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As you would expect, Penguins' Crosby, Malkin hated seeing the Caps hang with the Stanley Cup

As you would expect, Penguins' Crosby, Malkin hated seeing the Caps hang with the Stanley Cup

The Capitals-Penguins rivalry was a one-sided one for many years.

This year, however, the Capitals finally triumphed over their hated rivals as they defeated Pittsburgh in a playoff series for the first time since 1994. That put the Penguins in the unfamiliar position of having to watch as Washington went on to win the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

While most hockey fans have enjoyed the endless party that was the Capitals’ Cup celebration, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have not.

"It's a great story [for the Capitals], but you don't like the fact that you're kind of that close to moving on and then you don't, and that team ends up going on to win," Sidney Crosby said Thursday during the NHL Player Media Tour, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. "That makes you realize how close you actually were."

Both Crosby and Malkin said they did not watch any of the Stanley Cup Final.

While they may not have been watching as the Caps hoisted the Cup, they certainly have been paying attention to what Washington’s players have been saying about a possible repeat.

"We see what they say, that they want the same, back to back, that they want to win again," Malkin said. "We understand they try. They want to be in history too. They don't want it just one time, they want it two times. We understand we're a team that can stop them."

The Caps-Penguins rivalry became one of the league’s premier rivalries when Crosby and Alex Ovechkin both entered the league in 2005. That rivalry has kicked up a notch in recent years as both teams have met in the playoffs in each of the past three seasons with the winner going on each year to win the Cup.

That adds a bit more fire to the rivalry heading into the 2018-19 season as the Penguins set their sights on beating the team that ended their postseason run.

"I think that'll definitely light a fire for us," Crosby said. "That's on your mind when you play that team again. It's just the way it is. That's the way it is when you lose. You've always kind of got that feeling of something to prove and when you win, you've got that feeling of, hey, we've got to stay here."

"We need [the Cup] back," Malkin said during the NHL Player Media Tour on Thursday. "It's like, who wins? Washington wins. The most hated team in Pittsburgh. Of course we want it back."

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

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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.

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