by way of Stephen Whyno | AP

September 25

ARLINGTON, Va. — Tom Wilson caught himself. He knew what become about to return out of his mouth went in opposition t years of hatred between his Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

“I don’t know why I’m announcing this, but you respect a team like Pittsburgh,” the desirable-line correct winger observed. “It’s so hard to retract, not to mention to do it twice.”

The Capitals are attempting to just do that after ousting the back-to-again Stanley Cup champions closing spring on their option to the primary title in franchise history. Now that the celebrations are over, being the champs and making an attempt to start back from success are new challenges for Alex Ovechkin and Co. after 12 months after 12 months of playoff disappointment.

“each team is going to are attempting to beat us,” Ovechkin talked about. “however, for us, we just should play the equal method, on the same tempo and try to win every online game. … We take note what need to do to get success and that’s extraordinary issues.”

long past is teach Barry Trotz, who resigned amid a contract dispute, changed by means of longtime assistant Todd Reirden. that’s is one among very few adjustments for the Capitals, who traded backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer, let fourth-line center Jay Beagle go away in free agency but return 18 of the 19 avid gamers who took part in the Cup-clinching online game 5 victory in Las Vegas.

time-honored manager Brian MacLellan pulled off a coup in keeping the band collectively. correct defenseman John Carlson signed a $sixty four million, eight-12 months contract to live with Washington, key additions Devante Smith-Pelly and Michal Kempny re-signed, and the Capitals may carry their Cup banner Oct. 3 in opposition t Boston with practically the equal ahead strains and pairings as that they had within the playoffs.

The team is practically the equal, but the vibe is completely distinct after ultimately beating the Penguins, getting past the 2nd round and ending Washington’s professional activities title drought that dated to 1992.

“I believe the organization feels a bit bit distinct,” MacLellan said. “There’s much less anxiety or drive. It doesn’t mean that we don’t want to prefer or repeat or the rest like that, it just feels different. maybe it’s hard to explain. I feel the area has been taken off us a bit bit and we’re simply taking part in.”

As they come down from the high of successful and attempt to steer clear of the typical Stanley Cup hangover, players determine getting each and every opponent’s superior effort this season will only help.

“We play more suitable when groups play decent in opposition t us,” goaltender Braden Holtby noted. “We seem to elevate our degree up to play towards first rate teams. during the past, we’ve had greater issue playing in opposition t the lessen-stage groups every now and then and trying to push ourselves to do the appropriate issues in the right areas when games get sloppy. So I think it’ll be first rate. I think it’ll be remarkable to have each game guys pushing you to diverse levels.”


Reirden is barely the fourth coach in the past 30 years to assume handle of a defending Cup champion. The 47-12 months-historical sought advice from hockey and football coaches on how to strategy what he known as a “interesting problem” and came away concentrated on making an attempt to retain Washington from beginning gradual.

“It’s all calculated and it’s been concept via,” Reirden said. “I’ve been capable of accumulate some true pleasing information and hopefully that can assist proceed to element our membership within the right route.”


After a league-excessive forty nine-goals within the ordinary season and 15 greater within the playoffs because the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Ovechkin is showing no indications of slowing down at age 33. MacLellan thinks the Russian superstar appears even leaner than a yr ago and an eighth 50-intention season is definitely possible. Ovechkin’s whirlwind summer time included taking the Stanley Cup home to Moscow and his wife giving beginning to the couple’s first newborn.

“something occurs, happens,” Ovechkin stated. “You don’t are looking to do too tons and say too an awful lot. You just have to go obtainable and work hard and have success.”


enjoying fifty four average-season video games remaining 12 months allowed Holtby to have the greatest playoffs of his NHL career as he went sixteen-7 with a 2.16 dreams-in opposition t typical and .922 store percent. With Grubauer long gone and untested Pheonix Copley because the backup goalie, Holtby may ought to begin 65-plus video games once more.

“I’m no longer a guy that likes break day,” Holtby talked about. “throughout the playoffs turned into the gold standard I’ve felt as a result of i was taking part in each day. That’s just the manner I like to do it. I locate it less demanding when I’m taking part in. I locate it basically tricky when I’m not. That’s simply the manner I work.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *