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Trotz defends decision to sit Ovechkin for All-Star Game

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Trotz defends decision to sit Ovechkin for All-Star Game

In many ways, NHL All-Star weekend in Nashville was going to be a celebration of Barry Trotz and how he helped put the Predators on the hockey map.

Instead, the Capitals’ 53-year-old coach is likely to face lots of questions and probably a fair share of criticism for allowing -- maybe even suggesting -- that Alex Ovechkin be a no-show for the NHL’s showcase event because of a nagging injury.

And he’s OK with that.

“Ovi has gone (to All-Star games) probably more than any player in the last decade,” Trotz said. (He’s been to four). “If you really look closely, a lot of key players in this league have missed that game.”

That list includes Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who sat out last year’s All-Star Game and was suspended one game, and Red Wings stars Nicklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk missed the game in 2009, one year after the NHL began suspending players for such occurrences.    

“It’s a showcase for the league and Nashville, Tennessee,” Trotz said. “Would I like to have Ovi in Nashville? Absolutely.

“But you have to think about the big picture. The big picture for my ownership, my general manager, the players in our room, our team, and our fans is that we have to make the right decision.

“We are in the entertainment business, I get that. But you don’t win the Stanley Cup, you don’t get two points for that game. You get prize money. For us, it’s not about the prize money. We have a bigger goal and if we want to get to where we want to get to, we can’t do it without Alex Ovechkin being 100 percent. 

“We have an opportunity to do this. We have to pay a penalty for it and we’re willing to do that.

“And Alex is sorry he’s not going to Nashville. This is a decision that when it came down to it, it came from the doctors, myself and Alex being truthful with us. We made the decision for him. Alex has gone many times to a lot of different things and has been one of the faces of the league and he’s held his own. 

“Like I say, there have been a lot of players who have been in this sort of situation and some that have been healthy and teams have said, ‘Hey, he’s not going.’ But Alex has been dealing with something since mid-November.” 

MORE CAPITALS: Ovechkin explains why he's missing All-Star Game: 'Tell them sorry'

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Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

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USA Today Sports

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman loses bet, rocks Ovechkin jersey

Nearly two weeks have passed since the Washington Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights to raise their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With one team being a first-year expansion project that turned out beautifully and the other a franchise that had not appeared in a Stanley Cup Final since 1998, there was obviously a lot on the line.

Those away from the ice had 'a lot' on the line, too.

Prior to the start of the series, each city's mayor agreed on a bet that would force the losing team's member to wear an opposing jersey at the conclusion of the Cup.

Well, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman followed through on her end of the bargain.

Here is proof of her wearing the jersey of a man who led what was arguably the greatest post-championship celebration in sports history.

 

The Capitals announced Wednesday that the team's home opener and Stanley Cup banner unveiling will be played on October 3 against the Boston Bruins.

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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