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What’s next for Devante Smith-Pelly after clearing waivers?

What’s next for Devante Smith-Pelly after clearing waivers?

 When the Capitals placed Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers Wednesday, it felt like his time in Washington would soon be at an end. Now it seems that may not be the case.

Smith-Pelly cleared waivers on Thursday meaning no team put in a claim for him and his contract still remains with the Caps. He will be reassigned to the Hershey Bears, Washington’s AHL affiliate, a team official confirmed to NBC Sports Washington.

How long he stays there will largely depend on what the Caps do in the coming days before the trade deadline.

When a player clears waivers and is reassigned to the AHL, he does not need to clear waivers again to be recalled. Thus, the Caps could recall Smith-Pelly at any time provided he fits under the roster limits and salary cap.

The addition of Carl Hagelin puts Washington at the 23-player maximum making this not an option until after the deadline unless the Caps free up another roster spot. Washington is also very tight against the salary cap ceiling and it may take some maneuvering by the team in order to fit Smith-Pelly under the cap.

Smith-Pelly was among the playoff heroes for the Caps last season with seven goals in 24 playoff games. If Washington cannot fit him on the roster during the season, it is almost certain he will be recalled for the playoffs.

Whether he will be expected to take on a significant role, however, seems doubtful after he was waived and with Hagelin now in the fold.

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Devante Smith-Pelly named a starter in return to Chicago after ugly racial taunts

Devante Smith-Pelly named a starter in return to Chicago after ugly racial taunts

The top line for the Capitals on Sunday against the Chicago Blackhawks is Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and T.J. Oshie, but the starting lineup is Ovechkin, Backstrom and Devante Smith-Pelly. Why the change?

It all has to do with the last time the Caps visited Chicago nearly a year ago.

On Feb. 17, 2018, Washington went into the United Center and were obliterated by the Blackhawks 7-1. But that wasn’t the ugliest thing to happen that night.

While sitting in the penalty box, Devante Smith-Pelly faced racial taunts from some Chicago fans who began chanting “basketball, basketball” at him.

In the wake of the incident, Smith-Pelly handled himself about as gracefully as one could. So, in the team’s return to Chicago Sunday, head coach Todd Reirden felt he should be on the ice for the national anthem.

According to Pierre McGuire during the game broadcast, the idea came from Oshie himself, who advocated that Smith-Pelly start in his place.

The starters traditionally stand on the ice for the anthem while the rest of the players stand at the bench.

Smith-Pelly has remained active against racism in the sport. He and teammate John Carlson invited a youth hockey team whose lone African-American player had faced racial taunts during a game to the Caps’ game on Monday.

Sunday’s move by Reirden is a classy tribute to Smith-Pelly who handled an ugly situation about as well as one could. 

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Capitals think larger than hockey with game invite to youth team fighting racism

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Capitals think larger than hockey with game invite to youth team fighting racism

When Capitals stars John Carlson, Devante Smith-Pelly heard about one youth hockey player's story of being harassed with racial taunts and slurs during a game against another youth team from Pennsylvania, they wanted to do something to help.

"It's terrible first off, I think you feel for Divyne and what he has to go through and as a hockey player I think we all stand up for each other," Carlson told the team's website. "I just think it's a good thing to do to show him we're all with him."

Divyne Apollon, a black 13-year-old who plays for the Maryland-based Metro Maple Leafs youth hockey team and his team heard monkey sounds, namecalling and other chants directed at him throughout much of an early-January game, according to reports.

Then, the end of the third period came. From the Washington Post:

At the end of the third period, the fed-up teammates started yelling at the other team and a fight began. Divyne said he got punched in the face, and he fought back.

After the kids were pulled apart, Divyne was suspended from the rest of the tournament and he finally told the adults what the other team had been saying. His teammates backed him up, telling the parents and team manager what happened.

“It happened in Hagerstown earlier in the season, too,” Apollon said. “The n-word. The basketball chants. We had a team chat and he explained the history of how it happened before.”

That was far from the only show of support: According to the Post, one of Apollon's teammates' moms designed and helped spread stickers with the word "Racism" crossed out. Teams across the tournament wore them in support. PK Subban reached out to the team earlier this week.

And on Wednesday, the Capitals' stars personally recorded a video to invite Apollon and his entire team to Capital One Arena for the St. Louis Blues game on Jan. 14.

They plan to meet with the group afterward.

"For me to meet him [Divyne] and look him in the face as someone who's gone through it and can talk to him and share my experience is important to me," Smith-Pelly told the team's website. "It's a pretty gross thing to be happening."

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