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Shattenkirk suspended for two games

Shattenkirk suspended for two games

Capitals defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk has been suspended two games by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for launching himself into Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel during Saturday’s 4-2 loss in Los Angeles.

As a result, Shattenkirk, who was assessed a charging penalty on the play, will sit out Sunday’s game in Anaheim as the Caps look to halt a three-game losing streak. He’ll also miss Tuesday’s game against the Western Conference leading Wild at Verizon Center.

The suspension is the first of Shattenkirk’s career and the first for a Washington player this season. The penalty in question came late in the third period and was Shattenkirk’s third minor of the game.

In the video that accompanied the NHL’s announcement of the suspension, the league noted that the 28-year-old blue liner launched himself excessively up and into Gravel and made “significant” contact with Gravel’s head. 

Additionally, the video pointed out, both of Shattenkirk’s skates were “well” off the ice when the contact was made.

Gravel was stunned momentarily by the impact but remained in the game.

With Shattenkirk out, Coach Barry Trotz figures to turn to Nate Schmidt, who had been paired with Brooks Orpik prior to Shattenkirk’s arrival via trade earlier this month.

Shattenkirk has four assists in six games with the Caps.

He’ll also forfeit more than $47,000 in salary as a result of the suspension.

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Capitals beard guy unleashes epic beard at Avalanche game

Capitals beard guy unleashes epic beard at Avalanche game

By now, you’ve probably seen the phenomenal “8” beard of the Capitals beard guy. His name is Eric Brooks and his beard is multi-talented.

Brooks moved to Denver from Rockville, Md. and now graces Caps-Avalanche games with the presence of his beard as he first did in 2013 when he unveiled the 8. He unveiled a new design for Wednesday’s game and stole the show.

Check it out in the video above.

Molded to perfection Brooks managed to style his beard into a white “CAPS” leaving people like me with barely a five o’clock shadow with some serious beard envy.

Never stop being you, Brooks.

RELATED: 3 current Caps named top free agents

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3 current Caps named 2017's top unrestricted free agents

3 current Caps named 2017's top unrestricted free agents

By now, you've probably heard a lot of talk about how the Capitals need to win the Stanley Cup this year because the team is going to look very different in 2017-18. The reason why is because Washington has several expiring contracts this year and some of those players will be hard to keep.

How hard? 

Luke Fox of SportsNet ranked the 17 top unrestricted free agents of 2017 and three of them made the top five. Deadline acquisition Kevin Shattenkirk is ranked No. 1 with T.J. Oshie coming in just behind him at No. 2.

"NHL teams salivate over puck-moving defencemen under the age of 30, so expect Shattenkirk to knock his next contract out of the park," writes Fox. "Think Keith Yandle's seven-year, $44.45-million pact signed with the Panthers last year."

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Shattenkirk is just 28 and is still very much in his prime. He was the biggest target at the trade deadline and will clearly cost top dollar to keep around. His expiring contract was an issue for St. Louis all season leading to his eventual trade. If the Caps hope to keep him in Washington, it may mean moving a significant piece of the roster to fit his cap hit.

As good as Shattenkirk is and as well as he may fit the modern NHL, many may still be surprised to see him ahead of Oshie. Oshie has scored a career-high 32 goals this season and clearly has developed chemistry with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, a forward pair that sometimes struggles to find a compliment.

What likely pulls Oshie to No. 2 is his age. This is the first 30-goal season of Oshie's career and it came at the age of 30. This is not a level of production you can expect from him for many more years.

The third Cap to make the list is Karl Alzner who ranks No. 5. Writes Fox, "is there room to keep the defensively responsible Alzner and the younger Dmitry Orlov (RFA again)? Oh, yeah. Now Shattenkirk is here too. ...  Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos reported in the winter that Alzner is asking for $5.5 to $6 million per season from Washington in light of the hefty Brent Burns deal."

Alzner is the best defensive player on the team, but his style does not fit the modern NHL the way Shattenkirk's does. He is not a puck-mover and, for a Caps team with a lot of other players to sign, it may be difficult to find enough money to pay Alzner his reported asking price. Whether he is worth that much to Washington going forward is a question the team will need to ask.

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