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Johansson shares thoughts on going to arbitration


Johansson shares thoughts on going to arbitration

While most of the hockey world’s attention will be on Thursday’s arbitration hearing in Toronto between the Capitals and goaltender Braden Holtby, Caps left wing Marcus Johansson is not stressing much over his own arbitration hearing scheduled for July 29 in Toronto.

Johansson is believed to be seeking more than $4 million a season, while the Capitals probably would like to keep his salary at or below $3.5 million.

“Right now I am ready for the season, as usual,” Johansson told the Swedish website Varmlands-Folkblad in a story posted on Tuesday and translated by Hockey Ramblings.

“I’m not worried about that. I think I will continue to play (in Washington). My focus right now is on training hard and getting myself prepared, for I know I will be playing.”

Like Holtby, Johansson, 24, is a restricted free agent who elected for salary arbitration on July 5. He posted career highs in goals (20), assists (27) and points (47) last season. The Caps made him a qualifying offer believed to be equal to his 2014-15 salary of $2.175 million on June 26, and there were discussions of a two- or three-year bridge contract that would take Johansson to unrestricted free agency.


Johansson’s agent, Marc Levine, told in an email last week that there was “nothing to comment on at this point other than we are preparing for the arbitration hearing on July 29.”

Johansson has played through two contracts with the Capitals and is due to become an unrestricted free agent in two years, at the age of 26, because he will have played in seven NHL seasons.

His entry level contract paid him $900,000 in each of his first three NHL seasons. He followed with a two-year deal that paid him $1.85 million in 2013-14 and $2.175 million last season.

If Holtby is awarded somewhere in the $6.5 million range, the Caps would have less than $4 million in cap space to accommodate Johansson. If an arbitrator awards a player $3.8 million or more, an NHL team has the right to walk away from that player, something the Caps would be hesitant to do with Johansson considering they could retain his rights for two more years.

If the awards for Holtby and Johansson push them over the NHL’s $71.4 million salary cap – they are currently at $61.1 million, according to - the Caps have until the NHL season opener on Oct. 7 to get under the cap.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line


Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.


PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."