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Former Cap Steckel praises Oates, Crabb

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Former Cap Steckel praises Oates, Crabb

By Ben Raby
CSNWashington.com

STE. CATHERINES, ONTARIO When David Steckel someday looks back on his NHL career, his time with the New Jersey Devils will likely be nothing more than a footnote.

The former Capitals center was traded to New Jersey at the 2011 Trade Deadline and lasted just 18 games with his new team while picking up a goal and a minor penalty. Steckel was eventually traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the 2011-12 season.

But despite such a brief stint with the Devils in 2011, Steckel told CSNWashington.com that he spent enough time in New Jersey to appreciate the work that new Caps head coach Adam Oates did as an assistant under Jacques Lemaire.

For as much time as I was there, he was a great assistant coach and a great guy in general first and foremost, Steckel said Friday from Bruce Boudreaus Golden Horseshoe Hockey School. Steckel was one of a half dozen NHL players who served as special instructors at Boudreaus annual hockey camp last week in Southern Ontario.

Obviously Oates was a pretty decent player himself in the NHL for a long time, so he knows what hes doing and I definitely think that coaching the Capitals is a great opportunity for him and Im sure that hes going to take advantage of it.

Oates was an assistant coach in New Jersey for two years before his being named Capitals head coach in June. Steckel thinks that Oates hiring in Washington can have an immediate impact on a Capitals power play that finished 18th in the NHL last season (16.7 percent).

Hes very talented and hes also very creative in his schemes for the power play, Steckel said.

He knows where the openings are and more importantly, he recognizes where the openings are going to be, and when youre as a good of a passer as he was, you can maybe see the ice a little bit differently than perhaps some other coaches can.

The 30-year-old Steckel was also complimentary of Oates hockey smarts and his ability to communicate with his players.

As far as being an assistant coach, he was always there to lend a recommendation whether its a little thing like the curve of your stick to taking one less step here to make you faster up the ice, hes got that perspective when hes coaching that not everyone does For him to kind of bring that to the table, I think thats going to make any player that he coaches better.

Among those players that Oates will be coaching in D.C., is Joey Crabb, one of Steckels teammates last year in Toronto. The Capitals signed the 29-year-old Crabb to a one-year, one-way deal in early July.

Its great for Joey, Steckel said. He had a great year last year and I think he really proved himself as an NHL player day in and day out and if he wasnt going to come back to Toronto, Im just glad to see him catch on with another team.

Crabb finished with career-highs across the board with 11 goals and 26 points in 67 games and teamed with Steckel and Tim Connolly to form Torontos shutdown line in the seasons final weeks.

Hes a crash-bang, go-to-the-net type of smart player. He knows what hes there to do and hes a very good role player.

As for Steckel, hes entering the final year of a three-year contract he originally signed with Washington in 2010 and after an up-and-down first season in Toronto, the Wisconsin native is hopeful of a turnaround in 2012-13.

I had a fantastic time in Toronto, but unfortunately the season didnt turn out the way I wanted it to, he said of the Maple Leafs missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a seventh straight year.

The people here are great though, the city is fantastic, the Maple Leafs pride is always there when youre going through the streets so obviously this year we want a different outcome and hopefully we can deliver something for the fans to look forward to.

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

Say it ain't so.

Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.

Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.

Insert dramatic music.

"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.

Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.

Shame, shame.

The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.

"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.

A likely story.

Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.

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