News and Notes from Sunday’s Capitals Practice in Buffalo: A Good Luck Charm in Attendance and Devante Smith-Pelly Speaks After Last Night’s Fan Incident

Photo: @JoeYerdon

After an embarrassing 7-1 loss to the Blackhawks on Saturday night the Washington Capitals headed to Buffalo. On Sunday afternoon the team held a practice looking to correct the mistakes they made last night and turn their focus to a Monday afternoon matinee with the Buffalo Sabres. Here are the news and notes from KeyBank Center LINES


The only change to the lines came on the second line as Jakub Vrana slid back into his familiar spot with Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie. Alex Chiasson and Taylor Chorney were the extra skaters.

Philipp Grubauer was in the starter’s net. Since Monday will be an afternoon game, there won’t be a morning skate. This will be the second straight game that Grubauer will appear in. Grubauer came on in relief in the third period on Saturday night in Chicago after Holtby allowed six goals on 33 shots. Grubauer stopped 10-of-11 shots for a .909 save percentage.

Alex Luey, 13-year old cancer survivor and one of Alex Ovechkin’s biggest fans was in attendance at practice and will be at the game Monday afternoon. You may remember him from back in November, when he met Ovechkin and the Capitals in Toronto and Ovechkin scored a hat trick for him in a win over the Maple Leafs.

“I think he’s our lucky charm and I think we have to bring him on the road all the time. He was our best player out there,” Ovechkin said after that win over Toronto. Maybe Luey will be that lucky charm the Caps need Monday afternoon as they look to end their four-game road trip on a high note.

At 8:36 in the third period, Devante Smith-Pelly headed to the penalty box after fighting Connor Murphy. While in the penalty box four ignorant fans started chanting “basketball, basketball, basketball” at him. Smith-Pelly was upset and an official sitting inside the penalty box notified security immediately. Those fans were quickly ejected from the arena.

“There’s absolutely no place in the game of hockey or our country for racism. I think it’s disgusting and there’s no place for it. Athletes in our country don’t deserve that. It just shows ignorance,” Capitals head coach Barry Trotz told reporters after the game.

Following practice, Smith-Pelly spoke with the media for the first time since the incident occurred.

“It’s sad that it’s 2018 and we’re still talking about the same thing over and over. It’s sad that athlete like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing,” said Smith-Pelly.

You can watch the full interview below:

Additionally the National Hockey League, Chicago Blackhawks, and the Washington Capitals each released statements.

Here is the statement from the Capitals:
The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game.


  • Tom Wilson recorded his 10th goal of the season last night against the Blackhawks, reaching a new career high. Wilson’s 27 points (10 goals, 17 assists) is a new single-season high, beating his previous high of 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in 28-fewer games.
  • Wilson has three goals in his last two games, scoring two in the Capitals win Thursday night over Minnesota.
  • Wilson’s 51.05 shot attempt percentage (705 for, 676 against) at five-on-five ranks third among Capitals forwards.



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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3 Responses to News and Notes from Sunday’s Capitals Practice in Buffalo: A Good Luck Charm in Attendance and Devante Smith-Pelly Speaks After Last Night’s Fan Incident

  1. Pingback: Tom Wilson is Having His Best Season in Washington | NoVa Caps

  2. Pingback: Blackhawks Ban Fans Who Racially Taunted Devante Smith-Pelly | NoVa Caps

  3. Pingback: Blackhawks Fans Raise Money for Fort DuPont Ice Arena in Washington D.C. After Smith-Pelly Incident | NoVa Caps

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