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After a strong performance Sunday, Chorney stays in the Caps' lineup

After a strong performance Sunday, Chorney stays in the Caps' lineup

Taylor Chorney will get a sweater for a second straight game when the Capitals host Auston Matthews and the Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, Coach Barry Trotz said.

It’ll mark the first time since March that Chorney—the Caps’ seventh defenseman—will skate in back-to-back games. He’ll again take the spot of Nate Schmidt, who’ll be a healthy scratch.

“There was no decision,” Trotz said of sticking with Chorney. “He played well, so he deserves to stay in.”

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Chorney scored his first goal of the season Sunday in the Caps’ 2-1 win over the Senators.

“It’s nice,” Chorney said. “You ask anybody, you want to play, you want to be in there as much as possible. Getting in back-to-back is fun. It’s what you work for.”

The Capitals have been one of the healthiest teams in the NHL this season and, entering Tuesday, they led the league in goals allowed per game (2.06). So Chorney’s services have not been in high demand.

In fact, the 29-year-old had only suited up for seven of the Capitals’ 36 games. Because of his infrequent usage, he stays sharp by staying longer and working harder in practices—an that effort does not go unnoticed by his teammates.

“Chorns comes to the rink every day with a smile on his face and works his butt off,” fellow defenseman Matt Niskanen said. “That’s not easy to do when you’re not in the lineup. Sometimes there’s not even a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s pretty amazing the positive attitude that he’s kept. You root for guys like that. To be rewarded with a goal was a pretty cool moment. I think everybody on the team was pretty fired up for him.”

Chorney has one goal, one assist and four penalty minutes in the seven games he's played. The team has a 6-0-1 record in those contests.

“I’ve tried not to let it get to me too much,” Chorney said of coming in and out of the lineup. “But when you go in there and you play well, you want to keep rolling. I understand it’s a tough situation. We have a really good team and it’s a numbers thing and that’s the way it works out. So I’m not going to stand here and complain. But at the same time, as a competitor you want to be out there with your teammates."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps' penalty kill has vaulted to 2nd in NHL

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Capitals Prospect Report: Connor McMichael is on pace for a special season

Capitals Prospect Report: Connor McMichael is on pace for a special season

Guys, we need to talk about Connor McMichael.

First off, he had another ridiculous week:

  • On Thursday, Nov. 7 he scored a goal for Team OHL in the Canada-Russia Series in a 4-1 win for the OHL.
  • On Friday, Nov. 8 he scored one goal and three assists in a 4-3 win for London over North Bay. He was named the first star of the game.
  • On Saturday, Nov. 9 he scored one goal and two assists in a 4-2 win for London over Owen Sound. He was again named the first star of the game.
  • On Monday, Nov. 11 he scored a goal in the OHL's second game in the Canada-Russia Series, this time in a losing effort to Russia.

What we really need to talk about is how absurdly McMichael is dominating the OHL. He currently leads the league in points with 41. Arthur Kaliyev and Quinton Byfield are right behind him at 39 points, but both players have played in 21 games. McMichael has played in just 16. Of those 16 games, he has been held off the scoresheet in only one of them. He has registered 19 goals and 22 assists. In 2006-07, Patrick Kane recorded an incredible 62-goal, 145-point season. Through the first 16 games of that season, per The London Free Press, Kane had scored five fewer goals and had seven fewer points.

That's right, McMichael has compiled 41 points in just 16 games. That is a rate of 2.56 points per game. According to McKeen Hockey, that is the second-highest rate of points per game in the OHL among U19 players of all-time, second only to Eric Lindros.

It is still early in the season and that is one heck of a pace he's producing at, but we could be looking at a very special season for him.  That of course begs the question, just how good could this guy be in the NHL?

Other prospect notes

  • Aliaksei Protas sits tied for the WHL lead in points with 30. Earlier in the week he was in sole possession of the league lead meaning that Caps prospects were simultaneously leading both the OHL and WHL in points.
  • Riley Sutter was officially reassigned to Hershey over the week. Because he was injured before the season, he was still technically with the Caps on non-roster season-opening injured reserve. He had been sent to Hershey several weeks ago along with Kody Clark to continue training there, but could not officially be sent to the AHL until he was medically cleared.
  • Nova Caps spoke with Martin Fehervary about his first season in North America. “The hockey in Sweden compared to North America, the style is very similar," he said. "It’s fast hockey, they skate really well so its fast hockey. It’s kind of the same, I would say here it’s a little bit faster but the adjustment was kind of easy so far.” You can read the full article here.
  • Pheonix Copley accomplished a rare feat on Wednesday as he recorded a shutout in a loss. Hershey lost 1-0 in a shootout to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Copley saved all 29 shots he faced in the game to record the shutout, but the Bears ultimately lost in the shootout so he collected the "L" as well.
  • Mitchell Gibson made his collegiate debut on Friday for Harvard. He started against Princeton and stopped all 31 shots he faced for the shutout win. He was given the start again on the following day against Quinnipiac and again had a strong showing with 32 saves on 34 shots in the 7-2 win.
  • Mike Sgarbossa had one of the highlights of the week with his shootout goal against Lehigh Valley.

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Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

Todd Reirden brings champs in locker room to keep Capitals motivated

They say D.C. is the new title town, and Washington's head coach Todd Reirden is looking to capitalize on that momentum by keeping that energy around his team the best way he knows how: hearing straight from the champs themselves.

On the Junkies, Reirden recounted bringing in Mystics' star forward Elena Delle Donne and Nationals' outfielder Adam Eaton, saying he invited them to remind the 2018 Stanley Cup champions "what it feels like [to win], have people that win championships and especially fellow athletes that are right in the D.C. area."

"I think that's something that kind of got the fire burning a little bit, and it has been burning, to be 100% truthful, since we lost last year," Reirden said.

The Capitals lost to the Carolina Hurricanes in a seven-game first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs that ended in double-overtime.

Washington sits atop the National Hockey League, leading everyone by at least five points -- Washington has 32 points through 20 games, while the second-place Islanders have 27 points through 17 games.

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