News and Notes from Saturday’s Capitals Practice: The Great Dane is Settling In

After another big win over the Columbus Blue Jackets to help keep them up front in the Metropolitan Division standings, the Washington Capitals got back to work on Saturday morning at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. The team held a practice to prepare for their Sunday matinee game with the Detroit Red Wings. Prior to practice, some big news broke that affected the future of one of their potential free agents in a positive way. Here are the news and notes from Saturday. 

LINES

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Wilson
Vrana-Kuznetsov-Oshie
Connolly-Eller-Chiasson/Burakovsky
Stephenson-Beagle-Smith-Pelly
Defense
Orlov-Niskanen
Djoos-Carlson
Orpik-Bowey

NEWS
The biggest news on Saturday came before the team even laced up their skates and took the ice. The Capitals announced that they have re-signed Lars Eller to a five-year contract extension worth $17.5 million with an average annual value of $3.5 million. Eller has earned that paycheck with his stellar play on the third line this season. With 11 goals and 28 points through 53 games, he is well on his way to reaching career highs in both. His 28 points are just two shy of the career-high he set in the 2013 lockout-shortened season and Eller needs just five more goals to tie the career-high that he set in the 2011-2012 season. Both of those marks came during his time with the Montreal Canadiens. Part of his success this season came in a 10-game run from Jan 7. to Feb. 2 where Eller posted nine points (five goals, four assists).

Eller spoke with the media following practice about his new deal saying, “This is where I wanted to be. Looking at the options, I wanted to stay here. It’s a good fit for me. I think the team is gonna be competitive not just this year, the next couple of years with the core that they have we’re gonna continue to be a top team. It’s certainly more fun being on a team that you know is gonna be competitive and that is the case here. This is where I wanted to be.”

Shifting the attention to on the ice, Andre Burakovsy and Alex Chiasson were taking turns rotating on the third line alongside Eller and Brett Connolly. It is unclear at this time who would be in and who would be out of the lineup tomorrow. With no morning skate on Sunday, we may not know until warmups.

Burakovsky was a healthy scratch in Friday’s game vs. the Blue Jackets and only played for 6:34 seconds during Tuesday’s win in Columbus. Burakovsky sat out the entire third period of that contest and his final shift came with 2:12 left in the second period. Trotz said after practice that he expects Burakovsky to be back in the lineup tomorrow but isn’t exactly sure what the lineup will be.

SHAVINGS

  • In his last six games. Evgeny Kuznetsov has led the Capitals with nine points (2 goals, 7 assists) and is riding a team-high six game point and assist streak.
  • Kuznetsov’s 37 assists lead the team this season and are tied for 14th in the NHL.
  • Kuznetsov has recorded an assist in 25 games this season, with the Caps posting a record of 18-4-3 in those games.

CAPS TODAY

INTERVIEWS
Lars Eller

CAPITALS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

By Michael Marzzacco

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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One Response to News and Notes from Saturday’s Capitals Practice: The Great Dane is Settling In

  1. Pingback: Contract Conversation: Eller to Stay in D.C.; So How Does His Contract Compare? | NoVa Caps

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