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CSN, Capitals announce 77-game TV schedule

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USA TODAY Sports

CSN, Capitals announce 77-game TV schedule

LIVE COVERAGE TO INCLUDE 6 PRESEASON AND 71 REGULAR-SEASON GAMES; 11 CONTESTS TO BE PRESENTED NATIONALLY ON NBC, NBCSN

CAPS FACEOFF AND CAPS OVERTIME TO JOIN CAPS GAMETIME AND CAPS EXTRA TO DELIVER 2.5 HOURS OF LIVE GAMEDAY NEWS, ANALYSIS AND ENTERTAINMENT

EXTENSIVE CAPS CONTENT TO BE FEATURED ACROSS WEBSITE, APP AND SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS THROUGHOUT THE DAY

NEW FEATURE SHOWS TO PROVIDE IN-DEPTH STORYTELLING AND INSIDE ACCESS

Bethesda, Md. (Sept. 14, 2017) – CSN Mid-Atlantic, which will become NBC Sports Washington on Oct. 2, and the Washington Capitals have announced the team’s 77-game regional television schedule for the 2017-18 NHL season, which features 71 regular-season games and six preseason contests. As previously announced, NBCSN and NBC will combine to present exclusive national coverage of 11 Capitals games this season.

LIVE-GAME COVERAGE

CSN’s live Capitals coverage, which will continue to be available to stream live on CSNmidatlantic.com and the NBC Sports app, will begin with the preseason opener at New Jersey on Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. and will include six of the team’s seven exhibition games. Monumental Sports Network will simulcast CSN’s live coverage of the Sept. 27 exhibition game against the Devils. CSN’s regular-season schedule will start with the Capitals’ season opener Oct. 5 at Ottawa at 7:30 p.m.

CSN’s live coverage will be led by Emmy Award-winning play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati, game analyst Craig Laughlinand reporter Al Koken, who are entering their 21st consecutive season together. Analyst Alan May and Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir will again contribute regularly to game coverage.

GAMEDAY PROGRAMMING

This season, CSN will expand its gameday coverage to include 2.5 hours of live Capitals news, analysis, commentary and entertainment with a pair of new shows. Caps FaceOff will be presented for a half hour leading into pregame show Caps GameTime. After games, Caps Overtime will extend postgame coverage for up to an hour following Caps Extra. The new shows will be fan-focused, allowing Caps fans to participate in coverage of the day’s most compelling topics and storylines.

Caps FaceOff and Caps Overtime will be moderated by 106.7 the Fan’s Grant Paulsen and will feature a panel of rotating contributors, including Courtney Laughlin. Led by host Rob CarlinCaps GameTime and Caps Extra will include analyst May with contributions from Brent Johnson, Beninati, Laughlin, Koken and El-Bashir.

MULTIPLATFORM CONTENT

CSN’s coverage this season will be greatly expanded across every platform throughout the day. CSN’s website, mobile app and social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, will serve fan-focused video, audio, editorial and interactive content through every day-part. In the morning, the podcast Caps DriveTime will join Wake Up Call, a short-form interactive Caps experience delivered via alerts, social media and email that will provide “on-the-go” content on multiple platforms throughout the day.

CSN’s digital media properties, including CSNmidatlantic.com and the CSN Mid-Atlantic mobile app, will also be rebranded under the NBC Sports Washington name on Oct. 2. Fans can follow Capitals coverage on Twitter at @CSNCapitals and can follow CSN on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat at @CSNMA.

FEATURE SHOWS

In addition to expanded game-day and multiplatform content, CSN will also deliver more Capitals-related feature programming this season. These specials, presented primarily on non-game days, aim to keep fans engaged with behind-the scenes coverage of the team and players with a focus on storytelling and will include programs like On Ice with Alan May.

See the full schedule here:

CSN Mid-Atlantic, part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, is the official sports network of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, NBA’s Washington Wizards, NFL’s Washington Redskins and ACC. CSN Mid-Atlantic – the leading multiplatform sports media organization serving the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia – delivers more than 400 live events per year, along with Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and entertainment programming. CSN Mid-Atlantic’s digital portfolio, highlighted by CSNmidatlantic.com, is the region’s top source for written, video and interactive sports content. CSN Mid-Atlantic will transition to NBC Sports Washington on October 2.

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Oddsmakers give three Capitals the chance to win MVP in 2018-19

Oddsmakers give three Capitals the chance to win MVP in 2018-19

There are no signs of Alex Ovechkin slowing down heading into his first season after winning a Stanley Cup. Bovada just released their latest odds for the Hart Memorial Trophy (the NHL’s Most Valuable Player Award) and Ovechkin was tied with the third-best odds to win in all of the NHL at 10/1.

He was joined by two other Washington Capitals, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov both at 50/1 odds. 

Here are all the odds for the top 11 players:

Connor McDavid          10/3
Sidney Crosby              13/2
Auston Matthews        10/1
Alex Ovechkin               10/1
Jon Tavares                   10/1
Taylor Hall                     15/1
Nikita Kucherov            15/1
Nathan MacKinnon      15/1
Mark Scheifele              15/1
Anze Kopitar                  18/1
Evgeni Malkin                18/1

The only two players ahead of ‘The Great 8’ are the 21-year-old McDavid and dreaded rival Crosby.

Even with the immense amount of alcohol that has been consumed in the past two months, Ovechkin is still commanding respect in Vegas. It is hard not to when he turns around these intense offseason workouts. At 32, Ovechkin led the NHL in scoring with 49 goals a year ago, the seventh such time he has done so. 

Already the 2018 Conn Smythe winner has three MVP trophies to his name (one more than Crosby) and there is no telling what to expect now that the 11-time All-Star has a Stanley Cup title. 

In his 11 years in the league, Backstrom has never received any votes for the Hart Memorial Trophy. Kuznetsov only has done so once and that was in the 2015-16 season. 

MORE OVECHKIN NEWS:

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Key Caps questions: What rookies will have an impact next season?

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Key Caps questions: What rookies will have an impact next season?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals correspondent JJ Regan is here to help you through the offseason doldrums as he discusses key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: What rookies will have an impact with the Caps next season?

In the team's push for the Stanley Cup the last few years, the Capitals brought in several veterans through free agency and trades to bolster the roster. As a result, there was not much room for the team's prospects. Last season, however, Washington took a very different approach.

Nine rookie players suited up for the Caps for at least one game in the regular season in 2017-18, the most the team has played since the 2013-14 season. Six rookies also played at least one game in the playoffs. Washington dressed zero rookies in the postseason in each of the two years prior. In fact, that is the most rookies Washington has used in a postseason in franchise history. 

To say the Caps won because they used their young prospects more so than before would be a gross oversimplification, but clearly there was value to adding cheap, young, talented players to the lineup.

But by returning virtually the same roster as last season, there will be little room for rookies to make a similar impact in 2018-19.

Here's a projected roster of the Caps' opening night lineup:

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Nic Dowd/Travis Boyd - Devante Smith-Pelly

Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Christian Djoos - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby
Pheonix Copley

Barring injury, there's just not much room there for the young players to break in.

Of the players who still qualify as rookies, the ones to watch are Boyd, Nathan Walker, Shane Gersich, Liam O'Brien, Riley Barber, Jonas Siegenthaler and Ilya Samsonov.

The most obvious answer to the question is Boyd. Jay Beagle's departure leaves a spot open at fourth line center and Boyd would be my pick for the most likely player to fill that role.

The addition of Nic Dowd means Boyd may be the only rookie forward to make the team on opening night. Barry Trotz usually kept only one extra forward and defenseman on the roster, but we do not know if Todd Reirden will have a similar outlook. If there is another spot open, Walker, Gerish, O'Brien and Barber will be in the running. I am not sure I see Walker becoming an every day NHL player, but I could see him coming on as a 14th guy since the Caps have a little bit of breathing room under the salary cap. The same does not go for Gersich who has a higher NHL ceiling. Even though he jumped right into the NHL last season, it is much more likely he goes to the AHL this year to take a large role in Hershey rather than to play scattered minutes in Washington.

O'Brien and Barber also make this list because the clock is ticking for them. Both are 24 and both have spent several years in the organization. They need a strong training camp to prove they belong in the NHL or they risk being viewed less as prospects and more as lifetime AHLers.

Like the offense, the defense also seems pretty set. Of the team's defensive prospects, Siegenthaler is probably the most NHL ready, but I have a hard time believing he will supplant any of the seven defensemen in training camp.

And that brings us to Samsonov.

Samsonov will make his North America debut this fall playing in Hershey. Brain MacLellan has been adamant that Samsonov will be starting in the AHL in order to adjust to the North American game. Just how quickly he can adjust, however, may determine if he earns a jump to the NHL at some point next season.

Samsonov is widely seen as Washington's future in net. While there is no reason to rush him, it is not hard to envision him supplanting Pheonix Copley as the backup should Copley struggle. But first, he has to play well in Hershey.

While the Caps look set throughout the roster, injuries always leave open the possibility for a player to get called up and play his way into a full-time role. As of now, however, it looks like there is not much room for the team's rookies this season, other than Boyd.

Other key Caps questions: