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Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

Alex Ovechkin critical of officiating Monday in Pittsburgh

A couple of days have passed, but Alex Ovechkin is still miffed about the multiple missed calls in Monday’s 8-7 overtime loss in Pittsburgh.

Speaking after Wednesday’s practice in Arlington, the Caps’ captain specifically referenced two of them—Patric Hornqvist’s high hit on T.J. Oshie and Sidney Crosby’s blatant trip on him in overtime.

“If it’s there, it’s there,” Ovechkin said, asked about remaining composed when addressing referees. “Like even last game, how many calls they miss?” Before four-on-four, it was a straight headshot on Osh and no call.”

The Capitals were leading 3-0 when Hornqvist forearmed Oshie’s jaw in the corner, briefly sending the first line winger to the dressing room. Following the ensuing scrum, Hornqvist and Daniel Winnik were sent off for roughing, and the Penguins struck twice as the sides skated four-on-four.

“Just call it,” Ovechkin said. “You killed the game and killed our momentum.”

Ovechkin did not address reporters after the game and the Caps were off on Tuesday.

The referees at PPG Paints Arena were Frederick L’Ecuyer and Dan O’Halloran.

Ovechkin also did not like the non-call on Crosby, who used his stick and skate to trip him as he carried the puck with speed early in the extra session. Conor Sheary ended the game moments later.

“I would say it was a pretty bad situation out there,” Ovechkin said. “In overtime, the same. There was clear trip and no call, but everybody makes mistakes.”

He added: “It’s emotion moments. I think everybody get involved, everybody has emotions. Again, if it’s [a] 100-pecent call and nobody make a whistle or don’t make a call, of course everybody going to be mad and sad about it.”

Another missed call that had an impact on the game arrived early in the third period. As Karl Alzner went to play the puck along the boards in the Caps' offensive zone, Bryan Rust cross checked the defenseman, creating a turnover. Rust gathered the puck, passed it to Sheary, who then found Crosby, who sniped a shot past Philipp Grubauer to make it 7-5.

Caps Coach Barry Trotz said he did not discuss the missed calls with the league. He also said it was his team’s execution four-on-four—and not its mindset after the missed call on Oshie—that sparked the Penguins’ comeback.

“I think you would lose your mind if you worried about every call,” Trotz said. “For the most part, I stand behind the referees. I think our sport is extremely difficult [to officiate]. It can be very frustrating. It’s easy for coaches and fans and media to look at plays in slow motion—without trying to avoid behind hit by pucks and people—and staying out of everybody’s way and making calls. Once-in-a-while [calls] are going to be missed. And when they’re missed at times of opportunity for the opposition, you can get frustrated. But I don’t lose too much sleep over it because I know I can’t change it.”

Related: Trotz doesn't think loss to Pittsburgh will send Capitals into a slump

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Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

Alex Ovechkin teaching his son hockey might be the most adorable thing ever

The Capitals had an off day on Sunday ahead of their Monday matchup with the Columbus Blue Jackets, giving the opportunity for Alex Ovechkin to spend some time with his son.

Sergei and his dad came across a baby hockey stick and Ovechkin decided to teach his son a few moves.

The 2035 NHL mock drafts have yet to be released, but we have an early pick for No. 1…

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Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

Backstrom's back: Caps will get their top center back for Monday's game

ARLINGTON, Va -- The Capitals are riding a six-game win streak and already have the most points in the NHL and now they will be adding one of their best players back into the lineup. Nicklas Backstrom said Sunday after practice that he is "ready to go" for Monday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It will be his first game since Nov. 18.

An upper-body injury forced Backstrom out of the lineup for the last eight games. Despite returning to practice during the team's road trip through California, he did not get into a game as the team preached caution with its star center. As the team returned home, Backstrom took line rushes on Sunday and both he and head coach Todd Reirden confirmed he would be back in for Monday's game.

"It was good to see him out there in full practice," Reirden said. "Did some drills specifically to help prepare him for tomorrow. He's good to go for tomorrow."

Backstrom said he knew when he woke up on Sunday that he was ready.

"As of today I'm good to go," he said. "I woke up and felt good. It's like that guy in 'Mighty Ducks,' I woke up, no pain."

It does not appear as if Backstrom will be eased back into the lineup as he skated on the top line in practice alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson. Evgeny Kuznetsov had been playing in that spot, but the top line had grown stagnant. Ovechkin, Wilson and Kuznetsov combined for only one even-strength point in the past three games.

Barring something unexpected, the return of Backstrom should give the Caps their full lineup for the first time all season. Considering what the team has been able to accomplish thus far while having to shuffle the lineup because of injuries and suspensions, this has been an impressive start.

"I think that shows the depth that we have all the way through our lineup: forward, defenseman and our goaltending has been strong," Reirden said. "I think it's a clear understanding that it's a competitive situation that we've had since training camp that players are ready to take advantage of their opportunities that they get and they know that they need to otherwise there's a chance they could find themselves on the outside. The inner-competition we've had has probably helped push that a little bit. That's been a good problem to have, and it's allowed us to see some other players get opportunities and showcase some of the abilities they have."

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