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Barry Trotz calls Nicklas Backstrom 'one of the best passers that have played the game'

Barry Trotz calls Nicklas Backstrom 'one of the best passers that have played the game'

T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in Wednesday's game against the Boston Bruins with a breakaway goal that he neatly sent through the five-hole of goalie Tuukka Rask. He was so wide open, it looked like Oshie was essentially taking a penalty shot, something we all know he excels at.

But as nice as the finish was, the setup by Nicklas Backstrom was even better.

After intercepting a pass by Brad Marchand, Backstrom then sent a perfect saucer pass over the sticks of both Marchand and Colin Miller right to the blade of Oshie who was all alone behind the defense.

"It takes some touch," head coach Barry Trotz said of the pass.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Marchand behaves

Despite the high degree of difficulty, Oshie said he knew immediately that Backstrom would be able to get him the puck which was evident as he immediately took off down the ice as soon as Backstrom stole the pass away.

"I knew Nick was going to be able to get that puck through those two guys to me," Oshie said. How?

"Just cause Nicky's Nicky."

As incredible as the pass was, the Caps have gotten used to those kinds of dazzling plays from the veteran center. But don't make the mistake of thinking those kinds of plays are commonplace.

Trotz added context to Backstrom's phenomenal skill level after the game.

"It looks normal to us, but he's got elite hands. He's one of the best passers that have played the game. You look at how many passes and how he makes it and how he runs the power play and his poise and his patience. He's an outstanding player, playmaker, as good as anybody.

"He's the best I've ever coached, that's for sure, when it comes to playmaking."

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Capitals release 2017-18 promotional calendar

Capitals release 2017-18 promotional calendar

The Capitals Tuesday night released their 2017-18 promotional schedule. This season’s promotions include several giveaways and theme nights.

The giveaways include a schedule magnet on opening night (Oct. 7 vs. Canadiens), a Zamboni gravy boat (Nov. 22 vs. Senators), a puck bottle opener (March 16 vs. Islanders) and a T.J. Oshie bobblehead (March 20 vs. Stars.)

RELATED: Ovechkin, Kuznetsov set to start the season on a line together

Among the theme nights are Military Appreciation Night (Feb. 20 vs. Lightning) and Hockey is for Everyone Night (Feb. 24 vs. Sabres.)

The calendar also includes a few games with a focus on community involvement. There will be a canned food drive before Thanksgiving (Nov. 18 vs. Wild) and a #CapsCare toy drive prior to Christmas (Dec. 8 vs. Rangers.)

Here is the full release with a link to the entire promotional calendar.

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Ovechkin, Kuznetsov set to start the season on a line together

Ovechkin, Kuznetsov set to start the season on a line together

Alex Ovechkin will start the season on a line centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said Tuesday.

“I’ve had them pretty well together the whole camp,” Trotz said. “You can probably see that.”

Trotz also said he intends to have T.J. Oshie centered by Nicklas Backstrom when the Caps open the regular season in Ottawa on Oct. 5.

RELATED: CAN MADISON BOWEY TAKE ADVANTAGE OF HIS OPPORTUNITY AND SEIZE A ROSTER SPOT?

Trotz said his plan entering the season is to pair a high-end skill veteran wing with a high-end skill veteran center on each of the first two lines, then add a young player on the other wing.

Andre Burakovsky, 22, figures to be one of those young wingers, giving the Caps five of their top six. The sixth spot, however, remains up for grabs, with Jakub Vrana, 21, Brett Connolly, 25, and others set to compete for it.

“We’re going to start with Kuzy and probably Ovi together and probably a Backy-Osh [pairing], and we’ve got to find…who’s going to go with them,” Trotz said.

Trotz added: “Nothing is permanent in this business, as you know. But that’s probably where we want to start.”

In the battle for the final spot in the top six, Vrana will get the first chance to show what he’s got. The 2014 first round pick will skate on the right of Ovechkin and Kuznetsov as the Caps play preseason game No. 2 in Montreal on Wednesday night.   

“The thing with ‘V’ is he’s a young guy who’s got speed,’ Trotz said of Vrana. “He can get to space, and when he does, he can shoot it. There are very few guys that can skate with Kuzy. We drafted him to be a high prospect and we want to put him in that position. It’s in his hands now.”

Trotz said he’ll reveal the rest of the lineup that’s headed to Bell Centre on Wednesday morning. 

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