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Taking bets on when the NHL will return

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Taking bets on when the NHL will return

Now that the NHLs 700-plus players are officially lockedout, when will the NHL open its doors again for business?In time for the start of training camps on Sept. 21?In time for the season openers on Oct. 11?In time for the Winter Classic on Jan. 1?And if it the lockout drags on beyond Jan. 1, will there bea season at all?The last time the NHL issued a work stoppage in 2004, theplayers dug in their heels and missed an entire season. Caps union rep Brooks Laichsaid on Friday the players have the same resolve they did back then.I hear rumors every day, Capitals right wing Joel Wardsaid when asked how long he thinks the work stoppage will last. Ive heardChristmas, Ive heard Thanksgiving, Ive heard two weeks. I just dont evenlisten to it anymore.How long do fans feel the lockout will last?Sonja Jones, 33, of Owens Mills, Md., attended the Capitalsfinal pre-lockout practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Friday and believes theNHL will salvage a season.My gut says that if they can do it, they will start late,Jones said. I dont know if theyll try to fit in a full season. If it goespast a month I dont think theyll get in a full season. At least its not an Olympicyear, but Im not sure if players would want to extend the season even longerand miss the 2013 World Championships.Fred Welker, 68, of Arlingtonis an original Capitals season ticket holder. He said hes still hoping theplayers and owners can strike an agreement before training camp. But he said theyllneed to get to the bargaining table more often than they have in recent weeks.I just hope its short and sweet, Welker said. I mean,they dont negotiate. They talk for a half hour and nothing comes out of it.I dont understand why they dont keep meeting until they get it done. Imhoping a miracle will happen. But its very unlikely.Jean Williams, 33, of Hershey, Pa., is expecting the lockout tofollow a similar course to the one in 1994-95 when 468 games were lost from Oct.1 through Jan. 19. That year, an agreement was reached on Jan. 11 and a 48-gameseason commenced on Jan. 20.Im crossing my fingers and hoping they start the season atleast midway, Williams said. But I would not be surprised if they dont playat all.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line

The Eastern Conference Final is going the distance!

After losing three straight to the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Capitals won Game 6 to force a Game 7 in Tampa Bay. Can the Caps beat the Lightning one more time and advance to the Stanley Cup Final?

JJ Regan, Tarik El-Bashir and special guest cameraman Mike D break it all down.

 

PLEASE NOTE: Due to schedule and time constraints, this podcast was recorded by phone and the audio quality is not up to our usual standards.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

Caps push Lightning around in Game 6 with physical game plan

As the NHL continues to focus more on speed and skill, the Capitals took a very old-school approach to Game 6 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. From the moment the puck dropped until the clock hit zero, it was clear Washington came into Monday with a very physical game plan.

"It made a big difference," T.J. Oshie said. "I think in these games, everyone’s bringing energy and you kind of want to control that and direct it towards some positive play, some momentum building for your team, and tonight I think we handled that and did that pretty well."

"We just wanted to throw everything we had at them," Stephenson said. "It was a do or die game and we don't want our season to end."

It worked.

The scoresheet officially credited the Caps with 39 hits for the game. The Lightning had only 19. The physical play seemed to wear down Tampa Bay as the game went on.

After an even first period, Washington took a 1-0 lead in the second. Then, very fittingly, a physical fourth line extended that lead to 2-0 in the third to finish the Lightning off.

"All of a sudden now we turn a puck over, you’re back in your end, they’re feeling it, they’re being physical, crowd’s behind them and we’re spending way too much time in our D zone," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "That’s what hurt us."

What made it so effective was the fact that the entire team bought into it. Alex Ovechkin was certainly the most noticeable player as he threw himself around like a wrecking ball against everyone wearing a white jersey. But it was not just his line. Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six hits, Devante Smith-Pelly recorded five of his own while Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom both had four.

The Lightning faced a constant barrage from the Caps from every line and defensive pair. There was no respite.

The hits also gave the fans plenty to cheer for.

The Caps were playing an elimination game at home and Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy was standing on his head. Even with the score locked at 0-0 through the first period, the crowd was still very much into the game. There was no apprehension, there was no quiet tension. There was just a loud crowd cheering on its team.

"[The fans] were loud right from the start, which I think we fed off of and wanted to give them something back," Brooks Orpik said. "We didn't get a goal early. I think some of the physical play kind of helped carry that. They were great for us."

Now in the third round of the playoffs after six intense games between the Caps and Lightning, the hope is that Game 6's physical play will continue to take its toll on Tampa Bay heading into Game 7.

"We need to do that every game," Nicklas Backstrom said. "That's our forecheck. Hopefully, we can keep it going here in Game 7."

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