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Round table: MacLellan learns from previous trades


Round table: MacLellan learns from previous trades

Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan sat down with a handful of media members at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Thursday and discussed a wide variety of topics surrounding the Capitals, who own the NHL’s best record (44-11-4) through 59 games with four days remaining before Monday’s NHL trade deadline.

In Part Two of  our five-part transcription, MacLellan discusses past trades the Capitals have made and how the outcomes of those trades have provided a framework heading into Monday’s NHL trade deadline:

On lessons learned from last year’s deadline acquisitions of defenseman Tim Gleason and forward Curtis Glencross:

I think we did the same with Gleason as (Mike) Weber here. I still believe that’s what we wanted to have for the playoffs again and I think Glencross...I thought it was a good idea at the time, because I wasn’t sold on (Evgeny) Kuznetsov and (Andre) Burakovsky, where they were development-wise. We needed a guy to help. Given what was in the market, we tried a couple of guys higher but the cost was too high so we went down to the next level. That’s going to happen again this year. We probably overpaid a little (second- and third-round draft picks) to get (Glencross).

On the number of teams willing to move players and picks this time of year:

I think teams making a (playoff) push put pressure on themselves to accomplish something. You get caught up in it during the deadline. I think they want to show their team they’re adding, they want to show the fans something, and more than not there’s not enough players that can have an impact on your team for everybody to accomplish that. You think last year, Chicago added (Antoine) Vermette, paid a first-rounder...they paid a lot for that. L.A. added (Andrej) Sekera for a lot (first-round pick and a prospect). We talked to both those guys during the year. They bucked up and gave the first, plus, and so I guess in the end you say Chicago’s successful because they won and L.A. said, ‘We won’t do that again.’ That’s always the case. If you win and you did something, it’s good. Everybody else, you overpaid.

On deadline deal he is most proud to have been a part of with the Caps:

The (Sergei) Fedorov year (2008). We got (Cristobal) Huet (from the Canadiens for a second-round pick), Fedorov (from Columbus for defenseman Theo Ruth) and Matt Cooke (from Vancouver for forward Matt Pettinger). I thought that was our best. We filled a lot of holes and did it efficiently. I thought it really rounded out our lineup.

On how he views the Capitals’ Stanley Cup window:

I view it as a two-year window. We’re going for it this year, we’re going for it next year and then after that we’re evaluating where we’re at. We’re going to have some decisions to make as far as veteran players and our young guys (Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, Tom Wilson, Karl Alzner, Nate Schmidt) are going to be due for some pay raises.

On the advantage of addressing roster needs in the offseason as opposed to the trade deadline:

To me, the sooner you can do it, the chemistry develops. It’s always dangerous when you’re bringing a guy in (late) because the chemistry just doesn’t happen. It kind of evolves into something. The team has to grow together. When you’re adding big pieces at the deadline, it’s always a question mark whether it will work or not, chemistry-wise. Unless you have a big hole and I don’t think we have a big hole.

On whether the Caps could be done with trades:

We could be done. We could be.

On if he’s OK with the Caps’ current roster if no deals are made between now and Monday:

I am.

On Stan Galiev’s first full season in the NHL:

It’s a tough situation for Stan and for us.  He’s been a late developer and he’s a little bit behind but because of the waiver rule, we have trouble getting him ice time in Hershey and getting games up here. We could lose him (through waivers), and I don’t think we’re comfortable with cutting the cord with him yet because we see some potential. In an ideal world we would have like to have him going back and forth (to Hershey) all year.

On the free agent signing of Mike Richards:

I see the progression in his game. He’s added a lot defensively. Faceoffs have been good, PK has been good. I think he’d like a little more offensive production but again, he’s played fourth line for most of it. When he’s played third line, he’s looked good at it. You see more plays, you see more chances. I think it’s good and I have the expectation that he’s going to continue to improve too because he hasn’t played in a long time.

On if he was confident the Canadian courts would rule in Richards’ favor at the time the Capitals signed him:

From my discussions with him, I think it’s a huge relief. I think he feels a weight lifted off his shoulders and I think the last couple games, he’s played like it, too. To be freed up mentally. We talked to his lawyer and representation and obviously we talked to him. The lawyer gave us input on what he thought the direction of the case would go and the possible outcomes, what could happen. We had a good level of comfort that it was going to get dismissed, but it wasn’t 100 percent.​​

On if he considers Mike Richards a Barry Trotz-type player:

I think (Trotz) loves him. He loves the grittiness, the compete level. I mean, that’s his kind of guy, blue collar, all-you-got. He loves him.

MORE CAPITALS: Report: Kovalchuk threatens KHL team with return to North America

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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


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!