A calm Ovechkin is a dangerous Ovechkin

Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins had their shot last night.
Tonight, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals begin their quest to
silence the doubters and take off on what they hope to be a two-month
journey to the Stanley Cup finals.

Leading them is Alex Ovechkin,
perhaps the most skilled player in the NHL. He’s the team captain, a
vicious hitter, an incredibly dangerous goal scorer and a quiet and calm
leader in the locker room.

Wait, what?

According to
Ovechkin and the the rest of the players,
the team is taking a different approach to the playoffs this year:

“We’re
just more calm,” Ovechkin said. “We just stay quiet. Last two
years in the playoffs, we just give all our emotions here in the locker
room, like, ‘Oh, yeah, we get in the playoffs, it’s going to be
something new.'”

The Capitals enter the postseason with one hell of a
chip on their shoulder, fueled by their desire to prove everyone wrong.
They’ve played with a “it’s us against them” mentality and that won’t
change in the playoffs; they’ve adopted a “26 GUYS. 1 TEAM. 1 GOAL”
motto for the team that builds upon their already strong solidarity.

An
outspoken and brash Alex Ovechkin is one thing. A calm, intense
Ovechkin who is hellbent on destroying whatever stands in his way in the
playoffs? Scary beyond belief.

I feel bad for the Canadiens.

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    Caps re-sign Christian Djoos, who could get his NHL shot next season

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    The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.

    It’s a two-way deal in 2017-18, and a one-way deal the following season.

    Djoos, 22, is expected to push for an NHL spot next season, along with Madison Bowey and possibly Tyler Lewington.

    That’s because Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, both unrestricted free agents, aren’t expected to re-sign with Washington.

    On top of that, the Caps lost d-man Nate Schmidt in yesterday’s expansion draft.

    Djoos, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had 13 goals and 45 assists in 66 games for AHL Hershey this past season.

    It was his second full season in the AHL.

    Bettman says NHL will call more slashes next season

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    Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.

    Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.

    Related PHT coverage:

    Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

    — Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash

    — Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash

    — Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

    Report: Vegas sends Trevor van Riemsdyk to Hurricanes

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    Here. We. Go.

    According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the Vegas Golden Knights have sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Van Riemsdyk was among 15 defensemen taken by the Golden Knights in Wednesday’s expansion draft, however, general manager George McPhee made a point of saying that, as a result of having this sudden surplus at the position, he was going to have to move some of those blue liners.

    McPhee has been busy over the past few days, making deals with a number of teams ahead making his expansion selections, stockpiling draft picks, including three in the top 15 of the first round.

    More to come.

    Stars add Barnes and Wilson to Hitch’s staff, retain Fraser

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    Dallas filled out Ken Hitchcock’s coaching staff on Thursday, with a host of familiar faces.

    Hitchcock’s longtime assistant, Rick Wilson, has come aboard, as has former Stars forward Stu Barnes. In announcing those hires, GM Jim Nill also revealed the club would retain the services of assistant Curt Fraser, who has been with the club since 2012.

    “The three have a unique familiarity with the club from the time they spent here,” Nill said in a release. “We’re excited for the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to our coaching staff.”

    Wilson, 66, worked with Hitch in Dallas from 1995-2002 and, together, captured the Stanley Cup in ’99. He also worked with Hitchcock in St. Louis over the last few years.

    Barnes, 46, finished his 17-year NHL career in Dallas, then quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things in 2009, spending two years as a Stars assistant under Marc Crawford.