Back To Work: Capitals Return to MedStar Capitals Iceplex for First Practice Following All-Star Game and Bye-Week: Chandler Stephenson to Replace Ovechkin

Sunburned and rested, the Capitals returned to work Thursday afternoon at MedStar Capitals Iceplex for their first practice since the All-Star Game and bye-week break. The Capitals will host the Calgary Flames Friday night at Capital One Arena. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM.

Christian Djoos continued practicing with the Capitals on Thursday. However, today was the first day he participated without a non-contact (light blue) jersey. Djoos has been out of the lineup since December 11, when he suffered a leg injury against Detroit.

Djoos’ return gives the Capitals eight defensemen on the roster, so there will likely be a move coming when Djoos is ready to return to the lineup.

Alex Ovechkin will miss Friday night’s tilt as a result of his mandatory one-game suspension for missing this years All-Star game. Ovechkin’s career-best streak of playing in 214 consecutive regular season games will end. Last time he didn’t play was the final game of 2015-16, when he sat out vs. Anaheim (rescheduled game due to snowstorm) to rest for playoffs.

Ovechkin participated in line rushes during the early part of practice today, but his spot at 1LW was eventually filled by Chandler Stephenson. So, this is likely what the forward lines will look like for tomorrow nights game against the Flames:

With Christian Djoos returning to full-contact practice, the Capitals practiced with four defensive pairs on Thursday:


Power Play
With Ovechkin out tomorrow night, the Capitals power play also required a few tweaks:

The first-place Calgary Flames arrived in town early Wednesday afternoon. Their last game was a 3-2 overtime win over the Hurricanes in Raleigh on Tuesday, January 22. The Capitals have not played since Wednesday, January 23.

The Flames reported directly to MedStar for practice following the conclusion of the Capitals practice. (Capital One Arena has a Georgetown Hoyas basketball games tonight.)



  • Nicklas Backstrom is entering tomorrow’s game versus the Calgary Flames after recording his 50thpoint (13g, 38a) of the season on Jan. 23 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, joining Alex Ovechkin (37g, 20a) as the only Capitals with at least 50 points.
  • That marked the 10th time Backstrom and Ovechkin have recorded 50 points in the same season, joining Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby (2006-07 through 2018-19) and Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane (2007-08 through 2017-18) as the only active teammates to accomplish the feat.
  • Since entering the NHL in 2005-06, Ovechkin’s 644 goals lead the NHL, 211 more than Crosby, who ranks second in the NHL in goals since 2005-06, while Backstrom’s 628 assists rank second in the NHL since 2007-08, 28 more than Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin, who ranks second in the NHL during that time frame.

By Jon Sorensen

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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4 Responses to Back To Work: Capitals Return to MedStar Capitals Iceplex for First Practice Following All-Star Game and Bye-Week: Chandler Stephenson to Replace Ovechkin

  1. Michael L. Valcourt Sr. says:

    I’m sure Stephenson and Djoos will carry them to victory tomorrow night against Calgary. Well rested and sunburn will that be enough to pick up their play for the start of the second half. I need to see improved play in both the offensive and defensive zones on the ice. Is the talent there this season I certainly think so! But to impose their will on the ice has that diminished. Well “Let’s Rock The Red” and see how far it takes us the rest of this 2018 – 19 season.

  2. DayOne Caps Fanatic says:

    I like Michael V’s optimism. The Caps have absolutely STUNK the past twelve games. Coach R hasn’t shown me a thing. For GMBM: No excuses. Ten down-days to have Plan-B formulated and ready to go. If Caps go 0-3 starting February, I expect to see New Coach Quenneville behind the Caps’ bench. Or the Caps’ management has no credibility

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