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Stanley Cup parade on the National Mall?

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Stanley Cup parade on the National Mall?

If you’re like Michael Jenkins and believe this is the year Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals will parade the Stanley Cup through a sea of red on the National Mall, I suggest you run to Las Vegas now to put your money where your heart is.

Run, don’t walk.

As of today, Bovada has the Capitals listed at 18 to 1 odds of winning the first Stanley Cup in their 42-year history, behind the Chicago Blackhawks (13/2), Anaheim Ducks (10/1), Los Angeles Kings (10/1), Tampa Bay Lightning (10/1), Pittsburgh Penguins (14/1), St. Louis Blues (14/1) and Minnesota Wild (16/1).

The Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators also are listed at 18 to 1 odds.

RELATED CSN begins extensive Caps coverage Monday night

Oddly enough, the Caps were given identical 18 to 1 odds in Vegas back on June 16, before acquiring three-time Stanley Cup champion Justin Williams and Olympic sensation T.J. Oshie to fortify their forward depth.

The Caps are also listed at 15 to 2 to win the Eastern Conference, behind the Rangers (9/2), Lightning (9/2) and Penguins (7/1) and 9 to 2 to win the Metropolitan Division, behind the Rangers (12/5) and Penguins (13/4).

The complete odds are listed below. I’m not convinced the Bruins deserve to be as high as they are, or that the Florida Panthers deserve to be as low. In fact, it would not shock me to see the Bruins miss the playoffs and the Panthers to sneak in.

We’ll engage in that debate as we get closer to the regular season opener, but for now, have fun breaking down these odds:

Odds to win the 2016 Stanley Cup                                                         

                                                         June 16           Current Odds

Chicago Blackhawks                             7/1                    13/2

Anaheim Ducks                                     10/1                  10/1

Los Angeles Kings                                14/1                  10/1

New York Rangers                                 8/1                    10/1

Tampa Bay Lightning                             12/1                  10/1

Pittsburgh Penguins                              14/1                14/1

St. Louis Blues                                      12/1                  14/1

Minnesota Wild                                     14/1                  16/1

Montreal Canadiens                               14/1                  18/1

Nashville Predators                               16/1                  18/1

Washington Capitals                              18/1                  18/1

Boston Bruins                                          16/1                20/1

New York Islanders                                22/1                  22/1

Columbus Blue Jackets                         33/1                  25/1

Calgary Flames                                     40/1                  28/1

Dallas Stars                                         66/1                  28/1

Detroit Red Wings                                 33/1                  28/1

Winnipeg Jets                                       25/1                  28/1

Edmonton Oilers                                   33/1                  33/1

Ottawa Senators                                    50/1                  40/1

San Jose Sharks                                   40/1                  40/1

Vancouver Canucks                               40/1                  66/1

Colorado Avalanche                              66/1                  66/1

Florida Panthers                                    75/1                  66/1

New Jersey Devils                                 66/1                  75/1

Philadelphia Flyers                                66/1                  75/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             66/1                  100/1

Buffalo Sabres                                      100/1                100/1

Carolina Hurricanes                                100/1                100/1

Arizona Coyotes                                    100/1                150/1

Odds to win the 2016 Eastern Conference

New York Rangers                     9/2

Tampa Bay Lightning                 9/2

Pittsburgh Penguins                  7/1

Washington Capitals                  15/2

Montreal Canadiens                   8/1

Boston Bruins                           10/1

New York Islanders                    10/1

Columbus Blue Jackets             12/1

Detroit Red Wings                     12/1

Ottawa Senators                        18/1

Florida Panthers                        28/1

New Jersey Devils                     40/1

Philadelphia Flyers                    40/1

Buffalo Sabres                          50/1

Carolina Hurricanes                    50/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                 50/1

Odds to win the 2016 Western Conference

Chicago Blackhawks                 13/4

Anaheim Ducks                         11/2

Los Angeles Kings                    11/2

St. Louis Blues                          15/2

Minnesota Wild                         9/1

Nashville Predators                   9/1

Winnipeg Jets                           12/1

Calgary Flames                         14/1

Dallas Stars                              14/1

Edmonton Oilers                       16/1

San Jose Sharks                       20/1

Vancouver Canucks                   25/1

Colorado Avalanche                  33/1

Arizona Coyotes                        75/1

Odds to Win the 2016 Atlantic Division

Tampa Bay Lightning                             11/5

Montreal Canadiens                               12/5

Boston Bruins                                       11/2

Detroit Red Wings                                 13/2

Ottawa Senators                                    7/1

Florida Panthers                                    10/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             20/1

Buffalo Sabres                                      22/1

Odds to win the 2014 Metropolitan Division      

New York Rangers                                 12/5

Pittsburgh Penguins                              13/4

Washington Capitals                              9/2

New York Islanders                                19/4

Columbus Blue Jackets                         13/2

Philadelphia Flyers                                12/1

New Jersey Devils                                 14/1

Carolina Hurricanes                                22/1

Odds to Win the 2014 Pacific Division   

Anaheim Ducks                                     17/10

Los Angeles Kings                                13/5

Calgary Flames                                     6/1

Edmonton Oilers                                   13/2

San Jose Sharks                                   7/1

Vancouver Canucks                               7/1

Arizona Coyotes                                    35/1

Odds to Win the 2014 Central Division  

Chicago Blackhawks                             11/5

St. Louis Blues                                      3/1

Minnesota Wild                                     4/1

Nashville Predators                               9/2

Dallas Stars                                         9/1

Winnipeg Jets                                       19/2

Colorado Avalanche                              14/1

 

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This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat

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Twitter/@PeachOmania

This Caps Stanley Cup tattoo has everyone's beat

Since the Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup for the first time over one month ago, Caps fans, (and players), have rushed to their local tattoo parlor to get some ink commemorating the win.

We've seen the classic Capitals logo with the Stanley Cup, but nothing that comes close to the masterpiece that is Shane Peacher's tattoo.

Peacher tweeted to Joe B and Courtney Laughlin the finished tat: a work of art featuring Alex Ovechkin kissing the Stanley Cup for the first time as it's hoisted over his head.

Joe B replied making sure Shane had enough room on his other tricep for next year.

Shane replied that he's thinking of Evgeny Kuznetsov's iconic celebration that has since been dubbed the "birdman."

Shane got his Caps tattoo at the Helix Tattoo Lodge in Rising Sun, Maryland, by tattoo artist, Justin Holcombe.

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

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Key Caps questions: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing long-term?

Key Caps questions: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing long-term?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir and Capitals correspondent JJ Regan are here to help you through the offseason doldrums. They will discuss key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: Will John Carlson repeat his career year after signing a long-term contract?

Tarik: When a player has a career year and it coincides with the final year of his contract, the reaction from some fans and media is often a sarcastic, ‘Well, of course he did.’

And I’m sure there are some folks who wonder about Carlson’s breakout season and whether there was a connection between the uptick in his production and the potential of an enormous payday.

Indeed, the 28-year-old established highs in goals (15), assists (53), points (68) and ice time (24:47). He was outstanding in the postseason, too, amassing five goals and 15 assists while playing solidly in his own end to help lead the Caps to their first championship.

The financial reward came a couple of weeks later when he signed an eight-year, $64 million contract to remain in Washington.

Which brings us to today’s question.

It’s obviously impossible to say for sure what’s going to happen, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had another big season. Why? A few reasons:

  • As good as he was, last year wasn’t a total outlier, either. Carlson racked up 55 points (12 goals, 43 assists) in 2014-15, which was tied for fifth best among blue liners that year.
  • He was at his best last season skating with trade deadline addition Michal Kempny. Kempny, of course, also re-upped, agreeing to a four-year extension. So, in theory, Carlson should be able to pick up where he left off.
  • Carlson has credited Todd Reirden with helping him take his game to new heights. Well, Reirden is now the guy in charge of the whole operation. How could that not help?
  • A major reason Carlson puts up so many points is his role on the power play. And that unit, which really hit its stride in the postseason (29.3-percent), returns all five skaters.
  • Carlson has also been pretty durable, which is critical to being productive. In fact, last season he skated in all of the Caps’ games for the sixth time in eight full-time seasons.

So, yeah, it’s all setting up nicely for Carlson to have a strong 2018-19.

To me, the only unknown is whether he’ll have the same hunger and determination now that he’s got long-term security and that previously elusive championship ring.

Again, that’s impossible to predict. But I can tell you this: Over the course of two decades in this business, I’ve covered lots of players who inked life-changing contracts. With a few of them, I had immediate concerns.

I have no such reservations about Carlson's ability to play up to his new deal, particularly in the first several seasons of it.

JJ: There's nothing wrong with a player being motivated by a new deal, but I am always wary when players have career years on the last year of their contract.

The issue is whether or not a player can continue to play at the level they showed when a new contract is no longer a motivating factor. After signing a new deal for eight years and $64 million, Carlson won't have to think about money or contracts for a long time.

When it comes to motivation, a lot of the questions surrounding the Capitals this year will depend on how they react to winning the Cup. Of course everyone wants to repeat, but psychologically will they come into camp more motivated than ever to defend their title or will they be satisfied with finally winning it all?

For Carlson, there are several reasons to be hopeful. Tarik went over a number of those reasons above, but the two biggest for me are Michal Kempny and Todd Reirden.

This season, Carlson will have Kempny as his partner to start, rather than a cycle of practically every left-handed defenseman on the ice depending on the situation. Second, what Mitch Korn is to goalies, Reirden is to defensemen. With him as the head coach, I believe the ceiling for Carlson will only continue to climb.

Let's also go beyond the numbers. Matt Niskanen suffered an injury early last season that forced Carlson into a primary role on both ends of the ice. He was playing nearly 30 minutes a night and, with two rookies on the blue line who Barry Trotz did everything he could to shelter, those were very hard minutes. Yet, Carlson excelled. The offensive upside was always there, but the way he played defensively was a revelation.

While Dmitry Orlov and Niskanen will remain a solid pair for the Caps, I believe Carlson will be the guy heading into the season which will mean more minutes and more responsibility.

Plus, despite what he meant to the team's defense and despite leading all defensemen in points with 68, Carlson was not selected to participate in the All-Star Game, he was not one of the three finalists for the Norris Trophy and he was not among the four defensemen named to the end of season All-Star team. His incredible season earned him no recognition at all other than his new contract. A $64 million contract is a heck of a consolation prize, but his season deserved more recognition than that.

You don't often see a player of his caliber enter a season with a chip on his shoulder, but Carlson should have a fairly sizable one.

Other key questions

How will the Caps look different under Todd Reirden?
Will the Caps suffer a Stanley Cup hangover?
Can Alex Ovechkin still challenge for another Rocket Richard Trophy?
Has Evgeny Kuznetsov made the jump from really good player to superstar?