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About that guarantee? Andre Burakovsky meant exactly what he said

About that guarantee? Andre Burakovsky meant exactly what he said

Andre Burakovsky made some headlines Thursday morning when he said it would “be a really good and fun moment” to end the Blue Jackets’ winning streak.

After the Caps earned a lopsided 5-0 win a few hours later, the confident Capitals winger doubled down on his pregame “guarantee.”

“I knew what I was saying,” Burakovsky said live on CSN’s Capitals Extra. “We came into this game with a mindset to win the game and end the win streak they had. Obviously, they’ve been playing really good for a while. And for us, in the last couple of games, we’ve been playing really good, as well. And we showed up today.”

And so did Burakovsky.

RELATED: Holtby rebounds with shutout win

The 21-year-old put the game on ice by scoring the Caps’ fourth goal late in the second period. The tally not only extended the home team’s advantage, it seemed to sap Columbus’ will to mount a comeback. In fact, the Blue Jackets only mustered four even strength shots the rest of the way.

As big as the goal was for the Caps, it was equally huge for Burakovsky, who is still in the process of jumpstarting his campaign after a sluggish start. Burakovsky now has three goals and two assists in the eight games since Coach Barry Trotz scratched the young winger for a spell.  

“I knew that I would be back [in the lineup],” Burakovsky said. “I’m a guy that is supposed to produce. I’m a guy that’s supposed to be creative. I was just watching other guys and what they did to have success. When I came back I felt really fresh and I think I was going from the beginning. I think I had a really strong game against Philly. That gave me confidence to get going and build up my game. I think that little break was big for me. It was good for me to sit out a little bit and watch the other guys and just be hungry to get back in.”   

In addition to rediscovering his scoring touch, Burakovsky said he’s also rededicated himself to managing the puck better and playing stronger defensively.

“Just the way I’ve been with the puck and without the puck,” he said, asked what he likes about his new-and-improved game. “I think I’ve been playing a good defensive game. When I [don’t] have the puck, I’ve been on the right side [of it]. I’ve been playing a solid game. I’ve been following the system as I should. And with the puck, I’m managing the puck and chipping it down and not turning it over at the blue lines or neutral zone—that’s a dangerous play. And I’ve also been trying to go a little bit harder to the net, and it’s been paying off.”  

As for the Caps’ never-in-doubt performance, Burakovsky said he felt confident going into the game. And he felt really confident after the first few minutes.

“We had a good game plan for this game,” he said. “I think from the start, our first line had a good shift on them. I wasn’t worried at all. I knew we would have a strong game; I felt it in the practices this week.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps end Columbus' win streak in dominant fashion

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Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

Now the Islanders' coach, Barry Trotz explains why he left the Capitals

DALLAS — Hours after being named head coach of the New York Islanders on Thursday, Barry Trotz made his first public comments since stepping down in Washington earlier in the week.

And, from the sounds of it, his departure was mostly a business decision.

“Yeah, obviously, I love the D.C. area,” he told reporters on a conference call. “But when it came to the business aspect, from my standpoint, I felt that it wasn’t really sincere [given] what we did together. So I decided that it was better to just move on.”

“I thank the fans,” he added. “I’m glad we could get it done. I said we could get it done in four years, and we did.”

Although the value of his contract with the Islanders has not been publicly disclosed, Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman reported that Trotz is set to earn “at least $4 million” per year—or more than twice what he was earning in Washington.

A source told NBC Sports Washington earlier this week that Trotz, who directed the Caps to their first Stanley Cup two weeks ago, sought $5 million per season for five seasons. The five-year term, that source said, was a non-starter as far as the Caps were concerned, given the relatively short shelf life of NHL coaches and the fact that Trotz had already been in Washington for four seasons.

When it became clear that the sides weren’t going to close the considerable gap between their positions, Trotz offered to step down and the resignation was accepted, making the 55-year-old a free agent.

When “I got the [counteroffer], I guess I knew it was time to go in a different direction,” he said.

In New York, Trotz replaces Doug Weight, who was fired earlier this month along with GM Garth Snow. Lou Lamoriello, a longtime NHL executive, took over for Snow and immediately started a search for a new head coach.

Once Trotz became available, it didn’t take Lamoriello to zero in on the NHL's fifth all-time winningest coach. The two met, exchanged ideas and quickly realized that they had found a good fit in one another. Trotz said he's already reached out to the Islanders' star captain, John Tavares, who could become the biggest prize on the free agent market on July 1. 

And, like that, Trotz now is the coach of a Metropolitan Division foe. The Caps and Isles will face off four times next season, beginning with a Nov. 26meeting in New York.

It’ll be weird, for sure. But professional sports is a business. And all sides involved in the Trotz saga were served a painful reminder of that this week.

Asked if he felt wanted in Washington, Trotz said: “Well, I’ll leave that up to the Caps to answer that. I think, absolutely. We just won a cup together and so I don't think that was an issue. I think it was more principle.”

In the end, Trotz wanted to be compensated like one of the top coaches in the game. And now he will, settling in behind big market coaches such as Toronto’s Mike Babcock ($6.25 million per year), Chicago’s Joel Quenneville ($6 million) and Montreal’s Claude Julien ($5 million).

“It’s good to be wanted,” he said. “It happened really quickly because you go from one emotion of winning the cup to the next emotion of leaving the team that you just won the Cup with, and you have to make some quick decisions. I know the timing of it—end of the season, the draft coming up, free agency [and] all that—there was some urgency on that. Both parties knew that, so we went to work at it and got it done.”


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The NHL salary cap numbers are in, what does it mean for the Caps?


The NHL salary cap numbers are in, what does it mean for the Caps?

The NHL released the salary cap range for the 2018-19 season on Thursday. That sound you hear is the general managers frantically typing numbers into adding machines to figure out which of their players they can afford and which they are going to have to let walk.

The cap ceiling will rise from last year's $75 million all the way up to $79.5 million with the cap floor set at $58.8 million.

So what does this mean for the Capitals?

Here's a look at the team's pending free agents:

Unrestricted free agents: Jay Beagle, John Carlson, Alex Chiasson, Tyler Graovac, Jakub Jerabek, Michal Kempny, Anthony Peluso, Zach Sill, Wayne Simpson

Restricted free agents: Riley Barber, Madison Bowey, Travis Boyd, Adam Carlson, Philipp Grubauer, Tim McGauley, Liam O'Brien, Devante Smith-Pelly, Tom Wilson

We will not know exactly who will make the roster, so to project how much money the Caps will have to work with, let's assume Nathan Walker makes the team and Shane Gersich goes to the AHL. That will give the Caps a little less than $14.8 million with which to work.

Considering the team will need to use about half of that number if not more to re-sign Carlson, that's not a whole lot to work with.

Is $7 million enough to re-sign Beagle, Kempny, Bowey, Smith-Pelly and Wilson? Probably not and that does not even account for prospects who will try to compete for the NHL roster such as Barber and Boyd.

Here's what the cap ceiling tells us:

  • The team's entire offseason will depend on if the team can re-sign Carlson and for how much.
  • Carlson's cap hit last season was just under $4 million. A $4.5 million increase in the salary cap ceiling doesn't mean much when Carlson is going to get a raise of $3 million or more.
  • Grubauer will almost certainly be traded because he is an asset and because there won't be enough money for the team to commit $1.5 million or more to the backup goalie like they did last season.
  • If Carlson returns, fan favorite Beagle has almost certainly played his last game as a Cap. Everyone wants him back, but he would have to take a severe discount for the Caps to fit him and even then, he would be taking away a roster spot from a young prospect ready to make the jump to the NHL.

Free agency opens July 1.