News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Practice: A Different Third Line and Fatima Al Ali Returns


The Washington Capitals returned to the ice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex Thursday morning after a day off on Wednesday to begin preparations for Friday’s rematch with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The two teams just faced each other on Tuesday night, with Washington coming away victorious thanks to Nicklas Backstrom’s last-minute game- winning goal. Here are the news and notes from Thursday morning. 



Scratches: Andre Burakovsky (F) and Taylor Chorney (D)

Andre Burakovsky was a healthy scratch Thursday morning while Alex Chiasson skated in his spot on the third line alongside Lars Eller and Brett Connolly. During Tuesday’s game in Columbus, Burakovsky only played a total of 6:34. His last shift came with 2:11 left in the second period. Burakovsky sat out the entire third period.

“We’ve all seen that he’s a good player, we’ve seen it in the past where he’s good in the playoffs and all that but he just hasn’t found his game right now and some of the decisions he’s making, I’m just sort of trying to get his attention a little bit,” explained Capitals head coach Barry Trotz following the practice session.

Trotz then added, “I think Andre is gonna be a guy we need down the stretch. We’ve seen it. I need him. We need him. He needs to just find his game a little bit and it’s been a struggle for him this year for the most part. He really hasn’t got a lot of traction, got hurt but at the same time he hasn’t found his game… Now it’s really on Andre; he’s not a first or second year player.”

While Burakovsky did end a nine-game scoreless drought in a win last Wednesday over the Flyers, Burakovsky’s only point over the next three games came on an assist in the Capitals Super Bowl Sunday loss to the Vegas Golden Knights. So far this season, Burakovsky has only four goals and seven assists, good for 11 points. Additionally, Burakovsky has had goalless droughts of seven, six, and nine games respectively. It is clear there has been some struggles going on with Burakovsky’s game. You can read more about that here.

“This was not really what I was expecting this year at all. I still have the most important part left of the season so I’m just gonna get ready for the playoffs and help the team as much as I can,” said Burakovsky.

After practice the team had some more tire fun, firing passes through one tire and then shooting through a second tire.

The Capitals welcomed back Fatima Al Ali with her teammates of the United Arab Emirates Women’s National Hockey Team. Her friendship with the Capitals began last season when Peter Bondra discovered her talents at a youth hockey clinic in Abu Dhabi. Bondra invited her to DC to take in a few Caps games a year ago and she even got to practice with the team. In addition, Fatima returned to attend Game’s 1 and 2 of the Capitals second round playoff series with the Penguins.

On Thursday the United Arab Emirates attended the Capitals practice at Kettler. Prior to Friday night’s game with the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Capitals will welcome the entire UAE team to the ice for a ceremonial puck drop. After the Capitals practiced, the UAE team hit the ice. Here is Fatima catching up with T.J. Oshie.

The UAE team would then be joined by Bondra, Chandler Stephenson and Madison Bowey.

Here is Fatima showing off her hockey skills in a shootout drill.



  • Nicklas Backstrom became the fifth player in franchise history to record 200 career goals (Alex Ovechkin: 590; Peter Bondra: 472; Mike Gartner: 397; Mike Ridley: 218) when he scored the game-winning goal with under a minute left on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  • Backstrom is one of five players selected in the 2006 draft to record 200 career goals.
  • Backstrom’s 769 career points (200 goals, 569 assists) rank first among the 2006 draft class, leading Phil Kessel by 55 points.

Barry Trotz

Andre Burakovsky


By Michael Marzzacco

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6 Responses to News and Notes from Thursday’s Capitals Practice: A Different Third Line and Fatima Al Ali Returns

  1. Anonymous says:

    BT has been to the 2nd round and 7 games while in DC…. cant argue there… but he still makes choices I dont like including AC ahead of Burky… The Caps are in the playoffs in spite of J Tanner’s endless dire warnings… Top 6 teams are dead even. Holtby never lit it up in the playoffs… he has to this year.

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  4. Brenna Neal says:

    Trotz has ruined Burakovsky’s confidence. I really think Trotz just doesn’t like him for some reason. I also think Wilson does not belong on that top line. They need someone playing with Ovechkin who can score. Wilson has proven time and again he would have a hard time hitting the side of a barn.
    Oshie should be playing with Ovi and Backstrom. The Caps really need a better head coach. Someone who has won the cup would be great. Trotz isnt it, and should really consider making himself a healthy scratch.

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