Alex Ovechkin’s return provided a boost against Avs, but Caps ended up falling short – again

DENVER – Alex Ovechkin is back in the lineup, and the Capitals effort is much improved from the last time they were out. But it wasn’t good enough to take on an illness and injury-plagued lineup or the surge of the Stanley Cup champions on Tuesday. The Caps trailed by two and couldn’t catch up to Arena, where Niklas Backstrom was a late scratch due to a non-COVID-19 illness, Tom Wilson left after blocking a shot and the Avalanche cruised with a hard-fought 3-2 victory. Connor Cherry and Ovechkin, and…

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Ranking the best NHL players and prospects under 23: Rasmus Dahlin tops the list

Welcome to the midseason update of the under-23 NHL player rankings for the 2022-23 season. This is an age-based ranking of the best young players overall on teams’ reserve lists, meaning within an NHL organization, in or outside the league. This is a ranking meant to show who I think will have the best pro careers, not who I would take in a game tomorrow. This is also a good exercise to show how the last five age groups compare to each other, as this largely spans the player pool…

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Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom return as the Capitals find a “different way” to win

WASHINGTON – “On the right wing, No. 43, Tom Willson!” “And in the middle, No. 19, Nick Lass Backstrom!” On most nights, the announcement of the starting line-up mixes with other raucous pre-match celebrations. Not Sunday. Fans jumped to their feet and cheered for Wilson and Backstrom, the two candidates making their long-awaited season debut after recovering from long-term injuries. Niklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson received a standing ovation when they were announced as starters. #caps pic.twitter.com/iQQZKvYAJZ – Tarik Al-Bashir (Tarik_ElBashir) January 8, 2023 Although Wilson and Backstrom were the…

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Despite Alex Ovechkin’s 2 goals, the Capitals fell to the Sabers and a Tage Thompson hat-trick

Washington – It was Alex Ovechkin Is that true Hassan. But Tage Thompson did better. Better aim, to be exact. In a matchup between two of the NHL’s leading scorers this season, Thompson scored three times on Tuesday, including the overtime winner, for Ovechkin’s pair of numbers as the Sabers cruised to an emotional 5-4 victory in a night that began with Thompson walking his teammates into the yard. Capital One wearing T-shirts that say “Love for 3.” The letter was a show of support for Buffalo Bills safety Damar…

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Washington Capitals injury timelines: What I hear about Backstrom, Carlson, Wilson and O’Shea

As the 2022-23 season winds down its middle, D.C.’s dire injury situation — they’ve been at or near the top of the league in men’s games lost all season — is about to get better. And maybe Many Better, especially up front. “The guys are close because you don’t see any (non-contact) blue jerseys out there,” coach Peter Laviolette said. “The restrictions are off. They can compete and they can go.” “But,” he cautioned, “we want to make sure when players get back into the squad that they feel good,…

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Gretzky, Howe or Ovechkin: Who’s the NHL’s greatest goal scorer of all time? The answer’s not so simple

Human performance only gets better with time, right? Better training techniques, better nutrition, better equipment, better technology, better information, better development programs — it all leads to better results. Times in the 100-meter dash only go down. Fastball velocity only goes up. So it’s easy to say that the last guy off the bench in today’s NBA would have been a dominant megastar in the 1960s, that Babe Ruth wouldn’t know what to do with a Jacob deGrom 93-mph slider, that Alex Ovechkin — having passed Gordie Howe on Friday…

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NHL 2022-23 bold predictions, revisited: How our preseason prognostications are holding up two months in

Fifty goals for Connor McDavid? Seventy for Auston Matthews?? A playoff team in Ottawa??? Heading into the 2022-23 NHL season, The Athletic asked its hockey staff for bold predictions, and two months later, some are holding up better than others. Here’s a progress report on each prediction provided by the writer who made it, from those who need a mulligan to those already taking a victory lap. Preseason bold prediction: Mason McTavish will win the Calder Trophy Outlook two months in: Definitely still in play Analysis: McTavish has an uphill…

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The injury-stricken Capitals prevail over Oilers’ Conor McDavid

EDMONTON — 48 hours after General Manager Brian McClellan challenged a struggling team, the injury-hit Capitals responded with one of their best efforts of the season against Connor McDavid, Leon Dricetel and the Oilers. Lars Eller, TJ O’Shea and Nick Dodd lined up offense, and Charlie Lindgren, who started for injured No. 1 goaltender Darcy Kuemper, made the stand as the Caps won 3-2 at Rogers Place. “This was probably our loosest game,” O’Shea said. “We had a little little lull to start the second, I feel. But our most…

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Capitals general manager Brian McClellan on team state: ‘We’ve dug ourselves a hole’

CALGARY — General Manager Brian MacLellan says he’s concerned about the Capitals’ performance so far and that the only way out of the hole they’ve dug is for the top players to grab their shovels. Going into Saturday’s game at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Washington was three points behind Detroit to take second place in the East, with Montreal, Florida and the New York Rangers between the caps and the Red Wings. Detroit also had three games in hand. “We should be concerned,” McClellan said. “We dug ourselves a hole. The…

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NHL panic meter: Which contenders are in trouble? Who might surge?

The calendar has flipped to December, Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror and nearly every NHL team has passed the quarter mark of their season. Lots of hockey is left to be played, but the “it’s early, don’t worry” plea is becoming less and less of a valid reassurance for underperforming clubs. Many teams are in that situation, falling short of expectations. Forget just playoff contenders, there are organizations with legitimate Stanley Cup aspirations who are on the outside looking in right now. Coaches are on the hot seat, fan…

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