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Second thoughts on Holtby, Ovi, Chorney, Nisky versus Chicago

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Second thoughts on Holtby, Ovi, Chorney, Nisky versus Chicago

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts as the Capitals enjoy an unexpected day off following their 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at Verizon Center:

Holt-beast: Braden Holtby stopped 26 of 27 shots to earn his second win of the season. He had to be at his best in the first two periods when the Blackhawks rebounded from a slow start (outshot 5-0) by firing 20 of the game’s next 30 shots.

“It’s the same thing every night from him,” Marcus Johansson said. “You can’t ask for a better goalie.”

Closing in on 900: Alex Ovechkin’s third-period goal was his second of the season and 477th of his career, leaving him two points short of 900 and 23 goals shy of 500.  Of course, if you count playoff scoring, he’s already got 513 goals and 968 points as a Capital.

Speaking of Ovi: Chicago Blackhawks assistant coach Kevin Dineen joked before the game, “Why couldn’t Ovi oversleep today? He’s going to be flying tonight.” With that in mind, here are three songs we would have liked to here last night:

“I’m Wide Awake” – Katy Perry

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” – Wham

Wake Up (Ovi ), I Think I’ve Got Something To Say To You” – Rod Stewart

I-Carly: Don’t look now but Caps defenseman John Carlson is tied for third among NHL defensemen with four points in his first three games. He’s trailing only Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson (7 points in 5 games) and Colorado’s Francois Beauchemin (5 in 3). Carlson’s two-point night against the Hawks marked his 34th career multi-point game. He also led all skaters in ice time (25:01).

Master of champions: The Capitals have won five straight home games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, including the Hawks’ last visit to D.C. on Jan. 1 at Nats Park.

Staying invisible: Caps defenseman Taylor Chorney played a quietly effective game in his Caps debut alongside Dmitry Orlov. In 12:41 of ice time, all at even strength, Chorney was even on the polus-minus ledger, blocked two shots and recorded two hits and one takeaway.

“I thought he was real steady,” Trotz said. “That’s what you want in that pair. He made all the right plays. There’s wasn’t any time I said under my breath, ‘What are you doing?’ And that’s a good sign for that pair.”

Nisky business: Caps defenseman Matt Niskanen scored his second goal of the season Thursday night and now has three points in his first three games. Last season Niskanen didn’t score his second goal until Dec. 9 in his 27th game of the season. 

In fact, Niskanen already is halfway to his goal total of last season (4). His offensive numbers should continue to climb with his increased offensive role following the departure of Mike Green, who has one assist in his first three games with the Red Wings.

What's next: The Caps have a 10:15 morning skate on Saturday at Kettler, then face off against the 0-3-0 Carolina Hurricanes, who are in Detroit tonight to face the Red Wings.

MORE CAPITALS: Friday Six-Pack: First Q&A of the Capitals 2015-16 season!

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

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Capitals trim two more from roster, sending pair of goalies to Hershey

Washington made a number of cuts Saturday morning to trim their roster down to 43 players

On Saturday night, they cut it down to 41 as the team announced goalies Parker Milner and Adam Morrison were assigned to AHL Hershey.

Milner and Morrison’s departure leaves Washington with four goalies on the current roster in Braden Holtby, Pheonix Copley, Vitek Vanecek and Ilya Samsonov.

The trade of Philipp Grubauer left the backup role in Washington a matter of some question heading into the season, but the team’s top four was never really in doubt. Saturday’s move to send Milner and Morrison to the AHL only confirms what we already knew.

With Hershey’s training camp set to start on Monday, the Bears will obviously need two goalies which explains why the move was made now. 

This will likely only be a temporary move, however, as Vanecek and Samsonov are likely to be Hershey’s goalies heading into the regular season. For now, keeping them on the Capitals roster allows them to continue practicing against better competition and will allow them the opportunity for more work in the preseason.

The Capitals still have another three preseason games left to play, the next of which will take place on Tuesday in St. Louis. 

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

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Capitals make another round of cuts sending several players to Hershey

With Hershey Bears training camp set to start on Monday, the Caps have sent a number of players to the AHL in the latest round of roster cuts. Mathias Bau, Hampus Gustafsson, Beck Malenstyn, Mason Mitchell, Brian Pinho, Kristofers Bindulis, Tobias Geisser have all been returned to Hershey. Grant Besse, who was on an AHL contract, has been returned as well. Mark Simpson has been released from his tryout agreement.

Of the players returned, there are no major surprises. The Caps only have room to add a fourth line center and possibly one or two extra forwards as well as a backup goalie and none of the players listed were in serious contention for taking one of those spots.

The moves cut Washington’s roster down to 43. The maximum roster allowed in-season is 23 players, provided the salaries fit under the $79.5 million salary cap ceiling.

The latest round of cuts still leave up for grabs the fourth line center job as Nic Dowd, Travis Boyd and Jayson Megna still remain on the current roster.

After playing four preseason games, the Caps have three more contests remaining before the start of the season. With plenty of prospects still on the roster, you can expect several of those players to be in the lineup for Tuesday’s game in St. Louis.

“For me, it's really important, really important for the overall direction of our organization to have our young players playing games,” head coach Todd Reirden said Friday. “We have to have them playing games. We can easily put out almost our entire roster to play [Friday’s] game, but that is not where we're at. We're about developing players within our organization, seeing where they're at, gauging the success that maybe they've already had in terms of their careers and seeing whether they're ready for this step or not.

“For the first four games you go through for sure a trial and error and you get to really gauge where your prospects are at. I've always felt strongly about that with young players and given them an opportunity to either stay or leave. It is in their hands. They're making the decisions for me.”

 

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