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Ovechkin an NHL All-Star for 10th time

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Ovechkin an NHL All-Star for 10th time

Wednesday night’s NHL awards ceremony clearly belonged to Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, who took home the Hart, Lindsay, Vezina and Jennings trophies, but it was also a celebration of Alex Ovechin’s long-lasting dominance as one of hockey’s most prolific goal scorers.

In addition to winning his fifth Rocket Richard trophy as the NHL’s top goal scorer, Ovechkin was named to the NHL’s First All-Star team for the seventh time. Ovechkin has also been named a Second-Team All-Star three times in his career, making his 10 All-Star selections the most among active NHL players.

Six of Ovechkin’s seven career First Team berths have come at left wing, with one coming at right wing in 2012-13. The only left wings in NHL history with more First Team selections are Bobby Hull (10) and Ted Lindsay (eight).

Left wing Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals, who earned his seventh career berth on the First All-Star Team, heads the list of players voted to the 2014-15 National Hockey League postseason All-Star Teams. Also a three-time honoree on the Second Team, Ovechkin’s 10 career postseason All-Star Team selections are the most among active players.

Six of Ovechkin’s seven career First Team berths have come at left wing (he was voted to the First Team at right wing in 2012-13). The only left wings in NHL history with more First Team selections are Bobby Hull (10) and Ted Lindsay (eight).

Ovechkin was the only Capitals player to make the first or second All-Star teams, but Braden Holtby [fourth among goalies], John Carlson [10th among defensemen] and Nicklas Backstrom [sixth among centers] also received recognition from the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association, which made the selections at the end of the regular season.

Here is the final voting at each position:

CENTER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. JOHN TAVARES, NYI 682 (124-18-8) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Sidney Crosby, PIT 382 (17-90-27) 3 First Team, 2 Second Team
3. Ryan Getzlaf, ANA 89 (3-18-20)
4. Steven Stamkos, TBL 48 (3-5-18)
5. Tyler Seguin, DAL 47 (0-7-26)
6. Nicklas Backstrom, WSH 46 (1-6-23)
7. Jonathan Toews, CHI 40 (3-5-10)
8. Patrice Bergeron, BOS 15 (1-2-4)
9. Tyler Johnson, TBL 8 (0-0-8)
10. Claude Giroux, PHI 4 (0-1-1)
11. Henrik Sedin, VAN 3 (0-0-3)
12. Jiri Hudler, CGY 2 (0-0-2)
13. Pavel Datsyuk, DET 1 (0-0-1)
Ryan Johansen, CBJ 1 (0-0-1)

LEFT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. ALEX OVECHKIN, WSH 708 (130-19-1) 7 First Team, 3 Second Team
2. Jamie Benn, DAL 394 (20-87-33) 1 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Rick Nash, NYR 213 (2-40-83)
4. Max Pacioretty, MTL 23 (0-2-17)
5. Daniel Sedin, VAN 14 (0-2-8)
6. Nick Foligno, CBJ 8 (0-0-8)
7. Jiri Hudler, CGY 3 (0-1-0)
Zach Parise, MIN 3 (0-1-0)
9. Johnny Gaudreau, CGY 1 (0-0-1)
Henrik Zetterberg, DET 1 (0-0-1)

RIGHT WING

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. JAKUB VORACEK, PHI 491 (66-46-23) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL 470 (58-52-24) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Jiri Hudler, CGY 175 (13-29-23)
4. Patrick Kane, CHI 87 (5-9-35)
5. Nick Foligno, CBJ 37 (1-5-17)
6. Nikita Kucherov, TBL 36 (2-5-11)
7. Mark Stone, OTT 17 (1-2-6)
8. Radim Vrbata, VAN 14 (1-2-3)
9. Corey Perry, ANA 13 (1-1-5)
10. Blake Wheeler, WPG 8 (1-0-3)
11. Marian Hossa, CHI 7 (1-0-2)
12. Jamie Benn, DAL 5 (1-0-0)
Tyler Seguin, DAL 5 (1-0-0)
14. Daniel Sedin, VAN 3 (0-1-0)

DEFENSE

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections
1. ERIK KARLSSON, OTT 591 (88-47-10) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. P.K. SUBBAN, MTL 524 (62-66-16) 2 First Team, 0 Second Team
3. Drew Doughty, LAK 498 (77-32-17) 0 First Team, 2 Second Team
4. Shea Weber, NSH 368 (36-52-32) 2 First Team, 2 Second Team
5. Roman Josi, NSH 180 (10-28-46)
6. Mark Giordano, CGY 153 (8-23-44)
7. Duncan Keith, CHI 111 (6-14-39)
8. Kris Letang, PIT 68 (3-12-17)
9. Ryan Suter, MIN 54 (4-6-16)
10. John Carlson, WSH 32 (0-7-11)
11. Dustin Byfuglien, WPG 30 (3-2-9)
12. Brent Burns, SJS 19 (1-3-5)
13. Ryan McDonagh, NYR 17 (2-2-1)
14. Anton Stralman, TBL 14 (1-2-3)
15. Oliver Ekman-Larsson, ARI 12 (0-1-9)
16. Nick Leddy, NYI 10 (1-1-2)
17. Kevin Shattenkirk, STL 10 (0-3-1)
18. Dennis Wideman, CGY 9 (0-1-6)
19. Aaron Ekblad, FLA 7 (1-0-2)
20. Niklas Kronwall, DET 6 (1-0-1)
21. T.J. Brodie, CGY 4 (0-1-1)
22. Alex Pietrangelo, STL 4 (0-0-4)
23. Jonas Brodin, MIN 3 (0-1-0)
24. Andrei Markov, MTL 3 (0-0-3)
Justin Faulk, CAR 3 (0-0-3)
26. Tyson Barrie, COL 2 (0-0-2)
27. Brian Campbell, FLA 1 (0-0-1)
Jason Garrison, TBL 1 (0-0-1)
Niklas Hjalmarsson, CHI 1 (0-0-1)
Marc Staal, NYR 1 (0-0-1)

GOALTENDER

Pts. (1st-2nd-3rd) Career All-Star Selections

1. CAREY PRICE, MTL 758 (151-1-0) 1 First Team, 0 Second Team
2. Devan Dubnyk, MIN 313 (1-92-32) 0 First Team, 1 Second Team
3. Pekka Rinne, NSH 206 (0-49-59)
4. Braden Holtby, WSH 64 (0-8-40)
5. Cory Schneider, NJD 13 (0-2-7)
6. Steve Mason, PHI 5 (0-0-5)
7. Marc-Andre Fleury, PIT 4 (0-0-4)
8. Ben Bishop, TBL 2 (0-0-2)
Henrik Lundqvist, NYR 2 (0-0-2)
10. Corey Crawford, CHI 1 (0-0-1)

MORE CAPITALS: NO HART TROPHY FOR OVECHKIN

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Seven reasons you need to root for the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final

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Seven reasons you need to root for the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final

The St. Louis Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night to advance to the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final. The champions of the Western Conference will take on the Boston Bruins, the champions of the Eastern Conference, having swept the Carolina Hurricanes in four games.

With the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins squaring off in a rematch of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, we've dug up the seven reasons why Capitals fans, and -- well -- all NHL fans should be rooting for the Blues to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.

1: The Blues are like the Capitals of the West

A lot of fans think that the San Jose Sharks hold that title, but the Blues present an even stronger case.

The Blues Stanley Cup drought is currently at 51 seasons. And although they made the Stanley Cup Final three consecutive seasons from 1968-1970, they have yet to win a game in the Stanley Cup Final.

That should sound familiar to Caps fans. Before they won it all in 2018, Washington's Cup drought was 42 years, and when they made the Cup Final in 1998 they were swept by the dominant Detroit Red Wings.

The similarities don't stop there. Each team has a Russian sniper, a crop of promising rookies on offense and defense, and acquired depth pieces in free agency to build a consistent contender.

In the Blues case before this season, they couldn't make it past the Conference Finals, similar to how the Caps couldn't make it out of the second round.

Call it coincidence or fate, but the Blues are looking eerily similar to the Caps that won the Stanley Cup last year.

2: No More Boston Championships

The New England Patriots just won the Super Bowl. The Red Sox just won another World Series. The city of Boston has celebrated six major professional championships since 2010 and 12 since 2000, with each parade more frustrating to watch than the last.

Does Boston really need another championship after a drought since February?

3: Brad Marchand is the worst

A lot of people will complain about Tom Wilson's play. But Brad Marchand is the king of the subtle and overtly dirty play, especially in the playoffs where the rules relax.

In last year's playoffs, Marchand was told by the league to stop licking players after he brushed his tongue across Leo Komarov's face.

This postseason, he's punched players in the back of the head after a play's been blown dead.

He also baited Justin Williams into penalty minutes when he high-sticked him across the face. No penalty was given to Marchand on the play.

Marchand's put up 18 points through three rounds in addition to his antics.

4: TJ Oshie's old stomping grounds

The Caps acquired Oshie from the Blues in 2015 in exchange for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and Washington's third-round pick in 2016, and he's now a mainstay in the Caps top six. 

Oshie played over 400 games for the Blues, recording over 300 points for the organization that drafted him. Not only did he put up stellar numbers, but he was an alternate captain for the Blues and was beloved by fans in the area.

Who better to root for than for Oshbabe's old team?

5: Vladimir Tarasenko is tearing it up

If you've got Alex Ovechkin's endorsement as a game-changer, that's a good place to start.

Ovechkin took note of Tarasenko's skill in a 2014 game the Blues played against the Rangers and told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "He just make great jump in his career and he’s carrying the team right now.”

In these playoffs, the Russian sniper has eight goals and five assists, including points in every game of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks.


6: Pam and Jim are facing off in an Office matchup

Actor John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert in The Office,  is a Bruins fan. 

Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, Jim's love interest, is a Blues fan.

We have a house divided.

We tend to lean to Team Pam because if you take a closer look, Jim was a pretty awful colleague and despite his charm and boyish looks, he was kinda a bad person.

7: Washington helped St. Louis ascend the standings

On Jan. 2 the Blues were last in the league and posted a 15-18-4 record with 34 points.

But their fortunes started to turn on Jan. 3, when they faced the Caps at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. They beat the Caps 5-2, and turned their season around from that game going forward, including an 11 game winning streak.

So really, St. Louis has Washington to thank for transforming their season from one marred by losses to one where they made the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.

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Capitals Mailbag Part 1: Looking ahead to a busy offseason

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Capitals Mailbag Part 1: Looking ahead to a busy offseason

It’s time for a new Capitals mailbag! Check out Part 1 below.

Have a Caps question you want to be answered the next mailbag? Send it on Twitter using #CapsMailNBC or by email to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com.

Please note, some questions have been edited for clarity.

I have written about this before, but Jakub Vrana’s contract has to be priority No. 1. Vrana is absolutely going to be back, but he is going to take a sizable chunk of what little cap room Washington has remaining. General manager Brian MacLellan needs to know how much cap space he is working with this offseason before he can make any decisions about the other free agents like Brett Connolly and Carl Hagelin.

The second most important move would be a trade to free up cap space. Everyone assumes that Matt Niskanen would be the player on the trade block, as you noted. With the free agents the Caps could potentially lose and a prospect pipeline devoid of any high-end offensive skill, I just do not see how the Caps can add enough quality forward depth this offseason without clearing cap space.

Fans should circle June 20-22 as target dates for a possible trade. June 20 is the NHL general managers meeting and June 21-22 is the draft. When you get all the general managers together in the same place, that can spark trade deals. Don’t forget, the draft was when Brooks Orpik and Philipp Grubauer were traded to the Colorado Avalanche last year.

As for Backstrom and Holtby, while I am sure MacLellan would like to get those deals done if possible, these do not rank as high on the priority list as both players are still under contract for another season.

Maclellan was asked on breakdown day if he wanted those deals done this summer and he said, “I don’t think it matters. We’ll have conversations and if it feels like it’s going in the right direction, then we can get more assertive on it.”

The Caps have plenty of issues to deal with for this season to worry too much about Backstrom and Holtby right now.

Jacob C. writes: How does Washington adjust their offseason knowing that they have a $1.15 million dollar cap penalty? 

Washington was hit with a cap penalty because of some late performance bonuses that pulled the team over the cap ceiling.

The money situation was going to be tight for the team regardless of the cap penalty so it is hard to know if anything the team does will be directly related to that, but if I had to guess I believe the player the most affected by this will be Andre Burakovsky.

As a restricted free agent, the Caps will have to give him a qualifying offer of $3.25 million in order to retain his rights and prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent. That is high for a player who has scored 12 goals in each of the past three seasons.

Maybe you could justify the risk of overpaying him because the team could potentially see both Connolly and Hagelin walk, but with $1.15 million less to spend that may force MacLellan to not qualify Burakovsky and attempt to convince him to sign for less.

Jack Hughes.

OK, so obviously that is not going to happen. I assume your question is more aimed at who I think the Caps would want of the players who may actually fall to them at 25. The team’s philosophy when it comes to the draft is to take the best available player, which it should be, but the Caps have not taken a forward in the first round since 2014 and that lack of offensive talent is really starting to catch up with them. If forwards start dropping off the board, they cannot afford to wait and see who falls to them. My prediction is that that team is going to come into this draft with the goal of drafting a forward. They will have grades on every first round prospect and, if it looks like a number of forwards could fall their way, great. If a bunch of forwards get taken early, however, I would not at all be surprised if MacLellan tries to trade up to make sure he gets a high-end forward prospect.

Next, let’s look at where the Caps like to get their players from. In the last five drafts, Washington has taken nine players from the WHL and 11 players from European leagues. Knowing that, here are the players I would predict to be high on the Caps’ list:

Kirby Dach C, Saskatoon, WHL
Dylan Cozens C, Lethbridge, WHL
Peyton Krebs C, Kootenay, WHL
Ilya Nikolaev C, Russia
Nils Hoglander W, Sweden

The three WHL players I have seen go pretty high in most mock drafts so if you get down to say, pick 15 and one of those guys is still on the board, that’s when it is time to really pay attention and see if MacLellan tries to jump up to snag him.

It depends on what you consider to be “major.” As I mentioned above, if the Caps want to compete for the Cup next season, I do not see how they can avoid making a trade. If trading Niskanen for what would likely be draft picks would be considered “major,” then yes.

Do I see them making a big multi-player trade for significant pieces? No. Do I see them pursuing a big-name free agent like Erik Karlsson or Artemi Panarin? No. Even if MacLellan does trade Niskanen that only frees up another $5.75 million in cap room and the Caps will need just about every penny to fill in their bottom six.

We could see a Niskanen trade, we could see a them trade up in the draft and the team will almost certainly be active on July 1 to find forward depth, but they are not in the running for any of the big name free agents.

Todd Reirden said on breakdown day, “We're going to go through a full review of all that stuff, but I do not anticipate any changes to my coaching staff."

Obviously, he left himself a little bit of wiggle room there, but it does not appear the team is going to make any changes to the staff.

In terms of how they operate, I anticipate Reirden taking a more hands-on approach to the defense. He really made a name for himself in the league for his defensive acumen and the improvement he brought with him as an assistant coach was not as evident last season with him as head coach.

I do not anticipate any major changes to the system the team plays, but I am curious what they do on special teams. I have not seen a team that consistently utilizes the slingshot well on the power play so I am hopeful the breakouts get an update to get rid of the slingshot. I do not know how you could evaluate the team’s play from last season and say, yeah, let’s keep doing that. But, the sling shot was all the rage across the NHL so clearly someone thinks it actually works.

Second, the penalty kill has to adjust for the personnel it has. The Caps tried a more aggressive penalty kill and it did not work for much of the season. Really, it did not seem to click until Hagelin came on board at the trade deadline. If he stays or Washington gets someone on the roster who can run it as effectively as he could, great. Otherwise, you hope the team can accept the fact that a guy like Chandler Stephenson just is not the same player as Hagelin and adjust accordingly. 

First, the defense as that seems like the easier prediction. I see a second pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Nick Jensen. I expected that to be the plan the moment the team re-signed Jensen. The bottom pair will be Jonas Siegenthaler and Christian Djoos. The Caps need to add too much on offense to commit the money to another defenseman. Siegenthaler looked good in the playoffs and Djoos will be entering his third year in the NHL so it is time for both players to step up. I think we could see someone like Tyler Lewington come in as a cheap No. 7 and as someone the team feels no pressure to get into the lineup.

The offense is trickier as this is where the team may add some free agents. Lars Eller and Nic Dowd will be the centers. That much we know. Travis Boyd remains under contract. I predict MacLellan will be able to work something out with Burakovsky and he stays. A return for Stephenson also seems likely. At that point, the Caps should have about $7.5 million of cap space for two more forwards. I think they could make a run at either Connolly or Hagelin, but not both. It just depends on where their priorities lie heading into free agency. If they cannot get any, they have to turn to free agency and hope they can find a top-nine player they can plug into the third line.

Now here’s where things get interesting. You have the money for one high-end bottom six guy (Connolly, Hagelin or their replacement), but a Stephenson, Dowd, Boyd line does not inspire much confidence. Looking at the prospects, the only prospect who seems close to the NHL is Axel Jonsson-Fjallby, but it is hard to tell given he only played 16 games in Hershey last season.

If the Caps think he is ready, they could look to Jonsson-Fjallby as a Hagelin replacement. If not, could they actually consider bringing back Dmitrij Jaskin? After all, Jaskin will be an RFA and the team could probably get him for pretty cheap. If they do that, Reirden would have to actually use him, but the cap situation makes this not outside the realm of possibility.

So here is what I would say for the third and fourth lines:

Free agent – Lars Eller – Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson – Nic Dowd – Dmitrij Jaskin
Travis Boyd

Thanks for all your questions! If you have a question you want to be read and answered in the next mailbag, send it to CapitalsMailbag@gmail.com or use #CapsMailNBC on Twitter.

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