more positive approach.

“Yeah it was a tough morning,” Eller said. “Car breaks down, body breaks down, but everything is working today so yeah it is just going to go the right way from here.”

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How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

How to watch Evgeny Kuznetsov's best games with the Capitals

Over the past six seasons, forward Evgeny Kuznetsov has been one of the biggest reasons for the Capitals' success.

Kuzy has been extremely durable for the Capitals, playing in at least 76 games over the past six seasons, excluding the 2019-20 shortened season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The winger has been one of Washington's best attacking players during that span, splitting time between both Washington's first and second lines. 

No. 92 has also found a knack for playing his best hockey on the sport's biggest stages. Kuznetsov netted arguably the most important goal in Capitals history, scoring the game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2018 Eastern Conference semi-finals in overtime to eliminate the Pittsburgh Penguins, "exorcising the demons" for a franchise that previously could not get past the second round. We all know how that story ends, with the Capitals hoisting the Stanley Cup just over a month later.

On Sunday, NBC Sports Washington is airing four of Kuznetsov's best regular-season performances. At 9 a.m., tune in to watch the Caps 6-5 overtime thriller over the Tampa Bay Maple Leafs from January 3, 2017. In that contest, Kuzy totaled four points, netting one goal and notching three assists, including one that set up Alex Ovechkin's game-winning goal.

Following that, we travel back to October of 2018, when Kuznetsov turned in another four-point performance in a 5-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in a rematch of the 2018 Stanley Cup. Kuzy started the scoring in the first period with a power-play goal and would tally three assists later on in the match as the Caps cruised to a dominating win.

At 2 p.m., the Caps 6-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings from February 11, 2019, will re-air. In this matchup, Kuznetsov finished with four points once again, this time finding the back of the net twice to go along with a pair of assists. To close out the day, tune in to see Kuznetsov net two goals in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes at 4:30 p.m.

A trip down memory lane that highlights Kuznetsov's greatest games is the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

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When:

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where:

Broadcast Schedule:

9:00 a.m.: Toronto Maple Leafs @ Capitals from January 3, 2017

11:30 a.m.: Vegas Golden Knights @ Capitals from October 10, 2018

2:00 p.m.: Los Angeles Kings @ Capitals from February 11, 2019

4:30 p.m.: Arizona Coyotes @ Capitals from November 11, 2019 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

Ever Wonder: Why the Capitals' jerseys have three stars on them

The current Washington Capitals jersey design — the red home sweaters with the white away ones — has been the defining look for the team throughout much of the Alex Ovechkin era.

During the summer of the 2007 season, the Caps rebranded. The franchise changed its colors from black and blue back to the organization's original design scheme of red, white, and blue. The jerseys that followed were similar to Washington's old-school look, having plenty of similarities with the uniform they wore from 1974-1994.

However, when the Caps unveiled their new look in 2007, there was one big difference from their old uniforms. The new-look had three stars on the front, compared to the six stars that had been across the top of the old sweaters.

Capitals assistant general manager Don Fishman spoke with NBC Sports Washington and explained why the franchise chose to go with just three stars, and it's because each star has a specific meaning.

"The three stars on our current Capitals jersey represent the three jurisdictions: Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.," Fishman said.

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While cutting the number of stars from six to three on the front of the sweater was a big change, Fishman explained that the new uniform was designed to be a modernized version of the franchise's original look.

"It was sort of meant to update and modernize the original Caps jersey, beautiful, old-school, 1970's work hard," Fishman said. "That jersey had six stars and was even on the jerseys in the 90s with the blue and black jersey. So we wanted to keep that concept of the stars, but we didn't want to keep that exact same look. So instead, we redid three stars right on the wordmark. The three stars seemed perfect."

The uniform change also marked the beginning of an incredible postseason run the Capitals have gone on since.

In 2007, the team's first year with the new look, the franchise made the playoffs for the first time in the Ovechkin era. Since then, they've made the postseason 11 of the past 12 seasons and won their first Stanley Cup in 2018.

For Fishman and many Caps fans, the red and white uniforms will always remind them of Washington's first championship and the franchise's biggest star.

"I think it's neat how this redesign will always be linked to Ovechkin and the Capitals' first Stanley Cup," Fishman said.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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