News and Notes from Saturday’s Capitals Practice: How Did Matt Niskanen Look? Is Andre Burakovsky Back In? And Kids Have Shootout Fun with the Pros


Almost through the mini four-day break between games, the Capitals hit the ice on Saturday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex to begin final preparations for Sunday’s matinee home game with the St. Louis Blues. Sunday’s game marks the beginning of a four-game in six night stretch before the team has its bye-week. Matt Niskanen has been recovering from an upper-body injury, was he on the ice for practice? What are the chances he plays tomorrow? Here are the news and the notes from practice this morning. 

Matt Niskanen was on the ice for practice sporting the normal navy blue contact jersey that defensemen wear. A positive sign he’ll play tomorrow. Niskanen has been out since finishing last Saturday’s game against the Devils.

Niskanen took rushes on the top defensive pair with Dmitry Orlov. On Thursday, Niskanen joined the team for practice for about the first 15 minutes. On Saturday, he completed the whole session.

The verdict from Trotz after practice? He told the media that Niskanen looks “good to go”. Niskanen also said that he felt good during practice.


Starter’s net: Braden Holtby
Extra: Chorney

Andre Burakovsky, who served as a healthy scratch the last two games, was placed back on the fourth line with Jay Beagle and Alex Chiasson. Additionally, Burakovsky was back in his familiar spot on the second power play unit. It looks likely that Burakovsky could be back in the lineup for Sunday’s game. Chandler Stephenson was rotating with Brett Connolly on the third line alongside Lars Eller and Devante Smith-Pelly.


  • This season, the Capitals are 16-0-1 when they hold a lead after the first period which is good for a .941 winning percentage. The .941 winning percentage ranks them second in the league while their 16 wins lead the NHL.
  • Additionally, the Capitals hold a 17-0-2 record when leading after two periods, good for a .895 winning percentage.
  • Capitals prospect Axel Jonsson-Fjallby earned a silver medal with Team Sweden at the IIHF World Junior tournament. Jonsson-Fjallby finished with two shorthanded goals and two assists in seven games. More here. To see highlights of Jonsson-Fjallby from Caps Development Camp this past summer click here and here.


Yup, that is Braden Holtby getting deked by an 11-year old.

T.J. Oshie gets stopped by a young kid in net in the post-practice shootout. Is he the next Holtby?

By Michael Marzzacco

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4 Responses to News and Notes from Saturday’s Capitals Practice: How Did Matt Niskanen Look? Is Andre Burakovsky Back In? And Kids Have Shootout Fun with the Pros

  1. Mike I wish you–or any local writer–would point out SPECIFICALLY what Burakovsky does–(or fails to do) which keeps landing him in Barry’s doghouse.

    All I get from Tariq and others who cover the Caps is some vague, annoyingly cryptic observation that Andre was a DNPCD–the latest benching coming seven games ago after he scored two goals–including the game winner in OT on the road against Dallas …

    If it’s a matter of him disappearing or making defensive zone mistakes, I’ve seen a whole lot of his team mates (including Teacher’s Pet Nicklas Backstrom) do the exact same things–and NOT putting the puck in the net when needed (see Nick Backstrom). But the only players who ever get punished for it in the form of reduced minutes (or benchings) are Andre and Bret Connolly…

    Puzzled (and Disgusted),

    Sta. Monica

    • Brenna Neal says:

      I don’t understand the problem Trotz has with Burakovsky either. I think he plays with energy and gives 100%. I really think Trotz just doesn’t like him. I think Trotz had the same problem with Forsburg when he coached Nashville. Trotz needs to put his personal feelings aside and let the kid play. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t have much respect for the guy as a coach. Despite his longevity he never really showed me much, especially when it comes to his players. He’s thrown Ovechkin under the bus on numerous occasions, which I find inexcusable to do to your captain. Just once I would like to hear Trotz take resposibility and say the Caps had a bad game due to his failure to coach better.

      As for your opinion regarding Backstrom, I disagree completely. Backstrom isn’t just in for his offensive abilities. He plays every part of the game and is way above average at all of it. Offense, defense, power play, penalty kill, face offs, playmaking, blocking shots, you name and he does it. Yep, he can have a bad game every now and then, but they are few and far between. To compare Burakovsky and Backstrom is ridiculous, one is a proven high level star and one (if bozo Trotz doesn’t get in the way) is just learning to be.

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