As you might imagine, hockey players normally laugh in the face of snowstorms. But after seeing what happened throughout the region with barely a trace of snow Wednesday night, the Capitals have a new appreciation for what Mother Nature could dump on the DMV this weekend.
“I’ve seen a lot more feet of snow and the roads were so much better than I saw last night,” said Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie, who grew up in Mount Vernon, Wash. “I was sliding all over the place. I’ve never seen roads this slick before.”
Caps right wing Tom Wilson, who grew up in Toronto, agreed. He said it took him an hour and 45 minutes to drive from Kettler Capitals Iceplex in Arlington, where the Caps had a Courage Caps event, to Rosslyn to drop off teammate Andre Burakovsky, and back to his home in Courthouse.
“It’s unbelievable what half an inch does to all the hills,” Wilson said. “There were flares and police and cars facing the wrong way. I was two minutes from my house it took me 40 minutes.”
With more than a foot of snow anticipated overnight Friday and into Saturday the NHL has moved Friday’s game between the Capitals and Anaheim Ducks from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m. The change should allow fans to return home after the game while also allowing the Ducks to fly to Detroit for a game against the Red Wings on Saturday.
“We’ll do whatever the NHL and the city of Washington decide,” Caps coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday’s practice. “If we play, we play. If we don’t, we don’t.
“We’ll either practice (Saturday) or have a day off or we’ll have a game or a snowball fight. Most of our guys have four-wheel drives, so we’ll be here.”
Friday's trade with the Colorado Avalanche seemed to mark the end of Brooks Orpik's time with the Washington Capitals. But that may not actually be the case.
Trading away Orpik also meant trading away his $5.5 million cap hit. That is not an insignificant amount of money especially for a team trying to re-sign defenseman John Carlson to a big-money contract.
But Orpik will not be playing out the final year of his contract in Colorado. The Avalanche placed Orpik on unconditional waivers Saturday for the purpose of a buyout, according to Sportsnet's Chris Johnston.
For a 37-year-old defenseman who does not boast great mobility or speed, a $5.5 million cap hit was a bit too steep for the Caps who were very close to the cap ceiling last season and who need that extra money to re-sign their free agents. But the team did value Orpik's leadership and that could be especially important as young defensemen Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos continue developing plus prospects Jonas Siegenthaler, Lucas Johansen and Connor Hobbs all try to work themselves into contention for a spot on the NHL roster.
If Orpik does return, it will be a masterstroke for general manager Brian MacLellan. MacLellan freed up a lot of cap space to re-sign Carlson without having to buy out Orpik's contract, but could still possibly keep him on the roster at a much-reduced cost.
After a strong playoff performance, there may be other teams vying for Orpik's services next season. Getting traded to get bought out likely isn't a good feeling, but considering he just won a Stanley Cup in Washington, the defensive guru Todd Reirden is expected to be promoted to head coach and that re-signing with the Caps would mean not moving his family for what could very possibly and will very likely be the last contract of his NHL career, there are a lot of reasons why it would make sense for both the team and the player if Orpik stayed with the Caps.
The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.
Meet the newest prospects:
1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds
The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.
Alexander Alexeyev’s teammates in Russia nicknamed him “poker face” because of his poise with the puck. And, yeah, he asked Alex Ovechkin about the fountain celebration during their FaceTime conversation yesterday. Haha. #ALLCAPSpic.twitter.com/iVguNmidFq
Wendel Clark was mowing the lawn at his Muskoka cottage when son Kody came running outside to tell dad he'd been picked No. 47 by Stanley Cup-champion #caps. "It's more exciting than when I was picked (1st overall, #leafs, '85)," Wendel said. "It's part of being a dad." #tmltalk
“Watching both of those young men play, they do a lot of the little things properly.” — #ALLCAPS Assistant GM Ross Mahoney on Kody Clark and Riley Sutter, both the sons of longtime NHLers (Wendel Clark and Ron Sutter). pic.twitter.com/aK9d1FnJvB
A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.
Gibson is a Harvard commit from the Philly suburbs. He joked that he'll know his way around KCI at Dev Camp next week, having played for Valley Forge, Team Comcast, etc. in the @AYHL. So he faced the @LittleCapitals a lot.