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Oates sees potential in Sjogren

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Oates sees potential in Sjogren

The Capitals had big expectations for Mattias Sjogren when they signed him to a two-year, $1.8 million free-agent contract in the summer of 2011.
 
The 6-foot-2, 214-pound center was coming off a strong showing with Sweden in the World Championships and Capitals general manager George McPhee believed Sjogren could compete for the role of third- or fourth-line center.
 
But when Mathieu Perreault outplayed Sjogren in last year’s training camp, Sjogren began the season in Hershey and abruptly walked out on the team on Nov. 30, returning to Sweden.
 
McPhee didn’t take kindly to Sjogren’s decision, saying, “If you’re going to quit on us you might as well go.”
 
Today, Sjogren is back in Hershey, trying to prove to interim head coach Adam Oates that he belongs in the NHL. Through four games Sjogren has one goal on four shots and is a minus-2.
 
“I can see what people like about him and I can see he wants it,” Oates said of the 24-year-old Swede. “He wants to improve. He’s a big body. He needs to learn a couple things about the game and hopefully we have time to pass it along, but there’s a lot of potential there.”
 
Oates said that for someone his size, Sjogren could be better in the faceoff circle and that he hopes to spend some time working with him in that area.
 
Oates also said he’d like to see a little more from top forward prospect Stan Galiev, who has one assist, no goals on six shots and is a minus-2 in his first four games as a pro. Galiev, 20, was taken by the Caps in the third round of the 2010 draft [86th overall] and led the Quebec League with 34 points in 17 playoff games last spring.
 
“There are moments I’d like to see more, but he’s still a very a young kid in a new environment,” Oates said. “The pace of play is a little more physical than he’s used to.
 
“People don’t understand that quite enough. When you get traded or when you go to a new city, there are a lot of other factors that contribute before a guy plays good hockey. I didn’t play good hockey until my fifth year pro, until I got to St. Louis.”
 
For the record, Oates managed “just” 245 points in his first 280 games as a pro. And after arriving in St. Louis and being introduced to Brett Hull he notched 286 points in 195 games with the Blues. He finished his NHL career with 1,420 points, 16th on the NHL’s all-time list and enough to get him inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame on Nov. 12 in Toronto.
 
 

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3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

3 things to watch in Caps vs. Panthers

The Capitals play their last home game of October on Friday as they host the Florida Panthers (7 p.m., NBC Sports Washington). Here’s what you need to watch.

Dmitrij Jaskin is back in

Todd Reirden has made one adjustment to the lineup for Friday’s game, putting Dmitrij Jaskin back in on the fourth line in place of Nathan Walker. Jaskin has yet to record a point since joining the Capitals, but that has a lot to do with where he was coming from.

“This team is based on being creative and it's probably something that I missed in the last few years,” Jaskin said following Friday’s morning skate.

In St. Louis, Jaskin was coached by Mike Yeo and, before him, Ken Hitchcock. Both coaches preach a hard-nosed offensive style based more on effort and being defensively responsible than skill. Coming to a team like Washington then, a team that encourages skill and creativity on offense, is a pretty dramatic change.

Jaskin has played a very safe style since coming into the lineup. It’s good to be defensively responsible, but not if it completely chokes the life out of the offense. Jaskin is hardly generating any offense at all thus far since coming to Washington.

After a few more practices, can it finally spark some skill and creativity from Jaskin?

Can the Caps get the bottom six back on track?

The Caps have gotten only two goals in six games from their bottom six and both came in the team’s blowout opening win against Boston. The third and fourth lines generated some chances on Wednesday, but afterward, Reirden stressed that the team needed to see more production from its depth forwards.

“We've got to continue to get scoring depth wise if we want to have success in this league,” he said. “That's where everything's headed is you can't rely on your top guys to come through for you every night and we'll continue to focus on finding the right chemistry with that third and fourth line to be able to give us some added offense there as well.”

Florida could provide a good opportunity for those players to get some points on the board.

Starting goalie Roberto Luongo is out with an injury and James Reimer will get the start on Friday. In three games, Reimer has a GAA of 3.62 and save percentage of .885.

As a team, the Panthers currently rank 24th in goals against per game with 3.50.

Two teams in need of a win

Florida is still searching for its first win of the season with a 0-2-2 record. It is still early, but this is a Panthers team with playoff aspirations and you don’t want to dig yourself in too deep a hole to start or it becomes very difficult to dig out.

The Caps, meanwhile, will be playing in their final home game of October. They leave Saturday for Vancouver to kick-off a three-game Western Canada trip. They then will face the Canadiens in Montreal on Nov. 1 before finally returning home.

Washington’s next home game will not come until Nov. 3. That makes Friday’s game a big one for the Caps as they try to secure two points before hitting the road.

“It's definitely a big game,” Reirden said. “We want to build on some of the things we were able to accomplish last game. It's difficult anytime you go out west with time changes and different stuff. We know that [Florida is] going to be a desperate team that hasn't had the start that they want and they're talented so it's an important game for us to go on the road on a winning note.”

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

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The Ovechkin's posts family photo with newborn son Sergei

Capitals star Alex Ovechkin had arguably the best summer of anyone.

In June, the Capitals won their first ever Stanley Cup, and in August, Ovechkin and his wife Nastya Ovechkina welcomed their first kid.

Although Ovechkin's son Sergei is only a couple months old, the public has not seen much of him. Both Nastya and Alex posted pictures on Instagram of Sergei's foot when he was born, but neither had posted anything of him since.

In honor of Sergei's two month birthday, Nastya posted a picture of the three of them, with Alex holding Sergei in his hands. 

While it is hard to see much of Sergei, this is one of the first pictures of the couple with their newborn present. 

What a happy family! 

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