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Whatever doesn't kill the Caps...

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Whatever doesn't kill the Caps...

The playoffs are the time to dig deep. Overtime in the playoffs: a time to dig deeper. On Wednesday night almost every player on the Caps and Rangers benches were asked to give more than they'd ever given in their careers.

Half of the Capitals' playoff games this year have required overtime. Wednesday night's four hour and 34 minute affair tested the mental and physical stamina of every man on the ice. So how does a player push through almost three full periods of unanticipated hockey?

A refusal to give in.

"You don't want to lose because you've fought for so long that losing, you think of it is not an option." said Jay Beagle, who logged over 35 minutes in what was "by far" the longest game of his career.

"Both my quads had seized up and I was straight-legging it," said Beagle. "It was crazy."

Marathon runners train for months in anticipation of their multi-hour, 26.2 mile task. Through their training they learn to push beyond fatigue. They experiment with different methods to refuel in order to find the perfect formula that will push them through hours of grueling physical exhaustion. It's rare that after months of careful training, a marathoner will try something new on race day.

But when asked to essentially play another full game of hockey after 60 high-tempo minutes, Beagle had no fears about trying anything necessary to push on.

"I'm not afraid of that because you basically can't feel worse than you do," Beagle said with a laugh. "It's something where during the game, at the second or third intermission. I don't try anything out of the ordinary because I feel at the top of my game, I feel great. But especially after that second overtime --that was draining. You just try and get stuff into your body --anything into your body is good I think."

But physical discomfort is only part of the problem. Through each of their overtime bouts, numerous Capitals have insisted that the only thing more fun than playoff hockey is overtime playoff hockey. After triple overtime, Beagle disagrees.

"No. No. By that point it's hard," Beagle said laughing. "It's just a grind and your body and mind are tired. You're just trying to think of anything you can do to try and finish this game to try and get the win."

As mental and physical fatigue set it, players struggle to stick to their game plan.

"You can't look too far in the future," said Ward. "You just gotta concentrate cause the minute you slip up, that's when a turnover happens. You just gotta remain mentally strong. Physically I think the guys are on the same page."

"To stay mentally disciplined positionally it gets harder because you're starting to get a little bit weaker and you can't quite get to spots as fast as you could," said Beagle. "But the will is still there to get the win.

Losing in the third overtime --that's one of the worst feelings I've had in a while. It was tough to lose after such a battle and such a fight. It didn't feel good."

What's that thing they say about losing and getting stronger? It seems to have held true for the Capitals so far this season, perhaps that trend continues in Game 4.

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Ted Leonsis reflects on Capitals' induction to D.C. Sports Hall of Fame

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NBC Sports Washington

Ted Leonsis reflects on Capitals' induction to D.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Click "play" in the embedded podcast to listen to the Capitals Talk Podcast interview with Ted Leonsis and click here to subscribe to the podcast.

Just as the party seems to be ending, the 2018 Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals are finding new ways to celebrate.

Sunday at Nationals Park, the Caps were honored with the "team of distinction" award in the D.C. sports hall of fame, the first-ever award of its kind.

“I think it just shows how this team connected with the fans and as many people have noted, this is one of the most divided cities in the world," Caps majority owner and president of Monumental Sports, Ted Leonsis said to Rob Carlin on the Capitals Talk podcast. "People can’t agree on anything, but they agreed on how much they loved, and how much fun they had and how proud they were that we won the Stanley Cup."

Founded in 1980, the D.C. sports hall of fame honors athletes, sports journalists and executives each year for excellence in D.C. sports. 2019 was the first time an entire team was formally recognized, fitting for the first-ever Stanley Cup championship in D.C.

"It [the honor] is a good capstone on that run," Leonsis said.

Listen to the full episode linked below.

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Stanley Cup champion Capitals headline group of 2019 inductees in to Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame

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NBC Sports Washington

Stanley Cup champion Capitals headline group of 2019 inductees in to Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame

Before first pitch against the Braves on Sunday, the Washington Nationals yielded the field for a celebration as the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame inducted 11 members to the 2019 class.

The class includes D.C. legends from sports such as football, basketball and soccer. The Hall of Fame created a new category to honor a "Team of Distinction." It is no surprise that the 2018 Stanley Cup Champions are the first to receive this honor. 

The full list of honorees are:

  • Andrew Beyer – covered horse racing for the Washington Post for four decades, created the Beyer Speed Figure
  • Tom Brown – two-sport professional athlete, played with the Washington Senators and Washington Redskins
  • Sasho Cirovski – winningest coach in U. of Maryland men’s soccer history, three-time NCAA champion
  • Tom Dolan – two-time Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer (1996 and 2000) and former world record holder
  • Danny Ferry – men’s basketball national player of the year at DeMatha Catholic High School and Duke University
  • Ray Flaherty (1903-1994) – first head coach of the Washington Redskins, two-time NFL champion
  • Charles Mann – two-time NFL Super Bowl champion during 11 seasons with the Washington Redskins
  • Kevin Payne – first president and CEO of DC United and four-time MLS Cup champion
  • Cathy Reese – three-time coach of the year with U. of Maryland women’s lacrosse, 12-time NCAA champion
  • Allie Ritzenberg (1918-2018) – fixture of D.C.’s tennis community for nearly eight decades
  • 2017-18 Washington Capitals – 2018 Stanley Cup champions, brought first NHL title to D.C.

The Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame was founded in 1980 and honors over 100 members of D.C. sports from athletes, sports journalists and executives.

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