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Wilson ready to rep Team Canada

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Wilson ready to rep Team Canada

By Ben Raby
CSNwashington.com

TORONTO One of hockeys best rivalries will be renewed this week when 56 junior aged prospects from Canada and Russia celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Summit Series with a four-game series of their own.

The 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge will see the teams meet in Yaroslavl, Russia on Thursday and Friday before resuming the series in Halifax, Nova Scotia, next Monday and Tuesday.
Washington Capitals prospect Tom Wilson (first-round pick, 16th overall, 2012 NHL Entry Draft) will be among the teenagers representing Team Canada.

Its really valuable anytime I get a chance to go anywhere with Hockey Canada and so far its been a great experience, Wilson told TSN in Canada. I went to the Czech Republic last summer for the World Under-18 Championships so Im really just trying to take it all in while Im here because its an experience of a lifetime.

Wilson is the only 2012 first-round pick among Team Canadas forwards and he enters the international competition fresh off an impressive showing at last months Capitals development camp.

He is what we were looking for when we drafted him. Hes a big, strong kid that really competes, general manager George McPhee said July 14.

Boy, the first three or four shifts of the opening scrimmage at development camp I was worried that if he hit that way all week wed only have two or three players left on the ice. But we got him to settle down a little bit We like him a lot, great kid, character. Hes going to be a pretty effective player.

As the 2012 Olympics continue this week from London, the Canada-Russia Challenge will garner plenty of attention north of the border. All four games will be broadcast live to a national TV audience on TSN and select games will be carried live by radio stations in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.

Growing up as a Canadian, the Paul Henderson game-winning goal from the 1972 Summit Series, youve probably seen the clip hundreds of times, Wilson said.

Learning about the Cold War and the value of that 1972 hockey series in Canadian History class growing up was really cool and now to be associated with it and to play just a small part of it is just a really cool experience for me.

Other top prospects in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge include 1st overall pick Nail Yakupov (Edmonton Oilers) and 2011 3rd overall pick Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida Panthers).

POSTCARD FROM CAMP:
As Canada and Russia prepare for their four-game series, World Junior hopefuls from the United States, Sweden and Finland continue their weeklong camp in Lake Placid, NY.

In round-robin play Wednesday the U.S. beat Finland 5-2. Caps prospects Garrett Haar (seventh-round, 207th overall, 2011) and Thomas DiPauli (fourth-round, 100th overall, 2012) both played for the Americans although neither factored on the scoresheet.

Fellow Caps prospect Travis Boyd (sixth-round, 177th overall, 2011) was a healthy scratch Wednesday, but hes expected to play in at least one of the Americans two remaining round-robin games.

Check back on CSNWashington.com in the days to come for additional updates on USA Hockeys World Junior camp. The schedule of the camp (and scores of completed games) is included below.

Aug. 4
USA White 5 USA Blue 2
Aug. 5
USA Blue 4 USA White 3
Aug. 6
USA Blue 5 Finland 4

Sweden 5 USA White 1
Aug. 7
Sweden 8 Finland 2
Aug. 8
USA 5 Finland 2
Aug. 9
USA vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Aug. 10
Finland vs. Sweden, 4 p.m.
Aug. 11
USA vs. Finland, 1 p.m.

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D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

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@tkopaintings on Twitter

D.C. artist turns her love for the Washington Capitals into works of art

Local artist Taylor Kampa has taken her love for the Washington Capitals and turned it into works of art. 

You can find paintings done by Kampa of Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, T.J. Oshie, John Carlson and Braden Holtby on display at Circa Chinatown – a restaurant neighboring Capital One Arena – along with other D.C. celebrities.

A professional artist for the last decade, Kampa told NHL.com that the pictures were "passion projects," and took about eight hours to finish. She became a fan of the Caps after she began dating her now-husband back in 2009.

Her work has even caught the eye of The Great Eight. After posting a video to Instagram of her painting Ovechkin hoisting the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe Trophy winner liked and commented on it. 

"I almost died," Kampa said.

"It has been amazing sharing something that I am excited about that resonates with the people in my city," Kampa said. "I've been painting these portraits for a long time, so it's awesome to have them seen by so many people."

Kampa will also create paintings for the Capitals foundation's annual Casino Night fundraiser next year. 

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Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

Key Caps questions: Who will play center on the fourth line?

The dog days of summer are officially here, but it's never too hot to talk some hockey.

Capitals correspondent JJ Regan is here to help you through the offseason doldrums as he discusses key questions facing the Caps for the upcoming season as Washington prepares to defend its title for the first time in franchise history.

Today's question: Who will be the team's primary fourth line center?

With the departure of Jay Beagle, there is a spot open at center on the fourth line. There appears on the roster to be three clear candidates to fill that position: Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd and Nic Dowd.

To find out why you should cross Stephenson’s name off the list, you should read yesterday's Key Caps Question about whether or not Stephenson is a wing or a center. To summarize, Washington sees Stephenson as more of a wing which explains why they both re-signed Boyd and brought in Dowd.

So who will it be between those two?

Both players seem to fit the mold as effective centers in the AHL where they were both productive. Dowd has an edge in NHL experience with 131 NHL games as compared to Boyd’s eight.

But Barry Trotz clearly had faith in Boyd at center which is why we saw him fill in on the top line on March 18 in Philadelphia. Boyd rewarded that faith with a spin pass to Alex Ovechkin for an assist, his first career point.

Trotz is now gone and Todd Reirden is in charge, but there is at least a level of familiarity there with the coaching staff and Boyd, more so than with Dowd who is new to the organization.

Second, the Caps may have tipped their hand a bit when you compare the two contracts. Center is an important position and Brian MacLellan has frequently referenced the team’s strength in center depth as a major reason for their Cup run.

Both Boyd and Dowd were signed over the offseason. Both contracts are one-way, suggesting both will be in the NHL, but Boyd’s cap hit is $800,000 while Dowd’s is $650,000. Of course, that will not matter when the players get on the ice. If Dowd outplays Boyd, he will start over him. Plus, the market ultimately dictates price. Even if the Caps wanted Dowd for their top line, if you can get him for $650k, you sign him for $650k.

Considering how important a position center is, however, even on the fourth line, it seems telling that the team was willing to give Boyd, a player with eight games of experience to his name, $800k while Dowd was signed for the minimum. That seems to suggest the Caps at least foresee Boyd having a bigger role which, for two players penciled in for the fourth line, would mean playing him at center.

Other key Caps questions: