Sammi’s Daily: Capitals All-Star Break Plans, NHL Trade Talk
The Washington Capitals finish strong before the All-Star break, NHL trade chatter and more in the daily.
The Washington Capitals closed out a rather rough month of January on a high note with a 4-3 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, one where the extra time actually proved to make the victory even sweeter and bring some more momentum. Now, the team is headed into the All-Star break and has 10 days to regroup and refresh.
Meanwhile, the rest of the league is getting time off with the NHL All-Star Weekend kicking off on Friday, and that means plenty of time for trade chatter as well.
Here are the latest news and notes from D.C. and across the NHL:
– The vibes are immaculate after the Capitals' 4-3 OT win over the Blue Jackets, where Evgeny Kuznetsov, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Charlie Lindgren are the main names to thank. (WHN)
– Some key stats and more takeaways from that much-needed victory. (WHN)
– Speaking of Lindgren, a feature on him, his spirit animal and what he brings to the crease. (WHN)
– Aliaksei Protas has been returned to the Hershey Bears for more playing time before the break. (WHN)
– After the Bo Horvat acquisition, the Islanders aren't done, and there are several big names still left out there to consider. New York Islanders (NYIHN)
– Speaking of big names on the market, what does the trade landscape look like for Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews? (TSN)
– In Pittsburgh, general manager Brian Burke is less than thrilled with his team's season, and sees several concerns. Pittsburgh Penguins (PHN)
– Could Dylan Larkin be a trade target for the Bruins? Boston Bruins (BHN)
Top Shelf Takes
– January wasn't a great month, but the Capitals finish in decent position with a bit of a cushion over other teams vying for a psot. The only issue is games in hand, as Washington has four more over Buffalo, Pittsburgh and the New York Rangers. Luckily, the New York Islanders have played just one less game, making things a bit calmer on that front.
– Hopefully, the All-Star Break will allow Tom Wilson the time needed to recover and get back into action. Nic Dowd will be out "for a bit," so it's unclear if he will be ready before the 10 days are up. Dowd is on the IR, and Wilson is not, which is a good sign right now for No. 43. He was also seen last week without a boot and barefoot while walking at the rink. Perhaps a bad bone bruise for him. The timeline stays the same for John Carlson: "off in the distance," likely month-to-month and perhaps after the regular season.
– With each game that goes by, Nicklas Backstrom is appearing more and more comfortable and looking like himself. Talking to Wilson about No. 19, he mentioned that when Backstrom's body can do what his mind tells him, it's "a pretty dangerous recipe for success."
– Alex Ovechkin is set to play in the 2023 NHL All-Star Game for the first time since 2018. He logged just 16:30 minutes of ice time on Tuesday, perhaps to give him more rest. He was also dealing with a lower-body injury roughly over a week ago.