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NHL: Big changes for Washington Capitals after another playoffs collapse

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THE aftermath of the Washington Capitals’ all-too-familiar early playoff exit has an unfamiliar feeling this time.

No longer could players fall back on learning from the latest loss, in seven games in the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins, because some if not many of them won’t be back next season. With forwards T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams and defenseman Karl Alzner among the unrestricted free agents and several players set to eat up bigger chunks of the salary cap, changes are coming to Washington after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophies and a decade of playoff failures.

Sidney Crosby #87 and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate.
Sidney Crosby #87 and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrate.Source: AFP

Led by Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, the Capitals have made nine playoff appearances in the past 10 seasons and haven’t made it past the second round once.

“Obviously, it’s not working,” Backstrom said Friday on another sombre exit day. “I’m sure the organisation will figure that out and try again.” How much needs to be different is a matter of opinion, and really owner majority owner Ted Leonsis, general manager Brian MacLellan and others in the organisation are the only ones whose thoughts matter. Because of the impending salary-cap crunch and new contracts needed for centre Evgeny Kuznetsov, winger Andre Burakovsky and defensemen Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt, MacLellan made it no secret before the 2015-16 season he saw this as a two-year window. Now it’s over.

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NHL 2020: Draft lottery, New York Rangers, Alexis Lafreniere

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There might not be a frozen envelope involved, but conspiracy theories abounded after the Rangers won the NHL Draft lottery Monday night and with it the right to select consensus top pick, heralded Canadian left winger Alexis Lafreniere.

The Rangers and the seven other teams eliminated from the NHL playoff qualifying round this past week were entered into a live televised lottery for the top pick in October’s draft, held pingpong-ball style.

Normally the NHL conducts its lottery process behind closed doors and reveals the results afterward, as was the case during the first phase of the lottery in June, when it was determined that the top pick would be awarded to a team involved in the league’s restart.

With commissioner Gary Bettman looking on, an unidentified and masked NHL employee was to remove each ball from an attache case, show it to Bettman who verified the logo, and then place it into the lottery machine.



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NHL news: Seattle Kraken, reaction, Washington name

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Owners of the National Hockey League’s Seattle expansion team unveiled Kraken as the club’s nickname on Thursday, the mythical sea beast having been a fan favourite in marketing polls.

The NHL’s 32nd team, set to take the ice in the 2021-22 season, will feature dark and light blue colours and an S-shaped logo that pays tribute to the 1917 Stanley Cup champion Seattle Metropolitans but adds a red eye and tentacle.

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And while most seemed to get behind Kraken, Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser unleashed on Pardon The Interruption.

“My instant thought was this is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” Wilbon said. “And I started just running through all the nicknames of all the teams in the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL, and this is the worst.



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Colby Cave dead at 25: NHL, Oilers star suffered brain bleed

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Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave died Saturday morning, days after undergoing emergency surgery for a brain bleed, his family announced.

He was 25.

“It is with great sadness to share the news that our Colby Cave passed away early this morning,” Cave’s family said in a statement.

“I (wife Emily) and both our families are in shock but know our Colby was loved dearly by us, his family and friends, the entire hockey community, and many more. We thank everyone for their prayers during this difficult time.”

On Tuesday, Cave had emergency surgery to remove a colloid cyst that was causing pressure on his brain.

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