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Will Neuvirth face locker room backlash?

Will Neuvirth face locker room backlash?

Its one thing for Matt Bradley to go on a Toronto radio station and say what everyone else had been saying about Alexander Semin for years that his questionable work ethic prevented him from being one of the top players in the game.

Bradley was no longer a member of the Capitals when he made those scathing comments last summer.

Michal Neuvirth is still a member of the Capitals and thats why his recent opinions on Semin, Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and Dale Hunter are gaining so much attention.

Essentially, Bradley had nothing to lose last summer when he criticized Semin. He was already a member of the Florida Panthers, who have since bought out his contract.

Neuvirth has a lot more to lose, namely the respect of his teammates. It is an unwritten rule in hockey that what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.

Of course, it doesnt always work out that way and Neuvirth provided a less than flattering glimpse inside the Capitals dressing room when he told the Czech website that Semin didnt have the best work ethic, Ovechkin isnt what he used to be, Holtby is the weakest competition hes ever faced with the Capitals and Hunter simply didnt talk to us goalies at all and its good he left.

The interview, which is translated in parts one and two by Russian Machine Never Breaks, is sure to be a topic of conversation when the Capitals gather in Arlington for the start of training camp and not just by members of the media that cover the team.

No matter how he tries to spin it, Neuvirth probably lost some support in the locker room with his comments, even if he believes them to be true.

Players are keenly aware of what their teammates say about them and you can be sure Ovechkin and Holtby will look at Neuvirth differently this season than they did last. At 24, Neuvirth has a career record of 51-30-9 in the NHL and has a lot more to accomplish before he starts criticizing the play of his teammates.

If Neuvirth was trying to endear himself to his new coach and teammates in an attempt to win back the starting job for the Caps, he picked a peculiar way of doing it.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: A trip to the Stanley Cup Final is on the line


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."