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Orpik hopes to be back for preseason after late surgery

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Orpik hopes to be back for preseason after late surgery

As training camp begins, two notable players will not be joining their teammates in practice and instead will be skating together on their on. One is Nicklas Backstrom who underwent hip surgery soon after the season ended. The other is a surprise, mid-summer addition to the injury report, Brooks Orpik.

Orpik underwent wrist surgery in late July, which came as a surprise not just because of the timing, but because there was no prior indication that anything was wrong with his wrist. Said Orpik, it was a situation that developed throughout the season.

"It was something that just progressively got worse and worse," Orpik said, "but it wasn't one time where I remember doing anything."

Orpik thought surgery wouldn't be necessary until the summer when it "pulled off the bone." Not surprisingly, that's not the kind of thing you can just fix on your own.

Now the veteran's availability for the start of the season is in some jeopardy because of the late surgery. So why did he wait so long before getting the procedure done?

"I think people just think we're like robots," Orpik said. "You just get operated on whenever you want. Surgery's always your last option. You try to rehab it as much as you can."

The original timetable Oripk was given after his surgery was eight weeks. It will be eight weeks as of Tuesday. That is not a timetable for when he will be ready to play, however, but a timetable for when the wrist will be healed.

There's still a long way to go before the wrist is ready for the rigors of an NHL season. Orpik still needs to build up his strength and range of motion. He also is hoping to be back for the preseason.

"It's a possibility. I would love to."

When's the last time you heard a professional athlete say that?

"I think it's tough to jump right into regular season games whenever you're out with an injury, especially at the beginning of the year. [Playing in the preseason] would be ideal, but at the same time, I'm not going to be stupid with it and push it any further or faster than I have to."

Check here for updates all throughout media day.

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

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John Carlson agrees to big-money deal to stay with the Capitals

On Friday, the Capitals shipped out Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik to clear space on the salary cap for John Carlson's massive contract extension.

On Sunday night, Carlson signed on the dotted the line. 

The 28-year-old became the latest core Cap to sign a long-term deal, inking an eight-year extension that will carry an $8 million average salary. 

His cap hit is now the second highest on the team—behind Ovechkin’s $9.538 million charge and just ahead of Kuznetsov’s $7.8 million hit.

With Carlson locked up, the defending Stanley Cup champion now has the majority of its core signed through at least the 2019-20 season. Among the players with at least two years remaining on their deals are forwards Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Nickas Backstrom and Lars Eller, defensemen Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov and goaltender Braden Holtby.

The Carlson news did not come as a surprise.

The Caps wanted to keep him. Carlson, who makes his offseason home in Washington, wanted to stay with the club that drafted him 27th overall in 2008. And on Friday night in Dallas, GM Brian MacLellan all but guaranteed that a deal was going to happen when he said, “We’re close and hopefully we can close the deal here over the next 24 hours.”

It ended up taking a little more than 24 hours, but in the end MacLellan got his D-man.

“John has been an exceptional and consistent player for our franchise and has blossomed into being one of the top defensemen in the NHL,” said MacLellan in a statement on Sunday. “Defenseman like John are a rare commodity in our League and, at 28 years of age, we feel he is just entering his prime.”

Indeed, Carlson notched a career-high 15 goals and 53 assists last season, and his 68 points led all NHL defensemen. He also became the eighth defensemen in Caps’ history to record 60 points in a season and the first since Mike Green accomplished the feat in 2009-10. Meanwhile, Carlson’s average ice time (24:47) also marked a career high.

“As a right-handed defenseman, John plays in all key situations and has contributed greatly to our team’s success on the special teams,” MacLellan added. “We are pleased for both parties to have come to an agreement and for him to continue his great career as a Washington Capital.”

With Carlson under contract, the Caps now have a little more than $13 million in cap space underneath the $79.5 million ceiling, according to www.capfiendly.com. Michal Kempny, Jay Beagle, Alex Chiasson and Jakub Jerabek are all unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

Carlson’s also signing kicks off a big week for MacLellan.

In addition to negotiating with the free agents he hopes to retain, he’s expected to have a formal interview with associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the leading candidate to replace Barry Trotz as head coach.

So buckle up, there figure to be a few more important announcements in the coming days.

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

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Interested teams have begun reaching out to John Carlson

Free agency does not start until July 1, but John Carlson's agent is already taking calls from other interested teams.

The interview period began at 12 a.m. on Sunday morning, which means teams are now able to reach out to any potential free agents, but no contracts can be signed until July 1. While Brian MacLellan said Friday that a new deal with Carlson to keep him in Washington was "really close," Carlson's agent, Rick Curran, has made it clear there was no deal in place yet as of Sunday.

So does this mean Carlson now has one foot out the door?

Not necessarily.

At this point in the negotiation, Carlson has a major advantage and that advantage is time. Sunday's interview period is just another way to hold the Caps' feet to the fire. The closer we get to July 1, the more pressure the team is under to get a deal done.

But the Caps still have some leverage too.

“I love it here and all that,” Carlson said during on breakdown day. “I want to stay here, but there's more to it than that.”

By rule, as his current team, the Caps are the only team that can offer Carlson an eight-year deal.

So Carlson may have turned up the heat a few degrees on the Caps, but it's not time for fans to worry just yet.

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