Monday, 10 Dec 2018
Sport

Capitals Mailbag: Will the team go to the White House?

GLENDALE, Arizona – Twenty-eight games after the start of the season, the Washington Capitals overcame inconsistencies early in the season and a multitude of injuries to top the Metropolitan Division with a 16-point record. 9-3. This edition of the mailbag indicates whether the team will travel to the White House as the reigning Stanley Cup champion, which led the Capitals and Russian winger Sergei Shumakov to separate, if Tom Wilson should have fought against Ryan Reaves of Vegas at the start of Tuesday's game. The future of Pheonix Copley is in Washington.

To ask a question for next time, tweet it with #izzymailbag or send an email to isabelle.khurshudyan@washpost.com.

Tradition has it that most championship teams go to the White House, even though this controversy has sparked more controversy under this administration. President Trump canceled the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl champion Philadelphia visit to the White House in June after players announced their intention not to attend the ceremony to protest the president and his speeches. When the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA Championship, several players, including Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, announced that they would not visit the White House. They were later uninvited by Trump.

I am waiting for capitals to surrender eventually. Their schedule is relatively flexible as it is the rare championship team based in DC, and with the recent mid-term elections, I imagine there was no such a good time for both sides. But I was told that the team was in communication with the White House and that the date had not yet been set. Some rumors report a visit in January or February, but nothing has been confirmed.

Attackers Devante Smith-Pelly and Brett Connolly said they would not attend the White House. Although they may not be the only players to adopt this position, almost all the players who have been questioned about it after declaring they want the last season to go. This is what owner Ted Leonsis said about it on October 3rd:

"What I said is that we are in Washington, DC, and the players and the coaching staff have to decide. I will not influence, and if we go to the White House, I will go to the White House. But they have not yet taken part in this conversation and vote. . . . I'm sure at some point, at the beginning of the season, there will be a team meeting, they will talk about it and come and tell us what to do. "

The Capitals place Russian winger Sergei Shumakov on unconditional dispensations, which means the two sides are separating. Washington signed Shumakov this summer after the termination of its contract with CSKA Moscow in the Kontinental Hockey League, and the team hoped its production of KHL, 17 goals and 23 assists in 47 games last season, would be postponed to North American match. But he did not look good at training camp, struggling with the pace of the game here, and less than a month after the team reassigned him to the American Hockey League, he was injured .

It was finally his decision to end the contract so that he could return to Russia, but the capitals did not really beg him to stay either. At first, it was a low-risk signature – Shumakov was about to make a two-way deal – and it simply did not work. It's not like Washington had a rough draft on him and then worked to develop it for years.

Reaves' attack on Wilson in the second half of Tuesday's game in Vegas was total, but Wilson's helmet broke off the collision and then hit his head against the ice. Wilson did not face the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night because of a concussion, and as the Capitals are not exercising on Friday, I do not think he will be in training against the Columbus Blue Jackets Saturday either. Reaves was rated at five minutes of major interference and was also ejected from the game.

Head coach Todd Reirden said Reaves was covering all of Wilson's games, which was pretty obvious. Part of Reaves' role for the Golden Knights is to get under the skin of his opponents. Should Wilson have fought him in the first period when tensions were clearly rising? In my opinion no. I think Wilson became more aware of his role on the team – a leading striker who started Tuesday's game with eight goals – and in a close game, he probably did not think it would help his team quit the ice for. five minutes. In a fight between Reaves, fourth row, and Wilson, the trade is better for Vegas than for Washington. The more value a player has for your team, the less likely you will want him to fight because of the risk of injury, especially to the hands.

Unless the two teams return to the Stanley Cup finals, they will not see each other until the rest of the season. If Wilson really feels that there is still a goal to settle the next time Reaves and himself will be on the ice together, I guess he will want to do it himself.

Copley having so little experience in the NHL this season, Braden Holtby was expected to carry the tandem keeper from the start. But Copley has won six of the nine games he has played and there is not much more to ask a substitute goalkeeper. Thursday night against the Coyotes, he kept the game tight while the Capitals were struggling to move.

"I do not want him to stay too long," Reirden said. "I thought he had made good backups. Hard to miss the chance we have on the goal right away, and he held firm. It's not easy for a goalkeeper trying to make his way through the National Hockey League. . . . He was really strong from that moment. This is a huge win for our team considering the circumstances. "

The question of his future with Washington is interesting because one must also consider the future of Holtby. Holtby's contract lasted the entire 2019-2020 season and he must receive a salary increase for his current $ 6.1 million. With the choice of the first round of 2015, Ilya Samsonov, who is playing his first season in the American Hockey League, I think the Capitals want to see what they have in him before making a decision on how to proceed with Holtby . The plan now seems to be that of Samsonov who will replace the guardian replacing the goalkeeper next season, but Copley, an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year, defends himself, and if there is no room for the Capitals, it's a good audition for another team.

Learn more about capitals:

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