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For Caps' rookies, a chance to show their stuff

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For Caps' rookies, a chance to show their stuff

While the Capitals’ veterans continue to trickle into Kettler Capitals Iceplex – Jay Beagle was the latest arrival on Friday, with Alex Ovechkin due to join the troops early next week – the Caps’ youngsters are unpacking their equipment in Estero, Fla, for the start of a four-day, four-team rookie camp.

Twenty-three players are expected to participate in the round-robin tournament, which will feature three games, one each against the host Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers and Nashville Predators, from Saturday through Tuesday.

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Caps assistant general manager Ross Mahoney said the rookie tournament gives the Caps a chance to see their prospects in extended game action, something they were unable to do in previous training camps, when they arranged just one rookie game against the Philadelphia Flyers.

“As a player I would like to have an opportunity to at least play a couple games or more to show my stuff,” Mahoney said. “If you’re a center you might have the puck a lot, but you could be a winger and maybe not get as many opportunities in one game compared to another game.

“As a goaltender you may have a period that was not your best period and you’d like to be able to come back and have a better game the next day or the day after.

“It gives us more of an opportunity to evaluate and I think it gives the players an opportunity, if they haven’t had their best game, to redeem themselves.”

Forwards Jakub Vrana, Chandler Stephenson and Riley Barber, defensemen Madison Bowey, Jonas Siegenthaler, Christian Djoos and Tyler Lewington, and goaltender Vitek Vanecek highlight the list of Capitals’ prospects who will play in the tournament (projected rosters and schedule below).

“Something like this, not everyone can experience,” said Siegenthaler, an 18-year-old-old defenseman taken by the Caps with the 57th pick of the 2015 NHL draft. “I want to enjoy it and take as many things as possible.

“For me it will be a learning process. I must be 10 days fully prepared and focused - it is not a holiday camp.”

Following the camp, which ends on Tuesday, Siegenthaler is expected to return to Washington and participate in a few days of training camp before returning to Switzerland, where his season with Zurich began on Wednesday.

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It will be interesting to see which Capitals prospects will be paired together for the tournament. Here are some possible line combinations and defense pairings:

Forward Lines

Nathan Walker – Chandler Stephenson – Jakub Vrana

Liam O’Brien –Travis Boyd – Riley Barber

Tim McGauley – Caleb Herbert – Kevin Elgestal

Derek Deblois – Trevor Cox – Miles Koules

Defense Pairings

Jonas Siegenthaler – Madison Bowey

Christian Djoos – Tyler Lewington

Connor Hobbs – Dan Gibb

Goaltenders

Vitek Vanecek – Taran Kozun

Look for this tournament to come to Kettler within the next two or three years. Here is the Caps’ schedule for the tournament.

Saturday, 3 p.m.: Capitals vs. Panthers

Sunday, 7 p.m.: Capitals vs. Lightning

Tuesday, 10 a.m.: Capitals vs. Predators 

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Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Who could win the Conn Smythe Trophy?

The Stanley Cup is not the only trophy that will be awarded at the end of the Stanley Cup Final series between the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights. The Conn Smythe will also be given to the player deemed the most valuable to his team during the playoffs.

Who will that player be?

It's not hard to figure out who the frontrunner is right now. Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't just been the best goalie in the playoffs, he's been the best player with a dominant postseason in which he has posted a .947 save percentage and four shutouts. He has been so dominant, he could win it even if Vegas loses the series.

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

The last player from the losing team to win the Conn Smythe was Jean-Sebastian Giguere from the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003.

But what about the Caps?

Alex Ovechkin is the leader of Washington and has been absolutely dominant throughout the postseason. He even scored the series-clinching goal in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.

Surprisingly, however, Ovechkin does not lead the team in points through the playoffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov holds that edge with 24 points to Ovechkin's 22.

Will their offensive dominance propel them to win the Cup and the Conn Smythe? Will a different player emerge as the hero of the series?

See the top contenders for the Conn Smythe heading into the Stanley Cup Final here.

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Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

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Twitter/City of Las Vegas

Las Vegas changes iconic welcome sign to include no capital letters

The Washington Capitals official #ALLCAPS hashtag started in 2017 during a Caps-Penguins game after the Pittsburgh Penguins' official Twitter account decided to tweet in all lowercase letters during the game. 

Now, as the Caps look to face the Vegas Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final ahead of Game 1 Monday, Vegas has followed suit by changing their iconic "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign to include only lowercase letters, a jab at the Capitals #ALLCAPS.

Additionally, the City's official Twitter account has changed their handle to "the city of las vegas" without any capital letters and the hashtag #nocaps.

It will be interesting to see how the Capitals' official Twitter will respond...

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