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A delicate balancing act: Playing with pressure vs. playing with joy

A delicate balancing act: Playing with pressure vs. playing with joy

Looking back, it makes sense why the Capitals chose to move on from Jason Chimera. At 37 years old, he was going to be worth much more to someone else than he was to the Caps.

But there was an element to Chimera the Caps were not able to find this season: Levity.

There was one interview that struck Jill Sorenson more than any other from the Capitals' breakdown day and it was Kevin Shattenkirk talking about how fortunate the Capitals were to be a contender every year, even if they don't win it. See the video above for more from Sorenson and the balancing act the Caps face between pressure and joy.

Let's face it, being a contender for so long comes with a lot of pressure to win it all. That pressure seemed to get to the Caps in Game 7 against Pittsburgh when a Washington team that had dominated the last two games to force a Game 7 laid an egg. Is the locker room missing that person who can laugh in the face of pressure and take the edge off?

There's also something else to consider: Most NHL teams would happily trade places with the Caps for the last nine seasons this team has enjoyed. Have the fans and players lost sight of how important it is just to be considered a contender for the Stanley Cup every year?

Where do you stand? Is this era of Capitals hockey something we should all enjoy or is it all meaningless without the Cup? Tell us what you think!

UPDATE

We asked for your thoughts and you delivered!

Let's keep the conversation going!

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Tom Wilson, an experienced punch-thrower himself, approved of Bryce Harper's fight

Tom Wilson, an experienced punch-thrower himself, approved of Bryce Harper's fight

When Tom Wilson compliments your punching, it's not all that different from when Vince Carter compliments your dunking or LaVar Ball compliments your ability to annoy millions of people just by opening your mouth.

Therefore, Bryce Harper, who initiated a one-on-one fight not normally seen on MLB fields Monday in San Francisco, should feel very honored by this Wilson tweet:

Wilson had more than double the number of penalty minutes than the next closest Capital this past season, so he's familiar with what is and isn't worthy of a trip to the penalty box. He also knows what good fighting looks like, and judging by his hashtag, the Nationals star met Wilson's standards.

Unfortunately for Harper, his punches came on the diamond and not the ice, so he'll likely miss more time than a few minutes once the powers that be have a chance to review his actions. 

RELATED: THE HISTORY THAT CAUSED STRICKLAND TO THROW AT HARPER

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Report: Barry Trotz added to NHL's competition committee

Report: Barry Trotz added to NHL's competition committee

Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz has added a new job to his resume. In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman reports that Trotz has been added to the NHL’s competition committee as a coach representative.
 
According to Friedman, “Ken Hitchcock and Barry Trotz are new members of the competition committee, representing the coaches. Excellent choices. No details yet on when the group will meet.”
 
The committee meets to discuss potential rule changes for the next season. All proposals from the committee must be approved by the league’s general managers and then go to the NHL Board of Governors for final approval.

RELATED: Possible free agent targets from the Predators