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Trotz addresses NHL's decision not to discipline Niskanen

Trotz addresses NHL's decision not to discipline Niskanen

PITTSBURGH—Capitals coach Barry Trotz said he was not surprised that the NHL decided against supplemental discipline for defenseman Matt Niskanen, who was ejected Monday night for cross checking Penguins captain Sidney Crosby in the head.

“I thought it was the right decision,” Trotz said Tuesday morning. “I mean, you had two forces, one coming across [and another] coming this way.”

“That’s hockey,” he added. “It’s a hockey play.”

Niskanen received a five minute major and a game misconduct for the controversial cross check at 5:24 of the first period. Crosby did not return to the game, an eventual 3-2 overtime win for the Caps.

There had been no update on Crosby’s status by the time Trotz spoke at the Caps’ media availability. (The team did not practice after going to extra time for the sixth time in nine postseason games.)

RELATED: Sullivan sidesteps questions on Crosby hit/ injury

Asked if he thought the series might turn nastier because of the Crosby injury, Trotz said he did not know what to expect between a couple of teams that already have a deep dislike for one another.

“Hopefully Sid’s fine,” Trotz said. “I saw some tweets saying that he looked like he was fine when he was walking out last night. I expect him back in the series. He’s a great player in this league. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. They won’t announce anything today I’m sure.”

Trotz was also asked how the teams’ fan bases can see the same hit so differently.

“Because you’re a fan,” Trotz said. “You have your side. It’s like a car accident. I mean, you have your side how it happened, and the other person will have his side. It’s perspective.”

Trotz continued: “That’s why we have a player safety [department]. We have actual players who have played the game, not people who haven’t played the game and don’t know the situation and how you would react.”

Although Crosby’s status remains unknown, the Caps know this much: They’ll have their most important defenseman on the ice for Wednesday’s pivotal Game 4.

And Trotz couldn’t be happier about that development.

“He’s a calming presence,” Trotz said of Niskanen. “He plays the game the right way. He makes a lot of good decisions. He’s just a solid [player]. He’s probably not exceptional at anything, but he’s very good at everything.”

MORE CAPS: Niskanen addresses hit on Sidney Crosby

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Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

Trade acquisition Brenden Dillon ‘couldn’t be happier’ to be joining Capitals

The Capitals made their first significant trade of the season on Tuesday, acquiring defenseman Brenden Dillon from the San Jose Sharks in exchange for a 2020 second-round pick and a conditional 2021 third.

Dillon, who’s spent the last six seasons with the Sharks, was emotional Monday night when asked for his thoughts on potentially playing his last game with San Jose. He choked up during his answer and had to walk away from the media scrum to collect himself.

The mood was a bit different Tuesday when Dillon found out he’d be heading to D.C. to play with the Metropolitan Division-leading Capitals.

“I’m really excited,” Dillon said. “I can’t wait to get out there. I mean obviously the opportunity, the team, the group, what an opportunity.”

The Capitals have been widely rumored to be seeking a defenseman to bolster their blue line and Dillon was an attractive piece as Washington didn’t have to part with a first-round pick in order to get him. After losing six of their last nine games, the Capitals are looking for a spark—and Dillon can’t wait to help get them back on track.

“It’s been crazy, it really has,” Dillon said. “I think just mentally, guys can say, ‘You don’t read this or don’t read that.’ But it wears on you for sure and I’ve just kinda tried to bring the lunch pail to work every day and do my job. But definitely couldn’t be happier to get going.”

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Looking back at an incredible scrap between Garnet Hathaway and Brenden Dillon, now Capitals teammates

Looking back at an incredible scrap between Garnet Hathaway and Brenden Dillon, now Capitals teammates

It might be a little awkward for Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway when Brenden Dillon walks into the building for the first time.

Back in March of 2018, when Hathaway played for the Calgary Flames and Dillon was a member of the San Jose Sharks, the two engaged in a very even tilt that lasted close to a minute long.

Now, they are teammates.

NBC Sports Washington's Craig Laughlin tweeted out a video of the 2018 fight between the then-Calgary and Sharks players upon hearing the news of Washington's newest addition.

The two were both given five-minute penalties for the fight. The Sharks won that game, 5-1. 

Washington traded for Dillon on Tuesday, hoping to bolster their blue line by adding the physical defenseman. 

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