Tyler Lewington

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Tyler Lewington is still working up the courage to ask Ovechkin for an autograph

Tyler Lewington is still working up the courage to ask Ovechkin for an autograph

On Thursday, New York Jets players swarmed Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson after a game looking for an autographed jersey from the star quarterback. With Jackson in the midst of a breakout season, players see history in the making and are hoping to get a piece of it. The same happens in hockey. Autograph requests are nothing new for an all-time great like Alex Ovechkin, but that doesn’t mean it is not still nerve-wracking to ask, even for his teammates.

Tyler Lewington is currently playing in the AHL, but he has spent much of the 2019-20 season in the NHL with the Capitals. Despite being a teammate of Ovechkin’s, he still feels a bit nervous around the superstar forward, too nervous, in fact, to ask for an autograph.

Lewington was a guest In a recent episode of The Old Barn Hockey Show which focuses on the Hershey Bears. During the show, one of the hosts asked Lewington if he had ever thought about asking Ovechkin for an autograph or a stick and how he would go about that as a teammate.

Lewington responded that he had not yet worked up the courage yet.

“I definitely want to get a stick,” he said. “It’s something I need to ask him one day. Too scared right now to ask him, but I’ll get there.”

Lewington has five career fights at the NHL level, 35 in the AHL, two in the ECHL and 34 in the WHL. He is a man who is not afraid to throw down and have an actual fistfight with other hockey players, but he still feels a bit nervous around the Great 8.

That just shows the level of respect Ovechkin has, not just within the game, not just among the players, but even within his own locker room.

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Everything you need to know as Backstrom is declared out for Wednesday and Caps make flurry of roster moves

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Everything you need to know as Backstrom is declared out for Wednesday and Caps make flurry of roster moves

Dealing with a number of injuries and the possible suspension of Garnet Hathaway, the Capitals made a flurry of roster moves on Wednesday. Carl Hagelin was placed on LTIR and Nic Dowd was played on IR. Both players are dealing with an upper-body injury and acre considered day-to-day. Hagelin will be eligible to return to the roster on Dec. 2 and Dowd on Nov. 21. Goalie Vitek Vanecek was reassigned to Hershey. The resulting cap space allowed the team to recall forward Beck Malenstyn, Mike Sgarbossa, defenseman Tyler Lewington and goalie Ilya Samsonov, which the team announced earlier on Wednesday.

In addition, it was announced that Nicklas Backstrom will not play Wednesday against the New York Rangers. due to an upper-body injury. He is considered day-to-day and remains on the active roster.

The team continues to insist both Hagelin and Dowd are day-to-day, but they had no choice but to place one of them on LTIR in order to get enough cap room to call in some reinforcements. The team does not get relief from Dowd going to IR other than an extra roster spot, nor will Hathaway's salary come off the books if he is indeed suspended.

It was clear from the start that calling up Vanecek was a temporary move and that the team wanted to get back Samsonov as quickly as possible. These moves allowed them the cap space to do so. It also allowed them the cap space to recall a seventh defenseman in case of injury, hence the Tyler Lewington move. The salary cap gymnastics the team had to go through last week show why keeping the bare minimum number of players on the roster can quickly turn into a problem. With all the injuries upfront, however, and the possible Hathaway suspension, the bare minimum may be exactly what the Caps will be left with in terms of forwards.

With no Backstrom, Hagelin or Dowd, we are going to see some line shuffling at the morning skate in preparation for Wednesday's game against the New York Rangers (8 p.m., NBCSN). Lars Eller will move up to the second line with Backstrom out and both Sgarbossa and Malenstyn will be inserted into the bottom six. If this is in fact what happens, then Wednesday will be Malenstyn's first career NHL game. He clearly caught the eye of head coach Todd Reirden in the preseason with his strong play.

No announcement has yet been made regarding Hathaway's suspension.

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With Panik’s return, the Caps strip roster down to the bone and enter Monday’s game with no spare players

With Panik’s return, the Caps strip roster down to the bone and enter Monday’s game with no spare players

ARLINGTON, Va. -- Get out the bubble wrap, the Capitals need to keep their lineup healthy or they could be in trouble. Richard Panik will make his return to the lineup on Monday after spending 10 games on LTIR with an upper-body injury. His return will mean the Caps lose the cap benefit that comes with LTIR and will have to fit his $2.75 million cap hit under the ceiling. That has forced the team into tough moves to cut the roster down to make it cap compliant.

Travis Boyd was held off the ice for Monday’s morning skate as the team made sure it had a healthy lineup for Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes. Todd Reirden confirmed afterward that Boyd will be sent to Hershey. Because he was on the NHL roster for fewer than 30 days and 10 games, he does not have to go through waivers to be sent back to the AHL.

Tyler Lewington did have to pass through waivers and cleared Monday after being placed on Sunday. He was reassigned to Hershey as well.

While these moves were necessary for the team to get cap compliant, it also leaves the Caps in a bind. With Carl Hagelin still day-to-day with an upper-body injury, Washington now has no healthy spares on the roster.

None.

Zip.

Nada.

The Caps roster has just six defensemen and 12 healthy forwards, excluding Hagelin.

Have you ever gone to work feeling fine and had to leave before the end of the day because you suddenly got sick? If that happens to the Caps, or if someone twists an ankle walking to the rink or suffers some other sort of freak illness or injury, then Washington will be playing the Coyotes down a man on Monday.

This is not ideal, but the cap situation is what it is. For now, the Caps probably can get away with it until the end of the month. Once Hagelin returns it gives the team an extra forward. Of greater concern is the defense, but with the only road cames coming in Philadelphia, Boston and New York, easily drivable from Hershey, so long as there are no unforeseen injuries right before a game it should not hurt the team. On Nov. 30, however, the Caps travel to play the Detroit Red Wings then play three games in California. They have to have a seventh defenseman by that point.

The good news is that Lewington has a low cap hit at just $675,000, lower even than the league minimum. Perhaps the team can bank enough space by the end of the month to fit him back under the cap. If not, then general manager Brian MacLellan will have to get creative yet again and move a piece or two to fit in that seventh defenseman.

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