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Laich: Complacency 'something we'll address'


Laich: Complacency 'something we'll address'

NEW YORK -- To some players, Sunday mornings practice at Madison Square Garden was no different than any other.

But to Brooks Laich, the Capitals seemed to lack the same intensity that was missing in Saturdays series-opening 3-1 loss to the New York Rangers and he planned on addressing it.

Its an intense time of year and were here to win, Laich said. It takes so much to win and every little thing matters. If there are things I think we can be doing better Im going to find a way to get the most out of our guys. Its something well address in the room and I dont really care to share much more than that.

Maybe Laich was referring to Alexander Semin sulking on the bench after he was removed from a power play drill during practice. Maybe he was referring to defense partners John Carlson and Karl Alzner shooting rolled-up balls of tape into locker room trash cans with their eyes closed.

Maybe its the way he woke up today, Mike Knuble said with a smile. That was a typical practice, nothing atypical about it.

Troy Brouwer said he agreed with Laichs assessment but is not overly concerned as the Caps look toward evening the series Monday night.

Weve been a pretty loose team all year long, Brouwer said. Even the morning skate of Game 7 against Boston we were joking around and having fun. Thats part of the personality of this team. But youve got to make sure youre making crisp passes and being sharp and I think we were a little bit nonchalant today. You cant let it get out of hand, thats for sure.

If there was a common theme in the Capitals locker room on Sunday it was the lack of intensity and lack of focus they showed in Saturdays loss. The Capitals held the Rangers to just 14 shots and shut down their power play on four opportunities, but they were outhit by the Rangers 35-28 in a defensive tug-of-war that was decided in the third period.

Alzner called Saturdays game sloppy and said it reminded him of the way the Capitals played during the regular season. Jay Beagle agreed, saying the Caps spent much of the game chasing the puck and trying to regain possession from the Rangers.

After the game we all were sitting here and we knew it, Beagle said. We were like, Thats not going to cut it. Thats not good enough.

Capitals right wing Joel Ward, who was promoted from the fourth line to a checking unit with Beagle and Matt Hendricks, said the Capitals might have been guilty of thinking the road would be easier after beating the defending Stanley Cup champions in Round 1.

Against a different team, its a bigger monster, Ward said. They finished first in the East and that was for a reason. Theyve got a solid squad, obviously, and they play really well defensively. Weve just got to be a lot more desperate at times and give them back a real good push.

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2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL


2018 NHL Draft: Caps add 7 prospects, 4 from WHL

The Caps made seven selections in the 2018 Draft this weekend. The group featured three defensemen, three forwards and a goalie. Interestingly, a couple of the picks have fathers who enjoyed lengthy NHL careers.

Meet the newest prospects:

1st round, 31st overall: D Alexander Alexeyev, WHL, 6'4", 196 pounds

The Caps' first first-round pick sine 2016, Alexeyev is a smart two-way defenseman with good size.

Read more on him here.

2nd round, 46th overall (from Florida, via New Jersey): D Martin Fehervary, Allsvenskan (Sweden), 6'2", 194 pounds

A physical style defenseman who is very strong in his own end, but does not have much offensive upside. Sort of a throwback style of play which makes him a surprise pick this high.

2nd round, 47th overall (From Colorado): F Kody Clark, OHL, 6'1", 179 pounds

Kody Clark boasts an NHL pedigree as the son of Wendel Clark, a first-round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs who recorded 330 goals and 564 career points in 763 NHL games.

3rd round, 93rd overall: F Riley Sutter, WHL, 6'3", 203 pounds

Riley Sutter also boasts a strong NHL pedigree as the son of Run Sutter and nephew of Darryl Sutter.

Riley is a power forward who played alongside Caps prospect Garrett Pilon on the Everett Silvertips in the WHL and recorded 53 points in 68 games last season.

4th round, 124th overall: G Mitchell Gibson, NAHL, 6'1", 187 pounds

A Harvard commit, Gibson posted a 1.59 GAA and .935 save percentage in the NAHL last season.

6th round, 161st overall (from Vancouver): D Alex Kannok-Leipert, WHL, 5'11", 194 pounds

The Caps certainly saw something they liked in Kannok-Leipert as they traded up from 186 to get him. That pick, along with a sixth-round pick in 2019, went to Vancouver.

7th round, 217th overall: F Eric Florchuk, WHL, 6'2", 174 pounds

Florchuk was taken with the last pick of the draft.


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GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson


GM Brian MacLellan: Capitals are close to re-signing John Carlson

DALLAS—The Caps are “really close” to signing star defenseman John Carlson to a long-term extension, GM Brian MacLellan said Friday night.

“We’re getting closer,” MacLellan said following the first round of the NHL Draft. “Hopefully we can get it done here over the next few days. We’re really close.”

Earlier in the day, the Caps cleared significant space under the salary cap ceiling by trading Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round draft pick (47th overall). 

That space will now be used to lock up Carlson, who could become the best defenseman on the open market if he were to reach it.

MacLellan met with Carlson’s agent, Rick Curran, here on Thursday night.

MacLellan did not divulge any figures, but it’s expected that Carlson’s new contract could come in at eight years and $8 million per—or perhaps a bit more. 

He earned $4 million last season.

Carlson had a career year in 2017-18 and was critical during the Caps' run to the Stanley Cup. He led all defensemen in the regular season with 68 points (15 goals, 53 assists). The 28-year-old also skated a career-high 24:47 per game.

MacLellan has long said that re-signing Carlson was the Caps’ top priority this offseason. And now it looks like that could happen within days, assuming the talks do not hit any snags.

“We’re going to do our best to sign John,” MacLellan said. “We’ve said it all along. We waited until the end of the year. We’ve had discussions. We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”