Tomas Fleishmann

Capitals trade Tomas Fleischmann to Colorado for defenseman Scott Hannan

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The Washington Capitals are toughening up the blue line. The Caps traded frustrating centerman Tomas Fleischmann to the Colorado Avalanche for physical defenseman Scott Hannan.

When Fleischmann is on his game, he’s an instant injection of offense to the lineup. Last season, Fleischmann broke out during the regular season with 23 goals and 28 assists. When the playoffs came around, Fleischmann struggled and earned the ire of many Caps fans for being a soft player unwilling to get into the dirty areas to score and battle for pucks. He’s a fast skater though and in Colorado he’ll fit in fine with Joe Sacco’s speed attack system. He’ll also help fill in offensively while Chris Stewart is out the next 4-6 weeks with a broken hand.

When the Avalanche acquired defenseman Matt Hunwick from Boston yesterday, it gave the Avs quite the logjam on the blue line, injuries or not. Losing Hannan will allow Ryan O’Byrne to pick up the slack defensively and with Kyle Quincey back in the lineup and Adam Foote’s return on the horizon, Hannan was the odd man out. Having a salary cap hit of $4.5 million also makes his departure more sensible. Hannan did have a no-trade clause in his contract, but waived it to go to the Capitals.

For the Caps, Hannan is just the kind of guy they need on the back line. Hannan is a prototypical defensive-defenseman. He’s positionally sound, delivers thumping hits on occasion and isn’t afraid to mix things up with forwards that get a bit too daring crashing the net. Hannan also comes with the full approval of Alexander Ovechkin who once referred to Hannan as the “toughest defenseman to play against.”

This is a deal that, on paper, looks to be a winner for both sides. Hannan’s results won’t be noticeable for the team until it’s time for the playoffs. He’s a guy that’s meant to be a problem solver for the team when dealing with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Mike Richards. Fleischmann steps into an immediate need in the short term for Colorado and gives them an older presence amongst a pack of very young forwards. Fleischmann isn’t old himself, but he’s had more NHL time than a lot of guys they’ve got. It’s fun to see a deal like this work out for both sides but we’ll see if Scott Hannan is the answer the Caps need on defense and if Tomas Fleischmann can find his scoring touch again in Denver.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.