Should the Capitals rest their stars?

hugs.jpgOnce the NFL season comes closer to an end, high-end teams like the Indianapolis Colts commonly face the question of whether or not they should rest key players. There’s a camp that says, “Why risk injury in games that are little more than symbolic exhibitions for your team?” Then again, there’s also the line of thought that goes, “Every game has an inherent risk of injury. Why micromanage your players like that, especially since missing games could ruin their rhythm?”

The Washington Capitals are in a similar situation now that they’ve clinched the Presidents’ Trophy. They can lose every game and still have home ice advantage throughout the playoffs. They also have one great advantage over NFL teams in this situation: simply put, missing 1 or 2 out of 82 games is a lot less risky than missing 1 out of 16. Tarik El Bashir reports that the team will probably rest Mike Green tonight and wonders who else might be given a mini-vacation in the last few games.

One thing I don’t see happening is much slumber for Alex Ovechkin. The Russian winger is in a three-horse race for the Rocket Richard trophy with Steven Stamkos and goals leader Sidney Crosby. Then again, it’s been a tumultuous season for Ovechkin, so maybe the team will ask him to sacrifice one entry on his trophy rack for a better chance at trophies that matter a whole lot more (namely, the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe).

There’s been plenty of debate about just how good this Capitals team really is. If their best players (or even hard workers like Mike Knuble) need a breather, why not do that now?

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    Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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    There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

    This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

    Carr has no prior NHL experience.

    The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

    In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

    This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

    Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

    Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


    Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

    With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

    It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

    Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

    The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

    Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

    They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

    This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

    With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

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    You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

    With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

    Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

    Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

    In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

    Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

    Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

    Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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    So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

    The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

    No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

    He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.