Six points back of eighth place in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Capitals are already long shots to make the playoffs.
With four tough road games up next on the schedule, the postseason dream could be all but shattered by the end of the week.
“It’s the biggest week for us,” captain Alex Ovechkin said Sunday after beating Buffalo, 5-3, at the Verizon Center. “We can end the season this week (or) we can continue to fight for the playoffs.”
Washington plays Tuesday in Pittsburgh against the red-hot Penguins, then has back-to-back games Thursday and Friday in Winnipeg, and finishes the trip Sunday at Madison Square Garden against the desperate Rangers.
The Caps haven’t been very good away from home this season, winning just four times in 13 games. If that trend doesn’t change, they’ll almost certainly miss the playoffs for the first since 2006-07. With that could come many changes, including possibly a new general manager. George McPhee has been in the position since June of 1997.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
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.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)