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Barry Trotz tweaks Caps' lineup ahead of Game 2 vs. the Penguins

Barry Trotz tweaks Caps' lineup ahead of Game 2 vs. the Penguins

With the Caps’ fourth line struggling to generate offense, Coach Barry Trotz has decided to shake things up ahead of Saturday night’s pivotal game against the Penguins.

Paul Carey will make his postseason debut with Washington in Game 2, replacing Brett Connolly, who will be a healthy scratch.

Carey did not have a point in six regular season games with the Capitals but is a fast skater and a diligent forechecker. The 28-year-old will be skating in his first NHL playoff game since 2014 when he played sparingly in three games for the Avalanche.

“Just looking for a little bit of a fit,” Trotz said. Asked he told Carey, “I phoned him yesterday and said I think I’m going to put you in tomorrow. Enjoy it. Prepare yourself. You got this.”

RELATED: Caps won’t call Game 2 a must-win, but they know it is

Carey’s wheels figure to be an asset against a fast Pittsburgh team that’s in control after winning Game 1 on Thursday, 3-2.

“He’s a tremendous skater. He puts pressure on people,” Trotz said. “He can get to space. He’s a real good pro. He’s one of those quiet guys who prepares every day like he’s playing even if he’s not in the lineup.”

Carey conceded that he didn’t get much sleep Friday night but joked that he’s got fresh legs after sitting out the Caps’ first seven postseason games.

“I want to bring some speed, a little energy,” he said. “As you can see, I’m well rested right now. I’m hungry and ready to go.”

Carey will play alongside Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik, both of whom are still looking for their first point. Connolly, who had played 10 or fewer shifts the past four games, also has not recorded a point. In fact, the fourth line’s only appearance on the score sheet thus far came courtesy of Tom Wilson’s unassisted overtime winner in Game 1 against Toronto. And Wilson, of course, has since been promoted to the third line.

“If our line can be effective by bringing some energy and wearing those guys down and also producing, that can really help us win,” Carey said.

Asked about centering Carey, Beagle said the journeyman is easy to play with.

“He’s easy to play with,” Beagle said. “Easy to read. A lot of speed. He’s got a complete game. Me and Winnie are excited to have him on, and we’ll try and play more in down in their end and get our cycle game going.”

Although Carey’s first NHL playoff experience was not extensive, he said the little time he received three years ago with the Avs should serve him well on Saturday.

“That definitely helps,” he said. “It’s a completely different beast from the regular season. The refs let everything go. It’s a man’s game. It’s a lot of fun.”

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals vs. Penguins Game 2 how to watch

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Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

Capitals service dog Captain wins Sports Dog of the Year

As if any other candidate would even come close, Captain was named Sports Dog of the Year on Friday afternoon.

The four-legged phenom has been everywhere this fall, making his presence felt all over the DMV, and his popularity has extended nationwide.

Captain doesn't take days off and is always ready to have some fun.

He was there to maintain the peace during the biggest shopping day of the year and he made sure your Cyber Monday gifts arrived on time. 

He inspires greatness and has been a driving force behind the Mystics' WNBA Title as well as the Nationals' World Series victory.

He knows when its time to put in the work as well. He's always on time for meetings, and he has never missed a practice.

He's preparing to assist a Veteran or First Responder one day, and he's already making progress.

And he's always ready to celebrate.


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D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

D.C. youth coaching legend Neal Henderson gets his due with U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction

WASHINGTON — For 40 years Neal Henderson has given underprivileged kids the chance to play hockey at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.

On Thursday, Henderson was honored for his life’s work with induction into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

Henderson was inducted along with NHL greats Tim Thomas and Brian Gionta, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and U.S. Olympian Krissy Wendell. He heard kind words spoken about his program, the Fort Dupont Cannons, from the likes of Bettman, Alex Ovechkin and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and also received a video tribute. 

It’s been quite a week for Henderson, who drew a sustained ovation from the crowd at Tuesday’s Capitals-Boston Bruins game when acknowledged on the big video board at Capital One Arena. 

“It’s amazing. Something I never believed I could be a part of,” Henderson said. “It’s the zenith of my life other than being married and having a son. I’ve enjoyed what I have done. I didn’t do it for the reasons of being here. I did it for the love of kids and the parents who trusted me with their children.”  

Henderson said he “became completely numb” when he got the phone call learning he’d be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame. The Cannons developmental program, based at Fort Dupont, is designed to help local underprivileged kids play an expensive sport that is out of reach for many. Fort Dupont features the oldest minority hockey league in North America. 

It’s not a route to the NHL. But Henderson has helped kids play high school and college hockey, passing on the lessons he’s learned over decades: That hard work and character matter. That education is crucial. He believes hockey helps forge those traits. The Cannons give kids a chance to travel to other cities to play games. They were an integral part of the NHL’s Hockey is for Everyone campaign, which seeks to broaden the sport, make it more inclusive, help better communities.

A clip showed during Ovechkin’s tribute video after being named the Wayne Gretzky International Award recipient at Thursday’s induction dinner, showed the Stanley Cup at Fort Dupont with the Cannons. That was Ovechkin’s idea, according to Leonsis.

“I asked Alex ‘Where do you want to go?’ He said ‘I want to see kids at Georgetown Cancer Center.” And we went there. And then he wanted to pay homage to Coach Neal,” Leonsis said. “And so we went to Fort Dupont. It’s great that he’s here.”

Henderson said he hoped his induction would help encourage more people of color to embrace hockey. He started the program in the late 1970s thinking he’d simply get his son through the program, which works with kids ages 8 to 18. But he just kept going – in part because kids kept coming to the Cannons and in part because he just couldn’t refuse them. Decades later he’s still here working with them. 

“A lot of people don’t feel that they have the opportunity when it’s right at their back door,” Henderson said. “If they take just one more step they’ll find that there are people out there that’s willing to help them. All you have to do is be there willing to make sure they get the chance.”