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ESPN is full of hot takes after Caps' Game 7 loss

ESPN is full of hot takes after Caps' Game 7 loss

There are times when ESPN takes a few minutes away from its never-ending NFL and NBA coverage to briefly talk about hockey. Unfortunately, those moments always seem to come at the low points for the Washington Capitals. That was again the case following Washington's Game 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday.

ESPN anchor and Maryland native Scott Van Pelt opened his show saying “I am sick and tired…sick and freakin’ tired of this same routine from the Caps.”

Van Pelt went on to say, “The excitement and optimism of the day drowned out by yet another hard dose of reality delivered from the needle of the Pittsburgh Penguins.  … It’s yet another verse of the same never-ending song that has Capitals fans wondering if it will ever have a different ending. The only thing that feels like it’s ending is this team as it’s constructed.”

RELATED: Previously undisclosed injury to keep Ovechkin out of Worlds

NHL analyst Barry Melrose also made the rounds on ESPN to give his take and he expressed his feeling that the Caps were in need of major changes.

“This team can’t win,” Melrose said. “They’ve just proven it over and over and over again. Something’s wrong. Something’s lacking in that dressing room. … They’ve got to look seriously at making some major overhauls to that lineup.”

On Van Pelt’s show, Melrose said he thought it was time for the Caps to explore trading Ovechkin arguing it would be good for both the team and the player to part ways.

“The bottom line is Alex Ovechkin’s the best player on the team, he’s the highest paid player on the team, he’s the captain of the team and Alex isn’t getting the job done.”

Melrose really twisted the knife for Caps fans on the radio show Mike & Mike when he compared Ovechkin to Crosby.

"You put Crosby and Ovechkin on different teams, I bet we’re looking at the Washington Capitals now sitting there with a couple Stanley Cups," Melrose said.

Wednesday was certainly a disappointing end to the season, but there will still be plenty of suspense this offseason for a Caps team seemingly in need of major changes.

MORE CAPITALS: Caps know big changes are coming

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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.”

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