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Two former Caps named to IIHF Hall of Fame class

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Two former Caps named to IIHF Hall of Fame class

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced its 2016 Hall of Fame inductees and two former Caps made the cut. Peter Bondra and Sergei Fedorov will join Valeri Kamenski, Ville Peltonen and builders Pat Quinn and Ben Smith in the 2016 class.

Peter Bondra represented Slovakia in seven international competitions winning a gold medal in the 2002 IIHF World Championship and a bronze medal in the 2003 tournament.

According to the release: 

The defining moment in Slovakia’s hockey history occurred on 11 May 2002, in Gothenburg, Sweden. With exactly 100 seconds left in the third period of the Slovakia-Russia gold-medal game, Peter Bondra rifled a shot under the blocking arm of Maxim Sokolov, his second goal of the game, to give Slovakia a 4-3 win over Russia and its first ever gold medal.

It immediately became to Slovak sports what Paul Henderson’s goal was to Canada or Mike Eruzione’s goal to the United States.

Bondra spent 14 seasons with the Capitals. His 472 goals with the Caps stood as the most in franchise history until that mark was eclipsed in April by Alex Ovechkin.

Equally impressive was Bondra’s NHL career. Arguably the greatest Slovak to play in the league after Peter Stastny, Bondra had a career in which he eclipsed the vaunted 500-goal plateau and 1,000-game mark. After 16 years, 13 of which came with Washington, he retired in 2007 at age 39, his reputation solidified in both international and NHL circles.

Fedorov became a star player with the Detroit Red Wings and for his native Russia. He helped lead the Soviet Union to world championships in 1989 and 1990 and then Russia in 2008. He was traded from Columbus to the Caps in 2008 and scored one of the most famous goals in franchise history in the 2009 playoffs.

It's been a good year for Fedorov as he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto in 2015.

You can read the full profiles of both players here.

The IIHF Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place in Moscow on May 22.

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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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