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The Caps’ lineup for Tuesday’s game is full of question marks

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The Caps’ lineup for Tuesday’s game is full of question marks

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Capitals have one last game in 2019 against the New York Islanders. Just who will be playing in that game, however, remains a question.

Tom Wilson and Michal Kempny both missed Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Both players were on the ice Monday for practice but two others, T.J. Oshie and Christian Djoos, were absent.

A flu bug has hit the team hard that has kept Kempny out of the lineup for two games, made Radko Gudas a game-time decision on Friday and has now struck Oshie who was out Monday with an illness.

“Just seems like every day is something new,” head coach Todd Reirden said.

Wilson is dealing with a lower-body injury. He was among the first players on the ice for practice on Monday and was a full participant, practicing in his normal spot on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Kempny was also out early. After skating a few laps gingerly and a quick conversation with head athletic trainer Jason Serbus, Kempny was able to tough it out and play through practice. He skated on the third pairing with Gudas.

The fact that both Wilson and Kempny were able to skate the full practice on Monday is an encouraging sign, but Reirden made it clear that is no guarantee they will be ready to play.

“It's good that they both were out there through the whole practice,” he said. “It'd be premature for me to talk about how they're going to do with the rehab the rest of today and how they're going to feel tomorrow when they wake up.”

Oshie’s status for the game also remains unknown. Reirden said only that he was “hoping” Oshie could play.

Goalie is a question mark as well as Reirden said he has not yet decided between Braden Holtby and Ilya Samsonov on who will start in net.

The one thing that is certain? Djoos is out.

Djoos left Saturday’s game with an upper-body injury. His status was about the only thing Reirden spoke definitively on.

“He's day-to-day,” Reirden said. “I would say that he is definitely is going to be out tomorrow just because he didn't skate today. Obviously T.J. didn't either, but it's a different situation for him. He's upper body, Djoos is, and T.J. is a sickness.”

So to recap, a team with only one extra forward and one extra defenseman currently on its roster knows one defenseman for sure is out (Djoos) and does not yet know the status for two forwards (Wilson and Oshie) or one other defenseman (Kempny).

This would be the time when most teams would make some recalls from the AHL, but that situation is also complicated because of the salary cap. The Caps have very little cap space. The only reason why they currently have seven defensemen is because Djoos was called up late in the week due to Kempny and Gudas being sick.

“There's a lot of moving parts right now,” Reirden said. “That is without question. Have more than one contingency plan at this point just in terms of what we can do with cap space and how that would work makes it ever more complicated.”

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Capitals Mailbag Part 2: Why Todd Reirden has a lot to say about the Wilson-Brind-Amour situation

Capitals Mailbag Part 2: Why Todd Reirden has a lot to say about the Wilson-Brind-Amour situation

It’s time for a new Capitals Mailbag! You can read Wednesday’s Part 1 here.

Check out Part 2 below.

Have a Caps question you want to be answered in the next mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to

Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.

Mary B. writes: Are there any trade rumors?

I would not be surprised if the team was looking to move Christian Djoos. While Djoos has been reassigned to Hershey, $175,000 of his $1.25 million cap hit is still counting against Washington's salary cap. That's because the maximum amount that can be buried off the cap is $1.075 million, so whatever remains still counts.

It all comes down to why the Caps waived Djoos in the first place: was it more a factor of not being able to afford his cap hit or did he just not play well enough to warrant trying to keep him? If they don't think he's good enough, then it makes sense to try to trade him and clear out that remaining $175,000.

Pheonix Copley, who cleared waivers on Thursday, is in a similar but very different position. He counts $25,000 against the cap ($1.1 million cap hit minus the $1.075 million maximum), but I don't think the team will be in a rush to try to move him until Ilya Samsonov gets a few good games and shows there is no reason to keep a second backup.

Nathan S. writes: I’m concerned about Tom Wilson getting suspended and/or spending too much time in the penalty box for a first liner. Seems he showed a lapse in discipline/judgment the other day in Carolina by getting a ten-minute misconduct penalty and possibly risking hitting an official and then getting a roughing penalty immediately upon coming back into the game after the ten-minute misconduct.

The reason I’ll give Wilson a pass for Sunday is clearly he was taken aback by a head coach chirping him from the bench. That never happens. John Tortorella once yelled at Alex Ovechkin from the bench and actually apologized for it.

“That’s my fault,” Tortorella said. “I thought he dove, and I signaled to him. I thought he dove, and he took exception. I have no business making any gesture or saying anything to a player. So that’s not on him. That’s just stupidity on my part.”

That's how taboo this is.

Todd Reirden does not say much after games, but he was as forceful as I have ever heard as he slammed Rod Brind-Amour after the game and he hasn't stopped slamming him since. Clearly, this is a ... unique situation that Wilson and the Caps now have to be ready for next time they play Carolina.

Overall, however, I get your point. Wilson is now a bonafide top-line player. The team needs him on the ice. That’s why I think the additions of Garnet Hathaway and Radko Gudas are important. Those two will be able to take some of the physical pressure off Wilson.

Steve W. writes: After watching the Caps 6-0 domination of the Blackhawks I was intrigued by how Garnet Hathaway reminded me of Carl Hagelin. He led the Caps in hits, second in blocked shots and played really well on the PK. He was clearly the fastest (or at least the quickest) player on the ice. What line will he fit into?

Hathaway is part of the team’s revamped fourth line and the penalty kill. I like his energy and toughness and I think he will be a good addition there. The Caps want to be a team that other teams hate to play against and Hathaway certainly adds that agitator element which was evident in Wednesday's season opener.

I see him as a high-end fourth line player, low-end third line so I don’t want to see him move past the fourth. As long as he’s there, however, I love what he brings.

@OrcusFire on Twitter writes: With McMichael tearing up in you see him in a Caps uniform this season?

It’s doubtful. There are a lot of players the team can turn to in Hershey if they need help before they consider McMichael. Clearly he is brimming with talent, but the best thing for a player is to have time to develop and you do that by playing. The Caps would need a number of injuries to their top-six to the point where they need to plug in someone who can produce. McMichael is better served at this point in his career playing top-line minutes in junior than third-line minutes in the NHL against players who are a whole lot bigger than he is.

@NathanSprenger on Twitter writes: What tweets or comments will be/are the most tiresome? Fans calling for Todd Reirden to be fired after a few losses, demands to trade Braden Holtby or fans obsessing about the Penguins? How soon do you expect to see them?

My job is to inform people so when fans are ready to jump off the cliff and trade/fire everyone, it is my job to explain to them why the team is or is not going to do that. As you noted, there are plenty of people who thought and still think the Caps should trade Holtby, but the team isn't going to do that because they think they are Cup contenders and will need Holtby for another run. Until they believe otherwise, Holtby is not going anywhere. I don’t mind having to explain that to people (even if I have to do it repeatedly) because it's my job.

I get the mean/nasty stuff on occasion, but you just block those people and move on. Some opposing fans can get tiresome because they equate Capitals media with Capitals fans so every bit of analysis is instantly meant with resistance and scorn. In my experience, Winnipeg has the most sensitive fans by far.

If there is one thing that annoys me on Twitter more than anything else, it is when people comment/argue against an article I wrote in a way that makes it clear they just read the headline and not a single word of the article. If you’re going to argue with me, if you’re going to tell me I’m wrong and that I have no idea what I’m talking about, that’s fine. I love a good debate, but at least do me the courtesy of reading the article and learning why I think something before you trash it. You might actually learn something.

Mary B. writes: What the heck happened to the ribbon at the bottom of the screen that showed score updates?

The ribbon or ticker as it is called is now gone. It’s a sign of the times. Most channels are going away from it because if there is a game you really want to know what’s going on, you have a handy little device in your pocket where you can look it up. Yes, I know ESPN still has their's but it is bascially advertising at this point. All updates news alerts come from their own reporters and a bunch of those games they are updating are being broadcast by some ESPN channel/affiliate. In today’s age, more people dislike the ticker than want it so it is gone and it’s not coming back...until the next dramatic shift in media.

Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be answered in the next mailbag, send it to or use #CapsMailNBC on Twitter



Who is DC's Most Eligible Bachelor? DCSL gives their final rose

Who is DC's Most Eligible Bachelor? DCSL gives their final rose

Tuesday night was the finale of another dramatic season of ABC's, the Bachelorette. 

But DC Sports Live could not let Hannah B. have all the fun. 

A group of ten eligible DC and Baltimore athletes were the "contestants" on this version of the show. 

DCSL Most Eligible Bachelor
Tom Wilson Jakub Vrana
Juan Soto Carter Kieboom
Troy Apke Bryce Love
Troy Brown Jr. Rui Hachimura
Adley Rutchman Trey Mancini

From there, the group was taken down to eight. Capitals right winger, Tom Wilson and Orioles right fielder, Trey Mancini were the first to be voted off.

A Twitter poll was created and two clear winners emerged, Nationals Juan Soto and Capitals Jakub Vrana.

On night one of our own version of the two-night finale, Redskins safety Troy Apke was given the first impression rose, advancing him to the finals.

And then there were three.

It was a tight race and each young man could have been the right choice.

But Troy Apke put himself over the top with a video submission campaigning why he should be chosen.

He said he would watch the sunset with you, toss a football around and he has a german shepherd. 

Apke was the clear winner, his enthusiasm proved that. He was offered the final rose... fingers crossed he accepts the honor.