Capitals Daily Report: Redemption Tour Underway

One year ago, the Capitals season ended in heartbreaking fashion at the hands of their biggest nemesis: the Pittsburgh Penguins. Over the last year there was pain, heartbreak and a whole lot of “what ifs” around DC. After Pittsburgh took care of the Blue Jackets pretty easily, the Capitals showed heart and resilience by defeating the Maple Leafs in three straight games. And here we are. The Capitals get another chance at revenge and preparation for that got underway this morning at Kettler

PRACTICE

Nate Schmidt was on the ice for practice after temporarily leaving Game 6 after he was hit by Leo Komarov in the third period. He came back into the game a few minutes later. T.J. Oshie, who blocked a shot late in Game 6, was also present as well as Karl Alzner. Alzner has missed four straight games with an upper-body injury, but he hopes to return to game action soon. Alzner was taking rushes with Taylor Chorney.

The whole team was present except for Lars Eller as preparations for the Penguins got underway. Chandler Stephenson was taking rushes on the third line with Tom Wilson and Andre Burakovsky. Eller was taking a maintenance day.

The top two lines were getting shots up on Braden Holtby.

There was a sticky situation or Schmidtuation with the equipment. Schmidt and Alex Ovechkin both left the ice with broken skates, but got them repaired and returned back to the ice.

The Capitals also focused on drills in front of the net. Daniel Winnik had a nice backhander here.

Wilson and Evgeny Kuznetsov faked out Holtby.

The Capitals would change rinks back to their main practice rink to work on 5-on-5 scrimmaging. While Ovechkin was getting his skate fixed, Paul Carey was in his place. Ovi didn’t return to the practice. When the scrimmage started Trotz asked him, “You didn’t have another pair.” Ovechkin replied, “I couldn’t find them.”

Alzner didn’t take part in the scrimmage. Wilson left the ice after taking an awkward fall, returned briefly, but then limped back to the locker room and didn’t return. According to the Caps, Wilson blocked a shot with his foot, but he should be okay. Trotz also confirmed that he’s okay and left practice as a precaution.

After 5-on-5 the team switched to special teams drills. Alzner participated in his usual spot on the penalty kill.

After power play/penalty kill work, the team practiced 2-on-2’s.

After the team stretched to conclude practice, Kuznetsov and Chorney remained on the ice to work on their slapshots.

Carey, Stephenson, and Jay Beagle remained on the ice to help clean up the pucks.

Following the skate, Alzner gave an update, saying that he’s progressed, but is unsure if he’ll be ready for the series. Today was his heaviest workload since getting injured. Trotz said that while Alzner has progressed, the team isn’t at the point yet on where they have to make a decision on putting him back in. Trotz also said that he expects Eller to return to practice tomorrow.

SCENES FROM KETTLER

SHAVINGS

  • This is the first time in franchise history that the Caps have reached the second round in three straight years. (Ted Starkey)
  • This is the first time the Capitals have won three playoff series in three years since 1997-99, when they won three straight in the 1998 playoffs. (Ted Starkey)
  • The Capitals are the only team to have made the second round for three straight years. (Ted Starkey)
  • The Capitals have outscored the Penguins 21-14 during the regular season, including a 7-1 victory at Verizon Center on Nov. 18.

DAILY LINKS
POSTGAME NOTEBOOK: Caps 2, Leafs 1 (Mike Vogel)
Capitals-Penguins second-round series guide: What you need to know (Washington Post)
For Alex Ovechkin’s agent, the Capitals have been a lifelong passion (Dan Steinberg/DC Sports Bog)
With money tight for Capitals, Karl Alzner knows his days may be dwindling in Washington (Isabelle Khurshudyan/Washington Post)
Caps want a gut check, it’s here Thursday night (Thom Loverro/Washington Times)
Ovechkin, Capitals must go through Penguins for shot at Cup (Stephen Wyno/Associated Press)

INTERVIEWS
Alex Ovechkin

By Michael Marzzacco

#CapsPens

A post shared by NoVa Caps (@nova_caps) on

About Michael Marzzacco

Michael is an avid DC sports fan with a passion for writing. He has followed the Washington Capitals since the 2003-04 season, around the time his enthusiasm for DC teams really began. It was from the days when they had the worst record in the league to when they became the most exciting team in the area. His Dad took him to his first Caps game a couple of years later. One of his favorite memories was being in the stands during the 2015 Winter Classic where Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal with 12 seconds left. Michael graduated from Radford University in May 2016, earning a degree in journalism and focusing on sports journalism and broadcasting. His goal is to work in sports media in Washington, D.C.
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