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Naval Academy venue gives special meaning to Stadium Series game for American players

Naval Academy venue gives special meaning to Stadium Series game for American players

In terms of the standings, Saturday’s game matters just as much as any other.

Two points are on the line, no more, no less. But the setting of Saturday’s Stadium Series game certainly adds extra meaning for the Capitals’ American players.

“First service academy game, it's pretty special,” John Carlson said following Washington’s practice Friday.

“We were there I think four years ago and that was a cool experience. I've been there to Annapolis a handful of other times too. It's a pretty special place and just to see a football game for the first time there this year was pretty special too.”

For T.J. Oshie, this game will have added significance given his family’s ties to the Navy.

RELATED: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE STADIUM SERIES

“Both my grandpas were on the USS St. Paul,” Oshie said. “They were buddies there and were reunited through my mom and dad.”

That incredible familial connection the Oshie’s have with the Navy will add a new chapter on Saturday in Annapolis as the Capitals take the ice at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

“It makes it special,” Oshie said. “Really, with the family history, with being an American, you really never can appreciate or give enough support to our military. I'm really looking forward to meeting some of the military there and hearing their stories.”

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The pageantry of every outdoor game adds a special element to the event. As anyone who has gone to a sporting event at Navy's football stadium knows, that venue comes with its own pageantry, history and emotions.

Saturday’s game promises to be not just a celebration of hockey, but a celebration of the military. The choice of venue by itself makes this a more meaningful event than other stadiums would have.

“I think it's going to be an amazing venue for the game, I think probably the best one yet,” Carlson said. “In that sense, it's going to be special.”

RELATED: Caps have nothing but praise for their Stadium Series hosts

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Capitals turn experimental as Stanley Cup playoffs approach

Capitals turn experimental as Stanley Cup playoffs approach

WASHINGTON – The Capitals are sick and they are tired and they are injured and they are experimenting.

That’s the takeaway with six games left to go in the regular season after a 3-1 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday at Capital One Arena. Todd Reirden mixed his defensive pairs routinely and did the same in the third period with his forward lines, which led to a goal for Jakub Vrana.

Washington extended its lead in the Metropolitan Division to three points over the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins. But they have been forced to look at different options thanks to an injury to defenseman Michal Kempny and illness spreading through the forward ranks at a bad time.

And so that’s how John Carlson started the game on the right side of the top pairing as usual, but was soon on the left side of the ice, with Nick Jensen moving up to replace Christian Djoos. At various times, Brooks Orpik played with Jensen and Djoos on the third pair. Kempny is out indefinitely, so Reirden doesn’t have much time to configure his ideal pairings. And trying to win a division title while doing so is problematic. 

“I feel perfectly comfortable playing with any of our D,” said Jensen, who was acquired just before the NHL trade deadline in late February. “I think they're all capable of playing great defense, and I think they're all really great D and we tend to all be on the same page a lot of the time. When we're switching up D-pairings there, it might be a little bit of an adjustment period, but we'll get used to it as it goes down the line as we keep playing with each other.”

They’d rather have Kempny, of course. Washington had turned the tide on shot attempts during the 10 games after Jensen was acquired and the lineup was stable. It was a good sign heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs. Unfortunately, Kempny is out indefinitely and no one is sure if or when he will return.    

“We're looking for the right combinations that work for us that can set us up for future success,” Reirden said. “Just some guys that aren't 100-percent in terms of lets say sickness wise that are low on energy so you have to manage those minutes as well. So there's a lot of things in play that cause for that type of mix and match stuff both with up front and on our blue line.” 

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Capitals' significant others show off puppies, announce Homeward Trails donations

Capitals' significant others show off puppies, announce Homeward Trails donations

If you didn't think you could love the Caps more, think again.

With an assist from some puppies, Caps' significant others Katrina Connolly, Paige Dowd, Tasha Maltman and Taylor Pischke announced a $177,000 donation to Homeward Trails Animal Rescue on the jumbotron during Sunday's 3-1 win over the Flyers.

All of the proceeds came from the Caps' 2019 canine calendars and were donated on behalf of the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation. Since 2014, the foundation has donated over $400,000 to Homeward Trails through the Capitals' annual canine calendars.

The puppies featured on the jumbotron are all available for adoption.

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