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Caps fans given a scare with Kuznetsov injury

Caps fans given a scare with Kuznetsov injury

Two years ago today, during the IIHF World Championships in Belarus, the Capitals received a long-distance scare when Alex Ovechkin was the victim of a nasty hip check against Germany and was taken out of the arena by ambulance.

During the same tournament, defenseman Dmitry Orlov suffered a broken wrist that kept him out of the entire 2014-15 season.

On Tuesday, Caps fans again held their collective breaths when Evgeny Kuznetsov was checked in the head by Sweden’s Mikael Backlund in Russia’s 4-1 win.

Kuznetsov was rocked as he crossed the offensive blue line and was slow to get to his feet as Ovechkin stood beside him. Kuznetsov returned to the game and Russian coach Oleg Znarok said the center was fine after the game.

But again, it brings up the question over whether NHL teams should allow their star players to play in international tournaments.

RELATED: CAPITALS HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO ADDRESS OFFSEASON NEEDS

“It’s always cool to play for my country,” Kuznetsov said before leaving for this year’s World Championships, with are being staged in Russia. “Any time they will call me, I will say, ‘Yes, I’m going, 100 percent’ because that’s my country.”

All 30 NHL teams will be placed in a similar predicament in September when the World Cup of Hockey makes its debut in Toronto.

John Carlson, T.J. Oshie (USA), Braden Holtby (Canada), Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov (Russia) and Nicklas Backstrom (Sweden) all have been named to preliminary rosters for the tournament, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto.  

As for Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Orlov, they advanced to the quarterfinals of this year’s World Championships, as did Andre Burakovsky with Team Sweden.

Russia will face Germany at 1:15 p.m. ET on Thursday in Moscow and Sweden will face Canada in St. Petersburg, Russia on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Orlov has earned two assists in three games at the tournament and Ovechkin (1 assist), Kuznetsov (1 goal) and Burakovsky (1 goal) have each earned a point. 

MORE CAPITALS: CAPITALS GM MACLELLAN FACES TOUGH QUESTIONS ON WINNING FOR OVECHKIN, BACKSTROM

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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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Capitals vs. Panthers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Washington Capitals (3-2-1, 7pts) are coming off of an overtime thriller at home over the Rangers thanks to Matt Niskanen's crafty timing.

Through the first six games of the season, Washington is undefeated on Wednesdays, yet has failed to win consecutive games. The Caps hope to change that trend Friday night at home vs. the Florida Panthers (0-2-2, 2pts).

The Panthers have yet to win a game this season, with each of the four games being decided by just one goal. The Panthers have no problem scoring, netting at least five goals in two of the first four games, but have failed to seal the deal. This is where the defending Stanley Cup champions will need to capitalize.

Only the Maple Leafs (33) and Hurricanes (33) have scored times more than the Capitals (24). Washington has a clear advantage in firepower. The biggest key to victory is keeping the space in front of Braden Holtby clean as a whistle. If the Caps control their goalmouth, they should have no issues dispatching the Panthers.

Here is everything you need to know about the Friday night game, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington. 

CAPITALS-PANTHERS GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. Florida Panthers

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Friday, October 19, 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals-Panthers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Panthers on the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps Radio 24/7, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS-PANTHERS TV SCHEDULE:

6:00 PM: Caps FaceOff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: NHL: Florida Panthers at Capitals 
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS INJURY REPORT:

Capitals: Travis Boyd (OUT, IR), Tom Wilson (OUT, Suspension)

Panthers: Michael Haley (OUT, Leave of Absence), Roberto Luongo (OUT, MCL injury), Mike Matheson (OUT, Suspension) 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Evgenii Dadonov, W, Panthers: Dadonov is leading the Panthers this season with two goals and two assists on the season.

John Carlson, D, Capitals: Carlson had a heck of a game vs. the Rangers Wednesday night with a goal and two assists. The Capitals practiced faceoffs in practice leading up to Wednesday night's game and all of the practice paid off with Carlson's goal coming right off the faceoff from Backstrom. 

CAPITALS vs. PANTHERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 123

All-Time Series Record: 64-50-9

Playoff Record: N/A

Last Meeting: Panthers beat Capitals 3-2 (2/22/2018)

Last 10 Meetings: Tied 5-5 

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What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

What’s next for Capitals' Tom Wilson?

On Thursday, Tom Wilson appealed his 20-game suspension to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. So what happens now?

Wilson was suspended 20-games for a hit he delivered to St. Louis Blues forward Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason. The NHLPA filed an appeal on Wilson’s behalf which led to his hearing on Thursday.

Bettman is expected to reach a decision sometime next week so for now, Wilson will have to wait.

When a decision is reached, he will have two options of how to proceed. First, he can accept the commissioner’s decision and serve whatever suspension remains. As of Thursday, he has currently served six games out of the original 20-game suspension.

Wilson also has the option of a second appeal. For suspensions of six games or more, a player can file a subsequent appeal to a neutral arbitrator. The arbitrator is given authority to issue a ruling based on whether the league’s finding of a violation of the rules and the penalty imposed were both supported by substantial evidence, meaning both the hit itself and the length of suspension will be reviewed.

This can be a lengthy process.

The most recent example of a player appealing to a neutral arbitrator is Nashville’s Austin Watson. He was suspended 27 games by the NHL on Sept. 12 for domestic assault. On Oct. 12 an arbitrator reduced the suspension to 18 games.

Given the serious nature of domestic assault, it should be noted that Wilson and Watson’s respective transgressions are in no way comparable. This example is used merely to illustrate how long the process can take.

Another example is that of Dennis Wideman who was suspended 20 games in 2016 for hitting and injuring a referee. His suspension was ultimately reduced to 10 games by an arbitrator, but by that time he had already served 19 games.

Wilson will remain suspended throughout the appeals process.

Obviously he would like to return to the ice as quickly as possible, but even if his appeal drags out and Wilson is forced to sit for most or all of those 20 games, he still can recoup some of the money he will forfeit from this suspension (over $1.2 million) which will make the arbitrator’s decision still relevant for him personally.

Should Wilson serve the full 20-game suspension, he will be eligible to return to play on Nov. 21 when the Caps host the Chicago Blackhawks.

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