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Riley Barber excited to finally turn pro

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Riley Barber excited to finally turn pro

When Riley Barber scored more goals than any Division I freshman in the country in his freshman year at Miami University (Ohio) -- he had 15 goals and 24 assists in 40 games -- many considered him one of the steals of the 2012 NHL draft, where the  Capitals selected him in the sixth round at 167th overall.

Two years later, Barber’s numbers as a junior (20 goals, 20 assists in 38 games) looked very similar to those as a freshman.

But don’t be mistaken, Capitals assistant general manager Brian MacLellan said, the organization still sees Barber as one of their top forward prospects.

“He’s progressing well and I’m excited to see how he’s going to do when he steps in and plays pro hockey,” Mahoney said. “Let’s see him play a year in the American Hockey league and see where he ends up.”

Signed by the Capitals to a three-year, entry-level contract on April 17, Barber, 21, is expected to begin his pro career with the AHL Hershey Bears next season after seeing his collegiate career end with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. The injury occurred in the RedHawks’ National Collegiate Hockey Conference championships game and Barber had to be carried onto the ice for the post-game celebration.

RELATED: Leonsis: 'We're ready to take the next step'

He was forced to sit out this year’s NCAA Tournament, where Miami lost to Providence in the East Regional Semifinal.

“It was huge, especially missing the NCAA tournament like I did,” Barber said. “Injuries happen in your career and you’ve got to get over them.

It was just a hockey play. I was on a penalty kill and I went into the corner and tried to get the puck out and a guy fell on the back of my leg.

I felt a pop. I’m just glad it wasn’t an ACL or a meniscus or something like that.”

Barber did not require surgery and said he felt 100 percent during the Caps’ development camp last week at Kettler, where he said he worked on improving his speed.

“I think all aspects of my game have tightened up, especially defensively,” Barber said. “I think I’m finding ways to score more goals. I’m always working on my shot and what this team needs out of me. I’m looking forward to a couple good months of training before training camp.”

MORE CAPITALS: T.J. Oshie talks new house, new wife, new team

If Barber begins next season in Hershey, he’ll be part of a young core of Capitals prospects that could include first-year pros Jakub Vrana, Madison Bowey, Tyler Lewington and Christian Djoos.

“I think every level you play is a huge jump,” said Barber, who totaled 123 points in 116 NCAA games and eight goals and seven assists in 18 games for the U.S. in World Junior tournaments. “From college to pros everything is different. The style of game is different. The amount of games you play, the travel. You just have to make sure your body is physically conditioned enough to take it on.”

Barber said he’d like to complete his degree from Miami and says he learned a valuable lesson from the injury that ended last season.

“One thing I can take from that injury is knowing that one second you’re on the ice and you’re on top of the world and the next second you can be injured,” he said. “I want to take every day, have fun with it and work as hard as I can. I just want to make their decision in September as hard as possible.

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Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

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NBC Sports Washington/USATSI

Alex Ovechkin and wife Nastya Ovechkina welcome baby boy

After lifting the Stanley Cup just over two months ago, something else very exciting has happened in Alex Ovechkin's life.

Saturday morning, Nastya and Alex Ovechkin welcomed their first child, a baby boy named Sergei, after Ovechkin's late brother. 

Ovi spent this week practicing at the Florida Panthers' facilities with other NHL players living in the surrounding area.

After the Cup's visit to Moscow, Nastya and Alex settled down at their apartment in Miami, staying put and preparing for the birth. 

The couple were married two years ago but didn't hold an official ceremony until July of last year. The celebration was as lavish as you'd expect.

She revealed her pregnancy shortly after the Cup victory, and has kept us up to date on life this summer via Instagram. A few weeks ago, the Ovechkins graced HELLO! Russia magazine, showing off Nastya's baby bump among their glamour shots.

💛 @aleksandrovechkinofficial #hello #hellorussia @hello__ru

A post shared by Nastasiya Ovechkina (@nastyashubskaya) on

Congratulations to Ovi and Nastya, and all our best wishes for health and happiness!

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Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals draft pick admits he is...a Flyers fan

Say it ain't so.

Mitchell Gibson is the first goalie the Capitals have drafted since Ilya Samsonov in 2015, but they may be thinking twice about their selection after a recent shocking interview.

Gibson spoke with a local Philadelphia CBS station and revealed that both he and his family...are Flyers fans.

Insert dramatic music.

"I think my family will always be Flyers fans in their hearts and I guess I will be a little bit," Gibson admitted, hopefully with guilt in his voice.

Gibson was selected by the Caps in the fourth round of the 2018 draft, but clearly the scouts did not do their homework. It's as if Gibson grew up a hockey fan in a place like Phoenixville, Pa. (about an hour outside of Philadelphia) without anticipating the future that he may one day be drafted by a rival team like Washington.

Shame, shame.

The young netminder tried to make up for his horrifying admission later in the interview.

"The Capitals are definitely treating me well right now so I would like to be their goalie," he said.

A likely story.

Gibson is only 19 and set to begin his first collegiate season at Harvard in 2018 so at least there is still time for Gibson to overcome his shameful past. And hey, it could always be worse. At least he's not a Penguins fan.

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