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The Caps have a quiet confidence after trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

The Caps have a quiet confidence after trading for Kevin Shattenkirk

NEW YORK—Kevin Shattenkirk did not arrive in time to participate in Tuesday’s morning skate following the Monday night trade, but his presence still was felt in the visitors’ dressing room at Madison Square Garden.

“It’s like there’s a quiet confidence now,” defenseman Karl Alzner explained.

“There have been years when we’ve been really good and we haven’t picked anybody and you’re kinda like, ‘Alright, we still have a good team but it would have been nice to have that little boost.’

“Now,” Alzner added, “it seems like we’ve gotten that. It’s been a quiet confidence this morning. Guys have a little bit more energy, are a little bit giddy in a way, which is kinda funny. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”

Across the room, veterans Justin Williams and Alex Ovechkin acknowledged that management did its job. And now the pressure is squarely on the players to do theirs.  

“We believe we have an even better team than we had last year,” Williams said.

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“But it’s how we respond to it. You have to embrace the pressure on yourself. Because after [the trade], we still have to go out and play. It’s not just on paper, it’s how we come together, it’s how we play and how we respond to it.”

Ovechkin said: “Every year we talk about, ‘This is our year, this is our year.’ Enough Talk. It’s time to do something.”

Williams also praised Shattenkirk’s on-ice demeanor.

“I like that he’s got some attitude to him,” said Williams, who faced him often when both played in the Western Conference. “He’s not just an offensive guy that’s going to shy away when it gets tough. Yes, he’s good offensively. But he doesn’t back down, and that’s what I like.”

Although the overwhelming mood was one of excitement, there are a few players who know Shattenkirk’s arrival means less ice time. Or even no ice time.

Against the Rangers, Nate Schmidt is expected to play alongside Shattenkirk.

RELATED: GET TO KNOW NEWEST CAP KEVIN SHATTENKIRK

But Schmidt also knows that when Brooks Orpik is ready to return from injury, there are no guarantees. 

“For the team, this is a great move,” Schmidt said. “You can’t be more happy for what our guys got in return. You got a heckuva player. What more can you ask for in a trade that brings in a player of his magnitude? Personally, it’s tough. But this is good for the team. This is a good for us in the long run.”

Coach Barry Trotz, meanwhile, said the chance to add a player of Shattenkirk’s ability was simply too good to pass up given the sense of urgency the Caps feel this season.

“Obviously we gave up a real good player and some picks,” Trotz said, referring to prospect Zach Zanford. “But at the same time, we’re getting a real good player. You don’t want to have an opportunity go by, where you think that you could have made a difference. [General Manager Brian MacLellan] is doing everything he can to see if he can make a difference for us.”

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Tom Wilson suspended for 2 preseason games for hit on Blues prospect

Tom Wilson suspended for 2 preseason games for hit on Blues prospect

Tom Wilson has been suspended two preseason games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for his big hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday night.

In handing out the punishment, the NHL noted the lateness of the hit—it occurred more than a full second after Thomas had lost control of the puck—and the predatory nature of Wilson tracking down the Blues’ rookie before delivering the blow in front of the visitors’ bench.

RELATED: OVECHKIN, KUZNETSOV SET TO PLAY AGAIN ON SATURDAY

Wilson, a rugged 23-year-old winger who has a reputation for playing on the edge, has been on the NHL's radar for a while now. He’s been fined twice previously, but this marks the first time he’s been suspended.

Wilson must sit out Saturday’s exhibition game against the Hurricanes and Monday’s contest against the Devils. He’s eligible to return Friday at Carolina.

Earlier Saturday, Barry Trotz said he was “a little surprised” that the NHL had requested a hearing with Wilson, adding, “Whatever decision that they have we’ll deal with it. They do a good job.”

For Wilson, losing two preseason games amounts to a cheap lesson. But it also serves to underscore that he’s now squarely in the league’s crosshairs and will be considered a repeat offender should the Department of Player Safety examine a future play involving him.

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Ovechkin, Kuznetsov highlight the Caps' Saturday night lineup vs. the 'Canes

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Ovechkin, Kuznetsov highlight the Caps' Saturday night lineup vs. the 'Canes

Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen highlight the Caps’ lineup tonight against the Hurricanes at Capital One Arena.

Here’s how Coach Barry Trotz will have them lineup (based on the morning skate):

Forwards
Ovechkin – Kuznetsov – Chiasson
Smith–Pelly – Beagle – W. Simpson
Vrana – Boyd – Connolly
Walker – Albert – Barber

Defense
Orpik – Hobbs
Djoos – Niskanen
Siegenthaler – Orlov

Goalies
Grubauer
Copley

RELATED: TOM WILSON TO HAVE HEARING FOR HIT ON BLUES PROSPECT

Some notes and observations from the morning skate:

  • Fourth line center Jay Beagle will make his preseason debut tonight. He’s been battling some “tightness” according to Trotz. “Everyone’s tight right now,” Beagle told CSN after the morning skate. “I feel great. I’m ready to play tonight. It’s something the medical staff was really diligent about.”
  • Vrana will skate in his third preseason contest…but in a much different role. In his first two appearances, the 2014 first rounder skated in the top-six (on Kuznetsov’s line and Backstrom’s line). Now’s getting a look on the third combo.
  • Tom Wilson was originally slated to suit up but he was pulled from the lineup because he’s facing a disciplinary hearing with the NHL for his hit on St. Louis’ Robert Thomas on Friday. Instead, Wilson participated in the intrasquad scrimmage at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.  
  • Matt Niskanen and Dmitry Orlov will also get their first action of the exhibition season. Although Trotz has said they’ll start the regular season as a pair, each will play with a prospect vs. the Canes.
  • Chiasson, who is on a PTO, has enjoyed a strong camp to this point. If he can add production tonight (while skating on a line with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov) that could go a long way toward him clinching a spot…if he hasn’t done so already. Chiasson was also on the first power play unit this morning.
  • Former Capitals winger Justin Williams will skate on the Hurricanes' first line tonight.
  • Another round of cuts is expected to come on Sunday.

 

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