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Sunday skate: Capitals' Semin demoted

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Sunday skate: Capitals' Semin demoted

NEW YORK News and notes from Sundays 11 a.m. practice at Madison Square Garden:

Semin demoted: It may be just a one-day slap on the wrist, but right wing Alex Semin practiced on a fourth line with Keith Aucoin and Mike Knuble.

Semin was one of the Capitals best two-way forwards in the first-round series against the the Bruins and led the team with three goals. But he took two ill-advised penalties, including a retaliatory love tap to the back of Ryan Callahans legs that felled him like a cherry tree.

With Semin on the fourth line, Joel Ward moved onto a checking line with Jay Beagle and Matt Hendricks. The top line had Brooks Laich between Alex Ovechkin and Troy Brouwer and the second line had Nicklas Backstrom between Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera.

Schultz back in?: Jeff Schultz practiced alongside defense partner Dennis Wideman , which could mean hell replace John Erskine in the lineup for Monday nights Game 2.

Erskine played just 8:17 on Saturday and was even with one shot and one hit. Schultz has no points and is a minus-4 in four playoff games. The other defense pairings remained the same with John Carlson and Karl Alzner, and Roman Hamrlik and Mike Green.

Shots in the dark: The 14 shots allowed by the Capitals were by far their lowest of the playoffs. They allowed an average of 35 shots in their seven-game series against the Boston Bruins. The Caps managed just 18 shots, which was their second-lowest total of the playoffs behind the 17 shots they managed in the series opener against the Bruins. The Caps are 0-3 in the playoffs when outshooting their opponents.

Unplugged: The Capitals got off to a rough start on their power play, going 0-for-4, including a 33-second stretch with a two-man advantage. They are now 3-for-23 in the playoffs. We just need to move the puck quicker, said Caps defenseman Mike Green.

Killers: The Capitals penalty kill, led by Jay Beagle, Troy Brouwer, Matt Hendricks and Brooks Laich, continued its excellence, shutting down the Rangers on all four of their power plays. The Caps have allowed just two goals on 27 shorthanded situations.

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Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

Capitals stars react to losing Barry Trotz as head coach

LAS VEGAS—Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom weren’t expecting to lose their head coach less than two weeks after winning the Stanley Cup.

But business is business, Ovi said, and Barry Trotz is handling his by attempting to capitalize on claiming the championship.

“It’s sad,” Ovechkin said on the red carpet at the NHL Awards, where he accepted his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy on Wednesday night. “Obviously, we won together.”

The Caps’ captain also thanked Trotz for directing him—and his teammates—to new heights.  

“First of all, [I want to] thank him for a great job to be our coach, to be our dad, to give us a chance to win,” Ovechkin said. “But then again, it’s a business. You never know what’s going to happen. I’m pretty sure he’s going to be fine and I wish him luck.”

Backstrom, meanwhile, said he was caught off guard by Trotz’s decision to step down over a contract stalemate with the team. Trotz asked for $5 million per for five seasons; the Caps balked over the terms Trotz’s camp sought.   

“I was a little surprised, obviously,” Backstrom said. “I heard the scenario.”

Like Ovechkin, though, Backstrom praised the job Trotz did during his four-year tenure.

“He’s done a great job in Washington,” Backstrom said. “We obviously have him to thank for a lot. He’s done a tremendous job of schooling us and winning a championship. No one is going to take that away from him.”

Trotz’s next move is unclear, but he’s a free agent and currently eligible to negotiate with any team. The Islanders are the only team with an opening for a head coach.

As for Washington, GM Brian MacLellan said that associate coach Todd Reirden will get the first crack at replacing Trotz.

Ovechkin said he thinks Reirden would be a good fit.

“We all respect Todd,” Ovechkin said. “We all like him. Again, it’s not our thing to say who’s going to be head coach, but if it’s going to be Todd, it’s going to be fun.”

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A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

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Daniel Duffy on Twitter/@RealArtOfWords

A drawing of the moment Ovi lifted the Stanley Cup makes the moment joyful all over again

How do you make a photo of Alex Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup for the first time even more memorable?

You make it out of all the Capitals' game scores this year, of course.

Capitals fan and artist Daniel Duffy (@RealArtOfWords) posted a phenomenal finished piece commemorating the Cup win on Wednesday, June 20. It's a little meta and astounding to look at, but very fun to try and read. If you want to relive the glory that was the parts of the 2017-18 Capitals season, check out the piece.

The piece, which appears to be done in a traditional medium like pen or marker, holds the team faced, arena played at, and final score of every game. It uses six colors and over sixty lines of text. Ovechkin roars as he holds the Stanley Cup overhead, the white away jersey shaded with bits of grey text. It takes a skilled eye to sort text and colors into shapes and shading, but Daniel did a fantastic job! It's awesome to see a fanbase create different interpretations of iconic moments. We'll surely see more of Ovechkin in this moment.

Just as we thought we were going to get tired of the celebration, fans find new ways to surprise us. Stay creative, Caps fans!

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