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Who are the top 10 Capitals players of all time?

Who are the top 10 Capitals players of all time?

As part of All-Star weekend, the NHL will unveil its list of the 100 Greatest NHL Players Friday at 9:30 p.m. That got me thinking, who are the best Capitals players of all time?

The Washington Capitals franchise is currently playing in its 43rd NHL season. During that time a lot of greats have come through Washington. Picking out just 10 is no easy task.


Before going over who did make the list, here are a few players who just barely missed the cut.

Adam Oates: Putting his horrific tenure as head coach aside, Oates was a phenomenal player who was a key part of the team's run to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998.

Braden Holtby: When his career is finished, Holtby will be the best goalie in franchise history, but he's not quite in the Caps' top 10 just yet.

Michal Pivonka: Michal Pivonka spent the entirety of his 13-year NHL career as a Capital and was the franchise leader in assists until getting passed by Nicklas Backstrom in 2015.

Dave Christian: Christian was a great player with the Caps, but the greatest achievement of his career actually came in the Olympics as he was a part of the 1980 Miracle on Ice USA team.

Other honorable mentions: Guy Charron, Al Iafrate, Sergei Gonchar, Mike Ridley, Bengt Gustafsson, Calle Johansson, Yvon Labre, Dino Ciccarelli, Kelly Miller, Bobby Carpenter, John Druce, Jaromir Jagr, Mike Green

Those are the players who didn't make it. Who did?

Check out who the top 10 Capitals players of all time are here.

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Hathaway suspension fair, but NHL justice system far from perfect

Hathaway suspension fair, but NHL justice system far from perfect

The NHL wheel of justice spun Wednesday and landed on a three-game suspension for Capitals forward Garnet Hathaway.

To call it bad timing is an understatement. Hathaway spit on defenseman Erik Gudbranson at the tail end of a brawl in the final minute of the second period against the Anaheim Ducks Monday night.

Hathaway can’t play tonight against the New York Rangers. He will miss Saturday’s home game against Vancouver and next Wednesday’s road game against Florida. He will forfeit $24,193.53 of salary. His $1.5 million cap hit will remain on the books at a time when every dollar counts for the injured, cash-strapped Capitals.

It was a harsh penalty, one with little precedent in the NHL. It was also the right call. Spitting in someone’s face is gross. It’s wrong. On the streets of D.C. it could get you arrested for simple assault depending on the circumstances. Think that’s hyperbole? Go try it this weekend. See what happens when you get in an altercation and hock a loogie. I’m sure MPD will understand.

No one is arguing Hathaway head to a local police precinct for booking. If that were the case we’d have jails full of NHL players for post-scrum shenanigans. There’s a better way to stop that nonsense anyway: Supplemental discipline. That’s what happened here.

Hathaway accepted responsibility – even though he’d been sucker punched by Gudbranson while referee Peter MacDougall held the two menapart. His head snapped back. He was rightly furious.

It was a garbage play by Gudbranson, who had a hand free and took a shot. He was lucky to get away with a 10-minute misconduct. It should have been more. But you can’t spit in his face. Sorry. Hathaway himself said “it has no place” in the sport.

To his credit, Hathaway immediately talked with reporters after the Anaheim game and took responsibility, apologized. He’s a hard, respected player with no real disciplinary track record. He even addressed it all again at practice on Tuesday. That’s accountability to yourself and your teammates. It was admirable.

There’s no question Hathaway thinks Gudbranson is full of it for whining about getting spit upon given his cheap shot. There was an edge to Hathaway’s voice when he talked about the play, but that’s as far as he would go. No excuses. Not in public. Because you can’t spit on people.

Critics angry at an NHL disciplinary process rife with inconsistencies will harp on precedence. They have a legitimate point. Head shots go unpunished for one player, another gets the book thrown at him. Players are kneed, slashed, punched, slew-footed, boarded, charged and it’s a total guess sometimes how the Department of Player Safety comes to its decisions – even with videos giving narrated explanations. Sometimes it does feel like they write suspensions on a piece of paper, fold it up and spin the drum.

Capitals fans remember all too well Sidney Crosby spitting at Evgeny Kuznetsov in Game 3 of the 2018 Stanley Cup playoff series with the Penguins. It was a disgusting act deserving of punishment if you were wearing red and an eye roll if you were wearing black and gold.

But that’s mostly because for a day there it felt like we were in the Keith Hernandez episode of Seinfeld (“Back and to the left!” “That is ONE magic loogie!”). The NHL took a hard pass on suspending its marquee star during one of the biggest playoff series in years.

This might have been morally wrong. It might have been a double standard. But if you have to break down a spitting incident like it’s the Zapruder film, you can probably just boo Crosby super loud next time he’s on the ice and move on. That’s basically what happened.

Meanwhile, Boston Bruins face licking specialist Brad Machand spent the better part of 2018 wiping his tongue across unsuspecting opponents to draw a retaliatory penalty because he’s a total lunatic. Why didn’t he get suspended?

Great point. He should have been. Let’s all go jump into the DeLorean and get him five games (Marchand was a repeat licker) for slurping Tampa Bay’s Ryan Callahan, who rightly argued there was no difference between that behavior and spitting.

That all happened during a 2018 Stanley Cup playoff series, too, so maybe the league was just reluctant to take out star players before an elimination game. Well, the NHL got that one wrong for sure. It finally told Marchand to stop…or else. But there were no real consequences.

Hathaway is probably paying the price for that warning now and it isn’t fair. He’s the one without a track record. He’s the one punched in the face. But when you spit, you lose the moral high ground. Is that harsh? Sure.

A two-game suspension seemed right and I doubt the Ducks would have kicked up much fuss over one. Bu if you’re arguing for nothing, or a simple fine, you’re a fan going full fanatic. Hockey discipline is sometimes a cruel joke. The over-the-top reactions to those decisions are also comically tribal. Both those things can be true. Hathaway and the Capitals will be fine. The next spitting incident just better match this punishment.


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Garnet Hathaway suspended 3 games, a costly suspension given the Caps' injury woes

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Garnet Hathaway suspended 3 games, a costly suspension given the Caps' injury woes

Garnet Hathaway has been suspended for three games for spitting on Anaheim Ducks forward Erik Gudbranson, the NHL announced Wednesday. Hathaway will forfeit $24,193.53 of his salary as part of the suspension. He will not be eligible to play again until Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, when the Capitals host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Hathaway is in his first season with the Caps after signing a four-year deal in the offseason. He has two goals and five assists in 23 games putting him on pace for easily the best season of his career as his previous career-high in points is 19. He was signed to bring some added grit to the lineup and the returns were very good, Monday's events notwithstanding.

The incident happened at the end of the second period of Monday's game between the Caps and Ducks. A brawl broke out in which Hathaway was in the middle of. As the linesman tried to keep Hathaway and Gudbranson separated, Gudbranson continued connecting punches until Hathaway retaliated.

"The refs were trying to break it up and it felt like there was a couple sucker punches thrown," Hathaway said after the game, "And I got there one quick and then reacted a little emotionally and unfortunately spit came out of my mouth after I got sucker punched and it went on to him."

"It has no place," he added. "It was an emotional play by me. You don't plan any of that stuff in your head and it was a quick reaction and unfortunately the wrong one for me to a sucker punch."

That wrong decision now puts the Caps in a salary cap bind.

Hathaway's salary remains on the cap while he is suspended giving a Caps team already dealing with little cap room even tighter against the ceiling. That is bad news considering the number of injuries the team is dealing with.

Nicklas Backstrom is out of Wednesday's game, Carl Hagelin was placed on LTIR and Nic Dowd on IR earlier Wednesday. All three are day-to-day with upper-body injuries. By placing Hagelin on LTIR, it frees some cap space for the team to work with, The Caps recalled Beck Malenstyn, who will make his NHL debut Wednesday, as well as Mike Sgarbossa, Tyler Lewington and Ilya Samsonov.

Samsonov comes in to backup Holtby, Lewington comes in as a No. 7, but once again the Caps will carry the bare minimum of 12 healthy forwards on the roster until Backstrom, Dowd or Hagelin return from injury or Hathaway returns from suspension.

What should not be lost in this is that this is just November. The team is banking virtually no cap space with all these injuries and corresponding moves meaning the cap situation is not likely to get better any time soon.