Capitals’ playoff run, beards raised more than $33,000 for American Special Hockey Association

Jared Clinton
Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby were two players who helped the Capitals Beard-A-Thon. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

As has become post-season tradition across the NHL, the Washington Capitals grew playoff beards as part of their run to the Stanley Cup. And while Washington’s post-season trip ended in the second round, the beards helped the team raise more than $33,700 for the American Special Hockey Association.

As part of what was called the Capitals Beard-A-Thon, and through a process similar to the popular Movember campaign, fans were requested to grow beards along with the team, while others could donate money to those growing facial hair for the playoffs or to the Capitals players themselves. All the proceeds were then donated to the ASHA. Read more

Top 10 coaches by points percentage: Where does Mike Babcock sit?

Detroit Red Wings coach Mike Babcock

The Toronto Maple Leafs have been mired in the basement of the NHL for several seasons, but the hiring of coach Mike Babcock is giving Leafs Nation a reason for hope for a better and much brighter future.

While he hasn’t coached long enough to make the top 10 all-time wins list, Babcock does have the most of any coach to be behind the bench for fewer than 1,000 games. As such, he has managed to become one of the effective coaches in the history of the game.

In order to better represent who exactly the top 10 coaches by points percentage are, however, we have to set a limit of at least 100 games as an NHL bench boss. Otherwise some coaches, like Cap Raeder, who was the fill-in coach for the San Jose Sharks for one game – a victory – have near perfect winning percentages without really having control of the club.

Here are the top 10 best coaches by points percentage: Read more

Rumor Roundup: Next step for Oilers is building their blueline

Justin Schultz  (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

Things certainly seem to be looking up for the Edmonton Oilers. After naming Bob Nicholson as their CEO, hiring Peter Chiarelli as GM and Todd McLellan as head coach plus winning the 2015 Draft lottery, there’s a sense this long-moribund team has finally turned the corner. While seemingly “winning” the off-season, the Oilers need to turn that into on-ice success.

Despite their plethora of promising youth, soon to be augmented by wunderkind Connor McDavid, significant roster issues remain to be addressed. The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports bolstering their porous defense is their main priority. Read more

Rumor Roundup: Off-season changes coming for Capitals

Lyle Richardson
Braden Holtby (Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images)

A season in which the Washington Capitals returned to the playoffs after hiring a new coach and improving their defense still resulted in the club failing to advance to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 1998. Heading into the off-season, the Capitals’ roster will have a different look for 2015-16.

GM Brian MacLellan has over $19.4 million in salary-cap space with several key free agents to re-sign. Topping the list is goaltender Braden Holtby, whose performance throughout this season ranks the 25-year-old among the NHL’s top netminders. ESPN.com’s Craig Custance cites Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky and Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov as comparables, suggesting Holtby’s new contract could be a long-term deal in the range of $6 million per season. Read more

Memorial Cup preview: How each team wins or loses

Leon Draisaitl (Melissa Baecker/Getty Images)

We know our four teams for the Memorial Cup now. Thanks to Oshawa’s ousting of Connor McDavid and the Erie Otters, the Generals will represent the OHL, joining Kelowna of the WHL, plus Quebec (the hosts) and Rimouski in the QMJHL. So who is favored to win it all? Ah, that’s a thorny question in a tournament that often surprises. But let’s take a look at what you should know about the four worthy squads in contention.

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Capitals exit playoffs with a sense of hope for a change

Henrik Lundqvist (left) and Braden Holtby (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

When it came to giving themselves the best chance at playoff success, the Washington Capitals had just about every box checked off. They had a new voice behind the bench, they had a big, grinding team that could win the battles of attrition, their superstar player was showing up, their goaltending was all-world, their secondary scoring was decent and their defense corps had a really good blend of punishers and two-way players.

Yet there they were Wednesday night, once again shaking hands at center ice as the losers of yet another playoff series, another Game 7 and another defeat at the hands of the New York Rangers. Two things have to make it particularly grinding this time around. First, the Capitals were 141 seconds away from winning the series in five games. Second, in that same game, a goal by Matt Niskanen that would have provided the margin of victory in regulation time was waived off after Derek Stepan clearly pushed Joel Ward into Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

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Suspend him or not: Brooks Orpik steamrolls Dan Boyle

Brooks Oprik and Dan Boyle. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Dan Boyle has to be happy his New York Rangers fought back from a 3-1 series deficit and booked a trip to the Eastern Conference final. Aside from that good news, though, 2014-15 hasn’t been kind to him.

Boyle broke his hand in November and missed 14 games. When he was on the ice, his age showed, and he struggled defensively on and off throughout the season. In the second round of the playoffs he took a hard hit in the corner from Nicklas Backstrom in the dying seconds of Game 1, leading to Washington’s winning goal. And then, in Game 7, Caps blueliner Brooks Orpik positively erased Boyle:

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Report says Ovechkin to join Russia at World Championship

Jared Clinton
(Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

Alex Ovechkin isn’t going to let the sting of yet another Game 7 defeat get in the way of him heading to the Czech Republic to represent his country at the World Championship.

According to Igor Eronko of Russian outlet Sports.ru, Ovechkin is set to join team Russia tomorrow at the tournament. However, Ovechkin may not even be able to suit up for a game should Russia lose in Thursday’s quarterfinal against Sweden. Read more