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More heartbreak for Caps as Hershey Bears fall in AHL playoffs

More heartbreak for Caps as Hershey Bears fall in AHL playoffs

Caps fans hoping for an escape from the misery of another early playoff exit won't find one in Hershey. The Capitals' AHL affiliate Hershey Bears saw their season end in similar fashion to their NHL counterparts on Wednesday as they fell 4-2 in Game 7 of their second round series to the Providence Bruins on Wednesday.

The Bears returned to Hershey for Game 6 and 7 with a 3-2 series lead and a chance to return to the Eastern Conference Final for the second straight season but were unable to close out the series losing both games. Riley Barber and Chandler Stephenson both scored in the Game 7 loss.

You can see the highlights of the game here:

Much like the Capitals, the Bears now face some tough questions heading into the offseason. Tom Gilbert, Garrett Mitchell, Christian Thomas, Paul Carey, Chris Bourque, Stanislav Galiev and Pheonix Copley are all unrestricted free agents while Chandler Stephenson, Christina Djoos, Travis Boyd, Nathan Walker and Liam O'Brien are unrestricted free agents.

Plus, there are several players who could be ready for a jump to the NHL. For a Capitals team facing cap constraints, a cheap way to bolster the roster would be to promote prominent prospects to the NHL lineup. One such prospect is forward Jakub Vrana who struggled at points in Hershey this year.

In addition to Vrana, Copley, Djoos, Boyd, Stephenson, Riley Barber and Madison Bowey all are players who could get serious looks with the Capitals next season.

As tumultuous as this summer may prove to be for the Caps, the Bears may face even more turnover to their roster. Questions as to how good this team may be next season make this year's Game 7 loss to Providence sting all the more.

It also leaves Washington sports fans bemoaning yet another Game 7 loss.

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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